Daily Archives: January 18, 2008

January 18, 2008 — Contents

FRIDAY JANUARY 18 CONTENTS

(1) EDITORIAL: Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

(2) Another International Evaluation, Another Pathetic Failing Grade for Putin’s Russia

(3) Annals of Hypocritical Russian Elections Fraud

(4) From Russia with Spite

(5) Annals of the Neo-Soviet Crackdown on Journalism

(6) Putin’s KGB and Bin Laden’s Al Quaeda

NOTE: Oborona is now reporting that the Russian authorities are insisting on subjecting Oleg Kozlovsky to yet another round of medical examinations prior to ruling on his claim for discharge on medical grounds, despite their own medical authority having already concluded he is unfit for duty except in time of war. Russian speakers can listen to an interview here.

EDITORIAL: Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

EDITORIAL

Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

The Moscow Times reported on Wednesday that a Russian movie called “The Irony of Fate II” (a/k/a “The Continuation”) is on track to become the highest-grossing Russian movie in history, perhaps exceeding $50 million at the box office (in the photo at left, a couple sits on a bench below a billboard advertisement for the film in Moscow).

The story is noteworthy for four reasons.

First, it’s a nice insight into the nature of the “resurgent” Russian economy. The MT states: “The previous record was held by the 2006 supernatural thriller Day Watch, which earned just under $35 million, trailed by last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” with $31.8 million.” So the number three “Russian” movie is actually American, and the number one movie’s take wouldn’t put it in the top 1,000 U.S. top-grossers. The MT states: “Total ticket sales were $565 million in 2007, compared with $412 million in 2006, according to Russian Film Business Today.” That’s nice. But U.S. box office receipts were also up in 2006 for instance — nearly 1.5 billion tickets were sold that year and revenues were nearly $10 billion, up 5% from the prior year. These numbers are in almost exact alignment with the disparity between the two countries’ overall economies.

Second, the MT states: “The new box-office champion is a sequel to Eldar Ryazanov’s 1975 television film The Irony of Fate, a story of love and mistaken identity that has become a holiday tradition, having been broadcast every New Year’s Eve since its premiere.” Yes, that’s right, this is a remake of a Soviet film, one that Russians show every year on TV the way Americans show It’s a Wonderful Life. And “modern” Russians are flocking to see it in droves. Do Germans fondly recall the feel-good films made during the reign of mass-murderer Adolf Hitler,and show them every year at holiday time with fond nostalgia for the good old days gone by? We don’t think so. It’s odd, therefore, that Russians would even think of doing this. And it’s pretty telling that there is such a strong vein of this nostalgia in Russia even today, and that so few people in Russia are willing to say they have a problem with it.

Thirdly, the MT states that the film was produced by a company owned by Russia’s Channel One television — which in turn is owned and operated by the Russian government itself. The MT states: “Irony of Fate II” was made on a budget of $5 million, with an additional $4.5 million spent on promotion. State-owned Channel One made heavy use of its television resources to promote the film, airing documentaries about the making of the film and mentioning it in news broadcasts.” So it’s not just anyone that is dredging up this Soviet nostalgia, it’s the government itself — and apparently it is moving into the movie business just as it has completed to total takeover of television and print media establishments. How neo-Soviet can you get?

And fourth, the MT states: “Industry experts warned that Russian box-office results should be taken with a grain of salt because they come from self-reporting by producers and distributors, who have an incentive to overstate the success of their films. ‘Companies want to sell the television rights to their films, so naturally they inflate the figures. There is no electronic system for confirming the results.’ said Sergei Lavrov, head of statistics for Russian Film Business Today, a trade publication. ” In other words, as is almost always the case in Russia, this is pseudo-data, a best-case scenario, and totally unreliable. Russia is fully neo-Soviet. Just like the USSR, it is virtually incapable of even collecting meaningful, reliable data about itself, and on the rare occasions when it does so it then perverts and twists the data for political reasons until it is just a sick joke. Thus blind, it is incapable of reform and doomed to destroy itself.

We report today that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom fell fourteen places this year compared to last. At #134 in the world, Russia’s position is much the same on that list as it is on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan. The fact that Russia cannot even manage to crack the top 100 nations of the world in either category is startlingly bleak proof of how backward and barbaric Vladimir Putin’s Russia really is. If one then considers that the Russian people laud him with 70%+ approval ratings in polls and elections, one can only see the people of Russia as lemmings rushing madly towards a cliff.

But you don’t have to review complicated statistics and data in order to see what a mess Putin’s Russia is. All you have to do is simply go to the movies.

EDITORIAL: Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

EDITORIAL

Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

The Moscow Times reported on Wednesday that a Russian movie called “The Irony of Fate II” (a/k/a “The Continuation”) is on track to become the highest-grossing Russian movie in history, perhaps exceeding $50 million at the box office (in the photo at left, a couple sits on a bench below a billboard advertisement for the film in Moscow).

The story is noteworthy for four reasons.

First, it’s a nice insight into the nature of the “resurgent” Russian economy. The MT states: “The previous record was held by the 2006 supernatural thriller Day Watch, which earned just under $35 million, trailed by last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” with $31.8 million.” So the number three “Russian” movie is actually American, and the number one movie’s take wouldn’t put it in the top 1,000 U.S. top-grossers. The MT states: “Total ticket sales were $565 million in 2007, compared with $412 million in 2006, according to Russian Film Business Today.” That’s nice. But U.S. box office receipts were also up in 2006 for instance — nearly 1.5 billion tickets were sold that year and revenues were nearly $10 billion, up 5% from the prior year. These numbers are in almost exact alignment with the disparity between the two countries’ overall economies.

Second, the MT states: “The new box-office champion is a sequel to Eldar Ryazanov’s 1975 television film The Irony of Fate, a story of love and mistaken identity that has become a holiday tradition, having been broadcast every New Year’s Eve since its premiere.” Yes, that’s right, this is a remake of a Soviet film, one that Russians show every year on TV the way Americans show It’s a Wonderful Life. And “modern” Russians are flocking to see it in droves. Do Germans fondly recall the feel-good films made during the reign of mass-murderer Adolf Hitler,and show them every year at holiday time with fond nostalgia for the good old days gone by? We don’t think so. It’s odd, therefore, that Russians would even think of doing this. And it’s pretty telling that there is such a strong vein of this nostalgia in Russia even today, and that so few people in Russia are willing to say they have a problem with it.

Thirdly, the MT states that the film was produced by a company owned by Russia’s Channel One television — which in turn is owned and operated by the Russian government itself. The MT states: “Irony of Fate II” was made on a budget of $5 million, with an additional $4.5 million spent on promotion. State-owned Channel One made heavy use of its television resources to promote the film, airing documentaries about the making of the film and mentioning it in news broadcasts.” So it’s not just anyone that is dredging up this Soviet nostalgia, it’s the government itself — and apparently it is moving into the movie business just as it has completed to total takeover of television and print media establishments. How neo-Soviet can you get?

And fourth, the MT states: “Industry experts warned that Russian box-office results should be taken with a grain of salt because they come from self-reporting by producers and distributors, who have an incentive to overstate the success of their films. ‘Companies want to sell the television rights to their films, so naturally they inflate the figures. There is no electronic system for confirming the results.’ said Sergei Lavrov, head of statistics for Russian Film Business Today, a trade publication. ” In other words, as is almost always the case in Russia, this is pseudo-data, a best-case scenario, and totally unreliable. Russia is fully neo-Soviet. Just like the USSR, it is virtually incapable of even collecting meaningful, reliable data about itself, and on the rare occasions when it does so it then perverts and twists the data for political reasons until it is just a sick joke. Thus blind, it is incapable of reform and doomed to destroy itself.

