April 23, 2010 — Contents

FRIDAY APRIL 23 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Russia’s Appalling Matricide

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Russians pay the “Impossible” Price

(3)  The Putin Pantomime

(4)  Potemkin Putin

(5)  Russian rappers fight back against Putin

42 responses to “April 23, 2010 — Contents

  1. Medvedev, Yanukovich Sign Sensational Agreement Prolonging Russia’s Black Sea Fleet Stationing in Crimea for 25 Years in Exchange for Natural Gas Price Rebate:

    http://rian.ru/politics/20100421/225097864.html

    • Eugene,

      Do you have information about this “Natural Gas Price Rebate”?

      • Yes. The gas price was reduced by 30%.

        • But i want to read the details: what is the final price? And for how long?

          Do you have a link to this story about gas price?

        • And why this convoluted way of paying for the base through gas price reductions? Why not just pay this sum upfront as the rent for the base? The usual way of allowing “third party” corruption, like in all other Russ-Uke gas agreements?

          • Because, you idiot, the price Russia is paying is ASTRONOMICAL and paying this way hides that fact.

            Russia has been PLAYED by Ukraine, handing over untold BILLIONS for a naval base when it has no navy. Live with it, cretin.

        • Hey Eugene, you foul and crude mouthed pathetic simpleton of a misfit how about disclosing the source of your statement?

          BBC News – Turkmenistan opens new Iran gas pipeline. Page last updated at 12:46 GMT, Wednesday, 6 January 2010. States under its headlines – “Turkmenistan has opened a second gas pipeline to Iran, further eroding Russia’s historical domination of its energy sector.

          With a pipeline to China that opened last month, sales to Russia will be a much smaller proportion of exports.

          The EU also wants to build a gas link that bypasses Russia, which for now remains the main buyer of Turkmen gas.

          The new pipelines have given Turkmenistan more power in negotiations with Russian energy giant Gazprom, which has now had to agree to pay higher prices for Turkmen gas.

          Previously, the bulk of Turkmenistan’s gas was transported along Soviet-era pipelines that went through Russia, giving Moscow the power to dictate prices.

          Gas supplies to Russia resumed in December after an eight-month dispute over pricing.

          Russia will now buy 30bn cubic metres annually, down from 50bn cubic metres before supplies were cut by a pipeline explosion in April. ”

          One does not have to a mathematical genius, chump Eugene, to work out that a drop from 50bcm to 30bcm is a reduction of 40%. Duh, so where did you get your 30%, got that simpleton!

          Furthermore, on Fri Apr 16, 2010 9:28am Reuters UK headlines stated that Gazprom cuts imports of Turkmen gas for 2010.

          ” * Gazprom to import only third of agreed maximum vol

          * Plans to increase output in Russia

          ASTANA, April 16 (Reuters) – Russian energy giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM) looks to import only 10.5 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Turkmen gas this year — a third of the agreed maximum volumes — as poor demand and other fuels’ usage eat into consumption.

          Gazprom bought 50 bcm of Turkmen gas annually before a pricing row between Russia and Turkmenistan halted deliveries for almost nine months in 2009. Russia and Turkmenistan agreed to resume Turkmen gas imports late last year. ”

          In plain English, Gazprom used to buy 50bcm before the pricing row (read war) halted deliveries for almost nine months. Turkmenistan agreed to resume deliveries AFTER Russia had to have agreed ‘to pay higher prices for Turkmen gas. Hence the “agreed maximum volumes ‘ is going to drop massively from 50 to 10.5bcm’, i.e. by 79%!!!

          So much so for the failed policies of your ‘heroi’ V V Putin. Who, if he had any decency would resign for the disastrous manner manner that he is leading Russia towards an abysmal ruin. But that will never happen as he shows all the signs of self important grandeur while his”Rome” burns in the background.

  2. Well for Russia, her using natural gas as a blackmail weapon has borne fruit, at the expense of Ukraine.

    It is a pity that Yanukovych does not have the brains to turn to a cheaper supplier like Turkmenistan for their gas.

    Shame on you Yanukovych, you Russophile.

    • Does Ukraine have a common border with Turkmenistan? Or should Yanukovich smuggle gas from Turkmenistan to Ukraine in condoms?

      • Eugene, you may have missed it (because you are an illiterate gorilla), but Russia’s supply of gas is running out fast.

        http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2010/04/energy_blast_-_april_20_2010.htm

        So what the Kremlin has just done is to give away a huge chunk of precious energy at bargain basement prices to the exclusion of Russian people, and for what? A naval base? Russia doesn’t even HAVE a viable navy, you chimp-brained buffoon. The wily Yanukovich has played Mr. Putin for a fool.

