Monthly Archives: May 2009

June 1, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Losing Facebook

(2)  Gazprom and the Stasi

(3)  Gazprom on its Knees

(4)  Ryzhkov on History Fascism

(5)  The Kremlin’s Army of Blogger Zombies

EDITORIAL: Losing Facebook


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Losing Facebook

As members of the Facebook community, we express our revulsion at the company’s recent decision to sell 1.9% of it to the Russians.  Facebook has betrayed basic principles of democracy and Internet values, and it should be ashamed.

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Gazprom and the Stasi

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Roman Kupchinsky, writing for the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:

Gazprom’s extensive network of loyalists, often act as “men of sacrifice,” devoted to cleansing the image of the Russian state owned gas monopoly. Working out of a modern office building in Berlin owned by Gazprom Germania, a German registered company fully owned by Gazprom Export which, in turn is run by Gazprom, they have built up a considerable empire for the Kremlin. In turn they are being whitewashed by other loyalists in the offices of Brussels-based PR firm GPlus Europe.

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Gazprom on its Knees

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“In their excellent book, Putin and Gazprom, former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and former Deputy Energy Minister Vladimir Milov clarify the real purpose of Gazprom: to transfer assets out of the company to government officials.”

Anders Aslund, praising Nemtsov’s attack on Gazprom (which we translated) and writing in the Moscow Times:

Gazprom has gone from being a great commercial hope to an ailing giant. Gazprom’s owners need to face up to the crisis and institute reforms.

A year ago, Gazprom was the third-most valuable company in the world with a market capitalization of over $350 billion. It has shrunk by two-thirds to about $120 billion, declining to the world’s 40th-largest company, even though it still accounts for about 20 percent of Russia’s market capitalization and roughly 10 percent of its gross domestic product.

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Ryzhkov on Russia’s History Fascism

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Former Duma deputy Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

The Kremlin opened a new front against its “internal and external enemies” on May 19, when President Dmitry Medvedev created a presidential commission “for counteracting attempts to falsify history to the detriment of Russia’s interests.” The 28-member commission includes Kremlin-friendly conservatives such as State Duma deputies and United Russia members Konstantin Zatulin and Sergei Markov as well as representatives from the Federal Security Service and the Interior Ministry. The commission also has representatives from the Defense Ministry, which has posted on its web site an article titled “Fabrications and Falsifications of the Role of the Soviet Union at the Beginning of World War II” that argues that the real reason the war began was because of “Poland’s refusal to fulfill German demands … [which were] very reasonable.”

The real purpose of the commission has less to do with history than it does with increasing the authorities’ power and control during a highly instable period caused by the economic crisis.

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The Kremlin’s Army of Blogger Zombies

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Evegeny Morozov, blogging at Foreign Policy:

One of the Kremlin’s pet new media projects has been a site called It’s been set up under the auspices of the Fund for Effective Politics, a think-tank headed by Gleb Pavlovsky, who has been instrumental in shaping the Russian ideology of the last decade. The official objective of — as articulated by Pavlovsky — has been to tap into the immense creativity of the Russian internet users and involve them in producing ideas that could make Kremlin’s increasingly unappealing ideological package relevant to the younger generations. was meant to become something like Russia’s DailyKos or Talking Points Memo.

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May 31, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Putin’s Final Purge  Begins

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Putin’s Lost Weekend

(3)  Medvedev Poisons the Russian Soul

(4)  The US and Russia have no Shared Interests

(5)  Russia’s Oligarchy Runs Amok

EDITORIAL: Putin’s Final Purge

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Putin’s Final Purge

Given Vladimir Putin’s 75% approval ratings in opinion polls, one would not have thought it would have been necessary for him to purge every single opposition party and deputy from the Russian Duma and to seize control of every single TV station and major newspaper.

But Putin knows his approval rating is smoke and mirrors, so in fact it is quite necessary.

And having wiped out opposition politics in the Duma and achieved a chokehold on the media, one would not have thought it would have been necessary for Putin, in the manner of Stalin, to aggressively seek to liquidate every last vestige of opposition outside the mainstream corridors of power.  One might have thought Putin clever enough to realize how much such an effort would look like desperation, weakness and cowardice.

But Putin is so blind now that he, like Stalin before him, can no longer perceive reality accurately and is mired in abject paranoia.

