MONDAY JUNE 28 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Khodorkovsky slashes Putin
(2) EDITORIAL: Russian Failure in Ossetia and Chechnya
(3) EDITORIAL: Russia as Laughingstock
(4) EDITORIAL: More Brutal Sports humiliation for Russia
(5) More on the Failure of the Obama “Reset”
NOTE: Russia’s so-called “president” Dima Medvedev has started Twittering. You will probably not be surprised to learn that, as Oleg Kozlovsky points out, Medvedev’s very first tweet, which started out with a highly presidential “Hi everybody!” contained a typo: He wrote the number “6” as the last letter of the word “my.” Oleg notes that in Russian slang “6” means “underling.” Freudian tweet? A little while later he bleated: “I just ate a hamburger.” Yum, yum.
Warrior Khodorkovsky slashes Putin yet Again
At the second trial of dissident oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky last week, not one but two major figures in the Putin government heaped scorn on the ludicrious charge that Khodorkovsky personally embezzled millions of tons of crude oil from his company while he was a free man.
Russian Failure in Ossetia and Chechnya
Two reports last week highlighted the increasing humiliation Russia is experiencing in the Caucasus region.
First, Russia was left fuming with egg on its face when the Council of Europe adopted a draft resolution condemning barbarous Russian atrocities in Chechnya, and did so in the presence of infamous Chechen freedom fighter Akhmed Zakayev. Once again, Russians were forced to confront their government’s utter failure in foreign policy in Europe, and forced to face the shame of having their wanton criminal behavior in the Caucasus exposed before a slack-jawed world.
And then came the news that Ossetia has already been declared a failed state.
Russia as Laughingstock
As if the Kremlin did not get enough humiliation last week, as we report in our lead editorial about Khodorkovsky laughing at Putin through his cell bars and in our second editorial about Russian failure in Chechnya and Ossetia — or for that matter the week before when it was forced to advertise in the classifieds seeking lawyers capable of defending it in the European Court for Human Rights — yet another devasting blow to Russia’s ego was delivered.
More Brutal Sports Humiliation for Russia
Well, it’s another brutal new low for Vladimir Putin’s Russia where sports performance is concerned. We almost feel sorry for the poor bastard. Almost.
Ask any Russophile slob or Russian nationalist yahoo, and they’ll tell you: Russia was ousted from the FIFA World Cup before it even started while America gained admission to that gilded, lofty club because Russia’s competition was tougher.
What an unbearably humiliating shock, then, to see America emerge victorious from its group in the first round at FIFA in South Africa this year, moving on to the lofty second round of the internationally essential contest. After all, America’s group contained not just mighty England but also the very country, Slovenia, whose bold and brilliant play dismissed Russia’s hopes of finally setting foot on hallowed FIFA territory.
David J. Kramer, a senior transatlantic fellow at the German Marshall Fund of the United States who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs in the administration of President George W. Bush, writing in the Washington Post (Robert Amsterdam also holds forth on the same subject, over on Huffington Post):
Ahead of Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Washington this week, a “leaked” Russian foreign policy document is causing some Russia watchers to wonder whether the Russian president is shifting his country toward a more positive, pro-Western stance. A careful read of the 18,000-word document does not support such wishful thinking.
Russian Newsweek published the document in May, along with a Feb. 10 cover letter to Medvedev from Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. While the foreign ministry did not dispute the authenticity of the document, neither it nor the Kremlin has issued it formally. This contrasts with Russia’s military doctrine, which was released officially in February.
Unlike the foreign policy document, the military doctrine was not greeted warmly in the West, given its clear anti-Western tone. According to the doctrine, the top dangers to Russia are NATO’s enlargement and its efforts to take on “global functions carried out in violation of the norms of international law.” Other dangers include deployment of foreign (i.e., American) troops in states bordering Russia and strategic missile defense, which would “undermin[e] global stability and violat[e] the established correlation of forces in the nuclear-missile sphere.”