Mikheil Saakashvili Channels His Inner Nixon

Uncle Volodya says,”Mikheil Saakashvili is not in great demand for his leadership. He’s just paging himself over the intercom.”

Once upon a time, posters were youth’s talisman against an ordinary life of mediocrity – large, colourful pictures decorating our walls which advertised not so much who we were as who we wished we were; the circles in which we wished we could move and be recognized, and a defiant advertisement of our hipness, savvy and world-wisdom at a time when we had only the vaguest idea what those things were. Glen Buxton, Neal Smith, Dennis Dunaway and Mike Bruce snarled down from my walls, hung about with the tools and heraldry of heavy rock and fronted by the strutting embodiment of stagecraft, Alice Cooper – while just on the other side of the same wall, Donny Osmond simpered down upon my sister and her teenybopper friends.

A poster which may have looked out of place among the longhairs and the dubious promises of how you could become an eastern philosopher if you only smoked enough pot was one which featured a middle-aged man with a receding hairline and a jittery grin. He held his arms wide, and the first and second fingers of each hand were splayed in the “V for Victory” sign which, in the 70’s, meant “Peace”. The caption varied; sometimes it said “I am not a crook”, sometimes “Trust me”, and occasionally, “Shut up, Hippie”.  Richard Milhous Nixon, deceptively brilliant political bête noir and disgraced president, criminal and living symbol of political whoredom, whose inclusion in our bedroom galleries was supposed to advertise our wise-guy familiarity with political undercurrents and our cynical rejection of lies.

Never chosen to appear on those posters was the phrase for which Nixon is perhaps best remembered: “If the President does it, that means it’s not illegal”.

Fast-forward to today, when another president is busily rearranging the political landscape of his country so that he can remain not only close to the seat of power after term limits force him from office, but carry it about with him wherever he resurfaces. In just a few days – October 1st – Georgia will hold parliamentary elections which will determine the course of the country’s domestic and foreign policies for some time to come. And Georgia’s current leader, President Mikheil “Slippery” Saakashvili, is busily loading the dice to consolidate his personal hold over political power in Georgia. And it’s not illegal. It is, however – for a variety of reasons – disturbing.

This is as complex a story as we’ve ever covered, so bear with me. During his years as President, Mr. Saakashvili devoted considerable effort to constitutional amendments to increase and amplify his personal power as the holder of that office. However, in a constitutional rewrite in 2010, he began to transfer all those powers to the office of the Prime Minister, seemingly undoing all that he had done. Those changes will come into effect in 2013 – just as the new President takes office.

What is Tricky Mickey Saakashvili up to?

At present, until 2013 when the new constitution comes into effect (the Presidential election is also in October, next year), the Prime Minister is appointed by the President. There was a great deal of speculation that Mr. Saakashvili intended to….well, appoint himself. Once the new constitution becomes effective, the Prime Minister will be appointed by Parliamentary vote. Widespread suspicion was that Mr. Saakashvili’s ambitious and steady transfer of powers to the office of the Prime Minister meant he intended to occupy that office. And despite direct questioning and plenty of opportunity to say “absolutely not”, Mr. Saakashvili refused to rule it out. Even when some people somehow got the idea he had ruled it out, his office was quick to correct them.

Well, now he appears to have ruled it out. In late June this year, he appointed trusted ally Ivane “Vano” Merabishvili to the office of Prime Minister. This, many say, ends the speculation; Mr. Saakashvili has settled on a choice which will still allow him to influence decision-making in Georgia, albeit as an ex-President with no official authority.

Not so fast, say I. Let’s remember who we’re talking about here. This is a guy who – following a 2004 meeting with Vladimir Putin in which Putin mentioned a Georgian minister in positive terms, expressing hope the minister would remain in his post because he enjoyed the respect of Moscow – immediately reassigned that minister and later fired him. This is a guy who announced a unilateral cease-fire in the run-up to the conflict in South Ossetia in 2008, and launched an attack only hours later.

This is a guy who (a) doesn’t like to be told what is the right thing to do – by anyone – and (b) can’t be trusted for a second.

Also, I call your attention to an item mentioned in one of the articles I linked above. The text itself seems quite benign; but look at the caption just under the photo: “The government of President Mikheil Saakashvili does not rule out that his prime minister will take over as president after he leaves.”

Gee. That’d leave the post of Prime Minister vacant, wouldn’t it? And a trusted ally who has been with him since the late 1990’s, at his side during the Rose Revolution, in the President’s seat.

Before we go any further, let’s back up a second, to 2010. Let’s take a look at what changes are introduced in Mr. Saakashvili’s constitutional amendments. You can all read, so I’ll just list the important ones, and you can parse the rest yourselves. Ready?

Oh, my. The Prime Minister will have the right to appoint and dismiss other members of the government, including the defense and interior ministers. The Prime Minister automatically triggers the dissolution of the government with his own resignation. The government’s powers are suspended as soon as the mandate of newly-elected Parliament is approved, and not upon electing a new President. The Prime Minister’s candidacy is named by a political party, which shall be the winning party in Parliamentary elections. Government members are named by the PM-designate. The government has the right to request Parliament to ratify or reject international treaties; the President must have the government’s consent to exercise this right. The President will need government’s approval to appoint or dismiss ambassadors. The government appoints and dismisses regional governors, not the President – in the original draft, the Prime Minister was allowed to do this unilaterally. Most Presidential decrees will require the Prime Minister’s signature. The President will require government’s approval – of which, we have established, the Prime Minister will be the head – to hold international talks or sign international treaties. The President will no longer direct and exercise the domestic or foreign policy of the state: that’ll be – you guessed it – the Prime Minister. The President will require government approval to appoint or dismiss senior military commanders. The President will not be allowed to convene an emergency session of Parliament, or call for a referendum. Parliament will be able to overrule a Presidential veto with a simple majority.

I don’t know about you, but I’m having a tough time believing someone as devious and egotistical as Mikheil Saakashvili is essentially transferred the entire hammer of state power from the President’s office to that of the Prime Minister just on a whim. He must have had a plan. And that plan will most likely work in the best interests of the person he most admires; himself.

Since we were already headed in that direction, let’s retrace our steps just a little more, back to 2008 – the presidential election, in which Saakashvili won a second term. That was as dirty an election as any the west holds up to ridicule, although you’d have a hard time forming that impression if you read only the western press. Here, for example, is President George W. Bush’s congratulatory statement. Bush often found it useful to lie while he was President, and this is no exception. According to congratulations relayed by the State Department, the 2008 election “was the most competitive in Georgia’s history…[and] was determined by international organizations to be in essence consistent with most OSCE and Council of Europe commitments and shared standards for democratic elections, despite significant challenges”. That might be boiled down to “Congratulations: you mostly didn’t cheat”. Is that really what the OSCE found? It is not. The OSCE found the Central Elections Commission (CEC) did not train its operatives properly, and that a handbook describing their duties and responsibilities was not produced until their training was almost complete. Ten days before the election, the CEC itself produced stickers reading “Where will you be on 5 January?” The “5” was inside a red circle, similar to the logo on Mr. Saakashvili’s campaign materials (Mr. Saakashvili was number 5 on the ballot); these stickers were widely circulated and were “in evidence in polling stations on election day”. The CEC did a country-wide voter registration drive in 2007, yet the OSCE received many complaints that deceased people remained on the list, and the CEC was forced to admit a full third of voter records had not been checked at all. Software that was supposed to track multiple entries did not work, and NGO’s and political parties were able to provide OSCE monitors with examples of multiple and incomplete registrations and omission of eligible voters. Opposition parties complained these errors affected over 40,000 voter records. The campaign of Mr. Saakashvili was “notably more extensive than those of other candidates” – it should have been, considering he outspent his next-closest rival by more than triple; $14.6 million to $4.36 million. Vouchers for utilities and medical supplies were distributed by authorities ahead of the election to pensioners and the poor; a clear case of use of state funds to buy votes, especially as the vouchers were prominently marked as being from Mr. Saakashvili and incorporated his trademark “5”. Some voucher recipients were asked by distributors if they planned to vote for Mr. Saakashvili and were asked to sign documents confirming their support. Taking election-rigging to new heights, a presidential program – again using state funds – purchased tractors for farmers, which were handed over with Saakashvili campaign posters affixed to them; these tractors were also used as displays at rallies, and Mr. Saakashvili made it clear where they came from. Police and local officials pressured opposition candidates to stop campaigning or face consequences to themselves and their families, including arbitrary arrest or termination of employment. Business enterprises were pressured to support Mr. Saakashvili’s campaign. Cases of violence, including kidnapping, against opposition activists were verified. Imedi TV, perceived as pro-opposition, was raided by the police, fined and had its broadcast license suspended for an alleged plot to overthrow the government. In the 4 weeks preceding the election, Mr. Saakashvili received 27% of news and prime-time coverage by monitored stations; this coverage was assessed as 98% positive or neutral. The next-closest candidate received 18% of the coverage, and most of it was in connection with his alleged plot to overthrow the government. Understandably, about 33% of it was negative. And on and on it goes – needless to say, any such examples in Russian elections would inspire western media outlets to a perfect ecstasy of democratic fair-play froth and fury. In this case, plainly, they just pretended it was all good.

And that’s just the stuff the OSCE saw. According to the Georgia Times, the village of Yormuganlo voted 105% for the ruling party in 2008. Opposition activists risked being beaten up. In this village of approximately 14,000 voters, almost all are Azerbaijani, and approximately 2000 have the same name, Ali Mamedov. The 12 polling stations in the village recorded only name and a general address, such as “Yormuganlo”.  How many times could a guy named Ali Mamedov vote, considering he did not need to supply a street address? Additionally, video footage recorded as many as 6 people in a polling booth at one time, and local administration officials standing outside saying “besh, besh” (five) to every voter on the way in to the booth.

Naturally, all those practices are expressly and virtuously forbidden now (Article 47 of the Elections Code, Vote Buying, Article 48, Prohibition of the Use of Administrative Resources in the Pre-election and Election Campaigns, and Article 49, Prohibition on the use of budget funds and official capacity), now that Mr. Saakashvili will not need the help of “administrative resources” to win another presidential election, and perhaps they were forbidden then, too. But the west decided to give him a pass and look the other way. It’s worth noting that there was no Prime Minister in the original constitution of Georgia; Mr. Saakashvili created the position in a constitutional rewrite in 2004. At least you can never accuse him of failing to plan ahead, and an old military couplet advises us that if you fail to plan, you should plan to fail.

Flushed with newly-discovered zeal for the law, Mr. Saakashvili has rained a perfect torrent of campaign violation fines and punishments upon the rival considered most likely to pose a real challenge – Billionaire Bidzina Ivanishvili. First, upon announcing his intention to form a party to challenge for the Presidency, Ivanishvili was stripped of his Georgian citizenship, making him ineligible. International pressure made Saakashvili walk back on that one – probably because Georgia’s next U.S. Ambassador called the Oct 1st elections “a litmus test for Georgia’s NATO accession”. Yes, NATO is still keen to admit Georgia, even though the rules say you can’t be considered for NATO membership while unresolved territorial disputes cast doubt on the integrity of your borders. I guess the west is simply going to go with Georgia’s constitution, which still includes Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgian provinces, ( Article 1: Georgia is an independent, unified and indivisible state, as confirmed by the 31 March 1991 referendum, which took place throughout the country, including the Abkhaz ASSR – in the former South Ossetian Autonomous Oblast, and the Independence Act of April 9, 1991) although both have declared their independence and held elections, which the west and Georgia refuse to recognize although NATO adores nothing more than brave breakaway republics which love democracy and hold elections. Except when that practice conflicts with western goals, apparently. Then Ivanishvili was charged with violation of campaign-finance laws for distributing free satellite dishes to rural Georgians, because it would facilitate access by his television station, while one of his biggest investors was detained and accused of money laundering, although as of June he had not actually been charged with anything. Ivanishvili’s companies providing cheap transport to party members is , yes, also a violation of campaign finance laws uncovered by the eagle-eyed State Audit Service, which was apparently stricken with glaucoma while Saakashvili was distributing tractors with his face on them – purchased with state funds – to Georgian farmers, using municipal buses to transport rally supporters and paying only for the gas, and coercing pensioners and the poor with vouchers for medical supplies.

Nineteen would-be political parties are disqualified from participation in the October elections; a few on their own request according to the Central Elections Commission, but most for violations of the elections code such as “Documents do not comply with the law” and “List of supporters not submitted”. Since quite a few of them are repeats from the last election, you’d think they would sort of, you know, realize you have to submit a list of supporters.

In another slick move announced with the pretense of open-handedness, the Central Elections Commission announced it was opening “additional polling stations abroad” to help registered Georgian voters abroad cast their ballots. These Georgian expatriates, also according to the CEC’s calculations, number 42,613.

There are more than half a million Georgians in Russia alone, and perhaps even more than a million if emigration trends have remained stable since 2005, all eligible voters in Georgian elections. But there will be no polling stations in Russia – even though the Swiss Embassy represents Georgia in Russia – for “technical reasons”. Expatriate Georgians are out of reach of Saakashvili’s inducements, and many could be expected to vote for the opposition. Many of them are also illegal migrants in their host country, where they have made their way for economic reasons owing to unemployment in Georgia the government officially puts at 16%, but which opposition activists insist is more than double that figure. To top it all off, the election day was moved to a Monday; although it will be a holiday in Georgia, it will not be anywhere else, and expats will be faced with a long journey to capital cities where a polling station is available, on a workday in a country where many of them are illegal migrants who cannot risk taking a day off work or attracting notice to themselves. Vote suppression, plain and simple.

In order for Saakashvili’s plan to work, the United National Movement – his party – must score a decisive win. But after that comes the puzzle. I already have my own idea how it will play out, but I’m not going to tell you. Dig into the law, and you tell me. If UNM wins a decisive majority, they could decide to run Vano Merabishvili as their Presidential candidate. That would leave the Prime Minister’s office open. But Saakashvili would still be President until Merabishvili – theoretically – won the Presidential election. He can’t be President and Prime Minister at the same time. How is Saakashvili, from where he is now, going to get to the office with all the power for as long as he is able to hold it, because it is unregulated by term limits?

Where there’s a will, there’s a way. And if the President does it, it is not illegal.

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555 Responses to Mikheil Saakashvili Channels His Inner Nixon

  1. Misha says:

    Just released piece on the upcoming vote in Georgia:

    http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2012/09/29/georgia-elections/1601115/

    Be nice to see a mass media released article with more on Ivanishvili’s stance towards Russia and Russian related issues.

    ————-

    Russian cities selected to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup:

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/fifa-chooses-host-cities-for-football-world-cup/468978.html

    • marknesop says:

      Georgia’s “near decade of democratic progress”: what a bitter joke. I don’t know what’s “democratic” about a country where the government can threaten to take your job away if you don’t vote for the leader of a certain party, and where all the monitoring agencies are staffed by government stooges or westerners who are in bed with the government.

      They must have looked hard to find that shot of Ivanishvili so that all the guys behind him looked like thugs in their dark sunglasses.

      • Misha says:

        Reminded somewhat of Don Barzini:

        http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=don+barzini+godfather&view=detail&id=8A5A35BA183788DFDCEB7F8C1720DF72EB8F8768&first=1

        You might recall the wedding scene involving him and a photographer.

