Daily Archives: November 7, 2010

November 12, 2010 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Bloodthirsty Russia

(2)  EDITORIAL:  The Collapse of Russian Foreign Policy

(3)  EDITORIAL:  Savage Russia, Documented

(4)  Can Craven Russians face up to their Past?

(5)  Brezhnutin? Putizhev?  Strange but True

(6)  A Military Coup for Putin’s Russia?

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.

EDITORIAL: Bloodthirsty Russia

Oleg Kashin, Russian journalist under attack


Bloodthirsty Russia

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.

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EDITORIAL: The Collapse of Russian Foreign Policy


The Collapse of Russian Foreign Policy

Russian relations with Georgia sank to a new low last week as a clan of Russian spies were discovered by security forces in Tbilisi.  Japan was outraged by Russian refusal to return Japanese islands seized in World War II, and threatened economic reprisals.  Iran lashed out at Russia because of the Kremlin’s breach of its written promise to sell missiles to the Islamic dictatorship, and threatened a lawsuit.  And, as we reported in our last issue, the worst news of all came when American voters handed brutal, bitter defeat to Barack Obama and the Democratic Party, ousting them from control of the House of Representatives in a landslide repudiation of Obama’s policies, which of course have included capitulation to Russian dictatorship and aggression.

The foreign policy of Vladimir Putin, in other words, lies in smoldering ruins. In more than a decade of dictatorial rule, Putin has failed to forge any alliances with with any significant countries, and meanwhile has alienated, offended and repulsed powerful states all across the globe. Even when he has got lucky, as with the election of the patsy idiot Obama, his luck has not held.

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EDITORIAL: Savage Russia, Documented


Savage Russia, Documented

Question:  What do Albania, Kazakhstan and Russia have in common?

Answer:  Their scores on the most recent Human Development Index published by the United Nations are virtually identical.  Russia ranks #65 on the list, Albania is just ahead at #64 and Kazakhstan just behind at #66. Bulgaria, Belarus and Libya, for instance, are well ahead of Russia.  Perhaps most bitter of all for the America-hating Russians, the USA stands at #4 on the list, ahead of every single major nation on the planet.

The world would — quite properly — find it ludicrous to suggest that Bulgaria, Libya or Belarus be given a seat on the G-8.  Why doesn’t it find Russia’s seat on that panel just as insane?

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Can Craven Russians face up to their Past?

Maxim Trudolyubov, opinion page editor of Vedomosti, writing in the Moscow Times:

At least 70 years after millions of people fell victim to political repression, Russia has yet to come to terms with the crimes of its Soviet past. In fact, it even seems as if nobody really wants to discuss the subject and that it has been imposed on us by some overly clever person or ill-intentioned foreigner.

But it is increasingly rare that foreigners are interested in this topic. And with so many conflicting emotions involved, many Russians continue to feel that the issue divides rather than unites society. This is not because there are so many hard-core supporters of former Soviet leader Josef Stalin, but because a significant portion of the population believes that condemning the crimes of the Soviet regime somehow reflects negatively on themselves, their parents or the older generation, and places a dark cloud over more positive memories from that period. Another factor is the traditional mistrust that some members of society feel toward the educated class, “liberals,” “reformers” and human rights activists who are typically associated with this subject.

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Brezhnutin? Putizhev? Disturbing and Bizarre, but True

Another indispensable post from the brilliant Russian-watchers at the Power Vertical, one of our favorite Russia blogs:

A new leader comes to the Kremlin in a time of chaos, replacing a bumbling and erratic predecessor. He loves to hunt and drive fast cars. He ushers in an era of stability and relative prosperity, thanks largely to high oil prices. People see the first decade or so of his rule as a golden age.

This could easily be a description of Vladimir Putin. But it also applies to another Russian leader — Leonid Brezhnev, who ruled the Soviet Union from 1964 until his death in 1982.

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A Military Coup for Putin’s Russia?

A terrific report in the Washington Post exposes the fundamental weakness of Russia’s crumbling, corrupt, impoverished military establishment:

When one-time furniture salesman Anatoly Serdyukov was suddenly named Russia’s defense minister, many career military officers smirked. Now after tens of thousands have lost their jobs under his reforms, the mockery has turned to rumbles of possible mutiny.

A union of veterans from the Airborne Forces, considered the most professional and proud branch of Russia’s military, has set a protest rally against Serdyukov for Sunday. It is unclear whether any serving officers will take part, but the rally in a Moscow park down the road from the Defense Ministry has raised fears of an uprising in one of the world’s largest armies.

Some observers say that the veterans’ campaign against Serdyukov, the first civilian defense minister in 90 years, may have been orchestrated by members of the top military brass and weapons industries who have lost power and money because of his reforms.

“It’s the most radical reform of the Russian military in 150 years,” said Vitaly Shlykov, a retired military intelligence officer who advises the Defense Ministry on the reforms. “And it touches upon huge resources.”

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