Daily Archives: April 9, 2008

EDITORIAL: Collaborators Get Their Just Desserts

EDITORIAL

Collaborators Get Their Just Desserts

Once again, we find ourselves in the unusual position of standing to applaud the polices of Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Two weeks ago, we cheered boisterously as the Kremlin arrested two businessmen who were collaborating with the neo-Soviet regime. Now, the Kremlin is eating yet more of its own children, this time the venal William Browder (the smirking idiot shown at above) and his Hermitage Capital brokerage firm, one of the largest foreign investors in neo-Soviet Russia. As Robert Amsterdam notes: “For many years, Browder has been one of the most enthusiastic advocates of investment in Russia, bullish and confident even while others have recoiled in the face of increased state interference. Once a well known supporter of President Vladimir Putin, he was also known for his occasional (and naturally in my opinion, misunderstood) public attacks against my client Mikhail Khodorkovsky.”

The Moscow Times reports the delightful news that not only has the Kremlin raided Browder’s firm in a manner eerily reminiscent of what it did to YUKOS, but in the course of doing so it seized and egregiously manipulated all sorts of confidential corporate information. The paper states:

Hermitage says the attack began with an inquiry by Moscow tax officials into a Cyprus-based account it managed. Last June, Interior Ministry investigators raided the Moscow offices of Hermitage and its lawyers at Firestone & Duncan, according to court filings by a unit of HSBC Holdings, the trustee and administrator of the fund. They took Hermitage’s corporate seal, tax registration and charter, according to the filings. A month later, Hermitage, once the largest foreign owner of Russian stocks, was defended by lawyers it did not hire in a lawsuit in St. Petersburg that it did not know about, the complaints said. The court ordered Hermitage to pay $367 million, a ruling that has since been reversed, documents show. “None of these events or actions could have occurred, including the falsification of new corporate bylaws and the powers of attorney, without those responsible having gained access to the original corporate documentation and corporate seals seized by the Interior Ministry,” wrote Paul Wrench, a director at HSBC’s Guernsey branch, in a complaint to the Guernsey Financial Intelligence Service dated Feb. 13.

The paper adds more thrilling news: “Kommersant said Thursday that Browder had been charged in absentia with evading more than 4 billion rubles ($169 million) in taxes.”

Go get him, Mr. Putin! These events are the most pure expression of justice we have seen come out of Russia in many a day. Just as was the case with Hitler and Stalin, certain people believe that deals can be cut with madman and great personal profit derived therefrom, only to find out later — as Chamberlain most famously did — that they are only being crassly manipulated by the Serpent.

Mr. Browder richly deserves to spend some time cooling his heels in a Siberian prison cell. Maybe then, he might think differently about his attacks on Khodorkovsky and his defense of the malignant little troll who prowls the Kremlin’s parapets by night spitting on the last vestiges of Russia’s democracy. With any luck, the Kremlin will jail any foreigners even vaguely associated with Hermitage who are foolish enough to remain in Russia, and seize all the company’s assets in the country, just as it did with YUKOS.

And we fervently hope that the same fate will befall any other person or business entity which is stupid or evil enough to invest money in Russia, seeking to profit from dictatorship at the expense of the Russian people and international security. It seems such events are the only ones that will ever make these treacherous collaborators understand the harm they are doing. We wish Mr. Putin every success in his efforts to teach them this lesson.

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Vladimir Putin, Gone Berserk

Clearly showing he knows he lost the battle over Ukraine in Bucharest, Vladimir Putin has now gone completely berserk with childish, ignorant, blind rage. The Moscow Times reports:

President Vladimir Putin hinted at last week’s NATO summit in Romania that Russia would work to break up Ukraine, should the former Soviet republic join the military alliance, Kommersant reported Monday.

Putin “lost his temper” at the NATO-Russia Council in Bucharest during Friday’s discussions of Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, Kommersant cited an unidentified foreign delegate to the summit as saying.

“Do you understand, George, that Ukraine is not even a state!” Putin told U.S. President George W. Bush at the closed meeting, the diplomat told Kommersant.

After saying most of Ukraine’s territory was “given away” by Russia, Putin said that if Ukraine joined NATO it would cease to exist as a state, the diplomat said.