      • Misha says:

        Another find:

        http://www.rferl.org/content/stakes-could-not-be-higher-in-georgian-parliamentary-elections/24723413.html

        The hyped Russia bit on Ivanishvili doesn’t take into consideration the coalition in the political movement he’s involved with. They’re tactically putting aside their differences for now. No breakdown offered in the above piece on their differences or potential differences.

        As for the thought of Ivanishvili’s business ties to Russia suggesting a Kremlin lackey status: at last notice Prokhorov is still acceptable, in terms of not being indicted for anything. He’s the chap who has felt comfortable employing Gessen to run a venue that has had some not so positive commentary on the Kremlin – never minding her own takes. Consider the “state giant” Gazprom owned Ekho Moskvy relationship and a good portion of what RIAN has favored.

        Also note how some Ukrainian politicians have been viewed as being more Russia friendly than others – only to see some disappointment, once the former grouping are in high office. Georgia like Ukraine has a good eal of Western NGO influence, which is just not simply going to go away.

        • marknesop says:

          It reports the video of the prison scandal was “orchestrated by Georgian Dream” when, to the best of my knowledge, there is no evidence at all to suggest that beyond Saakashvili’s immediate knee-jerk instinct to blame his troubles on either Russia or the opposition.

          • Misha says:

            Recall his saying that the disclosure of such shows how much better the situation is in Georgia when compared to Russia.

            Reminded of PR saying they weren’t being anti-ROC, while in another instance, their attorney questions the judge’s neutrality by asking if she’s ROC.

            Shifty.

            • The point about the prison abuse videos is not whether Ivanishvili and his movement have publicised them or have orchestrated their circulation (of course they have) but whether they are true. Even Saakashvili admits they are.

              • marknesop says:

                I have not seen any substantiation for the allegation the prison videos were “orchestrated” (which implies they are not even authentic, but are performances by actors) by “a prison official connected with Bidzina Ivanishvili”. How is he connected with Ivanishvili? If that means he gave them to the Ivanishvili campaign believing that was the only chance they would be seen – a sensible assumption, given Saakashvili’s corruption – how does that imply a previous connection with Ivanishvili or Georgian Dream?

                If Ivanishvili timed their release, he did so brilliantly, but I don’t believe so; I think they were released as soon as they were available, because Ivanishvili does not seem to be much of a political strategist. Saakashvili’s tendency to blame the opposition (or Russia) for his woes is well-established.

              • yalensis says:

                Alexander: I still haven’t seen anyone out there in the broader blogosphere comment about the fact that somebody in the prison torture video (posted in above thread) clearly utters an English sentence at 30 seconds in, something like “I don’t think the cameras should be here?”
                The person speaks English with an accent that is not British or American.
                Why would he speak English? I cannot even fathom a theory.

  2. Here are some pictures and a video from RT of the big opposition election rally in Tbilisi today.

    http://rt.com/news/georgia-opposition-rally-election-305/

    There is the usual wide range of estimates of the size of the rally. The figure of 300,000 is impossible. I would guess around 30,000 to 50,000 from the photos though it’s difficult to say for sure because part of the rally seems to have spilled over into a side street, which however looks pretty full. Say 20,000 to 30,000 in the square and 10,000 to 20,000 up the side street . Anyway it certainly looks at least as big as most of the opposition rallies in Moscow though Tbilisi’s population is only about a tenth the size of Moscow. I have to say though that Ivanishvili has all the charisma of a paper cup.

    • marknesop says:

      I would have said Bidzina Inanishvili was kind of the Georgian Medvedev, in terms of stage presence. I’ve read he is kind of weird and eccentric in his personal life, too. But I seem to remember voters in another land far away (from Georgia, not from here) choosing a new leader based on his looking like a fun guy to have a beer with. I don’t need to tell you how that turned out, I’m sure. The voters are putting Ivanishvili in (hopefully) to run the country, not to host a game show. Saakashvili reportedly has charisma to burn, yet if assholes could fly his cabinet would look like an airport.

      That crowd looks quite big to me, I would have said maybe 75,000 and perhaps even as high as 100,000, although of course 300,000 is just dreaming. Maybe it looks big to me because I want it to be big, I want to see Saakashvili mailed surface post to Washington by the Georgian voters. Ivanishvili might be a little odd, but right now not being Saakashvili could get a stray dog elected. I can’t say Ivanishvili will win, because Saakashvili is full of tricks and has the dead and the absent on his side, but this looks hopeful, particularly for the parliamentary elections; the Presidential elections are still a long way away and there’s plenty of time for Saakashvili to make up another fake attack by Russia, or for pictures of Bidzina and a sheep in bed to surface, or things of that nature.

      • Misha says:

        System presently not allowing me to post under a new heading.

        Saw this Ignatius-Kaplan exchange which was sponsored by the Center for a New American Century:

        http://www.c-spanvideo.org/program/TheReve

        Sure enough, during the Q & A, there was a youngster with an East European accent who identified himself from this institution, as he belittled Russian security concerns:

        http://www.iwp.edu/faculty/

        • Misha says:

          Brought up by Al Arabiya, a possible misinformation campaign claiming that rebel captured Syrian government documents note a Russian approved execution of Turkish armed forces personnel:

          http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=5941

          http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=134910&Cat=8

          —————-

          On Pussy Riot (PR), some agreeable and not so agreeable thoughts from a Polish academic at a DC educational venue:

          http://www.iwp.edu/news_publications/detail/pussy-gone-riot

          More on PR:

          http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/sep/30/russian-court-pussy-riot-appeal

          http://www.foxnews.com/world/2012/09/30/russian-church-asks-for-clemency-for-anti-putin-band-if-repent-for-punk-prayer/

          —————-

          Regarding Russian-Pakistani relations:

          http://www.thenews.com.pk/TodaysPrintDetail.aspx?ID=134910&Cat=8

          • Al Arabiya has been the source of lots of obviously untrue stories over the course of the Libyan and Syrian conflicts. I understand that it is a Saudi run channel. I would be extremely surprised if these reports are true. They look like exercises in black propaganda to me. Would Assad who has to worry about a possible referral to the International Criminal Court really say in a written message to an official that two captured Turkish pilots should be murdered and their bodies dumped into the sea and that he was doing this on Russian advice? Isn’t this the kind of order which when it is made is made verbally?

            • Misha says:

              Agree.

              On past questionable claims, Pulitzer Award winner Roy Gutman (recently propped by RT) wrote a lengthy piece on supposed Russians involved with torture camp procedure in Kosovo around the time of the 1999 NATO bombing campaign.

              His evidence was reported hearsay – much like a good portion of his earlier Bosnian commentary.

              I don’t recall this same journo being so gung ho in pursuing the human organ accusation against some Albanians, which appears more credible than the one on Russians in Kosovo being involved with torture.

              Al Arabiya has some questionable issues, thereby making it imperative for a venue like RT to be more challenging when it has on Western mass media establishment people like Gutman and Weir – unlike some competent others offering a different take.

            • yalensis says:

              I am surprised Saudis didn’t claim Assad signed AND notarized the message, in front of several witnesses.

              • Misha says:

                On that Al Arabiya claim about Russian involvement:

                http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/28/240700.html

                On its English language news hourly telecast, Al Jazeera made no mention of it.

                Al Arabiya has a noticeably selective way:

                http://english.alarabiya.net/articles/2012/09/30/241116.html

                Let’s see them go after the trysts of some Saudi government folks.

                Oh that’s right:

                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al_Arabiya

                • marknesop says:

                  And on the old reliable Telegraph, word from a “former Libyan senior intelligence officer” says Bashar al-Assad killed Gadaffi by giving his satphone number to the French in exchange for them taking it easy on Syria so that he could kill a few more of his own people before international attention zeroed in on him. And France accommodated him, we’re told. Really? I could have sworn the French were among the first to jump from the Libya bandwagon onto the Syria bandwagon. And that’s because they were: Here’s Tiny Nicky in May 2011, “denouncing what must be denounced”; Gaddafi died in October.

                  It’s amazing, the rubbish the Brit tabloid press will print. This “no honour among thieves” piece is right up there with the fake Gaddafi-issuing-viagra-to-his-troops-so-they-can-rape-more-women-freedom-activists story. There should be some sort of journalistic prize for the media outlet that shows itself willing to wallow longest in the gutter, to so thoroughly debase itself that you couldn’t ask them the time of day and expect to get the truth. If there isn’t one, let’s create one. What shall we call it?

                • yalensis says:

                  Mr El Obeidi had fallen out of favour with the most powerful faction in Libya’s transitional government because of his links with Gen Abdul Fatah Younes, a senior rebel commander killed by his own side in July last year.

                  Interesting … Western MSM used to insist that the saintly Younes had been killed by Gaddafi supporters. Meanwhile, everybody and their grandma in the blogsophere knew that Younes had been murdered by Belhaj goons.

              • cartman says:

                Pardon my French, but I have seen a few photos of James Brooke on that site and he has a shit-eating grin in every one of them. Is this smug, schadenfreude-loving man really the guy you want to be the Voice of America?

                • Misha says:

                  Based on what Brooke has written, he wouldn’t do well when matched against a competent opposite in a reasonably moderated exchange.

                • marknesop says:

                  I don’t doubt that the situation he describes is exactly the way he sees it; that he loves his country deeply and is to some extent blind to its faults, and believes the Russians of today are ungrateful because they will not trust the America of today because of what a different America did yesterday. He is asking that America be judged only on the good things it has done, and as I have said many times, America has done selfless good many times. A lot of those times, it seemed to depend on who had the upper hand in politics, and once there was a clearly discernible difference. But now even when a party that arguably would like to do good works is in charge, it is so busy pandering to the crowd that wants to see the country use the stick instead of the carrot so it will not be thought weak, there isn’t a dime’s worth of difference between them judged on their actions. Russia today would be foolish to open up to America today based on what America did yesterday, because it wasn’t the same country then. The kind of ridiculous material printed in today’s American media about Russia suggests they are thinking of a different country, too.

                • Misha says:

                  That such arrogance and ignorance is readily tolerated is indicative of what’s wrong with the coverage.

                  One can be a proud American, while not clinging to such an inaccurate caricature, which some might (withi reason0 take as being somewhat insulting.

                • This article is a good example of historical revisionism.

                  Firstly, it is absolutely true that the US did provide generous food aid to Russia during the Civil War famine. I don’t know whether this is mentioned much in Russia today but it certainly was on Radio Moscow’s foreign language broadcasts in the late 1970s and 1980s when I was an occasional listener. Needless to say this has absolutely nothing to do with USAID since at the time Russia and the US were not geopolitical adversaries.

                  Secondly, the US did not provide “aid” to the USSR during World War II. What is continuously overlooked about Lend Lease is that it was not a free gift but was something that had to be paid for. As I remember it the USSR paid the US for the supplies it got with gold. The author anyway greatly exaggerates the importance of Lend Lease supplies. They started to arrive in bulk after the crucial battles in Moscow in 1941 and in Stalingrad in 1942 had already been won. Even after they started to arrive they did not amount to more than a small (though not insignificant) fraction of Soviet war material. I remember reading once that their most important contribution was to provide the Red Army with trucks which helped it sustain its offensives. To claim that without Lend Lease supplies Hitler would have celebrated his victory banquet in the Astoria Hotel is nonsense and is frankly insulting to the million or so people who died defending Leningrad some of whose descendants I have met. Lastly, Lend Lease was provided at a time when Russia and the US were allies in the war against Hitler so again the question of Lend Lease has no relevance to USAID.

                  Thirdly US “aid” in the 1990s (which is relevant to the question of USAID) was by any measure an unmitigated disaster. Russians have no reason to be grateful for it.

                  Fourthly, to the extent that USAID is providing financial support to opposition groups and parties in Russia it shouldn’t be doing it and that is a good reason for closing it down. The fact that that most Russians don’t consider it responsible for the protest movement is neither here nor there. All that proves is that the “aid” has been ineffectual. It does not justify or excuse it.

                • cartman says:

                  I would also add that it was British policy to keep the famine in Russia a secret because they wanted to prevent the US from rendering famine relief. Ireland and India are clearly not the only times that the British have used famine as a weapon. It is interesting how the VOA article does not name a conspirator because it happens to be a US ally. Also, I think I have seen the photo of starving children in the article as one that was used to propagandize the Holodomor.

                • Misha says:

                  Over the course of time, Soviet educated Russians have informed me of their knowledge of Lend Lease, in terms of what it did and didn’t achieve.

                  As noted above, the Nazis were already in retreat when a good portion of the aid arrived to the USSR. The supplies greatly assisted the Soviet war effort, while not being the difference between victory and defeat. Consider the Nazi disposition as a prime telling point on this subject.

                • marknesop says:

                  That’s as may be; my position is not to minimize the greatness of America’s heart or mock its generosity. My position is that the article seeks to draw a false parallel between American openness then and Russian ingratitude now. USAID’s services are nothing like lend/lease or food aid to starving people, and although USAID does do good in terms of medical research and charity work, it also openly allies itself with the opposition in Russia and “civic watchdogs” it supports such as Golos go out of their way to discredit and disrupt the vote in Russia. I’m guessing, but I imagine USAID was quietly given an opportunity to cease funding Golos, Transparency International in Russia and militant Human Rights groups – or register each of those agencies as foreign agents – and it refused.

                • Misha says:

                  “AID” and publicity should be going in another direction from what has been evident in the examples of Pussy Riot and the establishment propped sources that have spun biases against Russia/Russians.

                  Until then, any improvement will be limited from what it could and should be.

          • marknesop says:

            Hey, here’s a question: if sources like The Guardian continue to insist the Pussy Riot performance was “anti-Kremlin” and had no religious implications, why do they uniformly refer to it as a “punk prayer”?

            • kievite says:

              Mark,

              They don’t care about small inconsistencies. The damage is already done. They just enjoy how clever they are. And their ability to wage full scale propaganda war with impunity.
              I think Russians made three blunders.

              — First Tolokonnikova should have been be tried separately and charges with two episodes not one, as she participated in the orgy in Zoo museum. Look how diligently Western MSM try to hide this interesting fact. Also the role she played and the level of criminality she demonstrated was completely different from other two women.

              — The second blunder was that they did not reveal the puppeteers and just decided to punish puppets, which is a very bad policy in any case. This might be interpreted as a sign of split inside the government, existence of two powers of Kremlin.

              — The third is implicitly linking their behavior with desecration which instantly polarized Russian society as suspicions about church corruption are running strong.

              Now they put themselves into position which is not enviable. I wonder how all this might end.

              • marknesop says:

                I imagine their lawyers are right, and the appeal will not succeed. That’s no excuse, of course, for saying it was hopeless – in public – before the appeal was even filed. I also doubt the sentence will be reduced, as the prosecutor asked for much less than the maximum at the outset and what they were awarded is already quite lenient.

                I think their day in the spotlight is over. they went from being the name on everybody’s lips to page 18 in about a week, and now they are barely even mentioned – when they are it is often part of a summary on what is wrong with Russia, when the author drags out everything he/she can think of. RFE/RL still mentions them, but it’s not like they have a huge readership. They will likely get another bump in attention when their appeal is denied, but after that I think the next time you will hear about them is when they get out of the jug, and if they don’t do something attention-grabbing within 2 weeks of that date I think they will just fade out.

                • kirill says:

                  Perhaps the case is not resonating with the western public. It’s obvious BS to invoke free speech when said speech infringes on the rights of others. Is it OK for people to go into someone’s bedroom at 1 am and start shouting political slogans? If they are anti-Putin then the line fed by the western MSM is yes. Not all media consumers are totally retarded just yet.

