Daily Archives: October 7, 2006

Now, the Kremlin Goes After Georgian Children

Reader Jeremy Putley points out that the Associated Press has reported that barbaric, maniacal Russia is now trying to move against Georgian children in response to Georgia’s desire to be free from Russian-sponsored coup attempts. What’s next? Grandmothers? Puppies? How long before the gulags start appearing? How much more evidence does the world need of Russia’s intentions before it will act to prevent this unfolding nightmare from reaching true Neo-Soviet proportions? Does Russia have any scruples at all? Only time will tell. Whoever remains silent in the face of this outrage is complicit.

Moscow Police Seek Georgian Kids’ Names

By MARIA DANILOVA

The Associated Press
Friday, October 6, 2006; 8:19 AM

MOSCOW — Moscow police have asked schools to provide lists of children with Georgian surnames, education officials said Monday. Police denied making the request, which brought a new and chilling reminder of growing xenophobia amid Russia’s escalating campaign against neighboring Georgia.

Russia also deported 132 Georgian citizens on a plane from Moscow after detaining them as illegal migrants, Emergency Situations Ministry spokesman Viktor Beltsov said. His ministry, which is flying Russians out of Georgia, was charged with organizing the deportation flight.

The two countries have been locked in a bitter dispute since the arrest last week of four Russian officers on charges of spying. Despite their release, Moscow has imposed a range of punitive sanctions on its small southern neighbor as well as launching a crackdown on Georgian migrants and businesses in Russia.

Alexander Gavrilov, a spokesman for the Moscow City hall’s education department, told The Associated Press that some of the capital’s schools had received the request for children with Georgian names. He criticized the police action, saying that all children, irrespective of nationality or religion, had an equal right to education.

“If the law enforcement bodies carry out work searching for illegal migrants, it’s their business and there is no way schools must be involved in this process,” the official said.

Nina Zubareva, an official from school No. 1289 in northern Moscow, told the AP that on Thursday, the local police station telephoned and demanded a list of pupils with Georgian surnames.

“There are very few pupils with Georgian surnames in our school and we have honored the police request. I must say that our pupils are Russian citizens and have Moscow registration. Their families have been living in Moscow for years,” she said.

Moscow police denied it had told schools to list their pupils of Georgian origin.

“We did not issue any such instructions, nor do we plan to,” police spokesman Valery Gribakin told Ekho Mosvky radio, despite the educators’ accounts.

Russia suspended air, sea, road, rail and postal links with its southern neighbor on Tuesday. On Thursday, Moscow said it would abolish quotas allowing a certain number of Georgians each year to obtain residency and work permits. Several Georgian-run casinos and restaurants in Moscow have been raided and closed for alleged regulatory violations.

According to some estimates, around 1 million Georgians — more than a fifth of Georgia’s population– work in Russia, and their families rely on the hundreds of millions of dollars in annual remittances sent home. Russian authorities say that more than half of Georgians in Russia are working illegally.

Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Yakovenko said Georgia had to end its “anti-Russian” behavior if it wanted the dispute to calm down.

“Russia does not want to be provoked, Russia wants to be respected. Russia wants the anti-Russian campaign to stop,” he said.

Bilateral relations have grown progressively worse since pro-Western President Mikhail Saakashvili came to power in Georgia after the 2003 Rose Revolution and vowed to move his country out of Russia’s sphere of influence and join NATO and the European Union.

As if attacks on children were not enough, now comes ethnic cleansing

Cyrill Vatomsky, currently in Russia and watching the Georgia assault spiral out of controlat Ground Zero, documents the early stages of ethnic cleansing of Georgians by Russian Slavs, who appear to have been waiting for any excuse, such as the Kremlin’s hard line rhetoric on Georgia. The Kremlin is complicit in ALL harm that results to dark-skinned people in Russia. So much for the so-called “leadership” of proud KGB spy Vladmir Putin.

