WEDNESDAY JUNE 10 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: A Journalist Flees Neo-Soviet Russia
(2) EDITORIAL: An Ugly American Visits a Russian Dentist
(3) EDITORIAL: Annals of Russian Stupidity
(4) Bloody Dagestan, out of Control
(5) The Neo-Soviet Crackdown on Artists Continues
NOTE: On Monday June 15th and again on Wednesday June 17th, Masha Novikova’s film “In the Holy Fire of Revolution,” documenting the Kremlin’s oppression of Garry Kasparov’s “Other Russia” reform movement, will have its US premier at the Human Rights Watch Film Festival in New York City. Be there or be square.
NOTE: How can anyone not be repulsed after reading #1 and #5 in today’s issue, which document the persecution of artists and journalists in a manner no different from what occurred in Soviet times. Russia, of course, is currently ruled by a proud KGB spy. How many times did we here “don’t worr, Russia can’t go back to the USSR”? Lies, all lies.
Yelena Maglevannaya is Fleeing Neo-Soviet Russia
On February 18, 2009, the Russian government initiated a defamation lawsuit against 27-year-old Yelena Maglevannaya, a reporter for the local newspaper Svobodnoye Slovo (“Free Word”) and the human rights website Civitas.ru in the city of Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad). She also blogs, in Russian, on Live Journal, and she signed a petition against Russian aggression in Georgia that was joined by many prominent human rights leaders across the country.
The Kremlin accused Maglevannaya of publishing false allegations about federal prison authorities in a series of articles in which she reported acts of torture being carried out by the local government against Zubayr Isaevich Zubayraev, then housed in the local jail administered by the Russian government (as are all such institutions since all Russian criminal law is federal). At the same time that the lawsuit was filed, Zubayraev’s family in Chechnya, especially his sister, began receiving death threats and fled the country.
Now, Maglevannaya has been forced to flee Russia and seek political asylum in the West, just as if Russia were the USSR, in order to avoid being jailed for the simple act of telling the truth about the activities of the Kremlin.
An Ugly American Visits the Dentist
So, it seems some American idiot named Kyle Keeton has married a Russian babe and moved to Russia, setting up an inane blog called “The Windows to Russia” to record his experiences.
He doesn’t speak Russian, so it’s dubious for starters as to how much of the country he’s actually experiencing. Here’s a disturbing example of the embarrassing consequences when one is that oblivous of his surroundings, as our friend Mr. Keeton spends a day at the Russian dentist’s office.
Annals of Russian Stupidity
There are several reasons for the relative calm regarding Russia’s economy. First, the crisis looks worse on the pages of newspapers and analytical reports than on the streets of Moscow, where it doesn’t appear that we are in the middle of a deep crisis. Despite official figures showing that unemployment reached 10.2 percent in late April, there have been no mass demonstrations outside the Moscow Ring Road like there were during the turbulent 1990s.
That was Konstantin Sonin, a at the New Economic School/CEFIR and a columnist for the Vedomosti newspaper, writing in the Moscow Times last week.
Oops! A new low in the annals of Russian stupidity has been plumbed.
Vladimir Putin says the “Chechnya problem” has been solved. The facts say something quite different. Not only is the problem not solved, it’s spreading.The Moscow Times reports:
The Interior Minister of the volatile North Caucasus republic of Dagestan, known for his brutal and indiscriminate fight against radical Islamists, was killed Friday afternoon in the republic’s capital, Makhachkala. The attack, the latest in a series of deadly assaults on North Caucasus police officers, removed the top regional law enforcement officer and demonstrated the continued strength and agility of the tightly-tied underground criminal and insurgent networks, Dagestani officials and political analysts said.
NPR reports (click the link for audio):
A Moscow museum director and a prominent curator seeking to protest Russia’s renewed censorship could face up to five years in prison in a criminal case that international human rights groups say targets freedom of expression in Russia. They are charged with inciting hatred and offending human dignity.