Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on the Huffington Post:
As Vladimir Putin is apparently preparing to return to the Presidential seat in 2012, PR campaign in his support is gaining strength sometimes almost reaching the level of cult of personality. On October 6, a day before Putin’s 59th birthday, he got an unusual gift from several female students of Moscow State University’s Department of Journalism. Twelve soon-to-be journalists in sexy lingerie posed for a calendar entitled “Happy Birthday, Mr. Putin!” Next to their smiling photos were put slogans like “How About a Third Time?”, “Who Else If Not You?”, “You Are Only Getting Better with Years” etc. Names of the girls and their department were mentioned at every page.
Top: cover of the original calendar saying “Vladimir Vladimirovich, We Love You!”
Bottom: remake by Zhurfak students, saying “Vladimir Vladimirovich, We Have a Few Questions For You.”
Make no mistake, it wasn’t a joke or a spontaneous burst of patriotism of a few not-so-smart girls.
So-called law enforcement officers following Vladimir Putin's advice in Moscow on August 31
Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on the Huffington Post, reveals how Vladimir Putin has declared open, violent war against peaceful protesters (just for daring to march without a license, not for defying an order to disperse) and his own presidency-for-life:
Today’s Kommersant publishes a fresh interview with Vladimir Putin, where the dictator comments on opposition rallies:
Look, all our opponents support a Rechtsstaat. What is a Rechtsstaat? It is obedience to the existing law. What does the existing law say about [Dissenters'] Marches? You need to get a permission from the authorities. Got it? Go and protest. Otherwise you don’t have this right. If you go out without having the right, get beaned with a baton. That’s it!
Putin manages to lie three times in this short passage:
Posted in kozlovsky, neo-soviet crackdown, opposition groups, russia
Tagged Civil disobedience, Huffington Post, Kommersant, Law, Moscow, oleg kozlovsky, russia, united russia, vladimir putin
Russian opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky
Opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on the Huffington Post:
The building of autocracy in Russia is done in small steps. One brick was added to the wall this Friday by the State Duma. An act that further restricts public gatherings and protests in the country passed in its first hearing.
The most widely discussed “innovation” of the new act is that it obliges organizers of all actions involving cars or any other means of transportation (including trains, bycicles etc.) to de facto receive approval from the authorities. It is an apparent response to recent protests of car owners (the so-called “blue buckets”) and opposition actions in Moscow trains. The government and police found it difficult to stop or persecute participants of those protests, so now they’ll have a pretext.
In Putin’s Russia, Citizens most of all Fear the “Police”
Oleg Kozlovsky in Triumfalnaya Ploshchad
Here’s what happened to Oborona opposition faction leader Oleg Kozlovsky last week:
First, he was illegally arrested for doing nothing more than asserting his Constitutional right to peacefully assemble in Triumfalnaya Ploshchad in Moscow.
Then, he was illegally beaten while in police custody as he protested (peacefully) the illegality of his arrest.
Next, he was held illegally for nine hours in police custody (the law allows for only three).
Finally, he was indicted on the signature of a police officer who had nothing whatsoever to do with his arrest and therefore could not have been a party to it, and on a pre-printed form prepared by bureaucrats miles away.
In other words, in the space of just a few hours Oleg had his legal rights trampled upon by the Russian police who are supposed to protect those rights not once, not twice, not three times but four separate times. More than a hundred other activists were treated similarly by the Russian “police” and Oleg saw a reporter get his arm broken by these thugs for trying to cover and report on the their atrocities.
Russia and the Ape who Governs Her
Russia's ape in chief
Try to imagine a press conference where U.S. President George Bush is asked about his policies at Guantanamo Bay by Bruce Springsteen, and responds to “the Boss” by musing: “Who are you?”
What do you think the world might then say about Mr. Bush?
Well, precisely that happened last week when Yuri Shevchuk, the Russian equivalent of Springsteen and leader of the legendary rock band DDT, stood up and confronted Putin with the following question: “I received a call the day before yesterday from your assistant, I guess — don’t remember his name — who asked me not to pose sharp questions. Do you have a plan for the serious, sincere and honest liberalization and democratization of our country so state organizations do not strangle us and so we stop being afraid of the police on the streets?”
Putin responded: “What’s your name, sorry?” Shevchuk gave his name, and added “a musician.”
Russian opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky's stunning wife Lada Bat with their daughter Dana, who is appearing at her very first protest event with her parents. If this is Russia's future, things are not so very bad after all.
