Daily Archives: May 30, 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 liberty.ru. 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 liberty.ru — 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. Liberty.ru was meant to become something like Russia’s DailyKos or Talking Points Memo.

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