FRIDAY JULY 8 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Craven Russia Soils Democracy
(2) EDITORIAL: Russia’s Very, Very Unfriendly Skies
(3) EDITORIAL: Russia and its “Wealth”
(4) EDITORIAL: Bulgaria gives Russia a Lesson
(5) Pain and Humiliation for Russia at Wimbledon
(6) Мы сегодня в цирк поедем!
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld documents on the American Thinker blog the relentless failure of the Putin regime and the equally horrific failure of Barack Obama’s Russia policy. She demands justice from the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as Obama seeks to confirm his proposed new ambassador. We join in that demand.
Craven Russia Soils Democracy Once Again
In light of what has occurred with former Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Kasyanov’s People’s Freedom Party, it is hard for us to see how any thinking person can now view the people of Russia with anything but naked contempt.
Shamelessly, the Putin Kremlin has refused to allow PFP to stand for elections, denying them the basic right of registration. As Kasyanov put it: “Nothing that has been said or promised by Medvedev during these past three years has materialized. It has only gotten worse: that is more pressure on political opponents, even more falsification in regional elections.”
Meanwhile, despite telling the Financial Times that he thought political competition was essential to Russia’s future and that it was “very bad” that there were no liberal parties represented in the Duma, Medvedev himself said the he would not run against Vladimir Putin if Putin chose to seek the presidency for at third time.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal our favorite blogger, Vladimir Kara-Murza, told the world who Medvedev really is: “Medvedev’s recent statements about freedom and political competition have led many Western observers to hope for a new wave of democratic reforms in Russia. The Justice Ministry’s denial of the Popular Freedom Party’s registration papers last week shows that these statements are a fraud.”
A group of leading Western Russia scholars was blunt: They called the Kremlin’s decision “clearly political” and held that it violated international law to which Russia was obligated. And they challenged the US to respond: “The Obama administration is on record that democracy and human rights are important to U.S.-Russia relations. If so, the administration, and the U.S. Congress, should respond vigorously with measures designed to support democratic rights and freedoms. ”
Russia’s Very, Very Unfriendly Skies
A wise man never flies Russia's most unfriendly skies!
The month of June proved to be one of the worst and most humiliating in the history of Russian aviation. Unfriendly skies? Call them downright hostile!
First, a TU-134 airliner crashed while attempting to land near Petrozavodsk, killing all of its nearly four dozen passengers. This model drops out of the sky with metronomic regularity, and Russia was soon ordering it out of service. But this could only leave all intelligent people wondering: Why did Russia wait so long?
It was only the beginning, though.
Russia and its “Wealth”
According to the Wealth-X website, Russia has one-quarter the ultra high net worth (UHNW) citizens that Brazil has and close to one-tenth the number held by India and China. But Russia goes toe-to-toe with the other BRIC nations when it comes to billionaires, and those billionaires control a shocking 85% of all the wealth held by Russia’s ultra-rich. In Brazil and India (and for that matter the United States), billionaires do not even control a third of the ultra-rich asset base. Russia’s billionaires control a third of Russia’s GDP, whereas in the USA billionaires control just a tenth.
What this data shows beyond any question is that Russia is a disastrous failure when it comes to spreading the wealth. Russia is an oligarchy even within its oligarchy, as billionaires greedily refuse to allow millionaires to have a fair share of the investment pot. And Russia’s ultra-rich control an unspeakably vast segment of Russia’s total wealth, meaning that only a very narrow group of decision-makers controls the lion’s share of all important financial decisions. With such limited information and viewpoints, it’s inevitable that Russian innovation and entrepreneurship will suffer.
Bulgaria Educates Russia
We could hardly help squealing with delight late last month when Bulgaria gave Russia a lesson by painting a Soviet war statue, shown above, so that the Soviet soldiers looked like American superheros (Wolverine, Superman and Captain America, for instance), as shown below.
The third round of play at the All-England Club this year was utterly disastrous for Russian female tennis players .