Putin threatened to encourage the secession of the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea and eastern Ukraine, where anti-NATO and pro-Moscow sentiment is strong, the diplomat said, Kommersant reported.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov, who accompanied Putin at the summit, said Monday he did not hear Putin’s purported remarks about Ukraine and could not confirm the report.

Putin also offered broader economic cooperation with Georgia’s separatist republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Tbilisi sought NATO approval for eventual membership in the alliance.

In a letter sent to the leaders of the breakaway provinces Thursday — when NATO members were deciding whether to grant Membership Action Plans to Ukraine and Georgia — Putin said Russia would move beyond symbolic declarations and offer real economic support to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

Just days before the summit, Moscow officially lifted long-standing embargoes on trade, transportation and financial transactions with Abkhazia.

France, Germany and several other NATO members opposed putting Ukraine and Georgia on the path toward NATO to avoid provoking Russia, and the alliance postponed consideration of their eventual membership.

National Bolsheviks Give Kremlin the Business

The Moscow Times reports:

Police detained at least 25 people on Saturday who demonstrated on Red Square after they used a wedding procession to reach the restricted area. About 50 cheering members of the banned National Bolshevik Party distracted police guarding the area by escorting a couple on a wedding procession at 11:45 a.m. Once near St. Basil’s Cathedral, the group stunned the police by burning signal flares, holding up placards demanding “freedom for political prisoners” and chanting: “We need another Russia!” before police attacked them. “The action lasted for about 10 or 15 minutes,” said Lyudmila Mamina, spokeswoman for The Other Russia opposition movement, which unites the National Bolsheviks with groups such as former chess champion Garry Kasparov’s United Civil Front. “Then riot police arrived and threw some 40 people into buses. They were beating some of the protesters. One of the demonstrators was beaten unconscious while on the bus,” Mamina said. A police spokesman said 25 people were detained and a rubber-bullet pistol was seized from one of them, RIA-Novosti reported. He said the activists had resisted arrest, and one of them let off a pepper spray in the face of a police officer. He made no comment about the National Bolsheviks’ allegation of police brutality. The Kremlin guard service said it was alarmed by the incident. “The service is concerned that the territory of the especially well protected historical and cultural areaв the Moscow Kremlin, which also includes Red Square, was chosen to hold this unauthorized action,” its spokesman Sergei Devyatov said.

The National Bolsheviks are known for staging theatrical protests against the Kremlin.

Vladimir Putin’s got a Bad Case of the CLAP: Chronic Lying and Prevaricating

Writing in the Washington Times Daniel Gallington, a senior fellow at the Potomac institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Va., documents Russia’s pathological pattern of “chronic deceit.” The article was translated into Russian and posted on the Echo of Moscow radio station’s website.

I had to chuckle at the recent news reports of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “rudeness” to the U.S. secretaries of state and defense over our plans to install missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. It’s almost like we had never before dealt with a rude Russian about missile defense. Mr. Putin will be rude about it again when he meets with President Bush early this month to discuss it — and will even accuse us of “anti-Russian” behavior. What baloney!

I ended the Cold War part of my national security career as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Defense and Space Talks, the last comprehensive arms control negotiations with the former Soviet Union. I did this for 11 mind-numbing rounds of negotiations, from early 1985 until late 1988. And, I must confess, I was selected to do this work during this key period (after President Reagan’s “star wars” speech, which caused the Soviets to ask us to resume the strategic arms talks they had walked out of in 1982) because I really enjoyed being rude to rude Soviets, and Secretary Caspar Weinberger liked that about me.

Despite some radical changes in Russia since the implosion of the Soviet Union, nothing much has changed from the old days of Khrushchev beating his shoe on the table at the United Nations. The ruthless people who have run Russia for the last 100 years — while maybe different politically — are fundamentally gangsters and thieves who use whatever politics they find convenient to enforce their rule.

Mr. Putin and his fellow and former KGB thugs are in charge of Russia now, and plan to stay in charge until someone knocks them off. This is highly unlikely to occur anytime soon because they are systematically killing off any possible opposition. This practice has changed very little since the communist days, during which Mr. Putin learned his “leadership” and political survivor skills. He is, basically, an old-style Soviet apparatchik wrapped in a populist package.

