Daily Archives: January 16, 2008

Another Original LR Translation: Lies for the Youngest (by our Original Translator)

Lies for the Youngest

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

December 25, 2007

Editorial

What is it they say about great events? First time as tragedy, second time as farce. And indeed, everything is being repeated: already we have almost Soviet rhetoric, almost the same “enemies of the people” [dissidents], almost the same Oktobryata [“children of the October Revolution] in the “mishki” [Nashi’s new patriotic organization for children], and now there will be an almost Soviet version of history. It is now clear that the authorities have no intention of limiting the distribution of pseudo-historical propaganda through the central channels of power. The Ministry of Education and Science is expected to approve a new list of high school textbooks for the coming school year. According to the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta, among these new textbooks will be the infamous “Russian History, 1945-2007”, developed on the basis of Aleksandr Filippov’s “Book for Teachers”.

The textbook has already been published in a first run of one thousand copies. After approval by the staff of the Ministry of Education it will be sent to no less than five regions, where it will undergo a one-year trial period. At the end of this period it will be officially recommended to schools. Filippov is deputy directory of the National Center for Foreign Policy, which is associated with Gleb Pavlovskiy’s Foundation for Effective Policy [a well-known Kremlin think tank]. It should be noted that the most scandalous chapter, “Discussion of Stalin’s Role in History”, in which the Great Purges are presented as “the formation of a new ruling class, adequate to the tasks of modernization in conditions of resource shortages”, was not included in the textbook. But the portion concerning “The Putin Era” remains. As in the teacher’s edition, the replacement of directly elected regional governors with appointed ones is presented as having been due to the “unpreparedness of the regional executives to effectively deal with crisis situations”- as demonstrated, in the opinion of the authors, by the Beslan hostage crisis. The “Yukos affair”, the authors believe, “decisively buried the oligarchs’ hopes of preserving their control over the Russian government.”

December 26, 2007

Irina Karatsuba, Historian:

This past summer I read this textbook in detail and took part in a round table discussion organized by the journal “Bolshoi Gorod” in which the textbook was discussed. After studying Filippov’s textbook and discussing it with the authors, I came to the inescapable conclusion that this was without doubt a paid-for textbook, written on someone’s orders, phony all the way through. It is based on one very dangerous idea, which can be summed up succinctly as, “The State is everything, the individual nothing.” Regarding the current regime, the textbook is absolutely servile, stating simply that Putin is the second most effective leader the country has ever had, after Stalin. And this is the crowning glory – there is nowhere higher to go. For this reason, of course, its introduction into schools in any capacity (and I think it will be introduced, as the leading textbook) can bring only harm.

The textbook automatically brings to mind how we all once studied. Soviet textbooks contained not a word of truth, of course, and no one took them seriously, nor did they expect to learn anything from the subject of history, but searched for the truth instead on their own. I recall how a textbook I was once studying (I graduated from high school in 1977) said that “the careerist Ezhov and the political adventurist Beria, using some of Stalin’s personal marks, fabricated accusations that resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of Communists.” Reading this, at age 16, I thought to myself: But how could these two people, with the help of a third, kill tens of thousands of people… What kind of regime was this? I think this is about the line of thought that will be followed by those who study from Filippov’s textbook.

But for me, as a professional, this is of course sad, because it is not just a step backward, but ten steps backward in comparison with the textbooks that were written at the end of the 1990’s and the beginning of this decade. And I am very bitter about how the textbooks of Dolutskiy and other authors are being replaced with nonsense like this.

This event is not, of course, unique. It is part of a general process of searching for a new Russian identity. A reconsideration of the Soviet period is taking place, expelling the odious waste of “the terrible 1990s” (although the current occupants of the our political Mount Olympus during the same 1990s all occupied high-profile posts) – this is all part of the creation of a myth about ourselves. But this myth is phony through and through, and worse than that it is immoral, because it sanctifies the spilling of blood and use of violence. It just perpetuates a falsehood. All of which brings to mind the words of the 16-th century Russian essayist Ivan Peresvetov, who wrote to Ivan the Terrible, “In Russian czarism there is belief, but no truth. But God does not love belief. He loves the truth.” Immortal words.

