Daily Archives: June 7, 2007

June 7, 2007 — Contents

THURSDAY JUNE 7 CONTENTS


(1) On Nashi’s Trail: Special 2-part Investigative Feature

(2) Annals of the Neo-Soviet Crackdown: Russia, burning

(3) Latynina on Dubrovka

(4) Will we have to fight Russia in this Century?

(5) CSM on “Retrograde Russia”

REMINDER: “Other Russia” marches in St. Petersburg on Friday. Do what you can to show your support!

NOTICE: If you post a comment which contains personal abuse of a fellow commenter or gives your name as “anonymous” your comment may not be published (if you are a commenter who feels you have been victimized by personal abuse, you may apply for comment deletion by e-mail by forwarding the link and a copy of the offending text). If your comment contains profanity or obscenity, it will not be published.

On Nashi’s Trail: Special Investigative Feature

La Russophobe‘s translator has discovered the following page on the Nashi website, apparently a wholly fraudulent exercise designed to drum up support by illicit means (or, even worse, a blatantly corrupt propaganda exercise of the Kremlin — it’s hard to say what’s more horrifying, that Nashi can do what it promises, or that it can’t). The translator notes that she/he was inspired to do so by a comment to his last post (also about Nashi) drawing parallels in organizational structure between Nashi and the Hitlerjugend; the analysis much impressed him and was appreciated.

NASHI’s School of Project Management

Beginning April 15 in all regions of the first zone.

Inquire at the Nashi headquarters in your city.

[TN: The first zone, or “poyas”, generally refers to the area with 15 kilometers of the Moscow beltway.]

Attention!!!

An extension to June 11 has been given for admission to a training program for project management specialists. Participation in this six-month program is a unique opportunity to enter the profession of the 21st century – Project Manager. The modernization and development of our economy depends on having specialists capable of precise planning and competent management to achieve assigned goals! Salaries for certified specialists currently start at 45,000 rubles, underscoring the importance of this line of work for the economy.

Stages of training:

* Middle of June 2007: First stage of training will take place in a suburb of Moscow.

* June – July 2007: Internship conducting training in the regions of central Russia.

* July 19-23: Second stage of training at the All-Russian Youth Forum “Seliger 2007”.

* September: Third stage of training.

* September – December: Internship working on actual projects in Russian companies and organizations.

* December: International Project Management Association (IPMA) certification.

* January: Placement in consulting and project management companies.

Participants will be occupied 10-15 days per month.

Requirements for participation:

* Be an activist in the Movement, or a very strong supporter.

* Possession of an advanced degree (preference is given to graduate students), or be in at least the fifth year of study.

* Be in training for certification and long-term employment in the field of Project Management.

* Apply for the program at the following address: spm@ckms.ru.

* Complete the following assignment:

– Define the terms “project” and “life cycle of a project”.

– Develop your own or describe a project from your own experience (in free form, ½ to 2 pages in length), preferably in connection with the Movement.

– Plan and document the project in MSProject (Gant diagram, resources)

* Send the project summary and MSProject 2003 working files by June 11.

For additional information call:
89267366319 Tatyana Golubeva

89268110731 Ilya Kostunov

[TN: In the previous advertisement of this program, the deadline was set for June 1, and the first phase of training ran June 2-6. A few observations: 1) Since this is billed as an “extension of application deadline” rather than a second running of the first phase of training, it seems likely the course was undersubscribed; 2) The first advertisement provided only one day between the application deadline and the start of the first phase of the course, making the “competitive” aspect of this course doubtful… perhaps sensing this problem, the “extension” version was vague about the start of the course; 3) There is no mention of a stipend of any sort; 3) If the program is not truly competitive, and is unpaid, it would seem to be an appeal for grad students to provide six months of free labor working as Nashi agitators; 4) Any bets on what percentage of graduates will actually be placed in “consulting and project management companies”?}

La Russophobe has disovered another page of interest, this time from one of the local Nashi websites that have sprouted like microbes across the country:


22 апреля 2007 года

«Разборки» по-взрослому.