We report today that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom fell fourteen places this year compared to last. At #134 in the world, Russia’s position is much the same on that list as it is on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan. The fact that Russia cannot even manage to crack the top 100 nations of the world in either category is startlingly bleak proof of how backward and barbaric Vladimir Putin’s Russia really is. If one then considers that the Russian people laud him with 70%+ approval ratings in polls and elections, one can only see the people of Russia as lemmings rushing madly towards a cliff.

But you don’t have to review complicated statistics and data in order to see what a mess Putin’s Russia is. All you have to do is simply go to the movies.

EDITORIAL: Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

EDITORIAL

Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

The Moscow Times reported on Wednesday that a Russian movie called “The Irony of Fate II” (a/k/a “The Continuation”) is on track to become the highest-grossing Russian movie in history, perhaps exceeding $50 million at the box office (in the photo at left, a couple sits on a bench below a billboard advertisement for the film in Moscow).

The story is noteworthy for four reasons.

First, it’s a nice insight into the nature of the “resurgent” Russian economy. The MT states: “The previous record was held by the 2006 supernatural thriller Day Watch, which earned just under $35 million, trailed by last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” with $31.8 million.” So the number three “Russian” movie is actually American, and the number one movie’s take wouldn’t put it in the top 1,000 U.S. top-grossers. The MT states: “Total ticket sales were $565 million in 2007, compared with $412 million in 2006, according to Russian Film Business Today.” That’s nice. But U.S. box office receipts were also up in 2006 for instance — nearly 1.5 billion tickets were sold that year and revenues were nearly $10 billion, up 5% from the prior year. These numbers are in almost exact alignment with the disparity between the two countries’ overall economies.

Second, the MT states: “The new box-office champion is a sequel to Eldar Ryazanov’s 1975 television film The Irony of Fate, a story of love and mistaken identity that has become a holiday tradition, having been broadcast every New Year’s Eve since its premiere.” Yes, that’s right, this is a remake of a Soviet film, one that Russians show every year on TV the way Americans show It’s a Wonderful Life. And “modern” Russians are flocking to see it in droves. Do Germans fondly recall the feel-good films made during the reign of mass-murderer Adolf Hitler,and show them every year at holiday time with fond nostalgia for the good old days gone by? We don’t think so. It’s odd, therefore, that Russians would even think of doing this. And it’s pretty telling that there is such a strong vein of this nostalgia in Russia even today, and that so few people in Russia are willing to say they have a problem with it.

Thirdly, the MT states that the film was produced by a company owned by Russia’s Channel One television — which in turn is owned and operated by the Russian government itself. The MT states: “Irony of Fate II” was made on a budget of $5 million, with an additional $4.5 million spent on promotion. State-owned Channel One made heavy use of its television resources to promote the film, airing documentaries about the making of the film and mentioning it in news broadcasts.” So it’s not just anyone that is dredging up this Soviet nostalgia, it’s the government itself — and apparently it is moving into the movie business just as it has completed to total takeover of television and print media establishments. How neo-Soviet can you get?

And fourth, the MT states: “Industry experts warned that Russian box-office results should be taken with a grain of salt because they come from self-reporting by producers and distributors, who have an incentive to overstate the success of their films. ‘Companies want to sell the television rights to their films, so naturally they inflate the figures. There is no electronic system for confirming the results.’ said Sergei Lavrov, head of statistics for Russian Film Business Today, a trade publication. ” In other words, as is almost always the case in Russia, this is pseudo-data, a best-case scenario, and totally unreliable. Russia is fully neo-Soviet. Just like the USSR, it is virtually incapable of even collecting meaningful, reliable data about itself, and on the rare occasions when it does so it then perverts and twists the data for political reasons until it is just a sick joke. Thus blind, it is incapable of reform and doomed to destroy itself.

We report today that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom fell fourteen places this year compared to last. At #134 in the world, Russia’s position is much the same on that list as it is on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan. The fact that Russia cannot even manage to crack the top 100 nations of the world in either category is startlingly bleak proof of how backward and barbaric Vladimir Putin’s Russia really is. If one then considers that the Russian people laud him with 70%+ approval ratings in polls and elections, one can only see the people of Russia as lemmings rushing madly towards a cliff.

But you don’t have to review complicated statistics and data in order to see what a mess Putin’s Russia is. All you have to do is simply go to the movies.

EDITORIAL: Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

EDITORIAL

Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

The Moscow Times reported on Wednesday that a Russian movie called “The Irony of Fate II” (a/k/a “The Continuation”) is on track to become the highest-grossing Russian movie in history, perhaps exceeding $50 million at the box office (in the photo at left, a couple sits on a bench below a billboard advertisement for the film in Moscow).

The story is noteworthy for four reasons.

First, it’s a nice insight into the nature of the “resurgent” Russian economy. The MT states: “The previous record was held by the 2006 supernatural thriller Day Watch, which earned just under $35 million, trailed by last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” with $31.8 million.” So the number three “Russian” movie is actually American, and the number one movie’s take wouldn’t put it in the top 1,000 U.S. top-grossers. The MT states: “Total ticket sales were $565 million in 2007, compared with $412 million in 2006, according to Russian Film Business Today.” That’s nice. But U.S. box office receipts were also up in 2006 for instance — nearly 1.5 billion tickets were sold that year and revenues were nearly $10 billion, up 5% from the prior year. These numbers are in almost exact alignment with the disparity between the two countries’ overall economies.

Second, the MT states: “The new box-office champion is a sequel to Eldar Ryazanov’s 1975 television film The Irony of Fate, a story of love and mistaken identity that has become a holiday tradition, having been broadcast every New Year’s Eve since its premiere.” Yes, that’s right, this is a remake of a Soviet film, one that Russians show every year on TV the way Americans show It’s a Wonderful Life. And “modern” Russians are flocking to see it in droves. Do Germans fondly recall the feel-good films made during the reign of mass-murderer Adolf Hitler,and show them every year at holiday time with fond nostalgia for the good old days gone by? We don’t think so. It’s odd, therefore, that Russians would even think of doing this. And it’s pretty telling that there is such a strong vein of this nostalgia in Russia even today, and that so few people in Russia are willing to say they have a problem with it.

Thirdly, the MT states that the film was produced by a company owned by Russia’s Channel One television — which in turn is owned and operated by the Russian government itself. The MT states: “Irony of Fate II” was made on a budget of $5 million, with an additional $4.5 million spent on promotion. State-owned Channel One made heavy use of its television resources to promote the film, airing documentaries about the making of the film and mentioning it in news broadcasts.” So it’s not just anyone that is dredging up this Soviet nostalgia, it’s the government itself — and apparently it is moving into the movie business just as it has completed to total takeover of television and print media establishments. How neo-Soviet can you get?

