WEDNESDAY APRIL 29 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: The Incredible Shrinking Country
(2) EDITORIAL: A New Low in Neo-Soviet Stupidity
(3) Sochi “Votes”
(4) Putin Stalinifies at Breakneck Speed
(5) Exposing Putin’s Legion of Murderers
NOTE: Once again, the U.S. junior national hockey team has inflicted a brutal, humiliating beatdown on their Russian counterparts in the world championships. Adding insult to injury, Russia’s vaunted national women’s tennis team was blown away in the Fed Cub semi-finals by a much lower-ranked (#6 vs. #14 and #22 vs. #44) Italian team. Hockey and women’s tennis are surely Russia’s two greatest claims to sports fame. Ouch. Better luck next time, Mr. Putin.
The Incredible Shrinking Country
Early Monday morning, a 32-year-old Russian man named Denis Yevsyukov hitched a ride to a supermarket in a southern district of Moscow. As he got out of the car, he shot and killed the driver who had been good enough to offer him a lift. Then he walked into the market and shot nine more people, including a market cashier. Three of them were dead and four more in critical condition by Monday evening. As is so often the case with Russia, the most shocking fact about that crime was not the brutal way it was carried out, nor the number of people killed, nor the fact that it occurred in Russia’s capital.
It was this: Yevshyukov was the district police chief.
It’s hard to think of a more emphatic demonstration of the fundamental corruption of Russian law enforcement agencies than this horrifying incident. If this police chief was that unbalanced, how many more such officers, working for slave wages and being ordered to carry about barbaric and illegal arrests of their fellow citizens, may be out there? Such questions hint at the fundamental failure of the KGB regime that governs Russia, a regime which routinely claims Russia is somehow “different” from the outside world and immune to events of this kind, therefore not needed normal civilized government and democracy like other countries have.
And there is a great deal of evidence that the Kremlin’s polices have failed at an even deeper level.
The United Nations Development Programme, for instance, has published a new report called “Facing Demographic Challenges” by Anatoly Vishnevsky, Russia’s leading demographer, which basically concludes that Russia is a racist nation that is literally destroying itself because of its pathological hatred of all things not Slavic.
A New Low in Neo-Soviet Stupidity
A new low has been plumbed in the depths of asinine neo-Soviet stupity. Writing in the Moscow Times Kirill Kabanov, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, a Moscow-based nongovernmental organization, had this brilliant insight into the nature of Russia’s corruption problem, which he identifies as “Russia’s most profitable business” to the tune of $300 billion annually while praising the “efforts” of “president” Medevedev to reduce it:
Many Russians believe that there is no hope of ever curbing corruption in the bureaucracy, mistakenly attributing it to an incorrigible national character. But I don’t agree with this assertion. Take, for example, Finland, which was part of the Russian Empire for nearly a century. If this cultural explanation were correct, Russia’s “culture of corruption” would have infected Finland as well. But according to ratings by Transparency International, Finland has consistently been at the top of the organization’s rankings in terms of the least corrupt countries in the world.
It’s hardly possible to believe one’s own eyes when reading gibberish this insane. The best evidence that Russians are not genetically corrupt that this lunatic can come up with is . . . Finland? And he thinks that because Finland was a Russian slave state for a while it became Russian, so that now there are not Finns but Russians living in Finland? There’s no need to criticize it, it criticizes itself!
This is no different than the high-ranking Russian political science professor who predicted that the U.S. was just about to disintegrate. It seems like a joke, but it’s not.
It’s just Russia.
In a development which can surprise nobody, opposition leader Boris Nemtsov has gone down to crushing defeat in the Sochi mayoral election; his opponent, supported by Vladimir Putin, won three quarters of the vote while Nemtsov took just over a tenth. Though billed as a pulse-pounding exercise in pluralism, 60% of Sochi residents chose to stay at home on election day. Despite massive controversy over corruption and abuse of power in preparing for the 2014 Olympics, the Kremlin’s candidate won 77% of the vote and the vast majorit of the candidates were struck from the ballot long before election day. This is “democracy” as Putin’s KGB understands it.
Once again, Putin’s Russia has made an utter mockery of the very concept of the election, showing that Russia is a barbaric state on a par with the banana republics of Africa. The always brilliant Robert Coalson has detailed the naked fraud by which Nemtsov was victimized throughout the campaign:
The mayoral election in Sochi – which President Dmitry Medvedev has hailed as a sign of healthy democracy in Russia – is coming down to the wire, with official voting scheduled for April 26 (although local officials already have the tried-and-true “early voting” scam working at full speed).
People interested in following this important election could do a lot worse than reading the blog of Ilya Yashin, a Yabloko youth activist who is running former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov’s campaign. Yashin’s blog is a fascinating catalogue of dirty tricks and illegal tactics used against Nemtsov. Among other things, the blog documents with photos and video how state-sector workers and soldiers are being bused in by the regional administration to vote early (and often?).
Who loves you, baby?
Paul Goble reports:
Dmitry Medvedev’s actions in recent weeks have “disoriented” many in both Russia and in the West, according to a leading Moscow commentator, because such people have failed to understand that in its operations, the leaders of today’s “power vertical” are acting in ways that resemble those of Stalin and his henchmen in the past.
That should be obvious given the simultaneous talk in Moscow now “about the need to improve the image of Russia abroad,” Irina Pavlova argues, and even more the plans to hold a forum in Washington to advance that cause later this month featuring speakers like Andranik Migranyan and Gleb Pavlovsky. But instead, the Moscow commentator continues, “many are concluding that the powers that be [in the Russian Federation] are sending signals [to their own people and the West] about the beginning of a change in policy direction and perhaps about the coming or a new ‘thaw’ or even ‘perestroika.’”
Jeremy Putley draws our attention to some brilliant reporting from the Times of London exposing the murdering legions of dictator Vladimir Putin:
THE hunt for a nest of female suicide bombers in Chechnya led an elite group of Russian special forces commandos to a small village deep in the countryside. There they surrounded a modest house just before dawn to be sure of catching their quarry unawares. When the order came to storm the single-storey property, dozens of heavily armed men in masks and camouflage uniforms – unmarked to conceal their identity – had no difficulty in overwhelming the three women inside. Their captives were driven to a military base. The soldiers were responding to a tip-off that the eldest of the three, who was in her forties, had been indoctrinating women to sacrifice themselves in Chechnya’s ferocious war between Islamic militants and the Russians. The others captured with her were her latest recruits. One was barely 15.
“At first the older one denied everything,” said a senior special forces officer last week. “Then we roughed her up and gave her electric shocks. She provided us with good information. Once we were done with her we shot her in the head. “We disposed of her body in a field. We placed an artillery shell between her legs and one over her chest, added several 200-gram TNT blocks and blew her to smithereens. The trick is to make sure absolutely nothing is left. No body, no proof, no problem.” The technique was known as pulverisation.
The young recruits were taken away by another unit for further interrogation before they, too, were executed.