FRIDAY DECEMBER 3 CONTENTS
NOTE: Maybe one of our more Photoshop-inclined readers can insert Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev into the following, suitable for framing?
FRIDAY DECEMBER 3 CONTENTS
NOTE: Maybe one of our more Photoshop-inclined readers can insert Mr. Putin and Mr. Medvedev into the following, suitable for framing?
Remembering the Horror of Russia’s Mayak Atrocity
A recent independent news report out of Australia reminds the world of what Russia has become under the “leadership” of Vladimir Putin — a toxic waste dump, the world’s nuclear toilet.
Russians, you see, hate it when foreigners look down on them and use them to wipe their feet — until Russians don’t hate it, and actually encourage it. It seems Russians have absolutely no problem with such attitudes by foreigners if Vladimir Putin, their anointed holy deity, is the one encouraging them to happen.
What a country! The details of Russia’s toxic nuclear quagmire are truly shocking, but even more so is the Kremlin’s total failure to try to protect Russians from the nightmare, and indeed its taking every possible step to make the problem much worse..
Russian Universities, Awful as Always
It always amuses us when Russians are “shocked, shocked” to learn that their universities have been exposed before the world as third-rate, as they were once again last week. The Moscow Times reported:
Not a single Russian university made it to the top 200 list of the world’s best schools released this fall by the Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the most authoritative global annual rating of higher education institutions. The top-ranked school is Harvard University, while many other U.S. and British universities prevail on the list.
The ranking is based on 13 elements, including research income, ration of international and domestic staff, income from industry, teaching, and citation impact.
The reasons that they are so wretched are as obvious as the sun.
Moscow is on the march. Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the most destabilizing – and reckless – great power on the world stage. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia could have become a stable democracy at peace with its neighbors.
Instead, Mr. Putin is erecting a Great Russian empire. He has imposed a brutal police state at home. Journalists routinely are killed. Critics and dissidents are jailed. Media freedoms and opposition parties are under assault. A gangster elite runs the Kremlin, plundering the country’s vast wealth.
Russia has become a rogue state. Mr. Putin’s aim is to make Moscow the center of an anti-American, anti-Western axis. Russia has waged a genocidal war in Chechnya. It has de facto annexed the Georgian provinces of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. It has reduced Belarus to an economic vassal. It menaces the Baltic States. Moscow asserts a sphere of influence in Central Asia and the Caucasus. It has sold vital missile and nuclear technology to Iran’s mullahs. It has close ties with Hugo Chavez’s Venezuela.
An editorial from the New York Times:
Russia’s newly outrageous legal treatment of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, the former owner of the country’s largest oil company, is a reminder that Russia has yet to grasp the idea of equal justice under law — especially when the Kremlin decides someone is in the way.
Mr. Khodorkovsky was convicted in 2005 on trumped-up charges of fraud and disobeying a court order and lost his company to Kremlin loyalists. Russians call his sort of case “telephone law,” imposed by the politically powerful through a call to the courthouse. With his sentence almost up, he was just tried again on suspect charges of embezzling and money-laundering. The judge is expected to reach a decision in December.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 26 CONTENTS
(4) Gessen on Kashin
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest column on the mighty Pajamas Media blog excoriates the craven Obama regime for its limp response to the Kremlin-sponsored attack on journalist Oleg Kashin.
NOTE: FIFA has declared Russia unfit to stage the World Cup soccer tournament because it lacks any serious venues and no transportation infrastructure. Of course, those same factors (and many others) didn’t stop the IOC from crazily and corruptly awarding Russia the Winter Olympics.
Medvedev the Marauder
Russia’s so-called “president” Dmitri Medvedev announced feverishly a few days ago that he was sending out a “Mercader” to deal with the “traitor” who exposed the Anna Chapman spy clan under deep cover in the United States. As a result of that scandal, of course, Russia was totally humiliated before the entire world. We offer further insights about the debacle in a post from the head of Agentura.ru in this very issue.
Medvedev was referring to “Ramón Mercader, the secret agent sent by Joseph Stalin to kill archrival Leon Trotsky with an ice pick.” That’s right, Medvedev was openly patterning himself after Josef Stalin, and bragging about it in public. Lest you think the world saw this as another silly Russian joke, the “traitor” was soon under FBI protection.
