Most people are more than willing to complain on the Internet or in their kitchens that Medvedev has little chance of succeeding in his fight against corruption. But at the same time, given the chance, they would eagerly snatch a piece of the corruption pie that comes their way. This is exactly why an increasing number of Russians would like to have a government job for themselves and their children. Polls over the last 10 years consistently show that young people entering universities view government jobs as being the most promising — and lucrative, despite the low official salaries.
You may think, if you are a crazed Russian nationalist or Russophile lunatic, that it was some evil Western “russophobe” who wrote those words, but it wasn’t. It was Kirill Kabanov, a Russian and chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Committee, a Moscow-based nongovernmental organization.
And he was stating fact that has been proven scientifically by organizations like Transparency International, namely that Russia is the most corrupt major nation on this planet, at all levels of society, from top to bottom.
Last week, the world saw the devastating consequences of this paralyzing corruption when yet another bomb exploded in Moscow, killing three dozen and injuring nearly two hundred more — this time inside one of the nation’s leading airports. Unable to respond with anything more than palpably corrupt neo-Soviet denunciations, Putin’s Russia was exposed for that fraud we have long known it to be.
What can Russia Do About it?
Scholar Paul Goble points to an important bit of analysis by Valery Bondarenko on the Imperia website which highlights Russia’s foreign-policy impotence even in its near abroad. What can Russia really do, Bondarenko asks, to rein in the actions of countries like Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova if they choose to go their own way, independent of Russia?
Next to nothing, he answers.
Russia is so Cute
Film director Timur Bekmambetov (“Night Watch” and “Day Watch“) was thrilled last week to learn that his latest movie “Yolki” had become the the most successful Russian movie over the last three years. The movie’s box office take “surpassed everyone’s expectations, including ours,” Ruslan Tatarintsev, the film’s marketing and distribution director, told The Hollywood Reporter. He added: “The main reason for the success was that we had a quality product that people wanted to watch.”
It was all lies.
Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan, co-founders of Agentura.ru and co-authors of “The New Nobility: The Restoration of Russia’s Security State” and “The Enduring Legacy of the KGB,” writing in the Moscow Times:
Upon learning of the terrorist attack at Domodedovo Airport, President Dmitry Medvedev convened an emergency meeting with Investigative Committee head Alexander Bastrykin, Prosecutor General Yury Chaika and Transportation Minister Igor Levitin. Thus, Medvedev invited only those who are directly responsible for responding to a terrorist attack. Bastrykin was charged with creating an investigative task force, Chaika was told to examine all transportation facilities, and Levitin was instructed to beef up security measures at airports.
But there were two top officials who were conspicuously absent from Medvedev’s meeting — Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev and Federal Security Service director Alexander Bortnikov. They should have been grilled on whether everything possible had been done to prevent the attack.
Today, Russia gets a dress code. Tomorrow, it rounds up the Jews? Paul Goble reports:
The Moscow Patriarchate’s advocacy of a dress code for all Russians is at one level simply an absurdity, but at another it is evidence of “a very strong tendency” in Russia “toward the establishment of a proto-fascist regime masked under the name of sovereign democracy,” according to a senior Moscow scholar.
Indeed, Sergey Arutyunov, a specialist on the North Caucasus, argues, Russia is moving toward a system “in essence no less totalitarian than Mussolini’s regime in Italy or with certain qualifications (let us say, without anti-Semitism or perhaps even with a revived anti-Semitism) Hitler’s regime in Germany.
That trend is “natural,” he argues, because “the situation in [Russia] recalls that in the Weimar Republic on the eve of the fascists’ coming to power. The very same factors, the very same attitudes in society, and the very same perspectives,” including the risky behavior and ultimate catastrophe Russia would suffer if “adventurists playing at fascism came to power.”
Dinara Safina makes history for her country. Ouch.
The year’s first grand slam proved yet another new low in the pain and humiliation being inflicted upon Russia of late by the women’s professional tennis game. Calling these women “dominant” is like calling Americans dominant in soccer.
Things started out at the Australian Open with an amazing bang of negativity when Dinara Safina, one of only two Russian women in tennis history to be ranked #1 in the world, was blown off the court like the fraudulent pretender she is in her very first match of the tournament by Kim Clisters. Safina became the very first player of either gender to be ranked number one and then ejected from a grand slam event without winning a single game, getting savagely crushed by Clijsters 0-6,0-6. In was one of the most disgraceful performances in tennis history. Safina’s doubles team was also booted out in its opening match in woeful fashion.
And then it got worse.
The world must stop the Sochi 2014 madness. Now. 34 dead and 170 injured Russians today, tomorrow they will be foreign athletes and sports fans unless the world acts now. (Note: The blast occurred at 4:30 pm on Monday January 24th. As of 7 pm, two and a half hours later, state-sponsored Russian TV had reported nothing about the blast. This is how the Russian government responds to risks to public safety, and how it will continue to respond.)
