Tag Archives: vladimir ryzhkov

EDITORIAL: Russia, for Sale

EDITORIAL

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.

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EDITORIAL: Craven Russia Soils Democracy Once Again

EDITORIAL

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. “

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Pandemic Vote Fraud in Putin’s Russia

Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

There is something sinister in the way ballot boxes were purportedly stuffed during the March 13 Tambov regional elections to boost United Russia’s results. It was pulled off under the cover of a blood drive.

Last Thursday, Nikolai Vorobyov, a lawyer and Tambov regional head of the Party of People’s Freedom, released a 20-page report detailing election fraud. It contained hundreds of testimonies, photos, videos and statements made by witnesses. As a drop of water reflects the composition of the larger sea, a glimpse into the Tambov elections reflects the entire complex machinery of lies and fraud that United Russia apparently uses over and over again across the country to create the illusion of popular support for the party.

According to Vorobyov’s report, this is how the election fraud was carried out:

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Goodbye Jackson-Vanik, Hello Jackson-Vanik II

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.

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In Russia, even History is Corrupt

Brian Whitmore, writing on The Power Vertical:

A Russian leader gives a four-hour speech filled with empty platitudes about imaginary accomplishments, promises of a bright future, and dire warnings about dangerous foreign influences. The speech was interrupted 53 times by applause.

Sound familiar?

Several months back, I blogged about the striking similarities between Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Each replaced a reformist predecessor who was ultimately seen as bumbling, erratic, and ineffective — Nikita Krushchev in Brezhnev’s case, Boris Yeltsin in Putin’s. Both ushered in an era of stability and relative prosperity thanks to high oil prices. And both perceived a “golden age” that lasted roughly a decade.

But by the late 1970s, the luster began to wear off Brezhnev’s rule as the Soviet economy stagnated, life expectancy plummeted, and social problems like rampant alcoholism, worker absenteeism, and widespread cynicism became endemic.

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When Putin “Wins” by Cheating, Russians Lose

Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

The Tambov region provides an excellent illustration of the connection between United Russia’s political monopoly, rampant corruption and the low standard of living in Russia.

On July 13, President Dmitry Medvedev appointed Tambov Governor Oleg Betin to a fourth term. Betin has been governor several times since 1995. He is a member of United Russia, although in the 1990s he was a member of the Communist Party. Medvedev particularly values Betin for his role in the 2008 presidential election, when the president received more than 72 percent of the Tambov vote.

The results of the recent March 13 elections demonstrate that the Tambov region has not lost its touch in “organizing” elections, with United Russia reporting 65 percent of the vote there — one of its highest results in the March vote.

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EDITORIAL: Stunning Failure for Putin at the Polls

EDITORIAL

Stunning Failure for Putin at the Polls

In a jolting humiliation for Vladimir Putin’s “party of power” United Russia, despite relentless vote rigging the party could not muster a national majority in the last week’s regional elections.  As reported by the Moscow Times, the election results are “a serious warning for the party, reflecting an increasing mood to protest in the regions,” said Alexei Makarkin, a political analyst with the Center for Political Technologies.

Even though Putin has purged every significant true opposition party from the ballot, his own party was in effect repudiated by the voters.  And, as Nikolai Petrov reports:  “Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who is also the head of United Russia, took a more active role in Sunday’s elections he’s played in any since his own presidential election of 2000.”  So the result was very clearly a personal repudiation of Putin — to the extent the cowardly, lemming-like denizens of Russia are able to achieve such a thing.

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