Daily Archives: October 9, 2008

October 12, 2008 — Contents

SUNDAY OCTOBER 12 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Reuters blows Ukraine Coverage

(2)  EDITORIAL: Rats (Annals of the Russian Stock Market)

(3)  The “Russian” Identity Crisis in Ukraine

(4)  Please Bring back the VOA!

(5)  Golts on the Medvedev Doctrine

(6)  Oborona on the Market Crash

(7)  Exposing Russian Fraud in Georgia

EDITORIAL: Reuters Blows Ukraine Coverage

EDITORIAL

Reuters Blows Ukraine Coverage

Reuters has blown a story about a recent meeting between the Russian and Ukrainian Prime ministes so badly as to give rise to the impression that the fix might be in.

In a piece labled “analysis” by Christian Lowe, a military correspondent with no special expertise in Russia or Ukraine, Reuters claimed that a “new warmth was on show on Thursday when Tymoshenko — who two years ago accused Russia of extorting cash from Ukraine in a row over gas — had a cordial meeting with her Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin followed.”  Lowe followed  this with a quote from Kremlin lackey Fyodor Lukyanov, editor of the journal Russia in Global Affairs:  “The tactical interests of Moscow and Tymoshenko have coincided. They have the same main opponent and that is Yushchenko.”

Oops.  The Christian Science Monitor reported the actual facts:

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EDITORIAL: Rats

EDITORIAL

Rats

More and more with each day that passes, it has begun to seem that Russia is governed not by clear-thinking adults but by panicked children under a Lord of the Flies scenario. Markets plunged on Monday and Wednesday and were supposed to be closed Thursday, then suddenly they were open and rising.  They were supposed to be open Friday, then suddenly they were closed “until further notice” for no apparent reason (except blind panic over the major U.S. drop on Thursday resulting in oil prices plunging to a one-year low of $82).  Russia apparently feels it can switch the markets on and off like a spigot at the Kremlin’s whim — another brilliant Russian idea the rest of the world simply never thought of before! It’s the USSR all over again. As we’ve previously pointed out, things are so unspeakably bitter in Russia these days, even by Russian standards, that even the most venal Russophile rats are being forced into positions of desperation that, in some cases, have forced them to moderate their insane positions somewhat, confronted as they are by so much overwhemling, undeniable failure. Even the demonic Vladimir Frolov, it seems, is not immune. 

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Russian Identity Going Extinct in Ukraine

Paul Goble reports:

More than three million ethnic Russians living in Ukraine have re-identified themselves as Ukrainians since 1991, nearly a thousand times the number of Ukrainians who may have dual citizenship in the Russian Federation, a ratio that appears to be increasing and is of increasing concern to Moscow.

On the one hand, this pattern suggests that ethnic Russians in Ukraine increasingly identify themselves with that country and its titular nation, an attitude that makes it more difficult for Moscow to play this ethnic card against Kyiv. And on the other, it points to the weakness of Russian ethnic identity more generally, something few Russian nationalists want to admit.

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Russian Opposition begs for Return of VOA

Paul Goble reports:

Three leading figures of the Russian opposition are calling on Washington to reverse its decision to reduce Radio Liberty’s Russian-language broadcasts next year, lest Russian citizens, at a time when Moscow has established “practically complete control” over domestic radio and television lose a vital source of “objective information.” In a letter to the US State Department, the foreign affairs committees and the Helsinki Commission of the Congress, and presidential candidates John McCain and Barak Obama, the three – Vladimir Bukovsky, Vladimir Kara-Murza and Boris Nemtsov – say that reducing such broadcasts from abroad would make their struggle for freedom that much more difficult.(The Voice of America ended Russian-language radio broadcasting earlier this summer not only as part of a general cost-cutting effort but because the affiliates in Russia on which its programming was broadcast increasingly refused, under pressure from the Russian government, to carry VOA programs.)

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Golts on the Medvedev Doctrine

Yezhedevny Zhurnal deputy editor Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

It is common knowledge that certain animals behave strangely just before an earthquake. Mice and rats leave their dens, and dogs begin to howl. If we apply that logic to Russia’s Defense Ministry, it is in store for a tectonic shift.

Russia’s top brass are usually happy to remain in their “dens” and out of the public eye, but they have suddenly decided to appeal to the people for support. An unidentified high-ranking military source informed Interfax that the General Staff has been dealt a terrible blow. According to media reports, the Defense Ministry has prepared a directive that will cut the General Staff in half. This may be just another groundless leak, but there are signs that the General Staff is in store for some bad news. One example is that it had to relocate from its offices on Arbat to Leninsky Prospekt, site of the former Warsaw Pact headquarters. The official reason for the move was repair work, but it is highly likely that they will not return to their former headquarters.

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Oborona on the Market Crash: Putin must Go!

An editorial (staff translation, corrections welcome) from Oleg Kozlovsky’s Oborona opposition group on the Russian stock market collapse:

A financial crisis has exploded upon Russia and the world, the Broke out in Russia and the world financial crisis, the predictable result efforts by governments to fund growth through the excessive use of credit.

However, it would be wrong to place all the blame for the collapse of the Russian stock markets on global trends. Vladimir Putin and his ministers for many years have tried to convince us that the Russian economy is reliably protected from such crises. They have bragged about their  budget surplus, near absence of public debit, their large stabilization fund and their secured ruble reserves. Even on October 6th, when the stock market shook the country at its foundations, state television continued to reassure citizens that our economy is significantly more robust than any other major nation.

Yet, it is our stock market that has fallen faster, and further, than any such country amidst this crisis.

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