I would also recall the words of Petr Chaadaev, who wrote in 1837 that “The era of blind belief has passed. I think that now the truth is our greatest obligation to the Motherland.” Alas, this was such a premature hope, because even today this “now” has not yet arrived. But what will become of our Motherland, and of the truth, if this “now” never arrives?

Of course, the universities cannot be separated from society as a whole, and this false conception of history is beginning to penetrate them as well. One of the authors of the textbook, Leonid Polyakov, is professor of at the Higher School of Economics. This is a person who has said the most incredible things lately, such as that “we really never know what happened in the past”, and we need a positive myth about ourselves… In other words, we should just make ourselves look good, tell ourselves falsehoods – that this will help us. I do not understand how it is we can build something on falsehoods that will help us. But beyond this it becomes an issue of individual honesty, and I cannot believe that the majority of my colleagues, in either the universities or schools, will be inclined to teach according to the Filippov textbook. On the contrary, I have seen only shock, deep shock, in reaction to this textbook. The academic and teaching communities will oppose this textbook; they are already opposing it.

Irina Karatsuba is an historian and associate professor in the Department of Regional Studies at Moscow State University.

Another Original LR Translation: Annals of the Lollipop Kid (by our Original Translator)

Lollipop Kid Becomes Street Thug . . . and Man of the Year

Aleksandr Golts

Yezhednevniy Zhurnal

December 21, 2007

To tell the truth, I had originally planned to write this article about two weeks from now, conducting a “year in review” with the other members of the YeZh staff. But the decision of Time Magazine to declare Vladimir Putin its “Man of the Year” compelled me to do it earlier. Because this decision in a surprising way explains why so many people (including the staff of Time Magazine) consider Putin’s foreign policy to be a success. As they put it: “Time’s Person of the Year is not and never has been an honor. It is not an endorsement. It is not a popularity contest. At its best, it is a clear-eyed recognition of the world as it is and of the most powerful individuals and forces shaping that world – for better or for worse. It is ultimately about leadership – bold, earth-changing leadership. Putin is not a boy scout. … [but] he has performed an extraordinary feat of leadership in imposing stability on a nation that has rarely known it and brought Russia back to the table of world power. For that reason, Vladimir Putin is Time’s 2007 Person of the Year.” As I read it, the Time Magazine writers, in their expansive commentaries, point to two major achievements of President Putin. First, by gagging the press, trampling on civil rights and freedoms, and turning elections into a farce, he has brought stability to the country, “which it has rarely known”. Secondly, it was exactly Putin, according to Time, who returned Russia to its status as a world power.

If this is true, then one should acknowledge that this status is a direct result of a completely ruinous foreign policy. In previous years the symbol of Moscow’s international activities was “the little boy with the lollipop in his sweaty palm” who wanted to trade with the West, exchanging oil and gas not only for money but for influence as well. This year, the little boy grew up and became the neighborhood thug. Now he no longer trades, he tries to intimidate. The year 2007 saw the militarization of Russian foreign policy. National interests and claims against other governments were expressed almost exclusively in military terminology.

The main foreign policy events of the year – the effective withdrawal of Russia from the Conventional Forces In Europe (CFE) treaty; the conflict surrounding Washington’s intention to base some elements of its anti-ballistic missile (ABM) system in Poland and the Czech Republic; the constant threats to withdraw from the Intermediate Range Ballistic Missile treaty – have been directly related to efforts to demonstrate Russia’s readiness for military confrontation with the West. The paradox is that none of this has any connection with defending country or ensuring its security. Russian demands have had no logic whatsoever. Russian demands have lacked even formal logic. Take for example the withdrawal from the CFE treaty. Moscow explains this by pointing to the refusal of NATO countries to ratify an adapted version of the treaty. The basic concept of the treaty reflects two opposing blocks, setting forth limits on the armaments that can be deployed in various countries and regions. But the Kremlin never ceases talking about the colossal advantage NATO has gained as a result of its new members. The head of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs demands the introduction of a general ceiling on the armaments of all the governments of NATO. In this manner Russia is positioning itself as the lone member of a new Warsaw Pact.

