Tag Archives: latynina

Putin, Clueless as Always, Betrays Russia Again

Yes, that's an American bike he's riding. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin steering a Harley-Davidson Lehman Trike on July 24 as he arrives for a meeting with Russian and Ukrainian bikers in Ukraine's Crimea region. Photo courtsey fo the Moscow Times.

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

The Shatursky district has the distinction of being one of the few areas in the Moscow region where not a single home or person suffered from the fires, despite the fact that the area had more dried-out peat bogs — and was thus more fire-prone — than other districts in the region.

Shatursky was spared largely because Andrei Keller, the district’s head, was one of the few administrative chiefs who took preventative measures and moved quickly and decisively when the fires broke out. Amazingly, 1,051 fires had been spotted in the district since April, yet not one of them ever spread beyond 20 hectares to 26 hectares in size. What’s more, Keller declared a state of emergency in the district as early as June 22.

This is a good illustration that in the modern world, there are no natural disasters — only social ones.

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While Russia burned, Putin Sang

A modern Russian fire truck rushing down a modern Russian road. courtesy of the New York Times

“Why the [expletive] do we need an innovation center in Skolkovo if we don’t have common firefighting vehicles?”

— Russian blogger top_lap

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Since the first wildfires started a month ago, 125,000 hectares of Russia’s forest have been destroyed in 17 regions, and 40 people have died.

Russia’s statistics on casualties from fires have always differed drastically from those in the West. For example, four firefighters died during wildfires in Washington state in 2001. Nine firefighters died in Colorado in 2002. Eleven firefighters died during Spain’s fires of 2005. Only one firefighter has died during this summer’s fires in Russia.

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A Country Ruled by Amoebas

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Moscow road workers closed the bridge on Leningradskoye Shosse without any forewarning, leaving only one of three lanes open in one direction and backing up traffic to Sheremetyevo Airport for hours. As a result, thousands of passengers missed their flights and Aeroflot suffered losses of 700,000 euros ($877,000) on the first day alone.

This kind of stupidity happens only in Russia — or maybe Zimbabwe as well. Where else would the authorities effectively shut down the only road leading to an international airport? In Europe, they have to contend with volcanoes. In Moscow, we have Mayor Yury Luzhkov.

Sheremetyevo Airport director Mikhail Vasilenko said the problems were an underhanded attempt by Luzhkov to drive people away from using Sheremetyevo and toward the city’s other major airport, Vnukovo, which is opening a new terminal this month and happens to be owned by City Hall.

But Vasilenko’s claim is based on an implausible assumption — that an amoeba is capable of making a plan. It can’t. An amoeba can only eat.

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Another Original LR Translation: Latynina on Skolkovo, via Essel

Made in Skolkovo*

Yuliya Latynina

Yezhednevny Zhurnal

29 June 2010

Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina

President Medvedev was visiting Silicon Valley. Our Comrade President was told of the achievements of our American colleagues and in turn invited them to take part in the modernisation of Russia. President Medvedev’s visit had two components – one of them was political.

President Medvedev does not in fact have any authority. He can’t fire and replace anyone in the “power” ministries [TN: Interior, Defence, Justice etc…], can’t get into moneymaking deals, can’t push his pals into important posts. In short, he can’t do anything of what it means to be in power in Russia today. What he can do, though, is tweet on Twitter and lunch with foreign presidents so that they can believe that there are some liberal trends in the Kremlin. That is the job that he was given to do by Vladimir Putin and Medvedev puts his all into it, hoping against hope that the West will one day back him instead of Putin.

What the White House really thought about Medvedev’s to California is easily deduced from its pre-visit briefing given to journalists and its press release following the visit.

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Latynina on Europe’s New Munich

Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times (if you read Russian, there is a longer version of this article posted on Yezhedevny Zhurnal):

It may seem strange that I am writing about the 2009 report by the European Union fact-finding commission on the August 2008 Russia-Georgia war since it was published a year ago.

But the report is still very important today — in some sense, even more important than the war itself. The report, which was lead by Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini, is a blatant appeasement to Russia — a new Munich Agreement of sorts.

If you build policy and the economy on lies and self-deception, if you sincerely believe that you are the defender of freedom but out of fear and indifference you appease a dictatorship, and if you sincerely believe that you have a market economy despite having long ago sunk into debt and micromanaging the economy, the eventual consequences will be catastrophic.

To be honest, I was shocked by the report. My first thoughts after reading it were: “Europe has gone into retirement” and “Europe is no more.” Now one year later, Europe is falling apart.

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Latynina in Brooklyn

Yulia Latynina at the Brooklyn Public Library

Other Russia reports:

On May 8, 2000, Vladimir Putin took office as president of the Russian Federation. Since that day, Russia has acquired $1.5 trillion in oil and natural gas revenues. As a country suffering from severely neglected infrastructure and in desperate need of development and modernization, Russia has been in an ideal position to benefit from such staggering windfall profits. At a talk earlier this month at the Brooklyn Public Library in New York City, award-winning Russian journalist Yulia Latynina spoke about how all of this money is actually being spent, and what condition Russia now finds itself in as a result.

