Vladimir Ryzhkov, writing in the Moscow Times:
Russians hold no illusions about the ability or the willingness of the authorities to “modernize” — the government’s latest catchword — and view such proclamations in the opposite light of that intended. President Dmitry Medvedev and his administration view modernization as the exclusively technological renewal of the country. The president identified five areas in which new technologies should be developed. New legislation is being drafted to stimulate development of the technologies. The decision has been made to build an innovation city in Skolkovo in the Moscow region that will enjoy legal and tax incentives, and the project has already earned the nickname of Vekselburg, in honor of its director, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg.
Chaos in Kyrgyzstan
It seems like only yesterday that a Russia-supported coup d’etat swept aside the pro-U.S. government of Kyrgyzstan in favor of one sympathetic to Russia. And now, the world already sees the results of that action: brutal, bloody ethnic violence, a massive refugee crisis, and Russian military forces moving to seize yet another former Soviet slave state once again by the throat (the Russian Scoop blog has photos from the scene and more details). There are already 400,000 refugees and the situation looks increasingly hopeless. Indeed, the only thing that may save Kyrgyzstan from this fate is Russian cowardice in the face of the Frankenstein monster it has created.
The notion that a Russia-sponsored putsch could possibly result in better living conditions for the people of Kyrgyzstan was ridiculous from the beginning.
Volodya “Girly Boy” Putin
Mickey Roarke as a Russian baddie in Ironman II
Vladimir Putin likes to hold himself out to the world as being a tough guy, a macho stud, but in fact he’s not just a girly man, he’s more like a girly little boy.
Case in point: When Iron Man II opened in China — it’s yet another film, like The Bourne Supremacy or Eastern Promises or Indiana Jones or RocknRolla, that features a Russian villain as Russia descends once again into neo-Soviet darkness — the Chinese censored all the references to Russia.
What’s the longest river in neo-Soviet Russia? Denial! Streetwise Professor reports:
Russian central bank head Sergei Ignatiev claims that the European crisis poses no threat to Russia:
“I don’t think all these events will have a strongly negative effect on the Russian economy,” Ignatiev said at a conference in St. Petersburg today. “The Russian banking system is better prepared for external shocks than it was in 2008.”
The economy is protected by sufficient liquidity, a “much more flexible ruble,” and large international reserves, the world’s third biggest after China and Japan, according to Ignatiev. While the Russian currency reflects external volatility, it can better withstand external shocks than it did before the global financial crisis, he said.
Of course, that’s what Putin, Medvedev, and even my boy Kudrin said said in 2008, when the storm clouds were breaking in the United States and Europe. And we know how that worked out: rather than being a safe harbor from the storms buffeting other economies, as Putin and Kudrin had claimed, Russia was hit harder than virtually any economy. Indeed, only months after boasting about his country’s immunity from the world crisis, in a speech at Davos Putin raged at the West for creating a “perfect storm” that had swept over Russia.
On December 2, 2009, in the seaside Indian state of Goa, speedboat manufacturer and failed candidate for the Indian parliament John Fernandes (pictured above right) allegedly offered a ride to a Russian woman (above left, face concealed) and her friend, both of whom he had been acquainted with for more than a year. At some point after that, after first dropping off the friend at home, Fernandes then allegedly attacked and raped the Russian woman. He’s now in prison awaiting trial. The Russian woman, whose identity is being withheld, worked as a tour operator for a major hotel; apparently Russians are flocking to Goa these days.
A few days later the ruling Congress Party’s Shantaram Naik, Goa’s representative in the upper house of India’s parliament, stated: “An alleged rape of a lady who moves with strangers for days together even beyond middle of the night is to be treated on different footing.” Fernandes’s supporters began claiming the charges could be politically motivated retaliation following his unsuccessful bid for office, which he only narrowly lost.
The Russian consulate in Goa reacted rather strangely — or it would seem so, if you were not well acquainted with the Russian mindset on rape. Study the matter a bit, and you see the true horror of Russia’s blind hypocrisy fully revealed.
Nikolai Zlobin, director of Russian and Asian programs at the Institute for World Security in Washington, writing in the Moscow Times:
During his perfunctory election campaign, President Dmitry Medvedev made no mention of the need to modernize Russia, nor did he promise to become a popular video blogger or to set any world records for compassion by providing apartments to World War II veterans. No, Medvedev called for a battle against corruption and promised to do so much in establishing law and order that everyone would understand that he was not just keeping the presidential seat warm until Prime Minister Vladimir Putin returned to it in 2012.
Russians — tired of small-scale corruption that has become a way of life and daily injustice on the part of government officials — were ready to believe the anti-corruption pluck of the young leader who promised to “finally put an end” to the problem.
Paul Goble reports:
The denunciation of criminality in the militia by Kuban MVD Major Dymovsky on YouTube and the appearance of clips by two other former interior ministry officers threatens to “awaken” Russian society more than any other development since the recovery of stability earlier in this decade, according to numerous Moscow commentators. And while the suggestion of some that the MVD may be the unexpected source of “an orange revolution” in Russia are an overstated reaction to regime propagandists who have suggested that the West is behind the major, there can be no doubt of the attention these YouTube appearances are gaining.
One commentator, Dmitry Bykov, argued that “the popularity of the Kuban major is comparable to the mechanism of the glory of Maxim Gorky” a century ago. At that time, he says, “everyone knew that the people were becoming impoverished and suffering but for the first time, someone from that milieu was telling them about it.” Dymovsky has not appeared at a time when he can lead a struggle with “the system,” Bykov continues, but “like Solzhenitsyn who wrote down the testimony of the zeks, [the YouTube celebrity] is collecting “testimony’ of the ‘ments,’ who have suffered from the actions of the bosses” and his story is a compelling one.