Monthly Archives: August 2010

EDITORIAL: Putin is Drowning in his own Sewage

EDITORIAL

Putin is Drowning in his own Sewage

For the Russian Kremlin to balance its annual budget this year, the price of crude oil must average $123 per barrel.

It’s an astounding fact.  No other member of the G-8, and no member of BRIC, depends for budget solvency on the price of a commodity which is set abroad. Russia is, quite simply, not its own nation.

But there’s an even more horrifying reality for Vladimir Putin to face:  So far this year, the price of crude oil has actually averaged $78 per barrel — and just $75 per barrel this month.  That’s a whopping 40% less than the budget requires.

Vladimir Putin is drowning in the fetid sewage of his own economic mismanagement.

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EDITORIAL: Another Day, Another Nemtsov Arrest

EDITORIAL

Another Day, Another Nemtsov Arrest

Once again last Tuesday, the former first deputy prime minister of Russia was arrested and accused of “provocation” by the Putin Kremlin for daring to challenge its authority.

Before we discuss the latest incidence of jaw-dropping barbarism from the Putin Kremlin, though, let’s take a moment to reflect on amazing photograph shown above, an image captured by a Novaya Gazeta photographer at the scene of the crime.  It ought to strike sheer terror into the hearts of the loathsome reptiles within the Moscow Kremlin.

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Putin openly Threatens Peaceful Protesters with Violence

So-called law enforcement officers following Vladimir Putin's advice in Moscow on August 31

Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on the Huffington Post, reveals how Vladimir Putin has declared open, violent war against peaceful protesters (just for daring to march without a license, not for defying an order to disperse) and his own presidency-for-life:

Today’s Kommersant publishes a fresh interview with Vladimir Putin, where the dictator comments on opposition rallies:

Look, all our opponents support a Rechtsstaat. What is a Rechtsstaat? It is obedience to the existing law. What does the existing law say about [Dissenters'] Marches? You need to get a permission from the authorities. Got it? Go and protest. Otherwise you don’t have this right. If you go out without having the right, get beaned with a baton. That’s it!

Putin manages to lie three times in this short passage:

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Amsterdam interviews Ponomarev

Robert Amsterdam interviews Lev Ponomarev:

Russia-watchers are no doubt aware of the recent arrest of my good friend Lev Ponomarev. Lev is one of the leading lights of the Russian human rights movement, part of the original perestroika-era generation of human rights advocates whose courageous efforts ensured that democratic reforms were an integral part of the changes that followed the collapse of communism. These reforms have been steadily and vigorously eroded over the past decade under Vladimir Putin. Several days ago, for example, Lev was arrested in Moscow on Flag Day – while walking with a Russian flag. The irony is all the greater because Russia’s Flag Day commemorates the day in 1991 when the tricolor was raised for the first time over the Supreme Soviet building after the failed August Putsch, a time when Lev was a deputy to the Congress of People’s Deputies of the RSFSR and a key figure in the fledgling democracy movement.

I spoke with Lev by phone after his release, and here is what he had to say:

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“Russian NATO” Collapses in Humiliating Failure

Aleksandr Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

Practically every hospital-themed television show has an episode in which doctors attempt to revive a dying patient without noticing that the person is already dead. Something similar happened at the Collective Security Treaty Organization summit held this month in Yerevan. Even noting that the meeting was riddled with disagreements would not go far enough to describe the confusion that reigns in the CSTO today.

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CARTOON: Putin doesn’t need Eyes

Putin doesn't need eyes. On the stick is written: "Channel One." That's the main national broadcast TV network, owned and operated by the Kremlin.

Source:  Ellustrator.

September 1, 2010 — Contents

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 1 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL: Три четверти россиян хотели бы покинуть Россию

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The Shameless Fraud called Putin

(3)  Update on Russian Butchery of Soldiers

(4)  Russians don’t Emigrate because they Might have to Obey the Law

(5)  CARTOON:  Medvedev, and Counting

NOTE:  Springtime for Stalin!  Russia Today gets an Emmy nomination, and Kim Zigfeld gets a migraine.  She has all the details in her latest installment of her Russia column over at Pajamas Media.

