An editorial in the Moscow Times:
A February ruling by Judge Tatyana Adamova of Moscow’s Savyolovsky District Court must go down as among the most absurd in Russian history.
Adamova presided over the defamation case brought by opposition leaders Vladimir Ryzhkov, Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who in answer to the question “What do Nemtsov, Ryzhkov, Milov really want?” on his December live television call-in show said: “Money and power. … In the ’90s, they stole billions of dollars.”
This is an outlandish and reckless claim that previously had never been alleged — except perhaps by a few crackpot bloggers on LiveJournal — much less proven.
In a truly thrilling op-ed piece in the Washington Post, Boris Nemtsov, Mikhail Kasyanov and Vladimir Milov, Russia’s terrific trio, lay down withering crossfire against the advancing legions of the Putin dictatorship:
This year started quite symbolically in Russia. In the last days of 2010, government authorities decided to demonstrate their power and their intolerance for being challenged: The verdict issued at the farcical trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev had no relation to jurisprudence; leading opposition figures were detained for as many as 15 days on purely political grounds.
These heavy-handed actions set a peculiar stage for President Dmitry Medvedev’s address at the World Economic Forum. Nevertheless, the intelligent and well-informed audience in Davos enthusiastically applauded his nice words about Russia’s economic modernization and dynamic democratic development. International business leaders seem to accept his complaints that few Russians understand his great plans for the country’s future, which greedy oligarchs and corrupt officials from the 1990s prevent him from undertaking.
Writing on Gazeta.ru Vladimir Milov delivers a one-two punch to the solar plexus of Vladimir Putin on the issue of nationality, along with his partner in opposition Boris Nemtsov. The latter handles the Caucaus region, while Milov addresses Putin’s weakness much closer to home. Paul Goble reports:
Russia’s liberals have ceded issues like migration and the violence in the North Caucasus to the nationalists by failing to address them openly and honestly and to offer programs for their resolution, a shortcoming that has helped to marginalize the liberals in Russia and give the nationalists an undeserved victory, a liberal commentator says
In a commentary on Gazeta.ru, Vladimir Milov, the head of the Democratic Choice Movement and of the Institute of Energy Policy, argues that the Manezh Square violence must become “a serious occasion” for re-assessing “the influence and role of nationalism and the factor of inter-ethnic relations in Russian politics.
The Four Russian Musketeers
From left: Ryzhkov, Kasyanov, Nemtsov and Milov declare war on Putin
Last week in Moscow four of the most formidable opponents of the Putin dictatorship openly joined forces in Moscow: They included a former prime minister (Mikhail Kasyanov), a former first deputy prime minister (Boris Nemtsov), a former leading opposition parliamentarian (Vladimir Ryzkhkov) and a former high-ranking executive official from the Kremlin (Vladimir Milov). They call their group “Russia Without Corruption and Lawlessness.” They were clear in their motivations: “The prospect of having the great Putin till the year 2024 in our country is a disaster for Russia,” Nemtsov said.
The Kremlin is worried, and well it should be. This formidable quartet has every necessary qualification to unseat the Putin regime.
Former Kremlin insider Vladimir Milov, writing in the Moscow Times:
On Saturday, Russia will celebrate Russia Day. The roots of this holiday go back to June 12, 1990, the day the Congress of People’s Deputies of the Russian Republic adopted the Declaration on State Sovereignty for Russia. It proclaimed the “sovereignty” of the Russian Republic within a liberalized Soviet Union during Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika program. Among other things, the declaration, which was signed by the chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Republic, Boris Yeltsin, stated that the laws of the Russian Republic took precedence over the legislation of the Soviet Union.
Back in June 1990, I never would have thought that on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the Declaration of State Sovereignty I would witness crowds of people — including young people — eulogizing the Soviet Union and shedding tears over the “fall of a great power.”
The idea of experiencing remorse over the collapse of the Soviet Union might seem crazy to those who still hold vivid memories of empty store shelves, food rationing coupons, medical clinics reserved for the elite, foreign currency stores called beryozki, rampant cronyism and special privileges for the bureaucratic elite to receive exclusive housing, jobs and education for their children.
Paul Goble reports that Vladimir Milov agrees with our conclusion, expressed last week regarding the release of Svetlana Bakhmina, that Dmitri Medvedev’s s0-called liberalization moves are fraudulent:
Despite a series of much-publicized events that some commentators in Moscow and the West suggest represent significant “breakthroughs” to “liberalization,” a Russian commentator argues that Dmitry Medvedev is in fact offering “the imitation of political reform” in order to defend Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian system. In an article on Gazeta.ru, Vladimir Milov, the head of the Moscow Institute of Energetic Politics, says that during April, President Medvedev has “thrown out to society a whole bouquet” of “signals” suggesting a dramatic change in the political climate in Russian toward a more liberal order. But a careful consideration of what the Russian president has said and even more of the sources of his comments and actions suggests that “there is no basis to expect serious changes in the policy of the ruling clan” and that any “hopes for the softening of the [current] political course are once again premature.” Indeed, Milov says, “there is no doubt that we are dealing with the latest playing with liberal society, the goal of which consists of the neutralization of any outburst of freedom-loving attitudes as a result of the sharpening of the crisis and the ineffectiveness of government anti-crisis measures.”
