Daily Archives: April 20, 2010

EDITORIAL: Russia and its Appalling Matricide

EDITORIAL

Russia and its Appalling Matricide

A recent study by the British medical journal The Lancet reveals that 34 of every 100,000 Russian women who give birth lose their lives in the effort.

That figure ranks Russia a stunning #62 out of 181 world nations studied, behind Ukraine and just barely ahead of Georgia.  Bulgaria, Romania and Estonia all have far lower rates of maternal mortality than Russia, and Russia’s rate is more than double — that’s right, more than double — that of the United States.

Russia’s rate of maternal mortality has improved over the past couple of decades, but that means absolutely nothing because it’s merely part of a worldwide trend and Russia’s rate of improvement lags far behind the world’s pace.  Russia’s rate fell 1.9% per year, but that was easily exceeded by places like Dominican Republic and Papua New Guinea and Haiti.  Russia’s rate of improvement places it a shocking #98 on the list of 181 nations.

Let’s repeat that:  more than half of all world nations did better than Putin’s Russia in decreasing their rate of maternal morality.  Combine that with the fact that one Russian woman is murdered outright by her husband every 30 minutes, and you have an abject disaster for which there is only one proper descriptive term:  holocaust.

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EDITORIAL: Russians pay the “Impossible” Price

EDITORIAL

Russians pay the “Impossible” Price

The Russian website Slon.ru (Russian language link, hat tip Russia! magazine) recently conducted a survey of IKEA prices, surveying the same list of 32 items in 28 different countries.  It then rank-ordered the countries to see which one had the most expensive bill at checkout.

Vladimir Putin’s Russia came in at #3.  Only two countries in the whole world are forced to pay more for IKEA home furnishings than Russia (Japan, where everything costs more, and Australia, where shipping costs are prohibitive, topped Russia).

Where are IKEA goods cheapest?  The United States of America.

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The Putin Pantomime

Australian Herald correspondent Paul McGeough writing on The Age website:

To better understand the geopolitical dynamic of upheaval in the remote central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan, it is instructive to look to Georgia, 2500 kilometres and five national borders to the west.

Both are former Soviet satellites. In the face of clumsy efforts by their leaders to tango with the West, the Kremlin is increasingly agitated by a new American presence on a sprawling dance floor it considered its own.

As the bullet-riddled bodies of protesters were collected from the streets of Bishkek last week and the President, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, fled the capital, the Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, was pure pantomime: ”Neither Russia, nor your humble servant, nor Russian officials have any links whatsoever to these events.”

That reading does not describe recent events accurately.

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The Hollow Fraud called Putin

Nikolai Petrov of the Carnegie Center, writing in the Moscow Times:

On April 9, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin spoke in Novosibirsk at the first of eight planned United Russia conferences in the regions. This might have marked the beginning of the party’s campaign for the State Duma elections in 2011, as well as the start of Putin’s own bid for the 2012 presidential race. Putin devoted his talk to the development of a strategy for the social and economic development of every region of Russia.

Putin’s plan for the regions is neither an analysis of their problems nor a proposal for solving them. On the contrary, Putin generally avoids referring to specific problems, and even when he does mention them he prefers to talk about outdated problems from the Soviet era.

Putin’s new “strategic plan” is an attempt to avoid the pitfalls of “Strategy 2020,” a vague and often utopian plan that was reminiscent of former Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev’s five-year and 10-year plans. Unfortunately, the differences between all of these plans are hard to discern.

The new plan lacks a common logic, and several parts come off as nothing more than empty rhetoric. According to Putin’s approach, regional development should be based on the following principles:

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Russian Rappers fight back Against Putin

The Moscow Times reports:

Russian rap has shown its social conscience in recent weeks, highlighting how local performers are willing to deal with local problems rather than parade the babes and in-your-face oligarchic bling of the likes of Timati.

Following from rapper Noize MC’s song “Mercedes 666,” (see video embedded below) which damned LUKoil vice president Anatoly Barkov to hell after he was involved in a car crash that left two women dead, there comes Dino MC 47’s “Song About Explosions in the Metro,” which criticizes government elite for hypocrisy over the two bombings that killed 40 people late last month.

“Arrogant, overfed faces, with blue lights and security / telling us fr om TV that we won’t be threatened / their kids are in London and their money in the Caymans / what are we supposed to do? Wh ere do we hide?” Dino raps.

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