WEDNESDAY NOVEMBER 11 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: The Fall of Yandex
(2) EDITORIAL: Putin’s Russia Fails Again
(3) Narcotics and the Russian Ostrich
(4) Russia Races Backwards
(5) Russia cures Swine Flu!
(6) Oleg Kozlovsky’s Wedding Album
NOTE: Oleg Kozlovsky reports that leading human rights activists Lev Ponomaryov and Lyudmila Alexeeva are being evicted by the Russian government from their offices in yet another nail in the coffin of democracy in Russia.
The Fall of Yandex
We’ve repeatedly exposed the absurd neo-Soviet lie that Russia has a viable Internet society. In fact, virtually nobody in Russia has the means to access the Internet, and those who manage to get there find only a ravaged wasteland of neo-Soviet terror and repression. But the Kremlin is still not satisfied, and now it has moved against the Yandex search engine, Russia’s Google, forcing it to shut down one of its most powerful features, its blog traffic ranking.
This wonderful feature gave bloggers the power to generate national attention when they reported important news, and generate it at the grass-roots level through the democracy of simply counting web hits (in the words of one leading Russian blogger “the ranking is created by a robot on the basis of objective parameters”). It gave bloggers the ability to turn a wave of opposition into a tsunami, and so of course the Kremlin simply could not tolerate it.
Putin’s Russia Fails, and then it Fails some More
If you had to name three sports where Russia is supposed to reign supreme, they would be tennis, ice hockey and chess. Yet the Russia governed by Vladimir Putin has suffered stunning, humiliating defeats in all three areas recently. In this way, we see sports as being the perfect microcosm of Putin’s larger failure to govern his nation.
Open Democracy reports:
President Medvedev is so alarmed by Russia’s spiralling drug problem that he recently called it ‘a threat to Russia’s national security’. For the head of state to adopt the language of the defence of the realm in this context, rather than social protection, may seem odd. But the words were chosen carefully. The message Russia’s government is conveying is that the country is up against sinister forces in its fight against drugs.
Russia’s drugs crisis is real enough: between 2000-05 the number of drug users grew by 400%. Between 2000-05 the number of drug users grew by 400%. Even official figures reckon the number of addicts as between 2-2.5 million, some 2% of the population, while independent estimates put the figure at closer to 3-5 million. Unlike the rest of the world, in Russia, the HIV epidemic shows no signs of slowing down.
Thomas S. Axworthy, the chair for the study of democracy at Queen’s University in Canada, writing in the country’s Finanicial Post:
Twenty years ago [last Monday], one of the twentieth century’s most glorious events unfolded to an astonished world — the Berlin Wall came down on Nov. 9, 1989. The holes punched in that wall also punched holes in the Soviet Union’s European Empire, and ultimately in the Communist Party’s empire in the Soviet Union itself.
But, rather than being a time of jubilation, the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall inspires instead a feeling of lost opportunity as Russia races backwards toward authoritarianism and the free world does its best to avert its gaze.
Posted in history, russia
The next time you are wondering how Russia can have such a horrifyingly high mortality rate, despite being able to launch a rocket into space, that it does not rank in the top 125 nations of the world for adult lifespan and loses up to 1 million people from its population every year, just reflect on this news report about how a Russian government doctor is advising his citizens to respond to the outbreak of swine flu:
According to Russian doctors, spicy Indian curries could prevent swine flu and common cold just like any prescribed medicine available with the chemists. “You can strengthen immunity by consuming spicy foods like curries, as spices like turmeric, ginger and zeera also posses excellent therapeutic effect,” an unnamed official of Moscow city sanitary and anti-epidemics committee was quoted as saying by RIA Novosti.
According to PTI, as panic grips Muscovites over the spread of seasonal influenza and swine flue in the eastern parts of the country and neighbouring Ukraine, authorities are focusing on prevention and have ordered the use of masks at work place. Besides the intake of spicy food, people have been advised to consume raw onions and garlic, which also are said to contain good anti-viral properties.
That Oleg Kozlovsky is one cool dude, and he has married a fabulous babe. Some postcards from his wedding album. Chew on these, Mr. Putin: Jail him illegally as many times as you like, he just goes on.
Going to the chapel and they're gonna get married!