Tag Archives: Putin

Putin’s Children Spy For Government

It was an interesting, but not necessarily a shocking revelation when a young woman who was a member of Nashi, a pro-Kremlin youth group, admitted she worked as part of a network of activists who infiltrated opposition groups in order to spy on them. Anna Bukovskaya, said she supervised about 30 members of Nashi who joined opposition parties in order to obtain information about its membership and activities which then were reported to members of the Russian government. She was paid $550 a month for this act of patriotism in defending Russia against the activities of those who did not agree Vladmir Putin and Dimitry Medvedev were always right and anyone who disagreed with their policies was always wrong. Mikhail Kulikov, a senior member of Nashi admitted that Ms. Burkovskaya was a member of the organization but denied involvement of his group with such activities.

This is Putin Russia which has the semblance of being a democratic government, but the reality is opposition parties are denied basic rights of freedom of speech, assembly or the press. The only surprise in this story is how long it took to come to the surface.

Putin Hears Voices Of Dissent In Distance

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Russian people endured years of chaos as plutocrats seized control over vast areas of the economy. Pensions were devastated and the old days of free medical care under communism ended as well as inexpensive rents and education for children. Out of the void, same Superputin, friend of former KGB associates whose goal was stability at the cost of freedom of speech, press, and political life. In the ensuing years any sign of protest invariably resulted in being hauled off to the nearest police station and a fine, if one was lucky. If one was not lucky, the result might be a bullet in the head, courtesy of your friendly hit man whose boss might be anyone of several people including government officials.

In the wake of an economic downturn, thousands are now protesting in the streets of Russia which makes difficult rounding up ordinary citizens who want answers to their complaints. One can only wonder if this anger might eventually be translated into formation of political parties which can encompass millions who want an economically strong Russia together with a democratic society.

Fear In The Russian Press-Murderers Murder

After the end of communism, there was hope in Russia that a new day was a-borning in which freedom of speech and the press would now be part of the nation’s experience. But, the arrival of Putin, first to the presidency, and now as prime minister has unleashed forces of hate and violence which stifle the expression of free ideas. The newspaper, Novay Gazeta, has been particularly the target of right wing nationalists who have killed with impunity because the Putin government sits back and smiles when another journalist is silenced by death. Yelena Kostyuchenko, a 21 year old journalist put it this way, “Every two years we lose somebody. But you just have to write, write, write and keep writing. You have to.” The alternative is allowing Putin’s thugs to decide what Russians read.

Since 2000, at least 16 journalists have been murdered in a contract killing style slaying. The killers in most cases just disappear into the void of inattention on the part of authorities. These days, an outspoken reporter in Russia takes self defense classes or hires a bodyguard. Such is life in “democratic Russia” in the era of Putin.

Blame It On The Bush Man!

The administration of George Bush was marked by such incompetence that it is rather easy to blame just about every problem on planet earth at the doorstep of the bumbler from Texas. Russian Prime Minister Vladmir Putin charges it was Bush who is responsible for the current crisis over supplies of gas and his nation’s dispute with the Ukraine. He believes the Bush administration created tension in the region by pushing for construction of missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic. Reports that Obama has no commitment to the Bush plan have led Putin to be “cautiously optimistic” concerning establishing positive relations with the United States.

The Russian government is still angry at attempts to push NATO eastward and include the Ukraine in the organization. Putin regards such efforts as deliberately provocative and this is a major factor in creating tension in the region. Talks between Russia and the Ukraine over gas broke down in December.

Step one for President Obama is to end any further efforts to construct missile bases. Step two is sitting down with Putin and dealing with a variety of issues including the gas dispute with the Ukraine.

Another Human Rights Leader Killed In Russia

Individuals who assume roles in fighting for human rights within Russia have an unfortunate tendency to attract the attention of individuals who kill strangers. One of Russia’s top human rights lawyers was murdered in the center of Moscow most probably due to his defense of those opposing the Russian puppet government of Chechya. Stanlislav Makelov was shot in broad daylight on a busy street by a man who used a silencer . Markelov worked as a lawyer for the Novaya Gazeta newspaper whose famous correspondent, Anna Politkovskaya was also murdered during the day. An intern, Anasatasia Barburova, witnessed the shooting and when she tried following the man, he shot her in the head.

Putin is most probably not personally responsible for these killings, he is much too smart to get that close to anything so brutal. After all, he once worked for the KGB. His hand may not be on a murder weapon, but his words and disregard for the rights of those who oppose him sends a message to anyone out to murder those defending human rights. After all, Colonel Yuri Budanov who murdered a woman was convicted of murder in 2003 and released this week. In Putin Russia, murder is not a serious crime if you kill the right people.

