FRIDAY JANUARY 11 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: The Russian “Legal” System, Out of Control
(2) Nemtsov Blasts Putin on Chechnya
(3) Milov Blasts Putin on Riots
(4) The Putin Economy on the Verge of Collapse
(5) Fascism takes Hold in Putin’s Russia
(6) CARTOON: Zoich!
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the powerful Pajamas Media megablog tells the shocking story of American citizen Arkady Gontmakher and his persecution by the Putin Kremlin. Even as Mikhail Khodorkovsky was being re-convicted for the same crimes, Gontmakher shows that it’s not only Russians who can fall prey to the neo-Soviet dictatorship.
NOTE: In a double play, Kim’s latest entry in her Russia column on the influential American Thinker blog castigates the Kremlin for its total failure to manage Russia’s recent blizzard conditions. Is this the beginnning of the end for Russia? Can’t even handle a little snow, Mr. Putin?
NOTE: Anna Chapman hams it up on Russian TV.
The Russian “Legal” System, Out of Control
That’s when dissident oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky can expect to leave the Siberian prison cell where he has been held since October 2003. He’ll serve 14 long, brutal years — and indeed may not live to complete his term. Then again, since he has just been sentenced a second time for the same offense he’s already served years for allegedly committing, what is to stop Russian dictator Vladimir Putin from taking a third bite at the apple. Or a fourth?
“The verdict has nothing to do with justice,” said Karinna Moskalenko, Khodorkovsky’s attorney. That’s putting it mildly.
We have long warned about the danger of the “give Russia a chance” advice. We have warned that if you “give Russia a chance” to do the right thing on Khodorkovsky, you play into the Kremlin’s hands, allowing it to consolidate power and present horrific misdeeds as fait accompli. What can be done now to influence Russia’s manifest persecution of a political rival to the Kremlin? Nothing.
And so the Kremlin will continue and persecute more rivals, until there are none. In fact, the so-called Russian “justice system” has been on something of a feeding frenzy of late. And that does not surprise us.
Remember how dangerous it is for any Russian to criticize the Putin regime over Chechnya, as best illustrated by the murders of Anna Politkovskaya, Natalia Estemirova and Stanislav Markelov, a recent interview by Boris Nemtsov is truly breathtaking in its courage. Paul Goble reports:
The North Caucasus at the present time is “our Palestine,” Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov says, the result of the deal between Vladimir Putin and Ramzan Kadyrov in which the former has purchased the loyalty of the latter for cash and at the price of allowing the Chechen leader and his minions to do what they like throughout Russia.
If Russia is to escape from this dilemma, Nemtsov said in the course of an online press conference, several steps are necessary because as the Manezh violence shows the problems of that region are no longer confined to it but rather spreading throughout Russian society.
Writing on Gazeta.ru Vladimir Milov delivers a one-two punch to the solar plexus of Vladimir Putin on the issue of nationality, along with his partner in opposition Boris Nemtsov. The latter handles the Caucaus region, while Milov addresses Putin’s weakness much closer to home. Paul Goble reports:
Russia’s liberals have ceded issues like migration and the violence in the North Caucasus to the nationalists by failing to address them openly and honestly and to offer programs for their resolution, a shortcoming that has helped to marginalize the liberals in Russia and give the nationalists an undeserved victory, a liberal commentator says
In a commentary on Gazeta.ru, Vladimir Milov, the head of the Democratic Choice Movement and of the Institute of Energy Policy, argues that the Manezh Square violence must become “a serious occasion” for re-assessing “the influence and role of nationalism and the factor of inter-ethnic relations in Russian politics.
Anders Aslund, writing in the Moscow Times:
When Russian leaders review the country’s economic development in 2010, they can only be disappointed. There were no great economic disasters, but Russia has clearly underperformed its peers.
Until 2008, the favorite Russian measuring mark was other BRIC countries, but that is no longer so. In 2009, Russia did worse than all other Group of 20 countries with gross domestic product plunging 7.9 percent. This year, growth will be about 4 percent, less than half of India’s and China’s.
Two years ago, Russia’s GDP per capita at current exchange rates was four times as large as China’s, but now it is only twice as large. From Moscow’s horizon, China looks increasingly like a threat rather than a peer.
Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
There are two reasons for the outbreak of ultranationalist violence in Russia. The first is Caucasus fascism, which is a serious problem for Russia in the same way that Islamic fascism is for the West.
Chechnya is taking revenge on Russia for the war and genocide the Kremlin has waged against it over the past 20 years and beyond. That revenge has taken the form of lawlessness and violence on Moscow’s streets.
Recall the recent incident at Moscow’s Yevropeisky shopping center when a security guard refused entry to an armed 32-year-old man from the Chechen city of Shali. The man later returned with a group of friends and beat the guards with baseball bats.
Meet Zoich, the drunken blue frog who gets our vote for the perfect Olympics mascot for Russia in 2014. The only improvement we’d suggest is that there should be a ticking time bomb labled “Chechnya” right behind him.