And fourth, the MT states: “Industry experts warned that Russian box-office results should be taken with a grain of salt because they come from self-reporting by producers and distributors, who have an incentive to overstate the success of their films. ‘Companies want to sell the television rights to their films, so naturally they inflate the figures. There is no electronic system for confirming the results.’ said Sergei Lavrov, head of statistics for Russian Film Business Today, a trade publication. ” In other words, as is almost always the case in Russia, this is pseudo-data, a best-case scenario, and totally unreliable. Russia is fully neo-Soviet. Just like the USSR, it is virtually incapable of even collecting meaningful, reliable data about itself, and on the rare occasions when it does so it then perverts and twists the data for political reasons until it is just a sick joke. Thus blind, it is incapable of reform and doomed to destroy itself.

We report today that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom fell fourteen places this year compared to last. At #134 in the world, Russia’s position is much the same on that list as it is on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan. The fact that Russia cannot even manage to crack the top 100 nations of the world in either category is startlingly bleak proof of how backward and barbaric Vladimir Putin’s Russia really is. If one then considers that the Russian people laud him with 70%+ approval ratings in polls and elections, one can only see the people of Russia as lemmings rushing madly towards a cliff.

But you don’t have to review complicated statistics and data in order to see what a mess Putin’s Russia is. All you have to do is simply go to the movies.

EDITORIAL: Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

EDITORIAL

Russia’s (Faux) Silver (Plated) Screen

The Moscow Times reported on Wednesday that a Russian movie called “The Irony of Fate II” (a/k/a “The Continuation”) is on track to become the highest-grossing Russian movie in history, perhaps exceeding $50 million at the box office (in the photo at left, a couple sits on a bench below a billboard advertisement for the film in Moscow).

The story is noteworthy for four reasons.

First, it’s a nice insight into the nature of the “resurgent” Russian economy. The MT states: “The previous record was held by the 2006 supernatural thriller Day Watch, which earned just under $35 million, trailed by last year’s Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End,” with $31.8 million.” So the number three “Russian” movie is actually American, and the number one movie’s take wouldn’t put it in the top 1,000 U.S. top-grossers. The MT states: “Total ticket sales were $565 million in 2007, compared with $412 million in 2006, according to Russian Film Business Today.” That’s nice. But U.S. box office receipts were also up in 2006 for instance — nearly 1.5 billion tickets were sold that year and revenues were nearly $10 billion, up 5% from the prior year. These numbers are in almost exact alignment with the disparity between the two countries’ overall economies.

Second, the MT states: “The new box-office champion is a sequel to Eldar Ryazanov’s 1975 television film The Irony of Fate, a story of love and mistaken identity that has become a holiday tradition, having been broadcast every New Year’s Eve since its premiere.” Yes, that’s right, this is a remake of a Soviet film, one that Russians show every year on TV the way Americans show It’s a Wonderful Life. And “modern” Russians are flocking to see it in droves. Do Germans fondly recall the feel-good films made during the reign of mass-murderer Adolf Hitler,and show them every year at holiday time with fond nostalgia for the good old days gone by? We don’t think so. It’s odd, therefore, that Russians would even think of doing this. And it’s pretty telling that there is such a strong vein of this nostalgia in Russia even today, and that so few people in Russia are willing to say they have a problem with it.

Thirdly, the MT states that the film was produced by a company owned by Russia’s Channel One television — which in turn is owned and operated by the Russian government itself. The MT states: “Irony of Fate II” was made on a budget of $5 million, with an additional $4.5 million spent on promotion. State-owned Channel One made heavy use of its television resources to promote the film, airing documentaries about the making of the film and mentioning it in news broadcasts.” So it’s not just anyone that is dredging up this Soviet nostalgia, it’s the government itself — and apparently it is moving into the movie business just as it has completed to total takeover of television and print media establishments. How neo-Soviet can you get?

And fourth, the MT states: “Industry experts warned that Russian box-office results should be taken with a grain of salt because they come from self-reporting by producers and distributors, who have an incentive to overstate the success of their films. ‘Companies want to sell the television rights to their films, so naturally they inflate the figures. There is no electronic system for confirming the results.’ said Sergei Lavrov, head of statistics for Russian Film Business Today, a trade publication. ” In other words, as is almost always the case in Russia, this is pseudo-data, a best-case scenario, and totally unreliable. Russia is fully neo-Soviet. Just like the USSR, it is virtually incapable of even collecting meaningful, reliable data about itself, and on the rare occasions when it does so it then perverts and twists the data for political reasons until it is just a sick joke. Thus blind, it is incapable of reform and doomed to destroy itself.

We report today that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom fell fourteen places this year compared to last. At #134 in the world, Russia’s position is much the same on that list as it is on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan. The fact that Russia cannot even manage to crack the top 100 nations of the world in either category is startlingly bleak proof of how backward and barbaric Vladimir Putin’s Russia really is. If one then considers that the Russian people laud him with 70%+ approval ratings in polls and elections, one can only see the people of Russia as lemmings rushing madly towards a cliff.

But you don’t have to review complicated statistics and data in order to see what a mess Putin’s Russia is. All you have to do is simply go to the movies.

Another International Evaluation, Another Pathetic Failing Grade for Putin’s Russia

Other Russia reports that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom is roughly the same as its place on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan:

Russia has taken 134th place in the latest ranking of counties by economic freedom. The findings were published in the annual Index of Economic Freedom, a joint report of the U.S.-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. A total of 155 countries were included in the survey.

Of the countries comprising the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), only Belarus and Turkmenistan were ranked below Russia. Armenia stood in 28th place, Kyrgyzstan 70th, Kazakhstan 76th, and Moldova 89th.

Hong Kong took first place in this year’s results, receiving a metric of 90.6 out of 100 (Russia received a 49.9). Singapore and Ireland were second and third, respectively, and the United States and Austria filled out the top-five countries.

In the previous Index, Russia was situated between China and Nepal at 120th place. The document, now in its 14th year, rates countries based on 10 criteria, including “investment freedom,” “government expenditures” and “freedom of trade”. Russia’s lowest measure was “freedom from corruption.” On the other end, Russia ranked 5th in the world for “fiscal freedom.”

The paper’s authors assert that freedom of a country’s economy and the pace of its development are directly correlated.

Another International Evaluation, Another Pathetic Failing Grade for Putin’s Russia

Other Russia reports that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom is roughly the same as its place on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan:

Russia has taken 134th place in the latest ranking of counties by economic freedom. The findings were published in the annual Index of Economic Freedom, a joint report of the U.S.-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. A total of 155 countries were included in the survey.

Of the countries comprising the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), only Belarus and Turkmenistan were ranked below Russia. Armenia stood in 28th place, Kyrgyzstan 70th, Kazakhstan 76th, and Moldova 89th.

Hong Kong took first place in this year’s results, receiving a metric of 90.6 out of 100 (Russia received a 49.9). Singapore and Ireland were second and third, respectively, and the United States and Austria filled out the top-five countries.

In the previous Index, Russia was situated between China and Nepal at 120th place. The document, now in its 14th year, rates countries based on 10 criteria, including “investment freedom,” “government expenditures” and “freedom of trade”. Russia’s lowest measure was “freedom from corruption.” On the other end, Russia ranked 5th in the world for “fiscal freedom.”

The paper’s authors assert that freedom of a country’s economy and the pace of its development are directly correlated.

Another International Evaluation, Another Pathetic Failing Grade for Putin’s Russia

Other Russia reports that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom is roughly the same as its place on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan:

Russia has taken 134th place in the latest ranking of counties by economic freedom. The findings were published in the annual Index of Economic Freedom, a joint report of the U.S.-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. A total of 155 countries were included in the survey.

