Tag Archives: censorship

Another Original LR Translation: Sokolov is the New Sakharov

The following is a staff translation (not from our experts, corrections welcome!) of two items from the Russian press which detail the horrific neo-Soviet persecution that is now underway against those who dare to challenge the KGB regime of Vladimir Putin.

A Professor is Fired for Writing about Saakashvili

by Olga Gorelik

Moi Raion

September 26, 2008

Professor Boris Sukorov

Professor Boris Sokolov

Over the past month, the historian Boris Sokolov has lost his job not once but twice.

First, he was suspended from his position as an op-ed columnist for the Gazeta newspaper.  Then his resignation was demanded from his other employer, the Russian State Social University (“RSSU”).  Both incidents were the result of a column Sokolov wrote for Gazeta in August entitled “Did Saakashvili Win or Lose?” in which he questioned the Kremlin’s version of the events in South Ossetia. 

Soon after the column was published, Sokolov says, the newspaper’s editor in chief Pyotr Fadeyev was fired and the text was removed from its website.  The paper then informed Sokolov that it was no longer interested in carrying his work.  “My colleagues all said that this occurred after the paper received a telephone call from the offices of the presidential administration.”

When Sokolov did not tender his resignation, he says, on September 17th he was fired by RSSU, where he was a professor of social anthropology. “The Dean of my faculty made no attempt to hide the fact that the decision to terminate my employment was made by RSSU’s rector after several phone conversations with presidential administrative staff,” Solokov says.  RSSU denies there was any political motivation behind the termination; according to Dina Tanatova, Acting Dean of the Factulty of Sociology, Sokolov voluntarily resigned because he preferred to engage in professional rather than academic work.  “I very much regret his resignation,” said Tanatova.

Gazeta told a similar story.  “Solokov probably misunderstood me,” claimed Dmitry Balburov, a newspaper spokesman. He asserts that the Professor has simply not submitted any publication-worthy material since the piece about Georgia appeared, and that he never said the relationship had ended.  Further, he claimed that the disappearance of the Georgia text from the newspaper’s website was attributable to “technical reasons” and denied that the editor-in-chief had been terminated against his will.  Anonymous sources at Gazeta confirmed Solokov’s version, however.

LR:  The following is the text of Sokolov’s article (after that is the Russian original). It was obtained from a comment to an article on the same topic which appeared on the Grani.ru website, authored  by dissident Valeria Novodvorskaya — an article we published in English shortly after it appeared and which has now collected nearly 1,500 comments on the orginal Russian page):

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The Great Kremlin Stock Market Coverup

The Kremlin is attempting to hide the stock market crash from the people of Russia, exactly the way the USSR would have done.  The Moscow Times reports:

As a wave of grim news swept in from global markets Monday, the MICEX halted trading a record three times, while the RTS shut down twice. The day still ended in a bloodbath, with both indexes plummeting about 19 percent.

But you wouldn’t know that from watching the evening news.

Instead of reports about the markets’ losses, the three main television channels — state-controlled Channel One, Rossia and NTV — showed billionaire Mikhail Fridman telling President Dmitry Medvedev that the global financial meltdown offered new opportunities for Russian companies abroad. “I am convinced that the Russian financial system is protected from such a fundamental shock to a greater degree than many other countries,” Fridman told Medvedev at the Gorky presidential residence outside Moscow.

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Exposing the Horror of Russia’s Crackdown on the Blogosphere

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.

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Putin the Wimp

The Moscow Times reports that Vladimir Putin doesn’t have as much guts as George Bush, and can’t handle being teased on TV. What a wimp!

So rare is it to hear anything but fawning praise for Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on national television that the mere mention of his name in a less-than-flattering context can put television hosts and producers on the edge of a nervous breakdown. Such was the case on a recent evening on state-owned Rossia television, one of the Kremlin’s more servile media outlets.

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