WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 1 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Zero Hour Approaches
(2) EDITORIAL: Daria Says
(3) Annals of Russian Barbarity, and Failure, in Georgia
(4) Chechnya is Burning
(5) The Nemtsov White Paper, Part II (full document)
NOTE: Today we publish the second part of the Nemtsov White Paper as a single HTML document from which it can be cut and pasted readily. As indicated on the document, we have also published it in PDF format, as we did for the first part of the paper. We urge readers to circulate this critical document as widely as possible, so that all will know that ther are those who are fighting bravely for truth in Russia. And we express our thanks and admiration to Dave Essel for his yeoman work in bringing this material to the English-speaking audience. Without his efforts it might have languished forever in the dark.
Zero Hour Approaches
Russia has signed treaty by which it has promised unambiguously to remove every last Russian soldier from Georgian territory outside the formal borders of Ossetia and Abkhazia that it has recognized by October 10th, less than two weeks from now.
The United States has threatened Russia in the most blunt manner possible that the NATO allies will not tolerate any deviation by Russia from this promise. The highest-ranking U.S. diplomat on Russia, Daniel Fried, has stated:
If the Russians have not complied by October 10 there would be a very strong reaction. The problem with Russia’s invasion of Georgia is that it is not just a little hiccup or bump in the road. It is a major problem because Russia has tried to change international borders by force and that is quite a sobering thought. Russia is going to have to choose how far outside the international community it wants to place itself. There was a strong sense the Russia challenge had to be met and that no country in Europe should be left alone and isolated in dealing with Russia. Let’s be very careful that we don’t suddenly find ourselves slipping into a position of de facto recognizing what Russia has done.
Zero hour approaches.
“In Russia, whatever be the appearance of things, violence and arbitrary rule is at the bottom of them all. Tyranny rendered calm by the influence of terror is the only kind of happiness which this government is able to afford its people. If they wish to be recognized by the European nations, and treated as equals, they must begin by submitting to hear themselves judged.”
— Marquis De Custine, Empire of the Czar: A Journey Through Eternal Russia, ch. 37 (1843, rev. 1989).
Some idiot named Daria Chernyshova is writing an occasional column for the irrelevant Moscow News called “A Russian Briefer.” Fortunately for those who are inclined to mirth, as the title alone indicates, it does not seem there is anyone with a native command of the English language who is inclined to assist Ms. Chernyshova with her highly stilted prose, which only helps to make her ridiculous drivel that much more stilted and hysterically ludicrous. Any time you’d like a nice roll on the floor convulsed in uncontrollable fits of laughter, just tune in to Channel Chernyshova (you can also catch her on that bastion of accuracy in Russia reporting, Kremlin-controlled Russia Profile).
We’ll sum her up this way: As a journalist, she’s a great little piece of ass.
In her most recent installment, Chernyshova states:
A group of students are standing next to the examination room. The German asks: “Why don’t they let us enter? They are already 3 minutes late.” An American says, “Can you explain to me the meaning of this?” Finally, the Russian asks: “What exam are we to take today? Please! May I have a look at someone’s notes?” What strikes observers about this approach to our work is that the outcome – when it finally comes – is brilliant. No matter how long a task may take to fulfil, a Russian will eventually get the job done. One wonders how Russians succeed with such an attitude. Though we are mostly Northern residents, our inner passion explains everything.
This is truly Russia in a nutshell. And we do mean nut.
The New York Times reports:
During the recent war between Georgia and Russia, Russian soldiers broke into a tower housing Georgia’s largest Internet provider and blew up its transmission equipment with hand grenades, shutting down television, phone and digital access for two million people across the country.
More than a month later, the company, Caucasus Online, is still struggling with the economic fallout. The company’s managing director, Mamia Sanadiradze, said that having restored Internet access to clients at a cost of $50 million, he now risks defaulting on plans to build a giant telecommunications network stretching to Western Europe.
The project was to be completed by October, but has been set back because American engineers hired to install an underwater cable are said to be too worried about the security risk of returning to Georgia and to the field. Mr. Sanadiradze estimated he would lose $1 million for every month the project was delayed.
“The Russians are still stationed on Georgian territory, and at any time they can paralyze our communications network or blow up the railway and nobody can stop them,” he said. “As long as the Russians are here, it will be impossible to restore business confidence in Georgia, that we spent years trying to build up.”
The New York Times reports:
The men who set fire to Valentina Basargina’s house arrived in the stillness of 3 a.m. There were three of them. Each wore a camouflage uniform and carried a rifle. One held a can of gasoline. They wore masks. They led Ms. Basargina and her son outside and splashed gasoline in their two rooms, she and her relatives said. One man produced a T-shirt, knotted onto a stick. It was damp with gas.
“This is for the one who is gone,” he said in thickly accented Russian. Ms. Basargina’s nephew had recently disappeared; the police had said he joined the small but smoldering insurgency fighting for Chechnya’s independence from Russia.
The man lit the torch and tossed it inside. The air whooshed. Flames shot through the house.
Vladmir Putin: The Bottom Line
Part II – Gazprom
by Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
(For the PDF version of this document, click here.)
In February 2008, the authors of the report you are now reading published an independent expert report Putin – The Bottom Line in which they presented their views on what the Russian Federation’s second president had done for Russia. In Putin – The Bottom Line we gave an unflattering but in our view fair evaluation, backed up by facts and figures, of the outcome of Vladimir Putin’s activities for the country – an outcome that is hidden from Russian eyes behind a smokescreen of official propaganda – in such fields as the economy, the army, the pension system, health and education, roads and highways, and others.
A good number of readers rightly pointed out that there was one problem which we had only partially covered – Russia’s energy situation in general and the issue of Gazprom, Russia’s main energy company, in particular. This was a deliberate omission on our part. We believe that the situation around Gazprom is worthy of individual attention and not something to be covered in just a few paragraphs.
This, firstly, is because Gazprom and what happens within it are of the utmost importance to our country. A second reason is because we have direct, first-hand knowledge of Gazprom’s problems because we were involved with it in our professional lives as former Russian minister of fuel and and energy and deputy minister of energy. Our last reason is that Gazprom has become a sort of personal special project of Putin’s: from the very beginning of his presidency he has carefully nurtured this corporation, appointed people close to him to key posts within it, and overseen its work in detail. Gazprom is one of only a few projects for which Putin can be considered to be personally responsible from the earliest days he was in power. One can, as a result, use it as a measure of the results of Putin’s doings.