NOTE:  Wordpress has kindly provided us with a new facility for inserting links and tags into our posts for informational purposes so as to better disseminate our content.  We are beta testing this system, our links are in bold and the computer-generated links are in plain type.

EDITORIAL: Три четверти россиян хотели бы покинуть Россию

EDITORIAL

Три четверти россиян хотели бы покинуть Россию

You read that right:  “Three-quarters of all Russians would like to leave Russia.”

That’s according to a poll commissioned by the Russian version of Monster.com, namely Superjob.ru, as reported by Vedemosti (Russian-language link) the Russian version of the Wall Street Journal.  Another confirming poll by rival firm HeadHunter shows the same figure, three-quarters of all Russians, would prefer to work abroad.

Of course, that’s if they had the chance.

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EDITORIAL: The Shameless Fraud called Putin

EDITORIAL

The Shameless Fraud called Putin

Mr Putin repeatedly praised the quality of the Lada car he was driving, giving valuable free publicity to the car’s struggling Russian manufacturer Avtovaz. However, he admitted he would not be personally driving the vehicle for the entire journey and would sometimes travel in his convoy of expensive foreign-made Jeeps.

Vladimir Putin was off on another one of his utterly absurd publicity stunts last week, this time driving a thousand miles across Russia in a Lada to prove how great the car is and encourage his fellow citizens to purchase one, while at the same time showing his own mettle as a he-man destined to rule Russia for life.

Except that Putin wasn’t driving a Russian Lada most of the time; most of the time, he was riding in an American-made Jeep.

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Russian Butchery of Soldiers: An Update

Back in June, we translated from the pages of Novaya Gazeta a story about Russian soldiers having their organs harvested and sold for profit.  Now, the Moscow Times updates the story:

It’s been more than seven years since the border guards, a unit of the Federal Security Service, returned Alma Bukharbayeva’s teenage son in a sealed casket.

Marat Burtubayev, 18, was serving with his unit in the Khabarovsk region, near the Chinese border, for his required two years of military service. He was eight months into his service when commanders said the young recruit hanged himself in January 2003.

But what they did not explain — and what Bukharbayeva has been trying to learn ever since — is what happened to her son’s internal organs.

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Russians don’t Emigrate because they Fear being Required to Obey the Law

Paul Goble reports that, in contrast to the poll data we discuss in our led editorial, the Kremlin’s own polls show nobody wants to leave Russia.  But Goble thinks he knows one reason why at least some Russians want to stay:  They know they’d be required to obey the law if they lived in a civilized country.

In addition to all the normal constraints – inertia, language knowledge, and uncertainty about other places – Russians today choose not to leave their country for work abroad because they consider it “abnormal to live according to the letter and spirit of the law” as Western countries require, according to VTsIOM director Valery Fedorov.

Speaking to a Novosibirsk forum “Strategy 2020″, Fedorov, the general director of the All-Russian Center for the Study of Public Opinion, said that Russians at the present time “rarely consider emigration abroad as a key to the resolution of their personal problems.”

According to his organization’s data, the VTsIOM pollster said, far fewer Russians are interested in moving abroad than “20, 15 or even 10 years ago.” Even those who are having problems “where they were born and grew up,” he continued, have many reasons for deciding against such a step.

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CARTOON: Medvedev, and Counting

At the top is the word: “President.”

Source:  Ellustrator.

August 30, 2010 — Contents

MONDAY AUGUST 30 CONTENTS

(1) EDITORIAL:  The Incredible Shrinking Country

(2) EDITORIAL:  “Salt” in Russia’s Wounds

(3)  Medvedev recreates the USSR

(4)  Journalists under attack Across Putin’s Russia

(5)  Bono and Shevchuk in Moscow

NOTE:  Now, a button at the bottom of each one of our posts allows you to e-mail or print that post with one click. Click away!

NOTE:  Have you purchased your Anna Chapman action figures yet?