The new defining characteristic of Russian foreign policy has become how its exponents do not even try to make plausible arguments. The head of the Russian General Staff Yuri Baluevskiy claimed that the launch of American ABM missiles from Poland could be mistaken for a nuclear attack and cause a retaliatory strike. Evidently, the general literally forgot about agreements with the U.S. on the exchange of information and joint control. Therefore, Russia will know exactly what kinds of missiles are based in Poland. It will therefore be impossible to mistake them for nuclear missiles. But Moscow no longer worries about plausibility in its claims. They need only shout them out, as loudly as possible.

Still, even deploying the phraseology of the cold war, the Kremlin does nothing that the West could construe as a genuine threat. No one is talking about any sort of return to actual military confrontation.

But might one say in all seriousness that Moscow has become an important player in international politics?

Perhaps Russia is returning to a position of general respect, developing its bilateral relationships with various governments? One must certainly say that in the past year Moscow has significantly enriched the practice of diplomacy. What was the cost to Russia of the murder of Litvinenko, in the course of which half of London was radioactively poisoned? And then not only did Russia refuse to extradite the suspected murderer, Andrei Lugavoi, but secured his election to parliament. And then there was the shut-down of the Estonian embassy in Moscow by Putin’s Red Guards. All of this, of course, is clear evidence of Russia having been turned into a great power.

And so, the little boy with the lollipop got himself a dagger. He has not yet, thank God, gotten himself into a fight. But he flashes the knife everywhere and anywhere. That’s all there is to Russia’s growing authority in the world. But the journalists at Time Magazine simply took it as an axiom that Russia’s influence in the world is growing, without even trying to confirm it with facts. Exactly this speaks volumes about the supposed arrival of an era of “stability”, which according to the American journalists is more important for Russia than truth or freedom. They did not comment at all on those parts of their interview with Putin where he plainly lied. For example, about how he was simply assigned to the KGB after graduating from university. Or about how there are television stations in Russia where opposition leaders “just never leave”. The Time Magazine journalists (and before them Western analysts from the Valdai Club) placidly heard Putin out as he practically accused them of being paid-off/corrupt.

The thing is that all of them – the president of France, who congratulated Putin on his success in the elections; the president of the U.S., who said he understood Putin’s soul; and countless diplomats, experts and journalists – have quietly come to agree that Russia is the one country of Europe that will never be a democracy. For this reason they can admire the “old monster” with the unblinking steely gaze. And they can present freedom as an opposite to stability.

In this sense the designation of Putin as “Man of the Year” is a clear indication of how he, and worse Russia, has finally passed into a clearly-defined category of country. The category where China sits next to Paskistan. And that means that Russia will not be treated as an equal partner. This is the main accomplishment of her foreign policy.

EDITORIAL: Putin’s Folly

EDITORIAL

Putin’s Folly

It would be farcical and amusing if it were not so very sad and outrageous.

We report below on Russia’s plans, in light of the threats it faces because of the increasingly dangerous political climate in southern Russia, to build an island in the middle of the Black Sea (shown above in an artist’s rendering) to house the world’s athletes at the Sochi games in 2014.

The irony cannot be lost on anyone: The world’s largest country, in terms of land mass, doesn’t have any suitable acreage on which to house the athletes, either in terms of ambiance or security, so it has to isolate them in the middle of the sea. And it can’t build the island itself, it has to bring in the Japanese to do it.

When one considers Russia’s plans to send manned flights to Mars and colonize the Moon together with its Russia-shaped artificial archipelago (to say nothing of Russia’s astronomical military spending and universal conscription), one cannot fail to be outraged. Here is a country where the average man works for less than $4/hour and does not live to see his 60th year. A country whose population falls by hundreds of thousands every year and which yet holds the world’s largest territory in its clutches as if to allow one grain of sand to escape would mean disaster. A country whose people are plagued by double-digit inflation and an unspeakable array of diseases from bird flu to Hemorrhagic Fever. And it is planning to spend $6.2 billion — yes, that’s right, billion with a “B” — to build an artificial island shaped like itself.

