MONDAY OCTOBER 12 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Russia is a Nation of Murdering Bastards
(2) Remembering Politkovskaya
(3) The Great Russian Selloff
(4) Cartoon: Putin makes another “Offer”
(5) Annals of Shamapova
NOTE: William Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management firm, oft-persecuted by the Kremlin, has started blogging right here on WordPress about their abusive treatment. Their latest installment is a video which exposes corruption in the ranks of the Russian police. Meanwhile, Kommersant reports that Browder is about to face the same kind of tax evasion charges that got Mikhail Khodorkovsky sent to Siberia.
Russia, Nation of Murdering Bastards
Last week was the third anniversary of the assassination of hero reporter Anna Politkovskaya. The Kremlin commemorated the event in its usual bloodthirsty fashion.
First, it handed victory to the crazed mass-murdering dictator of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov, in his libel suit against the Memorial human rights organization over Memorial’s demands for justice in the killing of Politkovskaya’s successor, Natalia Estemirova. Politkovskaya worked closely with Memorial in reporting on human rights issues in Chechnya, and Kadyrov hated them equally.
Then, it booted Reporters without Borders out of the country. Last year it was Human rights Watch, this year RWB. RWB has been tireless in standing up for justice in the Politkovskaya murder case, which has gotten exactly nowhere in the three years since her brutal, barbaric killing.
And for the capper, it toasted Vladimir Putins’ 57th birthday.
K. Anthony Appiah, a philosophy professor at Princeton University and president of the board of trustees of the PEN American Center, the U.S. branch of the world’s oldest international literary and human rights organization, writing in the Washington Post on October 7th:
Three years ago today Anna Politkovskaya, a courageous journalist who exposed appalling human rights offenses in Chechnya, was shot five times as she entered her Moscow apartment building. She was not the first Russian journalist to be slain for performing the invaluable function of bringing buried truths to light. Sadly, there have been, and will be, more murders. And we all pay the price.
Westerners were inclined to think during the Cold War that a democratic Russia would be better for Russians and for us. Yet 20 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, hopes for genuine democracy in Russia remain unrealized. A major reason is the parlous condition of the Russian media.
Daddy Putin is selling off the furniture to keep the family out of the poorhouse. The Moscow Times reports:
The government plans to raise 70 billion rubles ($2.34 billion) next year by selling stakes in more than 450 companies, Economic Development Minister Elvira Nabiullina said Tuesday.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated his support for the major sell-off of government property, saying the efforts would help fill the federal budget.
Putin says: "You must embrace your comrades!" On the middle shirt is written: "Avto Vaz."
Read more: Streetwise Professor.
If you’ve never heard of Shuai Peng, don’t feel too bad. She’s a Chinese journeywoman on the WTA circuit currently ranked #53 in the world. “Russian” world #15 Maria Sharapova probably hadn’t heard of her either when the two met on the court in Beijing at the China Open last week .
But Sharapova may now be keeping herself more up to date. In Sharapova’s second match of the tournament the two players contested 18 games and Sharapova won only six of them. Though tossing in roughly the same first-serve perecentage as her opponent, Sharapova was only able to win half her first serve points and was outplayed in every aspect of the game, getting blown off the court after, inexplicably, receiving one of only three first-round byes allocated among the 64 players in the draw, allowing her to avoid a first-round drainer.
World #1 Dinara Safina, for instance, didn’t receive one of those byes. And she probably wished she had, since she too was blown of the court by an unknown Chinese player in her second match of the tournament. Shuia Zhang, who destroyed Safina, came into the match ranked a shocking #226 in the world. Zhang is so obscure that the WTA website doesn’t even have her photograph. Ouch. Zhang was then promptly crushed in her next match by the #14 seed Marian Bartoli in easy straight sets.
And, believe it or not, the news got still worse for Safina.