And Russians have embraced him as a “new populist” — however, they also like the fact that people around the world are beginning to fear them again. While we call this “resurgent nationalism” and “patriotism” in the West, it’s pure and simple fascism — nothing else is close to accurately describing it.

What I’m saying here isn’t blasphemous or even rude — give most any Russians enough to drink and they’ll confirm it with even rougher language: A hard-line Soviet guy I remember from my years of dealing with them told me (after a lot of vodka): “Never believe us, we don’t know how to tell the truth — it means nothing to us and so we never give it any value. We can’t believe anything our government tells us — so why should we ever believe yours?”

So they’re still rude and fundamentally dishonest. However, are they as dangerous now as when we were locked in the Cold War with them?

This is a very hard question — primarily because our so-called “estimates” of Soviet strengths and weaknesses were often wrong over a 50-year period — so getting the “truth” about the real threat from them was every bit as difficult as getting the “truth” out of a Russian. Why? Simple: Because our State Department encouraged conciliation with the Soviet Union, they needed also to maintain the fiction of the United States dealing with the Soviets as political and national security equivalents. Of course, this was never the case, so when the Soviet Union “crashed” in the late-1980s and early ’90s we were really taken by surprise — in fact, we were stunned, and for a time could not explain what had happened.

Despite this, one thing remains constant in Russian “diplomacy” from the Cold War. They never want to see us with a capable missile defense for two basic reasons:

• First, because they had one for so long they know it’s a good idea and they know if we get serious about it ours will work a lot better than theirs has. To translate this so it doesn’t sound so self-serving, they say our missile defense reduces the effectiveness of their “nuclear deterrent” — this, however, doesn’t pass the laugh test.

• Second, they know that closer-in missile defenses (what we call “boost phase”) are more efficient and effective than “terminal defenses.” So, they see the placement of radars in Eastern Europe as a prelude to our installing more capable boost phase intercept systems that could render their vast land-based ICBM systems ineffective, whether mobile or not.

Because this is so transparent, they’ve had to come up with more “diplomatic” reasons to oppose ABM systems in Eastern Europe. And, these reasons — it turns out — are the same phony ones they used in the mid-1980s when they were obsessed with stopping our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program:

They say (and Mr. Putin will say to Mr. Bush) that the deployment of 10 ABM interceptors in Poland with radars in the Czech Republic has an “anti-Russian” character. What does that mean? As I used to tell my Soviet counterpart (a crusty old Soviet army general) after he read me goofy things like this off little cards: “If you mean that it will it shoot down a Soviet ICBM aimed at us, then yes, it is ‘anti-Soviet’ and meant to be, just like your ICBMs are ‘anti-U.S.’ Now, what is your next concern?” Some things will never change.

Vladimir Putin’s got a Bad Case of the CLAP: Chronic Lying and Prevaricating

Writing in the Washington Times Daniel Gallington, a senior fellow at the Potomac institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Va., documents Russia’s pathological pattern of “chronic deceit.” The article was translated into Russian and posted on the Echo of Moscow radio station’s website.

I had to chuckle at the recent news reports of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “rudeness” to the U.S. secretaries of state and defense over our plans to install missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. It’s almost like we had never before dealt with a rude Russian about missile defense. Mr. Putin will be rude about it again when he meets with President Bush early this month to discuss it — and will even accuse us of “anti-Russian” behavior. What baloney!

I ended the Cold War part of my national security career as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Defense and Space Talks, the last comprehensive arms control negotiations with the former Soviet Union. I did this for 11 mind-numbing rounds of negotiations, from early 1985 until late 1988. And, I must confess, I was selected to do this work during this key period (after President Reagan’s “star wars” speech, which caused the Soviets to ask us to resume the strategic arms talks they had walked out of in 1982) because I really enjoyed being rude to rude Soviets, and Secretary Caspar Weinberger liked that about me.