НАШИ армейцы выполнили нормативы по разборке и сборке автомата системы Калашникова. Теперь парни готовы перейти на следующий этап подготовки к службе в армии – боевым стрельбам. Освоить устройство оружия им помогали отслужившие в вооруженных силах старшие товарищи. Сержант Дмитрий Багаев продемонстрировал метод разборки автомата за четыре секунды. По словам старшего сержанта Алексея Банникова, в боевых условиях, бывает, и секунда спасает жизнь.

TRANSLATION (from the Nashi local organization in the city of Tver’s websiteNB, this is LR staff work, our professional translators can in no way be blamed for errors — corrections gladly accepted!):

Our Army Soldiers passed their test in dismantling and assembling Kalashnikov automatic weapons. Now, our guys ready for the next phase of their training to the army – military use of firearms. Assisting them will be senior weapons experts from the armed services. Shown in the photograph, Sergeant Dmitry Bagaev demonstrated the best method for disassembling a machine in less than four seconds. According to Master Sergeant Alexey Bannikov, in combat conditions it can happen that even a second can save a life.

LR: Seconds also cost lives, apparently. It seems Nashi is going to “manage” things, one way or another . . .

On Nashi’s Trail: Special Investigative Feature

La Russophobe‘s translator has discovered the following page on the Nashi website, apparently a wholly fraudulent exercise designed to drum up support by illicit means (or, even worse, a blatantly corrupt propaganda exercise of the Kremlin — it’s hard to say what’s more horrifying, that Nashi can do what it promises, or that it can’t). The translator notes that she/he was inspired to do so by a comment to his last post (also about Nashi) drawing parallels in organizational structure between Nashi and the Hitlerjugend; the analysis much impressed him and was appreciated.

NASHI’s School of Project Management

Beginning April 15 in all regions of the first zone.

Inquire at the Nashi headquarters in your city.

[TN: The first zone, or “poyas”, generally refers to the area with 15 kilometers of the Moscow beltway.]

Attention!!!

An extension to June 11 has been given for admission to a training program for project management specialists. Participation in this six-month program is a unique opportunity to enter the profession of the 21st century – Project Manager. The modernization and development of our economy depends on having specialists capable of precise planning and competent management to achieve assigned goals! Salaries for certified specialists currently start at 45,000 rubles, underscoring the importance of this line of work for the economy.

Stages of training:

* Middle of June 2007: First stage of training will take place in a suburb of Moscow.

* June – July 2007: Internship conducting training in the regions of central Russia.

* July 19-23: Second stage of training at the All-Russian Youth Forum “Seliger 2007”.

* September: Third stage of training.

* September – December: Internship working on actual projects in Russian companies and organizations.

* December: International Project Management Association (IPMA) certification.

* January: Placement in consulting and project management companies.

Participants will be occupied 10-15 days per month.

Requirements for participation:

* Be an activist in the Movement, or a very strong supporter.

* Possession of an advanced degree (preference is given to graduate students), or be in at least the fifth year of study.

* Be in training for certification and long-term employment in the field of Project Management.

* Apply for the program at the following address: spm@ckms.ru.

* Complete the following assignment:

– Define the terms “project” and “life cycle of a project”.

– Develop your own or describe a project from your own experience (in free form, ½ to 2 pages in length), preferably in connection with the Movement.

– Plan and document the project in MSProject (Gant diagram, resources)

* Send the project summary and MSProject 2003 working files by June 11.

For additional information call:
89267366319 Tatyana Golubeva

89268110731 Ilya Kostunov

[TN: In the previous advertisement of this program, the deadline was set for June 1, and the first phase of training ran June 2-6. A few observations: 1) Since this is billed as an “extension of application deadline” rather than a second running of the first phase of training, it seems likely the course was undersubscribed; 2) The first advertisement provided only one day between the application deadline and the start of the first phase of the course, making the “competitive” aspect of this course doubtful… perhaps sensing this problem, the “extension” version was vague about the start of the course; 3) There is no mention of a stipend of any sort; 3) If the program is not truly competitive, and is unpaid, it would seem to be an appeal for grad students to provide six months of free labor working as Nashi agitators; 4) Any bets on what percentage of graduates will actually be placed in “consulting and project management companies”?}

La Russophobe has disovered another page of interest, this time from one of the local Nashi websites that have sprouted like microbes across the country:


22 апреля 2007 года

«Разборки» по-взрослому.

