SUNDAY FEBRUARY 15 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: How Low can you Go, Russia?
(2) EDITORIAL: Boycott Sochi!
(3) Now, Putin starts with the Teachers
(4) The Kremlin just Doesn’t get it
(5) Latynina on the Russian Swindler
(6) Top 10 things Americans, but not Russians, have Accomplished
NOTE: On Friday, two months shy of our third birthday, this blog passed another milestone, having by then been visited by three quarters of a million people since its founding in April 2006. The 5,000+ web pages created by this blog have now been opened well over one million times, and we have published over 15,000 comments, more than any other Russia politics blog in world history. And you ain’t seen nuthin’ yet! As we have said many times before, these statistics are as much the accomplishment of you the reader as they are of those who produce the content, so pat yourself on the back but don’t get complacent. Instead, redouble your efforts to publicize our content by using services like Digg and StumbleUpon. Remember: The KGB still rules Russia.
How low can you go, Russia?
Russia sank to an unfathomable new low last week.
Reuters reported that the Kremlin was begging fugitive solider Sergeant Alexander Glukhov, who defected across the Ossetian lines to Georgia, to return to Russia. Reuters quotes Colonel Igor Konashenkov, aide to the commander of Russia’s Ground Forces, sating: “Russia’s military command has no disciplinary complaints against sergeant Glukhov, and if he returns to Russia he will continue his service, but in a different unit.”
Now we ask you, dear readers, to tell us which is more pathetic and wretched: If Konashenkov is telling the truth, or if he’s lying?
Say “No” to Sochi because of Russia’s Drunken Skies
Last week, we reported on how the passengers of an Aeroflot airliner had been forced to take matters into their own hands in order to stop a drunken Russian pilot from taking off and killing them all. In America, the pilot saves the passengers by skillfully and heroically landing a stricken airliner on a river in the middle of one of the world’s greatest cities. In Russia, it’s exactly the reverse.
A Russian school teacher described by Amnesty International as a possible prisoner of conscience said on Thursday she had been ordered to resign her job as punishment for opposing the Kremlin.
Yekaterina Bunicheva’s head teacher said he had reprimanded her for failing to show up for work after she was jailed for five days. He denied telling her to resign or that the punishment had been for her political beliefs. Bunicheva and three other opposition activists were arrested in the city of Nizhny Novgorod, east of Moscow, last month as they made their way to a pro-government rally where they were planning to protest. All three were given the same jail term after they were found guilty of swearing at police.
The history teacher said soon after her release she was called in to see her headteacher, Vladimir Ushakov, at the city’s School No. 106.
Russian economist Konstantin Sonin, a professor at the New Economic School/CEFIR and a columnist for the Vedomosti newspaper, writing in the Moscow Times bravely admits what is obvious to the outside world: Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin just doesn’t get it.
Last week, the government announced policies aimed at expanding the credit available to businesses. The banks that were the major recipients of government bailout funds were instructed to increase the amount they lend by 2 percent per month. At the same time, the government refused to consider taking toxic assets off banks’ balance sheets, even though all leading countries of the world are moving in that direction. Unfortunately, this shows that the government does not understand how to treat the severe blood clot that is blocking the flow of money into the economy.
There are two reasons banks are not lending more money. First, they need those funds to pay off their own debts. Second and more important, they know that most borrowers won’t be able to pay back the loans during the crisis.
Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
The Russia-Ukraine gas war officially ended in Moscow on Jan. 19, when Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed a 10-year agreement. But there was a strange epilogue when Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko demanded shortly thereafter that the agreement be annulled.
Tymoshenko pushed very hard to include a clause eliminating the role of the controversial intermediary RosUkrEnergo. If Yushchenko gets his way, RosUkrEnergo will be the big winner.
In our editorial we point out one difference between the way Americans and Russians roll it. In America, the pilot of an airplane saves the passangers; in Russia, it’s the reverse. Here’s our list of other examples in top-ten form. We invite readers to educate us if we’re wrong about any item, to add to the list, and to create a pro-Russian list . . . if they can.
Top 10 things Americans have done but never Russians
Built restaurants and auto dealerships in Western Europe
Built the world’s tallest office building
Won seven Nobel Prizes in literature