Does Britain still Remember Chamberlain?
Simon Tisdall, a columnist for The Guardian in Britain, says Russians think of British Prime Minister David Cameron a “useful idiot” who offers the KGB regime of Vladimir Putin “de facto, unthinking legitimization.”
Tony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Russia from 2004 through 2008, says that “Russia’s ruling elite has become immovable and predatory, elections are fixed, corruption is on a par with Nigeria, the legal system is pliable, and the police and security agencies untouchable.” He says its government is a sham: ”While Dmitri Medvedev enjoys the title of president, Vladimir Putin continues to call the real shots.”
But despite that, the British idiot-in-chief recently traveled to Moscow and inked hundreds of millions in trade deals in exchange for ignoring Russian human rights atrocities and the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London.
The New Warsaw Pact
It’s not clear whether Barack Obama doesn’t know who Nikolai Bordyuzha is or doesn’t care and that’s disturbing, because Bordyuzha is the proud KGB spy who is the spokesman for the new Warsaw Pact.
The constituents of this terrifying group (here is a photo of their assembled foreign ministers, a true rogue’s gallery), known as the Collective Security Treaty Organization, are Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Belarus and Armenia. There used to be nine members, but Georgia and Azerbaijan both bailed out in 1999, leaving seven. Bordyuzha, a Russian KGB officer, is the General Secretary.
The ragtag assembly of nations that comprise the CSTO include the worst dictatorships of post-Soviet space, and the organization’s charter is essentially the same as that of the Warsaw Pact: mutual defense from the horrific dangers posed by the forces of democracy.
And just as was the case with the Warsaw Pact, the CSTO is rapidly turning into a mutual aid society for the repression of domestic dissent.
Russia in the WTO? Just say NO!
Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO) was another of Yeltsin’s ideas – and with much the same purpose. If implemented, that idea would make Russia dependent on imports of foodstuffs and just about everything else the exporting countries would like to sell against their Russian rivals, after the latter were to give up their competitive price advantages, such as cheap energy, cheap land, cheap transportation, cheap fertilizer, etc. So, if Russia were a democracy, the WTO terms of accession for Russia – now 18 years in the negotiation – wouldn’t have a chance of acceptance.
We are not shy about saying that we want to see Vladimir Putin’s police state in Russia utterly destroyed. Nor do we disagree with the brilliant John Helmer’s analysis, quoted above, which concludes that admission to the WTO would be extremely harmful, if not a fatal toxin, to the Putin regime. But we still vehemently oppose Russian admission.
The Wheels come Off the Putin Regime
Four stunning recent events showed how the wheels are coming off the dictatorial regime of Vladimir Putin.
First, Putin was humiliated by being denied Germany’s annual Quadriga award after international pressure forced the Germans to publicly withdraw it.
Then, a new public opinion poll revealed that Putin is becoming just as unpopular at home as he is abroad.
Then it got much worse.
Ariel Cohen and Steven Blank, writing on the Heritage Foundation website, warn about the dangers of Russian imperialism and aggression and the craven policies of Barack Obama that are facilitating them:
For many years, Russian diplomats have openly proclaimed that the former Soviet republics that make up the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) are not truly sovereign states. Russian analysts have stated that Russia regards the Obama Administration’s “reset” policy as a U.S. admission that the CIS is within Russia’s sphere of influence. The reset policy has hitherto conspicuously failed to address important U.S. interests in Eurasia, including preventing the emergence of a hegemonic power in Eurasia, maintaining a level playing field in access to markets and natural resources, and developing democracy and free markets based on the rule of law. Since the “reset,” President Obama has downgraded his meetings with post-Soviet heads of state, signaling a lesser U.S. involvement and interest. Some senior U.S. officials have even told their subordinates not to bother them with the problems of the Caucasus.
Boot Russia out of the Council of Europe!
Russia has only less than one-sixth the population of Europe, yet it has nearly one-third of all pending cases for human rights violations before the European Court for Human Rights, which is organized and maintained by the Council of Europe — of which Russia is a member. Russia has nearly three times more cases pending before the EHCR than any other nation, and Russia loses nine out of ten cases when it is prosecuted by the EHCR.
The Kremlin’s response to its horrific human rights record — as adjudicated by one of the world’s most respected courts — has been quite simple: It is moving to oust the court’s jurisdiction from Russia. That’s fine, in fact it’s probably rather unfair to expect a nation of corrupt baboons to allow themselves to be controlled by something like the rule of law.
