Supporters of liberal candidates in a municipal election went through normal procedures required by law such as gathering signatures for their candidates and submitting them to the appropriate authorities. But, this is Putin Russia in which supporters of candidates can gather signatures but it is up to some bureaucrat to decide if the names written on the piece of paper are really Russian names. After all, maybe some people from Great Britain or the United States or elsewhere submitted their names in order to create disturbances in the beautiful land of Putin where democracy is based on the concept of doing what the Supreme Leader says is correct. Anyway, a judge threw out the petitions for the candidates on ground that an “expert” had decided they were forgeries and no one can challenge the argument of an “expert” since by definition he is an “expert.”
Tatyana Kondratkova, put it clearly: “This outrageous decision has destroyed what little hope I had left for what remains of democratic principles and fair trials in Russia.” Most probably word came down from above not to allow liberal candidates to run because if they won they might initiate investigations of corrupt officials. Simple solution, prove they are the stooge of those damn liberals who really don’t exist so the names on the list are not real. Life goes on in Putin Russia.
A scheduled march by those in opposition to the Putin regime attracted the attention of over 300 police and hundreds of reporters since it was an unusual occurrence in democratic Russia– people actually marching openly in protest against the government! Organizers of the march were denied a permit and had to cancel at the last minute but hundreds of reporters were there where they milled around with policemen who had hoped to beat up a few marchers. A man committed the heinous crime of unfurling a banner which read, “Free Russia” and was led away by the police before he could spread any other filthy comments about his nation.
Organizers of the march learned opposition leader Gary Kasparov would have been arrested had the march taken place. There was fear if the march went on, many people would be physically assaulted and sent to jail. The Putin regime has undoubtedly brought a sense of stability to Russia, but the price has been to decimate the budding democracy that was born in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Alexander Kramarenko, writing in the Moscow Times, offers a vigorous defense of President Putin’s foreign polic initiatives. He believes Putin’s foreign policy is centered in pragmatism, multi-vctor diplomacy, and the nonconfrontational pursuit of national intrests. Russia seeks security for itself and nations on its borders. He notes, “we regret that the experience of the past 15 years have not helped some of our partners understand that a new new world is not a mere extension of the Western world minus the former Soviet Union and the Eastern bloc.” He cites the case of Kosovo independence which is being pushed by Western nations. “Why then do the Palestinians, for example, have to wait for a state of their own?” Kramarenko believes the West has double standards and this is what Putin is attempting to confront.
On the one hand, points out Kramarenko, the European Union asserts its control of nations within its own organization, but, on the other hand, it is the Bush policy to establish missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Which is it–EU or US? He argues that many problems being attributed to Russia are te fault of others and Putin is mainly focusing on what benefits his nation interests.
Kramarenko raises several key issues which offer a valid Russian explanation for their foreign policy behavior. They probably are right to oppose missile bases in Eastern Europe since the presence of such weapons is obviously a threat to the national interests of Russia.
Posted in Europe, Human Rights, Iraq War, Military, Peace, Politics, Russia, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged multipolar world, Putin-Russia, Russia policies