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.
Elsewhere in today’s issue, we report on the latest effort to compare Russia to other nations, this time by the UN in its human development survey. Russia does not rank in the top 60 countries of the world, and has the second-shortest life expectancy of any nation in its group of 42 less-developed countries. That’s because the blood and gore described in these three accounts is not isolated, but rather affects all levels of Russian society, each and every single person. The whole nation pays the price for this barbaric violence.
Russia has one of the highest murder rates on this planet. It’s rate is three times higher than that of the United States. This is hardly surprising when, as seen in cases ranging from Galina Starovoitova to Natalia Estemirova, from one end of the Putin regime to the other, the Kremlin itself is using murder as a tool of policy. Given that, why shouldn’t childlike Russians copy their parents in the Kremlin and do the same?
We are simply amazed that Russians can believe silencing journalists through murder or intimidation can solve any problem. They saw the USSR try this tactic, and they saw what happened as a result: The country became blind to its own faults, could not reform, and perished.
By attacking Oleg Kashin, Russians have only proved the accuracy of his reporting in the most emphatic way possible, and proved their own cowardice. They are unwilling to face the truth about themselves, just as in Soviet times, because they cannot defend their behavior. Instead, they simply choose to barbarically silence anyone who dares name that truth.
A country like that is not long for this world.
And we are amazed, too, at the craven silence of the Obama administration in regard to this brutal attack. Once again, Obama has shown his mettle — and it turns out he’s made of clay and plastic. He will turn a blind eye no matter how many heroic Russians are liquidated, no matter how many American values are obliterated by the KGB regime.
In so doing, of course, he becomes complicit in their actions.