Sobyanin Cracks Down
Finding a juicy hotdog lathered in ketchup has gotten a bit harder since Mayor Sergei Sobyanin took office. Forty of the 150 Stardog!s hotdog stands dotting Moscow have been shut down over the past week, and another 20 are expected to be closed shortly, said Sergei Rak, director for development with Markon, the private company that runs the Stardog!s chain.
— The Moscow Times, November 15, 2010
Moscow’s new mayor, it seems, is a cheeseburger man. And he’s responded to his desires exactly the way Josef Stalin would have done if Moscow’s streets had been peppered with repugnant hot-dog stands in his time: He’s shut them down. The MT reports that Sobyanin’s minions “studied Markon’s leases for the hotdog stands in hope of finding errors that would justify their cancellation. Finding none, they said bluntly, ‘Close! At any rate, you are not going to work here anymore’.” The MT continues:
A visit by Sobyanin to the Ulitsa 1905 Goda metro station during an Oct. 30 city tour promoted the kiosk crackdown. Sobyanin complained that the kiosks blocked the view of a historical monument and were located too close to the metro station. The head of the Presnensky district, where the metro station is located, was fired on the spot, together with the head of the central Tverskoi district. The official reason given for the dismissals was that the officials’ work contracts expired Nov. 8, RIA-Novosti reported.
Now we ask you, dear reader: How is this behavior any different than Stalin’s would have been? Is Russia’s really the type of economy that can afford to wipe out hundreds of thriving small businesses on a daily basis in an arbitrary, unpredictable, nakedly illegal manner, thus sending a clear message that setting up any such business is a gamble at best?
We think not.
Just a few weeks ago, Sobyanin had declared: “Small and medium-sized businesses are in need of aid.”Referring to bureaucratic barriers for small business startups in Moscow, he said: “We should take them away. Then there will be a completely different investment climate.” Any number of kiosks might have opened specifically in reliance on these words, only to have the rugged yanked out from under them just as the Russian regime has done to so may others, domestic and foreign alike, for so many years now.
Russia is Snob Nation
A recent item in the New Yorker magazine reveals Russia descending to yet another new low. It discusses the latest venture of the Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, who has chosen to invest vast sums in American, rather than Russian, professional basketball. It is a magazine called Snob that the New Yorker describes as looking “like a cross between Tatler and The New York Review of Books, printed on the kind of paper stock usually reserved for royal invitations” with “an alarming cover price of eight dollars.” The New Yorker attended its opening night in New York City, and described it as follows:
“Are you scared?” someone asked me during a talk in New York last Friday night.
I always get that question. I am a journalist working in Russia, where 19 murders of journalists remain unsolved. Russia ranks eighth in the Impunity Index compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists — the only European country on the list, it is wedged between Nepal and Mexico.
People may be forgiven that being scared is an occupational hazard for me.
So I gave my stock answer: “No, I am not scared,” I said. “I have been at times, but right now I don’t seem to be doing anything particularly dangerous.” This is true.
Jackson Diehl, blogging at the Washington Post:
International criminals with ties to the Russian government are accustomed to enjoying impunity. A couple even sit in the parliament despite being charged by foreign police with murder. So it’s not surprising thatthe extradition from Thailand to the United States Tuesday of Viktor Bout, a notorious arms trafficker known as the “merchant of death,” has prompted loud cries of outrage from Moscow.
“Extreme unjustice,” fumed Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. Said the Foreign Ministry: “There is no doubt that the illegal extradition of V.A. Bout came as a consequence of unprecedented political pressure” from the United States.
You’d think that the Obama administration had kidnapped a national hero. So it’s worth recalling just who Moscow is defending. Bout, a 43-year-old former Russian army translator, has for two decades supplied weapons or cash to rogue regimes and terrorist movements around the world — including the Taliban and al-Qaeda. He has fueled massive bloodshed in Africa, flying weapons into places like the Congo, Liberia, Sudan and Sierra Leone.
Right from the start, the latest Russian spy story resembled the stuff of which Soviet spy legends are made. We have a main hero — an intelligence agent who refuses to buckle when tortured. We also have a traitor who meets face to face with the hero in his prison cell. Last week, we may have learned the name of this traitor. Depending on which media report you read, it was either Colonel Shcherbakov or Colonel Poteyev who revealed the 11 Russian “illegals” working in the United States.
Betrayal has always played a prominent role in the mythology surrounding Soviet intelligence. As Yury Kobaladze, former head of the Foreign Intelligence Service‘s press service, said on Channel One on Sunday, it was the traitors — not the intelligence service — who were to blame for the recent failure in the United States.
