August 28, 2009 — Contents

FRIDAY AUGUST 28 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Putin Slithers around Kadyrov

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Dima Medvedev, Girly Man-God?

(3)  Tuberculosis Ravages Putin’s Russia

(4)  The Average Russian Drinks 50 bottles of Vodka per Year

(5)  Photo Essay:  A Grand old Russian Flag?

NOTE:  The Oborona activist blogging in English as Kvakrusheva posts disturbing video of Moscow police snuffing out a legal attempt to solicit electoral support.

6 responses to “August 28, 2009 — Contents

  1. More stress for Pootie:

    “State-owned Gazprom which controls the world’s largest natural gas reserves, said its net income for the three months ended March 31 declined by 62% to 103.7 billion rubles (about $3.3 billion). ”

    http://www.marketwatch.com/story/gazproms-first-quarter-profit-drops-62-2009-08-26-152100

  2. Well, the Obama administration just officially betrayed their European allies for the sake of continued “reset” attempts (and this idiotic issue of uniliteral disarmament of America – because Russia would disarm anyway by just doing nothing).

    In July (from the largest newspaper in Poland):

    Mr Kaczyński is the first incumbent to have supported the letter to the US president. In an unusual appeal that we reported about yesterday, former presidents, prime ministers and cabinet members from Central and Eastern Europe – among them Vaclav Havel, Valdas Adamkus, Aleksander Kwaśniewski and Lech Wałęsa – sounded their worries that the Obama administration appeared uninterested in an alliance with the region, and appealed for a more determined policy towards Russia.

    The letter was presented in Washington yesterday by Ron Asmus, co-author of Nato’s eastward enlargement under President Clinton. ‘You should be happy you’re not a problem for US policy,’ ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright replied the letter’s authors.

    ‘The historical experience of our countries, which have for centuries had to do with the Russian state, shows that only decisiveness and consistence in presenting your own position can cause our Russian partners to really talk to us,’ wrote Lech Kaczyński in a statement published on his official website yesterday. ‘The issue of the planned missile defence installations in Central Europe is important because of America’s credibility as a global superpower and an ally. Concessions in this regard, even a partial abandonment of the plans, will have disastrous effects and will undermine America’s credibility.’

    Gazeta talked to several persons yesterday who either signed the letter or helped draw it up. ‘A new generation of politicians is coming to power. These are people who don’t remember totalitarianism, don’t remember the decades of independence struggles. They simply have freedom and have always had it. That’s why they see certain things differently than we do. We want policy to remain based on principles that were important for the past generation,’ explains the intentions of the letter’s authors former Polish foreign minister, Adam Rotfeld.

    Gazeta’s interlocutors wishing to remain anonymous are more outright. ‘We have for years watched Russia reviving its imperialistic policies,’ says a Polish diplomat who helped draw up the letter. ‘There were the arrogant speeches by Mr Putin, in which he practically refused to recognise Ukraine’s independence, and then there was the Georgian war when the West proved unable to stop Russia.’

    According to Gazeta’s sources it was precisely after last’s year conflict over South Osetia that several Central-and-Eastern European politicians from various camps started to seriously worry about US policy towards the region. ‘The issue of the missile defence, very important for us, was what overfilled the chalice,’ Gazeta heard yesterday. ‘A US military base in Poland and the Czech Republic would mean an ultimate end of the Iron Curtain and the post-WWII arrangements made between the US and the USSR. But after Mr Obama’s visit to Moscow, the view is that there will be no shield,’ adds our source.

    The letter has been signed by former politicians, but the views it contains are familiar to and shared by most incumbent heads of state and government in the region. ‘The letter didn’t come as a surprise to Mr Kaczyński at all,’ says a Polish diplomat.

    http://wyborcza.pl/1,86871,6830735,Mr_Obama__Don_t_Drop_the_Shield_.html

    Now (the appeal was actually COMPLETELY ignored):

    The US plans for building elements of the missile defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic are virtually certain to be abandoned, say Gazeta’s sources in Washington.

    ‘The signals that the generals in the Pentagon are sending are absolutely clear: as far as missile defence is concerned, the current US administration is searching for other solutions than the previously bases in Poland ad the Czech Republic,’ Riki Ellison, chairman of the Missile Defence Advocacy Alliance, a Washington-based lobby group.

    Shortly after Mr Obama took over, the White House started a strategic review of the missile defence project. In theory, the review hasn’t yet been completed but Mr Ellison believes that in fact the decision has already been made. A credible source in the Congress says the same: ‘The administration has been sounding out for a couple of weeks now how the Congress will react when the plans for building the missile defence in Poland and the Czech Republic are dumped.’

    ‘The debate within the Obama administration is nearing an end,’ adds a well-known Washington expert on defence matters and an adviser to the current administration.

