Daily Archives: March 1, 2009

March 2, 2009 — Contents

MONDAY MARCH 9 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Take us Away, Officersky

(2)  State Department Condemns Putin’s Russia

(3)  In Russia, Government more Dangerous than Criminals

(4)  Exposing Russian Hatred of America

(5)  Annals of Putin’s Internet Crackd0wn

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EDITORIAL: Take us Away, Officersky

EDITORIAL

Take us Away, Officersky

Well, it seems that now in the eyes of the Kremlin we’re criminals. No big surprise, right?  We eagerly await the announcement of our trial date.

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U.S. State Department Condemns Russia on Human Rights

The U.S. State Department has issued its latest country reports on human rights, and the Russia Report scathingly condemns Russia’s “increasingly centralized political system” and “numerous reports of government and societal human rights problems and abuses” during 2008. It concludes that the Putin regime is on a “continued negative trajectory” where human rights values are concerned. It accuses Russia of using “disproportionate force across Georgia’s internationally recognized borders” and of the “use of indiscriminate force and resulted in civilian casualties, including of a number of journalists.” It condemns Russia for the fact that “prison conditions were harsh and frequently life threatening, law enforcement was often corrupt, and the executive branch allegedly exerted influence over judicial decisions in some high-profile cases. Security services and local authorities conducted searches without court warrants, particularly under the extremism law.”

In Putin’s Russia, Government is More Dangerous than Criminals

Paul Goble reports:

Small and mid-sized Russian businesses are now twice as likely to suffer from illegal actions by government officials — including those responsible for enforcing the law — than they are from the activities of ordinary criminals, according to a new survey of Russian entrepreneurs. Fifteen percent – or nearly one in six – of Russian businessmen in this category told OPOR pollsters that they had been subject to illegal actions by law enforcement agencies especially as a result of raids on their businesses, while only seven percent said they had felt similar “pressure” from ordinary criminals.

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Exposing Russians’ Hatred of Americans

Susan Richards, writing on Open Democracy’s Polit.ru website shows that unlike Americans, Russians are not hostile to the “American government” but to the very notion of America itself, the same way Iran is hostile to Israel:

Russian attitudes to the West are known to have soured in recent years. But it may surprise Western readers that the majority of Russians now express a positive dislike of the West in general, and particularly of America. Nor do most of them regard liberal democracy as a model towards which Russia should aspire any more, either.

These are the findings of an ambitious new socio-economic study entitled ‘Are Russians Moving Backwards?’ by Sergei Guriev of the prestigious New Economic School in Moscow, Aleh Tsyvinski of Yale University, and Maxim Trudolubov of the business newspaper Vedomosti. The research is based on the findings of regular opinion polls and on a mass of data on values, attitudes and perceptions between 2003-2008 which have not been drawn into the policy debate before. [1]

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Annals of Putin’s Internet Crackdown

Rebecca MacKinnon and Evgeny Morozov, fellows at the Open Society Institute, writing in the Moscow Times:

Even the most cold-hearted realists would agree that the failure of communist censorship played a role in the collapse of the Iron Curtain: Voice of America, the fax machine, rock ‘n’ roll and the lure of Western capitalism helped to win over the people of the Soviet bloc.

Today, similar hopes are often vested in the Internet, with high expectations that the wealth of online information might trigger the same kind of censorship failure that we saw in Eastern Europe in contemporary authoritarian states — and with the same results.

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