Daily Archives: April 21, 2011

April 30, 2011 — Contents

FRIDAY APRIL 30 CONTENTS

(1)  EDITORIAL:  The Depths of Russian Poverty

(2)  EDITORIAL:  Putin in Space

(3)  EDITORIAL:  A Silly Maggot called “Kremlin Stooge”

(4)  Putin to People: Drop Dead!

(5)  A Very Russian Story

(6)  Russia’s Drinking Problem

(7)  CARTOON:  Divorce, Kremlin Style

NOTE:  Ah, Russia! In spring, a young Russian man’s thoughts turn to . . . bloody murder.

NOTE: Care to watch Dima Medvedev gettin’ jiggy with it?

NOTE:  It was bread and chicken.

EDITORIAL: Plumbing the Depths of Russian Poverty

EDITORIAL

Plumbing the Depths of Russian Poverty

For our money, the most under-appreciated Russia journalist working today is Galina Stolyarova of the St. Petersburg Times.  In our issue today, we republish not one but two of Stolyarova’s recent reports exposing the true horror of poverty in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. No thinking, feeling human being can read these reports and conclude anything other than that the Putin economy is a not just a total failure, but a total sham.

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EDITORIAL: Putin in Space

EDITORIAL

Putin in Space

Just as there are any number of ignorant Russians who, hilariously, believe their country really only leased Alaska to the United States, there are many who will insist that the Americans never landed a man on the moon (not even once, much less multiple times). Apparently Americans are not clever enough to do so — but more than clever enough to fool the rest of the world into thinking that they did!

Such ignorance, such laughable stupidity, and such mind-boggling contradictions are what emerge from decades of crazed, feverish neo-Soviet propaganda.  Even watching the Soviet system destroyed was not sufficient to convince hapless Russians to reject it.  So right after it fell, the rushed to put the KGB right back in power, in the person of Vladimir Putin — doing so because a man they claimed to hate, Boris Yeltsin, told them to.

The latest instance of Russian brain fever has the population believing that even though Russia, admittedly, has never even once landed a man on the moon, it will build a station and start permanently living there by 2030.

We would find Russian belief in such a notion hilarious were it not for the dire consquences it suggests for the country and its future.

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EDITORIAL: Kremlin Stooge, The Very Bottom of the Fetid Russophile Barrel

EDITORIAL

Kremlin Stooge, The Very Bottom of the Fetid Russophile Barrel

He is a stooge, and he is proud of it!

We here at LR have laid quite a number of invidious, smelly little Russophile bloggers in their graves.  Konstantin.  Accidental Russophile. Russia Blog. Even a queer little bird called “La Russophobe Exposed.”  So many others. We’ve seen them come, and we’ve seen them fall. And each time one does, we’ve noticed, the replacement is that much more insipid, clueless and pathetic than the one that came before — which, in context, is saying quite a lot.

Here’s a case in point:  The ever so aptly named “Kremlin Stooge.”  With this one, Russia really is scraping the absolute bottom of a very fetid barrel.

Here’s the executive summary:  Russia is losing billions and billions and billions in capital flight and foreign investment.  The response of the Kremlin Stooge:  It doesn’t matter. Russia already has more money than it knows what to do with.  Besides, America also has financial problems.

You think we’re kidding? Read on.

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Putin to People: Drop Dead!

Galina Stolyarova, writing in the St. Petersburg Times:

In an old Soviet joke, three elderly women go to the doctor. All have exactly the same health condition but they enjoy very different incomes. When the first woman — the wealthiest — tells her story, the doctor asks what her income is, and then suggests eating plenty of fruit and vitamins and recommends a trip to a seaside sanatorium. The next one, who has an average salary, is recommended to cut meat, sweets, and fatty foods from her diet. When the doctor examines the last one, who survives on a tiny pension, all he can prescribe is plenty of fresh air.

It is an open secret that the cynicism of the Russian authorities today is no less than that of the doctor in the joke. And a 17-year-old Yekaterinburg high school student, Vitaly Nikishin, embarked on a crusade last month to expose this cynicism to the entire world. He launched a popular blog in which he recounted his attempt to survive for a month on 2,632 rubles, or $88 — the sum calculated by his regional government as the cost of the monthly “minimum consumer basket.”

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A Very Russian Story

Galina Stolyarova, writing on Transitions Online:

Toward the end of March, Nina Martynova, a 70-year-old retiree from Voronezh, paid for a loaf of bread and a carton of milk at her local grocery and then walked toward the door. She had taken only a few steps when she was stopped by security guards and ordered to follow them.

She was ushered into a small storeroom and searched. In Martynova’s pocket, the guards found two small chocolate bars. She hadn’t paid for them.

It seems the guards had ample evidence to detain her. A recording by the shop’s security cameras, part of which has been posted online, showed the elderly woman sneaking the bars into her pocket.

On the tape, Martynova seemed so shocked that she slowly fainted when the items from her pockets were laid on the table in front of her.

She at once went into cardiac arrest. An ambulance was called, but by the time it arrived she was dead.

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Russia’s Drinking Problem

Dima Medvedev has suddenly started blabbing about illegal narcotics. Mark Lawrence Schrad, an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University and the author of The Political Power of Bad Ideas: Networks, Institutions and the Global Prohibition Wave, writing in the New York Times, explains why:

IN an effort to reduce both its sky-high alcoholism rate and its budget gap, Russia recently announced plans to quadruple the tax on the country’s eternal vice, vodka, over the next three years.

But while the move might be well intentioned, the long history of liquor taxation in Russia exposes a critical obstacle in the path of any anti-drinking campaign: the Kremlin’s own addiction to liquor revenues, which has derailed every previous effort to wean Russians from their tipple.

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