FRIDAY JANUARY 16 CONTENTS
(1) Another Original LR Translation: Milov on the Gas War
(2) EDITORIAL: More Pathetic Lies from Vladimir Frolov
(3) EDITORIAL: The Perils of Putinomics
(4) Russia: Land of the Slaves, Home of the Craven
(5) Military Spending is no Solution for Putin’s Russia
(6) Kasparov on Russian Mayhem in the Middle East
NOTE: All hail the mighty commenter! We’ve just published our 13,000th comment on this blog, and to mark the occasion note that one of our favorite bloggers, The Streetwise Professor, recently put up a post about Ukraine that was inspired by a comment from our beloved regular and prolific commenter “Elmer.” Nice work, Elmer! Commenters often play a larger role in producing blog content than some realize, as witness our recent editorial on suicide in Russia, also inspired by a comment.
A note from the translator: Russians can get clear information from a few remaining sources in their country. For example, here is an article by one of my favourite politicians, Vladimir Milov, published recently in one such brave source – Novaya Gazeta. In fact, I like this paper so much that I have bought subscriptions to it for a number of friends and acquaintances around Russia. This leads me to two hopes: 1) that my money (not much, really!) isn’t wasted and that they get the paper to the end of the year since I imagine it could be closed down at any moment by the neo-nazis in the Kremlin and b) that being the recipient of such a paper doesn’t get them arrested by those same N-N in the K under the vicious new legislation constantly being brought in to control the Russia’s unfortunate populace.
11 January 2009
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
This now yearly gas skirmish suits both the Russian and the Ukrainian élites because it moves the gas into no man’s land and increases profits at both ends of the pipe while allowing both parties to blame the political problems on each other.
Can a Gas War be Avoided?
I have come to the conclusion that Gazprom intended all along to cut off the flow of gas into the Ukraine.
More Shameless Lies from Vladimir Frolov
Writing in his latest Moscow Times column about the recent gas war between Russia and Ukraine, Kremlin stooge Vladimir Frolov wrote: “It looks like Russia won this one for sure.”
It’s hard to know where to begin listing the fatally dishonest flaws in this assertion (just plug his name into the search engine in our sidebar if you are unfamiliar with his litany of past lies). The aggressive manner in which these neo-Soviet freaks seek to bury the truth, prevent Russia from reforming and ultimately destroy the country in the same manner that the USSR was destroyed is deeply disturbing, to say the least, especially since he works with the Kremlin on its PR propaganda and spends most of the column praising the effectiveness of that propaganda. The Moscow Times routinely allows Russian businessmen with close Kremlin ties to write op-ed columns that are more like undisclosed advertisements, and this practice is utterly deplorable.
Defense policy expert Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:
For the past 10 years, I have heard numerous arguments why the government should be making huge investments into the country’s military industrial complex and why this should be a top national priority.
The first argument has been that our armed forces should be equipped with only domestically produced weapons that will be unmatched by anything produced in the West.
The second reason to have the government fund a large military industrial complex is to drive scientific and technical progress and provide the country with innovative technologies.
The third — and most ambitious — argument for a large defense industry was articulated by Vladislav Putilin, deputy head of the government’s military industrial commission: “Considering the country’s difficult economic situation, the state’s defense orders are seen as a way to aid the real economy and overcome the problems we are all facing.” Apparently, Putilin was taking a page from U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s playbook when he pulled the U.S. economy out of the Great Depression. It is well known that the United States became a leader of world production only after it focused on manufacturing military equipment during World War II.
Garry Kasparov, writing in the Wall Street Journal:
Those looking for a bright side in the global economic meltdown are fond of invoking the old line about finding opportunity in a crisis. But also keep in mind that there are those who will incite a new crisis to escape or distract from the current one. This is the scenario looming in Russia as the Kremlin faces increasing pressure on multiple fronts.
Russia and its fellow petrodictatorships are in dire need of a way to ratchet up global tensions to inflate the sagging price of oil. Petrodictators, after all, need petrodollars to stay in power. The war in Gaza and the otherwise inexplicable skirmish with Ukraine over natural gas have helped the Kremlin in this regard, but $50 a barrel isn’t going to be nearly enough. It will have to reach at least $100 and it will have to happen soon.