Despite some radical changes in Russia since the implosion of the Soviet Union, nothing much has changed from the old days of Khrushchev beating his shoe on the table at the United Nations. The ruthless people who have run Russia for the last 100 years — while maybe different politically — are fundamentally gangsters and thieves who use whatever politics they find convenient to enforce their rule.

Mr. Putin and his fellow and former KGB thugs are in charge of Russia now, and plan to stay in charge until someone knocks them off. This is highly unlikely to occur anytime soon because they are systematically killing off any possible opposition. This practice has changed very little since the communist days, during which Mr. Putin learned his “leadership” and political survivor skills. He is, basically, an old-style Soviet apparatchik wrapped in a populist package.

And Russians have embraced him as a “new populist” — however, they also like the fact that people around the world are beginning to fear them again. While we call this “resurgent nationalism” and “patriotism” in the West, it’s pure and simple fascism — nothing else is close to accurately describing it.

What I’m saying here isn’t blasphemous or even rude — give most any Russians enough to drink and they’ll confirm it with even rougher language: A hard-line Soviet guy I remember from my years of dealing with them told me (after a lot of vodka): “Never believe us, we don’t know how to tell the truth — it means nothing to us and so we never give it any value. We can’t believe anything our government tells us — so why should we ever believe yours?”

So they’re still rude and fundamentally dishonest. However, are they as dangerous now as when we were locked in the Cold War with them?

This is a very hard question — primarily because our so-called “estimates” of Soviet strengths and weaknesses were often wrong over a 50-year period — so getting the “truth” about the real threat from them was every bit as difficult as getting the “truth” out of a Russian. Why? Simple: Because our State Department encouraged conciliation with the Soviet Union, they needed also to maintain the fiction of the United States dealing with the Soviets as political and national security equivalents. Of course, this was never the case, so when the Soviet Union “crashed” in the late-1980s and early ’90s we were really taken by surprise — in fact, we were stunned, and for a time could not explain what had happened.

Despite this, one thing remains constant in Russian “diplomacy” from the Cold War. They never want to see us with a capable missile defense for two basic reasons:

• First, because they had one for so long they know it’s a good idea and they know if we get serious about it ours will work a lot better than theirs has. To translate this so it doesn’t sound so self-serving, they say our missile defense reduces the effectiveness of their “nuclear deterrent” — this, however, doesn’t pass the laugh test.

• Second, they know that closer-in missile defenses (what we call “boost phase”) are more efficient and effective than “terminal defenses.” So, they see the placement of radars in Eastern Europe as a prelude to our installing more capable boost phase intercept systems that could render their vast land-based ICBM systems ineffective, whether mobile or not.

Because this is so transparent, they’ve had to come up with more “diplomatic” reasons to oppose ABM systems in Eastern Europe. And, these reasons — it turns out — are the same phony ones they used in the mid-1980s when they were obsessed with stopping our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program:

They say (and Mr. Putin will say to Mr. Bush) that the deployment of 10 ABM interceptors in Poland with radars in the Czech Republic has an “anti-Russian” character. What does that mean? As I used to tell my Soviet counterpart (a crusty old Soviet army general) after he read me goofy things like this off little cards: “If you mean that it will it shoot down a Soviet ICBM aimed at us, then yes, it is ‘anti-Soviet’ and meant to be, just like your ICBMs are ‘anti-U.S.’ Now, what is your next concern?” Some things will never change.

Vladimir Putin’s got a Bad Case of the CLAP: Chronic Lying and Prevaricating

Writing in the Washington Times Daniel Gallington, a senior fellow at the Potomac institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Va., documents Russia’s pathological pattern of “chronic deceit.” The article was translated into Russian and posted on the Echo of Moscow radio station’s website.

I had to chuckle at the recent news reports of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “rudeness” to the U.S. secretaries of state and defense over our plans to install missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. It’s almost like we had never before dealt with a rude Russian about missile defense. Mr. Putin will be rude about it again when he meets with President Bush early this month to discuss it — and will even accuse us of “anti-Russian” behavior. What baloney!