It never ceases to amaze us how so many Russians will, when confronted by evidence of catastrophic failure like this, seek to rationalize it rather than to demand reform — the very thing they do in politics and all other aspects of their lives. Instead of calling for improvement by Russia, they invariably point to failures by other countries, as if that made it OK for Russia to fail.
It reminds us of the old Soviet-era joke: An American walks up to a hotel desk clerk in Moscow and complains loudly about the shockingly poor accommodations in his Russian hotel room. The clerk responds: “Yes, but you lynch blacks.” The result of this attitude was that the USSR never improved, collapsed and disappeared into the ashcan of history. And, or so it seems, Russians have learned absolutely nothing from that experience.
In the third round at Wimbledon 2011, both Russia’s top seed, world #3 Vera Zvonareva, and its third seed, world #12 Svetlana Kuznetsova, were cruelly slaughtered by lower-ranked opponents. Zvonareva, supposedly Russia’ s best player, suffered particularly intense humiliation, getting blasted off the court in easy straight sets by the tournaments’s lowest seed, a Bulgarian not ranked in the top 30 (and we report elsewhere in today’s issue on how the Bulgarians recently thumbed their noses at Russia over World War II — ouch!).
Declining Russia, which some idiots used to refer to as “dominant” in the sport, had a pathetic six seeds going into the tournament, and now two of the top three were gone before the fourth round could begin. What’s more, the #14 seed Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova had already lost in the second round, as had the #28 seed Ekaterina Makarova. After Kuznetsova and Zvonareva went down, this left only two Russian seeds with a chance of getting as far as the fourth round.
Мы сегодня в цирк поедем!
На арене нынче снова
С дрессированным Медведем
Укротитель дядя Вова.
От восторга цирк немеет!
Хохочу, держась за папу,
А Медведь рычать не смеет,
Лишь сосет потешно лапу,
Сам себя берет за шкирки,
Важно кланяется детям.
До чего забавно в цирке
С дядей Вовой и Медведем!
The Failure of Putinomics
Last year, Russia experienced nearly $40 billion in capital flight. Money flowed out of Putin’s Russia at a rate of $3.2 billion per month. Russians voted with their wallets, and they voted that Putin could not be trusted and that a future ruled by him was bleak indeed.
So far this year, despite a crude oil prices above $100/barrel (and a stock market up one-fifth compared to last year), money is leaving Russia at a rate more than double that of last year. Already, in just the first four months of this year, Russia has hemorrhaged a stunning $26.3 billion — more than half the total it lost in all of 2010. The landslide vote against Putin in 2010 has turned into an absolute rout in 2011.
Russian Ignorance, Unbound
“One of our professors talked about him in a lecture. But I don’t really remember now exactly what he said.”
Those were the words of 17-year old Russian law student Maria Danilyants. The “him” she was referring to was Andrei Sakharov, and she was being asked about him by Michael Schwirtz of the New York Times because his wife Yelena Bonner had just passed away.
If you think Ms. Danilyants is an ignorant buffoon, think again. She’s by far the brightest person in her law school class, because not a single one of her classmates could place the name “Sakharov” at all. This is very much the same as if a class of American law students in New York City turned out to have no idea who Martin Luther King was. That is, if America had collapsed and been replaced by another country because it didn’t listen to King.
Cynics on Russia though we may be, we continue to be utterly stunned by the extent of Russian barbarism and ignorance. It is truly not inaccurate to refer to Russia as “Zaire with permafrost” and it is truly breathtaking that Russians can look at any other country and think themselves even remotely erudite.
Russophile Eugene Ivanov Proves Russians are Hopeless
Scary, no? The scariest thing is that he actually thinks he looks good!
It’s not often that we are called upon to defend the people of Russia from the unwarranted attacks of a Russophile, but when the occasion does arise we are very well pleased.
Such is the case with a recent article for the shameless Russophile propaganda project known as “Russia Beyond the Headlines” by the shameless Russophile shill Eugene Ivanov (who scarily poses on his blog in the same type of black leather coat the NKVD wore during an execution of a dissident, and which just recently came back into fashion in Russia).
Ivanov claims the people of Russia are clueless idiots because the vast majority of them think that their court system is corrupt when in fact it routinely rules in their favor. We strongly disagree.
