Why now, Mr. Medvedev, why now?
Last week any intelligent Russian citizen had just one question in response to a pair of orders emanating from their so-called “president”: Why now, Mr. Medvedev, why now?
First, in response to the crash of an airliner that killed an entire Russian professional ice hockey team, Medvedev ordered the airline shut down. But intelligent Russians were asking: Why didn’t you shut them down before the crash, Mr. Medvedev? Why did you wait so long?
Then, in response to growing civil unrest, Medvedev authorized the Russian Gestapo to utilize water cannons, tasers and tear gas on peaceful opposition protesters who fail to disperse upon the illegal order of the authorities. Intelligent Russian citizens were asking: Why now, Mr. Medvedev?
Sacrilege at Seliger
Vladmir Putin is no stranger to hypocrisy. For example, though calling the USA a “parasite” whose economy is not based on productivity and which therefore is unreliable and harmful, under Putin Russian investment in the US economy has increased by a stunning one thousand six hundred percent.
Putin deals with hypocrisy of this kind they way Soviet rulers like him always have: He lies to his people, seeking to cultivate a nation of thoughtless automatons who can do nothing but worship at his feet. It all begin with the youngest, at summer camp, the way it always did in the USSR.
In the photo above, two participants in the Kremlin’s Hitler-Jugend variant, Camp Seliger (one with a bra with eyes drawn on the outside of her t-shirt) walk past a billboard showing the faces of Dmitri Medvedev and Vladimir Putin weirdly fused into a single person, with the explanation “they are interchangeable.”
Elsewhere at the installation, campers walk by a row of photographs of Garry Kasparov, Mikhail Kasyanov, Boris Nemtsov, Eduard Limonov and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, under the banner: ”Losers of the Year.”
Craven Russia Soils Democracy Once Again
In light of what has occurred with former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov’s People’s Freedom Party, it is hard for us to see how any thinking person can now view the people of Russia with anything but naked contempt.
Shamelessly, the Putin Kremlin has refused to allow PFP to stand for elections, denying them the basic right of registration. As Kasyanov put it: ”Nothing that has been said or promised by Medvedev during these past three years has materialized. It has only gotten worse: that is more pressure on political opponents, even more falsification in regional elections.”
Meanwhile, despite telling the Financial Times that he thought political competition was essential to Russia’s future and that it was “very bad” that there were no liberal parties represented in the Duma, Medvedev himself said the he would not run against Vladimir Putin if Putin chose to seek the presidency for at third time.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal our favorite blogger, Vladimir Kara-Murza, told the world who Medvedev really is: ”Medvedev’s recent statements about freedom and political competition have led many Western observers to hope for a new wave of democratic reforms in Russia. The Justice Ministry’s denial of the Popular Freedom Party’s registration papers last week shows that these statements are a fraud.”
A group of leading Western Russia scholars was blunt: They called the Kremlin’s decision “clearly political” and held that it violated international law to which Russia was obligated. And they challenged the US to respond: ”The Obama administration is on record that democracy and human rights are important to U.S.-Russia relations. If so, the administration, and the U.S. Congress, should respond vigorously with measures designed to support democratic rights and freedoms. “
In a truly thrilling op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Milov, Russia’s terrific trio, lay down withering crossfire against the advancing legions of the Putin dictatorship:
This year started quite symbolically in Russia. In the last days of 2010, government authorities decided to demonstrate their power and their intolerance for being challenged: The verdict issued at the farcical trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev had no relation to jurisprudence; leading opposition figures were detained for as many as 15 days on purely political grounds.
These heavy-handed actions set a peculiar stage for President Dmitry Medvedev’s address at the World Economic Forum. Nevertheless, the intelligent and well-informed audience in Davos enthusiastically applauded his nice words about Russia’s economic modernization and dynamic democratic development. International business leaders seem to accept his complaints that few Russians understand his great plans for the country’s future, which greedy oligarchs and corrupt officials from the 1990s prevent him from undertaking.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, writing on World Affairs Journal:
This week Russia marked the 80th anniversary of the birth of Boris Yeltsin, the country’s first democratically elected leader. The occasion was accorded official status. President Dmitri Medvedev, unveiling a ten-meter marble statue of his predecessor in Yekaterinburg, declared that “Russia should be grateful to President Yeltsin” and praised his “strength of character.” In Moscow, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised the audience at a stately remembrance evening in Bolshoi Theatre to “continue along Yeltsin’s path, to transform Russia into a strong and free country where human rights are fully protected.” Exhibitions dedicated to the former president opened in Moscow, Kazan, and Yekaterinburg. Tatarstan is hosting the 2011 Yeltsin Cup international junior tennis tournament. This year will see the unveiling of the Yeltsin Presidential Center and Library, built with a 3 billion ruble (US $102 million) grant from the federal budget.
The Four Russian Musketeers
From left: Ryzhkov, Kasyanov, Nemtsov and Milov declare war on Putin
Last week in Moscow four of the most formidable opponents of the Putin dictatorship openly joined forces in Moscow: They included a former prime minister (Mikhail Kasyanov), a former first deputy prime minister (Boris Nemtsov), a former leading opposition parliamentarian (Vladimir Ryzkhkov) and a former high-ranking executive official from the Kremlin (Vladimir Milov). They call their group “Russia Without Corruption and Lawlessness.” They were clear in their motivations: ”The prospect of having the great Putin till the year 2024 in our country is a disaster for Russia,” Nemtsov said.
The Kremlin is worried, and well it should be. This formidable quartet has every necessary qualification to unseat the Putin regime.