FRIDAY JULY 29 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Russia for Sale
(2) EDITORIAL: Russia, Drunk and Suicidal
(3) EDITORIAL: Russia’s Retirement Paradox
(4) Russia, Buried by Shale
(5) Russia cannot Innovate, Doomed to Fail
(6) Documenting Russia’s Arms Export Fraud
(7) Annals of Shamapova
(8) CARTOON: Putin’s Quadriga Problem
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the influential American Thinker blog details the shocking attempt to divert vast areas of governmental power outside the Russian Constitution as the neo-Sovietization of Russia is completed by dictator Vladimir Putin.
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the mighty Pajamas Media mega blog details two shocking breaking news stories, first the secret attempt by Barack Obama to derail the US law on Magnitsky and then the revelation that Russian forces bombed the US Embassy in Georgia. Required reading!
NOTE: They say Boris Berezovsky has married supermodel.
NOTE: Check out Putin and Medvedev as gay lovers?
Russia, for Sale
One of the most hilarious Russophile notions we’ve yet encountered is the way they attempt to attack Transparency International’s international index of corruption by claiming it is only a “perceptions” index and only places Russia at the uncivilized bottom of its list because of anti-Russian bias — as if all the talk about corruption in Russia were nothing but hot air and not based on any measurable reality.
TI needs no defense from us. It is a world renown organization of international objective scholars with unimpeachable credentials that provides an essential monitoring service.
But still, it’s genuinely pleasurable for us to watch the expressions on the faces of these idiot Russophiles change when they see a report like the one that aired on Russia Today, of all places, recently. Perhaps by accident, the Russian Interior Ministry decided to admit, and RT decided to report, that the average size of a bribe in Putin’s Russia has increased by a stunning 700% in just the past year.
In other words, the forces of corruption in Putin’s Russia are not receding, they are going hog wild.
Russia, Uncivilized, Reckless and Suicidal
Russia has the ninth highest murder rate on this planet, higher than any other major industrialized nation. No other nation in the world has a higher divorce rate. Only only four nations drink more alcohol. By contrast, Russia doesn’t even rank in the top 125 nations of the world for life expectancy.
If a person showed this kind of absolute, grim and dismal failure, a psychiatrist would no doubt classify him as a suicide risk. Indeed, Russia seems to be, for all the world, an entire nation hellbent on suicide — and indeed only five countries on this planet have people more likely to commit suicide than Russians.
Many intelligent people would suggest that there is a direct connection between Russia’s place in the world’s top ten for murder, suicide and divorce and its top-ten position for alcohol abuse. Certainly, the Russian government sees it that way. For this reason the Kremlin has launched a policy of open warfare with alcohol, dramatically increasing taxes on both vodka and beer (a drink which, until recently, Russia classified as a “food”).
But the notion that Russia can solve its problem of alcohol abuse using brute force measures like taxation is abject nonsense.
Russia’s Retirement Paradox
A Russian man on average lives to the age of 61.8 years while a Russian woman reaches 72.6 years of age. This places Russia a shocking #135 on a list of 194 world nations when ranked for overall average life expectancy (65 years — Russians perish right at the time most Westerners are just starting retirement).
The stunning gap of more than a decade in average lifespan between Russian men and Russian women is matched by virtually no other country on the planet. Even in Japan, the country with the longest-lived women in the world, the gap between men and women is well under a decade.
But what is even more bizarre is Russia’s pension system, which awards retirement to women at 55 and to men 60. This means that the average Russian man would only enjoy a pension for 1.8 years, while the average woman would get one for 17.6 years. Simply by virtue of being born female, a woman would get nearly ten times more pension benefits.
Shocking, isn’t it?
Chron Energy reports:
The natural gas boom in the U.S. has weakened Russia’s influence on European energy supplies and could keep Iran’s influence in check for years to come, according to a new study from the Baker Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.
The study, “Shale Gas and U.S. National Security,” says the surge of drilling in shale formations will have an impact on global supply for years to come and limit the need for the U.S. to import liquefied natural gas, or LNG, for at least 20 to 30 years.
That means more LNG shipments from the Middle East will be available for Europe, which has been beholden to Russia for a large portion of its gas, supplied by pipelines.
Vladimir Terletsky writing on Rus Business News:
Russia will be unable to become an innovation-driven country in the near term, as, despite its tremendous area, there is no demand for innovative developments. Large companies prefer to purchase off-the-shelf technologies in other countries; talented scientists, in their turn, leave Russia, finding no comfort in living and working at home. Experts see monopolists as the main hindrance to progress, as being the closest to government money. The “RusBusinessNews” columnist is sure that only transnational corporations can make them move; however, the authorities show no haste to allow them access to the Russian market.