Putin Considers Working With Obama

After eight years of dealing with the likes of George Bush, Russian Prime Minister Putin would most likely welcome anyone who shows the slightest inclination to have a brain in his head so it is not surprising he is pondering the future with Barack Obama. Putin said he closely followed the election and Obama seems to come across as a “sincere and open” man, but the future is still not clear. “It is my deepest belief that the most bitter disappointments usually arise from excessive expectations. We need to see what happens in practice.” He also made clear that Obama has to end the missile program in Poland and the Czech Republic before the United States and Russia can have good relations.

Putin’s comments are ironic since they are exactly the ones most Russians could say about him as a leader of Russia. There were high hopes when he took office, and the ensuing years have witnessed the erosion of democracy. Obama most likely will work to end the Cold War that Bush policies created with Russia.

Old Joe Stalin Ain’t As Popular As He Once Was

Joseph Stalin was dictator of the Soviet Union from the 1920s until his death in 1953. Over twenty five million died because of his brutality and he failed to take adequate preparations when Nazi Germany was preparing to invade his nation. During his reign of terror anyone who did not agree he was the greatest person on planet Earth wound up in a special camp in Siberia. A recent television contest in Russia saw him grab the third position as to who was the greatest historical figure in Russian history, but in his native Georgia, poor old Joe did not even make the top fifty. A web site inspired by the Russian contest, Badnameofrussia.ru is asking people today who they rate as the person who is the “disgrace of Russia.” Prime Minister Vladmir Putin tops the list.

In recent years every time there has been an election in Russia, Putin comes in number one. If he doesn’t, then figures area adjusted to ensure he is the leader. Apparently, his people got confused when they heard there was a contest about who was tops in Russia, they naturally assumed their hero had to win it. Once again, Vladmir tops the list.

Russia’s Gas Tanks Out For Europe

President Medvedev made clear that Russia would impose its will on the gas front by cutting supplies to Europe in order to force the Ukraine to pay market prices for the gas from his nation. He told Ukrainian leader Yushchenko that he was prepared to negotiate at any time, but insisted, “the price for the gas needs to be the market rate corresponding to the European price levels.” Russia cut off gas supplies to the Ukraine and several nations in order to compel compliance with their demands. Russia is facing an economic crisis since the price of oil and gas has plunged which results in a loss of billions for the Russian government.

The current oil crisis is impacting those nations who were making billions out of the ever increasing price of gas and oil. The Russian nightmare is a shift in Europe from reliance on gas to alternative forms of energy. Putin operates on the assumption that gas and oil will remain dominant into the future, but there is always the possibility that nations of the world will shift and move away from traditional sources of energy. What then, Mr. Putin?

On The Russian Trail Toward Authoritarian Government

In the glow of the overthrow of the Soviet Union, the Russian people looked forward to an era of democracy in which they finally after centuries of fighting to end authoritarian government would be able to taste the joy of living in a free society. The Putin era of kleptocracy made millions of Russians angry at what they considered to be the essence of capitalism and democracy. During the intervening years, Vladmir Putin brought stability to his nation, but the price was the end of a vibrant democracy and its replacement by a few men in charge who knew what should be said and what should be done. Santa Vladmir came on the scene with his merry little elf, Dimitry, and they both have decided the last thing Russians need is a democratic society.

The Federation Council of Russia, all 142 obedient little elves voted to extend the Russian presidency from four to six years as well as extending the Duma term from four to five years. This will enable Father Vladmir to return as president in a few years and once again do formally what he does informally-rule Russia. This important constitutional amendment was proposed a month ago by President Medvedev and passed within sixty days. Such is the working of democratic government in the era of Vladmir the First.

Solidarity Forever In Russia

A decade ago, the people of Russia were moving in the direction of creating a modern democratic society in which diverse views could be expressed, but the arrival of Vladmir Putin on the scene has transformed this glorious hope of a new era into the repression that was so common in the Soviet Union. A wave of protests is sweeping across Russia and hundreds of its proponents are being hauled off by the police or disturbing the peace. In Putin, Russia, one must request permission of the government in order to speak, but those who speak for PUtin always receive the answer of,”yes.”

Gary Kasparov, and other prominent liberals launched a new anti-Kremlin movement the past few days. “We are fighting for victory because we have something to say to our people and something to offer them,” said Kasparov. Unfortunately, too many Russians associate liberal democracy with the kleptocracy which highlighted the post-Soviet Union years. Hopefully, a new generation of Russian liberals can prove that economic prosperity and democracy can go hand-in-hand.