Monthly Archives: February 2010

March 3, 2010 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Russia’s Total, Olympian, Collapse

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Annals of the Sochi Fiasco

(3)  EDITORIAL:  Russia picks a Fight with Canada

(4)  EDITORIAL:  Russia and Racism

(5)  Plushenko a Freak and a Fraud


NOTE:  Today, a special issue detailing the contours of Russia’s record-setting collapse the Winter Olympiad.

NOTE:  LR founder and publisher Kim Zigfeld’s lastest installment of her Russia column on the mighty Pajamas Media blog shows how she helped bring Oleg Kozlovsky to world prominence and how he in turn helped expose Barack Obama for the fraud he is.

EDITORIAL: Russia’s Total, Olympian, Collapse


Russia’s Total, Olympian, Collapse

Even for a country whose history is littered with as many humiliating, disgraceful moments as Russia’s, the 2010 Winter Olympics were a startling new low.  As we’ve often said, sport is a perfect metaphor for wider failure on the part of Russia’s incompetent Kremlin, and there are signs of a silver lining for Russia in this disaster:  The government is catching plenty of flak from outraged, humiliated citizens, who at least for a few moments can see their naked emperor in all his inglorious shame, despite furious neo-Soviet attempts to lie, rationalize and otherwise explain away this pathetic failure.  All intelligent Russians are asking:  If the Kremlin has bungled Olympics preparation this badly, isn’t it possible it is bungling other things as well, things we don’t know about because the Kremlin won’t say? Whether Russians will carry this through to regime change is, of course, anybody’s guess.

Russians bragged about their expectation of a whopping 30 medals at the Vancouver Olympiad.  In the last go-round, 2006 in Italy, Russia had collected 22 medals, 8 of them gold, so arrogant, preening Russians were expecting more than a one-third improvement on the way to the Sochi games of 2014 that Russia, if the world continues its insanity, will host.  It sounded like crazily demented bluster to many of us, but we gave Russia the benefit of the doubt and waited to be impressed as Russia walked the walk.  We remained silent.

Yet, when the dust had settled, Russian athletes clutched just 15 total medals, only 3 of them gold, a one-third reduction in total medals, the exact opposite of what Russians had claimed would occur, and a two-thirds reduction in gold medals.  The USA, by contrast, won 25 medals in 2006, and improved to a whopping, devastating 37 medals in Vancouver, significantly enhancing its own medal count without any advance bluster.  In other words, it was the USA, not Russia, that ended the games actually doing what Russia had claimed, holding more than 30 Olympic medals.  Ouch.

Russia did not even make the top 10 in the gold medal count, coming in at #11,  and placed 6th in the total medal count — Russian officials had openly admitted that anything worse than 4th place would have meant absolute failure for Russia at the games. The US finished in dominant first place in the count, with three times more gold medals and more than twice as many total medals as Russia. Ouch. Ouch. Ouch.

And even if Russia had actually won the 30 or more medals it planned on (something neither Russia nor the USSR had ever done), the Olympiad would still have resulted in shame and disgrace for Russia beyond the worst stereotypes imaginable.  One need look no further than the appalling misconduct and failure of Russian figure skater Yevgeny Plushenko to see the evidence.

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EDITORIAL: Annals of the Sochi Fiasco


Annals of the Sochi Fiasco

Just as the Kremlin told Russians they’d do great at the Vancouver Olympiad and turned out to be lying shamelessly, the Kremlin’s claims about being able to conduct a successful Olympiad four years from now in Sochi (a beach resort!) are equally dishonest.  You can see the failure coming just by walking into a Russian souvenir shop.

Sports Illustrated reporter Luke Winn, for instance, visted the Vancouver Olympic Village souvenir shop operated by “Bosco Sport, the Russian company that’s making all the gear for the Sochi 2014 Games.”  The photo above shows three items from the store’s shelves.  Winn calls the shop’s offerings ” the most heinous collection of merchandise I’ve ever seen at a sporting event.”  Ouch.

The red jacket on the right costs an astounding $1,199.