НАШИ армейцы выполнили нормативы по разборке и сборке автомата системы Калашникова. Теперь парни готовы перейти на следующий этап подготовки к службе в армии – боевым стрельбам. Освоить устройство оружия им помогали отслужившие в вооруженных силах старшие товарищи. Сержант Дмитрий Багаев продемонстрировал метод разборки автомата за четыре секунды. По словам старшего сержанта Алексея Банникова, в боевых условиях, бывает, и секунда спасает жизнь.

TRANSLATION (from the Nashi local organization in the city of Tver’s websiteNB, this is LR staff work, our professional translators can in no way be blamed for errors — corrections gladly accepted!):

Our Army Soldiers passed their test in dismantling and assembling Kalashnikov automatic weapons. Now, our guys ready for the next phase of their training to the army – military use of firearms. Assisting them will be senior weapons experts from the armed services. Shown in the photograph, Sergeant Dmitry Bagaev demonstrated the best method for disassembling a machine in less than four seconds. According to Master Sergeant Alexey Bannikov, in combat conditions it can happen that even a second can save a life.

LR: Seconds also cost lives, apparently. It seems Nashi is going to “manage” things, one way or another . . .

On Nashi’s Trail: Special Investigative Feature

La Russophobe‘s translator has discovered the following page on the Nashi website, apparently a wholly fraudulent exercise designed to drum up support by illicit means (or, even worse, a blatantly corrupt propaganda exercise of the Kremlin — it’s hard to say what’s more horrifying, that Nashi can do what it promises, or that it can’t). The translator notes that she/he was inspired to do so by a comment to his last post (also about Nashi) drawing parallels in organizational structure between Nashi and the Hitlerjugend; the analysis much impressed him and was appreciated.

NASHI’s School of Project Management

Beginning April 15 in all regions of the first zone.

Inquire at the Nashi headquarters in your city.

[TN: The first zone, or “poyas”, generally refers to the area with 15 kilometers of the Moscow beltway.]

Attention!!!

An extension to June 11 has been given for admission to a training program for project management specialists. Participation in this six-month program is a unique opportunity to enter the profession of the 21st century – Project Manager. The modernization and development of our economy depends on having specialists capable of precise planning and competent management to achieve assigned goals! Salaries for certified specialists currently start at 45,000 rubles, underscoring the importance of this line of work for the economy.

Stages of training:

* Middle of June 2007: First stage of training will take place in a suburb of Moscow.

* June – July 2007: Internship conducting training in the regions of central Russia.

* July 19-23: Second stage of training at the All-Russian Youth Forum “Seliger 2007”.

* September: Third stage of training.

* September – December: Internship working on actual projects in Russian companies and organizations.

* December: International Project Management Association (IPMA) certification.

* January: Placement in consulting and project management companies.

Participants will be occupied 10-15 days per month.

Requirements for participation:

* Be an activist in the Movement, or a very strong supporter.

* Possession of an advanced degree (preference is given to graduate students), or be in at least the fifth year of study.

* Be in training for certification and long-term employment in the field of Project Management.

* Apply for the program at the following address: spm@ckms.ru.

* Complete the following assignment:

– Define the terms “project” and “life cycle of a project”.

– Develop your own or describe a project from your own experience (in free form, ½ to 2 pages in length), preferably in connection with the Movement.

– Plan and document the project in MSProject (Gant diagram, resources)

* Send the project summary and MSProject 2003 working files by June 11.