        • To the best of my knowledge, Mr. Amsterdam is a lawyer, not an expert in hydrocarbons geology, Ma’am.

          • Amsterdam is citing a report PUBLISHED BY THE UNITED NATIONS, you demented freak.

            Did you read the link we gave or just look at the link title?

            Your intelligence is exceeded by that of a lemon.

          • The problem here is not with the “report PUBLISHED BY THE UNITED NATIONS, you demented freak.” This report was written by knowledgeable experts.

            The problem is that Mr. Amsterdam is a lawyer, not an expert in hydrocarbons geology, and his statement “Russian oil and gas will run out in 21.9 years and 9.4 years respectively shows that he doesn’t understand what the experts are saying in this report. Look at Figure 1.8 on page 24 of this report:

            http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/nationalreports/europethecis/russia/NHDR_2009_Russia_English.pdf

            Figure 1.8 Proven oil reserves: years until depletion at current rate of extraction (1990-2008)

            These data are obtained by dividing the proven reserves by the current rate of extraction. But as new and new reserves are being confirmed, these estimates in no way say that the reserves will indeed expire any time soon.

            For example, in 1990, the World as a whole had 41 years until depletion, meaning “depletion” in 2031 . But in 2008, the World as a whole AGAIN had 41 years until depletion, meaning “depletion” in 2049. And so on.

            Mr. Amsterdam,

            As far as gas goes, I didn’t see any figures on gas years until depletion at current
            rate of extraction in this report. Unfortunately, being a lawyer, Mr. Amsterdam has very vague understanding of even most basic mathematics. The phrase in the report that “the expected depletion date for natural gas has moved closer by 9.4 years in the last decade” in no way means that the years to depletion is 9.4 years. It means that the DIFFERENCE between the years to depletion in 1998 and the years to depletion in 2008 is 9.4 years. For example, if the years to depletion were, say, 69.4 in 1998 and 60.0 in 2008, then it would be true that “the expected depletion date for natural gas has moved closer by 9.4 years in the last decade”.

            LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

            You are an illiterate clod and a shameless liar. Amsterdam is not the only one saying so:

            http://www.themoscowtimes.com/business/article/risk-of-dutch-disease-worsening-by-2020-says-un/404298.html

            You, by contrast, cite ZERO published evidence that your interpretation is correct. YOU are just an anonymous commenter on a blog with ZERO credentials whatsoever.

            So the choice for readers as to who to believe is quite clear.

            • Yes, let the readers decide for themselves who can understand math in the report better: a professional mathematical economist like myself or some mathematically illiterate journalist or lawyer.

              LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

              You’ve now crossed the line. This comment violates our published guidelines because it is a controversial fact statement without substantiated source material. You are anonymous, not a proven economist. You can either provide factual proof, apologize, or be permanently banned from commenting on this blog within 24 hours.

              • You want factual proof? I gave you the factual proof, but you have deleted it, like you deleted my other posts from below. Here is my factual proof for you to delete again:

                The UN Report gives the years until depletion for natural gas: 70 years, not 9.4 years:

                http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/nationalreports/europethecis/russia/NHDR_2009_Russia_English.pdf

                The situation with natural gas reserves is better, mainly due to huge deposits, which are sufficient for 70 years of production. But the expected depletion date for natural gas has moved closer by 9.4 years in the last decade, canceling out reserve replacement

                And here s the UN Report’s explanation of what “years until depletion” mean and don’t mean:

                http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/nationalreports/europethecis/russia/NHDR_2009_Russia_English.pdf

                Forecasts of imminent oil reserve depletion worldwide or in a single country have been common currency for over a century, and have proved to be exaggerated. Improvement of extraction technologies and energy price fluctuations, which make development of new fields economically feasible, move the depletion date further and further into the future. It can be confidently predicted that world oil production will not come to an end in 2050, as present reserve statistics suggest.
                ………………………..

                Speaking of Robert Amsterdam, I went to his blog and explained them their mistake. The man in charge there – James – accepted my correction, apologized for their error, and explained to me that this article was written by an editor in UK, and that this editor had simply copied an erroneous phrase from the Moscow Times (MT):

                http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2010/04/energy_blast_-_april_20_2010.htm

                The energy blasts here are written by our dutiful and talented editor in the UK each morning – not Robert Amsterdam.

                We apologize for the typo, and it stands corrected (nobody around here is under the impression that Russia won’t have gas in just 9 years),

                The editor first learned of the UN report through the MT article.
                ———————–

                So, Amsterdam’s blog has corrected this error. The case is closed. However, I am sure you will delete this post of mine (just as you deleted my previous ones), claim again that I have provided “no proof”, and ban me.

