Daily Archives: August 21, 2009

August 23, 2009 — Contents

SUNDAY AUGUST 23 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  The Putin Kremlin is Clincally Paranoid

(2)  Another Blogger Prosecuted in Putin’s Russia

(3)  Mother Russia Still Loves her Some Stalin 

(4)  Lonely Russia Spurned by the Planet

(5)  Annals of Russian Insanity

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EDITORIAL: The Putin Kremlin is Clinically Paranoid

EDITORIAL

The Putin Kremlin is Clinically Paranoid

We reported last week on the insane ravings of Vladimir Putin,  statements so detached from reality that they could only come from the mouth of a neo-Soviet lunatic.  But no sooner had we done so than Putin’s man in Ingushetia was spewing paranoia so demented it made Putin look like Gandhi.

The indispensible Paul Goble reports that Yunus-Bek Yevkurov believes he had discovered the identity of those who are relentlessly gunning down his cabinet members and police officers.  Islamic radicals? Of course not!  The culprits are America, Britain and Israel.

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Another Blogger Prosecuted in Putin’s Russia

Paul Goble reports:

Mikhail Afanasyev,editor of the Internet Journal “Novy focus,” has been charged with slander for distributing “intentionally false reports” about the Sayano-Shushen Dam disaster when prosecutors in the Khakass Republic say he was in full possession of “reliable and official information.”

The filing of these charges less than 24 hours after Afanasyev suggested on his site that officials were shifting their efforts too quickly from the search for survivors to the recovery of bodies demonstrate that Russian officials can move quickly when they want to control reporting about any event. But they also call attention to a disturbing phenomenon, the increasing propensity of Russian law enforcement to draw on the legal norms of the Soviet past when the criminal code included provisions for bringing charges against anyone making “intentionally false slanderous declarations, which disparage the socialist system.”

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Mother Russia still Loves her some Stalin

Russia scribe Jonas Bernstein, writing on Voice of America (Paul Goble has more on the same topic, reading Russian sources):

Sunday, August 23, marks the 70th anniversary of the so-called Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact – the non-aggression treaty signed in 1939 by Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov and German Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop. The pact included a secret protocol dividing Eastern and Central Europe into Nazi and Soviet spheres of influence. Days after it was signed, first German and then Soviet forces invaded Poland.

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Lonely Russia, Spurned by the Planet

67ddc136-8db4-11de-93df-00144feabdc0Philip Stevens, writing in the Financial Times:

The conventional story about Russia has been one of power reclaimed after the fall to chaos during the 1990s. Oil, gas and autocracy have restored it to the ranks of world powers. Some of the more hyperbolic commentary has gone so far to say that, along with China, Moscow has created an entirely new model to challenge western liberalism.

Yet what most strikes me about Russia is its isolation. For all its resurgent hydrocarbon revenues and its considerable, albeit residual, military power, Moscow is essentially friendless. As for a superior system of capitalism, when was the last time you heard an international politician of any consequence hold up Russia as their chosen paradigm?

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Annals of Russian Insanity

David McDuff reports:

Russia’s Ministry of Justice has adopted a ruling by the Supreme Court that flags with crosses will be considered symbols of extremism, and their display will be banned. The ruling effectively outlaws the flags of Georgia, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Iceland, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland, Dominican Republic and Jamaica, as well as those of 15 states within the Russian Federation.