Daily Archives: June 11, 2010

June 14, 2010 — Contents

MONDAY JUNE 14 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Bloody, Violent, Horrifying Russia

(2)  Obama must End his Craven Silence on Russia

(3)  Obama’s Total Failure on Russia

(4)  The Scandal and Shame of the “Red Partisans”

(5)  CARTOON

NOTE:  Bulgaria has told Vladimir Putin to have a nice day! :)

EDITORIAL: Bloody, Violent, Horrifying Russia

EDITORIAL

Bloody, Violent, Horrifying Russia

Last year, Russia ranked a shocking #136 out of 144 nations in the world on the Global Peace Index. Only eight countries on the planet were viewed as being more horrifyingly prone to violence than Russia.

Amazingly, this year things got even worse. Russia now ranks #143 out of 149 countries, dropping a stunning seven places so that now, even with five countries added to the list, only seven nations on the planet, not eight, are more barbaric than Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Sitting in the bottom ten, Russia is keeping company with the likes of Chad, Afganistan, Pakistan and Sudan.  Once again, the people of Russia stand exposed and humiliated before the world.

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Obama must End his Craven Silence on Russia

An editorial in the Washington Post notes that Russia is flouting the Obama administration on human rights (it overlooks the fact that, as we report below, the deal over Iran sanctions is for a watered-down sham no different than several similar pacts reached in the Bush years, and the deal over nukes is equally dishonest, achieving only tiny marginal changes in weapons stockpiles — so the price Obama has paid for this escalation in human rights atrocities is truly appalling).

RUSSIA’S GOVERNMENT has calculated that it needs better relations with the West to attract more foreign investment and modern technology, according to a paper by its foreign ministry that leaked to the press last month. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has recently made conciliatory gestures to Poland, while President Dmitry Medvedev sealed a nuclear arms treaty with President Obama. At the United Nations, Russia has agreed to join Western powers in supporting new sanctions against Iran.

Moscow’s new friendliness, however, hasn’t led to any change in its repressive domestic policies. The foreign ministry paper says Russia needs to show itself as a democracy with a market economy to gain Western favor. But Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev have yet to take steps in that direction. There have been no arrests in the more than a dozen outstanding cases of murdered journalists and human rights advocates; a former KGB operative accused by Scotland Yard of assassinating a dissident in London still sits in the Russian parliament.

Perhaps most significantly, the Russian leadership is allowing the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil executive who has become the country’s best-known political prisoner, to go forward even though it has become a showcase for the regime’s cynicism, corruption and disregard for the rule of law. Mr. Khodorkovsky, who angered Mr. Putin by funding opposition political parties, was arrested in 2003 and convicted on charges of tax evasion. His Yukos oil company, then Russia’s largest, was broken up and handed over to state-controlled firms. Continue reading

Obama’s Total failure on Russia

In a must-read regarding the Iran sanctions deal, Foreign Policy reports:

Supporters of the Obama administration’s “reset” policy toward Russia tout the New START Treaty, Russian support for sanctions against Iran, transit for Afghanistan across Russian territory, and cooperation in dealing with North Korea and non-proliferation more broadly as the fruits of its success. National Security Advisor Jim Jones cites the reset as one of the main successes in the administration’s foreign policy (that, to some, says a lot about its overall foreign policy). There is no denying the vastly improved tone and rapport between the American and Russian presidents compared to the end of the Bush-Putin days. But before people get too carried away, let’s focus on two recent developments that remind us of the challenges we face in dealing with Russia.

On May 31, Russian authorities brutally broke up opposition protests in Moscow and St. Petersburg and arrested more than 100 people. A journalist participating in the protest suffered a severely broken arm at the hands of the police. The U.S. National Security Council spokesman issued a statement expressing “regret” at the detention of peaceful protestors (“condemn” would have been a more appropriate verb — we “regret,” for example, the recent death of Russian poet Andrei Voznesensky). While violent suppression of demonstrations is nothing new for Russian authorities, what makes this latest example noteworthy is that it happened just days after an American delegation went to Russia for the second round of the Civil Society Working Group co-chaired by NSC Senior Director Mike McFaul and Deputy Head of the Russian Presidential Administration Vladislav Surkov.

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The Scandal and Shame of the “Red Partisans”

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

In 2004, Vasily Kononov, the former leader of a pro-Soviet commando unit in Nazi-occupied Latvia during World War II, was convicted by Latvia’s highest court for killing nine civilians in the village of Mazie Bati in 1944. On May 17, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights upheld the ruling.

As usual, the Russian authorities were outraged by the decision. Members of the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth movement demonstrated outside of the Latvian Embassy in Moscow.

Kononov insists that the victims, including a young pregnant woman, had been collaborating with the Nazis.

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CARTOON: No Translation Required

Source:  Ellustrator.