Daily Archives: March 10, 2007

Estonia Pokes Another Finger in Russia’s Eyeball

More clear proof of Russia’s utter diplomatic failure in the Baltics. A few days ago Estonia held parliamentary elections (it is noteworthy that for the first time anywhere in the world these elections included the use of Internet voting) and the big winner was the anti-Russian Reform party (this follows closely on the heels of Estonia electing a U.S.-educated, anti-Russian president. Itching for Estonia reports on the lies being told about Estonia in the Russian press in the wake of the election:

Pravda is viewing Reform’s victory as an “anti-Russian” victory. Which I guess means they support Keskerakond [another party vying for seats in the election].

Russians are still really worried about their monument in Tallinn, and Kommersant dispatched correspondents to learn about those involved in deciding its fate.

It’s kind of funny how they weave themselves into everything. I guess they need to make Estonia interesting for their readers. The American media similarly plays up Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ US-education. I wonder if the German media quotes Germans living in Estonia too. Perhaps the Swedish media managed to dig up some rannarootlased to ask them their opinions.

Speaking of Russian media, I found a number of facts stated in this Itar-Tass story to be false or outdated. A lot of information circulating about Estonia is often incorrect or old, so it’s not just Tass’ problem. But for the benefit of mankind, I’ve decided to straighten a few things out.

TASS: Estonia has a population of slightly more than 1.4 million.

REALITY: According to preliminary data from the Estonian Statistical Office, as of Jan. 1, 2007, there were 1,342,000 people living in Estonia.

TASS: 20% of residents are denied voting rights as non-citizens.

REALITY: According to the Estonian Ministry of Population Affairs, as of Dec. 31, 2006, 125,799 residents of Estonia still lacked citizenship. My trusty calculator tells me that 125,799 divided by 1,342,000 equals .0937, or that non-citizens make up 9.37 percent of the population in Estonia. Currently, some 7.4 percent of Estonian residents are citizens of the Russian Federation. They get to vote in Russian elections AND in Estonian municipal elections. Still, 9.37 + 7.4 = 16.77. Either way, Tass’ assessment is false.

TASS: The majority of non-citizens are ethnic Russians.

REALITY: While I have no numbers on this one, I take it as fact. Good job, Tass.

TASS: Therefore, two-thirds of 300,000 Estonian Russians are barred from elections.

REALITY: The latest figures on ethnicity show 345,000 ethnic Russians in Estonia as of Jan. 1, 2006, or 25.66 of the total population. Still, 16.77 divided by 25.66 is 65.33, which is – just barely – not exactly two-thirds, but, hey, who are we to punish Tass on this one. I mean it’s almost true, which is better than most of the stuff they publish.

The big fact left out is that we are only talking about parliamentary elections here. All of these residents – be they stateless or Russian Federation citizens – can vote in municipal elections.

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Estonia Pokes Another Finger in Russia’s Eyeball

More clear proof of Russia’s utter diplomatic failure in the Baltics. A few days ago Estonia held parliamentary elections (it is noteworthy that for the first time anywhere in the world these elections included the use of Internet voting) and the big winner was the anti-Russian Reform party (this follows closely on the heels of Estonia electing a U.S.-educated, anti-Russian president. Itching for Estonia reports on the lies being told about Estonia in the Russian press in the wake of the election:

Pravda is viewing Reform’s victory as an “anti-Russian” victory. Which I guess means they support Keskerakond [another party vying for seats in the election].

Russians are still really worried about their monument in Tallinn, and Kommersant dispatched correspondents to learn about those involved in deciding its fate.

It’s kind of funny how they weave themselves into everything. I guess they need to make Estonia interesting for their readers. The American media similarly plays up Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ US-education. I wonder if the German media quotes Germans living in Estonia too. Perhaps the Swedish media managed to dig up some rannarootlased to ask them their opinions.

Speaking of Russian media, I found a number of facts stated in this Itar-Tass story to be false or outdated. A lot of information circulating about Estonia is often incorrect or old, so it’s not just Tass’ problem. But for the benefit of mankind, I’ve decided to straighten a few things out.

TASS: Estonia has a population of slightly more than 1.4 million.

REALITY: According to preliminary data from the Estonian Statistical Office, as of Jan. 1, 2007, there were 1,342,000 people living in Estonia.

TASS: 20% of residents are denied voting rights as non-citizens.

REALITY: According to the Estonian Ministry of Population Affairs, as of Dec. 31, 2006, 125,799 residents of Estonia still lacked citizenship. My trusty calculator tells me that 125,799 divided by 1,342,000 equals .0937, or that non-citizens make up 9.37 percent of the population in Estonia. Currently, some 7.4 percent of Estonian residents are citizens of the Russian Federation. They get to vote in Russian elections AND in Estonian municipal elections. Still, 9.37 + 7.4 = 16.77. Either way, Tass’ assessment is false.

TASS: The majority of non-citizens are ethnic Russians.

REALITY: While I have no numbers on this one, I take it as fact. Good job, Tass.

TASS: Therefore, two-thirds of 300,000 Estonian Russians are barred from elections.

