February 25, 2011 – Contents


(1)  EDITORIAL: The Coming Russian Depression

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Long Live Luke Harding!

(3)  EDITORIAL:  Russians — You just can’t Trust Them

(4)  EDITORIAL:  Home Sweet Home for Vladimir Putin

(6)  Russia’s Stunning Failure in Chechnya

(7)  Latynina: Why are Russians so Gutless?

(8)  The Downfall of Education in Putin’s Russia

(9)  CARTOON:  Alien, 2011

NOTE:  One of our favorite Russia bloggers, Julia Ioffe is interviewed in Russian on Russian radio here.

NOTE: A defamation lawsuit by former parliament member Vladimir Ryzhkov and former Kremlin officials Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov has begun its trial in Moscow.  The defendant? Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin.

NOTE:  Ever wonder what the lives of Russian customs officials are like? Wonder no longer.

8 responses to “February 25, 2011 – Contents

  1. Excellent site with declassified KGB documents…..info in english as well.


    The idea for this project was born a long time ago but was not finalised until 2006, when historians from Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania met in Vilnius. The project aimed to make public KGB documents from the years of the occupation of the three countries.

    There were more motives to prepare an online site. First of all, historians from the three countries have always been annoyed by Russian propaganda that there had never been any occupation of any of the three Baltic States. Many historians were tired of getting into polemics with allegedly non-partisan Russian print and broadcast media representatives on the subject. The more so that later the historians’ arguments were presented out of context, and separate comments were used according to the strict scenario useful to Moscow’s propaganda…


  2. “In the congratulating message Czar Alexander II sent to Earl Yevdokimov: “You cleaned up and destroyed the rebellious autochthon nations in West Caucasia in the last 3 years. We can recover the cost of this long bloody war from this fertile land in a very short time.” ”

    This message clearly spells out how wrong-headed & mistaken are all Russian calculations. In a very mountainous and difficult terrain, with few people and fewer resources, this area could not at all produce anything the Russians could utilize. Yet it shows the mindset of Russians; that they can make a living by expanding, by attacking and gaining the resources of others. The Tsarist & the Communist States of Russia expanded like this for hundreds of years. It has become the Russian way of life, grab the resources of others. This is how the people of Russia make up for their lack of capability & energy. Expansion and robbery is the only way to live; if you continually foul up everything you do where you live.

    • Manfred Steifschwanz

      The concluding paragraph in the above posting should make an excellent part of a global opinion poll. If we substitute “X”, say, for “Russia” and shorten the text down a little — leaving out “Tsarist” and “Communist” — and ask the participants to write down which country, if any, they believe fits the description of “X”; what do you think would be the outcome?

      LR on the wrong side of the fence as usual.

      • MS,

        Are you talking about the US wars in Afghanistan and two in Iraq? But when Saddam took over Kuwait, he intended to strip oil contracts cfrom Exxon, PB and other British and American oil companies and give them to France, Germany and Russia. What were we supposed to do? Wait until the Frogs steal the oil that God gave to Exxon? Of course we had to strike Iraq. Twice.

        We, Americans, don’t want much. As long as we get to control all he world’s resources, we’ll be happy and will not wage wars. When will other countries understand this and stop their useless resistance?

  3. There was no immediate indication that the UN was likely to move beyond a condemnation of the killings of innocent protesters, however, and even that looked likely to be blocked by Russia and China.


    There were also claims that whites, believed to be East Europeans, were among the mercenaries. Col Gaddafi has maintained good relations with first the Soviet Union and its Cold War allies and more recently with Russia. Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, warned that the wave of unrest in the Arab world risked bringing fanatics to power.


    • Germany Chancellor Angela Merkel called Gadhafi’s speech “very, very appalling,” saying it “amounted to him declaring war on his own people.” Libya’s own deputy ambassador at the U.N., who now calls for Gadhafi’s ouster, has urged the world body to enforce a no-fly zone over the country to protect protesters.

      In two nights of bloodshed, Tripoli residents described a rampage by pro-Gadhafi militiamen — a mix of Libyans and foreign mercenaries — who shot on sight anyone found in the streets and opened fire from speeding vehicles at people watching from windows of their homes.


      Gaddafi can no longer rely on large sections of his army, who have sided with the protesters.

      But witnesses say he has hired French-speaking heavies from sub-Saharan Africa and there are claims of Russian mercenaries on the streets.


  4. An anniversary today:

    February 23, 1944 is the Day of Genocide of Peoples of North Caucasus by Red Army

    On the 23 February 1944 the Soviet Union set in motion the immediate deportation and exile of the entire Chechen and Ingush peoples to the steppes of Central Asia. In the depths of winter they were subjected to summary massacres and food shortages: it was a solution no less final or brutal than the one being inflicted on Jews in Europe.

    In January 1944, tens of thousands of NKVD troops arrived in the tiny mountainous republic and fanned out to almost every settlement in the region. On Red Army Day, February 23, in every town and village the men were summoned to meetings in the local Soviet building. None suspected the calamity that was about to befall them and all came willingly. Instead of celebrations the gathered crowds were read the Decree of the Supreme Soviet which announced the complete deportation of the Chechen and Ingush people for treason and collaboration with the German enemy.

