Daily Archives: March 27, 2009

March 29, 2009 — Contents


(1)  Jeremy Putley on Torture in Russian Prisons

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The Toxic Lies of Putinomics

(3)  EDITORIAL:  LR in Russian

(4)  The Sunday Pogrom: Russia Cracks down on the Jews

(5)  EDITORIAL:  Russia as Sharapova

Torture in Russian Prisons under Medvedev

Torture in a Volgograd prison, 2009

by Jeremy Putley

How Chechen prisoners are treated under President Dmitry Medvedev

It is a principle universally recognized, in countries governed by the rule of law, that imprisonment following conviction is all the penalty the law allows. Torture of prisoners is not any part of the punishment demanded by society. But in the Russian Federation, under the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev, that principle apparently does not apply, considering the evidence of numerous cases of which one of the most shocking is that of an imprisoned Chechen, Zubair Zubairaev.

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EDITORIAL: The Toxic Lies of Putinomics


The Toxic Lies of Putinomics

Writing in the Moscow Times last week, Anders Aslund pointed out just how very many utterly ridiculous lies were told by the Putin regime when it propounded it’s 2009 budget in November of last year, in the vortex of an economic crisis that was worsening by the day.

  • It said GDP would grow by 6%. Lie #1.  It now expects a 2% contraction.
  • It said there would be a 4% budget surplus. Lie #2. It now admits at least a 7% deficit.
  • It said the price of crude oil would be $95/barrel. Lie #3.  Now, it says the price will be just $40/barrel.
  • It said 25 rubles would buy one dollar.  Lie #4.  That became 33.
  • And it said, lie #5, that consumer price inflation would fall to 9%.  In fact, it will soar to 13%, or more.

In any normal country, a government caught in even one lie of this magnitude would be ridiculed and ridden out of town on a rail.  But Russia, of course, is not a normal country, and not even all five together are enough to raise an eyebrow among the rank and file of the citizenry.

The people of Russia, of course, get what they deserve. The impose no supervision on the Kremlin, and they do not call it to account when it fails.  Why should the Kremlin, then, care whether it fails or not? It would naturally only care about doing what is necessary to preserve itself in comfortable power, and if the people do not demand that their welfare be considered then of course it would not be.

No nation can be governed this way over the long haul, least of all a chicken-with-the-head-cut-off place like Russia.  As we’ve said many times before, Russia is simply repeating all the mistakes made by the USSR as if the collapse of that benighted wreck did not happen, or meant nothing.

EDITORIAL: LR in Russian


LR in Russian

The major Russian website InoForum has translated a second of our recent editorials, this time the one entitled “How We See It” in which we explained our confrontational approach to reform in Russia.  Previously, InoForum translated our editorial exposing of the extent of Vladimir Putin’s alienation of the people of the United States, entitled “Putin=Russophobia.”  Interestingly, they’ve also translated several of our reader comments posted to that editorial, a nice touch.  As a result of this, you may notice an increased number of Russian-language comments appearing on this blog from InoForum readers who transit here from their link to the source page (the material in Russian is also the subject of voluminous commenting on the InoForum website as well).  “How We See It” now has well over 100 comments.  

This same website, by the way, we praised for having translated Oleg Kozlovsky’s op-ed in the Washington Post when it appeared several months ago, attentive readers will recall.

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The Sunday Pogrom: Putin’s Russia cracks down on the Jews

The Baltimore Sun reports:

Two and a half years ago, a young Orthodox rabbi from New York set down in the port city of Vladivostok, family in tow. Yisroel Silberstein came with a mission, and he expected to stay for good. Out on Russia’s rough-and-tumble eastern frontier, Silberstein set out to revive a Jewish life that, he says, had almost disappeared. He reached out to several thousand local Jews, organizing services, holiday parties and a summer camp where children learned about Judaism and swam in the Sea of Japan. “We thought we were making a great difference in people’s lives,” he said in a telephone interview. “People went from not even knowing they were Jewish to becoming very interested in Jewish life and Jewish activities.”

But in February, Silberstein, his wife and two children were abruptly deported from the country and banned from returning for five years. Zvi Hershcovich, a Canadian rabbi who had been leading a small Jewish community in the southern city of Stavropol, also was expelled. Both men were accused by immigration authorities of visa violations.

The expulsions have sent a nervous chill through Russia’s Jewish minority.

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EDITORIAL: Sharapova as Russia


Sharapova as Russia

There's always Playboy, dear

There's always Playboy, dear

Maria Sharapova is no longer ranked in the top 25 players in the world. Her new ranking as of last week was #30, below that of obscure journeywoman Ai Sugiyama of Japan.

Is Sharapova, who will turn 22 on April 19th and doesn’t have a college degree, all washed up?

She has won a grand total of $2,000 playing tennis so far in 2009, and it’s been a whole year since she won a tennis tournament (the Tier II event at Amelia Island in April 2008).  And the only reason she managed to scrape up that title was dumb luck:  in the finals she drew an unseeded Slovakian not ranked in the world’s top 30, and at no time during the tournament did she have to face an opponent ranked in the top 20.  Her Amelia Island luck was no fluke:  In her most recent victory prior to it, she had taken the Tier I title at Doha Qatar the month before, again meeting an unseeded opponent in the finals and not having to face a top-20 opponent at any point in the draw.  The last time Sharapova won a tennis tournament by beating a top-10 opponent in the finals was well over a year ago, in January 2008.

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