The nationalistic frenzy in Russia in the wake of ever deepening rift between Russia and Georgia is taking an ugly turn into the past. Or, maybe it is a window of what lies ahead for Russia and people that live there. The conflict has moved from squabbling diplomats and Russian Duma (parliament) members sarcastically imitating Georgian accent in personal attacks on Mikhail Saakashvili. Several recent events are moving the conflict into an area dangerously bordering on ethnic cleansing. No, no Serbian style massacres have been reported yet. But the conflict moves fast and deep into the fabric of Russian society.

On Thursday, the Deputy Head of Russian Federal Migration Service Mikhail Turkin stated that Russia does not need migrant workers from Georgia and will not issue quotas to Georgian citizens. It is totally unclear what makes Mr Turkin believe that Armenians are so much more different and so much more desirable as workers in Russia.

Fontanka.ru reports about internal police memos in St. Petersburg directing all police departments to carry out “a Georgian hassle.” All police departments and services are encouraged to concentrate on maximum efficientcy of finding and deporting illegal immigrants specifically from Georgia. Apparently, Moscow is working very hard on compiling statistical data specifically about numbers of Georgians involved in illicit activities in Russia.

On Thursday a well known Georgian cuisine restaurant in Moscow was inspected and searched. Two large and very fancy Moscow casinos were closed by the authorities for tax violations. Care to guess ethnicity of business owners? Kommersant reports a large scale hassle of businesses owned by ethnic Georgians.

Kommersant Daily and Radio Echo Moskvy today both reported that several schools in Moscow received memos from local police authorities to disclose lists of students with Georgian last names. Public school education is available to all children regardless of their legal status, but offer an easy mechanism for authorities to “track” or “reveal” illegal immigrants. According to the Kommersant article all regional police departments received directives to compile lists of all illegal migrants from Georgia and the easiest by far way is to use school children information.

Naturally, very appropriate parallels with ethnic cleansing, Nazism and antisemitic past of Russia been drawn by the Daily and by Echo Moskvy, the only two reasonable media outlets left in the country.

Echo Moskvy also reports that a very famous Russian author Boris Akunin (real name Georgi Chkhartishvili – an ethnic Georgian) has been under scrutiny from tax authorities. “I never have thought that I would live to see ethnic clensing in this country” the author is quoted saying.

Coincidently, tax authorities suddenly revealed tax violations by Russian Academy of Fine Arts. The head of the Academy is Zurab Tsereteli – an ethnic Georgian.

Transportation between Russia and Georgia is still cut off except planes chartered or owned by Ministry of Emergencies. Two of such planes have arrived in Tbilisi to deliver some 140 deportees and pick up Russian citizens that wish to leave Georgia.

The situation is very dangerous, and it is difficult to see where actual directives from the one and only central authority end and where brown nosing activism of local authorities begins. Russia has an old saying perfectly ilustrating the developing situation just like it demonstrated Khruschev’s forays into corn production or Gorbachev’s fights with drinking – teach a fool, to pray and he will have a concussion.

In any case, what started as a vulgar political squabble is aquiring “popular grassroots” and those grassroots in Russia very often lead to ethnic intolerance.

West Misses the Forest for the Trees

The Wall Street Journal explains how the West is missing the forest for the trees where Russia is concerned:

Just two years ago, it looked like Russia was losing its grip over what had been part of its empire for centuries. U.S. troops were based across energy-rich Central Asia, where Moscow was struggling to rebuild its influence. Pro-Western governments had swept to power in Georgia and Ukraine, emboldening the White House to talk about a wave of democratic change sweeping the region. Russian officials blamed the U.S. for orchestrating the revolutions and worried openly that Washington had similar plans to install a friendlier government in Moscow. Since then, the most important of the uprisings, Ukraine’s Orange revolution, has seen its leaders become mired in infighting, opening the way for the appointment of an openly pro-Russian prime minister in August. Last month, he said Ukraine was putting its NATO membership bid on hold. Central Asian governments that had sought to play the West off against Moscow have largely shifted into the Russian camp, ousting U.S. military bases and tightening security and other ties to Moscow. This year, Russia secured long-term contracts to purchase Central Asian gas, tightening its control over the supply to Europe. The turning point in Central Asia came in May 2005, when Uzbekistan’s government killed hundreds of protesters in Andijan. Criticized by the U.S., the Uzbek government turned to Moscow, which concurred that it had faced a terrorist threat. Uzbekistan then kicked U.S. troops out of a military base established to support the war in Afghanistan. This summer, it joined the Russian-led Collective Security Treaty Organization. Next door, Kyrgyzstan — where the so-called Tulip Revolution toppled the government last year — yesterday wound up joint military antiterrorist exercises with Russia. The U.S. still runs a military base in Kyrgyzstan, but the rent it pays increased sharply this year.