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EDITORIAL: Russia picks a Fight with Canada


Russia picks a Fight with Canada

Always hear the same kind of story
Break their nose and they’ll just say “sorry”
Tell me what kind of freaks are that polite?
It’s gotta mean they’re all up to somethin’
So quick, before they see it comin’
Time for a pre-emptive strike!

“Canadian Idiot”
“Weird” Al Yancovic
“Straight Outta Linwood”

Faced with unimaginable athletic humiliation on the fields of play at the Vancouver Olympiad, Russians rapidly degenerated into even more humiliatingly childish name-calling directed at the host country, leaving the Russia’s Olympic legacy in utter ruin.  When you can’t think of anything to do but insult the sweet little Canadians, you may as well just give up.

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EDITORIAL: Russia and Racism


Russia and Racism

After Russia’s pathetic, truly stunning loss to Canada in the quarterfinals of the Olympic men’s hockey tournament, NBC sportscaster Mike Millbury commented:

I was shocked that it was this one-sided. And I was really disappointed that these guys came with their euro-trash game. It was just. No heart, no guts, no nothing there to back it up. I mean Alex Ovechkin was an average player tonight. I know they’re going to bounce back, but to be that poor and to be that intimidated physically by the Canadians, that really shocked me.

Wikipedia then immediately added the following to Millbury’s entry:  “He was employed by NBC to serve as a hockey analyst during the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, during which he caused some controversy by referring to the Russian team as the racist phrase ‘Euro-Trash’.”

Oops.  Wikipedia itself defines the term “eurotrash” and it pertains only to class, not race, according to Wiki.  Millbury was merely saying that the Russians played like spoiled rich kids, soft, weak and craven.  The reference to racism had to be deleted from the Wiki page.  Apparently, the fellow who wrote the Wiki entry on Millbury wasn’t a big Wiki reader himself. Too bad.  Could it have been some Russophile nationalist who rushed to smear Millbury for his tough (and accurate) criticism of Russian’s play?  Possible, very possible.

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Even the Russians know it: Plushenko is a Freak and a Fraud

Matvey Ganapolsky, writing for Huffington Post:

At the Vancouver Olympics, Evgeni Plushenko was not given the gold. Plushenko, whose feelings were hurt, told his wife, Yana Rudkovskaya, that he thought the figure skating world was “stopped.”

Ms. Rudkovskaya–a famous business woman, popular television producer and winner of the Diamond Hairpin Prize for the country’s best blonde–was even more defiant, demanding that the Russian government, “a potent and mighty power,” ought to “defend our athletes.”

Naturally, it’s immaterial that the same standards used on Plushenko’s Vancouver performance were used to judge the skate that won him gold at Turin. What’s important is that there’s been an insult not only to an athlete, but to his wife: a Russian television personality, a highly visible producer and a judge appearing on many an American Idol type show.

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The sign reads: "Go Russia!"

Source:  Ellustrator.

March 1, 2010 — Contents


(1)   EDITORIAL:  The Putin Economy in Shambles

(2)  EDITORIAL:  United Russia, Party of Murderers

(3)  Kasparov calls Europe to Arms on Russia

(4)  “Innovation City” nothing but Potemkin Fraud


NOTE:  Video on the life of an African in Moscow.

NOTE:  Our next issue will be a special one, devoted to coverage of Russia’s shocking collapse at the Winter Olympiad in Vancouver.  Don’t miss it!

EDITORIAL: The Putin Economy in Shambles


The Putin Economy in Shambles

We learned last week that merger and acquisition activity in Russia fell a shocking 62% last year.  Activity in the areas of consumer goods and retail, financial services and metals and mining was even worse, down a devastating 80%.  Investors spurned Russian risk with a furious vengeance, and for this same reason the Russian stock market’s value remains utterly puny compared to the theoretical value of the assets it represents.

The world, you see Mr. Putin, is getting wise to you.

