Tag Archives: yulia latynina

The Bank of Moscow, Running Dry

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

While watching the Bank of Moscow scandal unfold, two questions come to mind. First, the Bank of Moscow held the accounts of Moscow’s city budget, and the deficit of the bank is now $14 billion. In essence this means that the city’s funds have been stolen from the bank. How did this happen?

The second question is whether VTB will file a lawsuit in London courts against former Bank of Moscow president Andrei Borodin. It appears that the goal is not to extradite him back to Russia but to put him behind bars in Britain.

Borodin somehow received 20 percent of the shares of the bank, but it is difficult to say whether he was an actual or nominal shareholder.

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Russia is Governed by Lunatics

Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

I confess that I have been thinking for a long time about the collective looney bin that best describes Russia’s leaders. I mean loony bin in the direct sense — when our leaders, suffering from real delirium, utter complete nonsense.

Take, for example, the in absentia conviction last week of Alexander Poteyev, former deputy head of the “S” department of the Foreign Intelligence Service who oversaw sleeper agents. In the verdict written by the judge, Poteyev betrayed Anna Chapman and the other sleeper agents working in the United States.

But in the material released by U.S. prosecutors after the Russian agents were arrested, it was clear that they had been followed by U.S. investigators for 10 years — and without any help from Poteyev.

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When Will Guilty Russians be Called to Account for Terror?

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Throughout 10 years of terrorist attacks on Russian soil, not a single official has ever been held responsible for negligence of duty. Nobody was fired after terrorists seized Moscow’s Dubrovka theater. Nobody was called on the carpet after the massacre in Beslan and bomb attacks at Moscow’s Rizhskaya and Avtozavodskaya metro stations and in the Vladikavkaz, Astrakhan and Samara marketplaces. Even when the Nevsky Express train was bombed twice in separate incidents, nobody thought to take Russian Railways chief Vladimir Yakunin to task.

But when a suicide bomber blew himself up in the international arrivals hall of Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport, President Dmitry Medvedev told all of Russia that the guilty parties were none other than the owners of the privately held airport.

Who else could it have been?

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Putin Bails Out

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Some of Russia’s largest and fattest rats are starting to flee the country’s sinking ship. Take, for example, Rosneft, which signed an agreement in January to exchange shares with BP, or Novatek, which sold 12 percent of its shares to the French company Total in February.

Given the individuals involved in these transactions and the fact that Prime Minister Vladimir Putin was directly involved in both, the agreements look like an attempt by Russia’s ruling elite to create a financial cushion in the event that the Libyan or Egyptian scenario plays out in Russia.

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The Fetid Smell of Russian Feburary

The heroic Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

The smell of February is lingering in the air — February 1917, that is.

I am not talking about the revolutions in the Middle East but about Russia’s extraordinarily weak leaders and the growing contempt that the leading public figures and ordinary citizens are showing toward them.

Look how quickly the seemingly ironclad vertical power structure can evaporate into thin air. For example, Bolshoi prima-turned-celebrity Anastasia Volochkova had no qualms about publicly thumbing her nose at United Russia when she quit the party after revealing that she was “tricked” into signing a group letter in support of prosecuting former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky. In the 1970s, no Soviet citizen would have even thought about snubbing the Communist Party.

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Latynina: Why are Russians so Gutless?

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times, asks why her countrymen are so pathetically spineless:

In an interview with Gazeta.ru, Natalya Vasilyeva, assistant to Judge Viktor Danilkin in the second criminal case against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, said Danilkin had to obtain approval from the Moscow City Court — and higher — for each of his actions, and that the city court wrote the verdict that Danilkin read at the trial.

There were two surprising things about the interview with Vasilyeva. The first is her claim that Danilkin considered the process unjust and was out of sorts as a result. If that is true, it is unexpected because people tend to rationalize their actions. I find it hard to believe that the average NKVD officer really considered himself an inhumane executioner, despite the historical record showing him to be exactly that.

The second is that, if Vasilyeva spoke the truth, it is amazing how easily Danilkin buckled under pressure and sold out his ideals. After all, what would have happened to him if he had acquitted Khodorkovsky?