Of the countries comprising the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), only Belarus and Turkmenistan were ranked below Russia. Armenia stood in 28th place, Kyrgyzstan 70th, Kazakhstan 76th, and Moldova 89th.

Hong Kong took first place in this year’s results, receiving a metric of 90.6 out of 100 (Russia received a 49.9). Singapore and Ireland were second and third, respectively, and the United States and Austria filled out the top-five countries.

In the previous Index, Russia was situated between China and Nepal at 120th place. The document, now in its 14th year, rates countries based on 10 criteria, including “investment freedom,” “government expenditures” and “freedom of trade”. Russia’s lowest measure was “freedom from corruption.” On the other end, Russia ranked 5th in the world for “fiscal freedom.”

The paper’s authors assert that freedom of a country’s economy and the pace of its development are directly correlated.

Another International Evaluation, Another Pathetic Failing Grade for Putin’s Russia

Other Russia reports that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom is roughly the same as its place on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan:

Russia has taken 134th place in the latest ranking of counties by economic freedom. The findings were published in the annual Index of Economic Freedom, a joint report of the U.S.-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. A total of 155 countries were included in the survey.

Of the countries comprising the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), only Belarus and Turkmenistan were ranked below Russia. Armenia stood in 28th place, Kyrgyzstan 70th, Kazakhstan 76th, and Moldova 89th.

Hong Kong took first place in this year’s results, receiving a metric of 90.6 out of 100 (Russia received a 49.9). Singapore and Ireland were second and third, respectively, and the United States and Austria filled out the top-five countries.

In the previous Index, Russia was situated between China and Nepal at 120th place. The document, now in its 14th year, rates countries based on 10 criteria, including “investment freedom,” “government expenditures” and “freedom of trade”. Russia’s lowest measure was “freedom from corruption.” On the other end, Russia ranked 5th in the world for “fiscal freedom.”

The paper’s authors assert that freedom of a country’s economy and the pace of its development are directly correlated.

Another International Evaluation, Another Pathetic Failing Grade for Putin’s Russia

Other Russia reports that Russia’s place on the list of countries ranked by economic freedom is roughly the same as its place on the list of countries ranked by male adult lifespan:

Russia has taken 134th place in the latest ranking of counties by economic freedom. The findings were published in the annual Index of Economic Freedom, a joint report of the U.S.-based Heritage Foundation and the Wall Street Journal. A total of 155 countries were included in the survey.

Of the countries comprising the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), only Belarus and Turkmenistan were ranked below Russia. Armenia stood in 28th place, Kyrgyzstan 70th, Kazakhstan 76th, and Moldova 89th.

Hong Kong took first place in this year’s results, receiving a metric of 90.6 out of 100 (Russia received a 49.9). Singapore and Ireland were second and third, respectively, and the United States and Austria filled out the top-five countries.

In the previous Index, Russia was situated between China and Nepal at 120th place. The document, now in its 14th year, rates countries based on 10 criteria, including “investment freedom,” “government expenditures” and “freedom of trade”. Russia’s lowest measure was “freedom from corruption.” On the other end, Russia ranked 5th in the world for “fiscal freedom.”

The paper’s authors assert that freedom of a country’s economy and the pace of its development are directly correlated.

Annals of Hypocritical Russian Elections Fraud

Writing on Radio Liberty, the always-brilliant Robert Coalson exposes the outrageously hypocritical nature of Russian “election” fraud:

Even as the Russian Foreign Ministry was condemning the January 5 presidential election in Georgia for alleged violations, the president-making machine in Moscow was swinging into action.

The ministry’s complaints about Georgia — that the vote saw “the widespread use of administrative resources, blatant pressure on the opposition candidates, and stringent restriction of access to financial and media resources” — pretty much sum up the Kremlin’s strategy for installing First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as the successor to Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin’s task in this case is easy. Polls show Medvedev already has the support of more than half of all voters and more than 70 percent of decided voters. In second place with some 13 percent of the vote, according to the Levada Center, is Putin himself, although he is not eligible to seek another term. Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov and Liberal Democratic Party of Russia leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky are languishing with 5-7 percent, while former Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov registers 1 percent or less.

Medvedev’s campaign — headed by Kremlin political guru and deputy presidential-administration head Vladislav Surkov — has begun to activate regional administrations in support of its aims. More than 60 regional leaders who agreed to head up the local party lists of the Unified Russia party before the December Duma elections are now being pressed to head the local Medvedev campaigns as well.

Securing Officials’ Support

It is a clear fusion of administrative muscle and political ambition, and illustrates exactly why this vertical of power — in which governors are directly dependent on the Kremlin — was created in the first place. As RFE/RL’s Russian Service reported on January 11, the purpose of Medvedev’s recent trips to the regions — he has made widely covered visits to Murmansk and Kaliningrad in recent days — is not to meet with voters but to establish working relations with local officials. In addition to the normal task of creating a plausible scenario to arrive at a predetermined percentage of the vote for Medvedev, governors will also have the more difficult task of persuading voters that the so-called national projects — sweeping reforms in the areas of housing, health care, education, and agriculture that Medvedev has overseen — have brought them benefits on the ground.

The yoking of the country’s administrative resources to the goals of Unified Russia proved powerfully effective in December. In Ingushetia, for instance, the local administration claimed that 98.35 percent of voters turned out in December, and 98.72 percent of them voted for Unified Russia. In the face of these unrealistic figures, local activists began collecting statements from voters who swore that they did not go to the polls at all. Last week, the movement announced it had collected such statements from more than 87,000 voters, about 54 percent of the republic’s entire electorate. The activists have said that if prosecutors refuse to investigate, they will take their complaint to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Although the likely levels of falsification in the North Caucasus — in war-torn Chechnya, 99 percent of voters came out, according to official figures, and 99.36 percent of them voted for Unified Russia — are colorfully extravagant, the pro-Kremlin forces benefited from administrative resources across the country. In the Duma elections, opposition party events were thwarted, election materials were impounded, demonstrations were banned, opposition candidates’ access to voters was restricted, and media support was as intensely biased toward the pro-Kremlin parties on the local level as on the national. As political analyst Sergei Markov told RFE/RL’s Russian Service, “you can’t have too many political resources.”

Meanwhile, the two candidates trying to make the ballot without the support of a party represented in the Duma — Kasyanov and Democratic Party leader Andrei Bogdanov — have been beavering away at the task of collecting the 2 million signatures required of such self-starters. Although the Democratic Party, usually seen as a Kremlin-backed pseudo-opposition group, picked up fewer than 90,000 votes in the Duma ballot, Bogdanov supporters claim they have already reached the 2 million goal. Kasyanov, on the other hand, is running up hard against the January 16 deadline. INDEM think tank analyst Yury Korgunyuk told “Vedomosti” that he thinks Kasyanov’s chances of getting his signatures approved by the Central Election Commission are practically zero.

Kremlin Machinations

Bogdanov recently told “Moskovsky komsomolets” that one Kremlin tactic is to pay off or infiltrate the companies that are hired by opposition campaigns to organize the collection of signatures. They submit a certain percentage of bad signatures that the commission has no trouble finding. Of course, such machinations are impossible to prove, but it is not hard to imagine that such consulting firms could see considerable benefits from being more loyal to the Kremlin political machine than to minor candidates who have no political future.