For additional information call:
89267366319 Tatyana Golubeva

89268110731 Ilya Kostunov

[TN: In the previous advertisement of this program, the deadline was set for June 1, and the first phase of training ran June 2-6. A few observations: 1) Since this is billed as an “extension of application deadline” rather than a second running of the first phase of training, it seems likely the course was undersubscribed; 2) The first advertisement provided only one day between the application deadline and the start of the first phase of the course, making the “competitive” aspect of this course doubtful… perhaps sensing this problem, the “extension” version was vague about the start of the course; 3) There is no mention of a stipend of any sort; 3) If the program is not truly competitive, and is unpaid, it would seem to be an appeal for grad students to provide six months of free labor working as Nashi agitators; 4) Any bets on what percentage of graduates will actually be placed in “consulting and project management companies”?}

La Russophobe has disovered another page of interest, this time from one of the local Nashi websites that have sprouted like microbes across the country:


22 апреля 2007 года

«Разборки» по-взрослому.

НАШИ армейцы выполнили нормативы по разборке и сборке автомата системы Калашникова. Теперь парни готовы перейти на следующий этап подготовки к службе в армии – боевым стрельбам. Освоить устройство оружия им помогали отслужившие в вооруженных силах старшие товарищи. Сержант Дмитрий Багаев продемонстрировал метод разборки автомата за четыре секунды. По словам старшего сержанта Алексея Банникова, в боевых условиях, бывает, и секунда спасает жизнь.

TRANSLATION (from the Nashi local organization in the city of Tver’s websiteNB, this is LR staff work, our professional translators can in no way be blamed for errors — corrections gladly accepted!):

Our Army Soldiers passed their test in dismantling and assembling Kalashnikov automatic weapons. Now, our guys ready for the next phase of their training to the army – military use of firearms. Assisting them will be senior weapons experts from the armed services. Shown in the photograph, Sergeant Dmitry Bagaev demonstrated the best method for disassembling a machine in less than four seconds. According to Master Sergeant Alexey Bannikov, in combat conditions it can happen that even a second can save a life.

LR: Seconds also cost lives, apparently. It seems Nashi is going to “manage” things, one way or another . . .

On Nashi’s Trail: Special Investigative Feature

La Russophobe‘s translator has discovered the following page on the Nashi website, apparently a wholly fraudulent exercise designed to drum up support by illicit means (or, even worse, a blatantly corrupt propaganda exercise of the Kremlin — it’s hard to say what’s more horrifying, that Nashi can do what it promises, or that it can’t). The translator notes that she/he was inspired to do so by a comment to his last post (also about Nashi) drawing parallels in organizational structure between Nashi and the Hitlerjugend; the analysis much impressed him and was appreciated.

NASHI’s School of Project Management

Beginning April 15 in all regions of the first zone.

Inquire at the Nashi headquarters in your city.

[TN: The first zone, or “poyas”, generally refers to the area with 15 kilometers of the Moscow beltway.]

Attention!!!

An extension to June 11 has been given for admission to a training program for project management specialists. Participation in this six-month program is a unique opportunity to enter the profession of the 21st century – Project Manager. The modernization and development of our economy depends on having specialists capable of precise planning and competent management to achieve assigned goals! Salaries for certified specialists currently start at 45,000 rubles, underscoring the importance of this line of work for the economy.

Stages of training:

* Middle of June 2007: First stage of training will take place in a suburb of Moscow.

* June – July 2007: Internship conducting training in the regions of central Russia.

* July 19-23: Second stage of training at the All-Russian Youth Forum “Seliger 2007”.

* September: Third stage of training.

* September – December: Internship working on actual projects in Russian companies and organizations.

* December: International Project Management Association (IPMA) certification.

* January: Placement in consulting and project management companies.

Participants will be occupied 10-15 days per month.

Requirements for participation:

* Be an activist in the Movement, or a very strong supporter.

* Possession of an advanced degree (preference is given to graduate students), or be in at least the fifth year of study.

* Be in training for certification and long-term employment in the field of Project Management.

* Apply for the program at the following address: spm@ckms.ru.

* Complete the following assignment:

– Define the terms “project” and “life cycle of a project”.

– Develop your own or describe a project from your own experience (in free form, ½ to 2 pages in length), preferably in connection with the Movement.