                • marknesop says:

                  Well, they would argue that someone’s bedroom is private property, and that nobody is allowed to trespass there without the owner’s permission. But, they’d say, a church is public property, and anyone has the right to go in and do as they like. Actually, that’s not quite true; even public places are built and maintained for a specific purpose, and if you are determined to exercise your right to use them for your own purposes – to hold a rock concert in a library, for example, or a public wine-tasting in a gun shop, you will be escorted out. That’s why I thouight it was such rich irony when, only a week or two after the Pussy Riot trial, Ksenya Sobchak and her activist paramour were having lunch in a Moscow restaurant. Public place, right? A news crew attempted to film them, and Ksyusha and her lover had security throw them out after confiscating the film.

              • yalensis says:

                @kievite: I don’t think Tolok could be prosecuted for the превед медвед orgy in the zoo, because nobody pressed a charge.
                In the case of the church incident, the gals would have got away with that too, except that some church official actually went to the police and pressed a charge.
                At that point, police/justice had to decide whether to dismiss or pursue the charge.
                That’s the difference, I think.

                • Dear Kievite,

                  I understand the points you are making and actually they are very astute ones. However the difficulty is that what may be politically wise is not always legally possible. To take your points in turn:

                  1. There was no basis for trying Tolokonnikova separately. This was a joint enterprise planned by all five members of the group in advance and carried out by all five of them together. It is impossible for the prosecution to say that Tolokonnikova was more guilty than the others. Alyokhina and Samutsevich could have said it and Samutsevich’s father said it to the police but not at the trial. Had they said it Alyokhina and Samutsevich would have had to instruct different lawyers than Tolokonnikova. However they didn’t say it but chose instead to defend the case alongside Tolokonnikova. Given that this was so the prosecution couldn’t do the work of the defence and ask for Tolokonnikova to be tried separately.

                  2. You are quite right that the western media has tried to suppress information about the orgy at the museum and the other bizarre activities. However it would have made no sense to charge Tolokonnikova with that crime. Firstly Yalensis is absolutely right that no one it seems complained about it. Secondly it would look extremely odd to say the least to bring a charge for the crime now 4 years after it had been committed. Thirdly Tolokonnikova would have been in a position to argue that she was no more guilty of the crime than were the other participants in the orgy. The prosecution would in that case have had to explain why they were prosecuting her and not the others. It would make the prosecution of Tolokonnikova look vindictive and would actually give some weight to her claim that it was a political trial. If the prosecution did decide to prosecute the others participants in the orgy then given that far more people were involved in the orgy than the “punk prayer” the entire trial would have been swamped by discussion of it. Last and most important of all, please remember that the orgy was a far less serious crime than the “punk prayer”. It does not fall within the scope of Article 213 and is not therefore hooliganism. At worst it is merely an administrative offence for which the penalty is a fine. If the prosecution had charged Tolokonnikova with it they would have undermined the strength of the prosecution for the “punk prayer” for the reasons I have given to no useful purpose.

                  3. Of course it would have been better to prosecute the “puppeteers”. However in a trial one needs evidence. Without evidence that the “puppeteers” knew in advance of the “punk prayer” and actually assisted in the committing of it there is no case against them. Supporting or funding Pussy Riot is not itself a crime.

                  4. The prosecution had to be based on the act of desecration because that was the crime which was committed. I discussed all that on my post about the case on my blog.

  3. yalensis says:

    Well, the Russian blogosphere is all a-buzz with the news of Opalev’s confession. Many people mocking Navalny (including on his own blog) and describing to him what his life will be like behind bars (“one spoon, one bowl, one toothbrush…” etc.) Others urging him to flee before it is too late. Meanwhile, this blogger noticed a silly reverse anagram turning “Kirov-Les” into “Sel Vorik” (=”thief has gone to jail”).

    http://vvv-ig.livejournal.com/292796.html?thread=16369084#t16369084

    I think all this mockery is intended to scare Navalny into making a run for it!

    • kirill says:

      I am hoping this comprador monkey runs and fast. Maybe he can become a professor of law at Yale.

      • yalensis says:

        I hope he runs too, because I have some money riding on that.
        Unfortunately for me, Navalny is grounded in Moscow, and under police surveillance 24/7.
        I have already offered my homey a lot of gratuitous advice how to evade his tail and go on the lam. For starters, a disguise is necessary. I recommend a bald-head wig and a walrus moustache. Nobody would recognize him. Then he needs to slip out at night, use a body double as a decoy to fake out the coppers, take the train to Petersburg, use a fake passport of course, then slip across the border into Finland, then the ferry to his safe house in Tallinn. Oh, WHY do I have to tell him everything what to do, what am I, his mother?
        Беги, Леша, беги!

  4. yalensis says:

    I saw this comment on Politrash blog by someone who goes by the name “sarrleton”, and wanted to translate it in full (maybe just eliding a few sentences to save time), because I think it is a brilliant comment. It actually reads like entire blog post that commenter or someone else wrote, and he is just trying to get it out there by putting on Politrash blog.
    I don’t know who this “sarrleton” is, but his points agree with my hunch that Navalny was recruited by CIA maybe as early as 2006. Maria Gaidar was somehow involved in his recruitment, it goes without saying, she was probably the one who originally brought Navalny to the attention of the Americans. Here is “sarrleton” comment:

    http://politrash-ru.livejournal.com/101377.html?thread=31922945#t31922945

    Here is English translation:
    In addition to monetary incentives from American funds, received by hundreds of NGO’s in Russia, “vanity” incentives are also employed. For example, the target might be invited to meetings of the Trilateral Commission, or the Bildenberg Club (Chubais, Shevtsova, Yasin), or given the title of a lead researcher, say, at the Royal Institute – Chatham House (Shevtsova). Into this category would fall also Navalny, who was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world, according to the magazine “Time”. (….)
    Navalny deserves more attention. In 2006, the NED began to finance a joint Navalny-Masha Gaidar project “Da!” [yalensis note: This project was on the model of the one-word Colour-Revolution movements like “Otpor”]. After which, Russia’s most famous blogger was able (as some of his biographers allege) to accumulate 40 thousand dollars by trading over the internet (his own words), with which (starting capital) he was able to buy stocks in a series of giant Russian corporations, all of which have a majority share government ownership. In this way, Navalny achieved the status of a “minority shareholder” [in mostly state-owned firms], and a platform for his anti-corruption activities.
    [I skip most of the paragraph about Navalny’s semester at Yale in 2010.]
    (…) Navalny himself writes that it was none other than Masha Gaidar who advised him to apply for the (Yale fellowship), and he also received references from leading professors of the School of Higher Economics in Moscow. [yalensis note: Aha! I KNEW that place was a nest of compadores…] And, by the way, Navalny began his anti-corruption campaign against “Transneft” while he was still living in New Haven (and studying at Yale).
    (…) on the topic of Navalny’s psychological type: In public he gives the impression of a split personality, whereas his online (personality) is openness and sincerity itself. When his gmail.com mailbox was broken into and his correspondence with the American consulate and the NED was published (correpondence related to his financing), Navalny was forced to admit that the letters were genuine. (When confronted), Navalny attempts to disarm his questioners (with humorous retorts) such as “So, you believe that I work for the Americans, or for the Kremlin?” Eventually he will be expendable for his (American) sponsors, but the for the time being the actions of Navalny and his closest associates serve as a perfect illustration for the works of Gene Sharp.
    Let us return to the process of recruitment. The Americans have worked out a unique and very effective formula which they call MICE – “Money, Ideology, Compromise, Ego”.
    [commenter goes on to describe how CIA approaches and recruits dissidents in a given society]

    I like the point about Navalny using humor and b.s. to deflect suspicions. It’s like a double bluff: Somebody accuses him of being a CIA agent, so he will joke about being a CIA agent, thinking they will think that a REAL CIA agent will never joke about it. But we have also seen, for example, in Navalny’s email with the NED bureaucrat, where he jokes about Gitmo, that he has an inappropriate sense of humor when dealing with powerful forces. Or maybe humor is just his way of coping with the internal pressure of leading such a double (and, in his case, triple or even quadruple) life.
    I also note that “anti-corruption” campaigns have been important weapon in American-sponsored regime-change movements everywhere around the globe. Hey, who isn’t corrupt? Every government is corrupt. So, every government is vulnerable to this form of attack. And very difficult for targeted regime to refute accusation that they are corrupt, since they are. So, it was a very natural thing for Americans to focus on this particular point in their ideological campaign against Russian government. And Navalny turned out to be a perfect instrument for this campaign, given his internet skills. However, he would have been even MORE effective if he had been an “Incorruptible Robespierre” type of revolutionary himself, instead of a money-grubbing crook.

    • Dear Yalensis,

      I agree that this is a very astute comment. That Masha Gaidar should have been the person to recommend Navalny to her US contacts makes complete sense. She has doubtless inherited these contacts from her father. As for the Higher School of Economics that it provided references for Navalny doesn’t surprise me at all. By the way what connection does Navalny have with the Higher School of Economics? Did he study there? If not how were its academic staff able to give him a reference?

      As to your last point I completely agree. I would add that when it comes to allegations of corruption I follow a very crude and I admit wholly unscientific rule. This is that those who complain loudest of corruption in others are almost always those who are most guilty of it. I developed this rule in the early 1990s when I saw what Yeltsin (who also started out as an anti corruption and anti privilege campaigner) and the liberals (who also noisily complained about corruption in the 1980s) were doing in Russia. It has never let me down.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Alexander: Your question about Navalny’s relationship to the Higher School of Economics is a good one; and unfortunately I don’t know the answer. He didn’t study there or get a degree there; his degree is from Patrice Lumumba Univ. I guess he knew some people who knew some people. If I find the answer, I will let you know!

  5. marknesop says:

    Well, here’s good news, surely? The International Republican Institute – an NGO, some of whose former employees are ministers in Saakashvili’s government, will act as election monitors for today’s parliamentary vote! I wonder what could go wrong?

    Especially with head honcho Kay Granger, a Romney Republican and author of a book on American values – whose opening address to the subcommittee of State and Foreign Relations included references to the Palestinians “going around the peace process” to achieve statehood, Russia and China’s unwillingness to “join the international community [to] pressure Iran on pursuing nuclear weapons” and that the head of the IAEA has “serious concerns” that Iran is “hiding secret weapons work” – in charge.

    Somebody like that is likely to see a lot of percentage in “Kremlin stooge” Bidzina Ivanishvili’s party getting a majority, isn’t she? My, yes.

  6. kirill says:

    Re: Georgia as a pipeline corridor.

    This is the Nabucco game that the west is losing. The reason it is losing is that there is no gas source to fill it. It’s that dumb. All the noises about bypassing Russia are simply retarded wishful thinking. The *only* source of gas that could fill Nabucco is Iran. Not Turkmenistan and certainly not Azerbaijan. This may explain all the focus on Iran and the hope for regime change there.

    Fossil fuels are a clear and present motive for a big part of western foreign policy and propaganda. There is nothing happening today that will quickly replace fossil fuels as the prime energy source of the west’s economies. Windmills and solar panels are boutique “solutions” that are scaling at glacial pace. Sorry but 50% annual growth is nothing to write home about when the baseline numbers are tiny. There is no chance of alternatives replacing fossil fuels in the next 20 years.

  7. AK says:

    I just read Pussy Riot changed lawyers (Feigin, Polozov, etc) for another trio. Looks like they’ve thought twice about doing more than a year behind bars and decided on lawyer lawyers over politician lawyers.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      According to RIANOVOSTI, it’s only Samutsevich, the eldest one, who has fired her lawyers.

      Prosecution says it’s a deliberate tactic to delay the appeal.

      If that’s true, it might simply be because as long as they are appealing, they remain in a remand prison – which is what their lawyers have already requested. Perhaps they’re just playing out the appeal so as to avoid their scheduled trip to a “colony”?

      RIA and the rest of the Russian media still insists on labelling these degenerates as members of a feminist punk band. Why do they keep playing to the rules set by avowed enemies of “the former Soviet Union” and “former Soviets”?

      See: http://en.rian.ru/russia/20121001/176332910.html

      • Moscow Exile says:

        From what I’ve just read in Moskovsky Komsomolets, where there is an an online report of the appeal, I think that Samutsevich just might be considering changing her plea:

        13.09 Защита участниц панк-группы Pussy Riot пока не знает, будет ли она сотрудничать с новым адвокатом Екатерины Самуцевич. “Если она не будет
        противоречить линии защиты Марины Алехиной и Надежды Толоконниковой, то мы будем сотрудничать, если позиция будет расходиться – то сотрудничество исключено”, – сообщил адвокат Марк Фейгин. Он пояснил, что если Самуцевич признает вину, то среди подсудимых появится раскол.

        [13.09 The defence counsel of the Pussy Riot punk group members still does not know whether it will be working with Ekaterina Samutsevich's new lawyer. "If she is not against Marina Aleksina and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova's line of defence, then we shall be able to work together; if the position fragments, then collaboration will be excluded", said lawyer Mark Feigin. By means of an illustration, he said that if, for example, Samutsevich pleaded guilty, then there would be dissidence.]

        You don’t say!

        And why should Feigin use the possibilty of Samutsevich changing her plea as an example of a fracture amongst this happy band of sister musicians?

        See: http://www.mk.ru/social/article/2012/10/01/755155-protsess-po-delu-pussy-riot-onlayntranslyatsiya.html

        As a by the way: I always thought Dickens’ Fagin in Oliver Twist was a fictitious character. I now think that he might have been real and his family still lives on in Russia. Dickens’ Fagin was hanged, of course.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          One of the Pussy Riot supporters outside the court in Moscow today where the appeal against the anarchists’ conviction is being held, which appeal has been postponed until October 10th because of Samutsevich’s unexpected announcement that she wants to change her lawyer.

          On the demonstrator’s T-shirt is written in the archaic script of Old Church Slavonic (the language of the Russian Orthodox Church liturgy, which sounds to Russian ears something like Middle English [the language of Chaucer] would to modern native
          speakers of English): Correct Spelling or Death.

          The word meaning “correct spelling” (правописанiе) may be mistaken at first glance for the word “православiе”, which means “orthodoxy” (literally: correct glorification). The shirt resembles ones worn by extreme nationalists who also claim to be devout Orthodox Christians.

          It’s a joke, see.

          It’s not anti-orthodox.

          It’s not meant to offend any Orthodox Christians.

          See: http://rt.com/files/news/pussy-riot-appeal-hearing-354/image-279.jpg

          And these people were also gathered outside the same courthouse today, which people the woman above had no intention of offending:

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I forgot to mention that the large young woman wearing the black T-shirt is also sporting a pink triangle, which indicates that she is probably a homosexual as the pink triangle was the symbol that homosexuals had to wear in Nazi extermination camps.

            I bet it was a bundle of laughs outside that courthouse this morning.

            • yalensis says:

              @Exile: правописание is simply the Slavic calque of Greek word “orthography”.
              I don’t understand the point the woman is trying to make.

              • yalensis says:

                P.S. but I am expecting YOU to decode this riddle!

                • This is becoming more and more bizarre.

                  I wonder whether the first intimation of dissatisfaction with the lawyers was tne wierd statement purportedly from the group proposing their lawyers for the Nobel Peace Prize.. That looked to me at the time like an attempt to silence criticism of the lawyers. It now seems that there may be dissension within the group itself. I do hope that reality is finally starting to dawn.