A truly brilliant and inspiring editorial from the Christian Science Monitor, which takes the words right out of our mouth. There is something deeply wrong, perhaps evil, about the President of the United States and his malignant advisor Michael McFaul, who continue to betray American values in the hopes of scoring cheap electoral points with sham foreign policy “victories” while Russia descends into neo-Soviet darkness:
Talk about timing. A Russian court waited until this week – after the US Senate had ratified an arms-control treaty with Moscow – before handing down yet another conviction on that country’s best-known political prisoner, Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Sentencing is expected in coming days.
The conviction also came as the West is preoccupied with the winter holidays and not focused on the rise of human rights abuses in Russia.
But here’s the best timing: Mr. Khodorkovsky will now likely be sentenced to several more years in a Siberian penal colony – further isolating him until well after next year’s parliamentary elections and a 2012 vote for president.
China is the New Russia
“Russia’s military bonanza is over, and China’s is just beginning.”
That was the conclusion of a recent report in the Wall Street Journal, finding that the chickens of Russia’s foolish decision to sell advanced military hardware to China have finally come home to roost:
After decades of importing and reverse-engineering Russian arms, China has reached a tipping point: It now can produce many of its own advanced weapons—including high-tech fighter jets like the Su-27—and is on the verge of building an aircraft carrier.
Potemkin Putin exposed before the Russian Nation
Dr. Ivan Khrenov
Meet Dr. Ivan Khrenov.
On November 9, 2010, Russian dictator Vladimir Putin visited the hospital in Ivanovo where Khrenov works in cardiology. Then days ago, Khrenov was selected as one of the questioners in Putin’s latest installment of his annual propaganda festival, where he pretends to respond to issues phoned in by ordinary citizens. But Khrenov threw Putin a curve ball, and departed from the pre-arranged script to ask Putin whether he was aware that his visit to the hospital had been rigged, a total sham, a Potemkin village designed to deceive.
Another New Low in Russian Humiliation
Meet Valentin Yudaskhin. A so-called Russian “fashion designer,” Mr. Yudaskin was hired by Vladimir Putin to design fashionable new Russian Army uniforms after Putin heard complaints that Russian recruits thought they looked like third-world idiots. In doing so, Yudaskin boldly declared he was creating a “uniform for victors.”
Take a look at him. Think about the fact that he’s Russian, working for a neo-Soviet regime run by a proud KGB spy. Now we ask you: How do you think this scheme worked out?
If you didn’t guess that people started dying, shame on you.
Defense expert Alexander Golts, writing in the Moscow Times:
General Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General Staff, caused a stir last week after he said to journalists: “We aim to create a professional army. We can’t make it happen in a short time period, but year by year there will be an increase in the number of contract military personnel.”
Interestingly enough, only one month ago Makarov said the exact opposite. “We will not switch to a contract-based army. Instead, we will be drafting more soldiers …” to fill the gap.
Russian professor of economics Konstantin Sonin, writing in the Moscow Times:
There are some people who love making speeches about Russia’s so-called power vertical and democratic institutions, and there are other people who would benefit greatly from them in their daily occupations — if only the vertical and democratic institutions actually existed.
Here is one example.
Little Pooty in PJs is rushing to find the Khodorkovsky verdict under his Christmas tree, left there by a helpful judge who delayed the decision just so it could be so.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 24 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Resurgent McCain blasts Russia
(2) EDITORIAL: A Vacation in the Country for Moscow Seniors?
(3) EDITORIAL: Walmart to Russia — Drop Dead!
(4) Documenting Vote Fraud in Neo-Soviet Russia
(5) Kashin Speaks
(6) Shenderovich on Putin-King
(7) Annals of the Neo-Soviet Crackdown on Art
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the powerful American Thinker blog exposes the neo-Soviet Kremlin’s attack on the next Khodorkovsky, attorney Alexei Navalny.
NOTE: Nearly half our content today, items 5-7, was written by Russians. All required reading!
NOTE: The staff of La Russophobe wishes all our readers and contributors a very merry Christmas and a very happy New Year!
Resurgent McCain blasts Neo-Soviet Russia
Can we have a word, Mr. Putin?
Last week Senator and presidential candidate John McCain gave us Russophobes an amazing early Christmas present, delivering a blistering attack on neo-Soviet Russia at one of the world’s most prestigious institutes of foreign policy, Johns Hopkins University. The speech was immediately touted by conservative pundits as a declaration of war by the newly empowered Republican Party upon the craven appeasement policies of the Obama adminstration.
McCain pulled no punches. He called for massive new shipments of arms to Georgia, condeming Russia for continuing “to occupy 20 percent of Georgia’s sovereign territory” and “building military bases there” and “permitting the ethnic cleansing of Georgians in South Ossetia, and denying access to humanitarian missions – all in violation of Russia’s obligations under the ceasefire agreement negotiated by President Sarkozy.” He openly mocked the Kremlin, stating: “The World Bank considers Georgia the 12th best place in the world to do business; Russia is 123rd. Russia’s decline is a human tragedy, but it is also a geopolitical reality. Put simply, Russia is becoming less and less capable of being a global, great power partner with the United States.”
And that was just for starters.