What we see in Russia today is exactly what we saw three or four decades ago: A country which has brutally crushed all forms of dissent and hence all flows of information, a country with a government increasingly unhinged from reality, making policies that can only lead to the nation’s downfall. Have Russians learned nothing from the mistakes that led to the obliteration of the USSR? Do they think that it was just bad luck that caused the USSR to implode, and that this time they’ll get it right?

Those who think such thoughts could not be in the heads of today’s Russians simply haven’t met them. And indeed, an even more dire analysis would predict that Russians are fully aware that their government is pursuing self-destructive policies, and say nothing because they are hellbent on national suicide. Most dire of all, another analysis might suggest that Russians know their government is on a path to ruin, just as in the times of Stalin, but are simply too cowardly to stop it.

EDITORIAL: Putin’s Folly

EDITORIAL

Putin’s Folly

It would be farcical and amusing if it were not so very sad and outrageous.

We report below on Russia’s plans, in light of the threats it faces because of the increasingly dangerous political climate in southern Russia, to build an island in the middle of the Black Sea (shown above in an artist’s rendering) to house the world’s athletes at the Sochi games in 2014.

The irony cannot be lost on anyone: The world’s largest country, in terms of land mass, doesn’t have any suitable acreage on which to house the athletes, either in terms of ambiance or security, so it has to isolate them in the middle of the sea. And it can’t build the island itself, it has to bring in the Japanese to do it.

When one considers Russia’s plans to send manned flights to Mars and colonize the Moon together with its Russia-shaped artificial archipelago (to say nothing of Russia’s astronomical military spending and universal conscription), one cannot fail to be outraged. Here is a country where the average man works for less than $4/hour and does not live to see his 60th year. A country whose population falls by hundreds of thousands every year and which yet holds the world’s largest territory in its clutches as if to allow one grain of sand to escape would mean disaster. A country whose people are plagued by double-digit inflation and an unspeakable array of diseases from bird flu to Hemorrhagic Fever. And it is planning to spend $6.2 billion — yes, that’s right, billion with a “B” — to build an artificial island shaped like itself.

What we see in Russia today is exactly what we saw three or four decades ago: A country which has brutally crushed all forms of dissent and hence all flows of information, a country with a government increasingly unhinged from reality, making policies that can only lead to the nation’s downfall. Have Russians learned nothing from the mistakes that led to the obliteration of the USSR? Do they think that it was just bad luck that caused the USSR to implode, and that this time they’ll get it right?

Those who think such thoughts could not be in the heads of today’s Russians simply haven’t met them. And indeed, an even more dire analysis would predict that Russians are fully aware that their government is pursuing self-destructive policies, and say nothing because they are hellbent on national suicide. Most dire of all, another analysis might suggest that Russians know their government is on a path to ruin, just as in the times of Stalin, but are simply too cowardly to stop it.

EDITORIAL: Putin’s Folly

EDITORIAL

Putin’s Folly

It would be farcical and amusing if it were not so very sad and outrageous.

We report below on Russia’s plans, in light of the threats it faces because of the increasingly dangerous political climate in southern Russia, to build an island in the middle of the Black Sea (shown above in an artist’s rendering) to house the world’s athletes at the Sochi games in 2014.

The irony cannot be lost on anyone: The world’s largest country, in terms of land mass, doesn’t have any suitable acreage on which to house the athletes, either in terms of ambiance or security, so it has to isolate them in the middle of the sea. And it can’t build the island itself, it has to bring in the Japanese to do it.