Putin pulls a Clinton
What do you think, dear reader, when you gaze upon the image above (click to see it full size, if you have the stomach for it). Do you think: “Who in God’s name would be so warped as to arrange a scene like that, much less want to photograph if for posterity?”
That’s what we thought, too! Would you then be surprised to learn that the person who composed and photographed this image has just been hired as one of the official photographers for Vladimir Putin, so-called “prime minister” of Russia?
So were we!
Victor Davidoff, writing in the Moscow Times, explains the shamelessly fraudulent and likely illegal means by which Vladimir Putin is generating support for his “People’s Front” initiative:
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin first floated the idea of creating the All-Russia People’s Front on May 6. A week later, the front’s founding document was published. Since then — a little over a month — Putin has arguably become the most popular politician in history. Today his front has several million supporters and about 500 organizations as members. According to information from the local branch of United Russia in the Khabarovsk region, half a million people support the front out of a total population of 1.34 million. In one day, 39,000 employees of the holding company Siberian Business Union joined the front; that is, four divisions in military terms, an apt comparison when talking about the people’s front. Putin, it would seem, has outdone Josef Stalin and Mao Zedong — and he has done it without resorting to terror.
Other Russia reports on Garry Kasparov’s recent testimony before the U.S. Congress (click here to watch a YouTube of his Q&A session afterwards):
On June 17, United Civil Front leader and Solidarity co-leader Garry Kasparov testified before the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs about the grave state of Russia’s political, judicial, and economic systems. Touching on issues ranging from rampant corruption that has exploded on an exponential scale to the perpetration of terrorist acts in occupied Georgian territory, not to mention the overall lack of freedom of speech or free elections and an endless list of other civil rights violations in the country, Kasparov called on congressional leaders to take a stand and stop treating Vladimir Putin and other corrupt Russian officials as members of an actual democracy in economic and diplomatic affairs.
A full transcript of the speech is printed below. The listed appendices were submitted to the committee along with Kasparov’s testimony.
My thanks to the Committee and to Chairman Ros-Lehtinen for permitting me to testify here today. My name is Garry Kasparov. I was born in the Soviet Union in 1963 and currently live in Moscow. Until my retirement in 2005, I represented first the USSR and then Russia as the world chess champion. After I left the sport, I joined the pro-democracy movement in my country, motivated by the disturbing course change away from freedom that Russia was undergoing under President Vladimir Putin. I could not accept that my own children would grow up in a totalitarian state as I had. And to those who have suggested that I should leave Russia for my family’s convenience and safety, I say that it is my country, one I proudly represented around the world for decades, and so let the KGB leave, not me.
FRIDAY JUNE 24 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Russia’s 2011 Report Card
(2) EDITORIAL: A Bastard Named Surkov
(3) EDITORIAL: Russian Technology Unbound
(4) Russia Gives Steel the Business
(5) CARTOON: Whither Medvedev?
NOTE: In her latest column on the mighty Pajamas Media megablog, LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld urges the U.S. Congress to JUST SAY NO to the nomination of Michael McFaul as the next U.S. Ambassador to Russia. We could not agree more. It’s time for the Republican Party to put up or shut up.
NOTE: The Russian military honors an infamous war criminal, murderer and rapist. Is anyone surprised? Not La Russophobe.
NOTE: LR wishes a fond farewell to Paul Goble, one of the greatest Russia bloggers of all time, who has suspended his blog due to “family medical matters” and may not return. We wish Paul and his family all the best and cannot express in words the value he has contributed to the world’s understanding of Russia.
The Rat Bastard Named Vladislav Surkov
That’s Vladislav Surkov you see standing at the lectern in the photograph at the left, the bright red lectern emblazoned with the word “NASHI.” Nashi, meaning “us Slavic Russians,” is the Putin youth cult founded by Surkov several years ago to emulate the Hiterjugend created in Nazi Germany. He fondly refers to his creation as the “combat detachment of our political system.”
From the lectern Surkov told the Nashi cultists to “train their muscles” in preparation for the upcoming presidential elections in Russia which in his words “must be won by [Dmitri] Medvedev, [Vladimir] Putin and United Russia.”
