Daily Archives: March 26, 2010

March 29, 2010 — Contents

MONDAY MARCH 29 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Russia, for Sale

(2)  EDITORIAL:  That’s Right, Russians, Study up!

(3)  Obama is the New Bush on Russia

(4)  Putin’s Assault on Russian Ecology

(5)  The Anti-Putin Petition in English

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EDITORIAL: Russia, for Sale

EDITORIAL

Russia, for Sale

Last week, the U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Daimler Corporation, accusing it of paying more than $4 million in bribes to high-ranking Russian government officials in order to win preferences for its vehicles in Russian government contracts.  The Company is subject to U.S. laws because its shares are traded on the U.S. exchanges.  It’s reported that Daimler has already confessed its guilt and agreed to pay nearly $200 million in fines.

It’s hard to know what aspect of this pathetic, outrageous, humiliating disaster is the most pernicious for Russia.

Is it the fact that Russia can’t make enough quality vehicles to satisfy the Russian government’s needs?

Is it instead the fact that it was the U.S. government, not the Russian, which rooted out this horrifying graft?

Or could it be the mere fact that the Russian government is so riddled with corruption from top to bottom that it isn’t even surprising to learn that high-ranking officials accept millions in bribes to buy cars from foreign countries?

Any way you look at it, the spectacle of this corruption and its permutations means only one thing for Russia: Absolute doom.

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EDITORIAL: That’s right Russians, Study up!

EDITORIAL

That’s right Russians, Study up!

The Chinese newswires were burning last week with news that a Chinese language-learning craze has begun to sweep over Russia.

That’s right, Russians, study up hard and fast.

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Obama is the New Bush on Russia

Writing on Foreign Policy: Jamie M. Fly, executive director of the Foreign Policy Initiative and Gary Schmitt, director of the Program on Advanced Strategic Studies at the American Enterprise Institute, say that Barack Obama is acting just like George Bush where Russia is concerned.

Still in the midst of a diplomatic fracas with Israel, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also found herself in a mini-crisis with Russia during last week’s Moscow trip. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin publicly snubbed Clinton during a meeting Friday, hectoring her in front of reporters after announcing Thursday that Russia would bring the nuclear reactor it is constructing in Iran online later this year. This comes just as Washington is hoping to tighten the screws on Tehran over its illicit nuclear program.

Putin’s treatment of Clinton raises doubts about the Barack Obama administration’s strategy toward Russia, which has focused on building up the supposedly moderate President Dmitri Medvedev, reportedly one of the few foreign leaders Obama has bonded with, as a counterweight to Putin.

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Putin’s Assault on the Russian Ecology

Paul Goble reports:

In the name of economic development and in pursuit of profit, Vladimir Putin, both as president and now as prime minister, has systematically dismantled Moscow’s earlier and limited environmental protection arrangements, a campaign that not only threatens various eco-systems there but also is driving down Russian life expectancies.

In an interview posted online, Aleksey Yablokov, an advisor to the Russian Academy of Sciences and president of the Green Russia Fraction, argues that countries like Japan which have cleaned up the environment have seen their life expectancies rise while those like Russia which have despoiled have seen just the opposite effect.

And he places the blame for Russia’s retreat on this front squarely on Vladimir Putin, who operating on the assumption that the country cannot afford environmental protection yet and pursuing profit above all else has destroyed even the limited environmental protection arrangements set up in Soviet times.

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Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Vladimir Putin has got to GO!

Putin Must Go

The Anti-Putin Online Petition

Translated from the Russian by The Power Vertical

Citizens of Russia! The recognition that the ruling elite has led our country into a historical dead end has prompted us to issue this statement.

The transfer of virtually unlimited power by the [Yeltsin-era] Family, which was trying to guarantee its own security, to a man of dubious reputation who was distinguished neither by talent nor by the requisite life or professional experience has resulted predictably in the serious degradation of all institutions of state governance.

Even a significant portion of the ruling “elite” feels that a change is necessary, as attested by the loud reaction to [President Dmitry Medvedev’s] opus “Forward, Russia!” But Medvedev’s modernization project bears a distinctly artificial character and is aimed at a single goal – to redo the decorations while maintaining the nature of an authoritatian-kleptocratic regime.

We state that the sociopolitical construction that is killing Russia and has now bound the citizens of our country has one architect, one custodian, and one guardian. His name is Vladimir Putin.

We declare that no essential reforms can be carried out in Russia today as long as Putin controls real power in the country.

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