WEDNESDAY JUNE 30 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Annals of Russian Betrayal
(2) TRANSLATION: Nemtsov Volume III, Part 3
(3) Why Putin’s Russia is Doomed to Fail
(4) What’s wrong with Cisco Systems?
(5) The Code of the Muscovite Idea
(6) The Neo-Soviet Crackdown on Art Continues
NOTE: Several months ago we noted the 2,000,000th visit to this blog, as measured by the counter on our previous Blogger-hosted blog and the one on our current WordPress installation. Last Saturday, the counter on our current blog rolled past the 2,000,000 visit mark all by itself. We have now welcomed over 2.3 million visits to our blog, far more than has ever been displayed on the public counter of any other English-language Russia politics blog. We are also soon to publish our 50,000th comment, many times more than any other English-language Russia politics blog has ever received.
Annals of Russian Betrayal
The ink was not even dry on Russia’s signature accepting hideously watered-down sanctions against the crazed Islamic dictatorship in Iran when Russian diplomats were trash-talking, undermining and betraying the nations of the West that Russia had just supposedly supported.
No intelligent person can be surprised by this action, of course, given that the vast majority of movers and shakers in the Kremlin are proud KGB spies. But it does not seem there are any intelligent people in the administration of U.S. President Barack Obama. In fact, they’re not only too stupid to be surprised, they’re too stupid to even notice what is happening.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the third installment of our series from Dave Essel translating the latest issue of the Nemtsov White Paper condemning the Putin years. The first installment is here, the second is here, and the prior issues are here. Video of Nemtsov and Milov at the press release is here.
PUTIN: What 10 Years of Putin Have Brought
An independent expert report by
Vladimir Milov and Boris Nemtsov
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
CHAPTER FOUR: Dead End in the Caucasus
The Caucasus has played a key part in raising Putin to Olympian political heights. Immediately after he was appointed prime-minister in 1999, Putin initiated military engagements against Chechen separatists and memorably promised to “slaughter them in their outhouses” [TN: the Russian phrase “zamochit v sortire” is intended to sound crude but does not really have much meaning – I would have gone for “drown them in their own sh*t” in a literary translation. This manner of speech is much more “Putin”.] Riding the terrorism wave, Putin got the support of a large number of people and became president in Spring 2000.
For the rest of the decade, the myth has carefully been cultivated that Putin pacified the Caucasus and beat the terrorists. In 2007, Putin declared that “ international terrorists’ aggression has been stopped in its tracks thanks to the courage and unity of the people of Russia.”
Quite the opposite, however, is true. Below you will find a table listing numbers of acts of terrorism over the last decade. This table has been assembled by us from data officially promulgated by spokesmen for law enforcement and the specials services.
Joel Brinkley, a professor of journalism at Stanford University and former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, writing in the San Francisco Chronicle:
Before Russian President Dmitry Medvedev came to visit California this week, he sent a warship ahead. After docking at San Francisco, the captain insisted that the battle cruiser’s visit was a sign of friendship.
If that were so, why didn’t Medvedev send a ballet company or a cultural exhibit to coincide with his visit, instead of a war vessel bristling with big guns and cruise-missile launchers? But then Russians can be a pugnacious people, and Medvedev wanted to make a point: Don’t take us for granted. We are still an important power.
That might be, but Medvedev chose to visit a part of the United States that boldly demonstrates two of Russia’s greatest weaknesses: creativity and innovation. “It’s not by chance that I came here,” Medvedev admitted to an audience at Stanford University. “I wanted to see with my own eyes the origin of success.” And it’s no wonder: Can you think of a significant Russian technological invention of recent times?
The problem isn’t the Russian people. Thousands of them are at work across Silicon Valley creating the very products and services Medvedev came to emulate.
Before it’s News reports on the outrageous misconduct of a small number of foolhardy American corporations. Did somebody say boycott?
Yesterday, Cisco announced a more than one billion dollar initiative to leapfrog innovation in Russia’s ICT sector. As part of the Skolkovo Project, Cisco will establish a “physical presence” in Skolkovo, relocate employees from its engineering team to the area, and launch Skolkovo as a model for Cisco’s“Smart+Connected Communities” by building networked infrastructure that enables a range of technologies like the smart grid, smarter transportation information hubs, and public safety surveillance hubs.
Paul Goble reports:
After a Moscow city duma deputy proposed preparing a “Code of the Muscovite” to tell new arrivals what behavior is appropriate and what is not in the Russian capital, politicians in St. Petersburg have proposed coming up with an analogous document for the Northern Capital, a step that highlights the absurdities and dangers of such actions. On the one hand, Ilya Raskin writes in Vestnik Civitas, there is a very real chance that other cities and even small towns and villages will do the same, something that will make this an “all-Russian” phenomenon without the powers that be in the central government having to take responsibility. (In St. Petersburg, Elena Babich, an LDPR deputy in the city Duma, has called for the development of “a dress code” for gastarbeiters so that they will better fit in with the city’s longtime residents, something she said would be a supplement to the “ABCs for the Beginning Petersburger” developed last year.)
And on the other, Raskin notes, the timing of the Moscow proposal is suspicious: It appeared just as the FSB called for giving its officers the power to issue warnings to citizens without reference to the courts, a coincidence that represents in Raskin’s words, “a standard method of districting attention and [producing] disorientation.”
Posted in ideology, russia
The Economist reports:
It was bad enough that an art exhibition attracted the attention of Russia’s criminal-justice authorities. It was worse that the exhibition was in Moscow’s Sakharov centre and museum, one of the few institutions in Russia that stands squarely behind the tradition of human rights, exemplified by the saintly physicist and dissident for whom it is named. Now prosecutors have said that they want the organisers of the 2007 “Forbidden Art” exhibition, the director of the centre, Yuri Samodurov, and Andrei Yerofeev, an art historian (both pictured), to be sentenced to a three-year jail term for “debasing the religious beliefs of citizens and inciting religious hatred”. Many say that the exhibition’s real crime was to highlight the overlap between official orthodoxy and the religious version.
The prosecutors’ move has aroused a furious reaction from the dwindling ranks of Russia’s intelligentsia, and in the non-Kremlin media. In an open letter to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Mr Yerofeev apologises (link in Russian) for unintentionally hurting believers’ feelings, but also blasts the church for teaming up with hardline officials and rightwing extremists. Which, of course, was one of the messages of the exhibition.
A leading Russian intellectual and professor of Russian at Oxford Universiry, Andrei Zorin, has sent the following comment to Eastern Approaches. (The full Russian version is here.)