I ended the Cold War part of my national security career as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Defense and Space Talks, the last comprehensive arms control negotiations with the former Soviet Union. I did this for 11 mind-numbing rounds of negotiations, from early 1985 until late 1988. And, I must confess, I was selected to do this work during this key period (after President Reagan’s “star wars” speech, which caused the Soviets to ask us to resume the strategic arms talks they had walked out of in 1982) because I really enjoyed being rude to rude Soviets, and Secretary Caspar Weinberger liked that about me.

Despite some radical changes in Russia since the implosion of the Soviet Union, nothing much has changed from the old days of Khrushchev beating his shoe on the table at the United Nations. The ruthless people who have run Russia for the last 100 years — while maybe different politically — are fundamentally gangsters and thieves who use whatever politics they find convenient to enforce their rule.

Mr. Putin and his fellow and former KGB thugs are in charge of Russia now, and plan to stay in charge until someone knocks them off. This is highly unlikely to occur anytime soon because they are systematically killing off any possible opposition. This practice has changed very little since the communist days, during which Mr. Putin learned his “leadership” and political survivor skills. He is, basically, an old-style Soviet apparatchik wrapped in a populist package.

And Russians have embraced him as a “new populist” — however, they also like the fact that people around the world are beginning to fear them again. While we call this “resurgent nationalism” and “patriotism” in the West, it’s pure and simple fascism — nothing else is close to accurately describing it.

What I’m saying here isn’t blasphemous or even rude — give most any Russians enough to drink and they’ll confirm it with even rougher language: A hard-line Soviet guy I remember from my years of dealing with them told me (after a lot of vodka): “Never believe us, we don’t know how to tell the truth — it means nothing to us and so we never give it any value. We can’t believe anything our government tells us — so why should we ever believe yours?”

So they’re still rude and fundamentally dishonest. However, are they as dangerous now as when we were locked in the Cold War with them?

This is a very hard question — primarily because our so-called “estimates” of Soviet strengths and weaknesses were often wrong over a 50-year period — so getting the “truth” about the real threat from them was every bit as difficult as getting the “truth” out of a Russian. Why? Simple: Because our State Department encouraged conciliation with the Soviet Union, they needed also to maintain the fiction of the United States dealing with the Soviets as political and national security equivalents. Of course, this was never the case, so when the Soviet Union “crashed” in the late-1980s and early ’90s we were really taken by surprise — in fact, we were stunned, and for a time could not explain what had happened.

Despite this, one thing remains constant in Russian “diplomacy” from the Cold War. They never want to see us with a capable missile defense for two basic reasons:

• First, because they had one for so long they know it’s a good idea and they know if we get serious about it ours will work a lot better than theirs has. To translate this so it doesn’t sound so self-serving, they say our missile defense reduces the effectiveness of their “nuclear deterrent” — this, however, doesn’t pass the laugh test.

• Second, they know that closer-in missile defenses (what we call “boost phase”) are more efficient and effective than “terminal defenses.” So, they see the placement of radars in Eastern Europe as a prelude to our installing more capable boost phase intercept systems that could render their vast land-based ICBM systems ineffective, whether mobile or not.

Because this is so transparent, they’ve had to come up with more “diplomatic” reasons to oppose ABM systems in Eastern Europe. And, these reasons — it turns out — are the same phony ones they used in the mid-1980s when they were obsessed with stopping our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program:

They say (and Mr. Putin will say to Mr. Bush) that the deployment of 10 ABM interceptors in Poland with radars in the Czech Republic has an “anti-Russian” character. What does that mean? As I used to tell my Soviet counterpart (a crusty old Soviet army general) after he read me goofy things like this off little cards: “If you mean that it will it shoot down a Soviet ICBM aimed at us, then yes, it is ‘anti-Soviet’ and meant to be, just like your ICBMs are ‘anti-U.S.’ Now, what is your next concern?” Some things will never change.

Vladimir Putin’s got a Bad Case of the CLAP: Chronic Lying and Prevaricating

Writing in the Washington Times Daniel Gallington, a senior fellow at the Potomac institute for Policy Studies in Arlington, Va., documents Russia’s pathological pattern of “chronic deceit.” The article was translated into Russian and posted on the Echo of Moscow radio station’s website.