EDITORIAL: Russia, the Incredible Shrinking Country

EDITORIAL

Russia, the Incredible Shrinking Country

Businessweek magazine recently published a list of the 25 countries that are losing population most rapidly, in other words shrinking the fastest. In this most basic test of national success, Russia is #18.  That means that only 17 countries on the entire planet are shrinking faster than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

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EDITORIAL: “Salt” in Russia’s Wounds

EDITORIAL

“Salt” in Russia’s Wounds

The horrifying new Angelina Jolie movie, “Salt,” has our vote for the worst. and most well-deserved, publicity Russia has ever received in its sordid history.

In an amazing bit of timing, “Salt” was released almost at the same moment as the spy scandal involving Anna Chapman, dramatizing for all the world to see the dangers of Russian sleeper cell of spies being turned loose to wreck havoc on the American government, and the world. Had this not been the case, Russophiles would surely have tried to claim that sleep cells like these did not exist.  Now, they are left to mumble and stand utterly exposed.

The image of Russians depicted in the film is truly shocking, bloodthirsty and barbaric.

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Medvedev Recreates the USSR

Paul Goble, writing for the Eurasia Daily Monitor:

Taking advantage of a “marked” decline in US activity in the former Soviet space, President Dmitry Medvedev is moving to “minimize” what some in Moscow see as the negative “consequences of the most serious geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century” by setting “a certain Union of Sovereign Super-loyal Republics.”

In this way, the editors of Nezavisimaya Gazeta argue, the USSR is reappearing albeit in a somewhat different form, and it future development, they suggest, will depend in the first instance “on the political will and professionalism of those carrying out” this policy direction.

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Journalists Under Barbaric Assault all across Putin’s Russia

Paul Goble reports:

Attacks on journalists in Russia and militia violence against Russian citizens inevitably attract more attention when they take place in Moscow or another central Russian city, but these disturbing phenomena are increasingly spreading across the entire country, as two new reports make clear.

At the request of the New Times, analysts at the Glasnost Defense Foundation, who have been monitoring attacks on journalists in Russia for ten years provided the Moscow weekly with “a detailed analysis of attacks” over the last five years, one that shows where the attacks have been and what have been the outcomes .

During that period, there have been attacks on journalists in 78 of the 83 federal subjects. Only Smolensk, Tambov and Magadan oblasts and the Nenets and Chukotka autonomous districts have had none, the foundation reports. Moreover, in 66 of the regions during the last five years, journalists have been killed or maimed or both.

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Bono and Shevhuk, Defiance in Moscow

The New Zealand Herald reports that the Russians have once again humiliated themselves before the eyes of a slack-jawed world:

Irish super group U2’s first Russia concert was marred Thursday after police detained rights campaigners at the jam-packed venue and tore down tents to prevent them gathering signatures for petitions.

Some 75,000 fans flocked to Wednesday evening’s showpiece in a Moscow stadium which came the day after U2 frontman Bono held talks with rock-loving President Dmitry Medvedev on issues including preventing the spread of polio and HIV.

Bono praised Medvedev as “gracious” in front of the crowd but also as a finale invited Russian rock star Yury Shevchuk – famous for his outbursts against the Kremlin – to the stage for a duet.

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August 27, 2010 — Contents

FRIDAY AUGUST 27 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  In Russia, Criminals wear Uniforms

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Russia to Gates, Jobs — Drop Dead!

(3)  Russia, Land of Bandits (and Proud of it!)

(4)  Latynina Explains why Russians love Criminals

(5)  Now, Putin’s Russia is a  Kasha-Free Zone

(6)  CARTOON:  Putin to the Rescue

NOTE:  The charges against Boris Nemtsov have been rejected, but Lev Ponomarev has been convicted and sentenced to three days in prison. For waving the Russian flag in public with other patriotic Russians.  Well, for planning to before he was arrested for thinking about it.  Meanwhile, more copies of Nemtsov’s latest white paper have been seized by Putin’s goons.

NOTE:  Great news!  At long, long last WordPress has finally embedded DIGG, REDDIT, and STUMBLEUPON icons at the bottom of each one of our posts, alongside the TWEET icon.  Now, you can easily use these four services to help publicize our content, and we urge you to do so. If you want to stand up against the Putin dictatorship, create an account with one or more of these services and use it to favorite our content.  Help us help the people of Russia to see the light before the final darkness takes them into the final abyss.