The inimitable Pavel Felgenhauer reports:
The Russian defense industry is in crisis; its officials blame the defense ministry for withholding funds, while Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov in turn accuses arms producers of making weapons of questionable quality and charging unjustified high prices (EDM, July 7).
Russia’s ruling tandem of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have called for tempers to be calmed and for all to work together to allow rearmament plans to be implemented. At the same time, Medvedev agreed that the defense ministry must not procure “trash,” but must receive the best quality for its money and import foreign [Western] weapons as a measure of last resort (www.kremlin.ru, July 12). Two weeks ago, Medvedev threatened to “execute” troublemakers within the defense industry and sack leading bureaucrats responsible for defense industry problems that are preventing rearmament. Up to now nothing drastic has happened, but the crisis continues to fester.
What happens when Russia’s second-best player, ranked number five in the world and seeded second in the tournament, plays an American ranked #169 in the world, unseeded in that tournament?
If you were wondering about the answer to that question, you got your answer at the Bank of the West WTA tour event in Stanford California last week, the opening event for the hardcourt season. Russian Maria Sharapova, who we call “Shamapova” because of the fraudulent nature of her record, faced off against American Serena Williams.
“Putin seems to be a fair and resolute leader, worthy of respect.”
Those are the words of Norwegian madman Anders Behring Breivik, killer of nearly 100 defenseless children, in his Internet manifesto.
Breivik interviewed himself and then published the results. Here is the Q&A in full:
QUESTION: Name one living person you want to meet?
ANSWER: The Pope or Vladimir Putin. Putin seems like a fair and resolute leader worthy of respect. I’m not sure at this point if he has the potential to be our best friend or our worst enemy. He is very difficult to psychoanalyze. I would not want to be his enemy, that’s for sure. Obviously, he will have to condemn this [attack]. It’s understandable.
Breivik is also a big fan of Nashi, Putin’s Hitlerian youth cult. Serial killers worship Vladimir Putin. Need we say more?
FRIDAY JULY 29 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Putin, Exposed
(2) EDITORIAL: Back in the USSR
(3) EDITORIAL: Alexei Pushkov, Neo-Soviet Liar
(4) Young Entrepreneurs Flee Putin’s Russia
(5) Putin: Say what you like, the Whores Love him!
NOTE: On July 18, Vesti.ru reported that uber-blogger Alexei Navalny had been sued for 1 million rubles in the Lublin district court in Moscow by Vladlen Stepanov, whom Navalny had accused of corruption. The preliminary proceedings were to begin that day. Just one small problem: Navalny had not been served with legal process and had no idea he had been sued.
Vladimir Putin, Exposed
On July 5th, Pravda was fuming.
It had just learned that the Netherlands had issued a blacklist against numerous Russian officials who were believed to be complicit in the torture and murder of attorney Sergei Magnitsky, who had leveled sweeping charges of corruption at the Kremlin and the been arrested.
But that was only the beginning of Vladimir Putin’s troubles.
Back in the USSR
Every year the good folks at Freedom House prepare a worldwide survey of the state of freedom and democracy. This year’s report on Vladimir Putin’s Russia is particularly horrifying, and not even because Russia’s scores were lower than they have ever been, although they certainly were. What was most jolting was a look back at the trend Russia has now conclusively displayed under Vladimir Putin.
Under FH’s methodology, each country is assigned a numerical rating from 1 to 7 in a variety of basic criteria, with 1 representing the most freedom and 7 representing the least. Tracking the data over time from 2002 through 2011 produces the following chart:
A New Low for Russian “Journalism”
Why is Alexei Pushkov smiling?
We did not imagine we would be called upon to comment on the arrest for sexual assault of former IMF chairman Dominique Strauss-Kahn, but a shockingly unprofessional op-ed about him in the Moscow Times gives us no choice but to do so.
In a profoundly ironic moment, the article accuses the U.S. of arresting Strauss-Kahn based on false charges in order to serve its own “propaganda” interests, yet the article was written by Alexei Pushkov, who hosts a political show on Kremlin-controlled television and earns his living as a professor of diplomacy at a state-controlled university. He is also a regular columnist for state-sponsored propaganda outlet Russia Today. Not once does he pause to alert readers to his own potential propaganda bias.