                However, I have posted all my factual proof and quotes to Robert Amsterdam’s blog (see link above). I have also told the readers there about your deleting my evidence, and I asked James to visit this page here to see for himself how you behave towards me and my posts.

                So, if you delete this post of mine and/or ban me, I will re-post it at Robert Amsterdam’s blog, along with all the stories and evidence about your abuse of your readers like myself. And I have quit ea few juicy stories to tell. Since Robert Amsterdam’s blog has a link to your blog, I am sure the readers there will be happy to find out juicy details about your intolerance.

                LA RUSSOPHOBE RESPONDS:

                YOUR OWN STATEMENTS indicate that Russia WILL RUN OUT OF GAS in ONE GENERATION and will RUN OUT OF OIL within no more than three decades. Before this century is out, Russia will be entirely dry. And you think that’s not a serious problem for Russia, and that instead you should nitpick about typos? You’re mentally diseased!

                Why did you fail to mention Amsterdam’s statement to you: “The insulting tone of your comment, however, is juvenile and unbecoming.”

                We fully agree! As a result, given that you have not apologized for your prior violation of our comment rules and our demand for apology, you are banned from commenting on this blog. Goodbye.

                • It is with heart felt gratitude that I read these magic words of yours, larussophobe, to that failed ‘economist’ RTR, “you are banned from commenting on this blog. Goodbye.”

                  At long last. Слава богу! i.e. Glory to God.

                  I believe that I can honestly speak for myself and the greatest majority of users of this wonderful blog, in that we can now return to the crux of this informative blog! Debating truthfully the happenings that are occurring in Putin’s Russia, whether it be the nation itself or its long suffering citizens.

      • Your comment Eugene “Does Ukraine have a common border with Turkmenistan?” Just shows you up for the brainless baboon you are. I suggest that you look this matter up on a map or atlas. However if you still have trouble deciphering the map or atlas, I suggest that you approach your mentally retarded buddy RTR and the two of you may, and I repeat, may come up with the right answer – but I will not hold my breath.

        The rest of your comment, i.e. ” Or should Yanukovich smuggle gas from Turkmenistan to Ukraine in condoms?” just confirms you as a foul and crude mouthed pathetic simpleton of a
        misfit you are. What do you think that you are? God’s gift as a wit to humanity? far from it, besides ‘wit’ is an incomplete word as it needs a noun to complete it, hence “nitwit” is definitely more appropriate.

        Wear this title proudly, you backward village buffoon!

  3. Pipelines are no more than common carriers of products. The gas comes from many sources. Mascals cannot send their product out past Ukraine’s pipelines for sale to Europe yet. That is another reason that Rashan antics help keep it out of the WTO.

    If it were not for the Ukraine’s Eastern Russian Busines Mafia Owned industries, which need so much gas, there would be plenty left to heat peoples homes. Ukraine has sufficient domestic sources and now even shale gas in the western part.

    The EU finds other sources of gas and the price goes down. The same would be true for Ukraine. Those ravenous industries would have to pay the price rather than the people. There is excuse for not using electric arc furnaces instead of gas in the metals industry. This money goes to the Cayman Islands etc.

    Ukraine paying more for gas to Russia than the EU pays, even on their end of the pipeline is a crime. The so called Ukrainian government in name only violates its own constitution and no protest from PACE.

    Ukraine is either 4th or 6th in Uranium production. Why should the treasonous Yanykowych give it away for Obama’s approval? Not just the enriched Uranium but also the research reactors and the industry that comes with it. This could be used to generate and sell electricity.

    Putin and the Mascal colonizers supported Yanukowych and got help from the Republican’s Paul Manafort campaign machine.

    NATO has to have approval of all 28 nations to let Ukraine and Georgia in. What chance for that to happen if even DeadBeat Greece can keep out Macedonia?

    EU is happy that Ukraine has the border with Rasha, and wants the Moskowski Creatures limited to the other side of a buffer state. Well the buffer state may be the biggest country in Europe occupying the geographic center. Too bad that Rashan language will now be used there as well. Europe will notice this first on the computer viri. Then the subhuman viri will invade their homes, businesses and politics.

    The USA is only interested in cooperating with Moscow on Iran Sanctions and Iraq/Afghanistan. So the Mascals are given free reign (reset button) to absolve their crimes and start over again.

    So then Putin moves to decapitate Poland’s government and Annex Ukraine into the Eurasian Space. Georgia will be next. Not a damn will be heard. But the price will not be cheap for ignoring history. It will not end there!