– Plan and document the project in MSProject (Gant diagram, resources)

* Send the project summary and MSProject 2003 working files by June 11.

For additional information call:
89267366319 Tatyana Golubeva

89268110731 Ilya Kostunov

[TN: In the previous advertisement of this program, the deadline was set for June 1, and the first phase of training ran June 2-6. A few observations: 1) Since this is billed as an “extension of application deadline” rather than a second running of the first phase of training, it seems likely the course was undersubscribed; 2) The first advertisement provided only one day between the application deadline and the start of the first phase of the course, making the “competitive” aspect of this course doubtful… perhaps sensing this problem, the “extension” version was vague about the start of the course; 3) There is no mention of a stipend of any sort; 3) If the program is not truly competitive, and is unpaid, it would seem to be an appeal for grad students to provide six months of free labor working as Nashi agitators; 4) Any bets on what percentage of graduates will actually be placed in “consulting and project management companies”?}

La Russophobe has disovered another page of interest, this time from one of the local Nashi websites that have sprouted like microbes across the country:


22 апреля 2007 года

«Разборки» по-взрослому.

НАШИ армейцы выполнили нормативы по разборке и сборке автомата системы Калашникова. Теперь парни готовы перейти на следующий этап подготовки к службе в армии – боевым стрельбам. Освоить устройство оружия им помогали отслужившие в вооруженных силах старшие товарищи. Сержант Дмитрий Багаев продемонстрировал метод разборки автомата за четыре секунды. По словам старшего сержанта Алексея Банникова, в боевых условиях, бывает, и секунда спасает жизнь.

TRANSLATION (from the Nashi local organization in the city of Tver’s websiteNB, this is LR staff work, our professional translators can in no way be blamed for errors — corrections gladly accepted!):

Our Army Soldiers passed their test in dismantling and assembling Kalashnikov automatic weapons. Now, our guys ready for the next phase of their training to the army – military use of firearms. Assisting them will be senior weapons experts from the armed services. Shown in the photograph, Sergeant Dmitry Bagaev demonstrated the best method for disassembling a machine in less than four seconds. According to Master Sergeant Alexey Bannikov, in combat conditions it can happen that even a second can save a life.

LR: Seconds also cost lives, apparently. It seems Nashi is going to “manage” things, one way or another . . .

On Nashi’s Trail: Special Investigative Feature

La Russophobe‘s translator has discovered the following page on the Nashi website, apparently a wholly fraudulent exercise designed to drum up support by illicit means (or, even worse, a blatantly corrupt propaganda exercise of the Kremlin — it’s hard to say what’s more horrifying, that Nashi can do what it promises, or that it can’t). The translator notes that she/he was inspired to do so by a comment to his last post (also about Nashi) drawing parallels in organizational structure between Nashi and the Hitlerjugend; the analysis much impressed him and was appreciated.

NASHI’s School of Project Management

Beginning April 15 in all regions of the first zone.

Inquire at the Nashi headquarters in your city.

[TN: The first zone, or “poyas”, generally refers to the area with 15 kilometers of the Moscow beltway.]

Attention!!!

An extension to June 11 has been given for admission to a training program for project management specialists. Participation in this six-month program is a unique opportunity to enter the profession of the 21st century – Project Manager. The modernization and development of our economy depends on having specialists capable of precise planning and competent management to achieve assigned goals! Salaries for certified specialists currently start at 45,000 rubles, underscoring the importance of this line of work for the economy.

Stages of training:

* Middle of June 2007: First stage of training will take place in a suburb of Moscow.

* June – July 2007: Internship conducting training in the regions of central Russia.

* July 19-23: Second stage of training at the All-Russian Youth Forum “Seliger 2007”.

* September: Third stage of training.

* September – December: Internship working on actual projects in Russian companies and organizations.

* December: International Project Management Association (IPMA) certification.

* January: Placement in consulting and project management companies.

Participants will be occupied 10-15 days per month.

Requirements for participation:

* Be an activist in the Movement, or a very strong supporter.

* Possession of an advanced degree (preference is given to graduate students), or be in at least the fifth year of study.

