FRIDAY JULY 22 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Greedy, Heartless Russians
(2) Neo-Sovietizing Boris Nemtsov
(3) The Bank of Moscow, Running Dry
(4) Ukraine Gives Russia the Finger
(5) Medvedev the Marginal Man
(6) CARTOON: Mano a Mano
NOTE: LR publisher and founder Kim Zigfeld’s latest item on the powerful and influential American Thinker blog exposes the truly horrifying litany of neo-Soviet outrage being perpetrated by the dictatorial Putin regime. Russia is headed back to the USSR on a bullet train.
NOTE: Opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky has met with Hillary Clinton and given her a peace of his mind.
NOTE: The Moscow Times reports that even Russia’s animal citizens have had enough of life under Putin:
A ferret has escaped a circus in the East Siberian city of Chita along with a monkey and a red-breasted parakeet — apparently because they all were feeling down due to bad weather. “We believe the creatures have fled because of their depression — the rain in Chita just doesn’t stop,” the circus’ art director, Zhanna Lazerson, told Interfax on Thursday. “We found the monkey in a doghouse in the morning, and the two animals were cuddling in their sleep,” she said. “But the search for the ferret and the parakeet goes on.” She said the escape has added to the animals’ depression in the circus because the male parakeet was partnered on stage with a female parakeet who is now missing him. The ferret is less missed, with Lazerson calling him a “terrible glutton, idle to the core.” Nevertheless, the troupe hopes that the animals will return to their circus home once they get really hungry.
Now, the ferret has started tweeting.
NOTE: Speaking of Twitter, Ksenia Sobchak has over 1,500 Twitter followers but has never tweeted, not even once.
Top Russia blogger Vladimir Kara-Murza reports:
For Yuri Andropov, who headed the KGB from the 1960s to the 1980s, suppressing political dissent was a top priority. “Every such act represents a danger,” he told his colleagues in 1979, “The struggle against them must be decisive, uncompromising, and merciless.” The regime tried different approaches. Dissidents were convicted to long sentences for “anti-Soviet agitation”—an offense under Article 70 of the penal code—and sent away to prisons and labor camps alongside real criminals. Often, they were labelled “insane,” committed to special psychiatric prisons and subjected to torturous “treatment.” Both of these practices—criminal convictions and “punitive psychiatry”—met with worldwide condemnation and ultimately proved too costly for the Kremlin’s international image.
Then Andropov had an idea.
Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:
While watching the Bank of Moscow scandal unfold, two questions come to mind. First, the Bank of Moscow held the accounts of Moscow’s city budget, and the deficit of the bank is now $14 billion. In essence this means that the city’s funds have been stolen from the bank. How did this happen?
The second question is whether VTB will file a lawsuit in London courts against former Bank of Moscow president Andrei Borodin. It appears that the goal is not to extradite him back to Russia but to put him behind bars in Britain.
Borodin somehow received 20 percent of the shares of the bank, but it is difficult to say whether he was an actual or nominal shareholder.
Rajan Menon, writing on Foreign Policy:
There’s no love lost between Europe and Ukraine’s ruling regime — or certainly between the Western press and Kiev. Indeed, Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich, who unseated the pro-Western leaders of the Orange Revolution, is commonly depicted outside his country as an oppressive and reflexively pro-Russian figure. But while there’s certainly something to this unflattering characterization, there’s a bit more to the man — and a lot more happening in Ukraine than the authoritarian picture most commentators paint.
Hero journalist Pavel Felgenhauer, writing for the Jamestown Foundation:
Russia has been hit by a number of manmade disasters. The worst is the sinking on July 10, of an old Bulgaria riverboat on the Volga River in Tatarstan. The Bulgaria was built in Czechoslovakia in 1955 and was rundown by age and neglect with one of its two main engines out of order during its last voyage as it took families on a one-night stopover weekend tour from the Tatar capital Kazan down the Volga River to the countryside. Tickets were cheap and the Bulgaria was returning to Kazan on July 10 overloaded with some 208 people on board. The official capacity of the Bulgaria was 140, there were 148 registered passengers, 25 unregistered and 35 crew: 99 women, 66 men and 43 children. The boat sunk in broad daylight, suddenly going down in three minutes without warning. Only 79 survived: 29 women, 39 men and 11 children. Divers had by July 14 recovered 105 bodies from the Bulgaria that is on the riverbed 18 meters deep – trapped in the hull, since there was no time for any orderly evacuation. The captain of the Bulgaria, Alexander Ostrovsky, went down with the ship (RIA Novosti, July 13).
Moscow has opened a new “sex museum” and it features a surprising and controversial image of Vladimir Putin and Barack Obama jousting with phalluses. The image appears after the jump, readers are urged to use caution as it is sexually explicit. It is noteworthy that the artist chooses to depict Putin rather than Dima Medvedev jousting with Obama; this reflects the fact that, as we report in today’s issue, Medevedev is an increasingly marginalized man.