Lawless, Barbaric Russia
Last week, Vladimir Putin was “shocked, shocked” to find bread prices rising in Russia as grain prices soared because of his badly bungled agricultural policies. As in Soviet times, one had the clear impression that Putin was threatening to round up and shoot the evil capitalist millers and bakers who dared pay attention to market reality and make him look bad. And Putin was was also aggressively carrying out a neo-Soviet coverup of the wildfire disaster that, as we show in in our other editorial in this issue, has laid Putin low.
The two great Roberts of Russia-blogging, Amsterdam and Coalson, coincidentally teamed up last week to offer the world three devastating accounts of the extent to which Vladimir Putin’s Russia has degenerated into a lawless, barbaric state unworthy of respect from civilized democratic nations.
Welcome back to the USSR!
First, Amsterdam reports on how Russia has chosen to simply disregard the ruling of an American court holding that Russia’s retention of a library of Jewish books is illegal.
Then, Coalson shows how Russia is steadfastly refusing to reform its own legal system, even as it uses obviously unconstitutional expansions of KGB power to crack down on civil society and deprive it of even more rights.
Finally, Amsterdam emphasizes that Medvedev’s ridiculous plans to create a Russian version of Silicon Valley are a total sham because Medvedev has done absolutely nothing in the first half of his presidency to protect the legal rights of foreign investors.
Referring to “political subversion of the judiciary” and “deep corruption within the judicial bureaucracy” Amsterdam writes about Russia as if it were a third-world banana republic — and indeed, but for a rocket program, that’s exactly what Russia is. Zaire with permafrost, and nuclear weapons. That such a country would imagine itself capable of attracting responsible foreign investment or of competing in a global free-market economy only goes to show how very neo-Soviet, that is detached from reality, Putin’s Russia has already become.
Amsterdam, who has deep personal experience in the Russian market, writes that “state-owned interests or private companies with close political ties enjoy unfair advantages in a court of law — it’s a real experience suffered every day by foreign investors in Russia.” But Medevedev and Putin act is if they think the rest of the world is not paying attention, and has no idea of the way foreign money is treated in Russia — or foreigners themselves.
We are though, paying attention. The world may still have some evil folks who want to help the Putin dictatorship, some greedy ones who don’t care about the harm they do, and some morons who can’t think of anything better to do with their extra cash than throw it down the Russian rat hole. But most people in the world are decent enough to reject the Putin regime, and Russia will only find itself that much more alone the more barbaric and neo-Soviet it chooses to become.