FRIDAY SEPTEMBER 23 CONTENTS
(1) EDITORIAL: Prokhorov in the Woodshed
(2) EDITORIAL: Drunken Russian Killers
(3) EDITORIAL: Does Britain Remember Chamberlain?
(4) EDITORIAL: An Open Letter to Donna Welles
(5) Cameron as Chamberlain
(6) Russia and its Slaves
NOTE: On September 22, 2011, the Russian stock market lost over 8% of its value on news of declining international demand for crude oil, and it is down over 30% since early April.
NOTE: Stalin on school notebooks for children! What will those Russians think of next?? (Hat tip: Reader “Garnet”)
NOTE: An American is dancing at the Bolshoi! Another sign of the apocalypse for Russia!
NOTE: The Russian website GolosRuNeta is holding an online straw poll for president. Way out in the lead is Russian Orthodox priest, actor, director, screenwriter, playwright, journalist, writer and all-around weirdo Ivan Okhlobstin. Who says Russians don’t take the future of their children seriously?? Vote now, and often.
Prokhorov in the Woodshed
Last week saw the Right Cause party of oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov go down in flames. It used to be the case that the Kremlin liquidated politicians (like former prime minister Mikhail Kasyanov and former first deputy prime minister Boris Nemtsov) because they were too anti-Kremlin. But those days are over. Now, it’s going after all political figures who are not pro-Kremlin enough! It is the natural progression as Russia returns to a neo-Soviet state.
Drunken Russian Killers
When a TU-134 jet went down in Petrozavodsk, Russia on June 20th this year, some people (the Russian government included) wanted to blame the aging plane itself. Now, they own the poor plane an apology.
The 47 Russians who lost their lives on that flight were not killed by the plane, nor were they killed by any “evil” Chechen terrorist. They were killed by a fellow Russian, the navigator of the plane Aman Atayev. He was drunk at the wheel.
So even if the passengers had been flying in a brand new Boeing aircraft made in America with the latest technology, they still would not have been safe. Atayev’s mother says he turned to drinking as a result of his recent divorce, yet another omnipresent Russian social ill. She says so as if he were somehow the innocent victim of that divorce, but in fact one Russian man murders his wife every forty minutes, so it’s quite likely he brutalized his wife emotionally or physically or both, and that’s why she left him.
Does Britain still Remember Chamberlain?
Simon Tisdall, a columnist for The Guardian in Britain, says Russians think of British Prime Minister David Cameron a “useful idiot” who offers the KGB regime of Vladimir Putin “de facto, unthinking legitimization.”
Tony Brenton, Britain’s ambassador to Russia from 2004 through 2008, says that “Russia’s ruling elite has become immovable and predatory, elections are fixed, corruption is on a par with Nigeria, the legal system is pliable, and the police and security agencies untouchable.” He says its government is a sham: “While Dmitri Medvedev enjoys the title of president, Vladimir Putin continues to call the real shots.”
But despite that, the British idiot-in-chief recently traveled to Moscow and inked hundreds of millions in trade deals in exchange for ignoring Russian human rights atrocities and the murder of Alexander Litvinenko in London.
An Open Letter to Donna Welles
Blogger Donna Welles is having trouble understanding why Russians don’t understand why jokes about xenophobia are funny. Herein, we explain it to her.
Dear Ms. Welles,
We thought we’d help you out with your conundrum about Russians and xenophobia. You relate a “joke” about it told to you about Russia by a Russian who asked you why it was funny. You suggest it might be because the joke wasn’t invented by a Russian, and therefore isn’t tortuously illogical enough for a Russian to comprehend. But that isn’t it at all.
The reason is much more simple: For Russians, xenophobia and racism are normal, not unusual, and certainly not suspect. Russians believe that all people, just like them, hate those from other countries and want to see them destroyed. It’s necessary to view the world like that, you see, if you want to live by such a view yourself.
Pavel Stroilov, writing on the Spectator blog:
“Russian democracy has been buried under the ruins of New York’s twin towers”, famous KGB rebel Alexander Litvinenko wrote in 2002. The West, he warned, was making a grave mistake of going along with Putin’s dictatorship in exchange for his cooperation in the global war on terror. He would never be an honest partner, and would try to make the Western leaders complicit in his own crimes – from political assassinations to the genocide of Chechens. As a KGB officer, Putin would see every friendly summit-meeting as a potential opportunity to recruit another agent of influence.
David Cameron, whose summit-meeting with Putin coincided with the sombre jubilee of 9/11, would be well-advised to remember these warnings. The previous generation of Western leaders – from Bush to Blair to Schroeder to Berlusconi – has discredited itself by their ‘friendship’ with Putin, and got nothing in return. As The Spectator revealed this summer, there are serious questions to be asked about Russian secret service’s alleged links to Al-Qa’eda. Hopefully, the Prime Minister may have even asked those questions in Moscow.
Amanda Bellows, writing on the New York Times Opinionator blog (click the link for an audio comparison of American and Russian slave songs):
Frederick Douglass spent much of his life speaking about the hardships of slavery — but even he, at times, realized that words were not enough. Instead, he turned to music: “The mere hearing of [slave] songs,” he said, revealed the “physical cruelties of the slave system; for the heart has no language like song.” Today, spirituals like “Go Down, Moses” and “God’s Going to Trouble the Water” continue to convey American slaves’ anguish, frustration and hope.
Less familiar to Americans, however, is the music of Russia’s serfs, who were emancipated in 1861, on the eve of President Lincoln’s inauguration. Although the slaves and serfs were separated by vast distances and significant historical experiences, each group endured years of bondage by turning to song. Likening the songs of Russian serfs to those of American slaves, early 20th-century actor and slave descendent Paul Robeson observed that both groups had “an instinctive flair for music … [a] faculty born in sorrow.” But their musical traditions have striking differences, too — differences that help us understand the contrasts between the two systems.