Monthly Archives: November 2009

December 2, 2009 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Shame on Russia!

(2)  EDITORIAL: A Blogosphere under Siege in Putin’s Russia

(3)  EDITORIAL:  Another Test, another “F” for Russia

(4)  Is Russia “driven” to Revolution?

(5)  Book Review

* * * Won’t you help support Natalia Estemirova’s Daughter? * *  *

NOTE:  Our sidebar now contains a permanent link to information which can be used to make a donation to a fund created by the Memorial human rights organization to support the education of Natalia Estemirova’s daughter Lana.  We encourage all our readers to make a generous contribution to this worthy cause, both in honor of Natalia’s memory and as a statement against the rise of dictatorship in Russia.

EDITORIAL: Shame on Russia!

Passengers evacuating other passengers, official rescuers nowhere to be seen


Shame on Russia!

There was nothing we could do to help the injured. There was no doctor, no first-aid kit on board the train. It seems like there wasn’t anything to provide even the most basic assistance. There weren’t even any torches to look for the injured with. A lot of time valuable time was lost, time that could have been used to save people. The apparent absence of first-aid kits on such a train was simply unbelievable, especially in the light of the 2007 blast. No one even thought to have reserves of bandages.”

— Stanislav Aranovsky, Nevsky Express rail passenger, to Delovoi Petersburg

When a terrorist bomb exploded underneath a high-speed train halfway between Moscow and St. Petersburg on Saturday night, once again the greatest damage to Russia was not the loss of life, horrible as it was, but the humiliating light cast on Russia’s reckless indifference to the welfare of its citizens.

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EDTORIAL: A Blogosphere under Siege in Putin’s Russia


A Blogosphere under Siege in Putin’s Russia

Irek Murtazin

Even though, as we’ve repeatedly shown, less than a fifth of the Russian population has Internet access, that’s way too much freedom of information for the Kremlin’s taste. 

Because of this, the Putin regime has been engaged in a feverish, Stalin-like crackdown on bloggers from the first moments it took power. 

Alexei Sidorenko of Global Voices reports on the two most recent casualties in this final battle for the Russian soul.

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EDITORIAL: Postcards from the Russian Wasteland


Postcards from the Russian Wasteland

In a recent survey by HSBC Bank of 26 countries, Russia ranked #24 as the third-worst place on the planet for expat corporate workers to take up service. reports:

Russia came stone cold last in terms of enrolling children at a new school and establishing finances. Its healthcare system was ranked 25th and commuting experience at 23rd, with an overall placing of 24th out of the 26 countries surveyed. The ranking was also hampered by poor scores in utility set-up (25th) and ease of finding an apartment (23rd). Russia did manage to beat out India and Qatar which came 25th and 26th respectively. The poll was topped by Canada, Australia and Thailand.

Ouch.  And the expat community brutally condemned every aspect of Russian life even though they have the highest per capita earnings of all the surveyed countries!  Just imagine what they would have said if that weren’t the case.

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Is Russia “driven” to Revolution?

The New York Times reports:

Every society has a breaking point. In Boston it was the tea tax; in France it was Marie Antoinette’s wigs. If you’re curious where the breaking point may lie in Russia, try slamming the door as you get out of a taxicab — even the most rickety Soviet-era Lada. What will pass across the driver’s face is an expression of such exquisite suffering that you will first apologize and then run. Russians love their cars.

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Book Review: Postcards from Neo-Soviet Russia

The Seattle Times reports:

‘Rasskazy: New Fiction from a New Russia’
edited by Mikhail Iossel and Jeff Parker
Tin House Books, 374 pp., $18.95

“Do you know how I knew spring was here? I found a skull in the garden. I immediately looked for a bullet hole in it.” With a beginning like this, you know you have picked up no bland, overly processed work of fiction, but something raw, intense and sure to leave an impression.

And that is just what “Rasskazy” (the word means “stories”) offers with its collection of 22 short pieces by some of Russia’s finest young writers.

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SPECIAL EXTRA: Blood on the Russian Rails

What used to be the Nevsky Express

At 9:30 pm Moscow time on Saturday, the Nevsky Express high-speed train bound from Moscow for St. Petersburg derailed.   Three hours later, the Kremlin’s RIA Novosti newswire reported 10 passengers had been killed and 130 injured. But five hours after that, RIA was reporting that two dozen had been killed only 90 injured, and indicating that “the death toll could rise as new bodies were being taken out of the deformed railroad cars.”  32 passengers were reported missing. Nearly 700 people were on the train.  By the following afternoon, it was clear that more than three dozen had perished, triple the initial a report.

Quoting an anonymous source in “law enforcement,” RIA Novosti also reported on the cause of the derailment:  “Preliminarily, an explosion occurred under the ninth car,” it stated. “There was a clap. The last two cars almost fell apart. I’ve seen such things only in movies,” a passenger named Alexander told the newswire.

Once again, Russia rescue efforts were pathetic and infuriating.

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