But as former Russian parliamentarian Vladimir Ryzhkov argues in the Moscow Times, it means that Russia must be ousted from the Council of Europe, and the sooner the better. We call upon the COE to heed Ryzhkov’s words and move forward immediately in standing up for its core values and casting Russia out.
And we state what is obvious: If Russia had the slightest shred of national dignity or honor, it would simply resign.
Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:
Relations between Cold War-era foes Moscow and Washington have long been distrustful, hypocritical, peppered with mutual insinuations and patched together with the most tenuous of threads. But now, on the eve of State Duma and presidential elections, an inevitable crisis in relations is nearing that threatens to tear them apart at the seams.
Last week, a group of 15 U.S. senators formally introduced a bill targeting Russians for human rights violations and corruption, including 60 officials connected to the jail death of Hermitage lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. The bill would ban them from entering the United States and freeze any U.S.-based assets.
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, a former senior policy adviser for the government of Canada, writing in the Kiev Post:
Despite losing the cold war some 20 years ago, Russia is determined to regain superpower status without concessions to a new world order. The policy issue for Canada and others is this: how far to tolerate Russia’s aggression in the name of good relations? And: will it change, if criminal behavior is accommodated?
Russia’s lawlessness is evident. It invades sovereign territory, issues passports to citizens of other states and fails to honor agreements to withdraw troops. It ranks in the top 10 percent of the world’s most corrupt states; the only G-20 country with such a distinction. There’s mischief-making in Transdnistria, cyber attack on Estonia, interference in Kyrgyz Republic’s internal affairs. Relations with neighbors are consistently confrontational. It even uses orthodoxy to spread 19-century pan-Russianism worldwide.
Resurgent McCain blasts Neo-Soviet Russia
Can we have a word, Mr. Putin?
Last week Senator and presidential candidate John McCain gave us Russophobes an amazing early Christmas present, delivering a blistering attack on neo-Soviet Russia at one of the world’s most prestigious institutes of foreign policy, Johns Hopkins University. The speech was immediately touted by conservative pundits as a declaration of war by the newly empowered Republican Party upon the craven appeasement policies of the Obama adminstration.
McCain pulled no punches. He called for massive new shipments of arms to Georgia, condeming Russia for continuing “to occupy 20 percent of Georgia’s sovereign territory” and “building military bases there” and ”permitting the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in South Ossetia, and denying access to humanitarian missions – all in violation of Russia’s obligations under the ceasefire agreement negotiated by President Sarkozy.” He openly mocked the Kremlin, stating: “The World Bank considers Georgia the 12th best place in the world to do business; Russia is 123rd. Russia’s decline is a human tragedy, but it is also a geopolitical reality. Put simply, Russia is becoming less and less capable of being a global, great power partner with the United States.”
And that was just for starters.
Walmart to Russia — Drop Dead!
We congratulate the executives at Walmart Inc. on their wisdom in deciding to reject the Russian market. We encourage the very small number of other Western companies who are considering investment in Russia, or who are already there, to do likewise. Western firms that do business in Russia are supporting the rise of a neo-Soviet state and therefore they are both undermining democracy in Russia, destroying the future of Russia’s children, and helping to create a dire new threat to the security of the West. History will judge them harshly, and conscientious Western citizens should boycott any firm they know to be doing business in Russia in order to send a clear message that such support is intolerable.
That’s to say nothing, of course, of the appalling risks of doing business in the KGB state run by proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin.
Posted in cold war II, corruption, economics, editorial, russia
Tagged ikea, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, russia, Sergei Magnitsky, vladimir putin, walmart, William Browder
Putin the Rat Bastard
Vladimir Putin appeared on American TV last week, specifically on CNN’s Larry King show, and openly threatened the people of the United States. If they dare to try to protect the people of Europe with defensive missile technology, Putin said, then Russia “will be simply obliged to protect its own safety by different means.”
Jackson Diehl, blogging at the Washington Post:
International criminals with ties to the Russian government are accustomed to enjoying impunity. A couple even sit in the parliament despite being charged by foreign police with murder. So it’s not surprising thatthe extradition from Thailand to the United States Tuesday of Viktor Bout, a notorious arms trafficker known as the “merchant of death,” has prompted loud cries of outrage from Moscow.
“Extreme unjustice,” fumed Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Said the Foreign Ministry: “There is no doubt that the illegal extradition of V.A. Bout came as a consequence of unprecedented political pressure” from the United States.
You’d think that the Obama administration had kidnapped a national hero. So it’s worth recalling just who Moscow is defending. Bout, a 43-year-old former Russian army translator, has for two decades supplied weapons or cash to rogue regimes and terrorist movements around the world — including the Taliban and al-Qaeda. He has fueled massive bloodshed in Africa, flying weapons into places like the Congo, Liberia, Sudan and Sierra Leone.
