Daily Archives: November 20, 2009

November 23, 2009 — Contents

MONDAY NOVEMBER 23 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  A New Low in Russian Barbarism

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Russia Sinks lower into the Mire of Failure

(3)  Putin seeks to “Reunify” Georgia

(4)  Putin + Medvedev = Asphyxiation for Russia

(5)  OPEN THREAD

EDITORIAL: A New Low in Russian Barbarism

EDITORIAL

A New Low in Russian Barbarism

We here at La Russophobe spend a good deal of time gaping slack-jawed in horror at the latest example of Russian barbarism.  But now and then, even we are surprised by the depths to which this misbegotten mire of a country can sink.  For instance, the New York Times reports:

Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once his country’s richest man, has resided in “gulag lite,” as he calls the Russian penal system under Vladimir Putin, for six years. Since the spring, on most working days he is roused at 6:45 in the morning, surrounded by guards and packed into an armored van for the drive to court. For two hours each way, the man who once supplied 2 percent of the world’s oil crouches in a steel cage measuring 47 by 31 by 20 inches. Convicted of tax evasion and fraud in 2005, Khodorkovsky now faces a fresh set of charges that add up to the supposed theft of $30 billion. In the dark of the van, Khodorkovsky tries to prepare for his trial, replaying in his mind his night reading, the daily stack of documents from his lawyers. But Russia’s most famous prisoner worries too about what would happen if a car slammed into the van. (Collisions are routine in Moscow’s clotted avenues.) “Your chances of making it out alive,” he wrote me one day this summer, “at any speed, are next to none.”

It is far beyond our powers of comprehension how a country could allow a situation like this to persist and yet call itself “civilized.”  In our view, it cannot do so.  This is barbarism, pure and simple. It is torture, it is subhuman, it is unworthy of nation with pretensions to greatness.  It shows that Russia is governed by petty, mean-spirited and indeed demonic children, not men, certainly not mature human beings.

We condemn it, and we condemn those — the vast majority of the Russian population — who condone it actively or passively.  We implore the people of Russia to slow down step back from the black chasm of neo-Soviet despair and failure toward which they are hurtling at breakneck speed.

EDITORIAL: Russia Sinks Lower into the Mire of Failure

See only evil, speak only evil, hear only evil. Fans in Moscow watch the horror unfold.

EDITORIAL

Russia Sinks Lower into the Mire of Failure

An LR editorial just days ago pointed to some more spectacular failure by Russian athletes in chess, boxing, ice hockey and tennis.  But that was just a zakuska for the main dish served up last week by the Russian national soccer team as it went down to utterly humiliating defeat against tiny Slovenia in the final World Cup qualifying match.

Not only did Russia fail to score a single goal while playing on Slovenia’s home turf, not only did it degenerate into shameless cheating in the second half resulting in not one but two red cards to its players, but it ended up in a 1-1 match tie with Slovenia, both nations having scored the same number of goals, for the last entry from their group to the World Cup 2010 finals in South Africa.  Russia lost that showdown because while Slovenia had scored a goal in Russia, Russia had not done so in Slovenia.

Ouch.

Once again, little miss “eleven time zones” so-called mighty Russia, under the heroic leadership of Vladimir Putin, will sit on the sidelines and watch the likes of the United States compete for the World Cup championship, stewing in the humiliating juices of defeat.

When will they ever learn?

Putin wants to “Reunify” Georgia

Paul Goble reports:

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who has often described the collapse of the Soviet Union as “the greatest tragedy” of the 20th century, has now said that the “reunification” of Georgia has “already been decided,” a suggestion some of his listeners believe was a call for restoring Moscow’s control over Georgia and even the former USSR as a whole. In an intriguing commentary published on Gazeta.ru,  Bozhena Rynska describes both the celebration of the 80th birthday of longtime Soviet and Russian official Yevgeny Primakov and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s two very different toasts on that occasion .

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Putin + Medvedev = Asphyxiation for Russia

Paul Goble reports:

Ongoing debates about the modernization of Russia have attracted attention to the unfortunate reality that “all the institutional innovations of the last decade are leading to the degradation of the state as a creative subject and to its conversion into a system of life support for a narrow circle of people,” according to a Moscow commentator.

In an essay on the Grani.ru portal, Dmitry Shusharin says that both those who say that the modernization of the Russian state requires the creation of an alternative state and those who argue that the population should move “out from under” its non-modernized form highlight this problem, even if they do not acknowledge it directly.

That becomes obvious, Shusharin suggests, is one “recognizes that it is not the critics of the current regime [who have] invented the parallel structures” and that it is not they who “have thought up that the continuity of the state development of the present Russian Federation may be interrupted” unless there is massive change.

Continue reading

OPEN THREAD

Feel free to carry on any conversation you like in this thread. As perhaps a conversation starter, the above rather mysterious cartoon from Sergei Yelkin is offered. A commenter asks him: “Are you representing a split personality?” Yelkin answers: “No, a kindred spirit.” Is this image “too Russian” for a mere mortal to understand, or can you explain it?