SPECIAL EXTRA EDITORIAL: Barack Obama declares war on La Russophobe

SPECIAL EXTRA EDITORIAL

Barack Obama declares war on La Russophobe

Reacting to the murder of Russian hero journalist Natalia Estemirova, the European Union stated:  “We condemn that brutal act and call for the authorities to try to establish who is responsible and take the action that is called for.”

Here’s what Barack Obama’s State Department had to say:  “The United States is deeply saddened by reports of the abduction and murder of respected human rights activist Natalya Estemirova.  We call upon the Russian government to bring those responsible to justice.”  Think that was just State, and Obama’s White House had stronger feelings?  Nope, they were “sad” too.  They were maybe a little sadder than state, to the point of being “disturbed.”  They called the act an “outrageous crime” but did not condemn it as the EU was willing to do.

The EU is outraged and condemns the brutality, the American president is “sad” about the murder and has no further comment.  We are disgusted beyond words. It feels as if Mr. Obama has declared war on La Russophobe.  And let’s be clear:  The EU statement was hardly all it should have been. Rather than “calling” for justice, the EU should have demanded it, and should have specified what steps it would take if Russia, once again, failed to deliver justice.  Europe has always looked to America for leadership on such issues, and now it is America that looks to Europe.  It is a nightmare.

Human rights leaders in Russia were not so cowardly

They were willing to point the finger of blame where it belongs:  at Ramzan Kadyrov and Vladimir Putin:

“I blame both of them for the killing — for involvement in the killing,” Lyudmila Alexeyeva, head of the Moscow Helsinki Group and one of the country’s most respected activists, told an emotional news conference in Moscow. “The impunity and omnipotence of Ramzan Kadyrov depends on the support of … Putin,” Alexeyeva said. “As long as Putin supports him nobody will touch a hair on Kadyrov’s head, even if he kills us all.”

Oleg Orlov, head of the Memorial rights group that Estemirova worked form, said Kadyrov hated Estemirova and saw her as “a personal enemy.” He said Kadyrov had created an atmosphere in which people in Chechnya were kidnapped every day and put into secret prisons. “The highest officials of Russia in recent years and today — including Putin and Medvedev — are to blame for the creation in Chechnya of a climate of permissiveness, impunity and the carrying out of massive, grave crimes by representatives of the state,” he told reporters.

These are people with their lives on the line, and they speak up. But Barack Obama, sitting confortably esconced in his White House after calling Vladimir Putin a “pragmatist” who acts in the interests of his country after visiting Putin in Moscow, will not speak up.  Indeed, who can say that Mr. Obama’s reckless praise of Putin did not signal to the KGB lunatic that he had a free hand to continue his purge of civil society, a litany of killings that Obama did not once mention in any context while he was in Moscow?

And let’s be clear:  It’s not just that Putin allowed Kadyrov a free hand to commit murders. He allowed Kadyrov to openly and repeatedly threaten the murdered journalist with impunity.  That is the same as telling Kadyrov he had a go-ahead to strike her down.

Well, at least we know where we stand.  Mr. Obama is no friend of democracy in Russia, just as we feared.  Once again, the world must look someplace other than America if it wants a resolute defense of American values.

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32 responses to “SPECIAL EXTRA EDITORIAL: Barack Obama declares war on La Russophobe

  1. I’m not surprised at the difference in tone and wording. The EU has been much more consistent, vocal and public regarding Russia’s human rights abuses.

    I’ll say it one more time we have Jimmy Carter again or worse in the WH. I’m not surprised from a such a far left administration. Lefties are notoriously guided by feelings rather than reason and logic. “Sad” is the right wording for them.

  2. The basics of the Obama doctrine are fairly simple: apologize on behalf of evil America and Americans for anything and everything (it’s easy to do for someone who doesn’t think any of these “crimes” reflect on him), and never criticize a fellow Marxist, an Islamist or anti-American entity because that would alienate evil people.

  3. Kim, why are you so surprised. Obama and Putin are one in the same. First, they both hate America. Obama simply wants the power Putin has and he is working hard with the Left to get it.

    Free Speech and Freedom. This is not important to Obama. It is about social justice. If a Honduran Dictator is thrown out of power, Obama is all over it. If a freedom loving journalist is murdered by her government, eh, he’ll write a letter to someone.

    The Left is all about power. They want to control society to institute their policies. Freedom gets in the way.

    • I guess, your ideals of Freedoms are: invading and destroying other countries on false pretences, Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, lying to the Congress, wiretapping all phone and internet communications between Americans, and all other “freedom-loving” Republican innovations. :-)

      • I guess your ideals of freedomes are: Gulags, invasion of neighbouring states and creeping annexation of their territory, ethnic cleansing of civillians, destruction of entire villages, filtration camps, death squads, deliberate murder of journalists, total control of government media, supporting unstable dictatorial regimes in their pursuit of nuclear weapons technology, bribery, corruption, human trafficking, and all the other inventions of modern Russia?

