Annals of a Russian Purge
It sure was amusing, and terrifying, to watch the antics of Russia’s so-called “president” Dima Medvedev in the wake of his country’s calamitous failure at the 2010 Olympic Games.
First, Medvedev petulantly refused to attend the closing ceremonies in Vancouver, hiding like a child under his mothers skirts rather than face the shame and humiliation of standing with his athletes before a slack-jawed world. How would Russians react if the leader of the country picked to take the 2018 games refuses to be in Sochi at the closing to take the Olympic flag? Hopefully, we’ll never know because the IOC will come to its senses and divest Russia of the 2014 games.
Then, Medvedev began calling for the heads of the Russian Olympics leadership team. Not surprisingly, however, he didnt’ say a word about the resignation of the man responsible for supervising that team, so-called “Prime Minister” Vladimir Putin, nor did he suggest that he himself might resign. Apparently, Russia’s so-called “leaders” don’t feel they have any responsibility for selecting incompetent and corrupt fools to run Russia’s Olympics program, and therefore need not pay any consequences when that program humiliates the country before the eyes of the world.
Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich
The File on Victor Yanukovich
Victor Yanukovich, the new president of Ukraine, is a moron, a liar and a criminal.
He claims to have earned not just an MA in international law but also a PhD in economics, including writing a dissertation, while serving as the lieutenant governor and governor of Donetsk region. Just as Vladimir Putin openly plagiarized his dissertation in order to get an advanced degree, Yanukovich’s academic credentials are shamelessly bogus. Either that, of course, or else he simply was not doing his job as governor and spent all his time furiously studying.
He has an extensive record of convictions for thuglike violence as a youth.
He can’t spell the word “professor” and “he has confused poet Anna Akhmatova with his billionaire backer Rinat Akhmetov, the Jewish writer Isaac Babel with the German socialist August Bebel, Slovenia with Slovakia and genocide with genetics. He has called Russian playwright Anton Chekhov a Ukrainian poet and the Helsinki Treaty the Stockholm Treaty.”
But you won’t, of course, hear any of the Russophile scum railing against Yanukovich the way they do against Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili. Yanokovich may be a moron, liar and criminal but — they think — he’s their moron, liar and criminal. So it’s OK.
Pilotless Russia, Drifting towards the Shoals
Scholar Andrew Wood of Chatham House, a former British ambassador to Russia, has published a review of the Putin regime entitled “Ten Russian Propositions” which concludes that Russia is “in ill-piloted drift towards the shoals.” He then offers ten blistering arguments to support his thesis, arguments which devastatingly expose the fundamental incompetence, hypocrisy and weakness of the maligant KGB regime that controls Russia using nothing but brute force.
The key points are as follows:
The always-brilliant Robert Coalson, reporting over at The Power Vertical:
President Dmitry Medvedev picked up a bunch of positive press on February 18 when, apparently in response to the massive numbers of police-abuse scandals that have emerged in recent months, appeared at an Interior Ministry conference and laid down the law. Even fellow Power Verticalist Brian Whitmore and myself were mildly impressed that Medvedev had summoned the power to dismiss two deputy interior ministers and some 13 other police generals. It is the common wisdom that the Interior Ministry is one of those areas of government that Vladimir Putin keeps strictly under his thumb, so it seemed a little odd to see Medvedev making a strike so close to Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev, a Putin protectorate.
Of course, the fact that Medvedev tapped Nurgaliyev to implement his as-yet-undetailed Interior Ministry reform is a pretty good clue that the changes are likely to be cosmetic. “Ogonyok” did a nice series of pieces on the ministry’s troubles and noted that “the majority of experts agree that for now the guiding tool in the matter of reforming police structures is not a systematic approach, but a “personal” one. That is, in good Soviet tradition, a reform initiative will just be used to settle political scores and/or provide the background music for a game of Kremlin musical chairs.
Reporters without Borders has issued a blazing condemnation of the Putin regime’s outrageous misconduct in repressing journalists, just as Stalin did, in regard to preparations for the 2014 Olympics in Sochi. Why are you so afraid of sunshine, Mr. Putin? What do you have to hide? On the latest RWB press freedom index, Russia ranks a shocking #153 out of 175 nations surveyed. Only 22 countries on the planet, then, have less free media than Russia.
As today’s closing ceremony of the Vancouver Winter Olympics turns the spotlight on Sochi, the host of the next Winter Games in 2014, Reporters Without Borders would like to cast its own light on the situation of the news media in this Black Sea city and in Krasnodar, the populous southern Russian province in which it is located.
Sochi’s selection for the 2014 Games was given totally uniform coverage in the local media. Press-ganged into supporting the Kremlin policy of “the games at any cost,” they never reported the environmental concerns or the protests, such as those by the Imeretinskaya Bay residents facing eviction, except to brand them as anti-patriotic.
But this is just one symptom among many of how the media of Sochi and Krasnodar are heavily dependent on the local authorities.