                  Incidentally if Samutsevich changes her plea how will Amnesty International explain its decision to declare her a “prisoner of conscience”.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                That’s right, and “orthography” in plain “English English” Is “correct writing” or ” spelling”. But as I wrote above, for some at first glance “правописанiе” looks like “православiе”. It’s rather like the firm French Connection UK having the smart arse logo FCUK, which at first glance looks like something else.

    • marknesop says:

      Too late, I think: the damage done by the previous lawyers, the contempt of court and the endless foolish delays, the petitioning to call the President as a witness cannot be made to have never happened, and to reduce their sentence now would be an acknowledgement that the girls had never been part of that, that it was all the lawyers. Does anyone think the girls were not part of the previous process, and that they just sat in detention passively while their lawyers thought up all these grandstanding stunts? I surely don’t, and it was a large part of their being sentenced to jail in the first place. Bringing in polite lawyers now (we’ll see if that’s their approach) who will sing a song of repentance and remorse should not fool anyone, because if it worked they’d be back courting the press and mouthing off as soon as they were free. I say the state was sufficiently merciful already. When it all started I would have voted they just get community service and no jail time, but the way they turned the trial into a circus convinced me a little time away would be good for them. Good for their kids, too, if the truth be known – their mothers’ attitudes toward the world can’t make for a very stable upbringing.

  8. Misha says:

    Another parliamentary vote is coming up in late October:

    http://aminuk.org/index.php?idmenu=12&idsubmenu=279&language=en

  9. Misha says:

    The sinister Russia mantra line:

    http://www.csmonitor.com/Commentary/Opinion/2012/1001/Beware-Russia-s-hand-in-elections-in-Georgia-Ukraine-Lithuania?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+feeds%2Fcommentary+%28Christian+Science+Monitor+%7C+Commentary%29

    ——————

    Regarding Russian foreign donor involvement in Russia:

    http://rt.com/politics/putin-pledges-support-foreign-408/

    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/behind-russias-usaid-expulsion-7528

    Given the ongoing anti-Russian leaning biases out there, it’s understandable why Russia at large has issues with some (stress some) of the foreign advocacy.

    Bratty commentary questioning anti-Russian biases is understandably not welcome by a good portion of Russia’s population and body politic.

    Contrary to some of the suggested spin out there, Russia has exhibited a good amount of tolerance as evident by the manner of a number of venues in that country. Some of these venues exhibit negatively inaccurate perceptions of Russia/Russians – in line with what one sees abroad.

    ——————

    Lebedev on his punch:

    http://edition.cnn.com/2012/10/01/world/europe/russia-lebedev-interview/index.html

    • Misha says:

      Another piece on foreign funding:

      http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2012/10/01/civil-society-intervention-as-a-geopolitical-instrument.html

      If Russia at large is serious about improving its image, it’ll take a critically hard look of some of the sources it has propped over the course of time, inclusive of bringing into play competent alternatives who don’t do things like:

      – belittle anti-Russian biases with the kind of smug sarcasm that has existed
      – play on themes like anti-Jewish sentiment in Russia in an overly selective way
      – mock the Russian Ministry of Foreign Afffairs, much unlike some other organs elsewhere including the US State Department
      – second guess whether Pussy Riot committed a punisgable offense.

  10. Our intrepid reporter friend Tintin aka Luke Harding is now in Georgia where he is reporting on the elections. Interestingly the one person he found who supports the President is someone who goes by the interesting name of “Eduard Saakashvili” and who he tells us is the President’s relative. Presumably he couldn’t find anyone else?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/sep/30/georgia-election-bidzina-ivanishvili-mikheil-saakashvili

    • Viz Tintin’s latest article I notice that “Eduard Saakashvili” happens to be the name of the President’s eldest son whose one claim to fame is that according to the Guinness Book of Records he is the fastest ever typist on an IPad (a considerable achievement by the way – I take ages to type anything on mine). Presumably this “Eduard Saakashvili” and the “Eduard Saakashvili” who Tintin has interviewed (who Tintin assures is a “distant relative”) are not the same person.

  11. marknesop says:

    According to the New York Times, voter turnout in Georgia was greater than 53% by late afternoon, and exit polls suggested Georgian Dream was running above half of the vote. The Times suggest, though (somewhat hopefully, I thought) that Saakashvili’s UNM might still retain a majority in parliament as that vote only counted Tbilisi, where the opposition is strongest.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/world/europe/georgia-votes-on-keeping-saakashvili-in-power.html

    The same site offers that the Moscow Appellate Court has postponed the hearing of Pussy Riot’s appeal, owing to Ms. Samutsevich’s decision to ditch the lawyers the three were using. If you read between the lines, it does suggest a rift in their previous unity; I am particularly intrigued by Ms. Samutsevich’s statement, “My position in the criminal case does not coincide with their position”. Could she be getting the anarchist’s equivalent of cold feet?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/02/world/europe/pussy-riot-hearing-is-postponed-by-moscow-court.html?src=un&feedurl=http%3A%2F%2Fjson8.nytimes.com%2Fpages%2Fworld%2Feurope%2Findex.jsonp

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The schism:

      “One of Samutsevich’s acquaintances explained that after having been convicted in the punk-prayer trial, Samutsevich took the decision last week to dismiss her lawyers. “Katia received confirmation of previously available information about the unsatisfactory performance of the lawyers’professional responsibilities”, she told Gazeta.Ru .

      Another source familiar with the situation around the case, agreed that the lawyers “had acted in a clumsy way that was really awful and had also not fulfilled their duties. He acknowledged that a possible invitation to the lawyer Dmitry Dinze might return confidence as regards the conduct of the defence.

      Problems with Samutsevich’s lawyers arose after her relatives and friends had begun to notice that she wasn’t getting all her letters nor were they receiving all the letters that she had sent them, said another source who is familiar with the situation. “So talk began about the need for having a fourth lawyer who would deal exclusively with the communications and contacts with the girls. What has been happening is that all of the information has been confined to the three lawyers and Verzilove (Tolokonnikova’s husband – Gazeta.RU), said the source. Eventually the relationship between Samutsevich and Violeta Volkova turned sour because of this and also because of that lawyer’s trip to the USA. “Katia filed a complaint that they didn’t take her close acquaintance to America, the person who has been corresponding with Yoko Ono and who essentially clinched the award (the “Peace prize” awarded by the LennonOno activists to Pussy Riot on September 21 – Gazeta.RU ), to which complaint Volkova replied very rudely. So Katia decided to refuse the services of these lawyers”,said the source.

      A source close to the group has reported that not only Ekaterina Samutsevich is dissatisfied with the lawyers, but that Maria Alekhina is as well. However, Alekhina’s lawyer, Nikolai Polozov, has not confirmed this.

      The lawyers have refused to give the names of those who have played a role in the schism between the activist and her defence counsel. Meanwhile, the evening before, Violetta Volkov twittered: “It started thus: Anno Komarov (LGBT-activist – Gazeta.RU) stated that the letter about the Nobel Peace Prize had been forged by us. Accused us of only chasing after money, that it would be a bonus for us”. (Earlier, the lawyers had released a letter in which the Pussy Riot activists asked to give the Nobel Peace Prize to their counsel; later, the lawyers travelled to United States in order to have talks with representatives of the American branch of the international human rights organization Amnesty International, which had already recognized Pussy Riot as prisoners of conscience.)

      When asked what happened, Anno Komarov replied that he “doesn’t want to play
      around with a bugged phone”.

      [Одна из знакомых Самуцевич объяснила, что осужденная по делу о панк-молебне приняла решение об отказе адвокатов на прошлой неделе. «Катя получила подтверждение ранее имевшейся информации о недобросовестном исполнении адвокатами профессиональных обязанностей», – рассказала собеседница «Газеты.Ru».

      Другой источник, знакомый с ситуацией вокруг этого дела, согласен с тем, что адвокаты «уж больно себя стали вести коряво, но лишь частично». Он признает, что возможное приглашение к процессу адвоката Дмитрия Динзе могло бы вернуть доверие к линии защиты.

      Проблемы с адвокатами у Самуцевич возникли после того, как ее родственники и друзья стали обращать внимание, что до нее не доходят все письма и ответы на них, рассказывает еще один источник, знакомый с ситуацией. «Тогда речь зашла о четвертом адвокате, который был нужен исключительно для переписки и связи с девушками. Так получилось, что вся информация стала замыкаться на трех адвокатах и Верзилове (муж Надежды Толоконниковой. – «Газета.Ru»)», – рассказывает собеседник. В итоге у Самуцевич испортились отношения с Виолеттой Волковой, в том числе из-за поездки адвоката в США. «Катя предъявила претензию, что в Америку не взяли ее хорошего знакомого, который переписывался с Йоко Оно и по сути добился вручения премии (речь идет о премии мира «LennonOno», которую вручили активисткам Pussy Riot 21 сентября. – «Газета.Ru»). На что Волкова ответила очень грубо. Тогда Катя и решила отказываться от этих адвокатов», – комментирует источник.

      Источник, близкий к группе, сообщил, что адвокатами недовольна не только Екатерина Самуцевич, но и Мария Алехина. Впрочем, адвокат Алехиной Николай Полозов эту информацию не подтвердил.

      Адвокаты отказались называть имена тех, кто сыграл роль в расколе между активисткой и ее защитниками. Между тем накануне вечером Виолетта Волкова написала в своем микроблоге в социальной сети Twitter: «Началось так: Анно Комаров (ЛГБТ-активист. – «Газета.Ru») заявил, что письмо о нобелевке мы подделали. Обвинил нас, что мы на свои деньги его за премией не взяли». (Ранее адвокаты опубликовали письмо, в котором активистки Pussy Riot просили дать Нобелевскую премию мира своим защитникам, позже адвокаты ездили в США на переговоры с представителями американского отделения международной правозащитной организации Amnesty International, которая уже признала Pussy Riot узниками совести.)

      На вопрос, что случилось, Анно Комаров ответил, что «не хочет играть в испорченный телефон».]

      See: http://www.gazeta.ru/social/2012/10/01/4794533.shtml

      • Dear Moscow Exile,

        Thank you for all this. This is both utterly predictable and utterly fascinating. I wonder whether Alyokhina will also find the courage to sack the lawyers. I have always had the darkest suspicions of Verzilov and of his part in this whole business. I wonder whether we are at the start of more revelations about this affair?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Here are two pictures from RT. They were taken outside the court today where the PR appeal started.The subtitles say that they show PR supporters. They might well be, but I don’t think so, because the caricatures of two of the PR defence team (Polozov and Feigin) that they are attaching to balloons are not very flattering:

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Yes, they are PR supporters because it says “Occupy Mosccow” on their balloons. So they’re for the the convicted PR three but very critical of their counsel.

            For three young women who have been constantly presented by western journalists as highly intelligent, it seems to have taken quite a long time for at least one, or perhaps two, of them to wise up to the fact that they are being used.

            The snake in the grass is, in my opinion, the mysterious Verzilov who, together with his consort, albeit she is the youngest of the three women, very much seem to be the driving force behind the “feminist punk-rock band”.

            • marknesop says:

              I thought the same myself, and would not be surprised if the missing letters are going into a My Life With Pussy Riot book Verzilov intends to release, or something of that nature. People would buy it regardless what they felt about him if it contained exclusive behind-the-scenes stuff nobody else had seen.

              • Misha says:

                At its peak, the Elian Gonzalez story drew far greater attention than “heroic” (sic) Pussy Riot.

                The latter should quickly sink into oblivion.

    • Tintin is also reporting that exit polls are putting Ivanishvili ahead. He cites one from Imedi TV which gives Ivanishvili 51%, Saakashvili 41% and don’t knows/won’t say 35%. Even someone as completely innumerate as me can see that unless Imedi TV or Tintin have discovered some new mathematical law these figures don’t add up. Having said this it does increasingly look like Saakashvili has lost. I wonder what he’s going to do now?

      • marknesop says:

        Well, the Georgian system is kind of weird. There are 73 seats to be realized from this draw, if you will, in Tbilisi, and 77 to come from direct elections in the regions, as I best understand it. So UNM could lose every seat in the election that is being reported (even though it’s all the same election) and still control Parliament if it won all the others in the regions. The party that has a majority in Parliament gets to appoint the Prime Minister, although I saw elsewhere that Saakashvili has said he will not take the post of Prime Minister in any case. I wouldn’t believe anything he says, but it is just possible he plans to rule through Merabishvili. Whatever happens, he did not engineer the system personally to the degree he did, to see it all blown away and that suggests he means to exercise some degree of personal control.

        He must be pinning all his hopes on the direct elections in the regions, because Tbilisi has always been – at least as long as anyone didn’t like him – where he is weakest, while many villages far from Tbilisi idolize him. Or so it’s said; we’ll have to see. But I think the results in Tbilisi (which got out internationally quite early, while the vote was still ongoing, which suggests his message control is slipping because there was no advance reporting of exit polls in 2008) may encourage those outside the city who are afraid to vote against him that he is a spent force and it’s safe to vote one’s conscience.

        If UNM loses big, it’s hard to say what he will do, because Bidzina Ivanishvili has indicated he will take the post of Prime Minister at least temporarily if his party wins. there wouldn’t be much for Saakashvili in Georgia if that happened. Maybe he’ll go back to the USA and be a Georgian-government-in-exile.

        • Dear Mark,

          I have no doubt that Saakashvili’s original plan was to make himself Prime Minister, otherwise why carry out constitutional reforms at all? I suspect the reason he has now started to say that he never intended to make himself Prime Minister is because he senses that the tide is now flowing against him.

          I do not understand the Georgian electoral system at all. However if early indications are correct Saakashvili has not just lost but lost badly. I think that if after a big defeat Georgians find that they have a parliament which is still dominated by Saakashvili’s supporters the mood could turn ugly. Perhaps it is better to wait until the final result before speculating. I have to say that given the way the exit polls are going if the final result is very different from what the exit polls suggest given the widespread distrust there is for Saakashvili that could also mean trouble.

          One way or the other we are surely seeing the beginning of the end of this regime. Bear in mind that the Georgian diaspora in Russia has not been able to vote and it is known to be strongly hostile to Saakashvili. Given that that is so and given what the exit poll tells us about the mood is in Georgia it is beginning to look as if support for Saakashvili amongst Georgians has ebbed away. Even if Saakashvili somehow manages to cling on a the myth of Georgia united behind him has been shattered and given what a divisive figure he is I cannot see how he can sustain himself for long.

          I have to say I am surprised. I got this one completely wrong. Like I think many people I assumed Saakashvili had much more support than it seems he has. I should have had the courage of my convictions. After 2008 I realised the image of Georgia Saakashvili had constructed was bogus. I should have remembered that the people who would know this best are the people who live there.

          • One last point before I sign off: if Saakashvili does fall what are the Moscow liberals like Latynina going to make of the downfall of their hero? More evidence of a Kremlin plot or more proof that ordinary people cannot be trusted to vote?

            • marknesop says:

              I look forward to Mr. Putin’s congratulatory message, which I expect to be redolent of satisfaction even though he must curb his enthusiasm for fear of confirming the Saakashvili crowd’s accusations that Ivanishvili is a Kremlin stooge.