I had to chuckle at the recent news reports of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s “rudeness” to the U.S. secretaries of state and defense over our plans to install missile defense systems in Eastern Europe. It’s almost like we had never before dealt with a rude Russian about missile defense. Mr. Putin will be rude about it again when he meets with President Bush early this month to discuss it — and will even accuse us of “anti-Russian” behavior. What baloney!

I ended the Cold War part of my national security career as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Defense and Space Talks, the last comprehensive arms control negotiations with the former Soviet Union. I did this for 11 mind-numbing rounds of negotiations, from early 1985 until late 1988. And, I must confess, I was selected to do this work during this key period (after President Reagan’s “star wars” speech, which caused the Soviets to ask us to resume the strategic arms talks they had walked out of in 1982) because I really enjoyed being rude to rude Soviets, and Secretary Caspar Weinberger liked that about me.

Despite some radical changes in Russia since the implosion of the Soviet Union, nothing much has changed from the old days of Khrushchev beating his shoe on the table at the United Nations. The ruthless people who have run Russia for the last 100 years — while maybe different politically — are fundamentally gangsters and thieves who use whatever politics they find convenient to enforce their rule.

Mr. Putin and his fellow and former KGB thugs are in charge of Russia now, and plan to stay in charge until someone knocks them off. This is highly unlikely to occur anytime soon because they are systematically killing off any possible opposition. This practice has changed very little since the communist days, during which Mr. Putin learned his “leadership” and political survivor skills. He is, basically, an old-style Soviet apparatchik wrapped in a populist package.

And Russians have embraced him as a “new populist” — however, they also like the fact that people around the world are beginning to fear them again. While we call this “resurgent nationalism” and “patriotism” in the West, it’s pure and simple fascism — nothing else is close to accurately describing it.

What I’m saying here isn’t blasphemous or even rude — give most any Russians enough to drink and they’ll confirm it with even rougher language: A hard-line Soviet guy I remember from my years of dealing with them told me (after a lot of vodka): “Never believe us, we don’t know how to tell the truth — it means nothing to us and so we never give it any value. We can’t believe anything our government tells us — so why should we ever believe yours?”

So they’re still rude and fundamentally dishonest. However, are they as dangerous now as when we were locked in the Cold War with them?

This is a very hard question — primarily because our so-called “estimates” of Soviet strengths and weaknesses were often wrong over a 50-year period — so getting the “truth” about the real threat from them was every bit as difficult as getting the “truth” out of a Russian. Why? Simple: Because our State Department encouraged conciliation with the Soviet Union, they needed also to maintain the fiction of the United States dealing with the Soviets as political and national security equivalents. Of course, this was never the case, so when the Soviet Union “crashed” in the late-1980s and early ’90s we were really taken by surprise — in fact, we were stunned, and for a time could not explain what had happened.

Despite this, one thing remains constant in Russian “diplomacy” from the Cold War. They never want to see us with a capable missile defense for two basic reasons:

• First, because they had one for so long they know it’s a good idea and they know if we get serious about it ours will work a lot better than theirs has. To translate this so it doesn’t sound so self-serving, they say our missile defense reduces the effectiveness of their “nuclear deterrent” — this, however, doesn’t pass the laugh test.

• Second, they know that closer-in missile defenses (what we call “boost phase”) are more efficient and effective than “terminal defenses.” So, they see the placement of radars in Eastern Europe as a prelude to our installing more capable boost phase intercept systems that could render their vast land-based ICBM systems ineffective, whether mobile or not.

Because this is so transparent, they’ve had to come up with more “diplomatic” reasons to oppose ABM systems in Eastern Europe. And, these reasons — it turns out — are the same phony ones they used in the mid-1980s when they were obsessed with stopping our Strategic Defense Initiative (SDI) program:

They say (and Mr. Putin will say to Mr. Bush) that the deployment of 10 ABM interceptors in Poland with radars in the Czech Republic has an “anti-Russian” character. What does that mean? As I used to tell my Soviet counterpart (a crusty old Soviet army general) after he read me goofy things like this off little cards: “If you mean that it will it shoot down a Soviet ICBM aimed at us, then yes, it is ‘anti-Soviet’ and meant to be, just like your ICBMs are ‘anti-U.S.’ Now, what is your next concern?” Some things will never change.