Daily Archives: April 23, 2009

April 26, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  World to Russia — No thanks!

(2)  EDITORIAL:  A Bridge too Far

(3)  Brave Finland Stands up to Russia

(4)  Ukraine Shows Russia how it’s Done

(5)  Yandex Bends over for the Kremlin

NOTE:  On May 6 PBS will begin airing a multi-part historical documentary about the backroom dealings between Stalin, FDR and Churchill during World War II. Check out the website, looks like timely viewing.

EDITORIAL: World to Russia — Thanks but No Thanks


World to Russia: Thanks but No Thanks

The World Travel Organization predicts that average international travel will fall 2% this year owing to the worldwide economic slowdown.  Care to guess what the rate of falloff in Vladimir Putin’s Russia will be?

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EDITORIAL: A Bridge Too Far


A Bridge Too Far

Last week the New York Times reported that Vladimir Putin’s KGB Kremlin plans to build the world’s longest suspension bridge, at a cost of over $1 billion, as sort of red carpet leading from mainland Russia to an archipelago near the city of Vladivostok.  The 0nly purpose this bridge will ever serve is to convey the delegates  to the 2012 Asian Pacific Economic Cooperation summit meeting out to the islands, where their meetings are scheduled to occur.  After that, it will become the world’s longest white elephant.  Hardly any people live on the archipelago, and nobody wants to visit.

Decisions of this kind, when Russia  is faced with the most significant economic collapse of any major nation in the past half-century, must be viewed as utterly insane or incomprehensibly evil. Our money is on the latter option.  They would be hiliariously funny, were not so very many people’s lives at stake.  But they are.  Such “decisions” can only be made by dictatorial rulers who have absolutely no fear of popular retribution and no sense whatsover of their dire economic straits.  Such decisions destroy nations.

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Brave Finland Stands up to Russia

Paul Goble reports:

Four leading Finnish non-governmental organizations have called on visiting President Dmitry Medvedev to live up to his promises to protect human rights and civic freedoms and to end the violence against journalists and ethnic minorities in the Russian Federation that are creating a gulf between Moscow and Europe.

The appeal, signed by the leaders of the Kiila Social Union, the Finno-Russian Civic Forum, the Finnish Section of Amnesty International, and the Finnish PEN Center, says that its members “had hoped for the development in Russia of a society which shares European values like human rights and civic freedoms.”

But given recent developments in various sectors of Russian life, it continues, the signatories “are deeply concerned by the state of the observation of human rights in Russia,” all the more so because Medvedev, as in his interview with Novaya Gazeta, offered himself as a defender of these rights. “Are you seriously prepared for a change in the law on non-governmental organizations,” the appeal’s authors ask. Are you genuinely attached to the rule of law and the defense of human rights? And with regard to these questions, the Finnish NGOs challenge the Russian president, “will we see actions and not just words?”

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Ukraine shows Russia how it’s Done

Anders Aslund, writing in the Moscow Times:

A month ago, I wrote a column about Russia’s return to sane economic policy, but Ukraine has undertaken an even more impressive turnaround. Few countries have been more misunderstood than Ukraine, which has been particularly hurt by the global financial crisis.

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Yandex Bends Over for the Kremlin

The Wall Street Journal reports:

Russia’s most prominent Web player, Yandex NV, is in discussions to give a state company veto power over changes in its ownership while ensuring independence in other areas, amid growing Kremlin calls for more control over major local Internet companies.

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