And so it was that the Moscow Times reported last week that Putin launched yet another full-scale offensive on all the last vestigial traces of opposition left in the country.  “Liberal” Dima Medvedev’s voice was nowhere to be heard. 

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EDITORIAL: Putin’s Lost Weekend

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Putin’s Lost Weekend

“He has a discussion there about Big Russia and Little Russia — Ukraine. He says that no one should be allowed to interfere in relations between us; they have always been the business of Russia itself.”

— Russian “prime minister” VladimirPutin, quoting White Army Commander Anton Denikin last Sunday while laying a wreath upon his grave

There he goes, again. Is he drunk, stupid, a maniac or simply evil? Any way you slice it, he’s a venal enemy of Russia’s future.

It must be so nice to live in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, mustn’t it?  Everyone is a hero!  It would be like living in the USA and feeling that Martin Luther King and David Duke both made equally important contributions to American success — just different, that’s all.

Josef Stalin, Bolshevik; Anton Denikin, Tsarist.  Great Russian heroes, one and all!

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Medvedev Poisons the Russian Soul

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Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

Authoritarianism is like a rock. Once it is dropped, it can only go in one direction — down. Russia’s path toward democracy was paved during former President Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, but it has been steadily destroyed since Vladimir Putin became president in 2000.

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The U.S. and Russia have no Shared Interests

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Daniel Kimmage, a senior fellow at the Homeland Security Policy Institute, writing on the Foreign Policy website (hopefully, Barack Obama is reading):

For almost a century, American conventional wisdom on Russia has been consistently, and sometimes catastrophically, wrong.  You can look back to as far as 1920, when Walter Lippmann and Charles Merz of The New Republic picked through the New York Times‘ coverage of the Russian Revolution and found articles riddled with ludicrous predictions of the Bolshevik regime’s imminent collapse. “The news about Russia is a case of seeing not what was, but what men wished to see,” they concluded.

As the century wore on, the wishful thinking got worse. For a time, even mass murderer Joseph Stalin improbably morphed into the jovial, pipe-smoking Uncle Joe. When the American establishment finally reversed course and accepted that the Bolsheviks were there to stay, it clung to that belief so adamantly that the collapse of the Soviet Union took the CIA by surprise. In the 1990s, foreign-policy hands were celebrating Russia’s “transition” to free market democracy under the buffoonish but supposedly well-meaning Boris Yeltsin and his merry band of “reformers.”

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Russia’s Oligarchy Runs Amok

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Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times (the victim’s husband has started blogging for justice, Global Voices has a tranlsation of some of his material)

On May 13, Interior Ministry employee Roman Zhirov, driving his powerful SUV, hit and killed a 34-year-old pregnant woman on a Moscow crosswalk. Pregnant woman are not particularly known for sprinting across pedestrian crossways out of nowhere and catching an approaching driver by surprise.

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May 29, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  We Told you So!

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Russian Barbarism Unbound

(3)  EDITORIAL:  Russia and the Axis of Evil

(4)  Russian Internet Composed mostly of Foreign Criminals

(5)  Putinomics is Crushing the People of Russia

NOTE:  Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment of her Russia column on the American Thinker blog is a ringing warning about the implications of Russia booting OSCE observers out of the disputed border between itself and Georgia.  Required, scary reading, especially since our online poll shows our readers overwhemlingly believe renewed Russian agression against tiny Georgia is likely. 

NOTE:  We set another all-time record for weekly visitation last week, receiving 26,239 guests on our blog.  That’s an average daily traffic of 3,750.

EDITORIAL: We Told You So!

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We Told You So!

“The electoral system has been revised to serve the interests of a single party, the interests of those who are now at the helm. Step by step, we have been going back to the past.”

— former Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev, at a conference celebrating the 20th anniversary of the first Soviet parliament on May 21st

More than three years ago, we began warning the world about neo-Soviet Russia.  Long before Anna Politkovskaya was murdered, long before anyone ever heard of Dima Medvedev, we warned the world, on a daily basis, that Vladimir Putin would not leave power and would liquidate anyone who got in his way.  We were only stating the obvious — once a proud KGB spy, always a proud KGB spy.  You can’t teach an old spook new democracy.

