Robert Parsons of Radio Free Europe reports:
In Moscow, I attended a conference of mostly young Russian journalists on the question of defending journalists’ rights. I expected a chorus of discontent but did not find it. Of course, there were complaints about the difficulties they faced in carrying out their profession — among them censorship and threats of violence — but there was also an acceptance of the Putin model of governance. I asked one who he thought had been responsible for the chain of apartment bombings just before Vladimir Putin’s election as prime minister in 1999. “The FSB, of course,” he told me, without a moment’s hesitation, referring to the successors of the KGB. “Sometimes,” he went on, “the state has to do such things to protect itself. It was a smart move.” The message he and his colleagues seemed intent on making was that the state had to come first. And if in the process the flow of information had to suffer, well, so be it.
A smart move. Planting bombs in civilian apartment buildings. A smart move. Killing hundreds of people including women and children. A smart move. So that the government could continue a war in Chechnya it cannot win, at the cost of tens of thousands of lives. A smart move.
Electing President Putin, a proud KGB spy. A smart move.
Ha! And they say Russia has no future!
Bill Clinton’s own Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, now an investment consultant and in Moscow for a conference, denounced the G-8 status that Russia received during the Clinton Administration, saying it was undeserved. “In terms of some criteria on open society, democracy, there are more and more questions, frankly,” said Albright.
At the same time, presidential contender John McCain denounced Russia, expressing suport for Gary Kasparov, in the Financial Times. He stated: “Have no doubt about my feeling about Mr. Putin and the direction he is taking Russia. The retrogression which is really I think very unfortunate, and not just for the Russian people but over the time could lead to worsening relations between the US and Russia. That is why [Senator] Joe Lieberman and I advocated a no-show [for President Bush] in St Petersburg [at the G-8 meeting].”
Comes a reckoning, Russia. Soon President Bush, who “looked into the eyes of Putin,” will be history. He will be repaced by someone who will take much different attitude towards Russia.
American automobile columnist John McCormick took a trip to Russia to evaluate the Russian automobile industry. He comments:
Today’s Russians talk ruefully about the ‘soviet times’ and speak of being in a ‘time of transition’. boat cruise through the canals of scenic central St. Petersburg takes in the battleship Aurora, which fired the shot that started the Russian revolution in 1917. It was a shot, according to our local guide, that Russians feel set their country back many decades.
Perhaps this “local guide” was a bit confused? Or maybe just a bit too “Russian”? After all, if Russians really felt that the USSR set them back many decades, would they really have elected a proud KGB spy as their president, and favor his regime with 70% public approval?
La Russophobe thanks reader NATALIA for providing a link on Russian divorce statistics. The link shows that Belarus leads the world in divorce with 68% of all marriages ending in destruction of the family, with Russia close behind in second place at 65% of all marriages resulting in divorce.
Of course, this is not suprising given the information La Russophobe has already reported about the number of women killed by their husbands and children killed by their parents. Indeed, in light of that, those in divorce households may well be the lucky ones, and anyone who marries in Russia should be viewed as a national hero.
Russia’s divorce rate is 33% higher than that of the United States, according to the article. However, America actually has slightly more divorces per 1,000 people because a far higher fraction of the population gets married in the United States compared to Russia. This too is not surprising, since family brutality would obviously tend to undermine the attractiveness of the institution of marriage. Indeed, most Russian marriages are not really solemnized with anything like the seriousness of the American rituals; Russians still generally head off to their local ZAGS office, another holdover from Soviet times, where the brief ceremony is often viewed like the joke it really is. The involvement of the church has been destroyed for many people, hardly anyone can afford a real honeymoon (much less a real diamond), and often the whole thing degenerates into a vast drinking binge to be quickly followed by divorce proceedings.