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Medvedev’s Fraud at Potemkin Skolkovo

Hero reporter Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

On Dec. 14, the day before a Moscow court was supposed to issue the verdict against former Yukos CEO Mikhail Khodorkovsky, President Dmitry Medvedev attended the “Go Russia!” innovation forum at Skolkovo to see how the modernization process is coming along. I must say that modernization is going full speed ahead — at least in and around Skolkovo.

First, the commuter rail station that will serve the future technopark was renamed from the obscure “Vostryakovo” to the much more fitting “Skolkovo.” And from that station it is a rigourous 30-minute trek through the woods to the site of the future Innovation City.

Second, the Skolkovo Highway has been sealed off. In the past, drivers caught in nearby traffic jams could detour along the Skolkovo Highway. But after concrete barriers were installed, motorists drove around them and continued on unpaved ground — that is, until the authorities completely sealed off the entire perimeter, bringing all detours to a halt.

Then, on a completely deserted stretch of highway near the Skolkovo School of Management, the authorities built a two-level interchange so that nothing could stop Russia from racing full speed into its innovative future.

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Fascism takes hold in Putin’s Russia

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

There are two reasons for the outbreak of ultranationalist violence in Russia. The first is Caucasus fascism, which is a serious problem for Russia in the same way that Islamic fascism is for the West.

Chechnya is taking revenge on Russia for the war and genocide the Kremlin has waged against it over the past 20 years and beyond. That revenge has taken the form of lawlessness and violence on Moscow’s streets.

Recall the recent incident at Moscow’s Yevropeisky shopping center when a security guard refused entry to an armed 32-year-old man from the Chechen city of Shali. The man later returned with a group of friends and beat the guards with baseball bats.

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Medvedev means only Endless Failure for Russia

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

It must be nice to be president. Could you imagine if every half hour Ekho Moskvy radio announced, instead of the news: “Tomorrow at this time you’ll be able to hear the news on this station. We’ve set a goal and a plan: to provide you the news. It’ll be incredible. Amazing. Fantastic. The world’s best. And, don’t forget, tomorrow. We promise.” How long could that continue before everyone stopped listening to Ekho Moskvy?

But President Dmitry Medvedev continually promises to start working and never does. Not only does everybody listen to him, they even deem his statements worth discussing.

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Who Ordered the hit on Kashin?

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Perhaps the one positive aspect of the vicious beating of Kommersant journalist Oleg Kashin on Saturday is that the list of suspects is confined to a small number of people — just like an Agatha Christie novel.

The first suspect is Khimki Mayor Vladimir Strelchenko. (He denies any role in the matter.) Sooner or later, Strelchenko’s enemies get their heads bashed in. Two years ago, Khimkinskaya Pravda editor Mikhail Beketov’s head was beaten so badly that he will probably never recover from the severe brain damage he incurred. On the recent anniversary of that beating, the Khimki leader of the Right Cause party, Konstantin Fetisov, suffered head injuries after he was attacked. Two days later, it was Kashin’s turn.

The second suspect is Vasily Yakemenko, head of the Federal Agency for Youth Affairs, the spiritual leader of the “Putin-jugend.”

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In Russia, a Childish government for a Childish People

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Any government that is accountable to the people dedicates a substantial amount of time analyzing and reporting on its actions and mistakes. Visitors to the U.S. government and Senate web sites will find hundreds, even thousands, of such reports. An unaccountable government behaves exactly the opposite. Rather than analyzing its mistakes, it makes empty promises, and instead of holding past actions up to scrutiny, it draws attention with predictions about the future.

Nowhere is this unaccountability of the Russian authorities more evident than in this past summer’s wildfires. Three months after much of European Russia was engulfed in toxic smoke, villages burned and people lost their lives, we have no more information about what happened than what was offered at the very outset.

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A Russian Revolution against the Russian Police?

Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

A video titled “Primorye Partisan” has been making the rounds on the Internet. It was made by a gang of self-proclaimed guerrillas in the Primorye region that led an armed attack against policemen. They are suspected of killing two policemen and wounding six others between February and June.

One of their slogans is “Grab a weapon and save your soul” — something that is close to what guerrilla fighters in the Caucasus have said and done. Imagine that these guerrillas surfaced in the United States and started shooting at cops. I think the public would call them the new Manson family.