FRIDAY JANUARY 28 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Signs of the Neo-Soviet Apocalypse
(2) EDITORIAL: Russia and the Apes who Guard Her
(3) The Horror of Russian Lawlessness
(4) Putin and Khodorkovsky
(5) Defending Nemtsov
NOTE: Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the mighty Pajamas Media megablog exposes the totally outrageous and offensive anti-American smear issued by the Washington Bureau Chief of ITAR-TASS in response to the Loughner murders in Arizona. We condemn this vile little man and his ape-like lies, and we urge all patriotic Americans to do the same.
NOTE: Kim’s latest column on the influential American Thinker blog castigates BP and other spineless Western companies who invest in Russia, exposing Russia’s total failure on numerous recent international evaluations.
NOTE: Neither Tchaikovsky nor Rachmaninov nor any other Russian make the list of top ten composers of all time (Stravinsky, a defector, is Russia’s only claim to fame). Ouch.
Posted in contents
Signs of the Neo-Soviet Apocalypse
“It would be good to draw up an all-Russian dress code. You think that is a utopia? It is not. People will soon have to get used to it.”
That was Russian Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, the head of the Orthodox Church’s department for relations between the church and society, talking about the women of his country, who he says are “barely dressed or made up like a clown will certainly not find a man as a partner in life with an ounce of sense or self-respect.” He says, with typical Russian bluntness, that they deserve to be raped, and that the Putin dictatorship will save them from themselves by imposing a dress code, a remarkably similar attitude to what they have in places like Saudi Arabia and other fanatical religious states.
And make no mistake, dear reader: This is a powerful Russian connected directly to the neo-Soviet Kremlin. The dress code could become reality any second. So could legalized rape.
Russia and the Apes who Guard Her
Russia's Ape in Chief
Russia is guarded by apes, as if she were a bunch of bananas.
This leads to some truly barbaric consequences. For instance, in the wake of the arrest of former first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov for criticizing the Kremlin while holding a written legal writ to do so, followed by a torrent fo foreign outrage and a lawsuit against Russia by Nemtsov in the European Court for Human Rights, Russian parliamentarian Anton Belyakov of the “Just Russia” political party called for an investigation.
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, a former senior policy adviser for the government of Canada, writing in the Kiev Post:
Despite losing the cold war some 20 years ago, Russia is determined to regain superpower status without concessions to a new world order. The policy issue for Canada and others is this: how far to tolerate Russia’s aggression in the name of good relations? And: will it change, if criminal behavior is accommodated?
Russia’s lawlessness is evident. It invades sovereign territory, issues passports to citizens of other states and fails to honor agreements to withdraw troops. It ranks in the top 10 percent of the world’s most corrupt states; the only G-20 country with such a distinction. There’s mischief-making in Transdnistria, cyber attack on Estonia, interference in Kyrgyz Republic’s internal affairs. Relations with neighbors are consistently confrontational. It even uses orthodoxy to spread 19-century pan-Russianism worldwide.
Michael Bohm, editorial page editor, writing in the Moscow Times:
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin sent a clear and chilling signal on Dec. 16 that the “soft autocracy” of his first decade in power will become more oppressive in his second decade.
It was on that day that Putin effectively delivered the guilty verdict in the second trial of former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky during his annual call-in show — two weeks before Judge Viktor Danilkin actually found Khodorkovsky guilty of embezzlement and money laundering and added six years to his sentence, ensuring he will be locked up until 2017.
Putin’s declaration that Khodorkovsky belonged in jail was eerily similar to Stalin’s notorious practice of delivering a sentence and then having the court confirm it. Putin easily could have not selected the Khodorkovsky question during the call-in show and applied pressure on Danilkin in private. Instead, Putin flouted an apparent disregard for the law on national television. (Applying pressure or interfering in a trial is a violation of Article 294 of the Criminal Code.)
Vladimir Kara-Murza, writing on World Affairs:
Russian officials have a selective approach to holidays. When it came to arrestingopposition leader Boris Nemtsov on New Year’s Eve and sentencing him on January 2 (a Sunday), no effort was spared. Yet when it came to hearing his appeal, Tverskoy Court remembered that January 1 to 10 is a period of vacation. By law, an appeal against administrative arrest must be heard within 24 hours. The former deputy prime minister has been in detention since December 31, but his appeal has still not been reviewed due to “holidays.” On January 8, another attempt to vindicate Nemtsov’s legal rights ended with Mr. Nemtsov’s lawyer, Timur Onikov, being escorted out by bailiffs. On January 11, the appeal was admitted as a priority case — by the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.
FRIDAY JANUARY 21 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Parfyonov vs. Putin, the Smackdown
(2) EDITORIAL: China vs. Russia, the Smackdown
(3) EDITORIAL: Russia is #10!
(4) Desert Siberia
(5) Russians Scrooge Christmas
(6) CARTOON: Frosty the Putinman
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the mighty Pajamas Media megablog details the craven reaction of the Obama administration to the arrest and persecution of Boris Nemtsov. Shame on you, Mr. Obama.
NOTE: An extensive interview with opposition activist Oleg Kozlovsky has been posted on YouTube.