Heroic opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky (click his name in our sidebar “categories” section to read all about him) reports the the Kremlin is escalating his persecution to a shocking new neo-Soviet level:
When one speaks of advantages of the Putin’s regime over the Soviet system, there usually is one achievement that is never disputed. It is the freedom of travel abroad. In the USSR, very few people were able to visit the Soviet Bloc countries, and only a tiny minority could see the “capitalist world.” But after the USSR collapsed, Russia opened its borders, removed numerous obstacles for international travel, and millions of Russians could travel the world. After Putin came to power most of the freedoms we had enjoyed were reduced or eliminated, but this one was left almost untouched.
For me, this freedom seems to be over. Yesterday, I was informed that FSB is refusing to give their approval for re-issuing of my passport. The official reason is, they failed to receive information about whether I had access to any state secrets during my military service (which I, of course, hadn’t). Ironically, I was drafted into the army two years ago with direct involvement of FSB when they tried to isolate me during the presidential campaign. Now, they use it as an pretext for not letting me out the country.
Oleg Kozlovsky, whose wife has just delivered his first child (congratulations, m0lodets!) writing on the Huffington Post:
Yabloko, which had claimed to be the last registered democratic party in Russia, has officially broke up with the opposition. Its convention adopted a resolution last week that bans Yabloko’s members from participating in any opposition organizations, movements or coalitions.
Kremlin’s most hated “troublemakers” like The Other Russia and Solidarnost are explicitly mentioned in the resolution. Those who don’t leave these organizations within three months will be automatically expelled from the party, regardless if they hold high posts.
Oborona leader Oleg Kozlovsky, writing in a new volume from a German publisher entitled 20 Years Ago, 20 Years Ahead: Young Liberal Ideas:
On November 4th 2008, the world watched Barack Obama win the US presidential elections. The first black person to rule the planet’s most powerful country, he promised to change those policies of the previous administration that were seen by many as undemocratic. On the next day, another recently elected President was presenting his plans to the public. Dmitry Medvedev was addressing the Russian Parliament and he too was speaking on the broad topics of democracy and the rule of law. But he did make a very practical point in his speech when he suggested amending the Constitution and extending the terms of both the President and the State Duma (the lower House of the Parliament). This amendment was supported by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who had until recently before claimed that the Constitution must not be changed. Parliament passed the resolution in a matter of weeks with hardly any discussion. This amendment to the Constitution, its first, was a clear example of what democracy in Russia had become.
That Oleg Kozlovsky is one cool dude, and he has married a fabulous babe. Some postcards from his wedding album. Chew on these, Mr. Putin: Jail him illegally as many times as you like, he just goes on.
Going to the chapel and they're gonna get married!
Opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky is now Twittering in English. Here are some of the latest entries (including the big news that his new wife is already pregnant! way to go, Oleg!):
After yesterday’s illegal arrests, Oborona with its friendly orgs held a protest right in metro trains today – http://tinyurl.com/l7h32d1:44 PM Sep 21st from Echofon
Some people accuse us of hating Russians, but in fact all the people we most idolize are Russians. We simply hate those who try to destroy those Russians, and the Russians who try to do are the most reprehensible of the lot.
On May 31, 2009, the Oborona opposition organization led by Oleg Kozlovsky carried out a protest march on Tverskaya Street in Moscow. The march was a response to Moscow City Hall’s illegal refusal to certify a rally at the city’s Triumphal Square in response to a legal application for permission to do so by the Other Russia coalition led by Garry Kasparov, of which Oborona is a part.
Oborona activists lit flares and unfurled banners calling for Putin to resign; they sought to block traffic on Tverskaya just as unpaid workers recently did in Pikalyovo outside of St. Petersburg. They were immediately attacked by OMON storm troopers and 30 members were arrested, including Kozlovsky himself.
After the jump, view photographs of the Oborona activists, including a young woman of rare beauty, being manhandled by the OMON thugs. We ask you: Who are the patriots, and who the traitors to Russia?
Oleg Kozlovsky, leader of the Oborona protest movement, writing on the Huffington Post:
Some countries are just more lucky than others. Moldova wasn’t lucky enough to be known in America or Western Europe. Indeed, it’s a small East-European ex-Soviet country, poorest on the continent, and there’s little of interest about it. Except maybe for the fact that Moldova is the only place in the world where Communists keep winning West-approved elections. So they did, or claim to have done, at general elections last Sunday.
Justice, as Putin Defines it
Oleg Kozlovsky announces on his blog the results of his lawsuit against the Kremlin for illegally imprisoning him for 13 days preemptively in advance of a Dissenters March last year. A court ordered the government to pay Kozlovsky 10,000 rubles in damages, about $295 or roughly $23 per day of captivity.
Let’s put that in perspective.