    The outcome of this debate, it has been increasingly clear, will see the Polish and Czech option abandoned. Riki Ellison at the MDAA believes that the main reason for this change of strategy is that the ‘new administration pays more attention to Russia’s arguments.’ Other sources that Gazeta has talked to, although they agree this is an important factor, say that the key issue is that of the project’s price tag and Mr Obama’s key aides’ doubts about whether the system would really work.

    ‘Obama’s people believe that many global problems will be more easily solved together with Moscow,’ says Mr Ellison. ‘It’s about priorities. For many Democrats, disarmament is a priority and to reach a new strategic weapons reduction agreement with Russia, they are prepared to sacrifice a lot. Which doesn’t mean that they are soft and naive,’ explains the lobbyist.

    ‘The Obama administration will negotiate firmly with the Russians, trying to bargain as much as possible in return for its concessions,’ says Mr Ellison.

    But a new approach to both Russia and missile defence is a fact.

    Gen Kevin Chilton, head of the US Strategic Command, had a lengthy speech at the conference about how difficult to swallow for Moscow a missile defence base in Poland would be. It is clear that Russia’s feelings are being taken into account in Washington.

    According to Gazeta’s sources, the US government will announce the conclusions of the strategic review only when it has prepared Warsaw and Prague for the change of plans and secured maximum possible concessions from Moscow.

    Gazeta asked the State Department for permission to interview one of the high-ranking diplomats about Polish-US relations but was refused – until the strategic review of the missile defence project is completed.

    http://wyborcza.pl/1,86871,6969565,Poland_Without_Missile_Defence.html

    • “‘You should be happy you’re not a problem for US policy,’ ex-Secretary of State Madeleine Albright replied the letter’s authors” was especially stupid (and insulting).

  3. A very good article on the state of Russian “journalism” today:

    Putin TV

    August 27, 2009
    By Matviy Hanapolsky
    The television screen shows an elderly woman of around 80, badly dressed. She is an Ossetian, lives in Tskhinvali, and witnessed the tragic events of last year’s Russian-Georgian war.

    She was recalling how Georgian troops forced their way into her home. “They were wearing American military uniforms and had American weapons,” she says. “There was a chief instructor with them, he gave them orders in English.”

    The camera continues to focus on the woman as she speaks. The journalist doesn’t interrupt. He doesn’t ask how someone who has never in her life seen anything except her own cow knows what kind of weapons and uniforms the soldiers wore, or how she could be sure the commands were in English.

    The journalist knows, which is why he doesn’t interrupt. He and his group are the authors of this disinformation series that will be triumphantly screened by Russian state TV channels.

    The woman was told what to say, and she is saying what she was told to. The journalist doesn’t conceal his face: state TV and radio pay handsomely, and the Russian media operate on the principle “five minutes of ignominy and you can live comfortably for the rest of your life.”

    The days when Vladimir Gusinsky’s NTV was a byword for independent and honest investigative reporting and Russia still had a free press are gone forever. These days NTV functions as the electronic equivalent of the yellow press, and its journalists “have scattered among the population like mice” — some have left journalism altogether, some fastidiously avoid politics, and some have pledged themselves to lying.

    After Russian President Dmitry Medvedev forced through amendments to the election law that mean that from now on the new Russian president will be elected/appointed for six years not four, everything has become cynically clear. Medvedev will remain in office until 2012, then Vladimir Putin for 12 more years, which means that from now until 2024 there will be the same government, the same criteria, and the same scale of values, without any real changes.

    I would add that there are barely any opposition media, and if you happen to work for one of them you risk getting killed.

    Nostalgia

    Such is the reality of life in the Russian media. The journalists who broadcast yesterday’s honest political reporting still work for the same TV channels, but those channels are now exclusively propagandistic, and the journalists simply collect their paychecks twice a month.

    No, they have not visibly lost their journalistic ability, and you can watch investigative reporting every week. For example, about how a small businessman is treated badly in a small town.

    The TV channel will show a detailed report of how and why he is victimized. Then the regional governor, who is invariably a member of United Russia, appears on the screen and assures us that those responsible have already been fired, that he personally will raise the issue of corruption with the government, and that the law needs to be changed.

    These investigative reports always follow the same scenario: the villains are at bottom, the mid-level boss is good, but all hopes lie with Putin, and because Putin exists, a bright future awaits us.

    No generalizations, no questions “why do we still live like this?” In the context of problems, the top leadership does not exist. There is only “Vladimir Putin visited…,” “Dmitry Medvedev affirmed sharply….”

    Programs that contain discussion have vanished from the TV screen completely. Savik Shuster’s program on the TRK Ukrayina channel is perceived in Russia as something romantic, improbable, a fairy tale, which elicits the comment, “Yes, things are different there in Kyiv.”

