WEDNESDAY FEBRUARY 17 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Kasparov blasts Obama
(2) EDITORIAL: Failure at Russia Blog
(3) The Putin Internet Crackdown Escalates
(4) Obama as the New Chamberlain
(5) Dead-End Russia
NOTE: LR founder and publisher Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment of her Russia column on the powerful American Thinker blog addresses the appalling conduct of ultranationalist wacko Dima Rogozin on his Twitter blog. Yikes. This guy is in some serious need of medication.
Kasparov lets Obama have It
At last, a leader of the Russian opposition — Garry Kasparov, writing in the Wall Street Journal — has openly declared what everyone has known for months now, that U.S. President Barack Obama is coward and a traitor to the democratic cause.
The first meeting of the loftily named U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Civil Society Working Group took place in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 27. Russian presidential first deputy Vladislav Surkov is the group’s co-chair—despite a letter of protest signed by 71 GOP members of the U.S. Congress pointing out that Mr. Surkov is “one of the masterminds behind Russia’s authoritarian course.” The letter urged President Obama (in vain, as it turned out) to boycott the meetings until Mr. Surkov was replaced, perhaps by someone who hasn’t spent his career actively destroying the sort of civil society this working group is intended to promote.
Annals of Humilating Rusophile Failure at Russia Blog
Here’s an interesting factoid: Nobody has commented on the insidious Russia Blog propaganda project of the even more nefarious Discovery Institute since December 10, 2009.
That’s right: It’s been more than two months since RB has received a comment. And it’s not like they haven’t been posting. Since December 10th, RB has published a dozen posts by seven different authors. And not a single one of them has received a single comment.
Or, that is, no comment RB has seen fit to publish. For all the world knows, of course, many comments exposing the fraudulent nature of RB’s content have been received, and each and every one of them has been censored.
What was that comment back on December 10th, you ask?
An advertisement for Beeline
Other Russia reports:
The meaning of extremism in Russia has expanded to include basic forms of dissent, according to Representative Evgeny Arkhipov of the Association of Russian Lawyers for Human Rights.
In a press release on Monday, Arkhipov stated that the news of a Russian telecommunications firm banning access to opposition websites was evidence of a growing trend in the country to persecute dissident activism as extremism.
“In this case, the actions of the authorities have once again confirmed that the country and political system are striving towards totalitarianism,” the lawyer asserted. “This tendency will continue down the road, with tougher methods in the battle against dissent and civil opposition movement and with the suppression of the basic rights and freedoms of citizens.”
Michael Weiss, senior editor of Tablet Magazine, writing on Pajamas Media, echoing Garry Kasparov as per our lead editorial in this issue:
President Obama can be credited for having been the first American leader to meet with members of the Other Russia opposition, including Gary Kasparov and former Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov, co-author of the definitive white paper on the Putin regime. That event, small but significant in itself, took place last July during Obama’s two-day summit in Moscow, at which the much-sensationalized topic of a “reset” on U.S.-Russian relations culminated in the following decisions:
Fraser Cameron of the EU Russia Centre, writing in the New York Times:
President Dmitri Medvedev has publicly stated that Russia needs to change course if it does not want to end up as a third-world country. Igor Shuvalov, the first deputy prime minister, recently told investors that although Russia had suffered its worse recession in a decade, it would be transformed into a “new country” by 2020 through innovation and investment in “human capital.” He said the investment climate would be significantly improved within a year through a reduction of red tape and a clean-up of the court system.
The problem is that we’ve heard this before. When Vladimir Putin moved into the Kremlin a decade ago he promised to ensure the rule of law and to tackle corruption. But under his watch there has been no progress toward an independent judiciary, and the corrupt bureaucracy has been allowed to expand.
It was under Mr. Putin that assets were taken from Yukos, Shell and BP. It was under Mr. Putin that a growing number of journalists such as Anna Politkovskaya were killed with impunity. It is little wonder, therefore, that investors are skeptical about new pledges to tackle rampant corruption or diversify the economy away from a raw-materials base.