July 19, 2010 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Neo-Soviet Russia Abolishes Art

(2)  EDITORIAL:  In Russia, Where’s the Beef?

(3)  Europe must Look East

(4)  Russians, Still Scared of Sex

(5)  CARTOON:  How to Beat the Russians

NOTE:  LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment of her Russia column on the mighty Pajamas Media mega blog is up and running, exposing the total collapse of the Obama administration’s policy towards Russia.

NOTE:  In a lonely effort to fight back against both (1) and (4) above, one Russian artist has adopted a new painting style — she uses her boobs instead of paintbrushes.

7 responses to “July 19, 2010 — Contents

  1. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev said Thursday that the killer of prominent human rights activist Natalya Estemirova has been identified, but the investigation into her 2009 death is ongoing.

    Mr. Medvedev said the killer is on an international wanted list.


    Oh, so it’s Deuma deputy AdamDelimkhanov.


    Medvedev took a personal interest in Estemirova’s killing shortly after it occurred, issuing an order during a news conference with Merkel in August to find and punish the killers.

    Representatives of the Memorial rights group, where Estemirova worked, voiced skepticism that a manhunt was under way for the killer.

    Yekaterina Sokiryanskaya, an activist with Memorial’s Grozny branch, said investigators only had one version of the crime that implicated Islamic militant Alkhazur Bashayev, who was shot dead by law enforcement authorities in November. Investigators linked Bashayev to the killing after finding a photograph of Estemirova in a militant hideout that he supposedly used.

    Sokiryanskaya said Bashayev certainly had accomplices but questioned whether investigators were making a mistake by linking the killing to Islamic militants.

    “We think the version implicating Bashayev is completely unsound,” she said.

    Memorial head Oleg Orlov agreed, saying, “This is a highly dubious version but very convenient for the authorities,” Interfax reported.

    Orlov accused investigators last week of ignoring evidence that Chechen officials might have been involved in the death.

    Estemirova collected information on illegal executions, kidnappings and arson carried out by Chechen law enforcement officers, Orlov said.


    • The brutal assassination provoked widespread condemnation, both nationally and internationally. A year ago I and many others expressed our deep condolences to the family and colleagues of Mrs Estemirova and urged the Russian authorities to carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation with a view to ensure the criminal accountability and punishment of the perpetrators.

      I have raised the case with the Russian authorities repeatedly since then, including with President Dmitry Medvedev in January 2010. During my meetings with the federal Investigation Committee in September, December and January I was assured that the investigation would be successfully completed in the near future. The world is still waiting for the results.


  2. Medvedev Warns West Not to Meddle in FSB Bill


    President Dmitry Medvedev curtly warned foreign countries against meddling in Russia’s domestic security issues Thursday, referring to a bill aimed at expanding the powers of the Federal Security Service.

    Critics fear that the bill could be used to further crack down on opposition protests and intimidate critical media outlets.

    Medvedev said cryptically Thursday that what was going on in the Duma was decided on his direct orders. It was not clear whether he meant the initiation of the bill or the decision to weaken it.

  3. At about 12 p.m. a senior officer arrived at the site and personally kicked each detainee between the legs. After a short break a serviceman with a dog arrived and set the dog on the detainees. Then the detainees were ordered to run to the basement. In the basement they were ordered to take off their clothes; meanwhile Murad Gelayev and Mr Sul.S. were seated at a table and questioned. The applicant heard one of the guards ordering Murad Gelayev to put his hands on the table and hitting Murad’s fingers with a truncheon. Next the officer asked the other servicemen if they had a knife. He could not find one in the basement and went outside. Having found a knife, which looked like that of a hunter, he cut off Murad Gelayev’s ear, wrapped it in a bandage and put it in his pocket saying: “It’s a souvenir for me”. After that he cut Mr Sul.S.’s ear off and gave it to another officer saying: “And here is a souvenir for you”.


  4. Duma Passes Controversial Bill Expanding FSB Powers

    July 16, 2010
    WASHINGTON –Russia’s lower house of parliament has passed a controversial bill that widens the powers of the Federal Security Service (FSB), the successor to the Soviet-era KBG.

    Under the legislation, the FSB is granted the right to issue official warnings to individuals who are deemed to be creating the conditions for a criminal act “against the country’s security.” The bill also imposes fines and detention of up to 15 days for individuals judged to have hindered the work of an FSB employee.

    The bill had the backing of the ruling United Russia party, which is led by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The vote was 354 in favor and 96 against. Opponents were from the Communist party and left-leaning A Just Russia party.

