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.
Serpent Russians and their Forked Tongue
The world saw yet another horrifying example of the amazing duplicity, dishonesty and hypocrisy of which Russians are capable last week when the Kremlin’s Gestapo turned a blind eye to an unsanctioned protest by over 1,000 chanting nationalist goons.
Martin Gilman, former senior representative of the International Monetary Fund in Russia and a professor at the Higher School of Economics, writing in the Moscow Times:
Sometimes through a combination of good policies and some good luck, countries may acquire safety margins as insulation from the financial vicissitudes of the global economy. In circumstances that Russia enjoyed for much of the previous decade, the harsh masters in the form of the international capital markets could be largely ignored. Unfortunately, this long period of good fortune is rapidly coming to an end. Starting in 2011, Russia’s margins, on current trends, will be exhausted, and the country will be exposed to similar pressures that are felt by most countries further to the West.
Mother of Russian Anti-Corruption Lawyer Killed in Custody, Has Been Harassed in Moscow, Complaint Revealed Today
Nataliya Magnitskaya, mother of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky
3 December 2010 – The mother of Sergei Magnitsky, the Russian anti-corruption lawyer killed in police custody, has been harassed outside her home in Moscow since receiving, on behalf of her son, the 2010 Integrity Award from Transparency International two weeks ago. A team of people from the Russian television station NTV, who have interchangeably represented themselves both as realtors and as journalists, have followed Magnitsky’s mother, attempted to enter her house, carried out covert filming of her and intruded upon her with offensive questions. NTV is controlled by the Russian state-owned gas company, Gazprom.
A complaint about the abusive harassment of Sergei Magnitsky’s mother has been filed today by Sergei Magnitsky’s former partner, Jamison Firestone, with the Grand Jury of the Russian Union of Journalists (Russian version available at: http://russian-untouchables.com/docs/Letter%20to%20Journalist%20Union.pdf).
In the provocative cartoon above Sergei Yelkin, a/k/a “Ellustrator,” describes three blue-shaded “freeze” periods in Russian history (from left to right those of Stalin, Brezhnev and Putin) and three green-shaded “thaw” periods following them (those of Khrushchev, Gorbachev and Medvedev). As you can see, each type of period grows smaller over time, indicating that Russia is headed towards absolute inertia at best. One reader drew a huge amount of feedback when he commented: “People who live on icebergs should not rejoice in news of a thaw.”