SUNDAY MARCH 8 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Jail Khodorkovsky!
(2) Another Original LR Translation: Jobless in Russia
(3) EDITORIAL: Morons Inc.
(4) EDITORIAL: Hillary Clinton, Wonder Woman?
(5) Putin’s Russia Flouts International Law
NOTE: According to the website of the Russian Embassy in Washington DC:
The New Year is first on the calendar and in popularity. Many celebrate it twice, on January 1 and 14 (which conesponds to January 1 in the Julian calendar, used in Russia before 1918. Next is February 23, Day, known until recently as Soviet Army Day, popularly viewed as holiday for all men and closely followed by its female counter-part, Women’s Day, March 8, when women receive flowers, presents and are toasted by men.
That’s a verbatim copy of the text, full of hideous linguistic errors. So today Russians are celebrating a Soviet communist holiday, akin to worshiping the Red Army, by favoring their women with gifts, as their KGB spy “prime minister” looks on. Enough said.
In another typically excellent piece of analysis, Russia’s leading liberal pundit, Yevgeny Kiselyov, in his Moscow Times column, explains why Russia and the world would be much better off if jailed oil executive Mikhail Khodorkovsky stayed in prison. We think Khodorkovsky would be better off too, and staying in prison would be appropriate pennance for his outrageous recent attempt at collaboration with the Kremlin, leaving Khodorkovsky himself better off as well.
Thousands of AvtoVAZ (Lada) workers may lose their jobs
4 March 2009
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
Twelve and a half thousand AvtoVAZ workers have been temporarily laid off and there are plans to make 3200 of them redundant, announced Minister of Public Health and Social Development Tatyana Golikova at a session of the Federation Council. AvtoVAZ ‘s press office advised that the assembly line is currently at a complete standstill because of a shortage of components and that no date had been set for re-starting it.
Golikova went on to say that the government has allocated 12 billion roubles for government departments to purchase Russian-made automobiles. Her ministry said that most of these purchase would be made from AvtoVAZ. However, she herself went on to say that in her view this step would be “clearly unequal” to the task of ensuring employment at the plant.
AvtoVAZ employed 104,000 people as of Qtr4 2008. 6.1 million people are considered unemployed in Russia today – that’s the number of people that government statistics agency Rosstat counts as actively seeking work. At the same meeting, Golikova also mentioned that 1.97 million people are registered as unemployed at labour exchanges.
Last week the Moscow Times reported that when on February 9th Vladimir Putin “ordered the Industry and Trade Ministry on Feb. 9 to develop within a month legislation setting aside 2 billion rubles ($55 million) to make car loans more affordable” and the ministry responded by claiming “that the program could affect 150,000 sales this year for approved models costing less than 350,000 rubles ($9,700).”‘
There turns out to be just one little problem with this line of “thinking” from the Kremlin. It’s nonsense. As the MT states: “Subsidizing 150,000 loans by the proposed amount would require about 6 billion rubles, while the planned expenditure of 2 billion rubles would only cover about 47,000 cars.”
Only an “emperor’s-new-clothes” regime like that of Vladimir Putin could possibly imagine it could get away with this kind of nonsense, utterly typical of the garbage Russians were fed in Soviet times. With no critical mainstream media and no credible opposition forces in the Duma, Putin’s KGB minions are left free to do and say whatever they like, oblivious of any consequences, just as their Politburo predecessors always used to do.
A Russia governed this way will not even last as long as the USSR did.
According to the MT, only 11% of Russians have any intention of buying a new car in the next three years, and nearly half of that group has no idea how it will pay for the planned purchase. In other words, right now only about 7% of the Russian population plans to buy a new car and knows how the bill will be paid.
Hillary Clinton, Wonder Woman?
It will be, to say the least, a very strange state of affairs indeed if America is saved from foreign policy disaster by the likes of Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden.
Just as the thinking, moral people of the world stood slack-jawed reading the news about President Barack Obama’s shameful “secret letter” to Dima Medvedev, seeming to sell the Eastern European allies down the river, Hillary Clinton popped up in Brussels and declared: “We should continue to open NATO’s door to European countries such as Georgia and Ukraine and help them meet NATO standards.”
In other words, her very first visit to Europe the new Secretary of State poked Medvedev right in the eye, using language very similar to that relied on by Biden in his first European sojourn as vice president af few weeks earlier.
Let’s be clear: Compared to the notion of either Ukraine or Georgia, much less both of them, joining NATO, the notion of missile defense in Eastern Europe looks to Russia like a garden party. There simply is no more provocative issue on which Russia can be confronted, and Clinton had no hesitation in pressing the hot button.
If she goes on like this, Clinton could go down in history as one of America’s greatest diplomats and possibly even the savior of modern Russia.
Go Hillary, go!
Paul Goble reports:
Moscow could lose its membership in the Council of Europe if it continues over the next six months to ignore the decisions of the European Human Rights Court. While such an outcome is unlikely given politics involved, the threat itself highlights just how often Moscow is refusing to live up to its commitment to abide by the court’s decision.