REALITY: The latest figures on ethnicity show 345,000 ethnic Russians in Estonia as of Jan. 1, 2006, or 25.66 of the total population. Still, 16.77 divided by 25.66 is 65.33, which is – just barely – not exactly two-thirds, but, hey, who are we to punish Tass on this one. I mean it’s almost true, which is better than most of the stuff they publish.

The big fact left out is that we are only talking about parliamentary elections here. All of these residents – be they stateless or Russian Federation citizens – can vote in municipal elections.

Estonia Pokes Another Finger in Russia’s Eyeball

More clear proof of Russia’s utter diplomatic failure in the Baltics. A few days ago Estonia held parliamentary elections (it is noteworthy that for the first time anywhere in the world these elections included the use of Internet voting) and the big winner was the anti-Russian Reform party (this follows closely on the heels of Estonia electing a U.S.-educated, anti-Russian president. Itching for Estonia reports on the lies being told about Estonia in the Russian press in the wake of the election:

Pravda is viewing Reform’s victory as an “anti-Russian” victory. Which I guess means they support Keskerakond [another party vying for seats in the election].

Russians are still really worried about their monument in Tallinn, and Kommersant dispatched correspondents to learn about those involved in deciding its fate.

It’s kind of funny how they weave themselves into everything. I guess they need to make Estonia interesting for their readers. The American media similarly plays up Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ US-education. I wonder if the German media quotes Germans living in Estonia too. Perhaps the Swedish media managed to dig up some rannarootlased to ask them their opinions.

Speaking of Russian media, I found a number of facts stated in this Itar-Tass story to be false or outdated. A lot of information circulating about Estonia is often incorrect or old, so it’s not just Tass’ problem. But for the benefit of mankind, I’ve decided to straighten a few things out.

TASS: Estonia has a population of slightly more than 1.4 million.

REALITY: According to preliminary data from the Estonian Statistical Office, as of Jan. 1, 2007, there were 1,342,000 people living in Estonia.

TASS: 20% of residents are denied voting rights as non-citizens.

REALITY: According to the Estonian Ministry of Population Affairs, as of Dec. 31, 2006, 125,799 residents of Estonia still lacked citizenship. My trusty calculator tells me that 125,799 divided by 1,342,000 equals .0937, or that non-citizens make up 9.37 percent of the population in Estonia. Currently, some 7.4 percent of Estonian residents are citizens of the Russian Federation. They get to vote in Russian elections AND in Estonian municipal elections. Still, 9.37 + 7.4 = 16.77. Either way, Tass’ assessment is false.

TASS: The majority of non-citizens are ethnic Russians.

REALITY: While I have no numbers on this one, I take it as fact. Good job, Tass.

TASS: Therefore, two-thirds of 300,000 Estonian Russians are barred from elections.

REALITY: The latest figures on ethnicity show 345,000 ethnic Russians in Estonia as of Jan. 1, 2006, or 25.66 of the total population. Still, 16.77 divided by 25.66 is 65.33, which is – just barely – not exactly two-thirds, but, hey, who are we to punish Tass on this one. I mean it’s almost true, which is better than most of the stuff they publish.

The big fact left out is that we are only talking about parliamentary elections here. All of these residents – be they stateless or Russian Federation citizens – can vote in municipal elections.

Estonia Pokes Another Finger in Russia’s Eyeball

More clear proof of Russia’s utter diplomatic failure in the Baltics. A few days ago Estonia held parliamentary elections (it is noteworthy that for the first time anywhere in the world these elections included the use of Internet voting) and the big winner was the anti-Russian Reform party (this follows closely on the heels of Estonia electing a U.S.-educated, anti-Russian president. Itching for Estonia reports on the lies being told about Estonia in the Russian press in the wake of the election:

Pravda is viewing Reform’s victory as an “anti-Russian” victory. Which I guess means they support Keskerakond [another party vying for seats in the election].

Russians are still really worried about their monument in Tallinn, and Kommersant dispatched correspondents to learn about those involved in deciding its fate.

It’s kind of funny how they weave themselves into everything. I guess they need to make Estonia interesting for their readers. The American media similarly plays up Toomas Hendrik Ilves’ US-education. I wonder if the German media quotes Germans living in Estonia too. Perhaps the Swedish media managed to dig up some rannarootlased to ask them their opinions.

Speaking of Russian media, I found a number of facts stated in this Itar-Tass story to be false or outdated. A lot of information circulating about Estonia is often incorrect or old, so it’s not just Tass’ problem. But for the benefit of mankind, I’ve decided to straighten a few things out.

TASS: Estonia has a population of slightly more than 1.4 million.

REALITY: According to preliminary data from the Estonian Statistical Office, as of Jan. 1, 2007, there were 1,342,000 people living in Estonia.

TASS: 20% of residents are denied voting rights as non-citizens.

REALITY: According to the Estonian Ministry of Population Affairs, as of Dec. 31, 2006, 125,799 residents of Estonia still lacked citizenship. My trusty calculator tells me that 125,799 divided by 1,342,000 equals .0937, or that non-citizens make up 9.37 percent of the population in Estonia. Currently, some 7.4 percent of Estonian residents are citizens of the Russian Federation. They get to vote in Russian elections AND in Estonian municipal elections. Still, 9.37 + 7.4 = 16.77. Either way, Tass’ assessment is false.