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Latynina on Russia’s Criminal-Loving Leadership

Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Once again, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has expressed support for a Russian citizen wanted by the United States. This time, the person in question is Viktor Bout, the suspected arms dealer whom a Thai court ruled last Friday should be extradited to the United States to face trial. “I assure you that we will continue to do everything necessary to push for his return to his homeland,” Lavrov said, adding that the court decision was “unlawful and political.”

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Putin’s Spies were Idiots

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

During his visit to Ukraine on Saturday, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin told journalists that he met with the 10 Russian “illegals” — who pleaded guilty in a U.S. court to being agents for the Russian government — at some point after they arrived in Moscow on July 9.

“They will find decent work — I’m sure,” Putin said. “I don’t doubt that they will have interesting, bright lives.” Perhaps he was referring to Anna Chapman, who has already received an offer from Vivid Entertainment to play the leading role in a porn film.

“I can tell you that it was a hard fate for each of them,” Putin said. “First, they had to master a foreign language as their own.”

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The Scandal and Shame of the “Red Partisans”

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

In 2004, Vasily Kononov, the former leader of a pro-Soviet commando unit in Nazi-occupied Latvia during World War II, was convicted by Latvia’s highest court for killing nine civilians in the village of Mazie Bati in 1944. On May 17, the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights upheld the ruling.

As usual, the Russian authorities were outraged by the decision. Members of the pro-Kremlin Nashi youth movement demonstrated outside of the Latvian Embassy in Moscow.

Kononov insists that the victims, including a young pregnant woman, had been collaborating with the Nazis.

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Latynina on the Mine Explosion

Latynina with Condoleezza Rice

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

On the night of May 8-9 at the Raspadskaya coal mine in the town of Mezhdurechensk in the Kemerovo region, two huge explosions took the lives of 90 miners. Because the country was celebrating Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s World War II victory that day, few paid any attention to the blasts. While Muscovites enjoyed the grandiose May 9 festivities, poor families in Mezhdurechensk mourned the loss of their loved ones.

After the tragedy, surviving coal miners and their families blocked a Siberian railway and clashed with riot police in Mezhdurechensk. After that incident, Kemerovo Governor Aman Tuleyev declared that they were not real miners, and that “enemies” were behind the protests.

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Ukrainians make Democracy look Bad

Yulia Latynina, hero journalist, writing in the Moscow Times:

Viktor Yanukovych’s victory in Sunday’s presidential election — not unlike the victories of former Chilean President Salvador Allende, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad or Adolf Hitler — once again raises doubt about the basic premise of democracy: that the people are capable of choosing their own leader. Unfortunately, only wealthy people are truly capable of electing their leaders in a responsible manner. Poor people elect politicians like Yanukovych or Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

When the Orange Revolution hit Ukraine five years ago, the people arose in a united wave and did not allow themselves to be deceived by the corrupt elite. That elite had reached an agreement with the criminals and oligarchs of Donetsk to make a minor criminal, who could not string two sentences together, the successor to former Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma.

Five years ago, the Ukrainian people gave President Viktor Yushchenko a mandate for reform, but he failed. The country remains highly corrupt. One example: Yushchenko himself allowed the murky scheme in which all Russian gas came into the country through the intermediary firm RosUkrEnergo.

Whenever a weak leader is incapable of managing the state, he starts looking for enemies and begins stoking nationalist passions. Yushchenko singled out Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko as his enemy and engaged her in a heated polemic over the Holodomor.

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Russia and its Miraculous Flying Phone

Yulia Latyina, writing in the Moscow Times:

In October, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Rusnano head Anatoly Chubais visited the Mikron factory in Zelenograd, located 37 kilometers outside Moscow, where the newest Russian 180-nanometer microchips are being produced. An agreement was signed there stipulating that if the state invests another 16 billion rubles ($556 million), the plant can begin producing cutting-edge 90-nanometer chips.

Over the last decade, microchip circuit spans have halved every two years. On Sept. 15, two weeks before Putin’s visit to the company, Intel Corporation announced a new 32-nanometer chip. Almost all major companies currently use 45-nanometer chips. That means that by the time Mikron begins producing 90-nanometer chips in four years, Intel will probably be working with chip circuits as small as 5 to 10 nanometers.

