Making Russia Pay the Price for its Abominable Outrages
by Dave Essel
In my note Three Cheers for Georgia on August 13, I put forward some suggestions for civilised and proper actions that could be taken to bring home to Russia and its people the seriousness of such barbaric behaviour.
I am very pleased to see than no less an organ than the Wall Street Journal is advocating similar ideas in a opinion piece datelined August 15 entitled The Kremlin’s ‘Protection’ Racket by David B. Rivkin Jr. and Lee A. Casey.
In this article, which LR reproduces above, the authors, inter alia, conclude:
It is important that Moscow pays a concrete and tangible price for its latest aggression, at least comparable to the price it paid for the 1979 invasion of Afghanistan. Visa denials to all individuals connected to the Russian government and vigorous oversight and enforcement activities against Moscow’s state-owned companies would be a good way to start. Given Russia’s historic insecurities, and the desire of Russian plutocrats to travel freely throughout the world, educate their children in the West, and own property overseas, such modest measures would be quite effective. Russia’s WTO membership should be blocked and its G-8 participation suspended.
The whole article is well worth reading. I still like my suggestions, which were:
* See to it Russia is thrown out of the G8 (by advocating it, writing to our representatives, and using any other such means to that end);
* See to it that Russia’s UN mandate to act as ‘peacekeeper’ in South Ossetia and Abkhazia is terminated. They won’t go, of course, but their banditry will then be evident to all.
It’s beginning to look like these will happen. And, still to be pushed for:
* Since Russia and its citizens (who ‘democratically elected’ their government or at least are doing nothing to prevent its continued existence) have put themselves beyond the pale as far as civilised behaviour in the 21st century is concerned, all Western and truly democratic governments should begin an immediate moratorium (or at the very least a massive reduction) on the issuing of non-essential visitor visas to Russian citizens wishing to visit the civilised world. This might help bring home to the Russian people that they do bear collective responsibility for the actions of their government.
* Georgia should be provided with a great deal of military assistance by the USA and European countries, in particular in the deployment of a serious anti-aircraft defence capability;
* Individuals can and should take such actions as buying shares in Georgian companies, visit the country as tourists (it’s a lovely place), buy Georgian products (great mineral water, interesting wines, etc)
* Boycott Russia and Russian products. (A bit difficult this, since the country doesn’t make anything much that anyone wants!). However, we can encourage a friend and do down our foe by insisting on Wodka Wyborowa instead of Stoli for our vodkas on the side and martinis and we can refrain from going to Russia as tourists.
* Get our pop stars to boycott the Eurovision song contest.
* Boycott the Sochi Olympics (if the Russians don’t have to give up on it first because they can’t get the place ready.)
I am sure that more ideas could be developed and implemented. LR is widely read as the latest stunning statistics show, so suggestions made here will probably be seen “где надо”, as the Russians say.
By the way, I somewhat disagree with the WSJ authors that “visas [should be denied] to all individuals connected to the Russian government” as I think the ban should go far wider. For the time being, the West should be saying that we do not want ANY Russians around us except those needing shelter from internal persecution.
It should also be emphasised that the authors of this article have come up with one truly wonderful addition to my hastily written list – “vigorous oversight and enforcement activities against Moscow’s state-owned companies”. Such an action is long overdue but better late than never! Gunvor (turnover 450 million barrels of Russian oil per year and revenue of $30 billion; founder, 55 year old Gennady Timchenko, an ex-KGB agent, said to be a close friend of Vladimir Putin from the 1990s), GazProm, and the others should get their tree shook too.