Daily Archives: November 24, 2009

November 27, 2009 — Contents

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 27 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:   Getting Russia Right

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Russia and its Future

(3)  Kozlovsky on Russia’s Failed Democracy

(4)  China turns off the Russian Spigot

(5)  OPEN THREAD

EDITORIAL: Getting Russia Right

EDITORIAL

Getting Russia Right

Russia’s best weapon against the West continues to be the West itself.  Our inability to get Russia right, inexcusable when we have so much more information about the country now than in Soviet days, is Vladimir Putin’s only hope to recreate a new USSR in Russia.

But there are signs that, at long last, this is starting to change.  Two Russian academics from the New Economic School blasted the Kremlin over the demise of Sergei Magnitsky in the pages of the Moscow Times earlier this week, and no thinking person can misapprehend their ominous words — words that, we might add, we have been publishing here on this blog for more than three years now.

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EDITORIAL: Russia and its Future

EDITORIAL

Russia and its Future

The future of Russia

The chart above is translated from the Russian website Rumetrika (Russian language link) and shows the source of information relied upon by Russian young people aged 16-26.  Horrifyingly, the graphic shows that the older a Russian gets, the less he relies upon the Internet and the more he relies upon TV.  In the oldest age range, more than twice as many got their news from television than relied upon the Internet, and gossip from friends was nearly as popular as the Internet.  Less than one third of the people in this group read newspapers, and half was cut off from the Internet entirely.

Let’s be perfectly clear:  Those gigantic columns on the left side of the chart represent not just TV, but state-owned, Kremlin-operated TV.  Even though, in other words, Russia is supposedly a “free” society, just as much indoctrination and brainwashing is going on now as there was in Soviet times.

So much for the bizarre notion that the Internet can save Russia.

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Kozlovsky on Russia’s Failed Democracy

Oleg Kozlovsky

Oborona leader Oleg Kozlovsky, writing in a new volume from a German publisher entitled 20 Years Ago, 20 Years Ahead: Young Liberal Ideas:

On November 4th 2008, the world watched Barack Obama win the US presidential elections. The first black person to rule the planet’s most powerful country, he promised to change those policies of the previous administration that were seen by many as undemocratic. On the next day, another recently elected President was presenting his plans to the public. Dmitry Medvedev was addressing the Russian Parliament and he too was speaking on the broad topics of democracy and the rule of law. But he did make a very practical point in his speech when he suggested amending the Constitution and extending the terms of both the President and the State Duma (the lower House of the Parliament). This amendment was supported by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who had until recently before claimed that the Constitution must not be changed. Parliament passed the resolution in a matter of weeks with hardly any discussion. This amendment to the Constitution, its first, was a clear example of what democracy in Russia had become.

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China turns off its Russian Spigot

So much for the Russia-China alliance! 

The Irtysh river flows out of the mountains of Mongolia down through the northwest corner of China, through Kazakhstan and then down into Russia towards its basins in the Actic. The major Russian city of Omsk stands on its banks. Paul Goble reports that Russia’s beloved ally China is about to show its love for Russia by turning off the spigots:

By unilaterally taking out of the Irtysh far more water than ever before, China has put at risk the economies and populations of downstream communities in Kazakhstan and Russian Federation, threatened a delicate eco-system and raised questions about Beijing’s plans regarding other trans-border rivers in the Russian Far East.

According to Zhanaidar Ramazanov, head of the Independent Association of Water Users in Kazakhstan, China is currently planning to increase its annual withdrawal of water from the Irtysh from one billion cubic meters to 4.6 billion cubic meters in the immediate future to support development in Xinjiang, an amount equal to 68 cubic meters every second.

Because China’s action is so threatening, Russian ecological commentator Dmitry Verkhoturov argues in his report on this development, both Moscow and Astana are seeking to force China to accede to the 1992 Helsinki Convention on the Protection and Use of Trans-Boundary Watercourses.

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OPEN THREAD

A parkour practitioner jumping from an 18-meter high roof to a 14-meter high roof across a 7-meter wide gap in St. Petersburg, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009, with an advertising poster in the foreground, left. The jumper survived.

Source:  The Moscow Times.

Jibber jabber.