Daily Archives: March 16, 2009

March 18, 2009 — Contents

WEDNESDAY MARCH 18 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Listening to Ariel Cohen

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Neo-Soviet Winter, Descending

(3)  EDITORIAL:  All Hail the Yevraz

(4)  Kremlin Inc. Just keeps on Killing

(5)  Another Conviction for State-Sponsored Murder

(6)  More on Russia’s AIDS Apocalypse

EDITORIAL: Listening to Ariel Cohen

EDITORIAL

Listening to Ariel Cohen

The Heritage Foundation’s Ariel Cohen is surely one of the most insightful and courageous Russia watchers in the world today, and his recent white paper on HF’s website laying out America’s foreign policy objectives for Russia should be required reading for President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton, as well as all Russia watchers everywhere.

After laying out the facts establishing the threat posed by Russia to American national security in an irrefutable scholarly manner replete with footnotes, Cohen proceeds to set forth the specific policy steps that the Obama administration must take in order to meet those threats.  No thinking person can argue with his formulation, and if Obama does not implement it history will  surely condemn his fatal error.

Here is Cohen’s five-point proposal:

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EDITORIAL: Neo-Soviet Winter, Descending

EDITORIAL

Neo-Soviet Winter, Descending

Those of us in Europe and America who think that spring is approaching should look towards Russia, where despite the calendar a dark cold winter is descending across the land.

"Putler is Kaput!"

"Putler is Kaput!"

First, they will learn how Russian prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the protesters who raised banners declaring “Putler is Kaput!” in Vladivostock a few weeks ago.  This frighteningly neo-Soviet act makes total fools out of all those who claimed that Russia could never go back to the bad old Soviet days.  What else aren’t Russians allowed to say about their maniacal dictator Vladimir Putin?  Who’s next, one must ask? The poets?

Then, they will read how Russian prosecutors are charging bravely after the country’s Internet poets.  The Moscow Times reports that “a 21-year-old poet has been convicted in Veliky Novgorod for publishing Islamic poems on her LiveJournal blog that the Federal Security Service deemed extremist. Savelyeva refused to recite the poems that were found extremist, citing fears that her telephone was bugged by law enforcement officers.” The MT states:

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EDITORIAL: All Hail the Yevraz!

EDITORIAL

All Hail the Yevraz!

 In a bold and encouraging move last week, Kazakh President Nursultan Nazarbayev announced he was proposing, in the words of the Moscow Times:   “a common currency for five former Soviet republics, a slap in the face for Russia, which has been promoting the ruble for the role. Nazarbayev said the Eurasian Economic Community, a loose group of five former Soviet republics including Kazakhstan and Russia, could adopt a single noncash currency — the yevraz — to insulate itself from the global economic crisis. Yevraz is a newly coined word that sounds close to “Eurasia” in Russian. The Eurasian Economic Community also includes Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.”

Whether or not theYevraz becomes a reality, Nazarbayev has sent a clear signal that he understands the dangers associated with neo-Soviet imperialism, and will not be destroyed by them.  Likely, this move is a direct response to Russia’s insane invasion of Georgia last year, and reflects the ripple effects of an action that will haunt the corridors of Russian policy for many years.  How can Nazarbayev not fear that Russia wishes to annex his own country just as it attempted to do in Georgia? How can he not fear that, if Russia did so, it would visit the same sort of exploitation and suffering upon his nation that it imposed during the Soviet period?

We urge Kazakhstan to recognize that their future does not and cannot lie with Russia. We urge them to see that Russia is a racist, Slavophile nation which is utterly incapable of seeing the Kazakh people as equal citizens, a nation whose only purpose in dealing with Kazakhstan is naked imperliasm and manipulation.

The people of Russia, for all it seems, are prepared to march backward in history and expose themselves to a whole new era of neo-Soviet horror.  The people of Kazakhstan should show they world that they are not so foolish.

Kremlin Inc. Just Keeps on Killing

Forbes reports:

Alexander Antonov, a little-known Russian businessman survived an assassination attempt after he was shot in the head by a gunman in Moscow on Wednesday morning. Though the news hardly caused a stir in Moscow- relegated to the third page of most newspapers – it’s a powerful reminder that despite attempts to stamp out corruption, the country is still struggling to throw off a shadowy past.

Contract killings are far more prolific than the number reported in the media suggest, says Carlo Gallo, of Control Risk Group in London, who advises companies considering investing in Russia. “Contract killings may have decreased in frequency since the 1990s and the day of wild capitalism, but they are still occurring regularly in Russia, though they rarely make the headlines,” he told Forbes. “Victims tend to be journalists operating at a local level or local administrators involved in handing out permits, or land allocation.”

Russia’s problem with corruption is widely acknowledged. President Dmitry Medvedev himself has pledged to stamp out the problem. (See “Russia’s $120 Billion Elephant: Corruption.”)

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Once Again, Putin’s Russia Convicted of State-Sponsored Murder in Chechnya

The Associated Press reports:

Russia must pay damages to the families of 13 Chechens presumed dead after being abducted during armed raids between 2001 and 2003 in Chechnya, the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday. The court — the legal arm of the Council of Europe rights watchdog — said Russia was responsible for the men’s disappearances and should pay damages and court fees totaling around euro531,000 ($679,000).

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More on Russia’s AIDS Apocalypse

The Washington Post‘s Post Global blog reports:

The HIV epidemic in Russian continues, despite the nation’s efforts to expand treatment. Unfortunately, those efforts aren’t focusing on the primary source of the problem — injecting drug users. If Moscow is serious about curbing the epidemic, it needs to sharpen its focus on that high-risk population in much the same way Thailand focused its HIV efforts on its own high-risk population, commercial sex workers.

First, some data that illustrates the problem.

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