The inimitable Pavel Felgenhauer reports:
The Russian defense industry is in crisis; its officials blame the defense ministry for withholding funds, while Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov in turn accuses arms producers of making weapons of questionable quality and charging unjustified high prices (EDM, July 7).
Russia’s ruling tandem of President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have called for tempers to be calmed and for all to work together to allow rearmament plans to be implemented. At the same time, Medvedev agreed that the defense ministry must not procure “trash,” but must receive the best quality for its money and import foreign [Western] weapons as a measure of last resort (www.kremlin.ru, July 12). Two weeks ago, Medvedev threatened to “execute” troublemakers within the defense industry and sack leading bureaucrats responsible for defense industry problems that are preventing rearmament. Up to now nothing drastic has happened, but the crisis continues to fester.
Pavel Felgenhauer, writing on the Jamestown Foundation’s Eurasia Daily Monitor:
A group of 14 acclaimed Russian intellectuals, including human rights activists, artists, film directors, writers and aides of the late President Boris Yeltsin have published an open statement condemning the present regime for “completely destroying the institution of democratic elections in Russia.” Election results are shamelessly falsified by the authorities, while opposition parties and activists are “unconstitutionally” denied registration to run in elections under cooked up pretexts.
As a result, subjects of the Russian state are disfranchised from the political system rendering it illegitimate. The statement describes as “vicious” the so called “vertical of power”—a system of personalized authoritarian rule the prime minister and leader of the ruling United Russia Vladimir Putin has been building since 1999. This “vertical of power” has created a rubberstamp misrepresentative parliament, a “paralyzed Dmitry Medvedev presidency” and dysfunctional regional and municipal authorities.
LR rates the Russia Blogs
Happy birthday to us! This month, La Russophobe turns five years old, a mighty milestone, ancient in blog years.
It’s April, the month of our founding, and a young LR’s head turns once again to thoughts of blog ratings. As we did last year at this time we offer our “top ten” list of the best Russia blogs on this planet.