The Russian Nightmare
Alexander Andreyechkin. Vladimir Litvinenko. Alexander Surinov. Do you know these names? If you don’t, you can’t claim to have any real understanding of Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Let us introduce you to them.
Andreyechkin wants to ban Hotmail, Gmail and Skype from use in Russia.
Want to see what somebody who would say something as venal as that looks like? Good luck trying to find a photo of him. Google images has never heard of him, but it’s not because he’s a nobody.
To the contrary, Andreyechkin is the head of the FSB’s department for protection of information and special communication, and Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, said that Andreyechkin was voicing the FSB’s official position. The FSB is the KGB, by another name.
It’s hard to say which is more a more ominous sign for Russia: That the FSB is so brazen and heedless of its own history that it can openly call for shutting down basic communication services, or that it is so incompetent that doing so is the only response it can make to its helpless inability to deal with these evil foreign systems, which apparently are far too complicated for it to manage on its own.
Then there’s Vladimir Litvinenko.
No, he’s no relation to Alexander, the KGB defector who was brutally murdered by the Kremlin for daring to suggest it could be complicit in terrorism. Vladimir is the rector of the St. Petersburg Mining Institute, and oversaw Vladimir Putin’s dissertation in 1996. You know, the dissertation that was exposed as being brazenly plagiarized from American sources four years ago.
To thank Litvinenko for helping him commit and then cover up a massive academic fraud, Putin has made his old professor a rich man, now worth close to half a billion dollars. Putin made him chairman of the board of PhosAgro, the country’s largest producer of phosphate-based fertilizers, although Litvinenko has absolutely no qualifications in business whatsoever and no credentials for running a massive industrial concern. The Moscow Times reports: “Valued by analysts at an estimated $6 billion to $7 billion, PhosAgro had $3.2 billion of revenue in 2008, according to company data.”
And how about Alexander Surinov?
Surinov heads Russia’s State Statistics service. In November 2010, just at the conclusion of Russia’s most recent census, that the data would show a significant uptick in Russia’s population. He was, well, lying. In fact, a few months later the actual results showed that during the Putin years Russia shed more than two million from its population.
When you read the obscene behavior of Andreyechkin, Litvinenko and Surinov, you look into the dark, diseased heart of modern Russia. You see corruption, you see lies, and you see a determined desire to hide them from the world. You see the same business plan under which the USSR operated, the same one that drove that benighted country into the ash can of history. You see failure, hopeless misery, and looming disaster.