Few would listen at first.  We were called chicken littles and worrywarts  for claiming that Russia could go back to the darkest days of the Soviet past.  But three years later, we are conventional wisdom. We even have to ask ourselves if we’re being too soft on Putin’s Russia, when the likes of Mikhail Gorbachev, who would know as well as anyone, states publicly and clearly that we were right all along.

And that’s exactly what he did last week.  He minced no words in stating the obvious, that Russia is a neo-Soviet state rapidly on its way to becoming a neo-Stalinist state. Not even Gorbachev, though, was brave enough to lay the blame for this situation where it belongs, at the feet of Putin and Medvedev.  He knows that if he did, he’d be inviting the Politkovskaya solution to be applied to him as well.

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EDITORIAL: Russian Barbarism Unbound

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Russian Barbarism Unbound

We admit that we sound like a broken record when we make note of our surprise at Russia’s endless ability to surprise us with ever more horrifying incidents of barbarism.  Just when you think Russia has shown you her very worst, she does something so repugnant that you can’t remember why you thought the old stuff was bad at all.

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EDITORIAL: Russia and the Axis of Evil

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Russia and the Axis of Evil

Last week it was reported that Russia was urging the world to continue negotiating with the terrorist group Hamas rather than confronting it.  This was, perhaps, the most amazing display of brash temerity by any nation so far this century, since it was being simultaneously reported that North Korea, with which Russia had also demanded negotiation rather than sanctions, had just tested another nuclear bomb.

Needless to say, Russia has been proved wrong on North Korea, and led the world into a genuine national security nightmare as a result.  Thus, listening to what Russia says about Hamas would be, quite simply, insane.

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“Russian” Internet composed mostly of Foreign Criminals

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We’ve repeatedly pointed out that less than a fifth of the Russian population has Internet access, which isn’t surprising given that the average wage is $3/hour and the cost of Internet use is similar to that in the West.  The Russian website Veb Planeta recently carried the following op-ed item, translated by Profy (hat tip: Global Voices).  It points out the flip side to this issue, namely that more than half the traffic on the Russian internet consists of thieves seeking to profit from lax Russian copyright protection:

Russia is well-known for its liberty when it comes to piracy: one almost never sees a court trial featuring any crime related to downloading content from torrents or using pirated software here in Russia. But I did not really know Russia has already become a safe shelter for foreign pirates – in the way that Las Vegas has become for the US people in gambling.

It now turns out that more than a half (52%) of all the visitors to all the web resources in the Russian internet segment are foreign pirates who rush to the local web resources looking for free content that is easily available on the popular Russian torrents.

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Putinomics is Crushing the People of Russia

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Crushed by the oppressive brutality of Putin’s economic polices,  for instance food price inflation ten times — yes, ten times — that of Europe, the impoverished people of Russia are in open revolt against their neo-Soviet masters as their lives grow bleaker by the day.   Russia has completely lost control of its currency and stock market, which now move pathetically in lock step with world crude oil markets totally beyond Russia’s control.

The Los Angeles Times reports on the horrifying privations the pathetic Russians are experiencing as a result of all this failure,  no different than they were in Soviet times.  If you imagine for those soaring prices Russians are at least getting quality food products, think again.  Read it and weep, Russophiles.

The cheeses are spotted with mold. The sausages are ominously gray. Slime is beginning to overtake the chicken. But the stooped and slow clientele who crowd this pungent stretch of market stalls in the southern fringes of the Russian capital don’t seem bothered. Elderly retirees mass and push before spreads of lukewarm yogurt and moldering fish. Business has never been better, the steely-eyed manager says.

Theoretically, selling expired foodstuffs is a crime punishable by fine under Russian law. But the climbing prices, falling salaries and withering demand of Russia’s economy appear to be driving a surge in the sale of past-their-prime goods.

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May 27, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Russia Today Declares war on USA

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Russia, Nation of Pigs

(3)  Pasko on Russian Barbarism in Siberia

(4)  Russia Extinguishes the Olympic Flame in Sochi

(5)  Russian Unemployment Soars, Retail Sales Plunge

NOTE: Posts 1-4 today represent an extraordinary indictment of Russian society, exposing its barbaric contempt for civilized values ranging from women’s rights to criminal justice, from journalism to athletics.  Post #5 shows the devastating reality that the Russian government has not, as it promised, given Russians  economic stability in exchange for the loss of civil society. Russia has, in other words, received from Vladimir Putin the worst of all possible worlds.

