Kozlovsky’s Army Under Siege
“I was furious when I heard Putin speaking fairy tales in Davos about how our economy is under control. It is my duty to stand up for my rights. I want to live in a good place. I want my children to grow up in a free country, not a gulag.”
— Yevgeny Antipov, a 21-year-old student in Vladivostok last weekend, insisting that he was not afraid to be marching against the government for the first time.
Does U.S. President Barack Obama ever intend to speak out on the oppression of basic democratic and liberal values in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, values he supposedly holds dear? Or are Obama’s pretty words just that, and nothing more?
Oleg Kozlovsky and his opposition organization Oborona (“Defense”) continue to face outrageous harassment from the barbaric band of thugs who run the Moscow Kremlin. Obama continues his repugnant, cowardly silence. We fear that those who told us to trust that Obama would act once he took power were seriously misled.
On January 31st, Oborona activists participated in yet another of Garry Kasparov’s “Days of Dissent” marches, and once again the Kremlin took both preemptive and punitive action to stifle their free speech rights.
Before the event, Putin’s police circulated a letter to a number of major universities asking them to expel students who participated in the last Dissenter March, which occurred in mid-December.
Then during the event, a gang of thugs (Russian language link, with video) attacked the marchers (English link at Oleg’s blog, also with video), inflicting serious injuries on several of them. Police, who were surrounding the marchers, totally ignored the thugs and focused their attention exclusively on seeking to control the marchers themselves. Alexei Kazakov, the Moscow branch coordinator for Oborona, had his nose broken by the thugs and then was placed under arrest for unauthorized protesting by the police. Dozens of other activists went with him into Putin’s dungeons.
The Moscow Times reports that a group of protesters from Roman Dobrokhotov’s anti-Kremlin youth group My, or “We” in English, rallied outside the White House with blank signs and their mouths taped shut. Police detained all the participants.
As Putin’s economy fails spectacularly, we can only expect higher levels of paranoia from the Kremlin as these challengers become bolder. How long will it be before someone like Mr. Kazakov gets the Markelov treatment?
Not long at all, unless Western leaders like Barack Obama have the courage to step forward and protect them.
Forget Obama. Ask John McCain to comment on Putin’s actions. He has personal familiarity with what happens in communist dungeons, and he is known to speak his mind when asked.
Obama cant rock the boat too early , but i worry that he may think he could charm the Russian into becoming reliable partner.
Obama thinks he can convince anyone and charm anyone.
Again , i dont think he should attack the Kremlin , out of the box…The economic crisis could really do a good amount of damage to Russia and force the Kremlin to cooperate on certain things like Iran and afghanistan…..So Obama has to not rock the boat too early.
He should also make it clear he’s not dumb enough to accept ridiculous Kremlin demands.
There is nothing “too early” about forcefully nailing the Russians on their human rights violations or any other of their thuggery. The boat is beyond “rocked”, it’s been torpedoed. The Russians have made it very clear what the game afoot is.
How long does one have to wait until it is permissible to call the Russians on their atrocious behavior? And why?
He wasnt elected to throw cold war rhetoric from the get go.
So he has to pick his spot carefuly when it comes to going after Russia…The Economic crisis should be his ally against Russia.
If the crisis damages Russia badly , they wont have a choice but to pull back on their ambitious geopolitical aims and be more cooperative.
Obama should not invite the kremlin in the white house or go a visit in Russia since it would give them a propaganda win…Meeting them on the sideline during the g20 meeting in london , is good enough.
The reason Obama came to power was the anti-white Nazism of the media.
This has nothing to do with any ability to handle foreign policy.