Daily Archives: July 20, 2009

July 22, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Russian Banks go the way of the Dodo

(2)  EDITORIAL: In Russia, a daily Tsunami of Bad News

(3)  Another Original LR Translation:  Lonely Russia, Part II

(4)  Horror of Russian Roads, Part I

(5)  Horror of Russian Roads, Part II

(6)  Iranians want Russia Destroyed

NOTE:  Over on Robert Amsterdam’s blog, hero journalist Grigori Pasko reports on the latest neo-Soviet power grab by the Putin Kremlin. Now, they can open any letter any Russian citizen decideds to mail! Welcome back to the USSR.

EDITORIAL: Russian Banks go the Way of the Dodo


Russian Banks go the Way of the Dodo

The latest stunningly bad economic news to come out of Vladimir Putin’s Russia that Sberbank’s profits for the first quarter of this year were a puny $18 million, compared with nearly $1 billion rubles in the first quarter of last year.  You read that right:  Sberbank’s profts are down a whopping 98% compared to the same period last year.  The bank’s shares have lost nearly 15% of their value so far this month.  Likely, you do not need reminding dear reader that this institution is owned and operated by the Russian government itself, and is by far the largest and most stable bank in the country.  If this bank is in this kind of shape, what might be said about the others?

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EDITORIAL: Russia is a Bottomless Pit of Bad News


Russia is a Bottomless Pit of Bad News

Perusing the news one day week, one was besieged by bad news, each incident more horrifying than the last.  Just have a look at the horror, and remember: It’s just one day in the life of Vladimir Putin’s Russia:

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Another Original LR Translation: Lonely Russia, Part II

Lonely Power:
Why Does the West Not Wish to Irritate the Kremlin?

Lilia Shevtsova, Senior Associate, Carnegie Moscow Center

Novaya Gazeta

Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel

[This is a continuation of extracts from Lilia Shevtsova’s new book “Lonely Power: Why Russia Didn’t Become the West and Why She Has Difficulties With It” – about the the whys and wherefores of Russia’s foreign policies today. Part I was published on July 5th].

Lilia Shevtsova

Lilia Shevtsova

Why does the West not wish to irritate the Kremlin? The answer is simple: the West as a commonwealth is wary of the Kremlin’s aggressivity and vengefulness. Another no less serious reason is that influential political circles in the West believe that Russia is not be reformed so that there is no point even trying: better to look for those places where there is a “coincidence of views” with the Russian élite.

These circles do not want to put the fulfilment of their pragmatic interests at risk. They therefore do not wish to consider a long-term strategy with regards to Russia as this would demand too much time and effort of them.

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Russia’s Barbaric Roadways, Part I

The Los Angeles Times reports on yet another fundmental failure of the Putin regime. The money quote:  “A staggering 30,000 towns and villages are without a year-round road link to the nearest administrative center.”

Truckers with empty tanks or bellies stop here in this hamlet between Moscow and St. Petersburg, climb to the ground, stretch their legs and poke a cigarette between their lips.

The drivers are worn out from grinding over the potholed, shoulder-less, often two-lane ribbon that is, improbably, Russia’s main commercial thoroughfare. They haul the parts and pieces of a vast economy — chicken legs, coils of rope, dinner plates — over roads so jarring the cargo is often damaged before it arrives.

Nobody is more keenly aware of the corroded state of Russia’s transport infrastructure than the country’s truckers, who earn their pay traversing broken highways and improvising where roads don’t exist.

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Russia’s Third-World Roads, Part II

Modernization.ru: Billions in Asphalt

Vladislav Inozemtsev



Translated from the Russian by The Other Russia

In order to modernize the economy, a series of conditions are necessary, and one of the most important is the condition of infrastructure.  Accelerated development is unthinkable without a network of roads, accessibility of power and communications, and the ease of mobility for workers.

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Iranians Want Russia Destroyed

Global Voices reports:

At a Friday prayer service today at Tehran University, former president Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called for the release of the many protesters arrested since the disputed June 12 presidential election where Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was declared the winner. Rafsanjani is a firm supporter of Ahmadinejad’s main contender Mir Hossein Mousavi. He led the Friday prayer for the first time since the election.

Members of the Iranian opposition movement took part in the prayer, some wearing green, the colour that has come to symbolize Mousavi’s movement. Traditionally at Friday Prayer, [people are encouraged to chant “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” but today, they defiantly shouted “Death to Russia”, in referring to opposition accusations that Russia has been involved in training repression forces of the regime.

In a YouTube video, recorded from a short distance of the outdoor gathering, you can hear a male voice over the loudspeaker screaming “Death to America”, “Death to the hypocrites” and “Death to England”, while the crowd roars “Death to Russia!” in response EVERY time. {Click here to watch the YouTube video in question.}