What is easy to prove is that the Kremlin-controlled media machine is already grinding away. “Nezavisimaya gazeta” wrote this week that the central television channels are already giving “complete supremacy” to Medvedev, and have succeeded in marginalizing the other candidates. The paper said the main channels mentioned Medvedev 344 times in the two weeks ending on January 13, while Zhirinovsky came in second with 96 references. While Medvedev received 12 full hours of coverage in the period, Kasyanov’s voice was heard on state television only twice during the two-week period, as opposed to Medvedev’s 172 times.

On January 26, the Central Election Commission will certify the final list of candidates and all indications are they will be Medvedev, Zyuganov, Zhirinovsky, and — for spice — Bogdanov. The campaign begins on February 2 and voting will be March 2. But Medvedev already won the election on December 10, with 100 percent of Putin’s vote.

From Russia with Spite

An editorial from the Times of London:

The polonium trail that started at the deathbed of Alexander Litvinenko and wound through West London’s sushi bars now extends, metaphorically at least, to the British Council’s two regional offices in Russia. The Kremlin wants them shut. It accuses the council of operating “outside its official status”. In reality, it is casting around for leverage in the escalating row over Scotland Yard’s attempt to extradite the chief suspect in the Litvinenko murder. The council has reopened its Yekaterinburg office in defiance of a Kremlin edict and plans to do the same in St Petersburg on Thursday. Yesterday, summoned to the Foreign Ministry to explain himself, the British Ambassador in Moscow gave warning that any further Russian actions against the British Council would be considered breaches of international law. Forget the OK Corral. For a primer in the art of the 21st-century showdown, look no further than a modest, fifth-floor office suite a few blocks from the Hermitage.

It beggars belief that an Anglo-Russian relationship relaunched in a blaze of Blairite bonhomie eight years ago should have sunk to this. The British Council’s connection to the Litvinenko affair is non-existent except insofar as its UK-appointed staff have diplomatic status. This, Moscow believes, gives grounds for reflexive attacks on the council’s operations whenever any aspect of the bilateral relationship is causing irritation, without risking a full diplomatic rupture. It is true that closing libraries and cultural centres may be less dangerous than shutting embassies. It is also true that Russia’s latest round of bullying is shot through with schoolyard spite, and entirely self-defeating.

In Russia, as elsewhere, the British Council exists to “connect people with learning opportunities and creative ideas from the UK”. This used to be called cultural diplomacy, but the phrase does little justice to a range of heavily oversubscribed services that include teacher training, educational exchanges, walk-in information centres and sponsorship of major arts events. Last year, half a million Russians were taught by British-Council-trained English teachers or visited a council centre or event, and another million accessed its web-based services. More than 40 young Russians travelled to Britain on pres-tigious university scholarships administered by the council, and 338,000 approached it for information about education in the UK.

It is not arrogance but common sense to observe that in an anglophone and increasingly borderless business world, Russians stand to gain hugely and to lose nothing at all from a British Council presence in their major cities. The current Kremlin leadership is wilfully blind to this. Conceivably, a nimbler response from London to the opportunities created by the Soviet collapse could have ensured that some of Vladimir Putin’s aides, nearly a generation later, would be admirers of the council’s work. Instead, Mr Putin’s thinly veiled xenophobia sweeps all before it, and three British Council offices remain of the fifteen less than three years ago.

This dismaying and destructive rift may deepen before it starts to heal: Mr Putin, who leaves office in March, has little reason to foster personal warmth with Gordon Brown, and the chill he radiates instead is bouncing back. It is to be hoped that his successor wants a thaw.

A Russian Times Online reader responds:

I address to all Westerners. Understand, that the British Advice – a mix of recruiting item with a propaganda shop and about it all already know in Russia. By means of such offices England clings to the imperial past, trying to distribute the influence through introduction of English outlook. To correct position, England should refuse symbols of the imperial past, and to the British Advice to collect suitcases and to return to London, and to work, work… To Russians your advice and reproaches, you for us – not an example are already uninteresting! Understand the problems and do not climb to Russia! We do not climb to you advice – you do not climb to us! Your false antiRussian propagation has bothered all in Russia!

One can’t help but note, as another TOL reader did, how much in need this Russian is of the British Council’s English language teaching services. One must also wonder whether this reader is herself affiliated with the government without declaration, and whether she has the same attitude towards the Russia Today state-sponsored television propaganda campaign that operates in Britain and elsewhere. Russians like to think of themselves as living in a “strong” and “resurgent” country thanks to Putin, yet they fear the British Council? As always, Russians’ mouths are writing checks their fists can’t cash.

A second Russian, referring to himself as “Muslim” comments:

“The question whether or not the British Council is beneficial for Russia is completely irrelevant. The fact is that Brithish Council is NOT a part of British Embassy or Consulate, it is non-departanmental public body, i.e. it’s a separate entity. Therefore it should not work in Russia on the same legal basis as foreign Embassy or Consulate at least not until it’s relationship to them and it’s appropriate legal status is clarified. And Moscow never stated that it wants British Council to shut down completely, Russia merely wants it to properly register as NCO and operate according to Russian law. And again, it is completely irrelevant wether or not this demand is made out of some nefarious intent on part of Kremlin. The fact is that such demand is perfectly legitimate – any country has undeniable right to enforce it’s law on it’s territory. And Britain’s blunt refusal to do so is nothing more but deliberate attempt to provoke large-scale scandal and denigrate Russian authorities.”

One of our many and valued British readers responds:

I think the FSB have English speakers working full time on black propaganda. Have you noticed (maybe it is only in UK papers) how consistently people with innocent sounding names from all around the world post comments on news websites whenever there is an article which is about Russia? And they always follow the Kremlin line. I don’t think anyone in the world apart from them shares the detail of their actual anti-West xenophobia. What these people write is SO close to the Kremlin line that I cannot believe they are not FSB.

WHAT “Muslim” in Moscow

1) knows that much about these things?

2) Cares?

3) Has any interest in supporting the Russian government which turns a blind eye to police racism, and practices racial cleansing of the Moscow markets, kicking hundreds of Muslims out of a job?

4) Can speak this good English? (“nefarious intent”? Come on!)

5) Reads the Times on line?

6) Has access to and time to sit on a computer reading the foreign press and replying to it?

Believe me, I know from a close friend what it is like to be a Muslim in Moscow. None of them would write this. But it IS from a Russian by the way, because you can tell by the typical way they leave out the “an” in “Russia merely wants it to properly register as NCO” and mis-spell NGO. Non-commissioned officer (NCO) is not the same a Non-governmental organisation (NGO), but it shows how fluent they are. Of course if you had KGB training as a linguist you would know “NCO” because it is a military acronym, wouldn’t you and maybe in your over confidence make a mistake like this? Ah! They have given themselves away.

How is it possible that people in neo-Soviet Russia believe they can antagonize the civilized world like this? Are they insane, or simply suicidal?

Annals of the Neo-Soviet Crackdown on Journalism: Tell the Truth, go to Prison

The Moscow Times reports:

Coining a new word can carry a heavy price these days.

A Vladimir television journalist faces a hefty fine or even prison time after referring to a local meeting of supporters of President Vladimir Putin as a “puting” and the supporters as “Putinists.” Local prosecutors questioned the journalist, Sergei Golovinov, on Monday as part of an investigation into whether his use of the two words on his program on TV-6 Vladimir television had insulted a public official — a crime punishable by a fine of up to 40,000 rubles ($1,600) or a year of forced labor. The prosecutors are acting on a Dec. 4 complaint filed by Mikhail Babich, a State Duma deputy who headed United Russia’s campaign headquarters in Vladimir, a city about 200 kilometers east of Moscow. They opened the investigation after a Russian language expert at Nizhny Novgorod Linguistic University ruled a week ago that the words were indeed offensive.