Putin and the Crisis
by Boris Nemtsov and Vladmir Milov
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
Click here for PDF version.
A note from the Translator: The authors have provided this third installment in their White Paper series to Novaya Gazeta and Grani.ru for publication. “Putin and the Crisis” will also be published in brochure form. The authors are Boris Nemtsov (First Vice Premier of the Government of the RF 1997-98) and Vladimir Milov (RF Deputy Minister of Energy in 2002). Both are members of the Bureau of Solidarity, the united democratic movement. This is the authors’ third White Paper. The first two –- “Putin: The Bottom Line” and “Putin and Gazprom” are well-known both in Russia and abroad and were translated into English by this blog. They have been censored by the Kremlin.
Official propaganda would have it that this crisis is a “made in the USA” event and that the mistaken economic policies of the American government are the root cause of all our misfortunes in Russia. It is true that the origins of the crisis lie in America; however the crisis that has developed in Russia is far more serious and painful than in the West. We are facing a deep devaluation of the rouble – over 50%, the collapse of our stock markets where the indices have dropped 75% (40% in the USA), a budget deficit of 20% in December 2008 (not equalled even during the collapse of the USSR), a 36% drop in rail transport volumes in early 2009, a fall in ferrous & non-ferrous metals output, a rise of over 1 million unemployed, a sharp reduction in real salaries, rising poverty and the destruction of the middle classes.
Why did the crisis virus hit Russia’s economy so hard?
A note from the translator: Russians can get clear information from a few remaining sources in their country. For example, here is an article by one of my favourite politicians, Vladimir Milov, published recently in one such brave source – Novaya Gazeta. In fact, I like this paper so much that I have bought subscriptions to it for a number of friends and acquaintances around Russia. This leads me to two hopes: 1) that my money (not much, really!) isn’t wasted and that they get the paper to the end of the year since I imagine it could be closed down at any moment by the neo-nazis in the Kremlin and b) that being the recipient of such a paper doesn’t get them arrested by those same N-N in the K under the vicious new legislation constantly being brought in to control the Russia’s unfortunate populace.
11 January 2009
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
This now yearly gas skirmish suits both the Russian and the Ukrainian élites because it moves the gas into no man’s land and increases profits at both ends of the pipe while allowing both parties to blame the political problems on each other.
Can a Gas War be Avoided?
I have come to the conclusion that Gazprom intended all along to cut off the flow of gas into the Ukraine.
Writing on Radio Free Europe, Vladimir Milov (co-author of the Nemtsov White Paper and a key player in the new “Solidarity” movement) reviews the condition of the Russian opposition going into the new year:
Russia’s recession is turning out to be sharper and more problematic than anticipated. Just three months ago, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was convincing the public that there was no crisis in Russia. But October and November brought declining GDP, industrial output, and fixed investment — none of which were predicted by the government.
The economic downturn has already affected ordinary Russians. About 1 million jobs were lost between August and November, and personal incomes declined. The ruble has lost about 20 percent of its value against the dollar since August, eating into salaries and savings. A sharper devaluation is on the agenda as the value of exports continues to decline with global commodities prices.
A word from the translator: Having translated both Milov/Nemtsov white papers, I have developed a respect for Milov’s way of thinking and am always on the look-out for more from him. This exposition of his appeared in Novaya Gazeta last week and is, as always, interesting and self-evidently right. The sad thing, of course, is that what is self-evidently right to LR readers and anyone with an inkling of good sense, is a тёмный лес (dark wood) to most Russians. It seems to me that if we could discover the reason why this is the case, we would be able to “cure” Russia instantly. Dream on.
We Will Be Last In Line
Why Russia will not be able to rise up from its knees
without help from Western capital
by Vladimir Milov
October 31, 2008
Translated from the Russian by Dave Essel
It is quite evident that the growth model followed by Russia in recent years has now collapsed and that there is nothing around that can take its place, at least in the foreseeable future. Because the 7-8% GDP growth of the last four years derived exclusively from the inflow of foreign capital.
Bear in mind that, unlike the three other countries forming the BRIC [Brazil, Russia, India, China], where capital inflow consisted in the main of direct foreign investment, the money that came into Russia was mostly in the form of foreign loans. These were the engine of our development to an even greater extent that oil and gas were. And these loans were not ‘our money’ coming back home, as some assert, but real foreign money. And then, this money was not spent on modernising the country in any way but was instead mostly frittered away: for example, most of the borrowing by the Russian companies which held IPOs in the last few years was spent on buying shares and real estate while only 20-30% went into the implementation of genuine development projects.