It would be hard not to find this amusing, if it were not so very horrifying. Oleg Kozlovsky reports on his blog about the truly amazing, chicken-with-the-head-off incompetence of Russia’s police establishment, who are far more dangerous to Russian citizens than the nation’s criminal element:
Yesterday, myself and two other activists of Oborona were arrested at a small action at the Moscow State University, my alma mater. We called students to participate in the Dissenters’ Day, which was planned for March 12th. We had leaflets, a loudspeaker and a flag. The police arrested three of us and took us into custody. Initially, they charged us with “a violation of the rules for conducting a public action,” which meant that we could be held in the custody for up to three hours and then be fined up to 1000 roubles (about $30).
Translator’s Note: What I find most interesting about this story of dirty little infiltrations and attempts at dirty little tricks against the opposition is how pathetically inept, empty and ignorant the Kremlin’s little hirelings are. Being somewhat older myself, I have not had much contact with young Russians who grew up entirely after the collapse of Communism and the USSR. Looking at the vacuousness and sloppiness of the thinking (if there is any thinking done at all) here and the total deficit of any morals whatsoever, it is clear that the education system collapsed as well. Aren’t these vacuous little hirelings neat miniatures of the supreme Lilliput (in Michael Saakashvili’s wonderful allusion)?
Petersburg Branch of Oborona Uncovers Nashi Spies
Oborona St. Petersburg
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
The Petersburg Branch of Oborona has uncovered a number of paid infiltrators working to the order of a secret project called Runners of the President. This project was set up by the pro-Kremlin Nashi movement and has been operating for the last 18 months. Its particular purpose was to collect information on opposition groups and to set them up for provocations during demos. The infiltrators engaged in the latter activity have unfortunately not yet been uncovered. We know that spies of this kind have been infiltrated into other organisations in Petersburg and other towns around Russia.
The paid informers infiltrated into the Petersburg Branch of Oborona, who received about 20000 roubles a month (~$550), were Vladimir Bynkin, who joined Oborona in July 2008 and became a member of the St. Petersburg Branch coordination committee, and Taras Filatov, an activist recruited by Bynkin in December. We also discovered that prior to these people joining, Darya Odintsova, who earlier left the Runners of the President project and ceased being active in Oborona, had also been a paid infiltrator. The three have now been officially expelled from Oborona at a General Meeting of the organisation.
Paul Goble reports:
Pro-Kremlin groups are regularly inserting into the ranks of opposition groups spies who “just like in old times” are writing denunciations and generally informing their control officers about what is going on, according to a detailed article in this week’s “New Times” magazine. In an article entitled “The Seksots of the 21st Century,” Ilya Barabanov and Yekaterina Savina say that “the lexicon of the times of the all-powerful KGB” – including terms like “seksot [secret co-worker],” ” agent,” and “observer” – is once again becoming part of political discourse in Russia.
According to Anna Bukovskaya, a 20-year-old member of the pro-Kremlin youth group Nashi who worked as a senior organizer of this effort before breaking with it and exposing it in comments to the media, the Kremlin started this revived effort in September 2007 against opposition groups in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yaroslavl. Among the groups that she dispatched agents she had selected for this work were the banned National Bolshevik Party, Garri Kasparov’s OGF, the Oborona [“Defense”] Movement, and Young Yabloko. And many such agents, the “New Times” journalists suggest, would be working to this day if she had not exposed them.
Kozlovsky’s Army Under Siege
“I was furious when I heard Putin speaking fairy tales in Davos about how our economy is under control. It is my duty to stand up for my rights. I want to live in a good place. I want my children to grow up in a free country, not a gulag.”
– Yevgeny Antipov, a 21-year-old student in Vladivostok last weekend, insisting that he was not afraid to be marching against the government for the first time.
A Putin supporter makes the only argument he can in favor of his Master. The young lady is probably not convinced. Are you?
Does U.S. President Barack Obama ever intend to speak out on the oppression of basic democratic and liberal values in Vladimir Putin’s Russia, values he supposedly holds dear? Or are Obama’s pretty words just that, and nothing more?
Oleg Kozlovsky and his opposition organization Oborona (“Defense”) continue to face outrageous harassment from the barbaric band of thugs who run the Moscow Kremlin. Obama continues his repugnant, cowardly silence. We fear that those who told us to trust that Obama would act once he took power were seriously misled.
Writing on his blog, Oleg Kozlovsky publishes the text of a speech he recently gave at an OSCE conference in Helsinki, where he asks for the assistance of the West in standing up to dictatorship in Russia. Are you listening, Mr. Obama? Note that, as we’ve previously reported, Kozlovsky is now a Russia columnist for the powerful Huffington Post blog, and his first installment deals with the Politkovskaya trial. An interview with Kozlovsky by Radio Free Europe follows the text.
