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EDITORIAL: The Russian Nightmare

A scene from the Rose Monday Carnival Parade in Dusseldorf, Germany, February 2009. Reuters. On the gun barrel is written Freedom of the Press Putin Style.

EDITORIAL

The Russian Nightmare

Alexander Andreyechkin.   Vladimir Litvinenko.  Alexander Surinov. Do you know these names? If you don’t, you can’t claim to have any real understanding of Vladimir Putin’s Russia.  Let us introduce you to them.

Andreyechkin wants to ban Hotmail, Gmail and Skype from use in Russia.

Want to see what somebody who would say something as venal as that looks like? Good luck trying to find a photo of him. Google images has never heard of him, but it’s not because he’s a nobody.

To the contrary, Andreyechkin is the head of the FSB’s department for protection of information and special communication, and Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov, said that Andreyechkin was voicing the FSB’s official position.  The FSB is the KGB, by another name.

It’s hard to say which is more a more ominous sign for Russia:  That the FSB is so brazen and heedless of its own history that it can openly call for shutting down basic communication services, or that it is so incompetent that doing so is the only response it can make to its helpless inability to deal with these evil foreign systems, which apparently are far too complicated for it to manage on its own.

Then there’s Vladimir Litvinenko.

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