Mikhail Grachyov, the Russian language professor at Nizhny Novgorod Linguistic University who was asked to analyze Golovinov’s program, refused to say why he had decided the words were offensive. “This is not for a telephone conversation. I don’t have the right to elaborate,” he said by telephone from Nizhny Novgorod. Golovinov said the words were commonly used on the Internet and in other Russian media. “We were not the first one to use them,” Golovinov said by telephone from Vladimir.

In his introduction of a report about a meeting of Putin supporters held several days before the Dec. 2 Duma elections, Golovinov said the “most memorable pictures of the week” had been taken at a “Vladimir-style puting” — a merger of the words “Putin” and the Russian word for demonstration, miting. “Putin’s fans in Vladimir got together … and with a tremendous ovation backed the thesis that Russia is surrounded by enemies,” Golovinov said on the report. “The paranoid fear of loyal Putinisty [Putinists] toward a difference of opinion needs no comment,” he said. Golovinov said by telephone that he had done nothing wrong. “Putin’s supporters have the right to express their feelings toward the president, but we journalists have the right to comment on it,” he said.

The word “puting” has a wide range of meanings in contemporary Russian. It is used by Russian journalists, commentators and bloggers to indicate societal changes brought on by Putin. Stanislav Belkovsky, a Kremlin spin doctor turned analyst, has often used “puting” to describe economic changes initiated by Putin, while satirist Mikhail Zadornov uses it to underline the restrictions that Putin has introduced to society. Yelena Tregubova, who in 2003 published “Tales of a Kremlin Digger,” a tell-all book of her experience covering the Kremlin, titled one chapter “Light Puting” — which sounds like “Light Petting.”

In recent months, as many demonstrations were held in support of Putin during the Duma campaign, the word has acquired the new meaning of “a big gathering in support of Putin.”

“There is nothing offensive in this word. It is just spoken language, a neologism,” said Marina Korolyova, host of the linguistic program “Let’s Speak Russian” on Ekho Moskvy radio.

There is no entry for “Puting” in Russian dictionaries, but a search on Yandex, the top Russian search engine, returned 24,511 hits. The word got 11,800 hits on Google.

In addition to being called Putinists, supporters of the president are also often referred to as “Putinoidy” (Putinoids). Three Moscow-based linguists refused to comment for this report, saying they feared trouble from the authorities if they gave their point of view. Babich will not comment on the issue while it is being investigated, said his spokesman, Alexander Dementyev. Golovinov said he believed that Babich had disliked the overall report and used the two words as a pretext to punish him. In the report, he alternated scenes from the Putin meeting with snippets of a speech by Andrei Isayev, a Duma deputy with United Russia, in Vladimir in which he warned that “dangerous and strong enemies” opposed “the president’s course.” The report also showed footage of Jews, Caucasus natives and ethnic Russians performing folk dances. “It was a video montage commonly used in television,” Golovinov said.

The chief investigator of the case, Yury Yevtukhov, said a copy of the program would be sent to a Moscow commission of linguists who will have the last word in deciding whether the words are insulting, Ekho Moskvy reported.

Other journalists have also found that tinkering with Putin’s name and image can prove risky. A newspaper in Saratov, Saratovsky Reporter, is facing possible closure after the local branch of United Russia complained to prosecutors in September about a photograph it had published that showed Putin’s face pasted onto the body of fictional Soviet spy hero Otto von Stirlitz. In October 2006, Ivanovo journalist Vladimir Rakhmankov was convicted of insulting a public official and fined 20,000 rubles for referring to Putin as the “phallic symbol of the nation” in an opinion piece in the Internet publication Kursiv.

Oleg Panfilov, head of the Center for Journalism in Extreme Situations, said a system of “judicial terrorism” had started against journalists under Putin and that more than 300 criminal cases had been opened against them over the past six years. “Russia has been criticized by the OSCE and the Council of Europe about the way the law is used to silence journalists, but the criticism has been useless,” he said. Panfilov said he knew of instances when printers have refused to publish newspapers because they contained caricatures of Putin.

Putin’s KGB and Bin Laden’s Al Quaeda

In a lengthy interview with FrontPageMag Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London and the editor and translator of Alexander Litvinenko’s book, Allegations, has the following to say about the connections between Vladimir Putin’s KGB and international Islamic terrorism:

FP: Our thoughts and prayers are with Alexander and with his family. Against all odds, let us hope that his killers will one day be brought to justice. Let’s start our discussion with the FSB’s links to Al-Qaeda.

Stroilov: Alexander revealed, in his articles and interviews included in the Allegations, that at least two notorious Al Qaeda terrorists are secret agents of the FSB – one of whom, Aiman al Zawahiri, is bin Laden’s second-in-command.

As the former leader of the terrorist organisation Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al Zawahiri was on international lists of most wanted terrorists for many years. In 1997, he suddenly re-surfaced in Russia, where he undertook a special training course at a secret FSB base in Dagestan. After that, he was sent to Afghanistan, and joined Al Qaeda as bin Laden’s number two. Meanwhile, the FSB officers who had supervised him in Dagestan were promoted and re-assigned to Moscow. It was from them that Alexander learned about al Zawahiri.

These and other facts of FSB involvement in international terrorism, revealed by Alexander, have tremendous implications. Contrary to the view of many in the US, Russia is anything but a reliable ally of yours in the ‘war on terror’. The Kremlin is playing a treacherous double game: while enjoying the West’s support as ally, it secretly supports and manipulates the Al Qaeda through FSB agents of influence.

He also discusses the FSB’s efforts to infiltrate the governments of Europe:

FP: Tell us about the Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi (also former President of the European Commission) and his relations with the KGB.

Stroilov: Romano Prodi was described to Alexander by a senior KGB/FSB colleague, three star General Trofimov, as ‘our man in Italy’. He told Alexander that Prodi had ‘collaborated with the KGB’ and ‘carried out KGB missions’. Moreover, after 1996 the FSB had restored its relations with the old KGB agents of influence in the West. So, Gen. Trofimov and Alexander himself reckoned that Prodi might still be dangerous.

In February 2006, Alexander was interviewed about that by Mario Scaramella, a consultant to the Guzzanti Commission of Italian Parliament, which investigated the KGB’s activities in Italy. The video-record of that interview was kept secret at the time, and intended only for a closed-doors parliamentary investigation. (After Alexander’s death it was made public, and the transcript of it is included in the Allegations.)

However, two months later Alexander encouraged Gerard Batten, Member of European Parliament for London, to make his accusation against Prodi public. Gerard did that on 3 April 2006 in his speech to the European Parliament. The Parliament declined to investigate the matter, as Gerard insisted it should do; nor did Prodi himself ever comment on it as long as Alexander was alive. However, just eight days after Litvinenko’s death, Italian left-wing newspapers ‘revealed’ how Sen. Guzzanti and Scaramella were ‘plotting’ to discredit Prodi by alleging he had links to the KGB. Prodi himself, in a clumsy imitation of fury, announced he would instruct his lawyers to take legal action over these allegations. In event, no such legal action was taken.