  4. Eugene, you may have missed it (because you are an illiterate gorilla), but Russia’s supply of gas is running out fast.

    https://larussophobe.wordpress.com/2010/04/16/august-19-2010-contents/#comments
    larussophobe // April 17, 2010 at 3:00 am
    If you think reduced demand for Russian energy is good for Russia, you must have taken your diploma from a Russian school, a/k/a Crackerjack box. Dude, you are mental!
    —————–

    I know that we all are “illiterate gorillas” and “mental cases”, but if Russia is running out of its gas supply fast, why would it be bad news to Russia if there were a reduction in demand for Russian gas? If you have little gas supply, you don’t need large gas demand, do you?

    • You’re mentally retarded. You’re one of the stupidest, most poorly educated imbeciles we’ve ever come across.

      The UNITED NATIONS says Russian gas will run out IN TWENTY YEARS UNDER CURRENT CONDITIONS OF REDUCED DEMAND, which will reduce prices as Russia’s gas runs out. That’s bad for Russia. Get it, monkey brain?

      And if demand for Russian gas accelerates and prices rise, it will run out EVEN SOONER.

      Do you realize that every single time you open your fat stupid illiterate mouth you make Russia look like a nation of drunken buffoons?

      • Bravo larussophobe, you have hit the nail fair and square on its head in your description – yes simply just ‘pure magic’ – of our mutual ‘dimwit’ buffoon.

        Trouble is this buffoon has a very thick skin and dense skull, so that your superbly witty reply (A+) to ‘it’ will be like water off a duck’s back.

    • I am glad to see that you have deleted my reply here, LR. This way, you can say anything you want about the deleted reply and brag that I have nothing to say in rely to you. Maybe I should post my original reply to Robert Amsterdam’s blog….

    • Before my comments are deleted, let me re-reply:

      The UNITED NATIONS says Russian gas will run out IN TWENTY YEARS UNDER CURRENT CONDITIONS OF REDUCED DEMAND, which will reduce prices as Russia’s gas runs out. That’s bad for Russia. Get it, monkey brain?

      No, The UNITED NATIONS says Russian gas will run out IN SEVENTY YEARS :

      http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/nationalreports/europethecis/russia/NHDR_2009_Russia_English.pdf

      The situation with natural gas reserves is better, mainly due to huge deposits, which are sufficient for 70 years of production.

      As a mathematician, I assure you that 20 is not equal to 70.

      You’re mentally retarded. You’re one of the stupidest, most poorly educated imbeciles we’ve ever come across… Do you realize that every single time you open your fat stupid illiterate mouth you make Russia look like a nation of drunken buffoons? Get it, monkey brain?

      Thank you for your highly intelligent and mature questions. I am going to let the readers to figure out the answers for themselves.

      If this reply is deleted, a copy of it can be found on Robert Amsterdam’s blog:

      http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2010/04/energy_blast_-_april_20_2010.htm#IDComment69579183

  5. The new shale gas technology is such a huge factor that all existing agreements will simple be swept aside. Since energy is the largest business in the world it does take time.

    When it comes to natural gas the smart guys pay spot prices and dummies pay retail. Even big users with long term contracts are limiting delivery and buying at spot prices on the side.

    No one pays retail except UK customers who are being cheated by their own regulator Ofgem.

    • Ron, shale gas is the biggest thing since cold fusion and bio-diesel.

      So, you think that the energy prices will tank, and Exxon, BP and other oil companies will go bankrupt? Let’s pray!

  6. The big energy companies will not lose out. They will hold their magins and good thing too because we need them. The winners will be the people with lower heating bills and cheaper products. Nations that depend on oil sales will need to tighten their belts as prices fall over time.

    • Ron,

      I have heard these predictions of “oil becoming cheaper than water” many times before: with nuclear power, electric cars, cold fusion, bio-diesel, etc. I wish I could enter into private forward contracts on the of oil with these “oracles”. I would have made trillions of dollars off of them. Unfortunately, the idiots, who for the last century have been predicting the collapse in the long-term oil prices, seldom enter into forward contracts and don’t have enough money to significantly affect the futures market.

      However, since you are so sure that the oil prices will collapse, Ron, why don’t we enter into a forward agreement. I looked for various oil futures contracts available, and the longest-dated quotes I found are for Light Crude Oil (CL, NYMEX) in December 2014:

      http://futures.tradingcharts.com/marketquotes/index.php3?market=CL

      As I understand, the Light Crude Oil spot price is $83.5 today:

      http://www.post1.net/lowem/page/livequotes

      Since you believe that by the end of 2014, the oil prices will be very low, I suggest that we enter into, say, 10,000 forward contracts for December 2014 at, say, $40.