* Be in training for certification and long-term employment in the field of Project Management.

* Apply for the program at the following address: spm@ckms.ru.

* Complete the following assignment:

– Define the terms “project” and “life cycle of a project”.

– Develop your own or describe a project from your own experience (in free form, ½ to 2 pages in length), preferably in connection with the Movement.

– Plan and document the project in MSProject (Gant diagram, resources)

* Send the project summary and MSProject 2003 working files by June 11.

For additional information call:
89267366319 Tatyana Golubeva

89268110731 Ilya Kostunov

[TN: In the previous advertisement of this program, the deadline was set for June 1, and the first phase of training ran June 2-6. A few observations: 1) Since this is billed as an “extension of application deadline” rather than a second running of the first phase of training, it seems likely the course was undersubscribed; 2) The first advertisement provided only one day between the application deadline and the start of the first phase of the course, making the “competitive” aspect of this course doubtful… perhaps sensing this problem, the “extension” version was vague about the start of the course; 3) There is no mention of a stipend of any sort; 3) If the program is not truly competitive, and is unpaid, it would seem to be an appeal for grad students to provide six months of free labor working as Nashi agitators; 4) Any bets on what percentage of graduates will actually be placed in “consulting and project management companies”?}

La Russophobe has disovered another page of interest, this time from one of the local Nashi websites that have sprouted like microbes across the country:


22 апреля 2007 года

«Разборки» по-взрослому.

НАШИ армейцы выполнили нормативы по разборке и сборке автомата системы Калашникова. Теперь парни готовы перейти на следующий этап подготовки к службе в армии – боевым стрельбам. Освоить устройство оружия им помогали отслужившие в вооруженных силах старшие товарищи. Сержант Дмитрий Багаев продемонстрировал метод разборки автомата за четыре секунды. По словам старшего сержанта Алексея Банникова, в боевых условиях, бывает, и секунда спасает жизнь.

TRANSLATION (from the Nashi local organization in the city of Tver’s websiteNB, this is LR staff work, our professional translators can in no way be blamed for errors — corrections gladly accepted!):

Our Army Soldiers passed their test in dismantling and assembling Kalashnikov automatic weapons. Now, our guys ready for the next phase of their training to the army – military use of firearms. Assisting them will be senior weapons experts from the armed services. Shown in the photograph, Sergeant Dmitry Bagaev demonstrated the best method for disassembling a machine in less than four seconds. According to Master Sergeant Alexey Bannikov, in combat conditions it can happen that even a second can save a life.

LR: Seconds also cost lives, apparently. It seems Nashi is going to “manage” things, one way or another . . .

Annals of the Neo-Soviet Crackdown: Russia, burning

Radio Free Europe reports on the horrors of the Neo-Soviet crackdown:

Fear, intimidation, and coercion are back in vogue as tools of Russian policy, both at home and abroad. For evidence, one need look no further than the events of the past month.

In the southwestern Russian city of Voronezh, opposition activists tried to gather for a small demonstration on May 29. Within minutes, police moved in, violently breaking up the protest and arresting the participants. Two days earlier in Moscow, Marco Cappato, an Italian member of the European Parliament, was beaten by Russian nationalists in full view of police as he took part in a gay-rights march. Television cameras captured Cappato struggling and shouting, “Why you don’t protect us? Where are the police? Why you don’t protect us? I am a member of parliament!” LR: Do you dare to imagine, dear reader, how Russians would react if a Russian leader were treated this way on the streets of New York?

The police finally did move in. But instead of arresting the attackers, the police detained Cappato — reportedly for his own safety. A German lawmaker, Volker Beck, was likewise detained.

Earlier in the month, on May 2, members of the Kremlin-backed youth group Nashi loudly protesting “fascism” broke up a press conference by Marina Kaljurand, the Estonian ambassador to Russia, who was trying to defuse mounting anger over her country’s relocation of a Soviet-era monument from central Tallinn.