  4. “Barack Obama declares war on La Russophobe”

    Don’t panic, Kim. I don’t think Barack Obama is even aware of the existence of the La Russophobe blog nor of its local personalities like Penny, Kim Zigfeld, Robert, Felix, Andrew, me, etc. There are millions of blogs out here. We are safe in numbers.

    LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

    And that’s based on what? Your regular breakfast meetings with Barack?

    Perhaps the headline is meant in a symbolic and provocative way, not a literal one, and it is you who is getting a bit carried away?

    On the other hand, are you sure nobody with Obama’s ear reads this blog? Perhaps we’re a little bit more significant than you realize?

    • Well, had they read your blog, they would have immediately realised how smart you are, how wrong they are – and would have appointed you as top Presidential advisor on everything.

      LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

      That’s rather silly. Newt didn’t appoint Rush, did he?

      Interestingly, your comment is so rich, powerful and devastating that we’d like to beg you to take over this blog and run it for us. It’s obvious you’d do it so much better!

      • I would gladly accept but my time is already spoken for, as I have been hired as Putin’s advisor on posing nude in rowboats and kissing babies on the bellies. It’s a full-time job, especially if you count participation in Berlusconi’s orgies as being one of mandatory job tasks.

  5. The blog Editor can do whatever he or she wants. Maybe, as journalists, they are tired of what is likely the State supported or (at least) tolerated murder of independent journalists. This makes at least 3 high profile (that is reported on in the West) murders this year.

    “Russophobes”, do you suppose that these murders are the result of some conspiracy? Why don’t you try commenting on the contents of the article!

    • I am not sure what you mean by “a conspiracy” here. Not being paranoid, I am not a fan of conspiracy theories.

      However, given that both Politkovskaya’s and Estemirova’s murders fit perfectly into what Kadyrov would do, I would make him my top suspect. He has both the means and the motive.

  6. I don’t really think “Barack Obama declares war on La Russophobe” (please go down from your high horse), just like I don’t think that “sending your athlets/children to Sochi is a suicide” (it’s not a suicide, it’s just cynical).

    Anyway,

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to carry out a full investigation into the murder of Natalya Estemirova, the latest human rights activist to have been killed in Russia.

    But Estemirova’s colleagues say the murder was sanctioned by Ramzan Kadyrov, the powerful leader of Chechnya, and will likely go unpunished.

    Estemirova worked for Memorial, a human rights organization whose dingy offices in central Grozny are the first stop for researchers and journalists traveling to Chechnya. The 50-year-old single mother, who lived with her 15-year-old daughter in a cramped Grozny apartment, documented disappearances, torture, and killings since Moscow launched its second war in Chechnya 10 years ago.

    Memorial head Oleg Orlov told RFE/RL’s Russian Service that Estemirova was killed to stop her from investigating a recent spate of kidnappings she believed were carried out by forces loyal to Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov.

    “Ramzan Kadyrov was personally unhappy about what Natalya Estemirova was doing. Ramzan Kadyrov personally threatened her, in a private conversation,” Orlov said.

    “She spoke later about what he said to her. He said, ‘I have blood on my hands, it’s true, and I’m not ashamed of it. I have killed and will continue to kill bad people.’ And that statement was followed by insults and threats against [Estemirova],” he continued.

    Estemirova’s bullet-riddled body was found on July 15 in a stretch of woods in neighboring Ingushetia hours after she was snatched by kidnappers outside her home. Colleagues said witnesses heard her screaming that she was being kidnapped as she was bundled into a white Lada.

    Estemirova’s death was the latest in a long series of killings of rivals and critics of Kremlin-appointed Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov. The list includes Estemirova’s colleague, journalist Anna Politkovskaya, and a former Kadyrov bodyguard who was chased and gunned down on a street in Vienna.

    Dmitry Muratov, editor of the crusading “Novaya gazeta” newspaper, said he last spoke to Estemirova after yet another Kadyrov critic, lawyer Stanislav Markelov, was shot dead on a Moscow street in January.

    “I said, ‘Natasha, you should get the hell out of there, immediately. No one is going to help you. They have no limits anymore. You should simply get out of there immediately.’ She said she understood that,” Muratov said.

    Estemirova was due to be buried in her native Chechen village of Ishkoi-Yurt on July 16.

