Daily Archives: April 6, 2009

April 8, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  More of Putin’s Russia at its Very Worst

(2)  EDITORIAL:   The Putin Economy in Freefall

(3)  Sweden to Russia:  Up Yours!

(4)  Crushed by Debt in Putin’s Russia

(5)  Igor Sechin, Neo-Soviet Liar

(6)  Does Medvedev have a Roving Eye?

EDITORIAL: More of Putin’s Russia at its Very Worst


More of Putin’s Russia at its Very Worst

Sulim Yamadayev

Sulim Yamadayev

The world is being treated to yet another brutal, vivid illustration of Vladimir Putin’s Russia at its very most horrifying. Perhaps, this time, it will finally open its eyes and see Russia as it really is.

Even as the Russian blogosphere was humiliating itself by refusing to believe that Sulim Yamadayev, a staunch critic of the Kremlin’s puppet regime in Chechnya, had been assassinated in Dubai last week (LJ breathlessly claimed he was still alive), authorities in UAE were preparing an indictment charging that Yamadeyev’s killing had been directly ordered not just by the Chechen rogue regime itself but by its representative in the Russian Duma, one Adam S. Delimkhanov, one of Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov’s closest adivsors.  Of course, as was the case with Andrei Lugovoi in the assassination of Alexander Litvinenko in London, Russia will refuse to do anything to support the investigation in Dubai even as it demands that the West extradite figures of interest to the Kremlin like Boris Berezovsky.

What’s more, Dubai police were reporting that four suspects in the killing, including three Russian nationals, had fled from UAE to Russia in order to escape arrest, while one Russian national had been arrested along with an Iranian and a Tajik.

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EDITORIAL: The Putin Economy in Freefall


The Putin Economy in Freefall

We report today on anecdotal evidence of Russian workers being crushed by consumer debt and, in one instance at least, being forced into the type of labor they impose on prisoners just to keep their heads above water.  The bad economic news just keeps rolling in like a tsunami in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, with no end in sight.  The people of Russia, pathetically, choose to keep their heads thrust deep into the neo-Soviet sand.

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Sweden to Russia: Up Yours!

Robert Amsterdam has noticed a Swedish newswire report indicating that the Swedes have coldly rejected a shameless Russian propaganda ploy aimed at undercutting Western resolve as the neo-Soviet weaonization of energy heats up, Russia becoming increasingly desperate to hedge its energy weapons as its economy collapses:

Sweden has decided not to take part in a conference about the proposed Nord Stream gas pipeline under the Baltic Sea, much to the surprise of the members of the Russian Parliament, who are organised the meeting in St Petersburg next week. Head of the Russian Duma’s energy committee, Yuri Lipatov, says they are very upset that Sweden has decided not to take part in the meeting. Karin Pilsäter, head of the Swedish parliament’s industry committee says their decision to skip the meeting is based on the fact that the Swedish government’s position on the controversial gas pipeline will be based on environmental factors, not political ones.  But Anders Ygeman, head of the environment committee in the Swedish parliament says he doesn’t think it is in Sweden’s interests to have a Russian gas pipeline in its economic zone. He says he is willing to discuss the issue with his Russian colleagues, but not by going to Russia and flying around in helicopters.

Amsterdam comments: “The Russians have arranged a feel-good junket to the tropical paradise that is St. Petersburg for countries standing in the way of the Nord Stream pipeline, complete with wining and dining and caviaring and helicopter rides along part of the land portion of the pipeline route. At the last minute, the Swedes said “no thånks” and will not be attending this “conference”, which has come as a complete shock to the Russians.”

Crushed by Debt in Putin’s Russia

Reuters reports:

KARABASH, Russia – Each weekend, copper worker Sergei Begutov cuts stones from this toxic, frozen hillside and sells them for five roubles ($0.15) apiece to help fund car loan repayments that now exceed his wages. Like workers across Russia, he has been thrust into poverty by the economic crisis as plunging wages render unaffordable repayments on loans that had offered a taste of a better life.

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Igor Sechin, Neo-Soviet Liar

Igor Sechin, Shameless Liar

Igor Sechin, Shameless Liar

Streetwise Professor exposes a classic Russian liar:

The WSJ has a long article based on an exclusive interview with your fave and mine, Igor Sechin.  It is full of the usual his-lips-are-moving whoppers, but this one stunned even me, even as predisposed as I am to snort at pretty much anything old Eyegore has to say:

And he was quick to point out that Russia became a major oil exporter in the 1970s in response to demand in the West amid the Arab oil embargo. “Now they tell us, ‘You have Dutch disease, you’re a resource economy.’ But you yourselves asked us to be that way,” he said.

Sorry, but WTF is he talking about?  Yeah, the USSR was just eager to please the US and the West in the early-to-mid 1970s.  We said “jump”, and Brezhnev said “how high, boss?”  

Please.  The Soviets exported oil because (a) there was money in it, (b) they needed a lot of money, given that the rest of the economy was going to hell (especially the agricultural sector, which couldn’t feed the country), and (c) they had absolutely nothing else to sell that anybody wanted.  

What is it about Russians that they are responsible for absolutely nothing?  It’s always “The Devil (i.e., America) made me do it!”  They are wanna be Masters of the Universe, but everything is out of their control.  Sheesh.

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Does Medvedev have a Roving Eye?

Law professor and Russia scholar Ethan Burger and his colleague Mary Holland, writing on the Foreign Policy website, wonder whether Dima Medvedev has a roving eye:

When Vladimir Putin stepped down as president of Russia last May, he left little to chance. Just as his predecessor Boris Yeltsin had anointed him, Putin made sure that his loyal protégé of 20 years, Dmitry Medvedev, would take his place. Putin took the helm of the country’s dominant political party, United Russia, and then, as prime minister, expanded that position far beyond what the Constitution envisions. Although Putin rearranged the musical chairs, he continued to call the tune. Until now.

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