      If you think that by 2015, the oil prices will be drop from $83 to below $40, this must be a great bet for you. Is this a deal, Ron? Are you prepared to put your money where your mouth is? Or is this shale gas craze going to fizzle out like the cold fusion craze? (pun intended)

  7. RTR: If you look at my posts you can see that I did not say anything specific. Your post is in error.

  8. A list of responses to RTR’s latest wave of stupidity”

    “James · 3 hours ago
    Listen, this is not an overly complex thing. The energy blasts here are written by our dutiful and talented editor in the UK each morning – not Robert Amsterdam. You can tell because each blog post bears the signature of the author at the bottom.

    Your correction to this typo is welcome. The insulting tone of your comment, however, is juvenile and unbecoming. Thanks so much for stopping by – it really makes our day.”

    and

    James · 2 hours ago
    I still don’t think you get it… It is not “Mr. Amsterdam’s mistake” because Mr. Amsterdam did not write this blog post. Furthermore we are talking about a minor typo of “years until depletion” vs. “change in expected year of depletion.”

    We apologize for the typo, and it stands corrected (nobody around here is under the impression that Russia won’t have gas in just 9 years), but your attempt to portray this as something more is really quite specious.

    At least it’s good to know that Russia Today has at least one person watching.

    And

    James · 2 hours ago
    Yes, I believe that the editor, not Robert Amsterdam (how do you not understand that yet?), first learned of the UN report through the MT article.

    Funny how it’s always the mysterious anonymous types who love to leave the attack comments…. Will RTR care to remove his/her mask? I doubt it

    Seems that they are no more impressed with you than anyone else.

    Never mind RTR, I greatly enjoy watching you make a fool of yourself.

    http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2010/04/energy_blast_-_april_20_2010.htm#IDComment69579183

    • Andrew, thanks.

      Since I am likely to be banned soon and my posts in this thread will be deleted, I need you to write as much as you can about my posts to Robert Amsterdam’s site and to provide that link here as many times as you can. While you are too stupid to understand math arguments and think that LR is correct and I am wrong, other readers will appreciate reading copies of my hilarious exchanged with LR, which may be deleted from this page very soon. here is the link again:

      http://www.robertamsterdam.com/2010/04/energy_blast_-_april_20_2010.htm#IDComment69579183

      • No, I understand the error made by the editor of the blog, and I (for once) agree with you.

        However, the gas running out in 70 years is still not good for Russia with its lack of anything remotely resembling a diversified economy.

        I also understand the maths, being an engineer, maths is part and parcel of my work to0.

        However, enough of the ad hominem attacks RTR, you as usual are showing your hypocrisy, and lack of intelligence, if your own opinions on ad hominem attacks are anything to go by.

        • OK, Andrew, if you want “break the spiral of violence” and to stop ad hominem attacks between us, I will oblige.

          I will try to avoid any ad hominem attacks towards you, until and unless you abandon your own restraint on this matter.

          If one of us honestly forgets this agreement for a second, he should be reminded and should apologize. But if one of us deliberately persists in his ad hominem attacks – the deal is off.

          Is this a deal?

        • No, I understand the error made by the editor of the blog, and I (for once) agree with you.

          Well, actually, the error was made by the Moscow Times’ writer Maria Antonova, who evidently is not qualified to write about science and engineering. The Amsterdam blog editor just blindly copied it, without realizing that it was incorrect. I wish he had written from the start that this phrase came from the Moscow Times, to avoid confusion.

  9. Just why is it so hard for the Russians to accept responsibility for this massacre, and open the archives?

    Just what do they feel they have to hide about Katyn?

    Why does the Russian state continue to suppress academic research into the crimes of the Russian communist state?

    Why do human rights groups such as memorial and academics suffer from state repression, and why do they have to go to court to gain access to documents regarding some of the worst crimes against humanity in history?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/world/europe/22katyn.html?src=un&feedurl=http://json8.nytimes.com/pages/world/europe/index.jsonp

    Russian Court Ordered to Hear Appeal in Katyn Case

    By REUTERS
    Published: April 21, 2010

    A Russian human rights group said Wednesday that it had cleared an initial hurdle in its legal fight to declassify documents about a 1940 massacre of Polish officers by Soviet troops that still causes tensions between Russia and Poland.

    Russia’s Supreme Court ordered the Moscow City Court to consider an appeal in which a rights group, Memorial, sought to force the authorities to declassify a 2004 decision by military prosecutors to drop an investigation into the massacre in the Katyn forest. A Memorial leader, Yan Rachinsky, said the ruling could lead to a court decision to open up secret documents providing details about the killings of thousands of Polish officers there. Poland also wants the documents declassified.

    Longstanding tensions between Russia and Poland have shown signs of easing after the death of the Polish president, Lech Kaczynski, and 95 others on April 10 in a plane crash en route to a commemoration ceremony at Katyn. Polish leaders have expressed deep gratitude for the Russian response, including the formal military sendoff for Mr. Kaczynski’s body.