“A modern transport infrastructure is the real road to Russia’s future,” said then-President Putin to a gathering of highway construction workers in the city of Krasnoyarsk in late 2007. And yet, not a single highway or expressway and only a smattering of smaller roads have been built in Russia over the past two decades. By comparison, China has laid more than 40,000 thousand miles of high-volume roadways over the same amount of time. “Naturally,” said Latynina, “this raises the question: Has anything been built in Russia with this money? And if yes, then what?”

It turns out that something was.

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Latynina Probes the Russian Subconscious

The fearless and heroic Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

In an authoritarian society, public opinion surveys are meaningless. The problem isn’t so much that survey data are falsified. It’s that the results themselves do not provide an accurate reflection of reality — just as a thermometer placed outside the kitchen window cannot give you the temperature indoors.

As soon as word of the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric plant accident became known to residents who lived downriver from the dam, most relocated immediately to higher ground. If you were to ask those people in a poll if they have faith in Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, they would surely answer positively. They are convinced that Putin brought stability to Russia, restored the power vertical and saved our citizens in South Ossetia from Georgian genocide.

It is not that respondents lie when surveys ask for their opinions. But consciously they believe one thing, and subconsciously quite another. Consciously, they love Putin, but subconsciously they know that if the dam had burst and the Yenisei River had swept them all away, Putin, if asked by the media what had happened to the victims, would not hesitate to quip, “They sank” — just as he did in 2000 when U.S. television journalist Larry King asked Putin what happened to the Kursk submarine.

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Another Original LR Translation: Russia’s Gas Boomerang

Russia’s Gas Weapon is a Boomerang

Yuliya Latynina

Novaya Gazeta

20 July 2009

main_2People have begun to take Russia seriously. In 2005, immediately after signing the agreement on building the North Stream pipeline, we announced that we now possessed an energy weapon. “Not to worry, it’s just words,” Europe responded. But the Kremlin has since then actually used the weapon.

And Europe has at long last started to take Russia at its word. Europe has realised that for Russia gas is not a commodity but a weapon. Yet all it takes to make it ineffective is to refrain from buying the stuff. Last Winter, Europe cuts its imports of Russian gas very significantly and just last week signed the agreement for the building of the Nabucco pipeline. So yes, the Kremlin is quite right: gas is a weapon. And I know the name and class of weapon it is – a boomerang.

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EDITORIAL: Russia, Through the Looking Glass


Russia, Through the Looking Glass

Something very strange, something that ought to make the Kremlin’s blood run cold (well, colder) has been happening recently in Russia. The price of oil has been rising, but the stock market has been falling. That’s not supposed to happen.

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Latynina on Medvedev’s History Fascism

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Recently, Russia became the second country in the world (after fascist Germany) to imprison someone for fighting against fascism

Take a moment to soak that one in.  It’s the money quote from Yulia Latynina latest acid-soaked dart at the Putin regime, written for Radio Free Europe.  Here’s the rest:

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a decree titled “On the Presidential Commission against Efforts to Falsify History to Harm Russian Interests.” Assigned to counteract the above-mentioned efforts are agencies that are professionally involved in the study of history, including the presidential administration, the Foreign Intelligence Service (SVR), and the Federal Security Service (FSB).

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Latynina on Putin’s Sham Economy

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Two stories came out in the media at the same time in late March. The first reported that First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin had initiated a review of Norilsk Nickel deals. Simultaneously, Vneshekonombank, VTB and the Audit Chamber started paying close attention to the company as well.

In a surprising coincidence, the State Council of China met in Beijing the next day to appoint Syao Yatsin, the former head of the Aluminum Corporation of China, as assistant secretary of the council. Yatsin’s task in his new post will be to manage the acquisition of shares in foreign raw materials firms for the benefit of China’s state-owned companies.

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Latynina on La Cosa Russia

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Last week, Saak Karapetyan, head of the international cooperation department of the Prosecutor General’s Office, gave an interview to Interfax in which he clarified the most important criminal cases in his agency.

It turns out that the most pressing cases are extraditing former Yevroset chairman Yevgeny Chichvarkin, billionaire Boris Berezovsky, Chechen separatist Akhmed Zakayev, former Russneft owner Mikhail Gutseriyev and former Yukos co-owner Leonid Nevzlin. And then there is the criminal case against State Duma Deputy Andrei Lugovoi, who faces murder charges in Britain in connection with the 2006 poisoning death of Alexander Litvinenko in London.

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Latynina on Russia’s China Problem

Given that Russia expelled Solzhenitsyn and chucked Dostoevsky into a concentration camp, while lionizing mass murder Joseph Stalin and electing Vladimir Putin, a proud KGB spy, as its president, it’s pretty clear that the country has a good bit of difficulty telling friend from foe.  Writing in the Moscow Times hero journalist Yulia Latynina shows that the problem carries over into foreign policy as well.