When one considers Russia’s plans to send manned flights to Mars and colonize the Moon together with its Russia-shaped artificial archipelago (to say nothing of Russia’s astronomical military spending and universal conscription), one cannot fail to be outraged. Here is a country where the average man works for less than $4/hour and does not live to see his 60th year. A country whose population falls by hundreds of thousands every year and which yet holds the world’s largest territory in its clutches as if to allow one grain of sand to escape would mean disaster. A country whose people are plagued by double-digit inflation and an unspeakable array of diseases from bird flu to Hemorrhagic Fever. And it is planning to spend $6.2 billion — yes, that’s right, billion with a “B” — to build an artificial island shaped like itself.

What we see in Russia today is exactly what we saw three or four decades ago: A country which has brutally crushed all forms of dissent and hence all flows of information, a country with a government increasingly unhinged from reality, making policies that can only lead to the nation’s downfall. Have Russians learned nothing from the mistakes that led to the obliteration of the USSR? Do they think that it was just bad luck that caused the USSR to implode, and that this time they’ll get it right?

Those who think such thoughts could not be in the heads of today’s Russians simply haven’t met them. And indeed, an even more dire analysis would predict that Russians are fully aware that their government is pursuing self-destructive policies, and say nothing because they are hellbent on national suicide. Most dire of all, another analysis might suggest that Russians know their government is on a path to ruin, just as in the times of Stalin, but are simply too cowardly to stop it.

EDITORIAL: Putin’s Folly

EDITORIAL

Putin’s Folly

It would be farcical and amusing if it were not so very sad and outrageous.

We report below on Russia’s plans, in light of the threats it faces because of the increasingly dangerous political climate in southern Russia, to build an island in the middle of the Black Sea (shown above in an artist’s rendering) to house the world’s athletes at the Sochi games in 2014.

The irony cannot be lost on anyone: The world’s largest country, in terms of land mass, doesn’t have any suitable acreage on which to house the athletes, either in terms of ambiance or security, so it has to isolate them in the middle of the sea. And it can’t build the island itself, it has to bring in the Japanese to do it.

When one considers Russia’s plans to send manned flights to Mars and colonize the Moon together with its Russia-shaped artificial archipelago (to say nothing of Russia’s astronomical military spending and universal conscription), one cannot fail to be outraged. Here is a country where the average man works for less than $4/hour and does not live to see his 60th year. A country whose population falls by hundreds of thousands every year and which yet holds the world’s largest territory in its clutches as if to allow one grain of sand to escape would mean disaster. A country whose people are plagued by double-digit inflation and an unspeakable array of diseases from bird flu to Hemorrhagic Fever. And it is planning to spend $6.2 billion — yes, that’s right, billion with a “B” — to build an artificial island shaped like itself.

What we see in Russia today is exactly what we saw three or four decades ago: A country which has brutally crushed all forms of dissent and hence all flows of information, a country with a government increasingly unhinged from reality, making policies that can only lead to the nation’s downfall. Have Russians learned nothing from the mistakes that led to the obliteration of the USSR? Do they think that it was just bad luck that caused the USSR to implode, and that this time they’ll get it right?

Those who think such thoughts could not be in the heads of today’s Russians simply haven’t met them. And indeed, an even more dire analysis would predict that Russians are fully aware that their government is pursuing self-destructive policies, and say nothing because they are hellbent on national suicide. Most dire of all, another analysis might suggest that Russians know their government is on a path to ruin, just as in the times of Stalin, but are simply too cowardly to stop it.

EDITORIAL: Putin’s Folly

EDITORIAL

Putin’s Folly

It would be farcical and amusing if it were not so very sad and outrageous.

We report below on Russia’s plans, in light of the threats it faces because of the increasingly dangerous political climate in southern Russia, to build an island in the middle of the Black Sea (shown above in an artist’s rendering) to house the world’s athletes at the Sochi games in 2014.

The irony cannot be lost on anyone: The world’s largest country, in terms of land mass, doesn’t have any suitable acreage on which to house the athletes, either in terms of ambiance or security, so it has to isolate them in the middle of the sea. And it can’t build the island itself, it has to bring in the Japanese to do it.

