Daily Archives: May 28, 2009

May 31, 2009 — Contents

SUNDAY MAY 31 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

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EDITORIAL: Putin’s Final Purge

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EDITORIAL

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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EDITORIAL

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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