President Dmitry Medvedev has proposed that Europe reform its system of collective security. The Organization of Security and Cooperation in Europe trashed the idea, voting 55-1 against it. Why? Because an odd suggestion was hidden behind the phrase “reform the system of collective security” — namely that NATO be prohibited from expanding its membership, European countries lose their right to deploy U.S. missiles on their territory, but Russia be allowed to do whatever it wants. After the Georgia war, the proposal sounded especially unconvincing.

Russia has two major problems: China and the Caucasus.

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Latynina on the Russian Morass

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Although everyone is now saying that Russia is going through a financial crisis, this seems strange to me. Imagine a drug addict who sold everything he owns to support his addiction, loses his job and his wife, and then says his problem is that he has no money.

The global financial crisis has shown the whole world the extent to which Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s power vertical model is flawed — both politically and economically.

Over the past eight years, the government apparatus has been used as a mechanism to protect the highest-ranking officials to rule as they saw fit, regardless of how ineffective and incompetent they were. When oil prices were high and the state coffers were overflowing with petrodollars, the cost of running the country poorly was virtually nothing.

But with the crash in oil prices, what is going to happen now?

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Another Original LR Translation: Latynina on Golodomor via Essel

The “So-Called” Golodomor

Yuliya Latynina

Yezhednevny Zhurnal

24 November 2008

Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev did not attend the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the Golodomor. Instead, he sent a letter in which he waxed wrathful about the wedge being driven between two brotherly peoples by ill-wishers who speak of a “so-called” Golodomor.

“The tragic events of the early 1930s are being used to further transient and fleeting political aims,” the President wrote.  He added:  “Without waiting for the results of a wide-ranging study of the problems by competent experts, we are having a simplistic depiction of the past imposed on us. The people who are promoting the thesis of a “genocidal man-made famine” do not care in the least about scientific accuracy. Their aim is to drive a wedge between our fraternal peoples.”

Last Friday, I was on Savik Shuster’s “Shuster Live” program which was dedicated to the Golodomor. The guests on the programme divided into two parties. One group consisted of Russophile politicians. The view they expounded was that firstly, there wasn’t any Golodomor, secondly, the Americans were to blame, and thirdly, that everyone suffered from it.

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Latynina on a Fool Called Medvedev

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

We all learned from the Russian media how President Dmitry Medvedev arrived in Washington for the Group of 20 summit and offered his ideas on how to build a new global financial system.

What the media did not report, however, is that Russia has been essentially evicted from the G8. After Prime Minister Vladimir Putin promised to “send a doctor” to Mechel and sent tanks into Georgia, the West, for all intents and purposes, reached a consensus that Russia has no place in the elite club of developed, wealthy and democratic nations.

Although Russia was “expelled” from the G8 for its poor performance, it was invited to attend the larger G20. What would a bad student probably do after being expelled from school for poor grades? He would probably stand up with his tail between his legs, promise to work harder on his homework and try to raise his grades. But what did Medvedev, the failing student, say in Washington? “I have an idea of how we can restructure the principle’s key job functions.”

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Another Original LR Translation: Latynina on Khodorkovsky

What a biography they invented for him!

On the fifth anniversary of Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s arrest

by Yuliya Latynina

Novaya Gazeta 27.10.08

Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel

Do you remember what you were doing on the day they arrested Khodorkovsky? I certainly do. I was sitting and writing a piece about the Tuzla Peninsula when I got a phone call and the poor peninsula immediately and irrevocably ceased to exist.

It’s not that often that we remember precisely what we were doing on some particular day five years ago. In my case I remember it because I went to sleep in one country and woke up in another.

This has happened to us several times since then. We woke up in a different country after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya. After Litvinenko’s poisoning. After Beslan and the abolition of the election of governors. After the Russo-Georgian War. But the first time this happened to us was when Khodorkovsky was arrested.

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Latynina on the Russian Quagmire

Hero jounalist Yulia Latynina, tongue planted acidically in cheek and writing in the Moscow Times, exposes the full horrifying extent of neo-Soviet hypocrisy:

As everyone who watches Channel One and Rossia television knows, the West does not have a lot of warm feelings for Russia and is definitely out to get us. The West wants to create a unipolar world — one that would like Russia to become its permanent appendage. In response, Moscow is trying to create its own unipolar world, recruiting countries like Venezuela, Libya, North Korea, Iran, Syria and Cuba to its anti-West axis.

Despite its deep dislike of the West, Russia’s patriotic elite drive Mercedes cars, educate their children in London, buy villas in Nice and keep their money in Swiss bank accounts. Its stores sell Finnish toilets, Western designer clothes and German refrigerators. Unfortunately, there is not much worth buying from Syria or North Korea. The only thing they can produce is a lot of anti-Western rhetoric, and unfortunately, you can’t package this bluster and sell it in stores.

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