When one considers Russia’s plans to send manned flights to Mars and colonize the Moon together with its Russia-shaped artificial archipelago (to say nothing of Russia’s astronomical military spending and universal conscription), one cannot fail to be outraged. Here is a country where the average man works for less than $4/hour and does not live to see his 60th year. A country whose population falls by hundreds of thousands every year and which yet holds the world’s largest territory in its clutches as if to allow one grain of sand to escape would mean disaster. A country whose people are plagued by double-digit inflation and an unspeakable array of diseases from bird flu to Hemorrhagic Fever. And it is planning to spend $6.2 billion — yes, that’s right, billion with a “B” — to build an artificial island shaped like itself.

What we see in Russia today is exactly what we saw three or four decades ago: A country which has brutally crushed all forms of dissent and hence all flows of information, a country with a government increasingly unhinged from reality, making policies that can only lead to the nation’s downfall. Have Russians learned nothing from the mistakes that led to the obliteration of the USSR? Do they think that it was just bad luck that caused the USSR to implode, and that this time they’ll get it right?

Those who think such thoughts could not be in the heads of today’s Russians simply haven’t met them. And indeed, an even more dire analysis would predict that Russians are fully aware that their government is pursuing self-destructive policies, and say nothing because they are hellbent on national suicide. Most dire of all, another analysis might suggest that Russians know their government is on a path to ruin, just as in the times of Stalin, but are simply too cowardly to stop it.

Annals of "Pacified" Chechnya: Top Cop Gunned Down

Russia has apparently recognized that it cannot house Olympic athletes anywhere on mainland Russia during the Sochi 2014 games, so the country with the world’s largest amount of territory now needs to build an island in the middle of the Black Sea in order to have suitable and secure premises for them to dwell on. Of course, Russia can’t do the work itself and has to hire the Japanese. Any doubts as the the possible horrors that may result when the games convene are quickly dispelled by reading the news of the day, which the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor reports:

The head of Kabardino-Balkaria’s regional anti-organized crime directorate Colonel Anatoly Kyarov, was shot to death along with his bodyguard on the evening of January 12 when their car came under fire near the headquarters of the republic’s drug control department in Nalchik, the republican capital. Kyarov’s driver and two bystanders were wounded in the attack. According to investigators, gunmen located in two firing positions shot at Kyarov’s car 101 times using automatic weapons of various calibers (Gazeta.ru, January 14). According to one account, Kyarov managed to get out of the car and return fire using his pistol before receiving a fatal gunshot wound to the head (Kommersant, January 14).

According to a statement posted on the separatist Kavkaz-Center website on January 13, the killing of Kyarov was apparently a botched attempt to assassinate Federal Security Service (FSB) Director Nikolai Patrushev. The statement quoted “a source in the headquarters of the Caucasian Front of the Armed forces of the Caucasus Emirate” as saying that a group of “mujahideen” had carried out a “special operation to liquidate the ringleader of the Lubyanka FSB gang Patrushev.” The statement continued: “The source stated that, according to mujahideen counter-intelligence operational information, Patrushev was supposed to travel secretly along a route in Nalchik as part of a so-called ‘anti-terrorist exercise’ that was carried out in recent days by forces of the ‘FSB RF’ gang.” According to some Russian media, Patrushev was in Kabardino-Balkaria on January 12 for FSB military exercises in the republic, in which he and a group of FSB commandos reportedly landed on Mount Elbrus. Kommersant, however, quoted unnamed FSB sources as saying that Patrushev had headed an FSB spetsnaz landing on Mount Elbrus on January 6 but was not in Nalchik on January 12, the day Anatoly Kyarov and his bodyguard were murdered. However, Gazeta.ru reported that Patrushev was in the republic on January 12 (Gazeta.ru, January 14).

Whatever the case, Islamic militants in Kabardino-Balkaria had motives for killing Anatoly Kyarov. Kavkaz-Center, citing “sources in Nalchik,” described Kyarov as “one of the most active enemies of the Caucasus Emirate, on whose hands was the blood of hundreds of tortured Muslims” and had apparently tried to do so before.