Mario Scaramella was arrested as soon as he returned to Italy on Christmas of the same year. He is still kept in prison without a trial, and may stay there for the rest of his life. For the Italian legal system enables the prosecution to keep him in jail for three months on some particular charges, then drop those charges, put forward some new ones, and jail him for another three months. So it goes on and on for a year now, against the background of a perpetual propaganda campaign against Scaramella. Indeed, he is one of the first political prisoners in the emerging Gulag of the EUSSR.

Now do you see why Mr. Litvinenko isn’t alive any more?

Putin’s KGB and Bin Laden’s Al Quaeda

In a lengthy interview with FrontPageMag Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London and the editor and translator of Alexander Litvinenko’s book, Allegations, has the following to say about the connections between Vladimir Putin’s KGB and international Islamic terrorism:

FP: Our thoughts and prayers are with Alexander and with his family. Against all odds, let us hope that his killers will one day be brought to justice. Let’s start our discussion with the FSB’s links to Al-Qaeda.

Stroilov: Alexander revealed, in his articles and interviews included in the Allegations, that at least two notorious Al Qaeda terrorists are secret agents of the FSB – one of whom, Aiman al Zawahiri, is bin Laden’s second-in-command.

As the former leader of the terrorist organisation Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al Zawahiri was on international lists of most wanted terrorists for many years. In 1997, he suddenly re-surfaced in Russia, where he undertook a special training course at a secret FSB base in Dagestan. After that, he was sent to Afghanistan, and joined Al Qaeda as bin Laden’s number two. Meanwhile, the FSB officers who had supervised him in Dagestan were promoted and re-assigned to Moscow. It was from them that Alexander learned about al Zawahiri.

These and other facts of FSB involvement in international terrorism, revealed by Alexander, have tremendous implications. Contrary to the view of many in the US, Russia is anything but a reliable ally of yours in the ‘war on terror’. The Kremlin is playing a treacherous double game: while enjoying the West’s support as ally, it secretly supports and manipulates the Al Qaeda through FSB agents of influence.

He also discusses the FSB’s efforts to infiltrate the governments of Europe:

FP: Tell us about the Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi (also former President of the European Commission) and his relations with the KGB.

Stroilov: Romano Prodi was described to Alexander by a senior KGB/FSB colleague, three star General Trofimov, as ‘our man in Italy’. He told Alexander that Prodi had ‘collaborated with the KGB’ and ‘carried out KGB missions’. Moreover, after 1996 the FSB had restored its relations with the old KGB agents of influence in the West. So, Gen. Trofimov and Alexander himself reckoned that Prodi might still be dangerous.

In February 2006, Alexander was interviewed about that by Mario Scaramella, a consultant to the Guzzanti Commission of Italian Parliament, which investigated the KGB’s activities in Italy. The video-record of that interview was kept secret at the time, and intended only for a closed-doors parliamentary investigation. (After Alexander’s death it was made public, and the transcript of it is included in the Allegations.)

However, two months later Alexander encouraged Gerard Batten, Member of European Parliament for London, to make his accusation against Prodi public. Gerard did that on 3 April 2006 in his speech to the European Parliament. The Parliament declined to investigate the matter, as Gerard insisted it should do; nor did Prodi himself ever comment on it as long as Alexander was alive. However, just eight days after Litvinenko’s death, Italian left-wing newspapers ‘revealed’ how Sen. Guzzanti and Scaramella were ‘plotting’ to discredit Prodi by alleging he had links to the KGB. Prodi himself, in a clumsy imitation of fury, announced he would instruct his lawyers to take legal action over these allegations. In event, no such legal action was taken.

Mario Scaramella was arrested as soon as he returned to Italy on Christmas of the same year. He is still kept in prison without a trial, and may stay there for the rest of his life. For the Italian legal system enables the prosecution to keep him in jail for three months on some particular charges, then drop those charges, put forward some new ones, and jail him for another three months. So it goes on and on for a year now, against the background of a perpetual propaganda campaign against Scaramella. Indeed, he is one of the first political prisoners in the emerging Gulag of the EUSSR.

Now do you see why Mr. Litvinenko isn’t alive any more?

Putin’s KGB and Bin Laden’s Al Quaeda

In a lengthy interview with FrontPageMag Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London and the editor and translator of Alexander Litvinenko’s book, Allegations, has the following to say about the connections between Vladimir Putin’s KGB and international Islamic terrorism:

FP: Our thoughts and prayers are with Alexander and with his family. Against all odds, let us hope that his killers will one day be brought to justice. Let’s start our discussion with the FSB’s links to Al-Qaeda.

Stroilov: Alexander revealed, in his articles and interviews included in the Allegations, that at least two notorious Al Qaeda terrorists are secret agents of the FSB – one of whom, Aiman al Zawahiri, is bin Laden’s second-in-command.

As the former leader of the terrorist organisation Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al Zawahiri was on international lists of most wanted terrorists for many years. In 1997, he suddenly re-surfaced in Russia, where he undertook a special training course at a secret FSB base in Dagestan. After that, he was sent to Afghanistan, and joined Al Qaeda as bin Laden’s number two. Meanwhile, the FSB officers who had supervised him in Dagestan were promoted and re-assigned to Moscow. It was from them that Alexander learned about al Zawahiri.

These and other facts of FSB involvement in international terrorism, revealed by Alexander, have tremendous implications. Contrary to the view of many in the US, Russia is anything but a reliable ally of yours in the ‘war on terror’. The Kremlin is playing a treacherous double game: while enjoying the West’s support as ally, it secretly supports and manipulates the Al Qaeda through FSB agents of influence.

He also discusses the FSB’s efforts to infiltrate the governments of Europe:

FP: Tell us about the Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi (also former President of the European Commission) and his relations with the KGB.

Stroilov: Romano Prodi was described to Alexander by a senior KGB/FSB colleague, three star General Trofimov, as ‘our man in Italy’. He told Alexander that Prodi had ‘collaborated with the KGB’ and ‘carried out KGB missions’. Moreover, after 1996 the FSB had restored its relations with the old KGB agents of influence in the West. So, Gen. Trofimov and Alexander himself reckoned that Prodi might still be dangerous.

In February 2006, Alexander was interviewed about that by Mario Scaramella, a consultant to the Guzzanti Commission of Italian Parliament, which investigated the KGB’s activities in Italy. The video-record of that interview was kept secret at the time, and intended only for a closed-doors parliamentary investigation. (After Alexander’s death it was made public, and the transcript of it is included in the Allegations.)

However, two months later Alexander encouraged Gerard Batten, Member of European Parliament for London, to make his accusation against Prodi public. Gerard did that on 3 April 2006 in his speech to the European Parliament. The Parliament declined to investigate the matter, as Gerard insisted it should do; nor did Prodi himself ever comment on it as long as Alexander was alive. However, just eight days after Litvinenko’s death, Italian left-wing newspapers ‘revealed’ how Sen. Guzzanti and Scaramella were ‘plotting’ to discredit Prodi by alleging he had links to the KGB. Prodi himself, in a clumsy imitation of fury, announced he would instruct his lawyers to take legal action over these allegations. In event, no such legal action was taken.

Mario Scaramella was arrested as soon as he returned to Italy on Christmas of the same year. He is still kept in prison without a trial, and may stay there for the rest of his life. For the Italian legal system enables the prosecution to keep him in jail for three months on some particular charges, then drop those charges, put forward some new ones, and jail him for another three months. So it goes on and on for a year now, against the background of a perpetual propaganda campaign against Scaramella. Indeed, he is one of the first political prisoners in the emerging Gulag of the EUSSR.