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EDITORIAL: United Russia, Party of Murderers


United Russia, Party of Murderers

In our last issue, we publicized a horrific motor vehicle assault, captured on YouTube, in which a Russian driver in the city of Irkutsk mowed down two defenseless pedestrians and then ignored their plight, worrying only about placing a phone call and inspecting her car for damage.  No other drivers stopped their cars to help, and pedestrians also ignored the victims.  Yelena Pyatakova, 34, died later in hospital while her 27-year-old sister, Yulia, suffered serious injuries.  No action was taken by the police agains the driver.  It was Russian barbarism laid bare, and we did not dare imagine it could get worse.

But worse it did get.

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Kasparov calls Europe to Arms on Russia

Garry Kasparov, writing in The Guardian  with the endorsement of a host of Russian human rights activists (the article has drawn more than 100 comments):

In the capitals of European democracies, leaders are hailing a new era of co-operation with Russia. Berlin claims a “special relationship” with Moscow and is moving forward on a series of major energy projects with Russian energy giant Gazprom, one of which is led by the former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder. Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi traveled to St Petersburg late last year to join in the celebration of his “great friend” Vladimir Putin’s 59th birthday. And in Paris, negotiations are under way for a major arms sale that would allow Russia to acquire one of the most advanced ships in the French navy.

At the same time, democratic dissent inside Russia has been ruthlessly suppressed. On 31 January, the Russian government refused to allow the peaceful assembly of citizens who demonstrated in support of … the right to free assembly, enshrined in article 31 of the Constitution of the Russian Federation: the right “to gather peacefully and to hold meetings, rallies, demonstrations, marches and pickets”.

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“Innovation City” nothing but another Potemkin Fraud

Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

Several high-ranking officials were quick to dismiss the proposals put forward in a much-discussed report by the Institute of Contemporary Development, the liberal Moscow-based think tank. The report suggests that Russia can modernize only if it develops a strategy for invigorating and strengthening state and social institutions. Proposals include the need for democratic control over state bureaucracy and siloviki agencies, an independent judiciary, political competition and direct elections for the Federation Council and governors.

Although Medvedev is the institute’s chairman of the board of trustees, he said he didn’t read the report, although he received it well in advance of its release Feb. 3. And, at an economics forum in Krasnoyarsk on Feb. 12 and 13, Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov quipped that the government already has enough qualified economic and political specialists on staff that it doesn’t need a lot of outside advice.

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On the back of the uniform is the word: "POLICE."

Source:  Ellustrator.

February 26, 2010 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Russia’s secret Starvation

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The KGB escalates its War on Russian Journalists

(3)  EDITORIAL: Russia is a Nation of Barbarians

(4)  Putin’s Potemkin Opposition

(5)  Annals of Shamapova

NOTE:  Ouch!  The new president of Ukraine will make his first official state visit abroad to Europe, not Russia.  Can’t you just hear those poor Russophile hearts breaking?

EDITORIAL: Russia’s Secret Starvation


Russia’s Secret Starvation

According to Ilya Dashkovsky of the Russian publication Krestyanskiye Vedemosti and other sources cited by the ever-brilliant Paul Goble in a recent post, in 1990, as the Soviet economy collapsed into ruin, an average Russian consumed 75 kilograms of meat.  Today, he consumes 61.

According to Dashkovsky, in 1990 such a Russian consumed 387 kilograms of milk products, but today it’s just 247 kilograms.

Then, 297 eggs. Now, 256.

Russians are replacing these key proteins with bread, potatoes and sugar in order to maintain their body mass.  The exclusion of basic food groups from the Russian diet leads to secret starvation and malnutrition.

And the “average” Russians are the lucky ones.

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EDITORIAL: The KGB Escalates its war on Russian Journalists


The KGB Escalates its war on Russian Journalists

According to the tireless Andrei Soldatov of the website, the KGB (now known as the FSB) has embarked upon a major new escalation of its warn on Russian journalists.

Soldatov points to FSB director Aleksandr Bortnikov’s Order No. 343 of July 15, 2009, which not only vastly expands the number of KGB who have the power to conduct surveillance over civil society, but for the first time includes members of the FSB’s Administration of Program Support, which is responsible for work with journalists, and the administration’s Center for Public Contacts.  This means that journalists are now fully subject to the interception of mail and telephone and all other forms surveillance carried out by the FSB.

