Daily Archives: January 7, 2011

January 14, 2011 — Contents

FRIDAY JANUARY 14 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  Neo-Soviet Russia goes Berzerk

(2)  Khodorkovsky Strikes back at Russia

(3)  Nemtsov in the Neo-Soviet Dungeon

(4)  Putin has Russia over a Barrel

(5)  Nazis and Russians, Birds of a Feather

(6) Potemkin Skolkovo

EDITORIAL: Neo-Soviet Russia goes Berzerk

EDITORIAL

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.

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The Fraudulent Khodorkovsky Verdict and its Devastating Consequences for Neo-Soviet 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.

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Nemtsov in the Neo-Soviet Dungeon

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.

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Putin has Russia over a Barrel

Anne Applebaum, writing in the Washington Post, explains why the Kremlin feels strong enough to ignore the law and extend Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s sentence illegally:

The judge had already postponed the verdict without explanation (“The court does not explain itself,” said a spokesman). Before reading it, he barred journalists and the defendant’s family from the courtroom. No one should have been surprised, therefore, when Mikhail Khodorkovsky – the Russian oil baron who once defied the Kremlin – received a further six years in prison last week, on top of the eight he’s served. This time, he was sentenced for “stealing” an impossible quantity of oil, the same oil he has already been accused of selling without paying taxes.

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Nazis and Russians, Birds of a Sordid Feather

A movie review in The New Yorker shows the horrifying similarity of behavior between Russians and Nazis during World War II. In fact, it’s easily arguable that the Nazis were not as a bad as the Russians when it came to murdering innocent people in Eastern Europe:

Claude Lanzmann’s “Shoah,” the shattering nine-hour documentary about the Holocaust, which was first shown in New York in 1985, has, on its twenty-fifth anniversary, reopened here and will soon appear in museums, universities, and select theatres across the country. Back in 1985, the film left me bruised and sore, moved by its clarifying passions and its electrifying rhetoric, and amazed by its revolutionary form. Lanzmann, a French filmmaker and intellectual journalist, omitted photographs, newsreels, and documents (all the usual historical materials), and, instead, reconstructed the past from what remained of it in the present.

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Medvedev’s Fraud at Potemkin Skolkovo

Hero reporter Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

On Dec. 14, the day before a Moscow court was supposed to issue the verdict against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, President Dmitry Medvedev attended the “Go Russia!” innovation forum at Skolkovo to see how the modernization process is coming along. I must say that modernization is going full speed ahead — at least in and around Skolkovo.

First, the commuter rail station that will serve the future technopark was renamed from the obscure “Vostryakovo” to the much more fitting “Skolkovo.” And from that station it is a rigourous 30-minute trek through the woods to the site of the future Innovation City.

Second, the Skolkovo Highway has been sealed off. In the past, drivers caught in nearby traffic jams could detour along the Skolkovo Highway. But after concrete barriers were installed, motorists drove around them and continued on unpaved ground — that is, until the authorities completely sealed off the entire perimeter, bringing all detours to a halt.

Then, on a completely deserted stretch of highway near the Skolkovo School of Management, the authorities built a two-level interchange so that nothing could stop Russia from racing full speed into its innovative future.

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