I recall what I did at this very day a year ago. It was an election day but for me it was marked by another arbitrary arrest. Just seconds after I commented the elections to an foreign TV channel in the heart of Moscow, I was literally dragged into a police van, threatened and beaten by several anonymous officers. Then they brought me to a police station, held there for a few hours and released without any charges.
I was quite lucky, in fact. A week earlier, an opposition activist Yury Chervochkin was beaten to death, supposedly, by the colleagues of those officers who arrested me. These are just some of the many examples of what Russian “law enforcement” agencies are really busy with.
Oleg Kozlovsky’s blog tells us that United Russia recently added the following graphic to the their website, then after an outcry in the Russian blogosphere removed it. Check out the parking lot area in the left middle of the large circle in the center, then click the image or the jump to see it larger. But first, gird your loins, and remember: This is the official party of power in Russia, and this is their official website.
The website of United Russia, party of power
Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on Robert Amsterdam’s blog:
On 15 November, Union of Right Forces (SPS), one of the two remaining democratic parties in Russia, was liquidated by its own members at an extraordinary convention in Moscow suburbs. This was, as openly admitted, a deal between the party’s leadership and the Kremlin. Some of the former SPS members will now join a new puppet party Right Deed (Pravoe Delo) while dissenters will participate in creation of Solidarity opposition movement.
Oleg Kozlovsky, writing on Robert Amsterdam‘s blog:
On 5th November the world’s attention was drawn to American presidential elections and the victory of Barack Obama. Meanwhile, Russian authorities used this day to declare an unprecedented reform in the country’s recent history—changes to the Constitution. Dmitry Medvedev in an annual address to the houses of the Parliament suggested that the presidential term should be increased from 4 years to 6 years and the Duma’s term—to 5 years.
And La Russophobe is no exception! Oleg Kozlovsky cleans up swell for the 30th annual Human Rights First awards banquet on Friday in Manhattan. The stunning couple is completed by co-winner Nora Younis, from Egypt. Hubba, hubba. What a hunk! Lucky girl!
Click the jump to read Kozlovsky’s interview with Robert Amsterdam.
The Moscow Times, Asleep at the Switch
Writing on Pajamas Media a while back, our founder Kim Zigfeld has documented the appalling extent to which the Moscow Times newspaper is backing away from its previously heroic coverage of neo-Soviet barbarism in Russia. The most odious example of this noxious trend has been the paper’s stubborn unwillingness to give prominent coverage to the heroism of dissident leader Oleg Kozlovsky.
And the most repellent instance of that behavior came recently, when the paper buried the news of Kozlovsky’s human rights award in a tiny sentence at the bottom of an item about another dissident winning asylum in Ukraine. Kozlovsky hobnobbed with the likes of Mary Robinson, Sigourney Weaver and Caroline Kennedy, but you’d never know that from the pages of the Moscow Times. He had an op-ed in the Washington Post, but readers of the MT are oblivious of that fact. He was arrested preemptively on bogus charges, went on a hunger strike and then beat the charges in an appeal, but MT readers remain in the dark about all of it. Nor will the MT publish the letters to the editor it routinely receives from Kim, one of the most powerful Russia bloggers on the planet.
Andrew McChesney, the paper’s editor, should be ashamed of himself. If you’d like to register your displeasure with McChesney, click here or FAX (7-495) 232-6529, or write The Moscow Times, 3 Polkovaya Ul., Bldg. 1, Moscow, 127018.
Kozlovsky, Defender of Human Rights
At a ceremony tomorrow evening in New York City hosted by film star Signorney Weaver, the well-regarded international organization Human Rights First will present Russian opposition leader Oleg Kozlovsky with its Human Rights Award for “extraordinary courage in the pursuit of our common birthright.” Caroline Kennedy and Mary Robinson will be in attendance.
We congratulate Oleg on this outstanding achievement and we applaud HRF for standing up for democracy and civil society in Russia. Kozlovsky burst onto the international scene with a major news piece and then an op-ed in the Washington Post newspaper, and he continues to struggle heroically and defiantly against the oppressive policies of the KGB-dominated Putin administration at tremendous risk to his personal safety. You can read our reports about him by clicking the “Kozlovsky” category in our sidebar. Oleg is a true Russian patriot, representing the last best hope for a real future for his country. Watch Oleg’s YouTube interview here and here. Joshua Keating at Foreign Policy’s Passport Blog has written up the event as well, including an interview with Oleg about the current state of democracy in Russia.