Now do you see why Mr. Litvinenko isn’t alive any more?

Putin’s KGB and Bin Laden’s Al Quaeda

In a lengthy interview with FrontPageMag Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London and the editor and translator of Alexander Litvinenko’s book, Allegations, has the following to say about the connections between Vladimir Putin’s KGB and international Islamic terrorism:

FP: Our thoughts and prayers are with Alexander and with his family. Against all odds, let us hope that his killers will one day be brought to justice. Let’s start our discussion with the FSB’s links to Al-Qaeda.

Stroilov: Alexander revealed, in his articles and interviews included in the Allegations, that at least two notorious Al Qaeda terrorists are secret agents of the FSB – one of whom, Aiman al Zawahiri, is bin Laden’s second-in-command.

As the former leader of the terrorist organisation Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al Zawahiri was on international lists of most wanted terrorists for many years. In 1997, he suddenly re-surfaced in Russia, where he undertook a special training course at a secret FSB base in Dagestan. After that, he was sent to Afghanistan, and joined Al Qaeda as bin Laden’s number two. Meanwhile, the FSB officers who had supervised him in Dagestan were promoted and re-assigned to Moscow. It was from them that Alexander learned about al Zawahiri.

These and other facts of FSB involvement in international terrorism, revealed by Alexander, have tremendous implications. Contrary to the view of many in the US, Russia is anything but a reliable ally of yours in the ‘war on terror’. The Kremlin is playing a treacherous double game: while enjoying the West’s support as ally, it secretly supports and manipulates the Al Qaeda through FSB agents of influence.

He also discusses the FSB’s efforts to infiltrate the governments of Europe:

FP: Tell us about the Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi (also former President of the European Commission) and his relations with the KGB.

Stroilov: Romano Prodi was described to Alexander by a senior KGB/FSB colleague, three star General Trofimov, as ‘our man in Italy’. He told Alexander that Prodi had ‘collaborated with the KGB’ and ‘carried out KGB missions’. Moreover, after 1996 the FSB had restored its relations with the old KGB agents of influence in the West. So, Gen. Trofimov and Alexander himself reckoned that Prodi might still be dangerous.

In February 2006, Alexander was interviewed about that by Mario Scaramella, a consultant to the Guzzanti Commission of Italian Parliament, which investigated the KGB’s activities in Italy. The video-record of that interview was kept secret at the time, and intended only for a closed-doors parliamentary investigation. (After Alexander’s death it was made public, and the transcript of it is included in the Allegations.)

However, two months later Alexander encouraged Gerard Batten, Member of European Parliament for London, to make his accusation against Prodi public. Gerard did that on 3 April 2006 in his speech to the European Parliament. The Parliament declined to investigate the matter, as Gerard insisted it should do; nor did Prodi himself ever comment on it as long as Alexander was alive. However, just eight days after Litvinenko’s death, Italian left-wing newspapers ‘revealed’ how Sen. Guzzanti and Scaramella were ‘plotting’ to discredit Prodi by alleging he had links to the KGB. Prodi himself, in a clumsy imitation of fury, announced he would instruct his lawyers to take legal action over these allegations. In event, no such legal action was taken.

Mario Scaramella was arrested as soon as he returned to Italy on Christmas of the same year. He is still kept in prison without a trial, and may stay there for the rest of his life. For the Italian legal system enables the prosecution to keep him in jail for three months on some particular charges, then drop those charges, put forward some new ones, and jail him for another three months. So it goes on and on for a year now, against the background of a perpetual propaganda campaign against Scaramella. Indeed, he is one of the first political prisoners in the emerging Gulag of the EUSSR.

Now do you see why Mr. Litvinenko isn’t alive any more?

Putin’s KGB and Bin Laden’s Al Quaeda

In a lengthy interview with FrontPageMag Pavel Stroilov, a Russian exile in London and the editor and translator of Alexander Litvinenko’s book, Allegations, has the following to say about the connections between Vladimir Putin’s KGB and international Islamic terrorism:

FP: Our thoughts and prayers are with Alexander and with his family. Against all odds, let us hope that his killers will one day be brought to justice. Let’s start our discussion with the FSB’s links to Al-Qaeda.

Stroilov: Alexander revealed, in his articles and interviews included in the Allegations, that at least two notorious Al Qaeda terrorists are secret agents of the FSB – one of whom, Aiman al Zawahiri, is bin Laden’s second-in-command.

As the former leader of the terrorist organisation Egyptian Islamic Jihad, al Zawahiri was on international lists of most wanted terrorists for many years. In 1997, he suddenly re-surfaced in Russia, where he undertook a special training course at a secret FSB base in Dagestan. After that, he was sent to Afghanistan, and joined Al Qaeda as bin Laden’s number two. Meanwhile, the FSB officers who had supervised him in Dagestan were promoted and re-assigned to Moscow. It was from them that Alexander learned about al Zawahiri.

These and other facts of FSB involvement in international terrorism, revealed by Alexander, have tremendous implications. Contrary to the view of many in the US, Russia is anything but a reliable ally of yours in the ‘war on terror’. The Kremlin is playing a treacherous double game: while enjoying the West’s support as ally, it secretly supports and manipulates the Al Qaeda through FSB agents of influence.

He also discusses the FSB’s efforts to infiltrate the governments of Europe:

FP: Tell us about the Prime Minister of Italy, Romano Prodi (also former President of the European Commission) and his relations with the KGB.

Stroilov: Romano Prodi was described to Alexander by a senior KGB/FSB colleague, three star General Trofimov, as ‘our man in Italy’. He told Alexander that Prodi had ‘collaborated with the KGB’ and ‘carried out KGB missions’. Moreover, after 1996 the FSB had restored its relations with the old KGB agents of influence in the West. So, Gen. Trofimov and Alexander himself reckoned that Prodi might still be dangerous.

In February 2006, Alexander was interviewed about that by Mario Scaramella, a consultant to the Guzzanti Commission of Italian Parliament, which investigated the KGB’s activities in Italy. The video-record of that interview was kept secret at the time, and intended only for a closed-doors parliamentary investigation. (After Alexander’s death it was made public, and the transcript of it is included in the Allegations.)

However, two months later Alexander encouraged Gerard Batten, Member of European Parliament for London, to make his accusation against Prodi public. Gerard did that on 3 April 2006 in his speech to the European Parliament. The Parliament declined to investigate the matter, as Gerard insisted it should do; nor did Prodi himself ever comment on it as long as Alexander was alive. However, just eight days after Litvinenko’s death, Italian left-wing newspapers ‘revealed’ how Sen. Guzzanti and Scaramella were ‘plotting’ to discredit Prodi by alleging he had links to the KGB. Prodi himself, in a clumsy imitation of fury, announced he would instruct his lawyers to take legal action over these allegations. In event, no such legal action was taken.

Mario Scaramella was arrested as soon as he returned to Italy on Christmas of the same year. He is still kept in prison without a trial, and may stay there for the rest of his life. For the Italian legal system enables the prosecution to keep him in jail for three months on some particular charges, then drop those charges, put forward some new ones, and jail him for another three months. So it goes on and on for a year now, against the background of a perpetual propaganda campaign against Scaramella. Indeed, he is one of the first political prisoners in the emerging Gulag of the EUSSR.

Now do you see why Mr. Litvinenko isn’t alive any more?