    Pessimism among journalists is total and irreversible.

    The Word Is A Weapon

    There is one sphere, however, which is the exclusive preserve of propagandists: political statements and political decisions by Putin and Medvedev. There not only discussions, but even simple questions are impossible.

    There is a basic Kremlin decision: Russia has embarked on an information war. From now on, lies on television are no longer lies, but a weapon against the enemy.

    In the case of Georgia, they lied day in, day out, at the slightest pretext. The more absurd the lie, the better.

    When the first case of swine flu was diagnosed in Krasnodar Krai, an “expert” appeared on the screen and told an improbable story. He said there “are reports” that swine flu came from Georgia and that “there was a secret biological laboratory where experiments were conducted on pigs.” Then some of the pigs escaped, mated with wild boar, crossed the frontier into the Russian Federation — and there you are!

    They lied from the very first minutes of the war in Georgia. They showed Russian Hurricane rockets and said they were Georgian Grad rockets. They lied constantly about the number of casualties: first they said 2,000, then 160, then 59, then 71.

    They lied when they said Georgia planned to poison the Tskhinvali water supply, which was ridiculous because the small river that supplies drinking water to Tskhinvali flows into Georgia.

    The film “8/8/8” was devoted to the anniversary of last year’s war, which began on that date. It was in that film that the old Ossetian woman told how the “Georgian-Americans” forced their way into her home.

    No Relations, No Questions

    The most important media strategy is “no questions.”

    Medvedev visits German Chancellor Angela Merkel and tells her that Russia will have “no dealings” with Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko. And no one has the right to ask what that statement means.

    Breaking off diplomatic relations? Annulling some agreement or other? Closing the borders and cancelling flights to Ukraine? There was a similar statement with regard to Georgia, and flights there were cancelled.

    And the main thing: will there be a war?

    That’s not a joke, after all, the president did say “no relations.”

    And the most important question: if Yushchenko is reelected president, does that mean there will be “no relations” for five, or 10, or 15 years?

    But there are no answers, just as there is not a single program where the top leadership would have to answer questions and provide explanations about the most vital issues of war and peace and about their own statements, which could give rise to a new war with Russia’s closest neighbor.

    Russian journalists joke that: “When I watch the first channel of Russian TV, I have the impression that Ernst is looking at me from the screen as though I were trash.”

    Konstantin Ernst is that channel’s director-general.

    Matviy Hanapolsky is a broadcaster for the Russian radio station Ekho Moskvy.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/Putin_TV/1808697.html

  4. Great stuff guys, thanks a lot!

    ANDREW, we will blog your item next week.

    ROBERT, Kim has been inspired by your links. Expect something strong on the Pajamas blog about this in the near future.

  5. Oh, look, the oily orthodox moozer roosha “church” of the Ku Klux Klan, complete with “Russian Knights” is on the warpath.

    Kirill, the Chief Wizard in the Big Halloween Costume of the oily orthodox moozer rasha “church” and his $36,000 watch must be very, very proud.

    http://www.jamestown.org/programs/edm/single/?tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=35449&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=27&cHash=15c7a18359
    In the view of the local people, these crosses do not represent religion: they are considered as memorials erected by murderers by those who killed and continue killing their sons, brothers, husbands, daughters, wives, sisters. The underlying reasons as to why local people attack Russian monuments are similar to the general background to Natalia Estemirova’s murder. She once refused to walk on the central street in Grozny, after the street was renamed by Kadyrov as Putin’s boulevard (www.guardian.co.uk, July 23).

    Each of the representatives of the Russian Orthodox Church has a special duty – serving the Russian army in the conflict zones, blessing the new recruits before they go to war, and honoring those who died performing their duty (www.tver.eparhia.ru, December 13, 2001). Although there is nothing unusual in any of these activities, from a local perspective the Russian army and security services have waged war on civilians; while the Russian Orthodox has offered justification for these killings.

    After the first war in Chechnya, public opinion in Russia was critical of the government’s action in the republic. Not only because of solidarity with the people of Chechnya, but also due to the loss of many young soldiers during the first war. Why did public opinion in Russia turn from strong protest to ignorance, and even approval on some levels? (www.specnaz.ru, December 7, 2005). Moreover, it appears that the Russian Orthodox Church has successfully fed this campaign by manipulating popular perceptions of the conflict. The crosses around the North Caucasus are symbolic of the union between the Church and the State in an effort to strengthen Velikaya Rus (Great Russia), regardless of the costs involved – be it the lives of thousands of civilians labeled as separatists, terrorists, religious extremists, or western spies, or Russian soldiers who die unknown and unreported, and in many cases even uncounted. Those deaths have been justified by the Russian Orthodox Church.

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