Daily Archives: July 7, 2010

EDITORIAL: The Russians and their Spies


The Russians and their Spies

Not even the most crazed of Russosphile or Russian nationalist fanatics can deny it:  If a giant sleeper cell of American spies were discovered in Russia, seeking to secretly infiltrate every aspect of Russian society at its most intimate and basic levels, Russians would be livid with rage.  Nashi would march on the American embassy with furious anger, screaming epithets of hatred and bile, and America would be vilified as the Great Satan just as it often is in places like Iran.  We wouldn’t be surprised if the Russian Orthodox Church weighed in.

So what are Americans to make of the fact that Russians are doing it to them? How should they react? What should their response be when they learn that Russian nuclear bombers are patrolling their coastline, causing their fighter defenses to scramble?  How should they understand the fact that Russia is ruled by a proud KGB spy who is liquidating every American value at breakneck speed?

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Another Original LR Translation: Latynina on Skolkovo, via Essel

Made in Skolkovo*

Yuliya Latynina

Yezhednevny Zhurnal

29 June 2010

Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina

President Medvedev was visiting Silicon Valley. Our Comrade President was told of the achievements of our American colleagues and in turn invited them to take part in the modernisation of Russia. President Medvedev’s visit had two components – one of them was political.

President Medvedev does not in fact have any authority. He can’t fire and replace anyone in the “power” ministries [TN: Interior, Defence, Justice etc…], can’t get into moneymaking deals, can’t push his pals into important posts. In short, he can’t do anything of what it means to be in power in Russia today. What he can do, though, is tweet on Twitter and lunch with foreign presidents so that they can believe that there are some liberal trends in the Kremlin. That is the job that he was given to do by Vladimir Putin and Medvedev puts his all into it, hoping against hope that the West will one day back him instead of Putin.

What the White House really thought about Medvedev’s to California is easily deduced from its pre-visit briefing given to journalists and its press release following the visit.

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EDITORIAL: Caucasus Rebels, getting Bolder by the Minute


Caucasus Rebels, getting Bolder by the Minute

They are getting bolder by the minute.  Why, it’s almost like Shamil Basayev were still calling the shots.

Last week a bomb ripped through a security cordon outside a theater in Grozny, Chechnya.  Inside was the regional dictator and homicidal lunatic Ramzan Kadyrov himself, watching a show.  Next time, the local rebels were obviously saying, the bomb will be inside the theater and Kadyrov (and his cadres) will be dead.

So much for Kadyrov having pacified the Caucasus rebels.

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Essel on the Russian Road

Russian Roads – An Oxymoron

by Dave Essel

My translation of Yulia Latynina’s piece from Yezhedevny Zhurnal in today’s issue shows what has come of Russia’s efforts to build a competitor to Silicon Valley.  Meanwhile, one cannot help but be reminded of other pressing Russian issues that may be getting left behind.

No Westerner who has not been to Russia, for instance, can truly grasp what a Russian means by bad roads (or, by the same token – a “good” Russian road). In fact, some of the infrastructure labelled road or highway in Russia would be deemed impassable by loggers in Oregon.

As I translated the road section of  Milov/Nemtsov’s latest report, I could not help googling for things about roads in Russia. Laughing just to keep from crying should be the supreme Russian phrase and not a line from the Delta.

I collected a few pictures for fun.

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Russians, Spying on Americans

James Kirchick of Radio Free Eurpe and the New Republic, writing in the New York Daily News:

The FBI arrest last week of 10 alleged Russian spies has produced a shrug of the shoulders on both sides of the Atlantic. On Wednesday, a senior Russian government official told the state-run Interfax news agency that the incident “will not negatively affect Russian-U.S. relations.”

Such soothing tones have been echoed in Washington, where The New York Times reported that the White House “expressed no indignation that its putative partner was spying on it.”

Many analysts are echoing this official nonchalance. Writing in the Financial TimesKing’s College London Prof. Anatol Lieven concluded that the brouhaha is but a “temporary rift” in Russo-American relations, and should do nothing to forestall the fruitful development of the “west scaling back its ambitions in the former Soviet Union with Russia‘s growing realization that it needs a new partnership with its former U.S. and European rivals.”

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