There are two main reasons why this spy flap — like every other one before it — was so blatantly misrepresented by the Kremlin and state-controlled television.
Source: Ellustrator. (Click the image to see it full size. We have modified Ellustrator’s original somewhat, click the link to see the original. Our modification is suggested by one of Ellustrator’s commenters).
BRAVO!! The Republicans finally Stand up to Russia
We are thrilled beyond words with the earth-shaking announcement from the new Republican leaders in the U.S. Congress that they will block ratification of the Obama nuclear arms treaty with Russia, a treaty which offers no meaningful cuts in weapons by the Russians, which undercuts American strategic power, a treaty which serves the propaganda interests of the Kremlin and seriously undermines democracy in the former USSR.
At long last, the Republicans have remembered the legacy of Ronald Reagan and moved forward decisively to pull the country back from the precipice of appeasement towards which the Obama regime has recklessly led it over the past two years.
At long last, the good-hearted people of Russia, those few who still care about their country’s future and are willing to defend it, can once again hope for some leadership and assistance from Americans as they struggle to defend basic American values of democracy and freedom from absolute extinction in their country.
And at long last, the demonic forces in control of the Russian Kremlin will be forced to confront the harsh, cold reality of American power.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 19 CONTENTS
NOTE: Another major international human rights award for Oleg Kozlovsky! Molodets!
Again, Obama shows Yellow on Russia
“It is no secret that the movement that called for Kashin to be punished is financed and directed by the presidential administration.”
–Victor Davidoff, writing in the Moscow Times in an article entitled “Goebbels’ Guide to Russia“
It may not be a secret, Mr. Davidoff, but nonetheless there is no sign that the Obama administration knows it. If they do, they are evil bastards and ought to be impeached.
Here is the statement of the Obama State Department on the brutal attack on Russian journalist Oleg Kashin, brutally attacked just days after being openly threatened on the website of a youth cult that is bought and paid for the by the Putin Kremlin:
In Russia, the United States condemns the attack on Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin and calls on Russian authorities to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. Freedom of the press is a fundamental right in the United States and other countries, and we are committed to uphold the international and regional commitments. As the 2009 Humanitarian Rights Report noted, eight journalists, many of whom reported critically on the government, were killed over the last year in Russia. With one exception, the government has failed to identify, arrest, or prosecute any suspects. A free and independent press is central to a vibrant and well-functioning democracy. Journalists around the world must feel free to do their jobs without fear of intimidation or physical violence.
Kashin was attacked on Saturday, November 6, 2010. This statement from the State Department comes two full days after the attack. We have already condemned the people of Russia and their wretched, malignant government over this attack. Now, we condemn the Obama administration. Our reasons are many. The craven cowardice reflected in this statement is palpable and embarrassing to any red-blooded American citizen.
Writing in the Christian Science Monitor, Luke Allnutt, editor in chief of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s English website and a blogge at Tangled Web, exposes the fundamental fraud of the Putin “democracy.”
With Russians up in arms about police corruption after a series of high-profile scandals, the Kremlin decided it had to do something. So it drafted a new police law and posted the bill on the Internet. The response was overwhelming: more than 20,000 Russians commented on the law, many of them offering detailed suggestions for changes.
This, according to the Kremlin, is the future of governance in Russia. Speaking in May, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said, “I am absolutely confident that there will come an epoch of return from representative democracy to direct democracy with the help of the Internet.”
On the surface, initiatives like crowdsourcing legal changes might seem like a progressive, liberalizing step taken by a tech-savvy government. But in reality they are merely an exercise in political theater which actuallybypasses representative democracy.
As less-than-democratic states understand the Internet’s vital role in economic development and are fearful of being cast as press-freedom pariahs, they will increasingly pursue sophisticated avenues of control, instead of simply restricting access.
Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
Perhaps the one positive aspect of the vicious beating of Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin on Saturday is that the list of suspects is confined to a small number of people — just like an Agatha Christie novel.
The first suspect is Khimki Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko. (He denies any role in the matter.) Sooner or later, Strelchenko’s enemies get their heads bashed in. Two years ago, Khimkinskaya Pravda editor Mikhail Beketov’s head was beaten so badly that he will probably never recover from the severe brain damage he incurred. On the recent anniversary of that beating, the Khimki leader of the Right Cause party, Konstantin Fetisov, suffered head injuries after he was attacked. Two days later, it was Kashin’s turn.