According to Kommersant, under Kyarov’s command, the Kabardino-Balkaria Interior Ministry’s anti-organized crime directorate (UBOP) had taken the lead in the fight against the armed Islamic underground in the republic, including the Yarmuk jamaat and militants under the command of Anzor Astemirov, who is accused of organizing the October 13, 2005, armed attack in Nalchik, in which 92 militants, 35 law-enforcement officers, and 15 civilians were killed. Kabardino-Balkaria’s Supreme Court has been holding preliminary hearings in the cases of those accused of participating in the Nalchik violence (Nezavisimaya gazeta, January 14). Kyarov was also investigating the murder of nine hunters, apparently by militants, in the republic last November. President Vladimir Putin personally decorated Kyarov with the Order of Courage in November 2006 (Kommersant, January 14).

However, Kommersant also quoted lawyers for those accused of involvement in the October 2005 Nalchik uprising as saying their clients and relatives of those accused of participating in the uprising had appealed to the federal Prosecutor General’s Office to prosecute the heads of the Kabardino-Balkaria’s law-enforcement bodies, and above all Kyarov, for “violating the rights of believers” and religious discrimination. They claim Kyarov and his subordinates drew up so-called “Wahhabi lists” that included dozens of young people, who were subsequently detained, beaten and sometimes simply disappeared. For example, in October 2005, 500 residents of the village of Khasanya held a protest in front of the republican government building in Nalchik demanding the release of Rasul Tsakoev, a 26-year-old known in his village as an observant Muslim who had been taken to UBOP headquarters by masked abductors. After several days, Tsakoev was released “half-dead” and soon died, but not before claiming that he had been beaten and tortured on the orders of Kyarov – who, he said, wanted him to confess to being a rebel accomplice. Tsakoev’s relatives managed to get a criminal case launched against UBOP, but it was eventually closed down. Tsakoev’s family recently filed a complaint against Russia with the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

According to Kommersant, the first attempt on Colonel Anatoly Kyarov’s life – a bombing near his home – took place not long after the death of Rasul Tsakoev. Kyarov was not injured in the bombing, but from that point on he was accompanied everywhere by bodyguards.

As Kommersant noted, the lawyers of those on trial for the October 2005 Nalchik uprising say that it was launched in response to local law-enforcement brutality against Muslims who are not controlled by the government-approved Spiritual Board of Muslims. The newspaper quoted Geidar Dzhamal, chairman of the Islamic Committee of Russia, as saying that the law-enforcement bodies in Kabardino-Balkaria are likely to respond to Kyarov’s murder with “mass zachistki [security sweeps] and arrests” (Kommersant, January 14).

Annals of Russian Extinction

The United Nations Development Program has produced the following stats for its 2007/2008 report. For some reason they don’t give their average male life expectancy in numerical order, so we sorted it on Excel. To see it like this is extraordinary — Russia (#130 on a list of 173 countries) is two places above Haiti and two below Yemen.

