FRIDAY OCTOBER 9 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Johns Hopkins Agrees with La Russophobe
(2) HRW Condemns Russia’s Chechnya Barbarism
(3) Podrabinek in English
(4) On the Trail of Paul Joyal’s Attackers
(5) Blame Chubais!
NOTE: Some Russophiles attack us for allowing anonymity on this blog. We carry a major item (#4) in today’s issue from the LA Times, asking hard questions about the murderous attack on Kremlin critic Paul Joyal. In a real frenzy even by its own standards, Russia Today (the Kremlin’s wholly-owned propaganda network) responds with not one but two diatribes, one laced with censored profanity.
Both are anonymous. In other words, for all we know, they were written by the KGB, perhaps even by the very KGB agents who attacked Joyal. So you Russophiles who struggle valiantly against anonymity will surely want to complain to RT. Won’t you?
Oh and, by the way RT . . . your hysterical reaction is what they call in poker a “tell.” Just FYI.
Johns Hopkins Agrees withLa Russophobe
One of our esteemed commenters points us to the following statement on the Council of Europe report on the Russo-Georgian war of 2008, about which we editorialized last week. It comes from the lofty towers of Johns Hopkins University’s Central Asia Caucasus Institute, one of the world’s leading authorities on Caucasus politics. Here’s what they say about the COE report:
It is . . . apparent that its most scathing criticism is reserved for Russia’s role in the conflict. Significantly, the report found that Russia had long been purposefully engaging in provocations against Georgia and unlawful intervention in its internal affairs, and that none of Moscow’s various justifications for its invasion of Georgia hold water. Moreover, the report goes on to fault Russia’s behavior following the conflict, as it continues to be in material breach of the EU-negotiated cease-fire agreement.
In other words, they say just what we said about the COE report. The Wall Street Journal carries the same view.
Human Rights Watch reports:
Russia has ignored a series of judgments by the European Court of Human Rights on Chechnya, fueling unchecked violence in the North Caucasus, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Following the recent murders of human rights defenders there, the Council of Europe’s Parliamentary Assembly will decide on September 28, 2009 whether to schedule a debate to focus on the dangerous conditions for human rights defenders in the North Caucasus.
The 38-page report, “‘Who Will Tell Me What Happened to My Son?’: Russia’s Implementation of European Court of Human Rights Judgments on Chechnya,” examines Russia’s response to European Court judgments on cases from Chechnya. In almost all of the 115 rulings, the court concluded that Russia was responsible for extrajudicial executions, torture, and enforced disappearances, and that it had failed to investigate these crimes. In the 33 cases researched by Human Rights Watch, Russia has still not brought a single perpetrator to justice, even in cases in which those who participated in or commanded the operations that led to violations are named in the European Court judgments.
FinRosForum translates the essay from Yezhedevny Zhurnal that drove the writer into hiding in fear of his life from Kremlin assassination:
It is a great pity that the owners of the “Anti-Soviet” Kebab House [in Moscow] caved in to pressure from the head of the municipal council [Vladimir] Shtukaturov and prefect [Oleg] Mitvol, and took down the café’s sign.
It is a pity because the demand of the authorities was against the law. It is a pity because this was an attack on the freedom of enterprise — specifically, blackmail on the part of the fire department and the health inspectorate. It is a pity because the complaints of the veterans are idiotic, base, and stupid. It is a pity because a name like “Anti-Soviet” calls for standing firm, not for caving in.
Slowly but surely, mainstream Western media are getting wise to Vladimir Putin. First GQ carried the story of the Moscow apartment bombing coverup, and now the LA Times reports on the mystery and possible coverup of the attempted murder of Kremlin critic Paul Joyal:
That night, he was returning home from the International Spy Museum, of all places. He had been meeting with, of all people, an old friend who once was a top officer in the KGB.
It was raining when Paul Joyal pulled into his driveway in this suburb 10 miles from the White House. As he stepped out of his car, nothing seemed amiss. He did not see two men lurking in the darkness. But suddenly, he was under attack, cold-cocked on the side of his head. The 55-year-old Joyal fought back. He elbowed one of the attackers in the gut and bowled into him. He and the assailant tumbled to the ground.
“Shoot him!” barked the man he struggled with — and Joyal instinctively folded his arms across his chest and rolled to the side as the other attacker fired.
There’s a funny episode of the TV show South Park in which the townsfolk sing a song entitled “Blame Canada” and seek to explain all their troubles by reference to our funny-talking neighbor to the north. In Russia, they often blame South Park itself, rather than Canada, and ban the programs. But far more common practice is to blame Anatoly Chubais. In Georgia Bovt’s latest Moscow Times column, he explores the phenomenon.
On Saturday, the Federal Service for Environmental, Technological and Atomic Inspection released its report on the causes of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant accident that occurred on Aug. 17. Former Unified Energy System CEO Anatoly Chubais was the most recognizable name in the “most-guilty” list.
Chubais’ presence on the list is not surprising when you consider that the Sayano-Shushenskaya investigation efforts are headed by Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin, who also oversees the government’s energy sector. Sechin, who served as former President Vladimir Putin’s deputy chief of staff, was one of the strongest opponents of Chubais’ energy reforms when Chubais headed UES. Thus, it is impossible not to see in the report’s findings evidence of a serious political game among Russia’s bureaucratic elite.