    There was no evidence to support the claim of Chechen collaboration with the Nazis which rather was a pretext used by Stalin to dispose of a population that had hitherto refused to submit to Moscow’s will. In fact the German advance had never reached Chechen soil, stopping just short of the border. Moreover Chechen soldiers had distinguished themselves in the major actions of the Second World War. Chechen soldiers had been awarded medals and decoration far greater than their numerical proportion in the Soviet army. However in the end even the soldiers were not spared. They were removed from their units and sent directly to the Gulags of Central Asia.

    In each town Studebaker trucks (provided by the United States in wartime lend-lease) rolled up to be loaded with Chechen men, women and children at gunpoint. These trucks transported their cargoes to the nearest railway points where the people were crammed into bare cattle cars with no food and utterly inadequate clothing. Villagers from the remote mountain settlements were forced to march down to the plains. Stragglers were shot as was anyone who resisted. Pregnant women, elderly people and others deemed to require too much effort to transport were killed. One documented instance is of 700 women, children and old people who were burnt alive in the mountain village of Khaibakh. These massacres occured throughout the republic and the empty auls (mountain villages) smouldered for weeks after.

    Within days, with ruthless efficiency, an entire people had been erased from the land of their ancestors. Overnight Chechnya and Ingushetia were entirely depopulated; cartographers were instructed to expunge all references to them from official maps, records and encyclopaedias.

    On February 29 Lavrentii Beria, Chief of the NKVD Secret Police, wrote to Stalin:

    “I report the results of the operation of resettling Chechens and Ingushi. The resettlement was begun on February 23rd in the majority of districts, with the exception of the high mountain population points… 478,479 persons were evicted and loaded onto special railway cars, including 91,250 Ingush. One hundred and eighty special trains were loaded, of which 159 were sent to the new designated place.”

    For almost half a million Chechen and Ingush people on their black odyssey across the frozen tundra, an ordeal of monumental suffering had just begun. The sealed trains were crowded with families – men, women and children of all ages – in freezing, cramped conditions with no toilet or washing facilities. Typhoid epidemics swept through the crammed cattle cars, killing many in scenes that must have resembled those of Buchenwald and Auschwitz. Little food was provided; the weak and ill were finished off by hunger and cold. Along the way they were treated to contempt and abuse by local populations who had been told that the people in the trucks were being punished for collaboration with the enemy.

    The transports were frequently searched for corpses which were simply thrown from the train to the side of the rail tracks. To avoid this fate for their kin, the Chechens tried desperately to disguise or hide the corpses in the hope of giving them an Islamic burial at their journey’s end.

    After several weeks of travel the Chechens were scattered in remote locations across present-day Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan. Little or no provision was made for food or shelter for the hundreds of thousands of deportees who were mostly left to fend for themselves. In the years that followed thousands were to die of pneumonia and hunger in exile.

    It was a catastrophic episode in the already tumultuous history of the Chechen people. Within living memory they had already suffered a long war against the full military might of the Russian Empire in the nineteenth century, followed by large-scale enforced emigration. Many families were scattered and never able to reunite.

    The settlements of the deportees were in effect large penal colonies. The most trivial infringements of the rules punished by imprisonment or hard labour. Yet as the Russian writer and dissident Alexander Solzhenitsyn described in The Gulag Archipelago, the Chechens’ will to survive endured.

    “There was one nation which would not give in, would not acquire the mental habits of submission — and not just individual rebels among them, but the whole nation to a man. These were the Chechens… I would say that of all the special settlers, the Chechens alone showed themselves unbroken in spirit. They had been treacherously snatched from their home, and from that day they believed in nothing… The Chechens never sought to please, to ingratiate themselves with the bosses; their attitude was always haughty and indeed openly hostile… And here is the extraordinary thing: everyone was afraid of them. No one could stop them from living as they did. The regime which had ruled the land for thirty years could not force them to respect its laws.”

    Conditions for the Chechens remained severe until after the death of Stalin in 1953. Soon afterward Chechens were making official representations in Moscow for permission to return to their homeland. Indeed a trickle of Chechens had already started to illegaly return to their homes. In 1956 at the 20th Party Congress, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev acknowledged the wrongs that had been done the Chechens and the other exiled peoples. The trickle of returnees had by this time become a flood and despite the authorities best efforts to prevent the Chechens returning – often bringing with them the bones of their kindred in order to bury them in their ancestral graveyards.

    But their lives could never really return to what they had been before 1944. The massive loss of life among the elderly inflicting grave damage on Chechen culture and disrupted a rich oral tradition that had stretched back many centuries. Many of the ancient mountain auls were in ruins and uninhabitable, forcing most of the Chechen people to live in the plains for the first time in their history, and irrevocably altering their mountain ways.

  5. The Russians continue their acts of state sponsored terrorism against Georgia


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