WEDNESDAY OCTOBER 14 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Alcoholic Russia
(2) EDITORIAL: Russia’s Internet is DOA
(3) More on Russia and the Iranian Bomb
(4) Russia: Hater Nation
(5) PHOTO ESSAY: Remembering Politkovskaya
NOTE: LR publisher/founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment of her Russia column on the mighty Pajamas Media mega blog is up and running. It scathingly condemns Barack Obama for his failure to address the issue of lynchings in Putin’s Russia.
What girl doesn't love a Russian man loaded down with vodka?
As with most things where Russia, one of the most dishonest and dissembling nations on the face of the Earth, is concerned, it’s hard to get reliable information about the extent of the country’s epidemic of alcoholism.
But here’s a truly staggering factoid: Even though 70% of Russia’s alcohol consumption comes in the form of vodka, Russians drink so much that their 30% residual consumption is still enough to make Russia the third-largest beer market on the planet.
Dig a little deeper, and you unearth facts that are truly breathtaking both in their implications and their contradictions.
Russia’s Internet, Officially Dead
It doesn’t get much more official than this: Sergei Mironov, speaker of the Council of the Federation (Russia’s version of the U.S. Senate or British House of Lords) openly declares (Russian language link), contradicting both Dima Medvedev and the Russophile hoards: “RuNet doesn’t perform the civic and social functions that it does in other countries.” (In Russian: “Хуже то, что Рунет варится в собственном соку и не выполняет тех гражданских и социальных функций, которые являются общепринятыми в других странаx.”) He continues:
It was expected that the Internet would help crystallize and mobilize parts of the civil society that are interested in a broad sweep of constructive reforms. Unfortunately, this hasn’t happened yet. Sites of NGOs – including those of human rights organizations that defend the interests of the population – recieve less than 1% of the Russian Internet traffic.
Well, that’s it then.
Ariel Cohen, writing for the National Review:
Last weekend, Israel leaked to the Sunday Times of London that Russian scientists are developing nuclear warheads for Iran. According to the leakers, that’s why Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu flew to Moscow for a “secret” visit September 7.
If true, this information may accelerate sanctions against Iran, or even precipitate military action to destroy the Iranian nuclear-weapons program. It may also blow President Obama’s Russia “reset” policy to smithereens.
Vladimir Shlapentokh, a professor of sociology at Michigan State University, writing in the New York Times:
Xenophobia exists in all societies, past and present. It goes back to the socio-biological nature of human beings and the distinction of “ours” and “others” in the human psyche.
Aggressive xenophobia, however, with its open declaration of hatred, discrimination against and physical persecution of “others,” is a purely social phenomenon. It is almost always, in my opinion, a product of policies shaped by a ruling elite in order to acquire and preserve political and economic power.
The case of anti-Americanism in contemporary Russia is a perfect illustration.
The sign reads: “Putin can’t solve the problem, he is the problem.”
Following are more photos taken by Russian bloggers on the scene at the observation of the third anniversary of the murder of Anna Politkovskaya in Moscow.