Daily Archives: March 23, 2007

LR on PP

Check out the new and vastly improved Publius Pundit! The site has been dramatically and eye-poppingly redesigned, now loads into your browser at the speed of light, and best of all now contains even more content from La Russophobe. For instance, check out this update on the Moscow State University Scandal reported on yesterday by the New York Times and the day before by LR (we scooped the NYT! Yeah us!!). The item includes a hilarious YouTube video produced by an MGU student documenting the many unique features of his institution.

Thou Shalt Not Write About The Power in Moscow

The International Herald Tribune reports that, after Russia killed the first editor of Forbes, it has sued the second for defamation and won:

The editor in chief of the Russian edition of Forbes magazine has been found guilty of defamation in a dispute over an article about a business run by the wife of the mayor of Moscow.

In a legal interpretation that is likely to further chill journalism in Russia, a city court in Moscow on Wednesday ruled against the editor, Maksim Kashulinsky, not for the contents of the article but for commenting publicly on the controversy surrounding its publication.

Kashulinsky said in a radio interview before the article was published that Inteko — a company controlled by Yelena Baturina, the wife of the mayor of Moscow, Yuri Luzhkov — had tried to block publication of the article. In doing so, the company had violated Russian law, he said.

Inteko, which deals primarily in real estate and construction, sued for a symbolic 106,500 rubles, or $4,090, equivalent to 1 ruble for each copy of the December print run of Forbes magazine that had Baturina on the cover. Forbes estimates that Baturina is worth $3.1 billion.

Kashulinsky said that he would appeal and that under Russian law, he was not obliged to pay while an appeal was pending.

Inteko issued a statement saying the judge’s ruling had proved that the company’s efforts to defend its business reputation were legal.

The article on Baturina discussed plans to prepare her business for her husband’s eventual departure from the mayor’s office and stirred up accusations that Baturina owed her success to her husband’s public position.

Before the magazine went to press, Kashulinsky said, lawyers for Inteko threatened a lawsuit against Axel Springer, the German publisher of Forbes’s Russian edition. Axel Springer briefly delayed the release of the issue, putting it on sale only after Kashulinsky had threatened to resign to protest the delay.

Amid the dispute, Kashulinsky gave an interview on Echo of Moscow radio in which he said Inteko’s threat of a lawsuit had violated Russia’s media laws and amounted to censorship.

After the issue hit the newsstands — a day late — Inteko sued both Axel Springer and Kashulinsky personally, saying his radio comments amounted to defamation.

Inteko is also seeking a symbolic 106,500 rubles from Springer for the article, which it called libelous. That case has not yet gone to court.

The case has been seen as a test of the independence of Russian-language editions of international magazines.

Such glossies are big business in Russia’s booming consumer and advertising market; Cosmopolitan, Newsweek, Esquire and others publish Russian-language editions that blend international and local content.

But reporting aggressively on big business in Russia can be perilous. Kashulinsky’s predecessor, Paul Klebnikov, was shot and killed on a Moscow street in 2004. Authorities have linked the slaying to his investigative work, but the case is still working its way through the Russian courts.

Is it just us, or does anybody else have an uncomfortable sense of deja vu?

China View reports:

President Vladimir Putin said on Tuesday Russia is well positioned to become the world’s largest exporter of weapons. Orders for Russian arms grew impressively in 2006 and “reached the 30 billion U.S. dollar mark,” Putin told a meeting of the commission for military-technical cooperation with foreign states, the Interfax news agency reported. “Not only Russian war planes are in demand today. Foreign experts are showing growing interest in air defense, naval and anti-tank systems,” Putin said. Russian arms exports have been growing in the past few years. They totaled 6.5 billion dollars last year, up about 20 percent from the previous year, and the country aims for 7.5 billion dollars in 2007. “This shows that Russia confidently holds a place among the leaders on the global arms market and I am sure that we have every opportunity to build on this success,” Putin said. Russia’s top priority in military cooperation with other countries is to develop new forms of cooperation, he said. He called for focusing on “the joint development and subsequent serial production of weapons for our own needs and for export.” Putin called maintenance and delivery of spare parts “a weak link in our work” and urged Russian companies to improve the quality of their spare parts and maintenance of the military equipment they export.  

Satanic Bar Codes?

News.com reports:

A HUNDRED residents of a Russian village have refused to switch to new passports because they believe the documents’ bar codes contain satanic symbols.

“We believe these new passports are sinful,” Valentina Yepifanova, an elderly resident of the village Bogolyubovo, told Rossiya television as she clutched an old, tattered passport she said she wanted to keep.

“They have these bar codes and people say they contain three sixes. We are against that.”

Some residents of Bogolyubovo, which means “God-loving” in Russian, have also stopped collecting their pensions at the local post office because the payment slips also have bar codes that might contain the mark of the devil, Rossiya TV reported.

Annals of Russia’s Unfriendly Skies

News.com reports that right on the heels of the airliner catastrophe in Samara, two military jets (MiG 29s) collided in the skies over Rostov and a helicopter full of passengers went missing in the north.

March 22, 2007 — Contents


The Horror of Neo-Soviet Education: MGU Students Plead for Help

(2) Russia’s Poor get Pulverized, Neo-Soviet Propaganda Continues Apace

(3) The Insanity of Russia’s so-called Defense Policy

NOTE: A thunderous lack of interest has been expressed by the readership in the idea of moving this blog to WordPress. It appears that, like LR herself, most readers don’t care about the blog’s format and that among those who do Blogger is preferred. Hence, the blog won’t be moved.