Daily Archives: March 3, 2009

March 6, 2009 — Contents


(1)  Another Original LR Translation:  The Sochi Farce

(2)  EDITORIAL:   Whither Medvedev?

(3)  Part I: Putin’s Russia is Collapsing 

(4)  Part II:  Putin’s Russia is Collapsing 

(5)  Ryzhkov on Putin the Vampire

NOTE:  Kim Zigfeld has our take on Barack Obama’s “secret letter” to Dima Medevdev about missile defense over on Pajamas Media.  Spoiler alert:  We don’t care for it.

Another Original LR Translation: The Sochi Farce

Translator’s Note: On Wednesday LR carried a fairly negative report from Der Spiegel about the forthcoming Olympic fiasco. However, it was bouncy upbeat European in comparison to what I had just been reading in Novaya Gazeta. See below.

Oligarchs Aren’t “Go”

Yevgeni Titov

Novaya Gazeta

25 February 2009

Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel

Is the state going to have to rescue Potanin and Deripaska’s businesses in order for the Sochi Olympics to happen?


Construction costs for the Sochi sports venues have gone down by 15%, declared deputy-premier for the Olympics Dmitri Kozak at a meeting with prime minister Vladimir Putin. According to the deputy minister, an expert review of the project documentation was able to find ways to make the saving. However, given that food, transport, and utility prices are rising, making the Olympics cheaper seems a rather doubtful proposition. Especially if one takes into account that construction of the venues has not started and building workers are not getting paid. One gets the impression that Olympic optimism is directly but inversely proportional to the depth of the economic crisis. Especially at the venues that Russia’s former Forbes-list billionaires and business giants are responsible for. Novaya Gazeta’s correspondent visited Sochi to see for himself how preparations for the Olympics were going. No venues were to be seen and he was left only with questions.

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EDITORIAL: Whither Medvedev?


Whither Medvedev?

Writing in the Moscow Times, Nikolai Petrov of the Carnegie Center states:

How can Putin hold onto his high ratings in the midst of a worsening economic crisis? It is possible that Medvedev’s frenetic schedule in recent weeks is one attempt at resolving that problem. Putin has to be somehow saved from the blow, pulled to the side so as to remove any hint of his being responsible for the negative consequences of the crisis. The only way to do that is to put someone else’s head on the chopping block. But now the country is faced with another problem: Who can rule the country besides Putin?

Of course, there is no guarantee that Medevedev is prepared to go “all the way” with this “chopping block” business, so Putin must hedge his bet. That is where Vladmir Frolov comes in.

Thus once again, writing in the Moscow Times, Putin shil Frolov has turned up the flame under the boiling pot of Russian failure that must be spilled on poor scapegoat, and sooner rather than later, sending a clear message to Medvedev that he must toe the line or be liquidated.

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Part I: Putin’s Russia is Collapsing

Dmitri Oreshkin, independent political analyst, writing in the Moscow Times:

For most countries of the world, the global crisis is strictly economic. But Russia is experiencing two crises simultaneously — economic and political.

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Part II: Putin’s Russia is Collapsing

Alexei Bayer, independent Russian economics analyst based in New York, writing in the Moscow Times:

In the mid-1960s, there were pundits on both sides of the Iron Curtain who predicted that the Soviet and U.S. systems would eventually become identical. The Soviet Union was then in a relatively liberal phase, whereas the United States, with President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society program full speed ahead, seemed to be moving toward social democracy.

By the 1970s, such talk ceased when the Kremlin tightened the ideological reins. But economic similarities did emerge in one aspect: The formidable U.S. economy, stifled by government intervention and overly bureaucratic corporations, began to stagnate almost as badly as its Soviet counterpart. The 1980s then became a period of renewal for both countries, even though the responses — and results — were very different, underscoring the contrast between the two political systems.

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Ryzhkov on Putin the Vampire

Opposition leader Vladmir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

Russians are struggling to keep their heads above the water as the crisis deepens, but bureaucrats are continuing to live as if there were no crisis at all.

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