August 5, 2010 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  In Russia, a Dog’s Life

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Putin on the Edge

(3)  ESSEL:  See Russian Train Run

(4)  VIDEO:  Fighting Back against Putin’s Gestapo

(5)  Putin, Putin, Uber Alles!

(6)  Annals of Shamapova

NOTE:  We’ve got loads of video in today’s issue.  (1) and (4) both focus on YouTubes, and have you seen Direct TV’s new commercial lampooning the “New Russians”? If not have a peek.

NOTE:  Magnetic photos of real, normal, average Russian people living in real, normal, average Russian poverty, courtesy of English Russia.

NOTE:  Speaking of “A Dog’s Life” in Russia, here’s Russia at its worst, dismembering dogs for fun, also courtesy of English Russia.  Shocking, use care when viewing.


3 responses to “August 5, 2010 — Contents

  1. The shift away from Islamist radicalism, if confirmed by action on the ground, could present new complications for Moscow because of the moderate wing’s friendlier image in the West.

    Politicians in Europe and the United States condemn rebel violence but many are sympathetic to Chechens’ independence cause. The West is also critical of Moscow’s patchy human rights record and heavy-handed tactics in the region.

    Russia says the rebel movement is financed by international militant groups but analysts and rights groups are sceptical.

    Zakayev said Umarov, with his radical Islamist views, was manipulated by Moscow to reinforce that image, saying he was affectively toppled by those who disagreed with him.

    • Grigory Shvedov, editor of internet news agency Caucasian Knot,, said a conflict is brewing within the insurgency and that there was no reason to believe the earlier video was a fake.

      The desire of some rebels “for substantial change in the resistance, in the rebellion, is easily something that might be the real reason (for the two videos),” he told Reuters.

      Some Russian commentators have suggested that the younger generation of commanders either rejected Umarov’s readiness to target the civilian population, or alternatively did not consider him an effective military leader. In the video footage made public on August 1, Umarov explained his decision to step down in terms of the need to hand over responsibility to a younger and more energetic fighter.

      Akhmed Zakayev, leader of the Chechen Republic Ichkeria government in exile — who has for years claimed that the North Caucasus emirate was a plot by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) to discredit the concept of an independent Chechen state and that Umarov had unwittingly become their pawn — suggested to RFE/RL’s North Caucasus Service on August 2 that the younger commanders may have resented, and wanted to be free of, the influence and control of the Russian security services.

      If this is indeed the case, it is logical that the FSB would do all in its power to keep Umarov as nominal head of the insurgency.

  2. Moscow analyst: GONGOs returning in force in Russia today

    Paul Goble

    GONGOs – “government organized non-governmental organizations” – are increasingly being used by the powers that be in Russia to elbow aside genuine NGOs just as they did in the late Soviet period, thus contributing to a situation in which “history and farce” coexist, according to a leading Moscow human rights activist.

    In an essay in yesterday’s “Yezhednevny zhurnal,” Aleksandr Podrabinek says that in Russia today, there exist at one and the same time genuine NGOs and “a parody” of them, the GONGOs, although “the latter of course do not call themselves that,” seek to be equated with the former, and often are taken as such by others (

    “Such counterfeit organizations began to appear already in Soviet times, but recently they have become more numerous an active, Podrabinek suggests. “The classical example” of a GONGO was the International Commission on Human Rights set up by Moscow in1987 and headed by Fedor Burlatsky, a communist functionary.

    That organization sought to take over “all foreign contacts” about human rights in the Soviet Union and thus push to the side “the remains of the dissident movement and the new independent human rights groups.” Despite some successes in individual cases, the rights activist says, “it didn’t succeed” very often.

    “Today,” Podrabinek continues, “Russia’s GONGOs are more numerous and varied,” although “the designation of ‘public’ organizations as ‘government’ ones is conditional” because “in their founding documents, they do not declare their ties with the state.” Nonetheless, it is possible to identify them.

    There are two basic indicators. On the one hand, “on essential questions, they support the powers that be; and on the other, “financing for their activities they receive from domestic government structures.” (That distinguishes them from a third kind of NGO, the DONGO or donor-organized NGO, the status of which Podrabinek does not discuss here.)

    He gives as an example of one NGO that meets these GONGO standards, the “Resistance’ Movement, which receives budgetary financing for its activities and was tasked with distributing 170 million rubles (5.8 million US dollars) in grants to other bodies during 2009.

    This movement is headed by Olga Kostina, the wife of the deputy chief of the domestic politics administration of the Presidential Administration, and her “human rights defense credo” is reflected in her declaration that “over the course of decades, Russian human rights defense has been formed and conceived exclusively as a political force opposed to the powers that be.”

    Read more:

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