EDITORIAL: Russia Today Declares war on USA

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Russia Today Declares war on USA

If the KGB regime of Vladimir Putin is looking to “reset” relations with the world’s only superpower, rather than to ratchet up cold-war tension, it sure has a funny way of showing it.  Dripping with anti-American poison,  a recent RT item on Kremlin-controlled propaganda network Russia Today recently threatened that Russian hackers would cause satellites to drop out of the sky on Los Angeles at will if America wasn’t careful.

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EDITORIAL: Russia, Nation of Pigs

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Russia, Nation of Pigs

Russian women who drive subway trains don’t dare dream of the day when they might be allowed to sue their employer for sexual harassment or gender discrimination in terms of their working conditions or pay.  That’s because in order to sue about such things you have to first be employed, and a Russian court ruled last week that women aren’t allowed to drive subway trains.  They are, the court said, genetically inferior to men and therefore to be excluded from such professions as might expose themselves or others to physical injury.

Russia is a nation of male chauvanist pigs and, as far as can be seen, it’s proud of it.

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Pasko on Barbarism in Siberia

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Hero journalist Grigori Pasko, writing on Robert Amsterdam’s blog:

I recently visited Yekaterinburg. The city is literally flooded with police in reflective vests. The word «security» is heard time and again on the streets. On the television, all the news shows begin with a report about how the capital of Sverdlovsk Oblast is preparing for a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

Human rights advocates Sergey Beliayev and Vladimir Shakleyin told me about the preparation of a rally in defense of Alexey Sokolov.  Shakleyin is the lawyer of Yelena Maglevannaya, who was successfully sued by the prison authorities of Volgograd Oblast for a 200,000 rubles because she published investigative articles about cases of torture and abuse within the prison system.

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Russia Extinguishes the Olympic Flame in Sochi

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Writing in the Wall Street Journal Jane Buchanan of Human Rights Watch condemns Russia’s assault on freedom of speech and property rights in Sochi:

“We are not against the Olympics, but why should the Olympics violate our rights? Can you tell the International Olympic Committee that I am Russian, I am not against the Olympics? They are taking our property for a temporary parking lot. There is no information. No one will answer us. We wait for answers and we worry.”

— A Sochi resident facing Olympics-driven eviction from her home,

April 24, 2009

MOSCOW — A delegation of the International Olympic Committee has just visited Sochi, the Russian Black Sea resort town and future Olympic host city, to assess the status of preparations for the 2014 Winter Games. Jean-Claude Killy, the three-time Olympic skiing champion who chairs the International Olympic Committee’s coordination for the Sochi Games, spoke glowingly of the Sochi authorities’ “open and constructive” attitude. “The Russian diamond is shining more and more with each passing day,” Mr. Killy gushed.

Many Sochi residents would disagree.

{Click the link to read the rest, showing how the Russian government is violating the very principles of the Olympic movement as it builds the Sochi site for the 2014 games in total disregard of the civil rights of the local residents}

Russian Unemployment is Soaring, Retail Sales are Plummeting

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The Kremlin has admitted Russia will have at least an 8% economic contraction this year, four times worse than it predicted at the beginning of the year. The rising ruble, tied to the price of oil threatens to wreck Russia’s domestic industry. The results are disastrous. The Wall Street Journal reports:

Russian unemployment has reached its highest level this decade as thrift replaces a culture of consumer spending, official data released Friday showed. The number of unemployed in Russia rose to 7.7 million in April, or 10.2% of the total labor force of 75.2 million, data from the Federal Statistics Service, or Rosstat, showed. Around 3 million workers have lost their jobs since late summer. Russia’s economy has been dragged down by lower oil prices and decreased access to short-term capital.

{Click the link to read the details, showing that the Russian economy is on the cusp of another major downturn}

May 25, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Dima Medvedev, Psychopath

(2)   Who’s More Dangerous – A Russian Criminal or Cop?

(3)  Putin’s Ossetian Frankenstein

(4)  Latynina on Medvedev’s History Fascism

(5)  Bonner on Putin and Medvedev

(6)  Annals of Shamapova

NOTE:  All of us here at La Russophobe ask you to pause a moment on Memorial Day and give thanks for all the thousands upon thousands of men and woman who have laid down their lives fighting for liberty, fighting to keep the nations of the West from turning into what Russia is now.  Thank you heroes, one and all!