Daily Archives: November 26, 2009

EDITORIAL: Bloody Russia

EDITORIAL

Bloody Russia

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again:  Russia is a nation of murdering bastards.  The nation’s leader sets the precedent, and the vast majority of the others follow right along in step.  Including the police.

Last Tuesday in Moscow, a trio of cops beat a man to death.  Two days later, this time in St. Petersburg, a second man met the same fate.  The week before, attorney Sergei Magnitsky died in prison after being denied medical treatment, and Putin’s cops claimed they didn’t even know he was sick, as if they thought that was an excuse.

Bloody Russia.  When Britons use that phrase, it carries a double meaning that we would adopt here.  Both “covered in blood” and “filthy, stinking, rat-invested.” That’s Russia in a nutshell.

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EDITORIAL: Russian Corruption Leads the World

EDITORIAL

Russian Corruption Leads the World

He never once complained to investigators about the state of his health.  His death was completely unexpected.

Irina V. Dudukina, a spokeswoman for the Interior Ministry, on November 25th, responding to questions about the death of attorney Sergei Magnitsky

This was a deplorable incident, which has left a serious stain on the entire work of our judicial system.  We are not in any sense playing down our guilt, which clearly exists.

Alexander Smirnov, the deputy head of Russia’s prison service, on November 27th responding to similar questions.

No sooner had Transparency International come out with its most recent ranking of 180 world nations for corruption, placing Russia in the bottom quintile of all countries on the planet, and no sooner had the Russophile rubbish come forth with their tired drivel about TI’s alleged methodological flaws, than PricewaterhouseCoopers released its own study of 55 countries and, using an entirely different methodology, found Russia to be the very most corrupt of all of them.

It was almost as if the world had baited the Russophile trash into a trap and then snapped shut steely jaws right around their crooked necks.  It was truly a beautiful thing to see.  And the Russian government’s humiliating about-face on the Magnitsky killing only underlined the absolute incompetence which characterizes the government of Vladimir Putin.

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Hospice Russia

Tim Collard, a retired British diplomat who spent most of his career in China and Germany and is an active member of the Labour Party, writing on his blog on The Telegraph‘s website:

The BBC reports that Mr Bill Browder, head of a company called Hermitage Capital and once the largest foreign investor in Russia, has now described that large and empty country as “essentially a criminal state”. One’s first reaction is that Mr Browder, who has had far better opportunities for observation than most of us, has taken rather a long time to realise this. But then none of us has been particularly quick off the mark in grasping what has been right in front of our noses for years. Their representatives are still polluting the G8, the Council of Europe and other supposedly civilised institutions. We still pretend politely to take Mr Vladimir Putin seriously.

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Into the Russian Darkness

Under the headline “Misery, thy name is Russia,” SILive.com reports on an art exhibit at the Alice Austen House Museum in Staten Island, New York (follow the link on the artist’s name to view the full body of work):

Purges and pogroms, famine and war, Lenin and Stalin. Misery, thy name is Russia.

There’s an ironic upside, naturally. Bad luck and trouble are a far better wellspring for playwrights, novelists, composers and photographers than good fortune and happy times.

In “Russian Archive,” contemporary photographer Donald Weber locates Soviet junctures where the awful past flails at the present.

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Felshtinsky on the Future of Russia

Russian historian Yuri Felshtinsky

Radio Liberty’s Mikhail Sokolov interviews Russian historian Yuri Felshtinsky on the future of Russia, translated by David McDuff:

Mikhail Sokolov: Have you noticed that they’re still trying to work out some kind of [national] ideology? There’s this “Shoigu Law”, which really threatens anyone engaged in research relating to the Second World War that doesn’t fit in with their view of it – that’s a form of ideological activity.

Yuri Felshtinsky: Yes. Though I don’t think it’s dangerous, because I think it’s all rather absurd. For example, I never believed – and this goes back to the discussions there have always been among the émigré community, at least since the years when I first came over here in 1978, that there would be fascism in the Soviet Union or Russia. I didn’t believe it then, and I don’t believe it now. I never believed that there would be nationalism in the Soviet Union, or now in Russia. Because Russia really is a multi-ethnic state. And the numbers of Russians, who have never been counted, and especially of pure ethnic Russians, whom it is absolutely certain that no one has ever counted, are not critical enough for Russia to have a hard-line national government.  And Russians themselves probably see one another as people who are soft rather than hard-line, more disorganized than organized, more slovenly than focused on certain ideas and rules.  Russia is an enormous state. For all the attempts to remake it and build a centralized “vertical of power”, you and I know that the power ends at the Ring Road. And in fact there are many who would seriously assert that it ends at the walls of the Kremlin. Beyond the walls of the Kremlin, none of that centralization and “vertical of power” works any more.

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