    • Russia’s Supreme Court ordered the Moscow City Court to consider an appeal.. the ruling could lead to a court decision to open up secret documents providing details ”

      Andrew commented: “Just what do they feel they have to hide about Katyn?

      So, you think that by ordering to hear this case about Katyn and to open up secret documents, Russia’s Supreme Court is hiding these documents?!

      Are brain-dead, Andrew?

      • That was written BEFORE our agreement went into effect, Andrew.

        • Now RTR, the Russian Supreme court ordered the moscow court to hear the case.

          However the Russian security services and government are highly opposed to releasing any information about Katyn, or the oppressions and mass murder committed by the Russian state in the 20th century.

          Do you remember this incident?

          Gulag files seized during police raid on rights group

          Catriona Bass and Tony Halpin

          Russia’s Constitutional Court, which recently transferred from Moscow at Vladimir Putin’s command, is lit more brightly than any other building on St Petersburg’s beautiful English Embankment at night.

          At the offices of the leading human rights group Memorial, however, a daylight raid by masked men speaks of a darker Soviet tradition of state power. Police confiscated computer hard drives containing 20 years’ work documenting victims of Stalin’s Terror and political persecution in the Soviet Union.

          Education programmes, human rights work and research on the still secret graves of an estimated 2.7 million Leningraders were all taken from the research and information centre. So too was material for one of Memorial’s most important and potentially most powerful projects – a “Virtual Museum of the Gulag”.

          The Prosecutor’s Office in St Petersburg claimed that it was investigating links between Memorial and an article in Novy Peterburg, an obscure anti-semitic newspaper that was shut down a year ago. Staff at Memorial say that they have never had anything to do with this newspaper and are under no illusion that the allegation is simply a pretext to wreck their work.

          Russia has no national Gulag Museum. Indeed, there has been no legal assessment of Soviet repression and none of the efforts to understand the past that countries like Germany and South Africa have pursued. The Virtual Gulag was to provide an important alternative to a growing cult of Stalinism, in which the dictator’s methods are gradually being justified again.

          A teachers’ manual published this year explains that Stalin acted rationally in his campaign of terror to ensure the country’s modernisation. Stalin currently ranks third with almost 250,000 votes in a TV contest to find history’s greatest Russian, less than 2,000 votes behind the leader.

          Memorial’s staff have been photographing camps, recording testimonies and documenting the work of 300 tiny museums scattered over the former Soviet Union. Many of these museums have been set up by dedicated individuals and remain almost unknown.

          “The Virtual Gulag is a new type of museum,” said Irina Flige, Memorial’s director, who was interrogated by investigators for several hours yesterday. Its virtual nature means that it works like memory itself. Visitors can take different tours through the same collections while the writings and voices of dissidents tell their stories.

          By gathering such artifacts and testimonies into a national museum, the project aims to give them the stature of public memory and make them the basis for a genuine understanding of the past.

          “In Russia, a positive history is being constructed,’ said Ms Flige. “There is no place for trying to understand the past. Our work is now on the frontline of politics.” She suspects that the raid last week was a “symbolic gesture” timed to coincide with a major international conference in Moscow that was examining the history of Stalinism.

          “When the past is not understood and not analysed, and no responsibility is taken for it, contemporary political and economic life keep exposing elements of the terror. The habits persist, the style is the same,” Ms Flige said. One other theory is that Memorial was being punished for screening a documentary that accused the Federal Security Service (FSB) of assassinating the dissident spy Alexander Litvinenko in London. Andrei Nekrasov’s film, Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case, was shown on the second anniversary of Mr Litvinenko’s death on November 23.

          The attack on Memorial has prompted domestic and international protest. Within hours, scholars all over the world were signing an open letter to President Medvedev, while Russian human rights groups were urging federal officials to intervene and punish an “act of lawlessness”.

          The United States declared that it was “deeply concerned” and called on the Russian authorities to return the archive. State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said: “Unfortunately, this action against Memorial is not an isolated instance of pressure against freedom of association and expression in Russia.” It is indeed part of a disturbing pattern in recent years as the Kremlin has clamped down on civil rights by restricting protest, muzzling media, hounding political opponents and rigging elections. Russia’s parliament, which is controlled by Mr Putin’s United Russia party, passed legislation yesterday to abolish jury trials for people involved in violent crimes and civil disturbances. The law restores the Soviet-era practice of allowing judges to decide cases.

          http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article5333440.ece

        • Or this case:

          Russian historians fear crackdown on sensitive research

          By Alexander Osipovich (AFP) – Oct 15, 2009
          MOSCOW — When the police stopped Mikhail Suprun’s car last month, he did not expect to be questioned over his research into mass deportations that took place in Russia more than six decades ago.
          But Suprun, a history professor in the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk, discovered that his research into the 1940s deportations had drawn the interest of the FSB, the successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB.