              I imagine his pleasure in seeing Saakashvili kicked to the curb (if indeed that’s what happens, which looks increasingly likely) will be reflected in immediate increased access to Russia for Georgian businessmen, which will be welcomed, especially in the wine sector.

            • marknesop says:

              Tintin’s latest update, which sounds a little subdued to me in contrast to his usual boisterous ignorance, reports that aides of Bidzina Ivanishvili say they expect President Saakashvili will resign. There are a lot of quotes that uniformly suggest Saakashvili has lost large. Ivanishvili is already busily making plans for his first official visit as Prime Minister – to the United States, which should mollify them somewhat.

              It will be ironic indeed if Saakashvili engineered a juicy seat of power for himself that could not be set aside by term limits, only to have his rival occupy it. Ivanishvili would be wise to double his guards.

              • Don’t be too hasty. Whilst early results are in line with the exit polls counting seems to be very slow. As of the time of writing only a quarter of the votes have been counted though the authorities were at one point promising a final result by this afternoon. Georgia is a small country with an electorate of just 2 million and with good roads and communications. It is difficult to undErstand why counting should be so slow. As I was saying during the Russian elections last year a delay in announcing an election result is a much more frequent sign of ballot rigging than speed in doing so. Saakashvili claims to be winning in the countryside and in the constituency results where results are easier to fix. With someone like Saakashvili it’s not over till it’s over.

                • marknesop says:

                  No, I’m afraid you’re right about that. As I was shutting down for the night the tone of reporting began to suggest Saakashvili had conceded defeat in the proportional vote and was pinning his hopes on UNM triumphing in the first-past-the-post vote in the countryside, where he remains strongest. He seemed to be paving the way for that, saying we are all Georgians and we have to work together as if trying to defuse in advance violence that might erupt if it were revealed that he will still have the dominant role in politics even if he lost the election. A lot will depend on monitors in the regions and what they will allow him to get away with, because I simply will not believe anyone who has made the shambles he has of running Georgia is actually popular. Perhaps his talk that he will not be Prime Minister is simply to allay such fears where they might cost his party votes, but Merabishvili would be no better and I don’t trust Saakashvili an inch.

                  I think if it were to turn out that UNM was still the majority there would be rioting, but it’s questionable how long they could keep it up, and Saakashvili is not afraid to use the police to put it down hard. As we have seen, even a huge protest like the Orange Revolution has to be kept up for days before the leadership will capitulate, and the western press would likely be less sympathetic to the crowd than they were in that case, calling them lawbreakers instead of democracy-seekers.

                • marknesop says:

                  Oh, wait; nope, it looks like Saakashvili has conceded. No intention to resign until the bitter end, though; he intends to stay on as President until a new one is elected, and that’ll be the next subject of speculation, because Ivanishvili intends to occupy the Prime Minister’s chair. I think he should run a woman for Georgian Dream’s candidate.

                  This article manages to squeeze in every distraction about Ivanishvili; that he’s rich, acquired his billions in Russia and means to mend fences with Moscow, showcasing the editor’s disappointment. Of course, the author is Ellen Barry, who is no friend of Russia and a conservative democracy activist as long as it plays to America’s interests.

                • Misha says:

                  Like I said, given the past, one should be cautiously optimistic about what Ivanishvili will offer.

                  Perhaps Saakashvili sees some wisdom for taking the route he has chosen. His stance might partly be the result of knowing that (to some degree) he has fallen out of favor with some Western foreign policy elites. He could be looking at a bigger picture down the line that best involves a willing exit (for now) on his part. Offhand, who knows? Maybe he seeks a bit of a break as well.

                  Ellen Barry is another Western journo who has appeared on RT without really being challenged in a constructively hard way.

                • Misha says:

                  As quoted by the BBC, a brief sampling of international reaction to the just completed Georgian vote:

                  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19801458

                  The Kommersant person makes some especially valid (IMO) points.

                  For the purpose of improving Russian-Georgian relations, something might be creatively needed to bridge the differences over Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

  12. Misha says:

    Hmmm:

    http://english.pravda.ru/society/stories/02-10-2012/122316-patrick_downey_political_asylum-0/

    ————-

    Concerning the early beginnings of The Moscow Times:

    http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/how-the-moscow-times-was-born-20-years-ago/469112.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20themoscowtimes/opinion%20(The%20Moscow%20Times%20Opinion)

    Excerpt –

    “The next 20 years pose a challenge greater than the one I faced in October 1992, for Russia appears to be at a crossroads. Will it embrace democratic values or backslide into authoritarianism? Will it buttress freedom of expression or intensify the current trend toward censorship? Through all of this, will The Moscow Times succeed in telling the story, accurately, fairly and truthfully? Will it continue to make a difference?”
    I hope and trust that it will.”

    ****

    Seeing how the likes of JRL and the court appointed of establishment Russia friendlys deemphasize a valid perspective running counter to the above excerpted, I’ll once again note that the non-Ukrainian owned/Ukraine based English language Kyiv Post does a much better job at propping Russia unfriendly views than the non-Russia owned/Russia based English language Moscow Times does at promoting reasonably pro-Russian perspectives.

    Who actually comes closest to being the greater victim of an unjustified censorship? GET REAL!

    ————-

    Somewhat comical:

    http://www.rferl.org/content/free-and-fair-elections-are-coming-to-russia-no-really/24722038.html

  13. Misha says:

    Russia officially replies to a (put mildly) questionable claim promoted by Al Arabiya:

    http://english.ruvr.ru/2012_10_01/Russia-dismisses-accusations-of-involvement-in-Turkish-jet-s-downing/

  14. yalensis says:

    Interesting discussion on poliTrash blog about the Samutsevich/Pussy situation.

    http://politrash-ru.livejournal.com/101852.html

    Apetian predicts that Samutsevich will cop a plea, apologize to the plaintiff (=the church), and will be released with time served, and allowed to go home to her parents.
    Can one even do that on an appeal? I would have thought by then it would be too late. Well, I guess it must be possible, because ROC is still making noises like they will accept an apology from the girls. Tolok herself will never apologize, she is a clear-eyed fanatic for her beliefs (whatever they might be), and she will go to the colony and suffer any amount of suffering and torture, just to make a point. (A silly point, but still a point.)
    Samutsevich – not so much. Now that she has a better lawyer, she can point out to the judge all the mitigating circumstances, like the fact that she herself never actually approached the altar or danced. The fact that she was tried together with Tolok as if the two were one, would have ruined her life, which she finally realized. It’s like being handcuffed to a crazy person who is determined to jump in the lake. All that Samutsevich is doing is unlocking the handcuff so that she can rise or fall based on her own merit, and not chained to a crazy person.

  15. yalensis says:

    Navalny’s latest ideological foray into issues of religion: “Mama, may I shoot into the air?” “Yes, but you may not dance in the church.”
    Navalny is really getting desperate now, he is trying to make hay out of some stupid incident in Moscow where a Chechen wedding party got out of hand and started shooting into the air, like these morons are accustomed to do on their own turf. (I want to add my personal opinion that this shooting in the air thing is so wrong for so many reasons that nobody should ever be allowed to do it, not even Arabs.)

    http://news.yahoo.com/russian-nationalists-want-wedding-shooters-jailed-150604035.html

    In any case, everybody in Moscow was shocked at such dangerous and reckless behavior. The police put a stop to this circus, and the Chechens were forced to pay fines.
    Now people like Navalny are trying to make even more hay out of this ridiculous incident and see if they can score ideological points by comparing it to the Pussy Riot case.
    Oi veh, does this guy NEVER shut his piehole? I wish he would sew his own mouth shut, like that other dissident did.

    http://navalny.livejournal.com/739142.html

    • marknesop says:

      All he’s doing with this is turning off everyone but the nationalists. When the opposition is as small as it is, it has to stick together and use every opportunity to make the government look bad. He could have bitched about how long it took the police to show up, for example. But going at it this way will cause quite a few among his own ideological sediment layer to shake their heads in puzzlement. Actually, this might be a very small example but it shows clearly that Navalny could never unite the opposition, and that he is not the inclusive leader they need. Any more time spent on Navalny – from the viewpoint of the outside agitators who support the Russian opposition from afar – is time wasted. McFaul might as well cross him off his Christmas-card list.

    • Misha says:

      The title of that Yahoo linked article from Yalensis underscores what has been evident in a number of instaces:

      “Russian nationalists want wedding shooters jailed”

      I’m sure that the overwhelming majority of citizens in any major Western city wouldn’t take kindly to lax manner towards the shooting of bullets in the air.

      As previously noted regarding Navalny, a “nationalist” conjures up the image of someone with a pride in his country, in a way that opposes biased perspectives against it. Navalny IMO falls short of that attribute. He comes across more as someone who plays on an agenda to further his image. Based on some comments attributed tio him, he also might have some red necked (if you may) views – something that hasn’t escaped everyone with a seemingly liberal bent.

      So there’s no misunderstanding, I’m for a responsible patriotism that cautions against chauvinism.

      • kirill says:

        Journalists are typically high school dropouts and paid propaganda whores to boot. They have no clue that bullets fired in the air come down at velocities high enough to kill. In a vacuum they would come down to the same height at muzzle velocity but even the air friction is not enough to render them harmless.

        Criminal negligence is punishable under any objective criteria and is only open to “debate” in the propaganda toilet that is the western MSM.

        • Misha says:

          A good number of journos are “well educated” on paper. Practical intelligence, inclusive of the ability to directly face constructive criticism (not to be confused with brazenly rude personal attacks) is another matter.

          Another issue pertains to some others who suggest a different line, while promoting commentary like this on the apparent basis of being “fair”.

          http://us-russia.org/126-russia-unfortunately-being-russia.html

          Actually, such a selection is insultingly counter-productive to those offering something different and more valid, while not getting the nod.

        • kievite says:

          Kirill,

          Some percent of people have high level of anomany in any society. Some claim that 1% are phychopaths (http://www.hare.org/links/saturday.html). Just look at one prominent political activist:

          “Russia!: Do you really think that you can make a dent in the system?
          “You know, we might not have no choice,” says Chirikova. “The Russian people in many ways are like cattle. They would tolerate anything. We don’t expect fair play from the government, but we surely did not expect the hoax that the “tandem” pulled off on September 9, 2011 (on that date President Medvedev announced that he will not run for president and that he recommends the ruling party to nominate Vladimir Putin). We just couldn’t ignore such an obvious disregard for democracy and civil society. This is our answer to Dima and Vova, who seem to completely forget about the people they are supposed to represent.
          I simply don’t see any future for me and my daughters in Russia, unless we manage to change things around. I will leave if I have to, but many of my friends will have to stay and to see how this great country is falling apart.
          We are grateful for the support from the international community and from the U.S. We discussed our efforts to fight the corrupt system and develop civil society with the Vice President Joseph Biden and with the deputy secretary on human rights Michael Posner. I hope that we’ll be able to take a stroll in the Khimki forest in the years to come.”
          * During his official visit to Russia, Vice President Joe Biden awarded Evegenia Chirikova with the Woman of Courage award.”
          (с) http://readrussia.com/blog/politics/00343/

          Actually the idea to amplify energy of those people with grants is a pretty slick political trick.

          • kirill says:

            You are right, there are all sorts. But it does not take much education to become a journalist. The science articles I read are many times truly ignorant prattle displaying lack of even basic research to get the concepts right.

            As for Chirikova, she is an obvious hater of Russians. Her name sounds Russian but that means nothing. And these racists can’t hide behind the fig leaf of being “Russians” who can criticize their “own”. They are like Nina Khruscheva nothing but haters. You have to get past their double speak, what they call corruption is anything that does not allow them to lord over Russians. I hope this rotten c*nt leaves Russia and departs for her promised land. She’ll have all the freedom and opportunity she desires in her mythical west. LOL.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Before her activities at the Khimki mayoral hustings began and on the day before accepting a Goldman Environmental Prize in February, 2012, Chirikova, with her spouse alongside her, finds time after visiting an old growth redwood forest to relax on a California beach, where she composes a post for her popular @4irikova twitter feed addressed to the “bydlo” back in the Old Country wishing that he could bring a redwood (sequoia) tree seedling home to fellow Russian activist Suren Gazaryan:

            Oh what a busy little bee she is!

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Yevgenia Chirikova trying to differentiate herself from Sobchak:

              “We are from different planets. I was in business and bringing up my children. I didn’t even have a television set”.

              Dossier on Chirikova:

              Above clips taken from this TV programme that was transmitted in the land where the media is controlled by the Kremlin and where no one dare utter a word against the “regime”:

    • kievite says:

      Chechens
      Dagestanians

      • yalensis says:

        Thanks @kievite, there were contradictatory accounts of the ethnicity of the “air shooters”. Everybody agrees they were from Dagestan, but according to some, they were ethnic Chechens.
        Also, BTW, there were reports on some blogs that the “bullets” were actually blanks. Which does mitigate somewhat. But still dangerous. Not to mention environmental pollution and noise pollution. I am very firmly against this air shooting, even with blanks. But my opinion does not matter; in law of Russian Federation this is only categorized as minor hooliganism.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Dagestan, “non-lethal firearms”:

          http://rt.com/news/wedding-fire-downtown-moscow-347/

          http://www.kp.ru/daily/25959/2899870/

          The pictures and video shots were taken on Tverskaya, Moscow’s main drag. The colours on the tapes seeen on the car bonnets are those of the Dagestan flag.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            As a by the way regarding this Dagestan wedding cortege incident the other day in Moscow, the shit hit the fan in the popular press here this morning over the revelation that, thanks to a promise made by that nice Mr. Medevedev, the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation will receive from the central government during the period 2012-2013 the sum of 20 milliard rubles – or as speakers of American English would say: 20 billion rubles: that’s 20,000,000,000 rubles or US$642,687,719.74, which is jolly decent of the prime minister, don’t you think?

            From today’s Moskovsky Komsomolets:

            Медведев пообещал Кавказу дополнительную помощь

            Регионы Северного Кавказа получат в 2012-2013 годах дополнительно около 20 миллиардов рублей, пообещал премьер-министр РФ Дмитрий Медведев.

            “Я совсем недавно, 24 сентября, подписал постановление правительства, которое предусматривает в рамках ФЦП “Юг России” выделение дополнительно 2 миллиардов рублей на завершение строительства инфраструктурных объектов региона Кавказских Минеральных вод, а также направление в регионы СКФО практически 12 миллиардов рублей в этом году и около 6 миллиардов в 2013 году”, – сказал Медведев на заседании правительственной комиссии по социально-экономическому развитию СКФО…

            [Medvedev has promised additional aid to the Caucasus

            In 2012-2013, regions of the North Caucasus will approximately receive an additional 20 billion rubles, promised Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev...

            "Just recently on 24 September I signed a decree that within the framework of the FTsP (Federal Target Programme) "Southern Russia" provides the allocation of an additional 2 billion rubles for the construction of infrastructure in the region of Caucasian mineral waters, as well as in the regions of the SKFO (North Caucasus Federal Region) to almost 12 billion rubles this year and about 6 billion in 2013", said Medvedev at a meeting of the Government Commission on the socio-economic development of the
            SKFO...]

            Примечательно, что на заседании Медведев упомянул и об инциденте со
            стрельбой, устроенной кавказским свадебным кортежем в центре Москвы. Он сказал, что культуру общежития надо воспитывать с младенчества, но забывать о правовых нормах все же нельзя. Если бы подобные вещи происходили в Нью-Йорке, то “это могло бы закончиться весьма печально: полиция открыла бы огонь на поражение и была бы в этом оправдана”, – предположил премьер.