Three Incidents, One Pattern

Whether suppressing domestic dissent, cracking down on troublesome neighbors, or flouting the disapproval of the West, the Kremlin’s message is loud and clear — mess with us at your own risk. Marshall Goldman, a Russian expert and senior scholar at Wellesley College, says Russia — flush with cash and influence from its energy resources — is simply telling the world it’s back as a major player. “Russia is now beginning to reassert its muscles and say, ‘Look, we were a superpower, for a time we ceased to be a superpower, but we’re back on that road again. At the present time we’re not a military superpower, but we certainly are an economic superpower with our oil, gas, and our accumulated reserves. And don’t tread on me,'” he says.

Many Russians, at their leadership’s cue, are adopting an increasingly anti-Western stance. Particular venom is reserved for the United States, which has aggravated Moscow with its pursuit of a missile-defense shield in former Soviet satellites like Poland and the Czech Republic. In a speech before top international officials at the Munich Security Conference in February, Russian President Vladimir Putin accused the United States of “an almost uncontained use of force in the world.” This week, he accused Western countries of a democracy double standard, saying it was not as if there were “white, pure, and furry” countries on once side and “monsters who have just come out of the woods” on the other.

Within Russia, from the television news to popular culture, the theme is of an ascendant and unified nation under attack from the West. David Satter is a former Moscow correspondent with “The New York Times” and the author of a recent book on the rise of the Russian criminal state. He says the Kremlin is trying to foster an artificial crisis with the West in order to justify its own clampdown on civic rights at home. “I think there is method to this madness,” Satter says. “I think it’s a situation in which the small group of people who not only rule Russia, but in effect own the country, are seeking to create an atmosphere of tension with the outside world which will further justify the limitations of liberty.”

Brute Force

The Kremlin’s crackdown on its opponents has at times been almost shockingly severe. Media outlets have come under repeated crackdowns, and outspoken Kremlin critics like journalist Anna Politkovskaya and former security officer Aleksandr Litvinenko have been killed in horrifying and unexplained circumstances. Holding street protests has become a test of courage, with police and security forces far outnumbering demonstrators.

Moscow’s combative stance is widely seen as a reaction to the humiliation many Russians felt in the 1990s, when the country was emerging from the Soviet collapse. Largely dependent on Western aid, Russia was also subject to frequent Western lectures about how best to rebuild its society and government. “There is this lingering perception that in the 1990s the West somehow took advantage of Russia,” says Steven Pifer, a senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington and a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine. “So this comes together and explains a lot of the assertiveness that you see. That assertiveness, sort of standing up for Russia, seems to play well domestically. And I think part of this is tied to the message that the Kremlin wants to send to its domestic audience.” LR: So Russians are prepared to provoke the whole world into a conflict that will surely destroy them just to salve their wounded pride? Are they really that barbaric?

Another message that the Kremlin wants to send Russians is that the political dissent that emerged in the 1990s had a destabilizing effect on society. Goldman says many Russians emerged from the decade, and Boris Yeltsin’s tumultuous presidency, with a sense that social stability was far more valuable than Western-style political freedoms. “In the Yeltsin years, there was a widespread feeling in Russia that the system had gotten out of control and that those who were eager for dissent ended up discovering that there was too much dissent, there was too much opposition, there was too much spontaneity, there was too much chaos,” he says.

Fear Of Revolution?

Still, the fear of public dissent remains high among the political elite. Pifer suggests the Kremlin’s bluster and frequent crackdowns on the opposition, rather than representing a show of strength, masks a deep insecurity — fueled by popular uprisings in Georgia in 2003 and Ukraine in 2004 — that their hold on power could be tenuous. “The message at home seems to be almost one motivated by just this concern that things might get out of hand,” he says. “I would look at it in the context, if you go back to the Orange Revolution and the Rose Revolution, there seems to be real concern in some parts of Russia that if we’re not careful, this can happen here.”

That possibility seems remote. But with a presidential transition looming in 2008, the Kremlin isn’t taking any chances. And with energy issues high on many foreign-policy agendas, analysts say, there is little the West can do to stop Russia’s campaign of fear and intimidation.