The Collapse of Russian Foreign Policy
Russian relations with Georgia sank to a new low last week as a clan of Russian spies were discovered by security forces in Tbilisi. Japan was outraged by Russian refusal to return Japanese islands seized in World War II, and threatened economic reprisals. Iran lashed out at Russia because of the Kremlin’s breach of its written promise to sell missiles to the Islamic dictatorship, and threatened a lawsuit. And, as we reported in our last issue, the worst news of all came when American voters handed brutal, bitter defeat to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, ousting them from control of the House of Representatives in a landslide repudiation of Obama’s policies, which of course have included capitulation to Russian dictatorship and aggression.
The foreign policy of Vladimir Putin, in other words, lies in smoldering ruins. In more than a decade of dictatorial rule, Putin has failed to forge any alliances with with any significant countries, and meanwhile has alienated, offended and repulsed powerful states all across the globe. Even when he has got lucky, as with the election of the patsy idiot Obama, his luck has not held.
Russian Humiliation on American TV
Even we who have nothing but scorn and contempt for the manner in which most Russians have behaved over the past decade, choosing to be ruled by a proud KGB spy and watching him roll back their wretched state to Soviet-era darkness, were somewhat appalled by the humiliation Russia received at the hands of the American TV show “The Amazing Race” in its recent episode which took place in Russia.
In a startlingly accurate set of images from the environs of St. Petersburg, Russia was exposed as a backwards nation reeking of cow manure and languishing in the darkness of the past. Loud and obnoxious, crude and vulgar, dirty and bedraggled, that was the image of Russia that millions of Americans saw depicted on the show. Americans roared with laughter as the contestants were forced to dress up like “babushkas” with kerchiefs and ill-fitting dresses to shovel cow poop and “dig potatoes” as the Russians say.
For all viewers could see, Russia was little different from the prior stop on the contestant’s list, namely the impoverished African nation of Ghana. Surveys clearly show, of course, that Russia keeps company with such states when it comes to topics like official corruption and democracy.
Janusz Onyszkiewicz, a former Polish defense minister and chairman of the Council of Euro-Atlantic Association, writing in the Moscow Times:
Remember the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, aimed at enshrining “commonly shared values” between Russia and the European Community? Signed in 1994, during the hopeful early days of Russia’s first-ever democracy, the agreement was bolstered in 1999 by the creation of the European Union’s Common Security Defense Policy.
Both sides often refer to this desire to forge closer relations as a “strategic partnership.” But as French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet President Dmitry Medvedev in Deauville, France, on Tuesday, it would be wise to recognize that the Kremlin seems to be changing the terms of this nascent relationship.
Pain and Humiliation for Russia in Latvia
Last week, the voters of Latvia spit directly in the eye of the Putin Kremlin.
Despite polls and vociferous claims of Russian nationalists, the pro-Russia party known as “Harmony Center” was soundly defeated by anti-Russian forces in national parliamentary elections. The pro-Russian contingent garnered just 29% of the seats in the legislature and its rivals quickly and easily formed a coalition that thrust it out of power.
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.
Posted in appeasement, cold war II, editorial, obama, russia
Tagged boris nemtsov, Garry Kasparov, Neville Chamberlain, russia, Union of Right Forces, vladimir putin, yabloko
William Burns, Craven Braying Jackass
William Burns, braying jackass
When we read a statement from Oleg Orlov last week indicating after a meeting with top American diplomat William Burns that the undersecretary intended to offer “public criticism” of the Putin regime’s abysmal human rights record, we were heartened. Maybe at last, we hoped, the craven Obama regime has got the message that it can’t simply ignore the appalling neo-Soviet crackdown underway in Putin’s Russia.
But then we read how Burns chose to respond to the fact that Lev Ponomarev had been absent from the meeting because he’d ben arrested for daring to assemble in public to discuss Putin’s atrocities without first getting Putin’s written permission. To say we were disappointed is putting it mildly.
Burns stated: “I should note that it is regrettable that Lev Ponomarev, who was supposed to be at the meeting, was not able to attend. The freedom of assembly is very important to the United States and very important for any democratic society.”
That’s pretty lame all by itself, but then it got much worse. Burns went on to meet with Kremlin officals and all that could be reported afterwards was: ”The arrest was also discussed at the U.S. officials’ meetings with their Russian counterparts.”