            [It is noteworthy that at the meeting, Medvedev alluded to the shooting incident involving a Caucasian wedding convoy in the centre of Moscow. He said that it is necessary that cultural standards of a community be taught from an early age and that one must not allow legal norms to be forgotten. If a similar event were to have happened in New York, then "it might have ended very sadly: the police would have opened fire and shot to kill and they would have been justified in doing so", speculated the Prime Minister.]

            See: http://www.mk.ru/politics/article/2012/10/03/756307-20-milliardov-posle-strelbyi-na-svadbe.html

            • Misha says:

              Yes Moscow Exile, there was a recent NYPD killing which raised some eyebrows.

              The other issue you raise has led to animosity among some other parts of the Russian Federation, which are in need of funding.

              Quality funding is advocated on the basis that it’ll lead to a less violent/crime ridden element.

              We shall see what we shall see.

          • yalensis says:

            Yeah. Apparently the groom is a nice guy. It’s the relatives and in-laws who are the problem. They’re a rootin-tootin-shooting bunch. I hope groom wasn’t overly late for his wedding.

      • peter says:

        Lezgins.

        • yalensis says:

          Yeah. Technically there is no such thing as a “Dagestani” per se, from what I understand. “Dagestan” is geographical entity. The people themselves are a collection of various tribes, languages, and nationalities.

          • Misha says:

            Upon an immediate comparative thought, which might be off upon further review: consider Bosnia – where saying that one is Bosnian can typically mean four different things (Serb, Croat, Slavic Muslim, or any mix of the three).

            On a somewhat realted note, the term “Bosniak” is a modern day term used to describe Slavic Muslims from former Yugoslavia – including areas outside Bosnia.

          • Dear Peter,

            Thanks again for this. Presumably the Lezgins are responsible for the famous dance that was orchestrated by amongst others Khatchaturian and Ippolitov Ivanov.

  16. Misha says:

    Buchanan makes a reasoned point on the recent criticism of Obama appointees S. Rice and Carney:

    http://www.eurasiareview.com/02102012-patrick-buchanan-the-unraveling-of-obamas-foreign-policy-oped/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed:+eurasiareview/VsnE+(Eurasia+Review)

    In all likelihood, they were expressing what was handed down to them. Not that there haven’t been times when a given official can go a bit rogue – especially in a spur of the moment media Q & A. Regarding Carney and S. Rice, one is of the offhand impression that their comments in question were part of a process involving a pre-screening of questions/thoughts presented to them.

    • kievite says:

      Even better quote from America’s Last Crusade by Patrick J. Buchanan

      http://original.antiwar.com/buchanan/2012/09/24/americas-last-crusade/

      Sometime he reminds me Ron Paul…

      If the Islamic world is so suffused with rage and hatred of us — for our wars, occupations, drone attacks, support of Israel, decadent culture, and tolerance of insults to Islam and the Prophet — why should we call for free elections, when the people will use those elections to vote into power rulers hostile to the United States?
      If the probable or inevitable result of dethroning dictator-allies is to raise to power Islamist enemies, why help dethrone the dictators?
      During the Cold War, the United States took its friends where it found them. If they were willing to cast their lot with us, from the shah to Gen. Pinochet, we welcomed them. Democratic dissidents like Jawaharlal Nehru in India and Olof Palme in Sweden got the back of our hand.
      During the Cold War and World War II, the critical question was not whether you came to power through free elections — after all, Adolf Hitler did that — but are you with us or against us?
      Ideology, as Russell Kirk admonished us, is political religion, and democracy worship is a form of idolatry, the worshiping of a false god, a golden calf, an idol.
      And — while this may border on a hate crime — some countries are unfit for democracy. As Edmund Burke remonstrated: “It is ordained in the eternal constitution of things, that men of intemperate minds cannot be free. Their passions forge their fetters.”
      With hatred of America rampant across the Arab and Islamic world, we face anew a defining moment. What now is our mission in the world? What now should be the great goal of U.S. foreign policy?
      What global objective should we pursue with our trillion-dollar defense, intel, and foreign aid budgets, and pervasive diplomatic and military presence on every continent and in most countries of the world? Bush I’s New World Order is history, given our strategic decline and the resistance of Russia, China, and the Islamic world.
      Bush II’s democracy crusade and Obama’s embrace of the Arab Spring have unleashed and empowered forces less receptive to America’s wishes and will than the despots and dictators deposed with our approval.
      All three visions proved to be illusions. With America headed for bankruptcy, with new debt of $1 trillion piled up each year, perhaps John Quincy Adams’ counsel may commend itself to a country weary from a century of crusades.
      “America does not go abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”

      • kirill says:

        I like many things that Buchanan says, but there is a missing elephant in this analysis. The so-called democracy that the USA and its minions try to install is corrupt democracy of the sort that exists at home. There will be free elections for parties and leaders essentially chosen by the west and its local business establishment sycophants. The loyalty of business interests to the USA and the west is natural since that is where all the money and markets are (anyway up until recently given China and India’s growth).

        The west’s anti-Russia spew proves it does not support real democracy. Putin is a truly popular and legitimately elected leader who obviously does not rest on some sort of tyranny for his power. Yet all the western MSM coverage and official views are foaming at the mouth hate spew about the tyrant Putler. The same can be said for Chavez in Venezuela. A leader who is not a comprador and whose power rests on free elections. The west obviously does not want such leaders in the Middle East. And I give Egypt more credit than Buchanan who avoids pointing at the real problem, religion. What skews the political process in the middle east is Islam and its micromanagement of daily life through Sharia directives. People think that the Middle East should get out of its dark age like Europe. But Christianity is de facto much more liberal than Islam and lacks anything like the Sharia.

    • yalensis says:

      I can’t believe I am saying this, but I agree with almost every word in Buchanan’s op ed.
      What am I becoming?

      • Misha says:

        You reveal some practical traits.

        Buchanan has been saying things like that for awhile.

        The world has complexities, which can lead to some with different views on some issues seeing eye to eye on others.

  17. Misha says:

    “A Russian killer”:

    http://www.kyivpost.com/content/kyiv/murder-in-kyivs-shopping-mall-committed-by-russian-killer-according-to-media-313806.html

    I don’t recall such a characterization of national origin stressed towards the ethnic Ukrainian mass killer from a few years back in Russia.

    • kirill says:

      Ah the petty label tricks of the MSM. They called some Bosniak killer in the USA a Yugoslavian even after Yugoslavia had been gone for over 15 years. I am sure if he had been a Serb that would have been trumpeted up and down. We have to stop pussyfooting around this and call it for what it is: racist propaganda. Russians and Serbs are killers and all of the west’s lap dogs are innocent victims.

      • Misha says:

        The KP uncritically quotes the comment in question from a Ukrainian interior ministry official.

        In contrast, that venue will go ballistic on some other matters:

        http://www.eurasiareview.com/12082012-cherry-picking-the-soviet-past-and-russian-present-analysis/

        On the Russian-Serb point, consider how RFE/RL covers church matters. Recently, a Croat government official with ties to the Croat Catholic Church belittled the legacy of the Ustasha run concentration camp at Jasenovac. No mention of that at RFE/RL – much unlike the way that venue runs critically negative pieces on issues that are connected in one way or another with the Russian and Serb Orthodox churches.

  18. kirill says:

    Re: first past the post in Georgia

    This is a clear example of why first past the post is not a truly democratic electoral system. It can be rigged with boundary redistribution and tricks such as misdirecting voters to wrong polling locations. All it takes is a handful of voters to win in many cases. All the whinging about fraud in Moscow during the Duma elections is simply nonsensical. A few % of stolen votes can work in first past the post systems, but in the Russian system you need 10s of % of fraud to achieve the same result. This is vastly more challenging and the lack of fraud reports from the Duma elections in December 2011 that would indicate such levels of fraud says it all.

  19. kirill says:

    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20121002/176363795.html

    So Pussy Riot is evidence against Russia? Of what? That hooliganism doesn’t pay? Or that western governments and their mouthpieces are full of sh*t?

  20. kirill says:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9581682/PIMCO-America-could-resemble-Greece-before-2020.html

    Perhaps the USA should try to fix its own problems before starting another cold war with Russia.

    • Misha says:

      Reminded of a recent Brookings-Carnegie foreign policy panel which featured R. Kagan and T. Friedman.

      Some frank and reasonably objective analysis, blended in with the suggestively given understanding that the US can and should be abroad unlike some others.

  21. The response of the media here to the Georgian election result is that it vindicates Saakashvili and proves he’s a democrat.

    There is some force to this argument. I am afraid I take a more skeptical view and think it more likely he realised that feeling was running so strongly that any attempt to override the result would provoke protests he would be obliged to put down by force. The last thing Obama wants in the run up to the Presidential election is a crisis in the northern Caucasus. I suspect that Saakashvili has been told in the clearest possible terms that the US will not support him if he uses force to put down protests.

    Anyway the point to remember is that it is still not over. Saakashvili remains President with full executive powers until October 2013. He is therefore still the country’s leader. He has rejected Ivanishvili’s hint that he resign immediately. He still has a year which he could use to undermine Ivanishvili and to split Ivanishvili’s movement. If he can provoke a big enough crisis he might use this as a pretext to dissolve parliament and call new elections.

    May be I do the man an injustice but I will not believe he is going until he is gone.

    • yalensis says:

      “The response of the media here to the Georgian election result is that it vindicates Saakashvili and proves he’s a democrat.”
      There is an appropriate Russian expression to this kind of spin:

      хорошая мина при плохой игре, which translates something like “putting on a good game face when you just drew a poor card from the deck”… Or maybe: “making the best of a bad turn of events”… Or maybe “trying to make a defeat look like a victory…”

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. I agree that Saakashvili will not go gentle into that good night. He will fight with everything that he has to stay in power. Gruzians face one year of vicious power struggles and a split government. If anything, daily life will get even worse for them over the next year, with a crippled government. It will be like Yushchenko-Timoshenko, only more violent.

        • Misha says:

          Time will tell, with yours truly thinking that he might (stress might) see the wisdom behind stepping aside with the possibility of politically coming back.

          Among the overrated establishment promoted punditry, there’s evidence that his victorious opponent doesn’t seem like such an anthema to the perceived interests of the West. Coupled with that perception is the growing unease that some in the West had with Saakashvili.

          Lincoln Mitchell doesn’t come across as someone who is particularly “soft” (if you may) on Russia.

          • The final results give Ivanishvili’s movement 55% of the vote. If we suppose that some of 41% Saakashvili got was obtained by the usual “administrative methods” and if we recall that one fifth of adult Georgians live in Russia where they were unable to vote but would have voted heavily against Saakashvili if they could then the scale of his defeat becomes clear.

            I think we have to revise our opinions about Georgia. The results of this election surely prove what opinion polls have always suggested, which is that what concerns Georgians most is their difficult economic situation and that far from making him popular Saakashvili’s ferociously anti Russian foreign policy is actually unpopular. Improving relations with Russia is just about the one concrete thing Ivanishvili has promised to do, which given the scale of his victory hardly suggests a country brimming with Russophobic feeling. It would be richly ironic if calling Ivanishvili a “Kremlin stooge” was something that actually caused people to vote for him. I would add that this is the first electoral test Saakashvili has faced since the 2008 war and he has lost it.

            I suspect that Saakashvili’s radical economic policies were also never near as popular as some western commentators thought. Why should they be after all? Whilst some people in Georgia are doubtless better off than they were in a country where unemployment is so high and where social security has to all intents and purposes been abolished many (most?) Georgians must be worse off not better.

            Overall this is beginning to look like another Colour Revolution that has failed. The story of the Colour Revolutions is of politically marginal individuals with extremist agendas who are leveraged into power by western influence and money. When in power they pursue extremist and Russophobic policies that are popular with western elites but which command little support in their own societies. After a certain time the momentum dissipates and the “revolution” eventually collapses. That has been the story in the Ukraine, Kyrghyzia and now Georgia and I suspect it will be the story in Moldavia too before long.

            • Misha says:

              The Western establishment spin includes the view that the Georgian election result ultimately depends more on domestic Georgian issues than Russia – adding that there will still be difficulties between the two countries. It’s not so easy to treat these two matters (Georgian domestic issues and Russia) as completely separate issues from each other.

              The situation in Ukraine cautions against the notion of a counter-color revolution president moving substantially closer to Russia. In the long run, it makes sense for some former Soviet republics to move closer to Russia, given the limits of what other power blocks have to offer.

              The West at large shouldn’t see such relationships in zero sum game terms.

              • Dear Misha

                I agree with you only up to a point.

                Firstly as regards Ivanishvili I have no expectations of him at all. For all I know he is just another American project now it has become clear Saakashvili has failed. I still find it suspicious that the prison abuse videos got as much publicity as they did including repeated viewings on Georgian TV. This suggests that some within the elite have gone over to Ivanishvili’s side. That together with Saakashvili’s readiness to concede may be a sign he has lost US support. As Mubarak found to his cost the US is utterly ruthless in dumping it’s “friends” when they become a liability.

                Having said that, that still doesn’t change my point. In this election Saakashvili campaigned as the great enemy of Russia against an adversary who says he wants to improve Georgia’s relations with Russia and who Saakashvili says is a Kremlin stooge. In the event it was for the “Kremlin stooge” the Georgian people decisively voted for. That does not suggest massive hostility in Georgia to Russia.

                • Misha says:

                  Alexander, any disagreement between us appears limited on this particular matter.

                  I seem to recall our both noting at this thread that the Georgian view of Russians is pretty good, with yours truly having also noted (if not here, elsewhere) the good ties between Rusia and Georgia in the pre-Soviet and Soviet periods, as well as the good ties between the Russian and Georgian churches.

                  South Ossetia and Abkhazia are clear sticking points. On a comparative note, an influential minority of anti-Russian Ukrainians continue to have a disproportionate influence from their actual numbers. Saakashvili isn’t the only Georgian harboring an anti-Russian bias.

  22. yalensis says:

    I saw this video interview with Stanislav Apetian posted on his (=Politrash) blog. Please ignore that the Russia.ru studio setting is cheesy and the sound quality not so good. The live Skype interviews have poor sound quality. In spite of all this, still very interesting to watch:

    http://politrash-ru.livejournal.com/102142.html

    The first 30 minutes of the interview are about Navalny, and here are some interesting milestones for those like me who have been closely following the (KirovLes-SelVorik) case:
    At 11:00 (minutes) in, begins discussion of Navalny Rospil project, how he attempts to break up state-owned monopolies by accusing of corruption.
    15:30: begins discussion of KirovLes case.
    21:30: Skype interview with a lawyer (didn’t catch his name) who offers free advice to Navalny’s lawyer: Lawyer should nominate Navalny for Sakharov Prize; and in return, Navalny should nominate lawyer for Nobel.
    26:30: Skype interview with Sergei Karnaukhov. Recall that Karnaukhov is former Vice-Premiere of Kirov Region during the time of Navalny’s adventures there. He was one of the first to notice Navalny’s crooked activities with Ofitserov and attempted to blow the whistle on them. But was overriden at the time by Nikita Belykh with his “administrative resources” providing “krysha” for Navalny.
    On the topic of Belykh, Apetian expresses his opinion that Belykh was a type of “experimental” Governator, in the sense that Medvedev conducted an experiment in appointing an oppositionist liberal to this high post. Apetian does not believe that Belykh will be prosecuted for KirovLes, because it cannot be proved that he personally stole any money. (We already know that his accounts were found to be order for the Urzhumsky Distillery, there was no missing money.) Hence, his only sin was in closing his eyes to Navalny’s capers and providing “krysha” for him and his friends. Nothing criminal that could ever be proved.

