Blogger Dmitri Minaev has horrifying details on the arrest of Oborona activist and blogger Dmitri Solovyov for publishing critical posts about the Kremlin. He points out that back in July Solovyov published a post predicting that Russia would attack Georgia in late August based on a report on Kavkaz Centre. Among other things, KC predicted that Russia would rig a “terrorist event” in Sochi to prestage the attack, and would gradually ratchet up Ossetian military action until Georgia was forced to respond. Minaev notes that in fact there was a bomb explosion in Sochi just before the attack. Then he offers a translation one of the posts for which Solovyov was arrested:
The Men in Gray Won’t Break Oborona
by Dmitri Solovyov
You think that with a stupid “Not allowed!” you can destroy an organization? It won’t work. You have been dragged into a a game you know you cannot win. You’re setting up your brown bear protégé. You’ll keep going until some Merkel or Bush calls on the phone and whispers “Stop it!” into the receiver. And then, although you now stand on every corner spreading the stinky mantra, “Russia will never be brought to its knees. Russia will not permit itself to be ruled from abroad,” you’ll come to attention like good lads, salute, and bellow out, “Yes, sir!” Just like you bellowed last year, when the June March [of the Dissenters] was permitted at the request of the German chancellor. Or like you bellowed a month ago, when you transferred [Vasily] Aleksanyan [a severely ill lawyer and ex-Yukos executive in police custody since 2006] to a clinic at the request of the American president.
Robert Amsterdam, Asleep at the Switch?
One of the maxims we live by here on this blog is Martin Luther King’s warning that moderates can be more dangerous to liberty than extremists. Accordingly, we have bone to pick with blogger (and Khodorkovsky attorney) Robert Amsterdam. Several, actually, and they have compound fractures. We ask his readers, a category in which we include ourselves (often admiringly so), to pressure him to wake up and smell the bitter Russian coffee brewing under his nose. These days, as Putin’s Kremlin makes moves like attempting to hand-pick jurors, we need lawyer Amsterdam to be hyper-vigilent, yet he often seems to be asleep at the switch.
First, we are outraged that Amsterdam has failed to republish and praise the Boris Nemstov white paper and its supplement on Gazprom, even though we have specifically reached out to him and asked him to do so. In fact, he should be doing even more than that, and using his connections to lobby for op-ed space fore Nemtsov in major Western newspapers and funding to help him better educate the benighted people of his country. Amsterdam’s failure to express solidarity with Nemtsov is unconscionable, and almost makes us think it’s something personal he (or his client) have against the former deputy premier, or maybe against us since we translated the text. It’s good enough for the New York Review of Books, but not good enough for Bob Amsterdam.
Second, we are disappointed by Amsterdam’s failure to address his client’s recent moves to express submission to the maligant will of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, moves we have condemned here on this blog. We realize that a lawyer can’t exactly call his own client on the carpet, but Amsterdam owes the world some kind of explanation for his client’s repugnant behavior, since he has asked the world to lobby for his client’s freedom and gained international notoriety in the attempt. Sweeping it all under the carpet just won’t do.
And then there’s this whole business of the Big Mac attack.