Vladislav Inozemtsev, a professor of economics, director of the Moscow-based Center for Post-Industrial Studies and editor-in-chief of Svobodnaya Mysl. writing in the Moscow Times:
Amid all of the talk of modernization, the Russian economy is gradually changing, but it is doing so despite government modernization policies and programs, not because of them.
In recent years, PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Mitsubishi Motors and Volkswagen have opened factories in the Kaluga region, Siemens opened a transformer plant near Voronezh, and Western investors have launched a range of businesses manufacturing construction materials and food products.
In a stunning act of political courage Irina Busygina, a professor of political science and director of the Center for Regional Political Studies at Moscow State University for International Relations, joined with Mikhail Filippov, a professor of political science at Binghamton University in New York, to offer the following devastating condemnation of the foreign policy of Vladimir Putin in the Moscow Times:
Over the past decade, Russia has made repeated attempts to demonstrate its growing power to the world. There are two main objectives behind these attempts: to obtain international recognition as a superpower and to coerce other states into partnership. Both goals are based on the political elite’s belief that Russia should be included on that list a priori by virtue of its huge territory, nuclear arsenal and economic potential.
In this respect, Russia’s policy toward the West places a strong emphasis on its sovereignty and on the assertion that it deserves equal standing with the other great powers.
But Moscow’s strategy toward other former Soviet republics is another matter entirely. Here, Russia is essentially attempting to coerce its neighbors into partnerships. Moscow takes this approach because it wants to have pro-Russian coalitions in its backyard. In practice, Russian foreign policy in its near abroad looks like a series of random fits and starts. Initiatives to create multilateral alliances, such as the Collective Security Treaty Organization and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, have been unsuccessful. Russia’s attempts at strong-arm diplomacy and the use of its natural resources as a bargaining chip have also failed.
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.
Posted in cold war II, neo-soviet failure, russia
Tagged Aleksandr Golts, Collective Security Treaty Organisation, CSTO, Kyrgyzstan, russia, Soviet Union, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Yerevan
The Independent reports:
An alleged arms dealer nicknamed “The Merchant of Death”, who has been pursued by global law enforcement organisations for years, is to be extradited to the US to stand trial.
The news comes amid allegations that the authorities in Thailand succumbed to persistent pressure from Washington.
A court in Bangkok ruled that the Viktor Bout, a Russian who prosecutors say sold guns to dictators and militants in war zones across Africa, South America and the Middle East, should be sent to the US to face charges that he tried to sell arms to outlawed Colombian rebels.
Wearing leg irons and an orange prison jumpsuit, the 43-year-old Russian, whose exploits have inspired Hollywood movies, vowed to prove his innocence.
Ariel Cohen of the Heritage Foundation, writing in the Washington Times:
Last week, Col. Gen. Alexander Zelin, commander of the Russian air force, announced that Moscow had deployed a state-of-the-art S-300 (SA-20 Favorit variant) long-range air-defense system in Abkhazia, a region of the Republic of Georgia that Russia has occupied since the August 2008 war.
Since then, Russia has recognized breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent republics. According to Gen. Zelin, the task of the air-defense system is “to prevent violation of Abkhaz and South Ossetian airspace and to destroy any aircraft intruding into their airspace no matter what their purpose might be.” On Saturday, Gen. Zelin announced that the Russian air force had resumed flights from the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi.
However, there is much more than defense of Abkhazia to the Russian deployment.
Once again, Russia rapes Poland
Any poor souls benighted enough to believe the gibberish published a few weeks ago that Russian relations with Poland were actually improving despite the recent plane crash on Russian soil that killed a large number of high-ranking Polish government officials received a splash of cold water right in the face last week.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk moaned that with the investigation entering its final phase, cooperation with Russia is worse now than it was at the start. The Kremlin is frustrating Poland’s effort to get to the bottom of the crash at every turn.
Paul Goble reports:
The embargo on the export of grain Vladimir Putin has announced will hurt Russia’s image as a reliable supplier to the world, Moscow experts say. Moreover, they say, it will not necessarily keep bread prices down as Putin said but rather may allow Russian companies and officials to profit through the sale of grain later after prices rise. At the end of July, Russia’s agriculture ministry said that Moscow had no plans to impose an export embargo on grain despite indications of a serious decline in the size of the crop because of the drought and despite already dramatic increases in the price of bread and other products in some regions.
But then, last week, Putin called for and the Russian government imposed a temporary embargo on the export of grain for the period August 15 through December 31 in order to ensure that there would be enough grain for the domestic market to prevent any further increases in bread prices.