Monthly Archives: September 2010

October 1, 2010 — Contents

FRIDAY OCTOBER 1 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Michael McFaul, Putin’s Best Friend

(2)  Putin: What is wrong with Russia

(3)  Russians, Starving

(4)  The Tragicomedy known as the Russian Army

(5)  CARTOON:  Luzhkov’s Final Word

NOTE:  LR Publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest piece on the American Thinker blog details the horrific treachery of one Michael McFaul. Be afraid, be very afraid.

NOTE:  More shame and disgrace for Russian women’s tennis as the vaunted Maria Sharapova is summarily booted out of the Pan-Pacific Open by an aging Japanese journeywoman.  Ouch.

EDITORIAL: Michael McFaul, Putin’s Best Friend

EDITORIAL

Michael McFaul, Putin’s Best Friend

Michael McFaul, Best Pal of Putin

In the latest installment of her Russia column on the powerful and influential mega-blog The American Thinker, LR founder and publisher Kim Zigfeld exposes the horrifying treachery of the Hoover Institution‘s Michael McFaul, as he feverishly works to help the fetid, odious Obama administration cover its tracks on Russia.  Kim points her finger directly at McFaul, showing how he has betrayed his conservative lineage in favor of the glitz and glamor of the Obama White House, allowing himself to be used as a smokescreen that can help Obama avoid responsibility for his heinous abrogation of American values where Russia policy is concerned.

To this we respond:  What about Hoover?

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Putin: What is wrong with Russia

Anders Aslund, writing in the Moscow Times:

Some advice to a young Russian woman: “It is better to marry a top state official than an oligarch. The money is the same, but job security is so much greater.”

All surveys show that Russia’s pervasive corruption is increasingly concentrated to the top. What is the cost of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin? The stock market discount of Russia in relation to Brazil is 45 percent, almost $1 trillion. The Russia risk equals the cost of Putin. It reflects Yukos and other confiscations, as well as Putin’s interference in private business. For example, two years ago, Mechel’s stock price fell by half in the days after Putin’s reckless attack on its main owner.

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Russians, Starving

The Moscow Times reports that Russia is on the verge of a massive nationwide grain shortage.  Meanwhile, Russia is slashing farm subsidies by half.  Talk about a rock and hard place! Nice work, Mr. Putin!

Russia faces an “acute” grain shortage after the country’s worst drought in at least 50 years and may import more than 6 million metric tons of cereals, SovEcon said Thursday.

The country will have a grain surplus of 4 million tons at most when the next marketing year starts on July 1, 2011, after domestic usage of 77 million tons, the researcher said on its web site. Russian grain supply in the current year will be between 77 million and 81 million tons, it said, calling the Agriculture Ministry’s 90 million-ton estimate “erroneous.”

“There will be a most acute shortage in the market,” SovEcon said. “The country won’t last until the new crop with 4 million tons of inventories.”

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The Tragicomedy known as the Russian Army

Paul Goble reports:

For four years, a Kamchatka journalist says, draftees from Koryak district have not been able to show up for military service because there has been no money from the government to pay for the air fares needed to bring them to central dispatch places, one measure of the difficulties involved in connecting parts of Russia not linked by roads.

But as Vyacheslav Skalatsky shows, the combination of cutbacks in air service to distant locations within the Russian Federation and rapidly increasing prices for air fares has broader consequences, both preventing young men from getting better jobs that military experience can open for them and meaning that people who are ill cannot get medical attention.

When he first reported this, the Kamchatka journalist says, he and his colleagues “understood that the bureaucrats might have not been able to deal with this problem just as with others. But we were not prepared to plumb the depths of their unprofessionalism. Now that has happened, and Skalatsky notes that “the task of bringing draftees to the kray center is only part of a large social problem of the entire Koryak district. Young people [from there] cannot be called to military service as is guaranteed by the Constitution. And then they cannot find more or less attractive work because of the lack of such service.”

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CARTOON: Luzhkov’s Final Word

Source: Ellustrator.

September 27, 2010 — Contents

MONDAY SEPTEMBER 27 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL: Putin’s Bloody mahem against Children

(2)  EDITORIAL: Russian Hypocrisy knows no Bounds

(3)  The Craven Obamaniacs, Complicit in Dictatorship

(4)  Brutal Sexism Continues in Putin’s Russia

(5)  The Collapse of Science in Putin’s Russia

(6) Sidorov on the Luzhkov Fiasco

NOTE:  If you have Facebook you can watch an amusing and charming Photoshop video of Yulia Tymoshenko, to the beat of the late great Roy Orbison’s “Pretty Woman.”

EDITORIAL: Putin’s Bloody mayhem against Children

EDITORIAL

Putin’s Bloody mayhem against Children

Did you know that one Russian woman is murdered by her husband every single hour in Vladimir Putin‘s Russia?  Did you know that there are 8,736 hours in a year?  As we report in today’s issue, Russian women are being slaughtered in their homes by their drunken, violent, crazed “husbands” with horrifying regularity, and not once during his rule over the country has the demonic dictator spoken out against it. One can only infer that he approves, and perhaps engages in the same type of violence himself.

But Russia’s conduct towards women is nothing compared to what it does to its children.

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EDITORIAL: Russian Hypocrisy knows no Bounds

EDITORIAL

Russian Hypocrisy knows no Bounds

Anyone who knows Russia even casually has heard it many times:  It’s wrong to publicly criticize government leaders, it undermines their authority and their ability to do good for people.  That’s why the state has to control all the major TV stations and newspapers, and become a national cheerleader to inspire Russians who would otherwise give up hope in dealing with the horrific problems they face every day.

It’s total crap, of course, but OK, let’s go with it.  Assuming the Kremlin is right, how in the world can it possibly justify suddenly using a massive TV campaign to attack Yuri Luzhkov, the Mayor of Moscow, last week?

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The Craven Obamaniacs, Complicit in Dictatorship

David J. Kramer, writing in the Washington Post:

After opposition protests in Russia were violently suppressed in May, July and August, spokesmen for the National Security Council and the State Department expressed “concern” and “regret” that Russian authorities were not respecting the freedom of assembly. During the May 31 crackdown, one journalist who days before had interviewed NSC Russia expert Michael McFaul had his arm broken. When McFaul and Undersecretary of State William Burns met with a group of human rights activists and others this month in Moscow, longtime activist Lev Ponomaryov was notably absent. He had been arrested for giving an interview critical of the mayor of Moscow during which he allegedly “stepped on the foot of a militia officer.” Burns lamely called it “regrettable” that Ponomaryov was unable to attend.

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Brutal Sexism Continues in Putin’s Russia

Radio Free Europe reports:

It’s one of the most visible changes on Moscow’s streets. Twenty years ago, you could go weeks without seeing a single woman driver. Now it seems there’s a woman behind the wheel of every second car.

One of them is Lera Labzina, who’s been driving for two years and says that makes her “very, very happy.”

“Driving represents another step toward women’s independence,” she says.

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More on the Collapse of Science in Putin’s Russia

To put it simply, Russia’s best and brightest are morons, hardly surprising given the horrifying facts in our lead editorial about Russia’s ordinary citizens as child and women killers.  Professor Konstantin Sonin, writing in the Moscow Times:

On Saturday, pages from the English version of the Russian Academy of Sciences web site contained several amusing translation errors. For example, the renowned Institute for Protein Research was incorrectly named “Squirrel Institute.” (The Russian word for protein, belok, is similar to the word for squirrel, belka.)

Bloggers — many of whom are employed by Russian Academy of Sciences institutions — did not know whether to laugh or cry. In fact, there were a number of amusing mistakes, all of which seemed to be the result of running the Russian text through online translators and then failing to edit the result.

The sad part is that these mistakes went unnoticed for quite some time. This episode was just one more blow to the reputation of the academy’s leadership, especially following Russian Academy of Sciences president Yury Osipov’s recent comment that there is no compelling need for Russian scholars to know English.

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Sidorov on the Luzhkov Fiasco

Dmitri Sidorov, Washington correspondent for Kommersant, has a great new blog on the Forbes website. Here’s his post on the Luzhkov fiasco:

President Dmitry Medvedev’s awkward attempts to fire Moscow Mayor Yuri Luzhkov during the past two weeks look pathetic, and serve as yet another indication of his very limited authorities when it comes to running the country. In reality, no one except for the Kremlin inner circle knows what triggered a scandal. However, my sources in Moscow insist that economic dispute between Medvedev and Luzhkov teams led to the Russian president’s rage.

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September 22, 2010 — Contents

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 22 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  The Four Russian Musketeers

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Arkady Dvorkovich, Lying Bastard

(3)  The KGB Seizes Russia

(4)  The Ticking Time Bomb in Vladivostok

(5)  CARTOON:  The Putin Generation at Play

EDITORIAL: The Four Russian Musketeers

EDITORIAL

The Four Russian Musketeers

From left: Ryzhkov, Kasyanov, Nemtsov and Milov declare war on Putin

Last week in Moscow four of the most formidable opponents of the Putin dictatorship openly joined forces in Moscow:  They included a former prime minister (Mikhail Kasyanov), a former first deputy prime minister (Boris Nemtsov), a former leading opposition parliamentarian (Vladimir Ryzkhkov)  and a former high-ranking executive official from the Kremlin (Vladimir Milov).  They call their group “Russia Without Corruption and Lawlessness.”  They were clear in their motivations:  “The prospect of having the great Putin till the year 2024 in our country is a disaster for Russia,” Nemtsov said.

The Kremlin is worried, and well it should be.  This formidable quartet has every necessary qualification to unseat the Putin regime.

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EDITORIAL: Arkady Dvorkovich, Lying Bastard

EDITORIAL

Arkady Dvorkovich, Lying Bastard

Arkady Dvorkovich: Pretty scary looking, huh?

Writing on Huffington Post last week Arkady Dvorkovich, the chief economic adviser to Russia’s sham “president” Dima Medvedev, spewed forth a torrent of shameless lies and distortions about Medvedev’s record on technology innovation.

Dvorkovich listed seven specific alleged achievements of the Medvedev regime, each one more specious and dishonest than the next.  Here his what he said in his own malignant words:

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The KGB Seizes Russia

Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan , co-founders of Agentura.ru, writing in The Moscow Times:

In December 2000, then-director of the Federal Security Service Nikolai Patrushev proudly described the FSB’s rank and file: “Our best colleagues, the honor and pride of the FSB, don’t do their work for the money,” he said in an interview with Komsomolskaya Pravda. “They all look different, but there is one very special characteristic that unites all these people, and it is a very important quality. It is their sense of service. They are, if you like, our new nobility.”

Patrushev hit the nail on the head. Throughout the 2000s, the FSB indeed became the country’s new elite, enjoying expanded responsibilities and immunity from public oversight or parliamentary control. Putin made the FSB the main security agency in Russia, allowing it to absorb much of the former KGB and granting it the right to operate abroad, collect information and carry out special operations.

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The Ticking Time Bomb called Vladivostok

Paul Goble reports:

One out of four people on the streets of the Far Eastern Russian city of Vladivostok are immigrants, but increasingly they come from Central Asia and even the North Caucasus rather than China, a shift that residents there and commentators in Moscow are still trying to adjust to.

An article in the city’s newspaper Zolotoy Rog suggests that workers and their families from the five post-Soviet Central Asian countries form an ever more significant share not only of the migrant flows into Russia’s Far East but also of that region’s population as a whole.

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CARTOON: The Putin Generation at Play

Source:  Ellustrator.

September 15, 2010 — Contents

FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 15 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Russia is not Sustainable

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The Eternal Russian Mystery

(3)  EDITORIAL:  What Russians mean by “Democracy”

(4)  Russians in Ukraine reject Russia

(5)  Microsoft Condemns the Kremlin!

EDITORIAL: Russia is not Sustainable

EDITORIAL

Russia is not Sustainable

“What became clear from the financial crisis is that Russia is not a sustainable BRIC,” said Mark Leonard, director of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

What makes it so clear that Russia isn’t sustainable?  The Wall Street Journal reports a truly stunning fact:  “After years of rapid economic growth, Russia was hit hard by the crisis. Last year, its economy shrank by 7.9%. That put its economic performance in 206th place out of 213 countries, according to the Central Intelligence Agency.”

That’s right:  Last year, only seven countries on the entire planet performed worse than the one presided over by proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin.

So now, a desperate Russia is attempting to make common cause with the European Union. Good luck with that, Russians.

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EDITORIAL: The Eternal Russian Mystery

EDITORIAL

The Eternal Russian Mystery

Russia has been famously described as a riddle wrapped in mystery surrounded by an enigma.  And the fundamental question foreigners are always left with having dealt with Russians is:  “Is it dishonesty, or stupidity?”

Which one, for instance, would make Vladimir Putin say “that Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president of the U.S. four times in a row, and that didn’t damage the U.S. Constitution.”  Is Putin really such an ignorant ape that he doesn’t know Americans immediately changed their Constitution after FDR passed from the scene, concluding his bid for power was outrageous and dangerous?

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EDITORIAL: What Russians mean by “Democracy”

EDITORIAL

What Russians mean by “Democracy”

“I categorically do not agree with those who maintain that there is no democracy in Russia, that it is ruled by authoritarian tradition.  Russia, without a doubt, is a democracy. Yes, it is young, immature, imperfect, inexperienced — but it is democracy. We are at the very beginning of the path.  They tell us about parliamentary democracy. Our Kyrgyz friends have taken the path. But for Russia, as, I am afraid, for Kyrgyzstan as well, parliamentary democracy is a catastrophe.  Nothing needs to be radically changed. Not because it is not allowed, but because there is no need”

–Russian “president” Dima Medvedev, speaking at the “World Political Forum” in Yaroslavl, Russia on September 10, 2010

What does Mr. Medvedev understand from the term “democracy,” which he takes no trouble to define? If it does not include a “parliament” with rival political parties, then what pray tell does it include?  Everyone knows that Russia’s direct presidential elections are shamelessly rigged, so obviously they too are not part of Medvedev’s definition of “democracy.” What is?  What aspect of Russian society is any way democratic?  Governors and mayors are directly controlled by the Kremlin, there is no parliament, no contested presidential elections, no opposition parties, no critical national media.

Perhaps a clue can be found in an AP report which stated: “Anyone who says that Russia has a totalitarian system is ‘either lying or has a terrible memory’ he said. Medvedev said protests were ‘normal’ but had to take place ‘within the limits of the law.’”  So, it seems that when Medvedev utters the word “democracy” he means “not totalitarian” or “not Soviet.” As long as Russia is not as repressive as it was in Soviet times, then, it’s enough of a democracy that, in Medvedev’s opinion, it needs no radical change.

That is sick and perverse.  The “president” of Russia, supposedly a “lawyer,” does not even begin to comprehend the meaning of democracy or rule of law. He believes his country is such a basket case that it is making all the progress it can simply to avoid being a worst-case scenario right now, today.

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Russians in Ukraine begin to reject Russia

Paul Goble reports:

An “extremely significant segment” of ethnic Russians in Western Ukraine, particularly among the younger generation, regularly vote for pro-Ukrainian parties, either because of “nationalist propaganda” or because they hope to live “‘in Europe’” rather than to maintain “ties with their historical Motherland – Russia,” according to a Russian analyst.

And that is just one of the indications of the declining role of an ethnic community that came into existence in the years after World War II and that played a large role there until the 1990s, Dmitry Korolyev says in a detailed essay on the Russians in the Western Ukrainian city of Lviv.  The first Russian who settled in Lviv, he writes, was Ivan Fedorov, the printer who arrived in 1572, but until 1939, there were very few ethnic Russians there. They consisted mostly of anti-Bolshevik White Army soldiers and their families, and they numbered at most in “the hundreds.”

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Microsoft Condemns the Kremlin!

The Kremlin has lost a major battle and received another humiliating international black eye.  The Microsoft Website reports:

A story in yesterday’s New York Times reports on anti-piracy enforcement actions in Russia that have been used for more nefarious purposes than protecting intellectual property rights.

As General Counsel for Microsoft, it was not the type of story that felt good to read. It described instances in which authorities had used piracy charges concerning Microsoft software to confiscate computers and harass non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and others engaged in public advocacy. It suggested that there had been cases when our own counsel at law firms had failed to help clear things up and had made matters worse instead.

Whatever the circumstances of the particular cases the New York Times described, we want to be clear that we unequivocally abhor any attempt to leverage intellectual property rights to stifle political advocacy or pursue improper personal gain. We are moving swiftly to seek to remove any incentive or ability to engage in such behavior.

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