N. S. Rubashov, publisher of the excellent new Russia blog Darkness at Noon, has submitted to La Russophobe the following interesting and insightful analysis of the recent report by an international media organization that Russia is the most dangerous nation in the world not at war for a journalist to work in.
Separate but Unequal: The Duality of Free Speech in Russia
The recent release of INSI’s report entitled “Killing the Messenger” quickly gained the attention of Russia watchers owing to the sensational revelation that Russia ranks among the most dangerous places on earth for reporters. At least one Russia forum, the blog Siberian Light, was intrigued by the contrast between these statistics and those suggesting that for ordinary people, Moscow is a safer city than, for example, Washington DC. While La Russophobe has challenged the validity of these statistics, the fact remains that in Russia, there is a wide gap between the threats posed to journalists and other critics of the Kremlin and the threats posed to ordinary citizens. While we are becoming all too familiar with mysterious deaths and arrests of prominent critics, there does not appear to be a simultaneous effort to eliminate criticism of the state throughout all strata of society.
The AP reports on yet another sorry chapter in the annals of humiliation for Russia in the area of international sports:
Moscow has been stripped of the world amateur boxing championships after failing to meet conditions for hosting the event, the world governing body said Monday. The International Boxing Federation, or AIBA, awarded its showcase championships to the Russian capital at a meeting last month in Taipei, Taiwan. Moscow was chosen over Jeju, South Korea. However, AIBA said the Russian boxing federation “failed on a number of issues pertaining to the agreement despite continuous assistance from AIBA.” “It is regrettable that we were put into a situation where we had to make such a decision but we also had to honor the conditions of the agreement,” AIBA president C.K. Wu said. Russian media said financial problems, including uncertainty over a $1.5 million line of credit, was behind the decision. Russian federation chief Eduard Khusanov told the ITAR-Tass news agency that AIBA imposed “groundless demands” and organizers had met all necessary conditions. AIBA did not say where the Sept. 15-30 championships — considered a major qualifier for the 2008 Olympics — would now be held.
Let the Russophile excuses begin!
There she goes again.
A major tennis tournament is underway right now in the city of Indian Wells, California. It’s the Pacific Life Open, and it’s not only a Tier 1 tournament with a massive 465 rankings points available to the winner but a joint tournament where both male and female athletes compete together just like a grand slam event.
But you only collect a measly 40 ratings points (and less than $9,000 in prize money) if you are blown of the court 1-6 in the third set in the third round of the tournament by the 15th seed who is not even ranked in the world’s top 15 players.
And that’s just what happened to “World #1” Maria Sharapova yesterday.