Daily Archives: April 13, 2010

April 16, 2010 — Contents

FRIDAY APRIL 16 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Stormclouds over the Putin Economy

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The Russian Virus

(3)  The Brutalized Women of the Caucasus Strike Back!

(4)  Obama’s Fraudulent Nuclear Gambit

(5)  Sochi, Collapsing

NOTE:  LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld reviews Barack Obama’s disaster in Kyrgyzstan over on the powerful American Thinker blog in the latest installment of her column there.

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EDITORIAL: Stormclouds over the Putin Economy

EDITORIAL

Stormclouds over the Putin Economy

“We note that at this point Russia, in financial terms, is not ready for a new global crisis, which is inevitable, unfortunately. To change the situation, it needs to liberalize its currency policy, look at ways of cutting the budget deficit and avoid accumulating external debt.”

Those were the words of Renaissance Capital economist Alexei Moisseev in a new report on Russia’s financial future.

Next year, Russia’s deficit looks set to rise 15% compared to last year’s deficit, the first in a decade.  The absence of a massive budget deficit and the presence of substantial foreign currency reserves have long been the sole bedrock supporting Russia’s economy, and now they are vanishing.  Ironically, as Russia’s runway inflation has somewhat abated because the country’s massive economic downturn has curtailed demand, there has been a vicious effect on the Kremlin’s revenues from taxes.  Fast-rising prices mean fast-rising tax revenues, and now the Kremlin is facing devastating shortfalls and the need to borrow to meet operating expenses.

The dire conclusions to be drawn from these facts are obvious, yet the Kremlin it seems still refuses to acknowledge them.

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EDITORIAL: The Russian Virus

EDITORIAL

The Russian Virus

Writing on the Foreign Policy website, American political science professor Sean Goforth describes what he calls “V.I.Rus” — an acronym which stands for “Venezuela, Iran and Russia.”

Goforth reminds us that three years ago Venezuela and Iran entered into a formal anti-American pact and that their illegal and illicit conduct in support of their “axis of unity” was investigated and reported on by the Manhattan District Attorney. Chavez provides refined oil to Iran in order to help it avoid the impact of international sanctions, and helps Iran funnel money around the world in support of international terror.    In return, Iran provides the impoverished Venezuelan regime with mountains of cash.

Then Russia stepped into the picture, willing and able to provide an endless supply of arms and nuclear technology to both rogue states, and to use its veto in the U. N. Security Council to further protect Iran from sanctions.  Goforth says that this tripartite alliance is more dangerous to Western security than the sum of its parts.

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The Brutalized women of the Caucasus Strike Back

The "other" Sharipova

Ace Russia reporter Megan Stack, writing in the Los Angeles Times:

The last time Patimat Magomedova saw her daughter, she was puttering around the house, manicuring her nails and using henna to dye her hair bright red.

It’s high time we take care of the garden, the mother remembers Mariyam Sharipova saying that Friday. Let’s plant raspberries, cucumbers, greens. And we have to do something about the kitchen, maybe get some pretty new dishes. By evening, the young woman had vanished from the house in this remote mountain village in the Russian republic of Dagestan. Magomedova didn’t see her daughter’s face again until somebody showed her a photograph of a severed head. At that moment, she said, “I knew there was no mistake.”

Sharipova, 27, had traveled a thousand miles to Moscow and climbed onto a crowded subway train at rush hour with an explosives-packed belt strapped around her waist. She was accompanied by a 17-year-old girl, also from Dagestan, who blew herself up at another station.

In the Russian news media, the women were immediately dubbed “black widows.” Their assault on the subway was taken as proof that the country had been shuttled back to the fearsome days when hollow-eyed female militants stalked Moscow and other cities far from the wars where their men fought Russian forces.

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Obama’s Fraudulent Nuclear Gambit with Russia

Defense policy expert Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:

As they say in Italy, a little fish is better than a big cockroach. This also applies to the New START agreement that Presidents Barack Obama and Dmitry Medvedev signed Thursday. Despite all the hyped-up rhetoric that the treaty is “historic,” in the end the nuclear arsenals of both sides will be reduced by only 100 to 200 deployed warheads.

Unlike other treaties between the two countries that were truly historic — such as the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty in which an entire category of weapons was destroyed — the only warheads that will be destroyed under the New START are those that will be decommissioned and were scheduled to be destroyed anyway. All other warheads exceeding the 1,550 limit imposed by the treaty will be stored in military warehouses.

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Russia’s Olympiad is Collapsing before our Eyes

Paul Goble reports that Russia’s failure to develop and protect the site of the 2014 Olympic Games has become so desperate that the Kremlin is considering reorganizing Russia’s basic geopoltical structure in order to preserve any hope of a successful games:

Even before the International Olympic Committee, after intense lobbying by then-Russian President Vladimir Putin, awarded the 2014 Winter Games to Sochi, it was obvious to many that Russia would face serious challenges in getting the venue ready for the Olympics and ensuring that they passed off safely.

Now, all the problems they warned about– violence in neighboring areas, environmental concerns, objections to holding such a competition on the site of a nineteenth century genocide, and both paying for infrastructure and finding workers to build it – have become more obvious, and as a result, some in Moscow are casting about for possible solutions.

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