  23. kirill says:

    http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/syria-mortar-kills-5-wounds-8-in-turkey.aspx?pageID=238&nID=31590&NewsCatID=341

    Well, there it is, the staged pretext to invade Syria. Yeah, Syrians would shell Turkey deliberately. BS.

    • Misha says:

      In the past, Turkey was essentially given clearance to bomb PKK targets in Iraq.

      The same holds true of Israel vis-a-vis its foes in Lebanon.

      In contrast, in the late 1990s, Yugoslavia had a legitimate basis to bomb KLA bases in northern Albania

      • kirill says:

        Might makes right. All the frothing from western propagandists can’t hide this aspect of western foreign policy.

        The hypocrisy of Turkey is brazen and obscene. It funds foreign militants fighting in Syria and then screams about some shell (fired by most likely its own agents) hitting one of its villages. The only consolation is that the day of reckoning for NATO is approaching. It is doing nothing to wean itself off the fossil fuel addiction and it is not ready for the economic devastation that will result starting after 2020 or 2030 at the latest.

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    And now for something completely different….

    Latynina in today’s Moscow Times waxes lyrical on the wondrous nature of the so-called co-ordinating council of the so-called Russian opposition and the sterling efforts of those whom she considers the leading lights of the “opposition”, namely Navalny and Kasparov in neutralising the efforts of nationalists and leftists amongst the opposition in heir attempts to gain control of the “opposition movement”. Navalny and Kasparov are praised by Latynina because, in her opinion, largely through their successful manoeuvring the Kremlin, which “has scared everyone into thinking that Communists and neo-Nazis dominate the opposition and that a revolution would bring extremists to power”, has been revealed to have been crying wolf about this threat and it is now clear “that the leftists and neo-Nazis don’t have thousands of supporters as previously thought, but hundreds at best”.

    Does Latynina really live on the same planet as the rest of us? Specifically, is she really resident in Moscow – this Moscow and not another one in a parallel dimension?

    A commentator to Latynina’s article clearly thinks not:

    “Ms. Latynina is missing three critical points. First, the concerns about the neo-Nazis and the Communists arise from their dominant presence at the most recent series of street demonstrations. They are absolutely valid concerns. I am not the Kremlin, I am an ardent and committed foe of the Kremlin, but I advance them. The photographs of the events make it quite clear that the rest of the opposition was not able to match them in getting people onto the streets, and in that respect revealed themselves as miserable failures. Second, Navalny promised that the street demonstrations would grow vastly, tenfold. The exact opposite happened, they shrank tenfold. Navalny is an abysmal failure in motivating his followers to take real political action, and his followers are strictly limited to the city of Moscow, and they are a very small group. It simply makes no difference what takes place at these elections, because it will not change these basic facts. And third, most important, there is simply no evidence at all that the elections will actually cause the opposition to unify. Even if there were, there is no evidence that they will anoint a leader bold and charismatic enough to actually implement any meaningful opposition policies. So no matter what happens, the opposition will remain a shadow and a sham. In other words, it will remain Russian”.

    Apart from the last sentence in the above response to the article, I agree with everything that that commentator has written.

    I must need treatment!

    The commentator is La Russophobe!

    See: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/opinion/article/navalny-1-udaltsov-0/469168.html

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, she lights into Brian Whitmore from time to time also, at The Power Vertical; he tends to have a mooncalf adoration for Navalny and all the diverse flotsam and jetsam of the liberal opposition, regularly penning admiring articles that aspire to cliffhanger excitement about what those madcap liberals will do next. Quite often when he writes something about Navalny, La Russophobe shows up with a reality enenma for him, to which he never responds. She used to be in love with that blog’s co-host, Robert Coalson, who had a decidedly more acidic flavour to his commentary on Russia and tended to be snide and contemptuous, whereas Whitmore was a bit more balanced and reasoned. Since Coalson’s exit, he seems to have assumed the responsibility for generating bitter small-mindedness where the Russian government is concerned – descending into wild hyperbole over everything it does – while embracing the opposition like long-lost relatives, and is one of the few who still stubbornly maintains that Navalny is an “anti-corruption whistleblower”.

      Anyway, if I wasn’t so tired I would dig into it a little bit and see if La Russophobe ever had a Navalny crush, and just became disillusioned, or if she actually pegged him as a loser from the start. But on the rare occasions I read her material, she is contemptuous of him and reckons he is just a big poser, which of course he is. She has generated commentary at The Power Vertical on the subject of Navalny with which I completely agree. But it’s important to remember she is as barking mad as she ever was and just as prone to write absolute rubbish about Russia that would not look out of place in one of Latynina’s science-fiction novels.

      It is, however, unusual to see her take on Latynina, whom she used to regularly canonize as a “hero journalist”. And she seems to have a real thing about Navalny, although she’s not obsessive on the subject and mostly dismisses him as the conceited prat he is.

      Well, I guess I’m not as tired as I thought. Here she is flipping out on Navalny himself, for not embracing his feminine side. And, if you can believe it, referring to him as a “clueless freak on his way to jail”. All in English, although the individual claiming to be Navalny (looks genuine to me) spoke in Russian. And here, disparaging him as a phony leader who inspires even less confidence than Zyuganov. And yes, if you go back far enough, she had at least one foot on the Navalny bandwagon, but maybe she went off him because he wasn’t enough of an irritant to Vladimir Putin.

      • Misha says:

        Mark, with hesitation I reply to your LR comments by noting that he/she/it loathes Navalny for his supposed “nationalism”, to mean that anyone of Russian heritage deemed as expressing a pride in Russia (putting aside the degree of how true that sentiment) is circumspect.

        This point relates to the Captive Nations Committee mindset of anti-Russian/anti-Communist (LR) contrasted with pro-Russian/anti-Communist (…. : ).

        As has been noted elsewhere, Whitmore leans in the direction of his overall selection of “Russia watchers”.

      • yalensis says:

        Extremely interesting research, @mark. If you can do all that when you’re tired, imagine what you could do in full vim and vigor!
        Seems like in earlier days LaRussophobe WANTED to like Navalny, because everybody else was saying how great he was; but deep down she couldn’t go along with the herd mentality and ended up rebelling even against her own herd leaders. I think she always sensed (call it feminine intuition), that there was something deeply wrong with Navalny, even though everybody else kept insisting that he was THE ONE.
        Then, when Pussy Riot incident occurred, LR felt that Navalny initially waffled, he made some earlier cracks about them indicating that he didn’t really like them or approve of them. (I think he had said something like he wouldn’t want his daughters to behave in such a disgusting way.) Then later, after a dope slap from his American handlers, Navalny came out more decisively for them, when Pussy support became an ideological red line in the anti-Putin movement. But LR evidently did not forgive Navalny for his earlier perceived anti-feminist stance. She believes that Navalny disrespects women, and she is probably right about that. (As opposed to her hero, Boris Nemtsov, who is a prince of chivalry!)
        Also, I don’t see anything unusual in her replying in English to Navalny’s Russian tweet. She apparently can read Russian, but chooses to write in English, because her English is better than her Russian. That’s fine, nothing wrong with that. Reading and writing are two separate skills. I love her comment calling Navalny a “clueless freak on his way to jail”. I think she thinks he is guilty of the petty embezzlement for which he has been charged. Once again deviating from the herd POV, according to which Navalny is innocent of all charges and a political martyr of the bloody regime, led by proud KGB Colonel You-Know-Who.

        • Misha says:

          Alexander, FYI, LR used to acknowledge using a “David Essel” for translation purposes. LR has botched up in a number of instances, like not immediately picking up on a Russian tennis player being of Georgian origin, when that player’s name had a Georgian surname.

          LR is “clever” enough to duck a live one hour BBC World Service Radio appearance, which qualitatively turned out for the better. The attention given to such “brilliance” (cowardly ducking out of earnest dialogue, while lobbing pot shots from a safe distance) is indicative of how ****** up the coverage is.

          • Dear Misha,

            I don’t say La Russophobe is brilliant. She is by her own admission bigotted and prejudiced and frantically anti Russian. I merely say she is too clever to be an effective anti Putin propagandist. She understood right from the outset that the protests last winter were going nowhere, she has seen through the hollowness of Navalny & Co and she understands the absurdity of the new “Council”. That suggests someone with a far better grip on reality than the likes of Latynina & Co or the dismal constellation of western journalists that write about Russia.

            • Misha says:

              La Russophobe versus Latynina – some choices.

              Umland has spoken against the LR element. My formally written commentary approaches the subjects in an academically earnest manner by presenting different views to a given situation in a relatively objective manner (we all have biases to one degree or another), with support for a position by presenting facts and fact based opinions.

              JRL promoted Whitmore sees it fit to link LR unlike some other “Russia watchers” is one tell all sign of what’s qualitatively wrong with the coverage.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              As regards the “absurdity of the council”, here’s a spoof on said council, entitled “The Central Committee of the Bolotnaya Politburo” that appeared a few days back in Komsomolskaya Pravda:

              http://www.kp.ru/daily/25959/2899385/

              Translation (rough and ready one!):

              All Power to the Opposition Coordinating Council?

              Komsomolskaya Pravda has become aware of the details of a sensational report made by political scientists about the non-systemic opposition leaders [full report]:

              The main task of the “white ribbon movement” at the current stage of elections for the Opposition Coordinating Council (OCC). The declared objectives of the OCC is that it must seize all power in the period of transition when the current regime is running scared of meetings and marches and flees the Kremlin. However, not all political scholars share this view.

              One of those sceptics, political analyst Pavel Danilin, heads a group of experts and basically believes that the real goal of an OCC is to “create and legitimize by means of an election a decision making institution that is controlled by a small group of VIP-protesters – a kind of Bolotnaya Square Politburo”.

              This Politburo should provide legitimate cover for those few people who already have a place on the podium and in the media on behalf of the protesters. In his opinion, “the organizers of the elections did not pose a challenge to update the composition of the rostrum with new and popular persons. Quite the opposite in fact! All parties are participating in the elections, but the unspoken purpose of the OCC is to stop the rotation of protest leaders and fix the opposition line front men, if only during the summer of the current year”. That is to say, they do everything to prevent new faces from appearing amongst the leaders and moreover, curtail new slogans that old leaders might not understand how to use – all the more so because the movement’s resources deflate just as its organizers’ ratings do.

              Danilin’s report has turned up at KP and we have decided to acquaint you with some of the most interesting extracts concerning specific persons from the new Politburo.

              And so:

              Alexei Navalny: “Head of the Politburo; “Bolotnaya President”; political leader and authority (symbol of the “purity” of the opposition); sets benchmarks for the development of the whole protest movement…

              Successes in the power struggle: for many years has fought with thieves and rogues, drilling-rig windmills in VTB, Transneft and Gazprom, but has found and smashed only Maxim “Tesaka” Marcinkiewicz (known nationalist – ed.)

              Having become “politician of the year 2011”, in competition with Putin on the popular election font; preferred rivalry with M. Katz (oppositional Deputy of Shchukinsky Moscow Municipal District – ed) on Internet election for the OCC.

              Was able to lead a crowd against the Kremlin, but instead occupied the Abai monument and seized power on the Aeroflot Board of Directors.
              Learnt how to audit multibillion dollar state budgets, but never mastered the rules of Google email removal.

              Sergei Udaltsov: Vice President of Bolotnaya and the Fountain.
              “The moral authority (symbol of Bolotnaya “sincerity”); sets benchmarks for the leftist part of the protest; provides a bunch of political and social protest, as well as a bunch of moderate protesters and radicals…

              Successes in the struggle for power: went to the Kremlin, fell into a fountain.
              Entry in the history of the revolutionary movement: “Udaltsov on Top of an Outdoor Shithouse” appears in the same line as “Lenin on Top of an Armoured Car”.
              Led a “March of Millions” in which 16 thousand people took part.
              Tricked the Federal Guard Service of the Russian Federation and brought a shoe with him to a meeting with Medvedev, but didn’t learn his lines and forgot to bang it on the table.

              Did something that even eluded Zhirinovsky; caused G. Zyuganov to have a heart attack.
              Reconciled left-radicals with the glamour girls K. Sobchak and B.Rynska.
              6th May: sat people in a puddle at Bolotnaya.

              Creator of the market of affordable rented housing for protest activists (special terms for those held on administrative charges).

              An example of how a professor’s son and grandson of an academician and an ambassador can successfully imitate a simple factory hand whose experience is limited to industrial areas.

              Boris Nemtsov: Finance Minister; “Bolotnaya Bag Man”

              “The attraction of financing protest activities, leftist Liberals and left-wing radicals, as well as their guide (” Solidarity “,” Left Front “)…

              Successes in the struggle for power: succumbed to love charms of B.Rynska and saved the Bolotnaya Organizing Committee from her penetration.

              Flew over Russia with Chubais and Khakamada in a white aeroplane, and then, as shown by the elections, flew on plywood.

              Successfully led the protesters from Revolution Square to Bolotnaya after having become the progenitor of the Bolotnaya movement.

              Published compromising materials on all opposition leaders, making it clear that he would write a new report – “Bolotnaya: the results”.

              Promised to have all civil servants using a “Volga”, but has demonstrated a rare love for foreign car makers.

              Often does touching poses for photographers in the metro, forgetting that his electorate never uses it.

              Ilya Ponomarev: Deputy Prime Minister for Social Affairs; “Zurabov of Bolotnaya” [Zurabov – former Russian ambassador to the Ukraine – Moscow Exile].

              “Responsible for the link between political protest and the social organization of protest in the regions; provides the parliamentary presence of Bolotnaya and is the Bolotnaya leader in ‘Fair Russia’…

              Successes in the struggle for power: successfully introducing a revolutionary idea into the lair of the enemy; the first to wear a white ribbon in the State Duma; has made inroads amongst the participants of the “Seliger” forum, recruiting members of “United Russia” into the framework of joint legislative work.

              Went to Siberia for the “white autorace” and as a deputy with impunity, violated traffic rules when it was time to prepare “the autumn offensive against the crooks and thieves” in Moscow.

              For example Lenin wins financial support for the Socialist Revolution off oligarchs, allowing them to feel like Savva Morozov [turn of 20th century governor of Moscow region – Moscow Exile].

              The only one of the left-wing politicians that has managed to occupy three positions at the same time: to be accepted by the left opposition, the oligarchs and the bureaucrats.

              In the fierce struggle for the ideals of socialism has managed to become a millionaire.
              Gennady Gudkov: Foreign Ministry, “Bolotnaya Paramilitary Security”, candidate for the flying-out of politburo members after the expiry of their mandate and the collapse of their business.

              “He was responsible for the security of opposition activities and negotiations with the Interior Ministry; could provide power resource in case of need…

              Didn’t take care of his health while fighting for power, as he has caused himself to suffer from amnesia. “We shall make the mandates”, shouted Gudkov from the Bolotnaya stage last winter only to kneel in prayer 9 months later to the “illegitimate government” about preserving his mandate.

              Waging an uncompromising struggle against car blinkers for the priviliged, has categorically refused to remove the blinker from his vehicles..