          Briefly detained by the FSB, Suprun was told he was suspected of illegally publishing private information — a charge he calls “absurd”.
          Agents also searched his apartment and seized his computer and personal archive, which held a trove of information about victims of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin and his brutal Gulag prison system.
          “Everything was taken away. All the things I’ve been working on for the past 10 years were on my computer and hard drives,” Suprun told AFP by telephone from Arkhangelsk, where he is a top expert on local Stalin-era history.
          Some Russian historians fear that probing too deeply into the Stalin era may incur the wrath of today’s authorities, who have made the positive portrayal of Soviet history part of their political agenda.
          Stalin, who ruled the Soviet Union for nearly three decades until his death in 1953, is deeply controversial and even his defenders admit he sent millions of people to the Gulag, where many of them died.
          But he also oversaw the Soviet struggle against Nazi Germany, which cost the lives of millions of Soviet citizens, and to many Russians he is associated with their country’s victory in World War II.
          The Kremlin has made reverence of the Soviet victory a major part of efforts to boost patriotism among Russians in recent years.
          Critics say the government has gone too far by taking steps to polish Stalin’s image, such as a 2007 decision approving the use of a school textbook that praised his management style as “efficient”.
          The public seems increasingly sympathetic: last year Stalin took third place in a televised competition where viewers voted for the greatest Russian in history.
          “This is all part of a creeping re-Stalinization, the return of his persona as a figure who is depicted not just in dark colours,” said Irina Shcherbakova, a historian who researches the Gulag for the Memorial human rights group.
          Memorial has also battled authorities over its research.
          Last December, police raided its Saint Petersburg office, seizing documents and computer discs with evidence of Stalinist repressions that the group had collected over two decades.

          Following a court battle, police returned the materials, which they said had been seized as part of an investigation into “extremism”.
          Shcherbakova said people have become afraid to help Memorial, especially officials at state archives that contain Stalin-era files.
          In the 1990s such archives were a rich source of information for historians, but they became much more reluctant to share documents after Vladimir Putin came to power in 2000.
          “They are afraid to give them out,” Shcherbakova said.

          The investigation of Arkhangelsk historian Suprun centers on a controversial chapter of Soviet history — Stalin’s treatment of ethnic Germans, who had lived in Russia for centuries, during World War II.
          Large German communities had lived in Russia since the 18th century, when they were invited by Catherine the Great, but after 1941 Stalin doubted their loyalty and ordered their mass deportation to remote regions.
          Suprun was researching the fate of ethnic Germans sent to the Arkhangelsk region when the FSB became interested in his project, which he was doing in collaboration with the German Red Cross.
          He said agents had questioned his graduate students in the weeks before September 13, when he was detained and warned that his research might be illegal.
          Suprun is suspected of violating the privacy of 5,000 Soviet citizens of German and Polish ethnicity deported to the Arkhangelsk region in 1945-1956, said a spokeswoman for Arkhangelsk investigators, Svetlana Tarnaeva.
          The investigation is also targeting Alexander Dudarev, a police official who gave the historian information about the deportees, Tarnaeva said in a written response to questions from AFP.
          “According to the investigation, Suprin with the help of Dudarev gathered information on the private lives of 5,000 deportees… and members of their families without their permission,” Tarnaeva said.
          Gathering such information “violated the constitutional right of citizens to the inviolability of private life, personal and family secrets,” she said.
          “This is absurd, this is nonsense,” Suprun said of the investigation.
          Suprun said his work had been explicitly allowed by a 2007 agreement between his university, the Russian interior ministry and his partner organisations, the German Red Cross and an association of Russian Germans.
          The project’s goal was to assemble a “Memory Book” detailing the fates of the German deportees.
          Memory Books are thick tomes with brief biographies of victims of Stalinist repression that historians throughout Russia have been compiling since the early 1990s in a quiet effort to document the tragic Gulag period.
          Suprun believes the investigation is linked to broader government efforts to control portrayals of history, including President Dmitry Medvedev’s creation in May of a commission to battle “historical falsifications”.
          The Arkhangelsk probe “is one link in the same chain of events,” Suprun complained.
          Suprun later told AFP he could no longer speak to journalists because of an official gag order. He gave his interview to AFP in early October before the order was imposed.
          The FSB did not respond to phone calls or written requests for comment.

          http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jfpRI3pTnVJalXXbhQcyQmmOx5Kg

          • Two wrongs do not make a right.

            Then there is the small matter of the difference in sheer scale of the crimes.