That would be like if the fellows at high-tech firm Sitronics showed Putin a newly developed fighter bomber with a top speed of only 100 miles per hour and promised that they could double the speed if the state pumped another $200 million into the program.

The guys at Mikron were not fired on the spot.

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Latynina on Aushev

The Killled him but He walks Among us

Yulia Latynina

October 26, 2009

Yezhednevny Zhurnal

Translated from the Russian by The Other Russia

On Sunday, October 25, 2009, in the North Caucasian city of Nalchik, one of the most influential people in the Republic of Ingushetia was killed – Maksharip Aushev; the killers peppered his car with machine guns. It happened on the day after Maksharip appeared on Marianna Maksimovskaya’s REN TV news show and gave a piercing indictment of former republic president Murat Zyazikov.

“Nobody has established yet who to suspect,” said Yakhya Aushev, Maksharip’s father. “You could get bogged down in the fact that he just recently was speaking out against Zyazikov. Not long ago, a team from REN TV was photographing their [the Zyazikovs’] mansions, and there was an incident with Ruslanbek Zyazikov. It was as if there were forces hunting him down.”

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Latynina on the Coming war in Georgia

Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Events in South Ossetia are unfolding according to last year’s scenario. No sooner had U.S. Vice President Joe Biden announced that the United States would not provide arms to Georgia than South Ossetian leader Eduard Kokoity accused the United States of complicity in genocide against the Ossetian people and announced that Tskhinvali had come under fire from the Georgian village of Nikozi. Considering the fact that South Ossetian forces had already wiped Nikozi off the map, his statement sounded a bit strange.

The next day, a Georgian citizen died after stepping on a mine on the Georgian side of the border with the Akhalgorsk district. (Remember that before the Russia-Georgia war last August, the Akhalgorsk region belonged to Georgia, and after the war both Georgians and Ossetians began leaving the area.) President Kokoity announced that Georgia had intentionally blown up its own citizen as part of its policy of preventing Akhalgorsk refugees from returning home.

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Latynina on the Second War in Georgia

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

Peacekeepers deployed by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe must leave Georgia by June 30 after Russia vetoed on June 15 all attempts to keep their mission in force. That is about the same time General Nikolai Makarov, commander of Russia’s forces in the war with Georgia in August and the commander of the “Caucasus 2009” military exercises planned for June 29 to July 6, announced that “Georgia is brandishing its weapons and is preparing to solve its territorial problems in any way it sees fit.”

This raises a question: If Georgia is really planning to start a war, why is Russia going to such lengths to expel international observers who will be able to testify to the whole world how Georgia started the war?

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Russia’s Oligarchy Runs Amok

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Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times (the victim’s husband has started blogging for justice, Global Voices has a tranlsation of some of his material)

On May 13, Interior Ministry employee Roman Zhirov, driving his powerful SUV, hit and killed a 34-year-old pregnant woman on a Moscow crosswalk. Pregnant woman are not particularly known for sprinting across pedestrian crossways out of nowhere and catching an approaching driver by surprise.

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Latynina on Classic Russian Idiocy

Hero journalist Yulia Latynina, writing in the Moscow Times:

I was recently invited by the Russia.ru web site to discuss what the Kremlin needs to do to overcome the economic crisis. As it turns out, the answer is for Russia to unite with Ukraine.

The person responsible for this ingenious idea is Anatoly Vasserman, the eccentric television wonk and host of intellectual game shows. His reasoning is grounded in economics: Russia’s manufacturing sector will not develop until it has a solid, reliable customer base of at least 200 million people. Once Moscow unites with Kiev, demand will reach critical mass, and Russia’s manufacturing sector will skyrocket.

You might remember the joke about the workers at a collective farm who met to discuss how to fix the cowshed. The chairman stood and told them: “There are two ways to repair the dilapidated cowshed — one is realistic, and the other is completely far-fetched. The realistic way is if a space alien were to fly down here and fix the thing. The far-fetched way is if we were to try to repair it ourselves.”

I never imagined that 20 years after the end of the Soviet Union’s 70-year experiment in creating communism, I would be seriously discussing the realistic way of fixing the cowshed.

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