British diplomat Tony Brenton reveals the true horror of life in Vladimir Putin’s neo-Soviet state in the Daily Mail:
Should you get home to find the door to your flat unlocked from the inside, that’s just the FSB (the KGB’s successor) letting you know they called. If you pick up the phone to hear your voice played back, as I have, someone is recording your conversations. Such was my life in Russia during my time as a senior official and then as British Ambassador from 2004 to 2008.
Long Live Luke Harding
On December 1, 2010, Luke Harding, Russia correspondent for the Guardian newspaper, published a story based on leaked confidential government documents which concluded that Russian dictator Vladimir Putin approved the murder of dissident KGB defector Alexander Litvinenko.
Six weeks later, the very next time Harding tried to enter Russia, his visa was revoked and he was sent back home. More than three dozen foreign journalists have been refused entry to Russia since Vladimir Putin came to power and many others, like Paul Klebnikov of Forbes, have been murdered outright.
But it’s pretty hard to think of a single pro-Kremlin journalist who has been arrested or exiled or murdered by the Putin Kremlin, isn’t it?
Posted in editorial, iron curtain, journalism, journalists, neo-soviet crackdown, russia
Tagged Alexander Litvinenko, KGB, luke harding, moscow times, Paul Klebnikov, russia, The Guardian, vladimir putin, Walter Duranty
Parfyonov vs. Putin, the Smackdown
One of the most remarkable events in Russian history occurred in November 2010, but you can be forgiven if you missed it. State-sponsored Russian television did not think it worthy of mentioning.
The event was an acceptance speech by Leonid Parfyonov to a black-tie audience at a ceremony where was presented with the first Listyev Prize from state-sponsored Channel One television, in honour of Vladislav Listyev, a Russian journalist who was murdered in 1995 in Moscow. Thankfully, it survives on YouTube, with subtitles. Parfyonov blogs in Russian on LiveJournal.
Little did the Kremlin realize what it was in for when it authorized Parfyonov to receive this award!
Russia is Snob Nation
A recent item in the New Yorker magazine reveals Russia descending to yet another new low. It discusses the latest venture of the Russian oligarch Mikhail Prokhorov, who has chosen to invest vast sums in American, rather than Russian, professional basketball. It is a magazine called Snob that the New Yorker describes as looking “like a cross between Tatler and The New York Review of Books, printed on the kind of paper stock usually reserved for royal invitations” with “an alarming cover price of eight dollars.” The New Yorker attended its opening night in New York City, and described it as follows:
Posted in arts/letters, editorial, journalism, journalists, russia, russian people
Tagged Alexander Melamid, Aliona Doletskaya, Mikhail Prokhorov, Nicole Kidman, russia, Vitaly Komar
Masha Gessen, newly installed as an editor at Snob magazine, blogging at Reuters:
“Are you scared?” someone asked me during a talk in New York last Friday night.
I always get that question. I am a journalist working in Russia, where 19 murders of journalists remain unsolved. Russia ranks eighth in the Impunity Index compiled by the Committee to Protect Journalists — the only European country on the list, it is wedged between Nepal and Mexico.
People may be forgiven that being scared is an occupational hazard for me.
So I gave my stock answer: “No, I am not scared,” I said. “I have been at times, but right now I don’t seem to be doing anything particularly dangerous.” This is true.
Again, Obama shows Yellow on Russia
“It is no secret that the movement that called for Kashin to be punished is financed and directed by the presidential administration.”
–Victor Davidoff, writing in the Moscow Times in an article entitled “Goebbels’ Guide to Russia“
It may not be a secret, Mr. Davidoff, but nonetheless there is no sign that the Obama administration knows it. If they do, they are evil bastards and ought to be impeached.
Here is the statement of the Obama State Department on the brutal attack on Russian journalist Oleg Kashin, brutally attacked just days after being openly threatened on the website of a youth cult that is bought and paid for the by the Putin Kremlin:
In Russia, the United States condemns the attack on Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin and calls on Russian authorities to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice. Freedom of the press is a fundamental right in the United States and other countries, and we are committed to uphold the international and regional commitments. As the 2009 Humanitarian Rights Report noted, eight journalists, many of whom reported critically on the government, were killed over the last year in Russia. With one exception, the government has failed to identify, arrest, or prosecute any suspects. A free and independent press is central to a vibrant and well-functioning democracy. Journalists around the world must feel free to do their jobs without fear of intimidation or physical violence.
Kashin was attacked on Saturday, November 6, 2010. This statement from the State Department comes two full days after the attack. We have already condemned the people of Russia and their wretched, malignant government over this attack. Now, we condemn the Obama administration. Our reasons are many. The craven cowardice reflected in this statement is palpable and embarrassing to any red-blooded American citizen.