EDITORIAL: In Russia, Criminals wear Uniforms

EDITORIAL

In Russia, Criminals wear Uniforms

The symbol you see at the left, a diamond with a black dot in the center, is a coded symbol used among Russian criminals.  This particular one means: “Осужден по ст. 144 УК РФ – кража личного имущества.”  And that translates as:  “Convicted of Art. 144 of the Criminal Code – the theft of personal property.”  In other words, it’s the symbol for “thief.”  When you get sent to a Russian prison, you may well pass the time by tattooing yourself with such a symbol, if you want proclaim to all the world your pride in being a criminal, and indeed to announce just what sort of felon you are.

You may find this a rather obscure bit of trivia about Russia, and it surely is, until you look at the following photograph taken last weekend on Pushkin Square in Moscow.  It’s a photograph of a police colonel confronting Yuri Schevchuk, the Russian Bruce Springsteen, and preventing him from singing with amplification as part of a protest against the Putin dictatorship.   We wrote about this event in our last issue.

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EDITORIAL: Russia to Jobs, Gates — Drop Dead!

EDITORIAL

Russia to Jobs, Gates — Drop Dead!

One thing that we here at LR, as visitors to Russia, have always found at once both most hilarious and most obscene about this benighted, fetid land is the Russian attempt to test foreigners for diseases like AIDS before allowing them to dwell within Russian borders. That Russia, one of the world’s worst breeding grounds for diseases of all kinds, would think itself endangered by American tourists says all you really need to know about just how truly barbaric Russia really is.

But there are plenty of other examples.  In their recent Moscow Times column, for instance, Ian Pryde and Suzanne Stafford of Eurasia Strategy & Communications in Moscow point out that if either of two most famous computer experts on this planet, Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, wanted to try to set up a business in Russia, they would get simple response:  “Drop dead!”

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Russia, Land of Bandits (and Proud of it)

The New York Times reports:

On the Internet, he was known as BadB, a disembodied criminal flitting from one server to another selling stolen credit card numbers despite being pursued by the United States Secret Service.

And in real life, he was nearly as untouchable — because he lived in Russia.

BadB’s real name is Vladislav A. Horohorin, according to a statement released last week by the United States Justice Department, and he was a resident of Moscow before his arrest by the police in France during a trip to that country earlier this month.

He is expected to appear soon before a French court that will decide on his potential extradition to the United States, where Mr. Horohorin could face up to 12 years in prison and a fine of $500,000 if he is convicted on charges of fraud and identity theft. For at least nine months, however, he lived openly in Moscow as one of the world’s most wanted computer criminals.

The seizing of BadB provides a lens onto the shadowy world of Russian hackers, the often well-educated and sometimes darkly ingenious programmers who pose a recognized security threat to online commerce — besides being global spam nuisances — who often seem to operate with relative impunity.

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Latynina on Russia’s Criminal-Loving Leadership

Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Once again, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed support for a Russian citizen wanted by the United States. This time, the person in question is Viktor Bout, the suspected arms dealer whom a Thai court ruled last Friday should be extradited to the United States to face trial. “I assure you that we will continue to do everything necessary to push for his return to his homeland,” Lavrov said, adding that the court decision was “unlawful and political.”

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Now, Putin’s Russia is a Kasha-Free Zone

More spectacular leadership from Vladimir Putin. The Moscow Times reports:

Moscow stores reported a deficit of buckwheat — a regular side dish in Russian cooking — this week as suppliers hiked prices after a two-month drought that ravaged grain crops.

Suppliers of the Sedmoi Kontinent supermarket chain have hiked prices by more than a 100 percent, to 45 rubles per kilogram compared with 22 rubles in early August, the retailer’s spokeswoman Vlada Baranova said Tuesday. She said the company’s stores haven’t run out of buckwheat.

Two customers said they could not find buckwheat at any Auchan supermarkets over the weekend. Auchan declined to comment Tuesday.

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CARTOON: Putin to the Rescue!

Source: Ellustrator.