  10. Two Foreigners Killed In Moscow In Spate Of Attacks

    April 21, 2010
    MOSCOW — Two men have been killed in a spate of attacks against foreigners in Moscow, RFE/RL’s Russian Service reports.

    Moscow police said that Vladimir Samiev and Dolgan Mikeev, students from the Caucasus, were stabbed by unknown attackers on April 20. They said
    Mikeev died from his wounds.

    Police added that later on April 20 a person from Central Asia was attacked and killed in the corridor of his apartment block. No details about the person’s identity or ethnicity are known.

    In another part of Moscow, police said an Arabic man was assaulted and stabbed. He was hospitalized and is reportedly in serious condition.

    Police said witnesses to the attacks reported the assailants to be young men with shaved heads.

    http://www.rferl.org/content/Two_Foreigners_Killed_In_Moscow_In_Spate_Of_Attacks_/2020603.html

  11. Chechen Republic Head Implicated In Two Political Killings

    http://www.rferl.org/content/Chechen_Republic_Head_Implicated_In_Two_Political_Killings/2020247.html

    April 21, 2010
    The Russian daily “Moskovsky komsomolets” has published what it claims is an open letter from Moscow-based Chechen businessman Isa Yamadayev, together with a link to video footage in which Yamadayev’s former bodyguard Khavazh Yusupov, whose trial on charges of trying to kill Yamadayev opened in Moscow on April 20, says in pretrial testimony that Chechen Republic head Ramzan Kadyrov personally ordered him to kill Yamadayev.

    Yusupov also quotes Kadyrov as having admitted to issuing the orders to assassinate Isa’s brothers Ruslan and Sulim.

    Both Ruslan and Sulim Yamadayev fought on the Russian side during the 1999-2000 war in Chechnya. Ruslan was awarded the Hero of Russia medal and was subsequently elected to represent Chechnya in the Russian State Duma; Sulim headed the Vostok Battalion that was affiliated with the Russian Defense Ministry’s 42nd Motorized Rifle Division but directly subordinate to Russian military intelligence.

    (…)

    Vostok personnel were subject to intense pressure, and many resigned to join the pro-Kadyrov Chechen police.

    On August 1, an arrest warrant was issued for Sulim Yamadayev in connection with that killing, but the Russian Defense Ministry continued nonetheless to back him, and declined to disband Vostok, which fought in the five-day Russian-Georgian war in South Ossetia in August 2008.

    Sulim Yamadayev was demobilized in late August 2008. Then on September 24, Ruslan Yamadayev was shot dead in Moscow in an apparent contract killing. Sulim Yamadayev and his family left Russia in mid-December for Dubai, where he was targeted in an assassination attempt in late March 2009.

    The Dubai authorities say Sulim died in that attack. Isa Yamadayev, however, has repeatedly affirmed that Sulim was severely injured in the attack, but survived. “Moskovsky komsomolets” printed on April 12 what Isa claimed was a photo of him, propped up against a pillow.

    In April 2009, Dubai police arrested two men, one of them the groom who cared for Kadyrov’s Dubai-based racehorses. The two men were found guilty and sentenced on April 12 to 25 years in prison.

    The Dubai authorities also identified as the mastermind behind the attack, and issued an arrest warrant for, Kadyrov’s cousin Adam Delimkhanov. Kadyrov denied that Delimkhanov was in any way linked to the murder attempt.

    Ruslan Yamadayev was killed in Moscow.
    Delimkhanov is similarly believed to have hired Aslanbek Dadayev, the prime suspect in Ruslan Yamadayev’s murder.

    The failed attempt by Yusupov to kill Isa Yamadayev took place on July 28, 2009, at Yamadayev’s Moscow home. According to Yusupov’s testimony, he arrived in Chechnya on July 1 and was immediately contacted by Shaa Turlayev, one of Kadyrov’s aides, who took him to meet Kadyrov.

    Kadyrov freely admitted to having given the orders to kill Ruslan and Sulim Yamadayev. He offered Yusupov $1 million to shoot Isa Yamadayev, threatening to apprehend Yusupov’s family and kill them in Yusupov’s presence, then kill Yusupov himself, if he refused. “We’ll bring all the women and children here, we’ll bring them all here. We’ll take them to you, line them up here and kill them all, then we’ll kill you,” Yusupov quoted Kadyrov as saying.

    Yusupov agreed to kill Yamadayev, and returned to Moscow, where Turlayev met him and gave him the murder weapon. The Investigative Committee of the federal Prosecutor-General’s Office identified Turlayev earlier this month as having instigated the murder attempt and has issued a warrant for his arrest.

    Isa Yamadayev claimed in his open letter that he had remained silent up until now in order not to influence the investigation into the bid to kill him.

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