    To become law, the bill must pass the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of parliament, which is widely considered a rubber-stamp body for the government.

    Medvedev Initiative

    Proposed in the aftermath of deadly suicide attacks that rocked Moscow’s metro in late March, the bill’s supporters say the measure will help prevent terrorism and prevent radicalism among the country’s youth.

    At a July 15 press conference in Yekaterinberg with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said the bill was aimed at “improving” existing laws.

    “Every country has the right to improve its legislation, including regarding its security services, and we will do that too. And I want you to know that [this bill was drawn up] on my direct instructions,” he said.

    The bill that passed the Duma was a weakened version of an original bill that would have expanded the FSB’s powers even more.

    Earlier this month, after protest from rights groups, the Duma’s Security Committee agreed to remove provisions that would have allowed the FSB to summon people it believes are about to commit a crime and punish those who disobey. The FSB’s right to make public its warnings to individuals was also removed from the legislation, and a mechanism to appeal against the warnings was added.

    Lawyers, civil rights activists, and members of the opposition say that under the guise of making Russia more secure, the law could be used to intimidate opponents of the government and stifle protests.

    Outside the Duma building today, three deputies of the opposition Russian United Democrat Party (Yabloko), which is not represented in parliament, were arrested as they protested the new measure.

    Speaking to a Reuters correspondent in Moscow, Yan Rachinsky, of the human rights organization Memorial, said the vagueness of the new provisions could lead to an abuse of power. “The ambiguity of definitions [in this legislation] and the mystery surrounding the powers that it gives [to security agencies] make us very worried,” Rachinsky said.

    In an open letter to the Russian Federation Council, the head of Memorial, Oleg Orlov, Moscow Helsinki Group chairwoman Lyudmila Alexeyeva, Moscow Bar Association President Genry Reznik, opposition members, and writers said the law would be a blow to personal rights and represented a return to the days when the KGB had absolute power.

    The letter says the new measures undermine the principle of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’

    Political Games?

    But Vladimir Zhirinovsky, the leader of the ultra-nationalist Liberal Democratic party, which supported the bill, said opponents of the legislation are misinterpreting it. He denied that the law is repressive, saying, “No one is going to arrest or deprive anyone of freedom. We are only talking about one thing: preventative measures.”

    Lyubov Sliska, the Duma’s deputy speaker, also defended the new measures, saying that security service agents are not above the law and therefore cannot use the bill to cover up abuses of power.

    “I don’t think [security officers] are going to abuse their powers because this law concerns them as well. They are also Russian citizens and if they break this law or abuse it, there is also the prosecutor’s office that oversees the implementation of legislation,” he said.

    In an interview with RFE/RL’s Russian Service, human rights campaigner and former Soviet political prisoner Aleksandr Podrabinek said the bill could represent a power-play within the government. He said he doesn’t see it as a sincere attempt to improve security.

    “Security services are now trying to broaden their powers, even by such nonsensical means, and they are doing it not to perform their functions better, but to improve their image, perhaps in the eyes of other government agencies. I think it’s an ambitious political game.”

    During the 2000-2008 presidency of Vladimir Putin, who himself was a former KGB agent, the FSB markedly increased its influence over Russian society.

    Human rights activists had hoped his successor, Medvedev, would scale back the FSB’s authority, but now say that he has only instituted cosmetic changes.


  5. Moscow analysts: Expansion in FSB’s powers threatens Medvedev’s reputation

    Paul Goble

    The Duma today passed on third reading a measure that dramatically expands the powers of the FSB, a measure that Russian rights activists are urging President Dmitry Medvedev not to sign and that some analysts are already suggesting represents a threat to his reputation as a jurist committed to a law-based state.

    Under the terms of the measure, which now goes to the Federation Council and then the president for approval, the FSB in cases where there is no evidence of a crime can declare any Russian of being engaged in “impermissible actions which create the conditions for the committing of a crime,” a declaration that opens the way to arbitrary actions against people.

    Moreover, the new measure allows the FSB to declare anyone who does not obey the legal demand or order of an FSB officer in violation of the country’s administrative code and hold him or her to account without the presentation of any evidence or any referral of the matter to a court ( http://www.specletter.com/news/2010-07-16/10521.html ).

    Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/74017/#ixzz0tx3fUkPi

  6. One more police-terrorist shot dead in Dagestan! Yes,in Dagestan the policemen are terrorists!!! Like all over Russia


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