What’s disturbing about this is not really that the FSB is formally providing for a neo-Soviet control over journalists, but that it is doing so openly, without fear of reprisal.

The FSB has good reason, of course, to be worried.

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EDITORIAL: Russia is a Nation of Barbarians


Russia is a Nation of Barbarians

In our comments section below, a YouTube video is displayed.  Take care before you view it, it isn’t for the squeamish.

In it, a Russian driver in the city of Irkutsk plows into a group of pedestrians, seriously injuring them.

The driver’s airbags deploy and the driver is uninjured, while the car is heavily damaged.

The driver gets out of the car . . . and the only thing she’s interested in doing is checking out the damage to her precious vehicle.

No other drivers stop to help.

Pedestrians walk right by.  None of them stop to help either.

No criminal charges were filed against the driver.

Russia is a nation of barbarians.

Putin and his Potemkin “Opposition”

The New York Times reports:

For a few days this month, Moscow political circles were transfixed by a rather exotic spectacle: the leader of an opposition party was criticizing Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin.

This was not just any leader. It was Sergei M. Mironov, whose career in the opposition has been distinguished by passionate loyalty to Mr. Putin. When he ran against Mr. Putin for president in 2004, he said he was running because “when a leader you believe in goes into battle, you can’t leave him alone, you must stand with him.” Two years later he promised that A Just Russia, his new party, would “follow the course of President Vladimir Putin and will not allow anyone to veer from it after Putin leaves his post.”

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Annals of Shamapova

The recent photo of Maria Sharapova, supposedly one of the most beautiful women in the world and definitely the hottest babe on the WTA Tour, is rather shocking.  Look at it closely (click to enlarge):   Her hair is mousey, her skin is ghastly, her eyes are puffy and she looks much, much older than her years. If we squint, we swear we can see signs of five o’clock shadow.   Published on the WTA website, even the tournament itself knew how bad it was.  As a result,  when they wanted to publish a photo array to draw some publicity, it was followed by a large number of photos of our gal Shamapova taken years ago, even at the beginning of her career, as if we’d forget about this one.

Maria, of course, has good reason to be aging rapidly.  And no, we’re not talking about her psycho father Yuri, either.

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February 24, 2010 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  The Sinking Russian Economy

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The Writing on the Russian Wall

(3)  EDITORIAL:  Russia plumbs Hilarious new Depths

(4)  Alekseeva on Putin’s Powerless Power

(5)  Russia on Thin Ice

NOTE:  A website has been created to protest the incarceration of police officer Alexei Dymovsky for daring to stand up to Russian corruption.  It is now reporting that Dymovsky is being screened for alleged psychiatric illness, a common Soviet tactic still being practiced in neo-Soviet Russia for dealing with dissidents. Many Russians believe that anyone who criticizes or even disagress with Vladimir Putin must be insane, and had the same view regarding Stalin.  It also reports that a human rights activist who had been crusading for Dymovsky’s release has been arrested.

NOTE:  Russian speakers may be interested in this video of Putin critic Valeria Novodvorskaya.

EDITORIAL: The Sinking Russian Economy


The Sinking Russian Economy

Last week it was revealed that Russia’s rate of wage nonpayment among employers is on the rise, soaring a shocking 15.5% in January. Total unpaid wages exceeded $135 million, and a million dollars goes a very, very long way in a country where the average wage is $3/hour.  The sum which the Kremlin admits is currently outstanding to Russian workers (the actual sum could, of course, be far higher) amounts to 45 million man-hours of unpaid wages, and it occurred even though Russia’s unemployment rate is also soaring.

Why are Russian employers holding back wages?

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EDITORIAL: The Writing on the Russian Wall


The Writing on the Russian Wall

Last week in Russia, billboards were going up and they were coming down.

In Omsk, a billboard advertising a children’s theater piece which declared “We await you, merry gnome!” was hastily ripped down in anticipation of Russian “president” Dima Medvedev’s visit, lest the diminutive little president take offense.  If that sort of behavior reminds you of the insanity that went on during the time of Josef Stalin, you’re not alone.  Some idiotic Russophile commentators would like to paint Dima as some sort of “liberal,” but it’s perfectly clear his own countrymen don’t see him that way. If they did, the merry gnome would still be merry.

