Daily Archives: March 11, 2010

EDITORIAL: Putin’s Russia is Brutal, Cruel and Inhumane

Yuri Shevchuk lays down the law to Vladimir Putin

EDITORIAL

Putin’s Russia is Brutal, Cruel and Inhumane

The system that has been built in our country is brutal, cruel, and inhumane. People are suffering, not only in prisons and camps, but in orphanages and hospitals as well. So many bastards are feeding themselves on power. With epaulettes on their shoulders and with flashing lights in their heads, they are robbing us, running us over on the road, and shooting us in stores. And nobody is being held accountable.

You may think those words were uttered by some demonic foreign “Russophobe” who just doesn’t know how great things are on the ground in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, but if you think that you are very, very much mistaken.

Russian rocker Yuri Shevchuk of the seminal band DDT uttered those words during a concert last weekend in Moscow. A video of the remarks has gone viral in Russia (already collecting nearly over 175,000 views and over 500 comments). In a subsequent interview, Shevchuk warned ominously: “I know there are thousands of wonderful musicians who sing songs about civil themes, who do not agree with what is happening in this country. There are a lot of wonderful young people who are playing in cellars. And all this is gaining some critical mass.”

Radio Free Europe provides the evidence that Shevchuk is right:

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EDITORIAL: Berezovsky 1, Putin 0

EDITORIAL

Berezovsky 1, Putin 0

He laughs last laughs Berezovsky

When state-operated RTR TV accused Russian “oligarch” Boris Berezovsky of being involved in the assassination of KGB defector Alexander Litvinkenko, Berezovsky cried foul.

Claiming RTR went to press without a shred of evidence linking him to the killing, as part of a political smokescreen designed to deflect blame from the real killers who were Kremlin operatives, Berezovsky filed a libel lawsuit in Britain.  It was Berezovsky against Putin, mano-a-mano, before an impartial arbitrator.

Last week, Berezvosky emerged the smiling victor.  He was awarded £150,000 (a quarter of a million dollars) in damages after the High Court of Britain concluded that Putin’s minions at RTR had been lying.

Ouch.

The verdict is a direct condemnation of the Kremlin, similar to what Mikkhail Khodorkovsky is seeking in the European Court for Human Rights. The British court ruled that the Kremlin was directly complicit in RTR’s libeling of Berezovksy since RTT “had been assisted both before and during the trial by a team from the Russian prosecutor’s office.”

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EDITORIAL: Putin and his neo-Soviet Charlatans

EDITORIAL

Putin and his neo-Soviet Charlatans

An extraordinary recent article in the Wall Street Journal tells the tale of one Victor Petrik, a neo-Soviet charlatan with close ties to the Putin regime.  The story is eerily similar to that of another close Kremlin confident, Professor Igor Panarin, who predicted that the USA would collapse before this  year is out.

Last month, the Moscow Times reported that Petrik, who operates a website at GoldFormula.ru, had served prison time in the 1980s for fraud and extortion and had gone too far even for the Kremlin by attempting to market one of his products under the name of Putin’s Emergency Situations Minister Sergei Shoigu.  But Petrik had been allowed to use the logo of Putin’s United Russia party after winning a clean water competition they had sponsored.  The MT pointed out that Petrik had “no formal training in any applied science.”

The WSJ reports:  “Boris Gryzlov, the speaker of Russia’s parliament and No. 2 in the party, have publicly endorsed his products. The two men are listed as the authors of a patent granted in 2009 for a filter that Mr. Petrik says can turn radioactive waste into water that’s safe to drink.”  The WSJ quotes Eduard Kruglyakov of the Russian Academy of Sciences:  “He’s a master of bluff.  He hasn’t discovered anything.”  Another Petrik critic admits that Putin’s Russia is “especially vulnerable” to pseudoscience.

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Medvedev’s dismal Midterm Report Card

Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

President Dmitry Medvedev was elected president two years ago on March 2, 2008, with 70 percent of the vote, and this is a good time to analyze his midterm results. In a word, they are dismal. Medvedev did the right thing in not even mentioning his anniversary. Just like when he chose not to attend the closing Olympic ceremonies in Vancouver after Russia’s miserable results, there are certain things that are certainly better left ignored.

But what is definitely worth remembering is his infamous “Four I’s” speech that he delivered at the Krasnoyarsk Economic Forum in February 2008, just weeks before he was elected president. He called for the immediate development of Russia’s “Four I’s” — institutions, infrastructure, innovation and investment. It is important to remember this speech only because it underscores the huge gap between his absolutely meaningless, empty slogans and the sorrowful state of affairs in Russia.

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Russians Lap up Georgian Cuisine (yup, that’s how much their own sucks)

The Independent reports (click the “cuisine” category in our sidebar to read more about Russian food and drink, if so it can be called):

At the newly opened Café Khachapuri, just off Pushkin Square right in the heart of Moscow, young Muscovites tuck into plates of coriander-infused chakhokhbili chicken stew, spicy lobio beans and the eponymous khachapuri – gooey cheesy bread.

None of these exotic Georgian dishes tastes like the bland indigenous Russian food, and nor do their consonant-heavy names roll off the Slavic tongue easily. But everyone knows exactly what they’re ordering. Georgian food, perhaps the tastiest and most exciting of cuisines in all the former Soviet countries, has long been popular in Russia, and as new restaurants spring up across the capital, its popularity is going from strength to strength.

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Annals of Machine Translation

A comparison (click to enlarge or follow link) of various computerized machine translations available on the web, courtesy of the New York Times.