Parfyonov vs. Putin, the Smackdown
One of the most remarkable events in Russian history occurred in November 2010, but you can be forgiven if you missed it. State-sponsored Russian television did not think it worthy of mentioning.
The event was an acceptance speech by Leonid Parfyonov to a black-tie audience at a ceremony where was presented with the first Listyev Prize from state-sponsored Channel One television, in honour of Vladislav Listyev, a Russian journalist who was murdered in 1995 in Moscow. Thankfully, it survives on YouTube, with subtitles. Parfyonov blogs in Russian on LiveJournal.
Little did the Kremlin realize what it was in for when it authorized Parfyonov to receive this award!
The Dallas-Forth Worth Tribune reports:
Picture a town inaccessible by road, buried under ice and snow for eight months of the year, unable to support a movie theater and without enough cars to warrant a traffic light or even a stop sign.
Chersky is the definition of isolation — or, in Stalinist terms, exile. This forbidding area of northeastern Siberia, where winter temperatures commonly sink to about -50 Celsius, (about -60 F) was once part of the Gulag, the network of prisons for the Kremlin’s enemies.
The town has shed more than half its population of 12,000 in the hard times that followed the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union. Many of those remaining say they also would leave if they could.
The indispensable Paul Goble reports:
Fewer than two percent of Russian citizens attended Orthodox Christmas church celebrations this year, a number that calls into question not only the claims of the Moscow Patriarchate that Russian population is overwhelmingly Orthodox but also the special relationship it has with the state and the state’s spending to promote Orthodoxy.
As Svetlana Solodovnik noted in Yezhednevny Zhurnal, perhaps no other public organization has benefited as much from the tandem as the Russian Orthodox Church which has positioned itself as the moral arbiter of the majority and extracted both the return of property and enormous state subsidies.
If only the real one would melt as easily!
Neo-Soviet Russia goes Berzerk
The cell is a concrete box, 1.5 by three metres, without a window and without even a mattress. A bare floor and that’s it. Absurdly, they have charged me with disobeying the police. For three hours the police bosses didn’t know what to charge me with; then they received an order from upstairs. I understand this action is designed to frighten the opposition. They are mad and don’t know what to do with us. We cannot and will not give in.
— Note written by former Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Boris Nemtsov and smuggled out of his jail cell in Moscow following his arrest for publicly criticizing the Putin regime in a permitted demonstration
Vladimir Putin started of 2011 by making it seem that his New Year’s resolution was to conclusively prove to the world once and for all that his country has gone berzerk.
First, one of his “judges” convicted Mikhail Khodorkovsky again, ignoring his years of incarceration in Siberia and ignoring the fact that the evidence against him was a total charade. As we report in today’s issue, the “judge” cited testimony from witnesses who said Khodorkovsky did not steal oil as proof that he had done so, and convicted him of stealing more oil than the prosecution had accused him of doing. He was then sentenced to the absolute maximum allowable by law.
Then, another one of Putin’s “judges” convicted Boris Nemtsov of participating in an illegal demonstration even though the event had the formal written permission of the government. As we report in today’s issue, Nemtsov was held in a cell with bare walls (no windows, ventilation, raised bed or even mattress on the floor) and made to stand through his entire four-hour “trial.” Unlike Khodorkovsky, the only “crime” of which Nemtsov was even accused is speaking to harshly about the Kremlin’s crackdown on democracy. Unlike Khodorkovsky, too, Nemtsov has held high-ranking government positions and been elected to office.
But the rule of law, of course, is a meaningless concept for the barbaric clan of apes that now rules Russia.
Simon Shuster, writing in Time magazine:
It must have been an awkward meeting for Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. On Dec. 29, he convened a session with his economic aides to talk about attracting talented businessmen to Moscow. No one mentioned that across the river from where they were sitting, a judge was reading out the guilty verdict of one of Russia’s most successful businessmen, oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, whose case has scared off a lot of capital from the country. But when the subject turned to Russia’s appeal for investors, Medvedev’s tone became forlorn: “The investment climate in our country is bad. It’s very bad.” And everyone understood why.
The brilliant Vladimir Kara-Murza, writing on World Affairs:
In Russia, New Year’s Eve is usually a joyful family occasion. Opposition leader Boris Nemtsov spent it in a police detention cell — a five-by-ten feet concrete cubicle with no windows, no ventilation, no plank bed, not even a mattress. The Moscow Public Supervisory Commission, a prisons watchdog group, reported that conditions of his detention violated the most basic rules. On January 2, the former deputy prime minister of Russia was driven from his cell to Tverskoy Magistrate Court and sentenced to 15 days in prison for “disobeying police.” Judge Olga Borovkova, who forced Mr. Nemtsov to stand for the duration of the trial (more than four hours), disregarded statements from 13 witnesses as well as the video of his arrest. The conviction was based on the words of two police officers who asserted that Mr. Nemtsov was “cursing” and “attempting to block Tverskaya Street” (Moscow’s main avenue). He is currently being held in a detention center on Simferopolsky Boulevard.