The Kremlin turns its Eye towards the Aged
“This is a big country – there’s the Far East, and Siberia.”
—Yevgeny Savchenko, Putin-appointed governor of Belgorod Oblast, when asked to where Russia’s elderly could be relocated.
Well, that did not take long.
In power for only a brief period, the Kremlin’s hand-picked Mayor of Moscow Sergei Sobyanin has already jumped on the bandwagon being driven by Belgorod governor Savchenko and is proposing the resettlement of all of Moscow’s elderly citizens in order to bring down real estate prices for the city’s younger set.
Savchenko is blunt: “Make it so that there would be five million people living here [in Moscow], and all the issues would be resolved without capital investment.”
But we think he is not bold enough.
Walmart to Russia — Drop Dead!
We congratulate the executives at Walmart Inc. on their wisdom in deciding to reject the Russian market. We encourage the very small number of other Western companies who are considering investment in Russia, or who are already there, to do likewise. Western firms that do business in Russia are supporting the rise of a neo-Soviet state and therefore they are both undermining democracy in Russia, destroying the future of Russia’s children, and helping to create a dire new threat to the security of the West. History will judge them harshly, and conscientious Western citizens should boycott any firm they know to be doing business in Russia in order to send a clear message that such support is intolerable.
That’s to say nothing, of course, of the appalling risks of doing business in the KGB state run by proud KGB spy Vladimir Putin.
Posted in cold war II, corruption, economics, editorial, russia
Tagged ikea, Mikhail Khodorkovsky, russia, Sergei Magnitsky, vladimir putin, walmart, William Browder
The New York Times reports (click the link to watch related video):
On the eve of regional elections, an opposition candidate named Olga V. Safronova arrived at a school for a campaign finale. She planned a rousing speech with a refrain that Russia had been seized by a dictatorial ruling party.
But operatives from that very party showed up to stop her.
What displeased them was this: Ms. Safronova’s political party was supposed to be a fake opposition, created by the Kremlin to give the illusion that Russia was a thriving democracy. Now, though, this puppet party was rebelling here in Siberia — battling for votes, defying the governing party and even assailing Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin himself.
About Gagarin and About Myself
By Oleg Kashin
November 29, 2010
Translated from the Russian by The Other Russia
An unfamiliar man in a white coat took an instinctive step to the side, and my hand, stretching towards his chest pocket, grasping only air, falls back again to the mattress.
“What does he want?” asks the man, feeling his pocket.
“The pen, probably,” posed a woman’s voice; and that woman, who I didn’t see, was right: the pen, of course, I needed the pen. The blue gel pen from the chest pocket of the white coat of that man.
A Few Words About Methods
By Viktor Shenderovich
December 7, 2010
Translated from the Russian by The Other Russia
I intentionally waited a few days – would anybody speak out?
Nope. All is quiet…
Impudence is bliss.
“The methods of our security services differ in a good way from the methods used by United States security services,” Putin told Larry King. “Thank God… the officers of our intelligence services and other security services are not noted as having been involved in the organization of secret prisons, kidnappings, or the use of torture.”
They were noticed, naturally, and more than once.
The difference between Russia and the US is that the people who used torture in Guantanamo are in prison, having been convicted by American courts, and the Russian citizens, kidnapped and tortured by FSB officers, won’t get justice from anywhere closer than Strasbourg.
The second difference is that the American journalists who investigated Guantanamo won the Pulitzer Prize and are all alive, and Politkovskaya and Estemirova, who investigated the filtration camp in Chernokozovo, have been murdered, and their murderers have not been found, and Putin still managed to publicly spit on Politkovskaya’s grave.
So that’s it about the methods. And not those of the security service, but of Putin and his propaganda. They are simple, like a stick: lie through the teeth, nobody will notice!
Yana Plucer-Sarno of the Voina art collective
A scathing item on ArtInfo by Yana Plucer-Sarno, editor of the Voina art collective, condemns the outrageous neo-Soviet crackdown on art:
Voina is a well-known group of Russian artists that engages in radical street protest actions. These artists have protested against the total elimination of freedom of speech, against the violation of human rights, and against the utter liquidation of democracy that have taken place in Russia in recent years.
In their manifesto, the group proclaims that its main goal is to create a new contemporary art language for the sake of pure art — and not for money. Within Russia, they want to create a real left-wing art movement in the best traditions of the Russian Futurism of the 1920s. They aim to trigger a revival of political protest art around the world. Voina struggles against the climate of socio-political obscurantism and right-wing reaction that has overtaken Russia.
Putin’s Mafia Don for the Kiddies
Vasily Yakemenko (center) goes to Camp
We learned recently that Vasily Yakemenko, the founder of the pro-Putin youth cult Nashi and Putin’s director of youth policy, has an extensive background in organized crime. Vedemosti reported that in 1994 he founded a company called Akbars along with five partners, each of whom was a convicted racketeer in the Complex 29 mafia group based in Tatarstan, one of the bloodiest criminal groups in Russia. Vedemosti learned about this event from a government database.
To say we were not surprised is the mother of all overstatements.