MONDAY MAY 24 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Another Nauseating new Low for Russia
(2) Latynina on the Mine Explosion
(3) Putin must Go!
(4) Lies and the Lying Russian Racists who Tell Them
(5) Tumult in Ukraine
NOTE: In the last several weeks, the Russian stock market, as depicted by the RTS dollar-denominated exchange shown at left, has shed over one-fifth of its total value, plummeting from 1650 to 1300 as international financial roiling depressed the price of oil and caused investors to think twice about the Russian market, which would better be called the Russian casino. The Russian market is now at its lowest point in the past half year, and has surrendered back all the gains it had made during that period, and then some. The freefall in value depicted by the chart is truly sickening, especially as a reminder of the 80% drop the market experienced not so very long ago.
The Other Russia reports:
The signatories of the petition ‘Putin Must Go,’ which calls for the resignation of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, held their first meeting in Moscow on Wednesday. The opposition manifesto, which has gathered more than 43 thousand signatures over the past two months, accuses the prime minister of brutally suppressing dissent, fostering corruption, and failing to modernize and develop Russia over the course of his tenure in power. Therefore, it says, “the return of Russia to the path of democratic development can only begin when Putin has been deprived of all levers of managing the state and society.”
Approximately seventy people attended Wednesday’s event, which was organized by opposition leaders to discuss the history, current state, and future of their campaign against the prime minister. Denis Bilunov, executive director of the opposition movement Solidarity, said the petition was originally intended for social and political organizations to sign, not the general public. However, he said, it turned out that the petition’s message appealed to a far greater number of ordinary Russians than was expected, so a website was set up to collect signatures online. Over 12 thousand people signed the petition in the first week alone.
Paul Goble reports:
Immigrant workers in Russia commit only three percent of all crimes in that country even though they form ten percent of the population, a prominent Moscow rights activist says — and a third of those crimes involve the falsification of documents, the result of their inability to secure legal registration.
In an interview published in Velikaya Epokha Svetlana Gannushkina, a leader of Memorial and the Civil Assistance Committee, singles out for particular criticism Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov who is “eternally claiming that migrants occupy our work places, violation our cultural traditions, speak Russian poorly and commit a large fraction of crimes in Russia.” All this is “completely absurd,” Gannushkina says. The Interior Ministry’s website features figures showing that “foreign citizens and those without citizenship commit about three percent of the total number of crimes,” a figure that has held more or less constant “already for many years.”
Edward Chow, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, and Taras Kuzio, a senior fellow for Ukrainian studies at the University of Toronto, writing in the Moscow Times:
President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Ukraine this week is a continuation of the weekly meetings between the Russian government and the new leadership in Kiev at either a presidential or prime ministerial level since Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych’s election in February. The series of high-level meetings don’t appear to confirm Ukraine’s initial intent to establish a balanced foreign policy between Russia and the West.
After years of political crises and instability in Ukraine, the West greeted Yanukovych with a strong desire to believe his promise of bringing stability and reforms. Ukraine fatigue was replaced by wishful thinking.
Less than 100 days later, though, it should now be abundantly clear to Western governments and international organizations such as NATO and the European Union that neither stability nor reforms are in the cards for Ukraine, and there are five reasons for this: