Daily Archives: September 12, 2010

September 15, 2010 — Contents

WEDNESDAY SEPTEMBER 15 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Appeasement and Shame in Yaroslavl

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Blood on the Sochi Snow?

(3)  EDITORIAL:  Putin’s Russia fails, and then it Fails Again!

(4)  Russia’s Collapsing Education System

(5)  Slaughter, Humiliation and Woe for Russia in Big Apple

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EDITORIAL: Appeasement and Shame in Yaroslavl

EDITORIAL

Appeasement and Shame in Yaroslavl

Sergei Mitrokhin. Leonid Gozman. Do you know those names?

Mitrokhin is the obscure leader of the obscure Yabloko party established by Gigori Yavlinsky, and Gozman is the even more obscure leader of the even more obscure Right Cause party, successor to the Union of Right Forces established by Boris Nemtsov.

Neither gentleman plays any significant role in the current Russian opposition movement led by Boris Nemtsov and Garry Kasparov. Neither party holds as much as a single seat in the Russian legislature.  So naturally, both were invited to the Kremlin’s sham “modernization” conference in Yaroslavl last week (200 miles north of — that is, very far from — Moscow) so the Kremlin could prove how liberal and open and democratic it is.   Neither offered any serious direct criticism of Putin or challenged his authority in any way.

Neither Kasparov nor Nemtsov nor any other serious opposition figure, of course, was on the guest list.  And, of course, the Americans on hand did not say a single word about their absence.

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EDITORIAL: Blood on the Olympic Snows of Sochi?

EDITORIAL

Blood on the Olympic Snows of Sochi?

Last week in the city of Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia and just 250 short miles from Sochi where the 2014 Winter Olympics are to be held, a bomb exploded in a marketplace, injuring at least 173 people.  Seventeen people, and the suicide bomber who triggered the blast, were killed.  Rioting followed, and even more were killed.

If it can happen in Vladikavkaz, it can happen in Sochi. If it does, world leaders who send their athletes to the Russian games will have blood on their hands.

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EDITORIAL: Putin’s Russia fails, and then it Fails Again!

EDITORIAL

Putin’s Russia fails, and then it Fails Again!

At the world basketball championships in Istanbul, Turkey, last week, Vladimir Putin‘s Russia reached the quarterfinals.  All it had to do to reach the semis, two games from a gold medal, was beat the United States.  It didn’t, but instead received a humiliating spanking that left world media talking about “sweet revenge” for the USA. Then, in a pathetic “consolation” game, Russia had the chance to play for fifth place, against Argentina.  Again, it failed.  This left Russia with the opportunity to win its final game and take seventh place in the world championships, and it finally managed to accomplish its task by barely beating tiny Slovenia.  Not only did Russia fail to medal, it never came remotely close to having a chance to compete for a medal.

Then it got oh, so much painfully worse.

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Russia’s Collapsing Education System

Russia already spends far less on education than most other modern countries – about 3.5 percent of GDP – compared to 7-8 percent of GDP among European countries, 14 percent of the GDP in Japan and a high of 23 percent of GDP in South Korea.

Paul Goble reports:

School teachers are not miners whose 1989 work action pointed to the end of Gorbachev’s Soviet Union, a Moscow commentator says, but Russian Education Minister Andrey Fursenko’s decision to lay off 200,000 educators could prove almost as explosive and trigger a political crisis for Vladimir Putin and his government.

That is because, experts say, there are currently more than 1,000,000 young people waiting in line to get into pre-school institutions, the absence of which has a serious impact on family life and thus a problem that will become ever more important if even more instructors at that level are fired as Fursenko is committed to doing. And in addition to that, many schools have teacher vacancies in key subject areas like science and mathematics, shortages that have been widely reported in the Russian media and that make it difficult for many Russians to accept Fursenko’s claim that the Russian Federation should be getting rid of such a large number of teachers.

In a commentary in Svobodnaya Pressa portal, Aleksandr Danilkin says that Fursenko’s plan to eliminate the jobs of one of every six teachers in the Russian Federation because Russian schools are overstaffed could prove “explosive” and even help “dig the grave of the Putin government.”

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Slaughter, humiliation and woe for Russia in the Big Apple

Fully one-fourth of the 32 women in the draw at the final grand slam tennis tournament of 2010, the U.S. Open in New York City, were Russians.  But if based on that you expected big things from the Land of Putin on the court, you were sadly mistaken.

It was nothing but slaughter, humiliation and woe once again for the Russians, who are ruining the very sport that gives them their living, making it an unwatchable charade.

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