Daily Archives: November 20, 2010

November 26, 2010 — Contents

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 26 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Medvedev the Marauder

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Sobyanin Cracks Down

(3)  EDITORIAL:  Russia is Snob Nation

(4)  Gessen on Kashin

(5)  Russia Defends a Terrorist

(6)  Russia, her Spies and her Lies

(7)  CARTOON:  Russian Evolution

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.

NOTE:  If you speak Russian, and even if you don’t, this short history of the USSR via Lego is pretty cool. Super USSR Brothers, on the other hand, requires no Russian at all.

EDITORIAL: Medvedev the Marauder

EDITORIAL

Medvedev the Marauder

Ramón Mercader

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.

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EDITORIAL: Sobyanin Cracks Down

EDITORIAL

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.

EDITORIAL: Russia is Snob Nation

EDITORIAL

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:

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Gessen on Kashin

Masha Gessen, newly installed as an editor at Snob magazine, blogging at Reuters:

“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.

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Russia Defends a Terrorist

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.

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Russia, her Spies and her Lies

Andrei Soldatov of Agentura.ru, writing for the Moscow Times:

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.

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