And speaking of Stalin, in Moscow, city workers were rushing to throw up billboards praising the contribution of Josef Stalin, the worst killer of Russians in world history, to the Soviet military effort in World War II, in celebration of the Russian “victory” in that conflict.  Human rights leader Lyudmila Alexeeva put it bluntly: “Stalin is a criminal, and it is a shame to advertise his regime that killed millions of people.”

With all due respect to Ms. Alexeeva, we’d choose a bit stronger word than “shame.” Perhaps “atrocity” or “abomination” or simply “crime.”

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EDITORIAL: Russia plumbs Hilarious new Depths of Stupidity


Russia plumbs Hilarious new Depths of Stupidity

One thing you have to admit about Russia is that no matter what ridiculous, humiliating gibberish it might spew forth today, it can always outdo itself tomorrow.

Jaundiced though we may be by spending so many years observing Russian self-destruction, we admit to being surprised upon learning that as a central part of its new government initiative to pursue innovation in business Russia was calling in . . . Ashton Kutcher.

The notion of Russia calling in this ridiculous airhead to advise them on how to innovate speaks volumes about how utterly confused Russia really is. One minute Russians are screeching to high heaven about the incompetence of American advice, blaming America for Russia’s economic downturn, and the next they are going hat in hand to Ashton Kutcher. It’s Russia in a nutshell.  And we do mean nut.

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Alekseeva on Putin’s Powerless Power

Paul Goble reports:

Moscow’s efforts to resolve the challenges it has faced in the North Caucasus over the last 20 years by force alone, Lyudmila Alekseyeva, the grand dame of Russia’s human rights community says, have demonstrated “the powerlessness of [that kind of] power” and have contributed to the spread of “civil war” across the region.

In a comment in Osobaya Bukhva, Alekseyeva argues that even a “superficial” examination of what has taken place in that region shows the non-expert that Moscow is not solving the problems it faces but making them worse.
Moscow’s policy failure in this regard “began in Chechnya, [but] now it has spread already almost in all republics,” because the central powers that be have “not changed their tactic” and have acted in ways that lead either the victims or the families of the victims to “go into the woods” to take revenge.

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Russia on Thin Ice

Isn't it an outrage that foreigners don't respect Russian culture when Russians themselves treat foreign cultures with such reverence?

Adding even more shame and disgrace to Russia’s already horrific debacle at this year’s winter olympiad, USA Today reports on the wretched antics of Russian male figure skater Evgeny Plushenko, who was denied a repeat figure skating gold medal by American Evan Lyacek after humiliating himself and his country by taunting his rival in a typical neo-Soviet manner and then claiming he was “not a champion” afterwards.  Way to make Russia look like a nation of juvinile deliquents, Evgeny!  Don’t let the door hit you on your way into obscurity. [For more on the photo detailing yet another Russian disaster on ice, click here.] 

The Winter Olympics have never seen a men’s figure skating competition quite like the one that starts today. The field is deep and decorated. About eight men realistically could win the gold. And the event comes with its very own, already raging judging controversy, which began a full week before the first official triple jump was even attempted. 

If there’s a skating controversy brewing, you can bet that a Russian is nearby, and this time, it’s 2006 Olympic gold medalist Evgeni Plushenko, who has staged an impressive if controversial comeback at 27 and is considered the favorite to win, especially if the judges continue to send him their late Valentine’s hugs and kisses in the form of the incredibly generous artistic scores he has been receiving all season. 

It’s one thing to launch scores into the stratosphere for Plushenko’s jumps, which are among the best the sport has ever seen.  But when he postures and preens in front of the judges while his competitors work up a sweat with intricate footwork and innovative choreography between their jumps, his artistic program component scores should take a nose dive. 

Whether they will probably will determine if Plushenko wins the men’s competition. There’s certainly been a backlash against Plushenko of late, as reported in the news media. 

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