Russian Technology Unbound
Imagine an eagle soaring proudly around the earth in orbit at supersonic speed. Suddenly, the evil Hubble Space Telescope comes into view. The eagle’s eyes glisten with sparks of bravery, it turns its back on the devilish American craft and a powerful red-white-and-blue laser beam shoots out of the eagle’s buttocks, blinding the telescope and rendering the demonic Americans helpless. Their own national symbol has laid them low!
Who in the world could be capable of putting forth such amazing technology to advance the fight against the evil empire that is the USA? Only Vladimir Putin’s Russia, that’s who!
John Helmer reports:
In European folklore, will-o’-the-wisps are lambent flames seen flickering over bogs and fens, and known by many different names and stories. Usually explicable as methane igniting, in some Baltic mythologies the will-o’-the-wisp is believed to signal buried treasure. In others, the ignition is believed to be the trick of a mendacious imp intent on leading unwary travellers to misfortune.
In the history of the Russian steel business since 1990, just two men have gone bankrupt while trying to create steelmill empires, and including them, four groups have collapsed. Considering how small their indebtedness was compared to the likes of the steel majors – Evraz, Severstal, Mechel – they might think of themselves as plucky, but unlucky.
The signs on the wall are help-wanted advertisements.
FRIDAY JUNE 17 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Non-competitive Russia
(2) EDITORIAL: Putin is Killing Russia with his Neo-Soviet Song
(3) EDITORIAL: Welcome to the Horror of Neo-Soviet Russia
(4) Putin Goes Totalitarian
(5) Pandemic Vote Fraud in Putin’s Russia
(6) A Postcard from a Russophile Stoogette
(7) CARTOONS: Russia’s Super Toilet
NOTE: LR founder and publisher Kim Zigfeld’s latest installment on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog analyzes the shocking new evidence of electoral corruption in Putin’s Russia and the even more shocking silence of the Obama administration in regard to it.
Putin is Killing Russia, Slowly, with his Neo-Soviet Song
If you are a child in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, you have a 20% chance of being born in wedlock and not seeing your parents divorce. 30% of all Russian children (300 out of every 1,000) are bastards, born out of wedlock, and 70% of those born in wedlock (500 of the remaining 700) will see their parents divorce. This means only one in five Russian children will have a shot at a “normal” home life.
No doubt out of pity for this pathetic chance of happiness, the average number of children per family in Russia is now 1.59, compared with 1.9 in 1990. That’s a drop of over 15% in two decades. Half of Russian couples have no children, less than five percent have more than two. And that’s with the Kremlin bribing couples silly to have children! Just imagine how far the rate would have fallen without such bribery!
Welcome to the Horror of Neo-Soviet Russia
When you click the jump, you will see an image of the leather trench coat that was worn by officers of the NKVD, the organization that became the KGB and is now the FSB (the organization has twice been required to change its name to try to ward off its disgraceful past). The NKVD, like their successors, were responsible for horrific crimes against the people of Russia and were a legion of goons that terrorized the country in order to support the Stalin dictatorship. They were integral in carrying out one of the most infamous crimes against humanity in world history, the Katyn massacre in 1940 Poland.
Pavel Felgenhauer, writing on the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:
A group of 14 acclaimed Russian intellectuals, including human rights activists, artists, film directors, writers and aides of the late President Boris Yeltsin have published an open statement condemning the present regime for “completely destroying the institution of democratic elections in Russia.” Election results are shamelessly falsified by the authorities, while opposition parties and activists are “unconstitutionally” denied registration to run in elections under cooked up pretexts.
As a result, subjects of the Russian state are disfranchised from the political system rendering it illegitimate. The statement describes as “vicious” the so called “vertical of power”—a system of personalized authoritarian rule the prime minister and leader of the ruling United Russia Vladimir Putin has been building since 1999. This “vertical of power” has created a rubberstamp misrepresentative parliament, a “paralyzed Dmitry Medvedev presidency” and dysfunctional regional and municipal authorities.