Appeasement and Shame in Yaroslavl
Sergei Mitrokhin. Leonid Gozman. Do you know those names?
Mitrokhin is the obscure leader of the obscure Yabloko party established by Gigori Yavlinsky, and Gozman is the even more obscure leader of the even more obscure Right Cause party, successor to the Union of Right Forces established by Boris Nemtsov.
Neither gentleman plays any significant role in the current Russian opposition movement led by Boris Nemtsov and Garry Kasparov. Neither party holds as much as a single seat in the Russian legislature. So naturally, both were invited to the Kremlin’s sham “modernization” conference in Yaroslavl last week (200 miles north of — that is, very far from — Moscow) so the Kremlin could prove how liberal and open and democratic it is. Neither offered any serious direct criticism of Putin or challenged his authority in any way.
Neither Kasparov nor Nemtsov nor any other serious opposition figure, of course, was on the guest list. And, of course, the Americans on hand did not say a single word about their absence.
These sham proceedings, this Potemkin Village of democracy, is an outraged, and we condemn it. Even more strongly, we condemn the participation of Americans like Michael McFaul and William Burns, who are allowing themselves to be used as pawns in Vladimir Putin‘s KGB propaganda game. These proceedings continue the repression of democracy in Russia, they do nothing to roll it back.
McFaul and Burns are lending credibility to the insane, duplicitous ramblings of Dima Medvedev, who stated: “Revisionist forces have not achieved power in Russia.” The KGB has a choke hold on power. If that is not a revisionist force, what is? By allowing these shameless lies, these deluded ravings, to go unchallenged, the Obama administration is furthering the cause of dictatorship in Russia.
Obama’s predecessor, George Bush, said that he’d looked into Putin’s eyes, glimpsed his soul, and found him trustworthy. Bush invited war criminal Vladimir Shamanov to the White House for a photo opportunity. In response, Obama said he would “reset” relations with Russia, but as we see it Obama has only given us more of the same. Just like Neville Chamberlain, Obama is prepared to respond to the threat of dictatorship only with appeasement. He will fail just as spectacularly, and the world will pay just as high a price.