And it’s clear why Pushkov wants to make this attack: In the service of his Kremlin masters, he wants to deflect attention from the Kremlin’s outrageous misconduct in the Magnitsky and Khodorkovsky cases. It would be one thing if he at least told the truth about DSK in attempting to offer his propaganda, but his text is loaded with lies and misinformation that would make Stalin proud.
The basic errors of journalism in Pushkov’s essay are so many and so shocking that they recall the era of Soviet “journalism” when pro-government lies were policy.
Time magazine reports (for those who read Russian, a new ZheZhe blog has been created for expatriate Russians to lay out their reasons for fleeing the nightmare that is Putin’s Russia):
When he was 17 years old, Alexei Terentev, then a bookish high school student in Moscow, created what the Russian government has been desperately trying to engineer — a start-up with some of that Silicon Valley–style magic. It was innovative, cleverly marketed and could be run out of his parents’ apartment. By June of last year, when Terentev got his diploma from one of Moscow’s elite universities, his company was on its way to making him a millionaire. But it was also getting big enough, he says, “to get the wrong kind of attention from officials.” So Terentev, now 22, took no chances. One day after graduation, he packed up his laptop and emigrated to the Czech Republic, taking his company with him. He doubts he will ever return.
The reasons for his move, as well as his haste, are the typical worries of the young entrepreneurs Russia is currently hemorrhaging: corruption and bureaucracy, the forces that are driving the biggest exodus since the fall of the Soviet Union.
Linguistics expert Michele Berdy, writing in the Moscow Times:
Порву!: I’ll rip it, beat you up, and win
Unless you’ve been out of the country or under a rock, you’ve probably seen the new “Hot Chicks for Putin” video. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it. A Hot Chick strolls on 10-centimeter heels down a Moscow River embankment to meet up with her Hot Chick friends. As they chat seductively on their cell phones, you get a chance to finally understand an untranslatable Russian word. The camera lingers on close-ups of pneumatic breasts bursting out of tight tops … with chaste gold crosses dangling above them. That, my friends, is пошлость (vulgarity, falsity, cheapness).
FRIDAY JULY 22 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Greedy, Heartless Russians
(2) Neo-Sovietizing Boris Nemtsov
(3) The Bank of Moscow, Running Dry
(4) Ukraine Gives Russia the Finger
(5) Medvedev the Marginal Man
(6) CARTOON: Mano a Mano
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest item on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog exposes the truly horrifying litany of neo-Soviet outrage being perpetrated by the dictatorial Putin regime. Russia is headed back to the USSR on a bullet train.
NOTE: Opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky has met with Hillary Clinton and given her a peace of his mind.
NOTE: The Moscow Times reports that even Russia’s animal citizens have had enough of life under Putin:
A ferret has escaped a circus in the East Siberian city of Chita along with a monkey and a red-breasted parakeet — apparently because they all were feeling down due to bad weather. ”We believe the creatures have fled because of their depression — the rain in Chita just doesn’t stop,” the circus’ art director, Zhanna Lazerson, told Interfax on Thursday. ”We found the monkey in a doghouse in the morning, and the two animals were cuddling in their sleep,” she said. “But the search for the ferret and the parakeet goes on.” She said the escape has added to the animals’ depression in the circus because the male parakeet was partnered on stage with a female parakeet who is now missing him. The ferret is less missed, with Lazerson calling him a ”terrible glutton, idle to the core.” Nevertheless, the troupe hopes that the animals will return to their circus home once they get really hungry.
Now, the ferret has started tweeting.
NOTE: Speaking of Twitter, Ksenia Sobchak has over 1,500 Twitter followers but has never tweeted, not even once.
Top Russia blogger Vladimir Kara-Murza reports:
For Yuri Andropov, who headed the KGB from the 1960s to the 1980s, suppressing political dissent was a top priority. “Every such act represents a danger,” he told his colleagues in 1979, “The struggle against them must be decisive, uncompromising, and merciless.” The regime tried different approaches. Dissidents were convicted to long sentences for “anti-Soviet agitation”—an offense under Article 70 of the penal code—and sent away to prisons and labor camps alongside real criminals. Often, they were labelled “insane,” committed to special psychiatric prisons and subjected to torturous “treatment.” Both of these practices—criminal convictions and “punitive psychiatry”—met with worldwide condemnation and ultimately proved too costly for the Kremlin’s international image.
Then Andropov had an idea.
Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
While watching the Bank of Moscow scandal unfold, two questions come to mind. First, the Bank of Moscow held the accounts of Moscow’s city budget, and the deficit of the bank is now $14 billion. In essence this means that the city’s funds have been stolen from the bank. How did this happen?
