FRIDAY MAY 29 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.