The second suspect is Vasily Yakemenko, head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, the spiritual leader of the “Putin-jugend.”
The always-brilliant Ariel Cohen, writing on the Heritage Foundation blog:
[The first week in November], two seemingly unconnected events took place in Moscow. Yet, considered together, they have are of tremendous importance and serve to weaken the rule of law in Russia.
[On] Tuesday, imprisoned former Russian oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky delivered a passionate speech at the end of his kangeroo court proceedings about the corroding lawlessness plaguing his country. As Khodorkovsky addressed the court, masked Russian police SWAT teams armed with Kalashnikovs raided the National Reserve Bank in Moscow. The bank belongs to Alexander Lebedev, another billionaire political opponent of the Putin-Medvedev “tandemocracy.”
The New York Times reports:
I wish I had enough space to reprint in its entirety Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky’s closing statement, as his latest sham trial in Russia came to an end earlier this week. I have never been so moved by the words of a businessman.
Not that Mr. Khodorkovsky is a businessman anymore. Once the most famous of the Russian oligarchs, he ran YukosOil, which under his leadership became the best-run, fastest-growing, most transparent company in the country — a gleaming symbol of hope for Russian industry. Mr. Khodorkovsky, however, has spent the last seven years in prison, much of that time in Siberia. Stripped of his company, which was sold off to politically connected insiders, Mr. Khodorkovsky and his business partner, Platon Lebedev, were convicted of trumped-up tax charges brought by prosecutors acting on behalf ofVladimir V. Putin, who had come to view Mr. Khodorkovsky as a threat.
Sergey Matyunin, editor of RussianLawOnline.com, writing in the Moscow Times:
In April 1992, just before the British parliamentary elections, the Society for the Protection of the Unborn Child, an organization consisting of about 50,000 members, distributed 1.5 million leaflets throughout Britain. The leaflets explained the candidates’ affinities — who was for or against using human embryos in drug-testing trials.
Phyllis Bowman, head of the society, was charged with an offense under the British Representation of the People Act, which prohibited spending more than £5 by an unauthorized person on giving away information about candidates. Bowman, who at the time was almost 70, appealed to the European Court of Human Rights. “There is something slightly ridiculous,” said Judge Nicolas Valticos, “in seeking to give the British government lessons in how to hold elections and run a democracy.” Yet his colleagues did not follow suit and, in 1998, ruled against Britain.
FRIDAY NOVEMBER 12 CONTENTS
NOTE: American National Public Radio has an excellent report on the disappearance of Russian black caviar and the obliteration of the local economies that depended on it along the Volga. Listen and be horrified.
Last weekend leading Russian journalist Oleg Kashin lay in an induced coma after being brutally beaten in Moscow by Russian assailants who broke his fingers, cracked his skull and left him for dead. Kashin’s reporting on controversial subjects like Kaliningrad for the maverick Kommersant publishing group directly challenged the Kremlin’s authority and basic anti-democratic policies, and it seems they could no longer be tolerated. In a shocking trivialization of the incident, Russian “president” Dima Medvedev actually Twittered about it, writing “the criminals must be found and punished.” This appears right next to his remarks about cheeseburgers with Barack Obama and other nonsensical, childlike babblings. Julia Ioffe writes:
Many pointed instantly at United Russia’s youth wing, Molodaya Gvardia, which openly threatened Kashin in an August article on its website. It was titled, in the hyperbolic, hyphenated language of early Soviet propaganda, “Journalist-traitors need to be punished!” “They have betrayed their homeland, they have spit on their civic duty!” it blared, adding Kashin to a list of others needing to be punished.
Simultaneously, a horrific mass killing in the Krasnodar region was being reported, with a whole household massacred by knife-wielding maniacs and then set ablaze in their own home, including numerous children.
And to complete this trifecta of savagery, the Sunday Times published a devastating, shocking translation of a text written by a Russian solider describing his acts of perversion and bloodthirsty barbarism in Chechnya.
Nobody — but nobody — can read these three accounts and conclude anything but that Russia is an uncivilized, bloodthirsty nation, and that the people of Russia are just as guilty in these crimes as the perpetrators because they stand mute at best, at worst actively encourage both governmental and non-governmental criminals to continue their bloody rampage.