In other words, by confronting Uzbekistan rather than seeking respetful negotiation, the U.S. pushed the Uzbeks right into the arms of the Russians, where they will be free to abuse their population as much as they like. So the U.S. achieved nothing positive, while allowing Russia to enhance its malignant sphere of influence. This is the height of hypocrisy, since the U.S. so far has refused to directly confront Russia itself over its grievous litany of human rights abuses — to say nothing of its direct frontal assault on U.S. national security in Iran, Iraq, Venezuela and Syria.

Russian imperialism in the region clearly knows no bounds. As the Journal reports, it is pulling out all the stops in seeking to crush one area of hot resistance, Georgia, after the nation discovered a Russian-sponsored coup plot and arrested the conspirators:

Within hours Moscow was tightening the screws. It announced it was cutting off all flights, trains, shipping, roads and postal links to Georgia, which has a population of about 4.7 million. Since then, it has closed down Georgian-owned businesses, including a popular Moscow casino, and imposed restrictions on visas for Georgians. Parliament this week will consider a bill preventing Georgians making bank transfers to relatives back home. That could prove a powerful blow, because hundreds of thousands of Georgians rely on the transfers. Russian officials have given no indication when they might ease the restrictions, insisting Georgia take a more deferential line. “Russia does not want to be provoked. Russia wants to be respected,” deputy foreign minister Alexander Yakovenko said yesterday. “Russia wants the anti-Russian campaign to stop.” But the pressure could escalate much further. At a meeting with Russian parliamentary leaders in the Kremlin Wednesday, Mr. Putin discussed the possibility of Russia recognizing the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, two areas of Georgia controlled by Russian-backed separatists since the early 1990s.

That Russia would even consider recognizing breakaway regions of Georgia when it is faced with is own breakawy crisis in Chechnya shows how detached from reality, and how dangerous, the Kremlin has become.

Russia is in no position militarily or economically to resist a concerted Western effort to drive back its imperialist designs in the former Soviet slave states, but if Western resolve is found lacking, just as it was in dealing with Hitler and Stalin, then even diminished Russia can consolidate its gains and become still more troublesome in the future.

More Evidence of Pandemic Russian Corruption

The Moscow News reports that a major worldwide study by the European Union finds that Russia is the world’s second leading source of counterfeit goods:

On Thursday, Oct. 5, the European Commission has published the results of a survey of EU businesses on their experience with intellectual property rights enforcement outside the EU in 2005. China was named the world’s largest producer of counterfeit goods, while Russia came a close second. Other countries identified for their problems with illegal product production were Ukraine, Chile and Turkey. The European Commission’s report claims that all of these countries have signed the necessary agreements for protection of intellectual rights with the European Union, but says that they have to make more efforts to counteract this kind of violations, which are identified as “high levels of production, transit and/or consumption of counterfeit goods”.It has been said numerous times that problems with protection of copyright serve as one of the main stumbling blocks on the road of Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

Once again, clear proof of how utterly bogus the claims of Professor Malawer about the “normalcy” or Russian corruption really were.

Bakhmina in Wiki

Reader Jeremy Putley has authored an excellent Wikipedia entry on Svetlana Bakhmina, the persecuted lawyer of dissident oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Check it out, and consider adding any additional material on Bakhmina you may have, as well as consider creating new entries about other figures victimized by the Kremlin; Wiki offers an excellent opportunity to record these Kremlin outrages for posterity.