MONDAY AUGUST 3 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Dobrokhotov, Defiant
(2) EDITORIAL: Russia is a Mafia State
(3) More Bloodshed in “Pacified” Chechnya
(4) A Call to Arms in Europe on Georgia
(5) Photo Essay: Remembering Estemirova
NOTE: At around 2 pm EST last Friday our counter rolled past the 1,000,000-visit milestone. This actualy represents 1.3 million total vists to our blog since our founding, 300,000 of them on our prior server over at Google. However, this is the first time our counter has shown more than one million visits, and as far as we know it’s the first time any Russian politics blog has ever displayed this many visits on a public counter.
NOTE: A major WTA tour event was held last week in Stanford, California. American Venus Williams met Russian opponents in both her quarterfinal and semifinal match. It got ugly.
In December of last year, LR founder Kim Zigfeld devoted an installment of her Russia column on the Pajamas Media blog to Roman Dobrokhotov, leader of the opposition movement known as “We.”
At that time, Dobrokhotov was rattling Dima Medvedev’s cage during a speech, accusing him of talking about democratic values while his polices eradicated them, and being dragged out of the hall. One would think it rather hard to top a performance like that, but only if one didn’t know Dobrokhotov very well.
A few days ago, Dobrokhotov and his democracy stormtroopers did something really breathtaking, clearly risking their lives for their cause and country.
Russia is a Mafia State
In the past, we’ve castigated the Moscow Times for carrying the propaganda spewed out by the Renaissance Capital brokerage house in Russia, which routinely publishes its advertising material in the guise of “op-ed” pieces and may be giving undisclosed financial support to the paper. It’s surely the MT’s worst feature that it doesn’t warn readers about the inherent conflict of interest Renaissance staff have in “analyzing” the Russian market when they earn their living by convincing foreigners to invest in it.
So it hardly came as much suprise to us to read in the New York Times last week that William Browder of Hermitage Capital, a leading Russian investor booted out of the country for daring to demand transparancy (Mikhail Khodorkovsky was sent to Siberia for the same reason), had filed a lawsuit in New York City alleging that there are “the ties between those who took over the Hermitage companies after Mr. Browder was forced out in 2005; officers of the Federal Security Service, the successor agency to the K.G.B. known as the F.S.B.; and executives at a Renaissance group company, Renaissance Capital.”
A suicide bomber killed four policemen and two builders after being stopped outside a theater in Grozny, capital of Russia’s Chechnya region.
The bomber blew himself up yesterday after police barred entry to a hall where 800 people were watching a play, Chechen Interior Minister Ruslan Alkhanov said on the ministry’s Web site today. Four other police officers and another bystander were injured, the ministry said.
French philosopher André Glucksmann, writing on City Journal:
Is there such a thing as the European Union? In Washington, the State Department has been seeking the phone number for such an entity since the days of Henry Kissinger. In Moscow, the EU is nothing but a television prop. Since the days of Soviet foreign minister Andrei Gromyko, regimes have come and gone, but the conviction endures that only classical powers matter: the United Kingdom, France, and above all Germany, long a political dwarf but always an economic giant. As for the historians, they’re uncertain: the De Gaulle–Adenauer and Mitterrand-Kohl relationships did not work for long, and London’s tiffs with Paris and Bonn (and then Berlin) were all the talk for decades. In the face of a global crisis, European disunity is evident.