SUNDAY APRIL 12 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Red Moldova, Red-Faced Russia
(2) EDITORIAL: The Russian and the Grapes
(3) Kozlovsky on Moldova
(3) In Putin’s Russia, a Tsunami of Bank Defaults is Coming
(4) “Reset” Russia Launches massive Cyber Attack on US
NOTE: On this date 48 years ago, Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin became the first human being to orbit our planet outside its atmosphere, the first spaceman. One could see that moment as the highwater mark of Russian civilization, and easily argue it’s been all downhill from there. Not only didn’t the USSR make it to the moon, it didn’t even make it to the end of the century.
NOTE: Our sidebar now contains a section that posts our most recent Twitter messages, giving a look at upcoming items soon to appear on the blog.
Anti-communist protesters light a bonfire on the steps of their parliament in Moldova
Red Moldova, Red-faced Russia
Last Sunday, voters in Moldova returned the Communist Party to power in a massive landslide. Two days later, Moldova’s streets exploded in violence, organized on Twitter.
Russia, it’s policy in shambles, is panicking and screeching hysterically about “foreign interference.”
The Russian and the Grapes
It seems like only yesterday that the Russian government was telling the world that its falling stock market, currency and reserves, its soaring inflation and unemployment, were only minor temporary hiccups on Russia’s great march towards “resurgence.” Ordinary Russians are not affected by the stock market, we were told, and Grandpa Putin will soon set it all right again.
What a difference a day makes!
Oleg Kozlovsky, leader of the Oborona protest movement, writing on the Huffington Post:
Some countries are just more lucky than others. Moldova wasn’t lucky enough to be known in America or Western Europe. Indeed, it’s a small East-European ex-Soviet country, poorest on the continent, and there’s little of interest about it. Except maybe for the fact that Moldova is the only place in the world where Communists keep winning West-approved elections. So they did, or claim to have done, at general elections last Sunday.
In a stunning development, just as the first wave of Russian defaults on foreign bonds was announced, the Moscow Times reports that German Gref, chief of Sberbank, has openly contradicted Russian dictator Vladimir Putin concerning the “silent tsunami” that is about to wash over Russia’s banking system:
Sberbank CEO German Gref warned that a second wave of the crisis was about to sweep over the banking sector on Wednesday, two days after Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told State Duma members that banks were out of trouble.
Gref said bad debt is piling up as worsening economic conditions make it more difficult for businesses and individuals to meet loan payments, which in turn leaves banks with insufficient cash to extend new loans.
So much for Barack Obama’s silly idea of “resetting” relations with Russia. No sooner did he meet with Dima Medvedev than a massive cyber attack on American electrical grids by Russia was unearthed. The Voice of Amerca reports:
A U.S. newspaper is reporting that spies using the Internet have infiltrated control systems of the U.S. electrical supply network and planted computer programs that could be used to disrupt electricity service.
The report in The Wall Street Journal cites current and former national security officials as saying the spies are from China, Russia and other countries. It says a senior intelligence official said the Chinese and Russians have attempted to map U.S. infrastructure. The report says a senior intelligence official says the computer software tools left behind could be used to destroy infrastructure components, and officials are concerned the programs would be used in times of war or crisis. The report says officials say water, sewage and other infrastructure systems were also at risk. But it says officials do not believe there is an immediate danger. The report says Russian and Chinese officials have denied any involvement in cyberspying.
A Pentagon official said Tuesday the Defense Department has spent $100 million in the past six months responding to cyber attacks. In testimony to Congress last month, National Intelligence Director Dennis Blair warned of a growing threat to cyberspace as terrorists expand their use of tactics and techniques. He said the U.S. has to keep strengthening its cyber defenses.