World Rank Country 2005
1 Iceland 79.9
2 Hong Kong, China (SAR) 79.1
3 Japan 78.7
4 Australia 78.5
5 Switzerland 78.5
6 Sweden 78.3
7 Israel 78.1
8 Canada 77.9
9 New Zealand 77.7
10 Singapore 77.5
11 Norway 77.3
12 Spain 77.2
13 Italy 77.2
14 Netherlands 76.9
15 Malta 76.8
16 United Arab Emirates 76.8
17 United Kingdom 76.7
18 Greece 76.7
19 France 76.6
20 Cyprus 76.6
21 Austria 76.5
22 Germany 76.2
23 Costa Rica 76.2
24 Ireland 76
25 Belgium 75.8
26 Cuba 75.8
27 Kuwait 75.7
28 Finland 75.6
29 Denmark 75.5
30 Luxembourg 75.4
31 Chile 75.3
32 United States 75.2
33 Brunei Darussalam 74.6
34 Qatar 74.6
35 Portugal 74.5
36 Korea (Republic of) 74.3
37 Bahrain 73.9
38 Slovenia 73.6
39 Barbados 73.6
40 Oman 73.6
41 Mexico 73.1
42 Albania 73.1
43 Belize 73.1
44 Czech Republic 72.7
45 Panama 72.7
46 Uruguay 72.2
47 Viet Nam 71.9
48 Croatia 71.8
49 Tonga 71.8
50 Bosnia and Herzegovina 71.8
51 Ecuador 71.8
52 Syrian Arab Republic 71.8
53 Tunisia 71.5
54 Malaysia 71.4
55 Macedonia (TFYR) 71.4
56 Saint Lucia 71.3
57 Occupied Palestinian Territories 71.3
58 Argentina 71.1
59 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya 71.1
60 Poland 71
61 China 71
62 Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of) 70.4
63 Algeria 70.4
64 Slovakia 70.3
65 Saudi Arabia 70.3
66 Jordan 70.3
67 Bahamas 69.6
68 Jamaica 69.6
69 Lebanon 69.4
70 Bulgaria 69.2
71 Paraguay 69.2
72 Mauritius 69.1
73 Turkey 69
74 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 69
75 Nicaragua 69
76 Philippines 68.9
77 Hungary 68.8
78 Colombia 68.7
79 Iran (Islamic Republic of) 68.7
80 Dominican Republic 68.6
81 Egypt 68.5
82 Romania 68.4
83 Morocco 68.3
84 Armenia 68.2
85 Peru 68.2
86 El Salvador 68.2
87 Brazil 68.1
88 Sri Lanka 67.9
89 Samoa 67.8
90 Indonesia 67.8
91 Cape Verde 67.5
92 Vanuatu 67.5
93 Trinidad and Tobago 67.2
94 Lithuania 66.9
95 Georgia 66.7
96 Maldives 66.6
97 Latvia 66.5
98 Grenada 66.5
99 Suriname 66.4
100 Guatemala 66.2
101 Fiji 66.1
102 Honduras 65.8
103 Estonia 65.5
104 Thailand 65
105 Moldova 64.7
106 Pakistan 64.3
107 Tajikistan 63.8
108 Uzbekistan 63.6
109 Azerbaijan 63.5
110 Bhutan 63.1
111 Sao Tome and Principe 63
112 Mongolia 62.8
113 Belarus 62.7
114 Bolivia 62.6
115 Guyana 62.4
116 India 62.3
117 Bangladesh 62.3
118 Solomon Islands 62.2
119 Nepal 62.1
120 Ukraine 62
121 Comoros 62
122 Lao People’s Democratic Republic 61.9
123 Kyrgyzstan 61.7
124 Mauritania 61.5
125 Kazakhstan 60.5
126 Senegal 60.4
127 Yemen 60
128 Timor-Leste 58.9
129 Ghana 58.7
130 Russian Federation 58.6
131 Turkmenistan 58.5
132 Haiti 57.7
133 Gambia 57.7
134 Myanmar 57.6
135 Madagascar 56.7
136 Niger 56.7
137 Sudan 56
138 Togo 56
139 Gabon 55.6
140 Cambodia 55.2
141 Papua New Guinea 54.3
142 Benin 54.1
143 Eritrea 54
144 Guinea 53.2
145 Congo 52.8
146 Djibouti 52.6
147 Kenya 51.1
148 Namibia 50.9
149 Mali 50.8
150 Ethiopia 50.5
151 Tanzania (United Republic of) 50
152 Burkina Faso 49.8
153 South Africa 49.5
154 Cameroon 49.4
155 Equatorial Guinea 49.1
156 Uganda 49.1
157 Chad 49
158 Botswana 47.6
159 Burundi 47.1
160 Côte d’Ivoire 46.5
161 Nigeria 46
162 Malawi 46
163 Congo (Democratic Republic of the) 44.4
164 Guinea-Bissau 44.2
165 Rwanda 43.6
166 Central African Republic 42.3
167 Lesotho 42.1
168 Mozambique 42
169 Zimbabwe 41.4
170 Swaziland 40.4
171 Zambia 40.3
172 Sierra Leone 40.2
173 Angola 40.1