MONDAY JUNE 6 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Is Putin the Worst Ever?
(2) EDITORIAL: Putin the Puritan
(3) Essel on Threadbare Putin
(4) EDITORIAL: Putin’s Murderous Rampage
(5) EDITORIAL: Putin’s Corrupt, Incompetent Minions
(6) EDITORIAL: Obama vs. Putin, Round 1
NOTE: This week Barack Obama travels to Moscow for his first meeting with Vladimir Putin. With this 100% original special issue, we offer him our bon voyage. We document chapter and verse the evil that is Putin, and we indicate our hope, based on his recent direct assault on Putin, that Obama will restore American moral leadership where neo-Soviet Russia is concerned, and though we endorsed John McCain in the last election we’ll be only too thrilled to become Obama’s biggest fans if he does so. We will not be publishing a Sunday issue to give this special its due.
Is Putin the Worst Russian Leader Ever?
We think so, and today we offer a wealth of evidence to support our position in form of a special issue devoted to answering this question. Barack Obama will soon be winging his way to Russia and will sit down with Putin to discuss all manner of things. Hopefully, the new American president has some vague clue about how how Putin is sticking it to the people of his country, and the world, in a fully neo-Soviet manner. Just a glance through today’s content would give him a major eye-opener.
Let’s begin with economics, which as Putin’s second term as “president” came to a conclusion was allegedly his long suit. Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov warned long ago that in fact Putin was nothing but yet another Potemkin village, doomed to collapse as surely as the USSR did. But the pro-Kremlin propaganda kept on rolling forth.
But the numbers are catching up with Mr. Putin, catching up fast. Just two months ago, the World Bank predicted Russia would have a 4% economic contraction this year. Now, it has doubled that estimate, in a report suggesting the contraction will be 8%, and the Russian Finance Ministry itself believes the WB is still being conservative. It’s quite possible that Putin’s Russia will end the year with a double-digit recession.
It would, in that event, match Russia’s projected unemployment and inflation rates for 2009, which the WB estimates will both top out at a horrifying 13%. And it would also match Russia’s projected loan default rate, which the WB believes will stand at 10% by year’s end.
Putin the Puritan
Perhaps for the first time since Vladimir Putin took power, the people of Russia last week got a crystal clear image of what their lives would be like a decade from now if Putin is allowed to become “president for life” like Sadaam Hussein of Iraq. It is not a pretty picture.
At one stroke, just as if he were Stalin, Putin shut down every formerly legal gambling casino in the country and threw hundreds of thousands of Russian workers onto the unemployment lines. Just as many contended Russia could “never go back” to a Soviet style of living, many believed Putin would never carry through on his Puritan threat to close the casinos, at least not while unemployment was in double digits and the economy was foundering badly.
But he has done it. And that’s not all he has done.
Has Pooty Lost the Thread?
by Dave Essel
June is a bit early for the silly season, at least for Brits, where schools and Parliament take their summer break a bit later. Schools break up earlier in Russia and whether the Duma takes a summer break or not makes not a jot of difference.
So it’s always time for the silly season in Russia and our Pooty got it off to a good start by a run of acts of wanton silliness that were jumped on by commentators, to the extent that the Eurasia Daily Monitor remarked in passing in an article about Gazprom “some commentators started to worry about Putin’s connection with reality.”
This seemed worth a second glance and I took a wander around this and related articles. It would appear that Pooty has indeed being buzzing busily around all sorts of pies and making one commentator after another reel at his revelatory inanities.
The Murderous Rampage of Vladimir Putin
Do you know these names? Vladimir Putin hopes you don’t or if you do you’ll soon forget. You see, he killed both of them.
Behind Putin, Incompetence and Corruption
A stunning fact recently revealed by scholar Paul Goble is that no Russian ambassador earns more than $36,000 per year, less than the average yearly salary in the United States. And scholar Andrei Illarionov shows us that the men pulling the strings for these “diplomats,” (who in fact have no real freedom of action and act like puppets of the Kremlin) are nothing but a barbaric hoard of KGB thugs.
Obama vs. Putin, Round 1
We were heartened when U.S. President Barack Obama appeared to signal, in an interview with the Associated Press just before leaving for Moscow, an intention to seek to divide the Kremlin and thereby conquer it. If Obama follows through on this strategy, it will be a master stroke.