    Before her death, Estemirova said she believed Kadyrov’s forces were relying on the growing abductions and killings in Chechnya to enforce their rule. For many of Estemirova’s supporters, her murder is seen as confirmation.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/Estemirovas_Death_Raises_Questions_About_Kadyrovs_Power/1778269.html

  7. At least some Europeans see Obama for what he is and are asking him to grow a spine (unlike the appeasers Merkel, Berlusconi, and Sarkozy)

    Central Europe’s leaders ask Barack Obama to take strong line with Russia
    A group of Central and Eastern Europe’s most influential political figures have written an open letter to US President Barack Obama warning him of ‘Russia’s increasing intimidation’ in their region and calling for the US to take a strong line.

    By Matthew Day in Warsaw
    Published: 1:19PM BST 16 Jul 2009

    The letter, signed by 22 former leaders, including Lech Walesa and Vaclav Havel, expressed deep concern over what it alleged as America’s declining interest in a part of the world exhibiting “growing signs of nervousness” owing to Russian foreign policy.

    “Russia uses overt and covert means of economic warfare, ranging from energy blockades and politically motivated investments to bribery and media manipulation in order to advance its interests and to challenge the trans-Atlantic orientation of Central and Eastern Europe,” the letter claimed.

    Instead of recognising the sovereignty of Central and Eastern European states, the letter continued, Russia “is back as a revisionist power pursuing a 19th-century agenda with 21st-century tactics and methods”.

    The authors expressed the fear that the United States could sacrifice their nations’ interests in pursuit of good relations with Moscow.

    The letter added that an American anti-missile shield, which Poland and the Czech Republic have agreed to host despite furious Russian opposition, has become a “symbol of American credibility and commitment to the region”.

    President Obama has ordered a review of the missile system, which is intended to protect Nato countries against attacks from “rogue states”.

    • @(unlike the appeasers Merkel, Berlusconi, and Sarkozy)

      Berlusconi is not quite Chamberlain-like, he’s actually more of a wannabe-Mussolini to Putler.

    • “The letter added that an American anti-missile shield .. has become a “symbol of American credibility and commitment to the region”…. which is intended to protect Nato countries against attacks from “rogue states”.

      The fact that these 22 former leaders seriously claim that they are in fear of an imminent nuclear missile strike against them from North Korea and Iran – proves what a bunch of liars they are.

      • Well, what they want is US bases on their soild to protect them from Russian imperial ambitions.

        Sounds pretty reasonable given Russian behaviour over the last couple of hundred years.

        • Are you accusing the US government of lying when it has repeated thousands of times that these missile defences are not meant to be anti-Russian?

          • No, I am just saying that the presence of US troops will, in addition to providing a defence against possible Iranian missile attack, will also provide a deterrent agianst probable Russian conventional attack.

            • How many US troops will be there at those two missile defence bases in Poland and Czech R? 500? 1,000? Will there be any conventional equipment like fighter planes and tanks?

              Why not just build a conventional base instead of the missile defences?

              • The fact that they are there at all will be sufficient.

                Besides, if they build facilities for tanks and aircraft the Russians will get all girly about “NATO threatening poor mother Russia”

                The ABM system is a kinetic energy warhead (a big spear) its only dangerous to missiles, it has no offensive value (unless you like playing darts on a grand scale).

                What Poland is/was getting as part of the deal for bacing the launch system is concrete bilateral defence deals including the latest US SAM systems, a modernisation of the Polish Air Force, and also modernisation of Polands army.

  8. Well, this is a unique historic event! The president of the United States ofAmerica has declared war on somebody and isn’t even aware of it. Could be dangerous…

    But seriously: We should not laugh about this headline. Only a person with a big ego can do this tremendous job, destroying Russia with just one blog. La Russophobe is giving us almost every day something to read, to think about and to laugh. Some small exaggerations such as this one belong to the “corporate image” of LR. Those who don’t like it can read the boring Robert Amsterdam blog

    • Well Max, seriously,

      “We are disgusted beyond words. It feels as if Mr. Obama has declared war on La Russophobe.”

      is just so out of place as it could be, in the context of what actually is happening in the real world (and it’s the no-limits-now Hero of Russia killing just anyone he wants, be it in Chechnya, Ingushetia, Moscow or abroad).

    • Btw my namesake:

      After Obama Visit, Russia Resets to Default

      http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert-amsterdam/after-obama-visit-russia_b_236604.html

      What can be said about a kleptocratic country with no rule of law, where women are shot dead, young promising lawyers slain and the rest cowed into submission by fear? It is an unfortunate reality that news editors covering Russia have to keep such a long list ready in their top drawers: Paul Klebnikov, Anna Politkovskaya, Stanislav Markelov, Anastasia Baburova, and now Natalia Estemirova. And this is just the top tier, followed by lesser known and often forgotten journalists like Ivan Safronov, Mikhail Beketov (barely alive, in coma), or Magomed Yevloyev — the last being the unfortunate fellow who was “accidentally” shot in the head while in police custody. That’s not even listing the other political murders like Alexander Litvinenko, central banker Andrei Kozlov, or the many enemies of Kadyrov, who are murdered as far away as Dubai and Vienna.

