WEDNESDAY DECEMBER 23 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Congratulations, Memorial!
(2) EDITORIAL: NATO lays down the Law to Putin
(3) EDITORIAL: A New Low for Russia
(4) China sticks it to Russia and Gazprom
(5) Yegor Gaidar, Russian Hero: R.I.P.
(6) Russia’s 2009 Report Card is In
(7) Georgia brings down a Soviet Eyesore
(8) Uh-oh: Here comes the Karchai Jamaat
NOTE: With Friday being Christmas day, we will not publish again until Monday, December 28. By way of compensation, today we offer a double issue.
We wish all our readers a Merry Christmas and we hope the spirit of the season will lighten the heart of the Russian dictatorship and make them see the harm they are doing to Russia’s future.
Perhaps one day, the Russians will even learn to celebrate Christmas on the same day as the rest of the world, and realize that they are not a separate species of human being but part of the global family, whose basic moral values they have an obligation to honor and even celebrate rather than repudiating and seeking to destroy.
NOTE: A little additional Christmas present for our readers in the form of a cool YouTube video — Are you sure of what you see?
Memorial's Oleg Orlov (left to right), Lyudmila Alekseyeva, and Sergei Kovalyov receive the European Parliament's Sakharov Prize in Strasbourg.
Last week in Strasbourg the President of the EU Parliament, Jerzy Buzek, handed Sergei Kovalev, Oleg Orlov, Lyudmila Alexeyeva of the Memorial human rights organization a check for 50,000 euros and presented them with the EU’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. Buzek left no doubt about the meaning of the ceremony:
“Human rights defenders in Russia are awaiting liberty. They are waiting for European Union support, and we are awarding this prize today to all Russian citizens. With this prize we members of the European Parliament honor those who still among us fight for human rights. But we also honor those who lost their lives in this valiant struggle. Natalya Estemirova should have been among us today.”
We congratulate these great Russian patriots on their heroic efforts to bring civilization and democracy to Russia at the risk of their own lives, and we condemn the craven cowards who prowl the Kremlin and seek ways to liquidate them, just as was done in Soviet times. We also congratulate the EU for making a clear stand against dictatorship and state-sponsored murder in Russia. The photograph above will surely give the KGB spies in the Kremlin many sleepless nights of well-deserved fury.
NATO lays down the Law to Russia
“I made it clear that NATO insists on full respect of Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. We have long ago taken the decision that Georgia and Ukraine will become NATO members.”
–NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to Echo of Moscow radio during his first visit to Russia
Last week, the head of NATO visited Russia and spit in Dima Medvedev’s eye. He repudiated Medvedev’s call for a new European security pact, fully embracing the continuing role of the United States in European security, and he openly demanded that Russia release both Georgia and Ukraine to the embrace of Europe both economically and militarily.
The crazed propagandistic lie promulgated by Russia’s KGB dictators that Europe secretly loves Russia and despises the United States were blown to smithereens, right along with the parallel fantasy that Europe will stand idly by and watch a neo-Soviet juggernaut roll back into former Soviet space.
A New Low for Russia
It’s simply stunning the depths to which the failed state that is Vladimir Putin’s Russia is prepared to sink these days. Just as in Soviet times, it’s as if Russia has totally lost touch with its perception in the outside world, or simply doesn’t care how it humiliates itself.
We refer of course to Russia’s effort to buy the recognition of its imperialist aggression against Georgia by the tiny island nation of Nauru — population 14,000 — for the shocking price of $50 million.
Pavel Baev, writing in the Moscow Times:
Most news reports and comments on Monday’s festive opening of the gas pipeline from Turkmenistan to China portrayed the event as a strategic setback for Russia. There has been no official reaction, but the Kremlin has demonstrated total indifference to the break on its monopoly on importing gas from Central Asia. (Actually, Iran had broken the mononpoly much earlier in 1997.)
Yegor Gaidar, Magnificent Russian Patriot, R.I.P.
Fellow Russian economist Konstantin Sonin writing in the Moscow Times about the demise of one of Russia’s greatest living patriots, Yegor Gaidar (view photos from the funeral here, more on Gaidar from Yevgeny Kiselyov follows Sonin’s piece, and after that a third eulogy by Anders Aslund). Make no mistake, this man was a true giant and Russia is diminished by his loss irreparably.
Yegor Gaidar, acting prime minister during the critical months of 1992, was 35 years old when he assumed responsibility for economic policy under President Boris Yeltsin. His tenure at the top lasted less than a year, yet it was his name that is most prominently associated with the transition from a communist, planned economy to a market-based one. It is Gaidar’s name that became the symbol of free-market ideology in Russia. He was a courageous leader during the grim period of 1991-92, and throughout the difficult 1990s and 2000s Gaidar continued to stand up for free markets. He remained a dominant intellectual force in economic policy discussion until his untimely death Wednesday.
Georgia blew up a Soviet-era World War II monument in its second city of Kutaisi on last Saturday to make way for a new parliament building. Once again, in a crazed and incomprehensible diatribe, the Russian government indicated it felt that Georgia, a sovereign nation, had no right to destroy the monument — the same position Russia had taken earlier in Estonia. Yet just let any foreign country try to tell Russia what it can and can not do on its own territory (say, Chechnya for example), and all hell breaks loose. This is Russian hypocrisy at its most insane. Tragically, a mother and child who were watching the implosion were killed by stray debris from the blast.
After the jump, photos of the implosion.
The Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor reports:
December 11 marked the anniversary of the beginning of the first Chechen War. It was then, in December 1994, that President Boris Yeltsin decided to militarily force the Chechen people to abandon the idea of independence. As is known, the Russian army lost that war to the Chechen resistance. However, Moscow decided to get its revenge in the second military campaign in 1999. But things went wrong again: Vladimir Putin’s blitzkrieg plan did not materialize and, moreover, the battleground with the insurgents spread to the whole North Caucasus region. Today, Moscow is forced to combat a growing insurgency stretching from the Caspian Sea to the Black Sea, which indicates a major problem for the Kremlin in the entire Caucasian region (www.rusrep.ru, September 30).