The second question is whether VTB will file a lawsuit in London courts against former Bank of Moscow president Andrei Borodin. It appears that the goal is not to extradite him back to Russia but to put him behind bars in Britain.
Borodin somehow received 20 percent of the shares of the bank, but it is difficult to say whether he was an actual or nominal shareholder.
Rajan Menon, writing on Foreign Policy:
There’s no love lost between Europe and Ukraine’s ruling regime — or certainly between the Western press and Kiev. Indeed, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who unseated the pro-Western leaders of the Orange Revolution, is commonly depicted outside his country as an oppressive and reflexively pro-Russian figure. But while there’s certainly something to this unflattering characterization, there’s a bit more to the man — and a lot more happening in Ukraine than the authoritarian picture most commentators paint.
Hero journalist Pavel Felgenhauer, writing for the Jamestown Foundation:
Russia has been hit by a number of manmade disasters. The worst is the sinking on July 10, of an old Bulgaria riverboat on the Volga River in Tatarstan. The Bulgaria was built in Czechoslovakia in 1955 and was rundown by age and neglect with one of its two main engines out of order during its last voyage as it took families on a one-night stopover weekend tour from the Tatar capital Kazan down the Volga River to the countryside. Tickets were cheap and the Bulgaria was returning to Kazan on July 10 overloaded with some 208 people on board. The official capacity of the Bulgaria was 140, there were 148 registered passengers, 25 unregistered and 35 crew: 99 women, 66 men and 43 children. The boat sunk in broad daylight, suddenly going down in three minutes without warning. Only 79 survived: 29 women, 39 men and 11 children. Divers had by July 14 recovered 105 bodies from the Bulgaria that is on the riverbed 18 meters deep – trapped in the hull, since there was no time for any orderly evacuation. The captain of the Bulgaria, Alexander Ostrovsky, went down with the ship (RIA Novosti, July 13).
Moscow has opened a new “sex museum” and it features a surprising and controversial image of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama jousting with phalluses. The image appears after the jump, readers are urged to use caution as it is sexually explicit. It is noteworthy that the artist chooses to depict Putin rather than Dima Medvedev jousting with Obama; this reflects the fact that, as we report in today’s issue, Medevedev is an increasingly marginalized man.
The Russian Volga cruise ship Bulgaria
At 8:19 am EST on Sunday, July 10, 2011, the Washington Post published a wire story on its website from the Associated Press about the sinking of the Bulgaria (shown above in happier times), a fifty-year-old tourist vessel plying the Volga River in Russia more than a mile off shore and near the village of Syukeyevo in the Kansko-Ustinovsky district of the Republic of Tatarstan. Two minutes later the New York Times published a wire story from Reuters about the same event. The reports followed the event by about three hours. Since then, the two papers have altered the reports substantially because the information they reported was totally false.
The AP story, relying on a male spokesperson for the Russian Emergencies Ministry, said that 61 of the 173 people who were on the vessel (140 passengers and 33 crew) were missing. The Reuters story, relying on a female spokesperson for the same ministry, said the number missing was 96 of 173.
Various Kremlin spokespeople then began claiming that the vast majority of the passengers had been rescued. Acting as if the Russian government were a responsible, intelligent organization that could be trusted, innumerable Western news outlets began reporting these claims.
Then all hell broke loose.
FRIDAY JULY 15 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Inflation Devastates Russia
(2) EDITORIAL: Boot Russia out of the COE!
(3) EDITORIAL: Closing the Vice on Russia
(4) EDITORIAL: Kositsyn, Paragon of Russia
(5) Russia is Governed by Lunatics
(6) Yanukovich’s Ukraine apes Putin’s Russia
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the mighty Pajamas Media megablog exposes the outrageous fraud of oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov’s sham political party as Putin consolidates his malignant dictatorship with the help of Barack Obama’s treacherous cowardice.
NOTE: LR’s translation of Boris Nemtsov’s latest white paper has been republished by Nemtsov on his blog and in turn has been cited by the Washington Post as it reported on the latest outrage against Nemtsov, the Kremlin banning him from foreign travel for six months. Welcome back to the USSR! We condemn this apelike behavior and we condemn all those who tolerate it. UPDATE: The Kremlin has been forced to back down!
NOTE: In another sign of the Russian apocalypse, as of July 7th Ramzan Kadyrov, or someone pretending to be him, has started Tweeting.