      Call me biased, but this body count does not seem like a sign of strong and stable leadership.

      Like many others, I personally knew Politkovskaya back when she was just Anna the reporter, who then introduced me to Markelov to work on a few projects together. Their posthumous fame would have surprised them, but the social destruction being wrought by Russia’s ongoing culture of impunity would not.

      No one can cast personal blame for a murder when the culprit is an entire system of grand corruption. For years now, self-enriching state officials have gorged themselves on public institutions while withering away democratic rights, reflected by a corruption ranking of 147. The government of Chechnya is perhaps one of the worst, as the decision by Putin to pass total control of the region to the 32-year-old Kadyrov is akin to placing the State of New York under the control of the Gambino crime family (no disrespect to the Gambinos).

      When such a high number of government officials are in on the take, by definition the justice system does not work. From here, there is a thread connecting Estemirova’s murder to other state conduct, such as attacks on history, rhetoric of aggression and expansion against neighbors, extortion and racket of the energy trade, show trials, and a stranglehold on the media. Journalists are not safe when a government attacks civil society organizations like Memorial, when they refuse to investigate shootings five years after the fact, and when it shows no inclination toward transparency. David Satter recently wrote in Forbes that there may even “be attempts by the authorities to use the killing of journalists for their own purposes, for example, by hinting that they were carried out by the regime’s political enemies.”

      The reality is known well enough inside Russia. Human rights leader Lev Ponomarev, who has suffered his own fair share of violence (he was beaten right before Medvedev’s first meeting with Obama) told the Financial Times, “When they kill three people in a row in a short space of time who worked on the same subject, then all questions disappear. (…) Politkovskaya, Markelov and now Estemirova, they were all investigating abuses by law enforcement and the killings of peaceful citizens in Chechnya – and all these people have been killed . . . It is absolutely clear.”

      We have to understand that we have passed the point when it was enough to talk about justice, investigations and accountability (President Medevedev, to his credit, has swiftly responded in this vein with appropriate comments, instead of waiting nine days, as happened after Markelov). No more excuses, no more outrage, but all we can do is accept and review actions. If the actions fall short, the grace period is over for the hundreds of Western corporations and financial institutions who have benefited so generously from propping up the Kleptocrats.

      Obama seems like he has good intentions and fewer illusions about Russia, but let’s face it: it is a high cost, low reward diplomatic problem. Given the current route being pursued in Washington, we are not likely to see any eye-opening changes following this latest murder. To Russia’s delight, the Obama administration has found itself cornered into a guilty position, willing to apologize for anything and everything. Washington currently suffers from some very unreal assumptions based on groupthink – repeating like a mantra, we must respect Russia to work with Russia. The same goes for Europe. A high-ranking German official recently commented to me, “Whenever Russia behaves outrageously, everyone in Germany starts asking what we did to cause it.”

      When we subscribe to this victim narrative, measuring our words about Russia’s human rights problem while journalists go down before the firing squads, who exactly do we think we are helping?

      Anna Akhmatova may have nailed it back when she wrote, “She loves, loves blood, this Russian earth.” But with the spilling of Estemirova’s, it is high time we realize that it is on our hands too.

  9. Is Russia aware that it is currently being destroyed “with just one blog”?

    Or are both Russia and Obama blissfully unaware of the peril that they face at the hands of Penny, Kim and Andrew?

    LA RUSSOPOBE RESPONDS:

    Your comment is rather hysterically ignorant in not one but two respects.

    First, you’re imagining you yourself have an impact on this blog quite similar to the one you criticize us for suggesting we have in the wider world. Have a look at yourself.

    Second, many times in Russian history insignificant writers have been killed by the Kremlin. Right here is an amazing example. Was this woman really going to bring down the Kadyrov or Putin regimes? No. But they still killed her, didn’t they? Think about it. Your “analysis” is as empty and vapid as what you seek to characterize.

  10. La Moronophobe

    BE PROUD! Obama has indeed declared war on you, and all morons.

    You true colors of being right wing hacks really show’s throw. I’d mention that things are in a sorry shape not because of 6 months of Obama, but 8 years of Bush, but delusional people seldom listen to reason anyway, so I’ll stop there.

    Obama is indeed “gunning for you,” you are indeed the enemy. Obama said it in Russia of all places! “Zero sum politics must come to an end.” He actually said it to Putin but it applies to you too.

    Putin is right about one thing, standing with one foot in the Cold War makes for an awkward stance, reading your blog is proof.

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