Daily Archives: July 1, 2010

July 7, 2010 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  In Putin’s Russia, a Perfect Zero out of Ten

(2)  Putvedev and its Core Instability

(3)  It’s Army useless, Russia must rely on Nukes

(4)  The end of Democracy in Putin’s Russia

(5)  Backwards, Oppressive, Horrifying Russia


NOTE:  In honor of Independence Day in the USA, no issue was published on July 5, 2010.  We warmly congratulate the citizens of the USA on 234 years since the publishing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776, and 221 years since the adoption of the U.S. Constitution, by far the oldest on the face of this or any other planet.  The stability and prosperity that American democracy have brought to American shores since then is surely the envy of the civilized world, and rightfully the pride of every American.  Meanwhile, Russia has been a basket case of upheaval, violence, repression and squalor.  If only Russians could take a lesson from this brilliant day of human celebration!

EDITORIAL: In Putin’s Russia, a Perfect Zero out of Ten


In Putin’s Russia, a Perfect Zero out of Ten

With the grave situation for defenders of human rights and democracy growing worse in 2009, Nations in Transit findings show that over the past decade, Russia has undergone the largest decline of any country in the study of 29 countries in the former Communist states of Europe and Eurasia.

— Freedom House, Nations in Transit 2010

The latest report from Freedom House on the progress of “post-Soviet” nations has once again determined that Russia is by far the most backwards and oppressive nation in that benighted region.  Nobody vaguely familiar with this blog can be surprised, of course, since we’ve often documented (see the “rating Russia” category in our sidebar) how Russia lags behind the entire world no matter what criteria are used to judge it.

After the jump, we review Russia’s most recent scores from ten separate international ratings agencies across a wide range of social, economic and political criteria.  In every single one of them, the Putin regime is deemed an absolute failure.  Not only does Russia fail to score as high as the top 50% in any category ranging from life expectancy to societal violence, Russia does not even break into the top 35% on one single occasion.

When only one study is at issue, a Russian propagandist can easily claim “Russophobia” and dismiss the results.  That becomes more difficult when two or three different studies from different parts of the world with different staffs of experts reach the same conclusion.

But, we believe, when ten different studies are presented, no thinking reasonable person can escape the conclusion that the government of Vladimir Putin is an abject disaster.  It’s not our opinion, it’s documented scientific fact.

Here are the results ranked by Russia’s performance starting with the best, showing the category, Russia’s precise score, it’s relative location in the group and the source of the study (a study of at least 100 other countries was required to be included):

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Putvedev and its Core Instability

Brian Whitmore, writing on the Power Vertical and translating from Novaya Gazeta:

The turbulence currently rattling Russia’s body politic resembles that which existed in the early perestroika period. There is a consensus that there is a need for change, the elite has split into two opposing camps unable to agree over what needs to be done, and neither side can garner a critical mass of support for their agenda.

That is the central argument of political analyst Kirill Rogov in an interesting piece in “Novaya gazeta.” Rogov argues that the agendas of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin “are fully formed and divergent” but neither of them is making a compelling case.

Here’s the money quote:

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Its Army Useless, Russia must rely on Nukes

Exposing yet another of U.S. President Barack Obama’s absurd propagandistic lies, Stephen G. Rademaker, who served as U.S. assistant secretary of state for arms control from 2002 to 2006, writing in the Moscow Times shows how Russia will never, ever seriously cut its tactical nuclear arsenal because its conventional forces are too much of a pathetic joke to be taken seriously:

A recurring theme in the U.S. Senate’s hearings on the New START treaty has been the disappointment expressed by many senators over the treaty’s failure to limit Russia’s tactical nuclear warheads. Supporters of New START respond that the treaty’s exclusive focus on strategic nuclear warheads follows the pattern of all previous U.S.-Russian arms control agreements. But the critics are rightly concerned that the number of strategic warheads has fallen so low that the United States can no longer ignore Russia’s overwhelming advantage in tactical warheads.

Strategic nuclear weapons are intended to win wars by targeting major cities, military bases and other “strategic” targets. Tactical weapons, by contrast, are designed for use on the battlefield. In practical terms, strategic nuclear weapons target the Russian and U.S. heartlands, while tactical nuclear weapons were designed for use in combat in Central Europe.

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The end of Democracy in Putin’s Russia

Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:

In December 2007, Yabloko and the Union of Right Forces, or SPS, suffered a crushing defeat in the State Duma elections. Each received less than 3 percent of the vote, short of the 7 percent threshold to gain seats in Duma. Yabloko led a poor campaign for those elections, and SPS, under Kremlin pressure, was afraid to run a number of well-known figures on its party list who were critical of the policies of then-President Vladimir Putin and United Russia.

Since then, the position of two of the remaining democratic parties has worsened. According to recent surveys, Yabloko’s ratings hover at about 1 percent. SPS was dissolved in 2008, and in its place the Kremlin created a new party, Right Cause, that is torn by internal divisions and is still unable to articulate a clear political platform. Yabloko and Right Cause have little chance of winning seats in the 2011 Duma elections.

Deputies elected to the next Duma will be the first to serve the new five-year term, which in December 2008 was increased from four years. That means that if liberal parties fail once again to gain seats in the parliament, they will have to wait until 2016 to give it another shot.

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Backwards, Oppressive, Horrifying Russia

Our lead editorial touts the latest “Nations in Transit” report from Freedom House, which finds that Russia  “has undergone the largest decline of any country in the study” of 29 countries in post-Soviet space where human rights and democracy are concerned.  Here is the executive summary from the Russia report.

Over the past decade, Russia’s government has become increasingly authoritarian. Boris Yeltsin’s presidential tenure from 1991 to 1999 saw competitive, but tainted, elections, relatively free television discussions, an incipient civil society, and somewhat decentralized political power. However, it laid the groundwork for increasingly authoritarian rule with the 1993 tank assault on the Parliament, a super-presidential constitution, the first Chechen war, and extensive corruption.

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The caption reads: ". . . who's the fairest of them all?"

Source:  Ellustrator.