Putin the Vampire
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin has sunk his fangs deep into the neck of his nation, and is drinking heartily of its blood. The nation grows paler by the hour, and we grow more appalled.
In our last issue, we reported on how Putin is moving to place every photocopier in the nation under registration so he can choke off one of the last outlets of independent printing, the “samizdat” publishers who stood against the USSR. Simultaneously, Putin is preparing to prosecute the defiant Nezavismaya Gazeta for daring to publish an op-ed piece by Mikhail Khodorkovsky, which predicted that the Putin regime would end in bloody violence. And as insurrectionist activity becomes more and more defiant in the Caucasus, Putin is pushing to make it illegal to report the public statements of the rebel leaders.
There is simply no way to describe these measures except “neo-Soviet.” At breakneck speed, Putin is returning Russia to the same type of governance that led to the collapse of the USSR in less than a century.
Danila Bochkarev, Neo-Soviet Bag Man
Danila Bochkarev, neo-Soviet bagman
It’s been some time since we’ve had occasion to write about a scum-sucking Russophile reptile attempting to insinuate his views into mainstream political culture, and that’s a good thing.
As the Putin regime becomes more and more openly and horrifyingly neo-Soviet in character, even the craziest of these cockroaches becomes more and more wary of opening his mouth in public for fear of the humiliation the next day may bring.
But someone named Danila Bochkarev, representing something called the EastWest Institute, remains shameless.
Vladimir Ryzhkov, a State Duma deputy from 1993 to 2007, who hosts a political talk show on Ekho Moskvy radio, writing in the Moscow Times:
Russia saw more protests in the first three months of 2010 than it has seen over the past few years. A wave of demonstrations swept from one end of the country to the other. From Kaliningrad to Vladivostok, demonstrators for the first time made both economic and political demands, shouting “Down with the tariff increase!” and “Putin must go!”
The gap between the people and the government is widening further and further. The Kremlin not backing down at all from its power vertical model. If anything, it will only be strengthened. Nonetheless, a growing demand for change can still be heard from the liberal members of society.
Mark N. Katz, a professor of government and politics at George Mason University, writing in the Moscow Times:
I have recently returned from a two-week visit to Moscow where I gave lectures to university students studying international relations at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow State University and the Moscow State Institute of International Relations. While their views are not representative of all Russians —the students themselves readily acknowledged this — they were nonetheless extremely interesting and a very hopeful sign.
While critical of U.S. foreign policy, the young Russians I spoke to very much want Russia to have good relations with the United States and the West. They see this as being in Russia’s national interest and in their own personal interest as well.
This is because they highly value their ability to travel to the West, something that neither their parents nor grandparents could do in the Soviet Union. Indeed, most of the students I met had traveled abroad. They all fear that deteriorating Russian relations with the West could someday result in their becoming unable to travel there. Many expressed a fear that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s belligerence was going to lead to this.
I was especially surprised at how often I heard students use the expression “this stupid country” to describe Russia. I took this, however, not as an indication of disrespect for their motherland but of disappointment in it not being the modern democratic country that they want it to be.
Paul Goble reports:
The “mass exodus” of the ethnic Russian population from the North Caucasus, a flow that began in the late Soviet period, expanded after the demise of the USSR, and shows no sign of diminishing in the future “threatens the very existence of the Russian Federation,” according to a Russian specialist at the Southern Federal University in Rostov.
Edvard Popov, who teaches there, says that conditions in the North Caucasus, including poverty, unemployment, xenophobia and violence help to explain two migration flows: the outflow of ethnic Russians which reverses the earlier “Russian colonization” of the region and the outflow of non-Russians which can be called “the internal colonization of Russia” by them. The second has created many problems in Russia’s cities, he acknowledges, but “the mass departure of the Russian population [from the republics of the North Caucasus] threatens the very existence of the Russian Federation” because “the Russian people is the state-forming people” of the country”.