TASS: The majority of non-citizens are ethnic Russians.

REALITY: While I have no numbers on this one, I take it as fact. Good job, Tass.

TASS: Therefore, two-thirds of 300,000 Estonian Russians are barred from elections.

REALITY: The latest figures on ethnicity show 345,000 ethnic Russians in Estonia as of Jan. 1, 2006, or 25.66 of the total population. Still, 16.77 divided by 25.66 is 65.33, which is – just barely – not exactly two-thirds, but, hey, who are we to punish Tass on this one. I mean it’s almost true, which is better than most of the stuff they publish.

The big fact left out is that we are only talking about parliamentary elections here. All of these residents – be they stateless or Russian Federation citizens – can vote in municipal elections.

Estonia Pokes Another Finger in Russia’s Eyeball

More clear proof of Russia’s utter diplomatic failure in the Baltics. A few days ago Estonia held parliamentary elections (it is noteworthy that for the first time anywhere in the world these elections included the use of Internet voting) and the big winner was the anti-Russian Reform party (this follows closely on the heels of Estonia electing a U.S.-educated, anti-Russian president. Itching for Estonia reports on the lies being told about Estonia in the Russian press in the wake of the election:

Pravda is viewing Reform’s victory as an “anti-Russian” victory. Which I guess means they support Keskerakond [another party vying for seats in the election].

Russians are still really worried about their monument in Tallinn, and Kommersant dispatched correspondents to learn about those involved in deciding its fate.

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Russia Continues to Ignore the Very Notion of Property Rights

The Moscow Times reports that in Russia, as always, the tiny class of rich get richer, and the vast underclass of poor get early graves.

Russia Ranks 63rd in Property Rights Poll

International Property Rights Ranking
01 Norway
02 Netherlands
33 India
35 Lithuania
42 Brazil
45 China
58 Ukraine
63 Russia
Source: Property Rights Alliance

Widespread corruption and a lack of judicial independence, among other factors, put Russia toward the bottom of a new global property-rights index released Tuesday.

According to the Washington-based Property Rights Alliance, Russia ranks 63 out of 70 countries — a notch above Pakistan and one below Nigeria — when it comes to protecting intellectual and property rights.

Norway topped the list, while Bangladesh came in last. It was the group’s first such compilation.

Russia “made a lot of solid steps over the past year,” said Scott LaGanga, Property Rights Alliance’s executive director.

But the study was critical of Russia’s “legal and political environment.”

Indeed, the Russian political system was deemed to be on a par with those of Pakistan, Venezuela and Ecuador.

Other factors that were taken into account in the alliance index were political stability, access to loans and public confidence in the courts system.

Fellow emerging-market countries India and China did much better than Russia, coming in at 33 and 45, respectively.

The study was based on surveys conducted by the World Bank, Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and other groups.

The index encompasses 95 percent of the total world economic output, LaGanga said.

The study establishes a clear link between property rights and gross domestic product: The more property rights are protected, the higher the GDP.

“There are some who incorrectly claim that strict property protections prevent developing countries and their citizens from unlocking their potential,” LaGanga said in the study.

“Such assertions are the opposite of the reality on the ground.”

On average, countries in the index’s top quarter were more than seven times wealthier than countries in the bottom quarter — with a per capita GDP of nearly $33,000 compared to roughly $4,300.

There’s Good Luck, There’s Bad Luck and then there’s Kremlin Luck

As LR reported on March 1st, on Sunday February 25th, the American TV news magazine Dateline NBC aired a report on the killing of Alexander Litvinenko. MSNBC also carried a report. The reports confirmed that British authorities believe Litvinenko perished in a “state-sponsored” assasination. In the opening of the broadcast, Dateline highlighted the analysis of a senior British reporter and a senior American expert on Russia who knew Litvinennko well.

Here’s an excerpt from the MSNBC report:

Daniel McGrory, a senior correspondent for The Times of London, has reported many of the developments in the Litvinenko investigation. He said the police were stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“While they claim, and the prime minister, Tony Blair, has claimed nothing will be allowed to get in the way of the police investigation, the reality is the police are perfectly aware of the diplomatic fallout of this story,” McGrory said.

“Let’s be frank about this: The United States needs a good relationship with Russia, and so does Europe,” said Paul M. Joyal, a friend of Litvinenko’s with deep ties as a consultant in Russia and the former Soviet states.

Noting that Russia controls a significant segment of the world gas market, Joyal said: “This is a very important country. But how can you have an important relationship with a country that could be involved in activities such as this? It’s a great dilemma.”

Five days before the broadcast aired, shortly after he was interviewed for it, McGrory was dead. His obituary reads “found dead at his home on February 20, 2007, aged 54.”

Five days after the broadcast aired, Joyal was lying in a hospital bed after having been shot for no apparent reason.

There’s good luck, there’s bad luck and then there’s Kremlin luck.