Daily Archives: October 20, 2008

October 22, 2008 — Contents

WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 22  CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Vladimir Putin’s Wake of Failure

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Robert Bridge, Shameless Neo-Soviet Liar

(3)  An Open Letter to Robert Amsterdam

(4)  EDITORIAL:  The Neo-Communist Stock Market

(5)  Russia, Disintegrating

(6)  The Russian Economy, Imploding

NOTE:  It’s (mostly) all La Russophobe all the time today, with the lion’s share of the content in this issue comprised of original material, including two separate spotlights on mendacious Russophile collaborators (Serge Schmemann and Robert Bridge).

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EDITORIAL: Vladimir Putin’s Wake of Failure

EDITORIAL

Vladimir Putin’s Wake of Failure

Yana Ryzheva, a 20-year-old student, was one of 150 people fired from a Web publication on Thursday. It’s “practically impossible to find another job,” she said. “People are being cut everywhere.”

— The Associated Press, October 18th

In English, a language of strange homonyms, the word “wake” can mean either the backwash of a marine vessel or a funeral commemoration.  The language achieves unique power when a pair of contrasting definiations are both applicable, as is the case in regard to the use of this word in regard to Russian dictator Vladimir Putin.

Former Kremlin insider Andrei Illarionov has shown that even an oil-dependent African nation like Nigeria is better governed than is Putin’s Russia (international surveys routinely show Russia, a supposed G-8 nation, in the company of African backwaters when judged for quality of governance and civil society).  Student Ryzheva was speaking about Moscow, and even there the apocalyptic pain of Putin’s mismanagement of the Russian ecomony is already being felt at street level.  But Moscow is the center of Russia’s wealth and power; in more remote regions, the population was already suffering brutal poverty that led to Russian men not living to reach their 60th year on average, a lifespan that excludes Russia from the top 100 nations of the world in that category.  The wake of failure, pain and humiliation created by Putin’s pathetic inability to understand basic realities of market economics is laid out chapter and verse by the AP story.

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EDITORIAL: Robert Bridge, Shameless Neo-Soviet Liar

EDITORAL

Robert Bridge: Shameless Neo-Soviet Liar

Robert Bridge, Neo-Soviet Liar

Robert Bridge, Neo-Soviet Liar

On September 28, 2008, American citizen Robert Bridge was interviewed on the Kremlin’s propaganda TV network “Russia Today.” RT characterized the interview as follows: “Robert Bridge from the Moscow News weekly says Europe should think over if it is really interested in U.S. leadership.”

Sounds like something the Kremlin itself might say, doesn’t it? How might Russians react if a Russian (say, Garry Kasparov) said something like that about Russia? Might they not call him a traitor and seek to incarcerate him? Would they not, perhaps, even be motivated to violence?  The Kremlin’s official English-language propaganda blog, Russia Profile, also admires Bridge’s work, as does the Guardian-PSJ blog, the reincarnation of the failed Intelligent.ru Russophile orgy led by the same pathological Kremlin apologist Sergei Roy who was the longtime editor of the Moscow News. Bridge moonlights as the copy editor for the Russia in Global Affairs blog put out by Fyodor Lukyanov, another darling of Russia Today who recently authored a piece in the Moscow Times headlined “United States Lost Russia and Everything Else.”  Not just a lot of things, mind you — everything.  Lukyanov is a member of the “Russian Council on Foreign and Defense Policy” which is chaired by fire-breathing Russian nationalist Dmitri Rogozin.

The Moscow News is one of the more obscure and irrelevant sources of information about Russia that exists in the world, which is why it’s taken us a bit of time to get around to the loathsome little reptile who runs it.  We have, however, previously exposed the sheer nonsense spewed forth by one of his “reporters.” The paper was founded by communists in the 1930s (thus making it the oldest English-language publication currently operating in Russia), and then faced with bankruptcy and failure was purchased by oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovky.  Khodorkovsky installed opposition journalist Yevgeny Kiselyov to clean house, but the paper’s staff revolted and the effort failed, whereupon the paper was snapped up by Kremlin-controlled wire service RIA Novosti (the paper’s website is currently hosted on RIA’s server).  In other words, the Moscow News these days is little different from Russia Today itself, and Robert Bridge is its very own Peter Lavelle.  In other other words, it’s full of truly ridiculous lies. 

Bridge writes articles with titles like “Ten Reasons why Russia can’t trust Uncle Sam” and then he turns around and complains that the Russian perspective is not fairly reflected in Western commentary about Russia.  He has argued in support of the outageous anti-American propaganda film about the 9/11 terrorist attack which recently aired on Russian state-owned TV, asserting doubts “that a civilian Boeing aircraft had crashed into the Pentagon building” and asking:  “In any plane crash there are remains left. There is luggage, there are seats, etc.: Why did this plane crash so differently from any other crash we have seen?”

On August 14th, Bridge wrote the following in a column about the war between Russia and Georgia:

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An Open Letter to Robert Amsterdam

Dear Bob,

It’s becoming clearer to me with every passing day that, where you are concerned, it really is possible to judge a book by its cover.  It seems that you are exactly what you appear to be — just a lawyer representing a client whose mission is to free that client (jailed oil oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky) from prison by any legal means possible, regardless of the collateral damage.  That’s a disappointing conclusion for me to reach as one who played a key role in bringing your blog to prominence several years ago, and one who would have liked to think we shared a common mission.  Your client has very clearly said that if only the Kremlin will let him out of prison, he’ll suddenly have no problem with its barbaric anti-democratic crackdown and may even help facilitate it.  I can’t help wondering, and worrying, whether the same is true of you as well.

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EDITORIAL: The Neo-Communist Stock Market

EDITORIAL

The Neo-Communist Stock Market

It’s getting rather embarrassing these days to be a Kremlin flunkie.

One minute you’re given marching orders, for instance, to tell the world the Kremlin isn’t buying up shares in Russian enterprises in a cosmically insane effort to create a Potemkin illusion of prosperity just like they used to do in Soviet times.  But no sooner do you start parrotting that absurd line (as a number of Commissars of the Internet did right here on this blog) than the Kremlin comes out and admits it’s going to do exactly that, spending 15% of the National Welfare Fund starting on Monday.

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Russia, Disintegrating

Vasko Kohlmayer, writing on FrontPageMag.com:

Late last month, Russian president Dmitry Medvedev made a startling admission. Speaking at a conference on social-economic development in Kamchatka, he said: “If we do not step up the level of activity of our work [in the Russian Far East], then in the final analysis we can lose everything.” What Medvedev’s words betray is the fear of Russia’s leaders that their country may not hold together.

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The Russian Economy, Imploding

Marshall I. Goldman, emeritus professor of economics at Wellesley College, senior scholar at Harvard University’s Davis Center, and author of Petrostate: Putin, Power and the New Russia, writing in the Moscow Times:

Given how rapidly Russia moved from near-bankruptcy in 1998 to what seemed like unprecedented prosperity in 2007 and early 2008, perhaps we should not be surprised that Russian financial markets have been hit even harder than those in the United States, Europe and Asia.

In addition, the original oligarchs, along with the new ones who rose to wealth with former President Vladimir Putin’s help, have suffered especially large reversals. Billionaires from Oleg Deripaska to Roman Abramovich have lost more than $230 billion as the combined wealth of Forbes magazine’s 25 richest Russians tumbled 62 percent from May 19 to Oct. 6, Bloomberg reported. How did all of this happen?

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