December 17, 2010 — Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL:  Putin’s Mafia Don for the Kiddies

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Serpent Russians and their Forked Tongue

(3)  Cold Reality bites Russia Hard

(4)  Now, they go After Magnitsky’s Momma

(5)  CARTOON:  Russian Freeze and Thaw

NOTE:  A reader advises that the film “Blowing Up Russia” is now available for viewing online.

2 responses to “December 17, 2010 — Contents

  1. As most intelligent people suspected, the statement by Medvedev that the motorway through Khimki fores was being put on hold was simply to buy time to let public anger cool down:

    Russia to build disputed motorway through Khimki forest

    The Russian government has announced that a project to build a motorway through the pristine Khimki forest near Moscow will go ahead.

    President Dmitry Medvedev put the project on hold this summer after protests about the route for the new Moscow-St Petersburg motorway.

    The plan has divided public opinion and several journalists who reported on the row were attacked and beaten up.

    Cabinet ministers said the Khimki stretch would be ready by 2014

  2. On December 10, the official responsible for the military draft in North Ossetia, Colonel Yuri Morozov, stated that the 2010 fall campaign to conscript youth for service in the Russian army was in danger of failing.

    According to Morozov, only 200 out of the 2,300 young people who were to be drafted into the army before the end of the year had been commissioned. The largest group of draft evaders was from the republic’s capital, Vladikavkaz. Colonel Morozov claimed that many of the potential North Ossetian draftees were hiding in neighboring South Ossetia (, December 10).

    North Ossetia has traditionally been regarded as the republic most friendly to Moscow in the North Caucasus, so the failure to draft the required number of conscripts from this territory is a new phenomenon highlighting problems in the Russian military and the general rise of xenophobia in the country.

    The number of conscripts each territory supplies to the Russian military service is a politically sensitive question. That is probably why there is little information available to the public. Plagued by hazing, underfunding and fear of war casualties in the North Caucasus, many young people choose to avoid military service. Some regions are significantly better off than others. The city of Moscow, with its population of over 10 million, supplied only a little more than 8,000 soldiers for the two draft campaigns, spring and fall, in 2008 (, October 7, 2008).

    Hazing in the Russian military remains a serious problem that is often linked to the issue of ethnicity, reflecting rising rival nationalisms across multiethnic Russian regions. Last summer, Dagestani conscripts forced their ethnic Russian peers to lie down on a military campus to form word KAVKAZ (Caucasus) and take pictures of the scene. North Caucasians, meanwhile, are sometimes mistreated by ethnic Russian officers, but there are few reports of this in the Russian press. In 2010, the number of hazing incidents in the Russian army grew by a third. This trend prompted the Russian military to rethink the army’s makeup, proposing to form separate military detachments manned only by ethnic Russians and ethnic North Caucasians. Some experts say that because of the high birthrates among Muslims and low fertility rates among ethnic Russians, over half of Russian army conscripts may soon be of Muslim origin (, October 18).

    Chechnya has had military units manned only by ethnic Chechens for a long time now. Chechens are not drafted into the Russian army outside Chechnya. Moscow is also setting up ethnic Dagestani battalions to fight local insurgents in Dagestan. Some experts say that the Russian army is getting dangerously fragmented along ethnic and religious lines.

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