              In his time has denounced E. Limonov as a dangerous extremist and prevented in advance his entry into the Organization of future meetings.

              Set off on the path of atonement, honestly confessing that he had beeen engaged in a commercial activity when a Duma Deputy, but made this courageous step a little too late.

              By means of his ChOP [private security firm- Moscow Exile] successfully defended the Kremlin from invasion by the opposition in the winter 2011/12, leading the protest into the Bolotnaya ghetto. At rallies, Gudkov’s security men successfully prevented attempts by nationalists to be allowed to speak.

              Together with V. Ryzhkov has developed a plan of making “Fair Russia” into a truly liberal opposition party by ousting S. Mironova, but has failed to implement it.
              Has proven in practice the fairness of the saying: “He’s just a stuffed scarecrow”, having infiltrated the State Duma after the loss of his mandate, albeit in the humiliating role of assistant to his own son.

              Nadezhda Tolokonnikova: Secretary of the Central Committee on Ideology, “the conscience of the Bolotnaya nation”.

              “Has responded for the cultural component of the Bolotnaya protest and anti-church orientation of the opposition. In future, will be used by Bolotnaya as ‘a victim of political repression’”. In case of early releasel from a prison colony, could become a victim of provocation (like the Ukrainian Gongadze case) [Murdered Ukrainian journalist of Gruzian descent – Moscow Exile]. This will enable Bolotnaya to provide the the West with its first victim of a bloody regime”.

              Successes in the struggle for power: has become the main “political prisoner”.
              Has revitalized hatred towards the Russian Orthodox Church and religion amongst the protest intellectuals to that level achieved by the Bolsheviks.

              Has legitimised public orgies and the hanging of dummy gastarbeiter into truly oppositional acts.

              Has managed to cause the Bolotnaya leaders to fall out with the majority of the population of the country.

              Has dragged the Bolotnaya protest movement out of a dead end and given the opposition a new slogan: “Free Pussy Riot!”

              Together with her husband, Peter Verzilov, has successfully handed over the Petersburg activist group “Voina” and activists of “Marches of Dissent” to law enforcement authorities.

              Ksenia Sobchak: Minister without Portfolio for liaison with the community, “The Mistress of Glamour”.

              “Is responsible for the distribution of fashion when protesting in glamorous environments in order to attract the attention of youth to politicized opposition. Active in the popularization of the head of “Bolotnaya Youth”, I. Yashina, with whom her romance has become really public. Has the highest personal anti-rating amongst the whole of the Bolotnaya Politburo…

              Successes in the struggle for power: leaving Federal TV broadcasting and twittering about it, thereby showing the protest leaders an example of true renunciation of secular benefits for the sake of the struggle for power.

              FULL TEXT OF REPORT

              End of translation

              • marknesop says:

                The Bolotnaya Politburo. That has the ring of a phrase with long legs; I think it’s going to catch on. I like it a lot, and mean to use it in further conversations. Should also be required reading for anyone who says Russians are a dour people with no sense of humour, especially the Navalny part, where somebody who can’t even master GMail is claiming the cred to audit multibillion-dollar accounts.

              • yalensis says:

                Amusing article and brilliant translation, @Exile. I got a good laugh. Thanks!

    • Misha says:

      Another gem from that venue Moscow Exile.

      Stephen Cohen isn’t the only one with media criticism:

      http://www.eurasiareview.com/02102012-post-soviet-tv-experts-how-unwary-journalists-help-dilettante-analysts-spoil-reforms-in-former-ussr-oped/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review%29

      Judging from Andreas Umland’s piece, I’m sure that the likes of The Moscow Times, Yulia Latynina and openDemocracy are way off his radar for quality control scrutiny.

      The below quoted is in line with the reasoned assessment that paper credentials alone don’t always serve as a good measurement of analytical skills. It’s therefore academically inappropriate to question the ability of someone without DIRECTLY responding to their views.

      “Umland’s condescending essay doesn’t take into consideration the conformity involved (with a number of academic, think tank and media venues), which restricts intelligent discourse.”

      ****

      Over the course of time, Umland has referenced a good amount of my commentary, while not offering any follow-up – despite the two of us having some obvious disagreement.

      I recently had an exchange with someone who exhibited an attitude on what has been primarily wrong with the coverage. Seeing how that frank conversation was privately between two people, I’ll refrain from providing the specifics, while noting that his comments were stated as part of a consensus within his grouping. On that last point, I answered by noting how others are turned off by a high above the clouds mindset that seems to be hypocritically and inaccurately evident in certain circles.

      Rather than challenge the analytical quality of a source in question, the person I interacted with hypocritically and inaccurately criticized the personal manner of that source as a reason to reject his participation at a venue – never minding the (put mildly) dubious acts of some of the people that have been willingly promoted/utilized by that venue. In one form or another, personal attacks have been used as a basis to essentially duck certain realities.

      Within objectivity, quality analysis can be reasonably surmised by the originality of perspective, inclusive of supporting points, in addition to the willingness and ability to defend them.

      From the look of things, this kind of earnest analytical insight is lacking among the more high profile of venues.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        So-called expert Latynina must be surely miffed now that her certain prediction that the newly inaugurated President Putin’s first move would be to order an invasion of Gruzia will not come to fruition now that a “Kremlin Stooge” has been successfully implanted as leader of the Gruzian government.

      • As I think I have said before about La Russophobe, her problem is that she is too clever for what she does. I suspect that she will have made lots of enemies within what passes for the Russian opposition over the course of the last year.

        For the rest La Russophobe is of course absolutely right. The liberal opposition is pathetic. They cannot unite. They will not join one of the two liberal parties that already exist and which participated in the parliamentary elections. They will not join Yabloko, which is far and away the biggest liberal party and the oldest. They have already fragmented into a score of microgrouplets they pretend are parties. They cannot win elections. They cannot organise protests without these being taken over by ultra Leftists led by Udaltsov. So to hide their failure from their foreign sponsors and themselves instead of competing in real elections they stage sham “elections” to a “coordinating Council” that coordinates nothing. Yet with people like Ryzhkov, Kasyanov, Limonov and Ponomariev refusing to participate it looks like this “Council” has split before it is even established.

        For the rest the biggest opposition party by far is the KPRF which is of course a Marxist party but one which of course does not exist in the alternative universe that Latynina inhabits.

        • yalensis says:

          Being of suspicious mind (hey, I AM a Russian after all, we’re supposed to be paraoid, right?) I see something sinister in the way these sham elections were organized over the internet. “Voters” were forced to authenticate themselves via a passport photo; and also had to provide a valid money transfer via Paypal or some other such service. (I still couldn’t figure out how the passport photo thing worked, I got the impression that people were supposed to take a camera-phone pic of themselves holding their passport and upload this image to the website; still not sure though. Obviously, I did not participate, and even if I wanted to, I doubt if I could have figured out how to do it, since I don’t even own a smartphone.)
          But anyhow, I think people can see the direction I am going in: using all this data, Navalny and his handlers have been able to put together quite a database (tens of thousands of people, so they claim) of Russian dissidents. This provides CIA with a pool of potential recruits. And also (since database will no doubt be hacked by somebody like Hell, given Navalny’s track record with internet security), will provide FSB with similar database of potential enemies. Thus saving everybody quite a lot of time.

          • Dear Yalensis,

            Anyone foolish enough to give Navalny money and his passport photograph in order to participate in this “election” is a complete moron.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            ” I AM a Russian after all, we’re supposed to be paraoid, right?”

            Reminds me of that great Joseph Heller line:

            “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they aren’t after you!”

            • yalensis says:

              Haha! You can’t trust anybody these days. As Boris says, “It’s not the words that count. It’s the thought behind them.”

        • Dear Misha,

          I don’t think Umland’s point is really about the media. The point he is making (and it is an entirely valid one) is that since the USSR collapsed political, economic and social punditry and analysis in the former Soviet states has been largely monopolised by all sorts of dubious characters who have no academic or professional background or credentials and who give themselves an appearance of importance by pretending to head some centre or institute that in reality consists entirely of themselves.

          This was until very recently entirely true. The English language editions of Russian newspapers and news media I can read were littered with quotes from various “experts” whose comments were invariably so juvenile that it was impossible to take them seriously. In this respect the post Soviet press was far below the standard of the Soviet press. If one cut through the obligatory Marxist verbiage the standard of commentary and analysis in such Soviet publications as Mezhduradnoya Zhizn, Novaya Vremya and even Pravda was extremely high. I suspect the reason was that when the USSR collapsed the established analysts and commentators as figures of the former Soviet establishment and as people trained as Marxists were no longer acceptable to what had become a liberal dominated government and an overwhelmingly liberal media establishment. They were therefore replaced by the various amateurs and charlatans Umland complains about.

          I have to say however that recentlly things have begun to get better. Fyodor Lukyanov and Dmitri Babich seem to me outstanding commentators and analysts and as good as any you will find anywhere.

          • Misha says:

            Alexander, IMO and that of some others, there’s a snide aspect behind what Umland deems as “expertise”. Like I said, paper credentials don’t necessarily make for a great analyst.

            Someone expressed these views of the Umland piece:

            “A lovely fairy tale. Back in the real world, the function of mass media is to entertain, attract audience share, and provide a opportunity for advertisers to push their products. Propositions presented to a mass audience should be simple, easily understood (without advanced education or thought), and categorical. There is no place for a real expert in mass media. A real expert? Boring! Incomprehensible!

            This is not the fault of the journalists. It is the nature of the beast. And like the tiger and the leopard, mass media is not likely to change its stripes and spots anytime soon.

            Attention would be better directed to the question of how to increase the demand from the decision makers and political elites for genuine expert advice and counsel.”

            ****

            When employed by The Moscow Times, I recall Babich saying some very Moscow Times kind of things. Lukyanov is by no means the end all of great thought provoking punditry.

            I’m not into a carte blanche promotion of the existing status quo, when there’s room for improvement, that’s being shunned for either political biases and/or a crony desire to not let some others exhibit their talents in a high profile situation.

          • kirill says:

            This is basically a variation on the carpetbagger theme (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpetbagger). Opportunists move into distressed regions to take advantage. The collapsed USSR is like the Old South after the civil war and the Northerners are akin to the westerners moving in to loot and manipulate.

            Not surprising that Umland does not recognize any academics. The whole process is anything but enlightened and more closely resembles a piranha feeding frenzy.

            • Misha says:

              He seems quite willing to readily acknowledge certain kinds of “academics”, as in the ones favoring a particular view.

              In actuality, an academic approach pertains to conducting a detailed research, involving primary and secondary source material, along with presenting conclusive thoughts, based on facts and fact based opinions, that take into consideration opposing views. “Political science” is a soft science, which IMO is better defined as political studies.

              Having paper credentials shouldn’t serve as a license to skirt these particulars. People should be judged on what they substantively offer as opposed to politically biased and/or crony appointments.

              At the more high profile of venues, there has been a very much recycled approach of the same sources, which in turn has blocked out some different and valid input. This situations turns off a good number.

              If the goal is to really improve the coverage, there’s a good deal which can be promptly done.

  25. Misha says:

    No great surprise:

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9585945/Turkey-shells-Syria-live.html

    ———————

    On what might be next for Saakashvili:

    http://www.rferl.org/content/georgia-will-outgoing-leaders-play-spoiler/24728253.html

    ———————

    Lavrov watch:

    http://uk.news.yahoo.com/russias-lavrov-skipped-big-powers-iran-meeting-u-231913241.html

    http://www.canada.com/news/Russian+comes+Pakistan+improve+ties+after+Putin+postpones+trip/7340694/story.html

    As Lavrov is set to visit Pakistan in place of Putin, one other news item suggested a cancelled Russia-Indian defense related meeting was a Russian snub of India.

    In evidence is analysis of Lavrov snubbing a key UN meeting, Putin snubbing Pakistan with Lavrov as a substitute and Russia dissing India – perceptions that might be more of an over analysis than a decidedly pointed series of manner.

    ———————

    Regarding an earlier discussed hypocrisy issue on a given Olympic venue vis-a-vis those categorized as indigenous:

    http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/10/04/russia_needs_to_sort_out_the_caucasian_issue_before_sochi_olympics_18813.html

    Written by a DC based Russian with US think tank ties, it’s fair to say that this piece (posted at a RIAN affiliated venue) is in line with Western mass media preferences.

    ———————

    Concerning the idea of a Jewish homeland:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/04/world/europe/jewish-homeland-in-birobidzhan-russia-retains-appeal.html?ref=world

    Excerpt –

    Unlike other places contemplated for Jewish resettlement over the years, like Uganda or Alaska or Japan, Birobidzhan, (pronounced bi-ra-bi-JAN) cannot be written off as a historical footnote or dismissed as fiction. Though it never became the agrarian, socialist-Jewish utopia that some founders envisioned, Birobidzhan remains a Jewish place.

  26. kirill says:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/lithuania-hits-russias-gazprom-with-19-billion-arbitration-claim-for-alleged-price-gouging/2012/10/03/44d36d5e-0d4e-11e2-ba6c-07bd866eb71a_story.html

    Baltic twits at it again. Gazprom should invoke the argument that they charged much less than Norway for gas for most the last 12 years. Let’s see some consumer in the west march into their local shop and demand to set the price to the level they want it.

  27. kirill says:

    http://en.rian.ru/crime/20121004/176405405.html

    Well, cry me a river. Will everyone who gets threats and harassment now get an article on their case in the media?

    I hope these scumbags get threats all the time. They need some fire under their 5th columnist a**es. I believe one of the “Russian” HRW drones was busily dismissing the victims of MLRS and artillery attacks by Saaki’s troops in the middle of the night on Tskhinval in August of 2008. No sympathy for such slime whatsoever. HRW tried to fob off an Israeli cluster bomb casing as being Russian (the morons). I guess “human rights” only applies to Washington lackeys.

    • Misha says:

      You might recall Tregubova’s claims from a few years back. In that instance, there was some question on her claims. Clicking sounds on a phone aren’t necessarily the result of big brother. If I’m not mistaken, the explosion in her apartment complex was closer to the landlord’s residence than hers. A landlord who was (if I’m not mistaken) under investigation for criminal activity.

      I came across an excerpt in Harding’s book when he says that he came into his apartment with an item or items being re-arranged – suggesting some psychological pressure against him. As has been discussed at this blog and elsewhere, there’s also the matter of how Harding has spun things in an inaccurate way. As difficult as it might be for some to believe, others tell some very lies.

      All this said, personal harassment in reply to what someone has said/done within legal bounds isn’t something that IMO should be belittled. Giving a political opinion can lead to such harassment, thereby explaining why a good number refrain from openly expressing their views.

      The last paragraph is by no means exclusive to the former USSR and applies to the “free world”.

      • kirill says:

        There is a fine line between opinion and information terrorism. Paid foreign shills need harassment. Just imagine what would happen in the “free” USA if there was someone like Chirikova attacking the electorate and running for office at the same time. Similarly, let’s see some “human rights fighter” apologize for war crimes by foreign governments in the USA. Americans are harassed and threatened for much less than this tw*t. It’s bad and good at the same time like most things in this non black and white world.

        • Misha says:

          I’m for constructive engagement in the form of openly challenging such individuals in a relatively well moderated high profile, open forum kind of situation, which can involve media and/or think tanks.

          From a reasoned pro-Russian perspective, this kind of situation has been qualitatively lacking. The neocons and neolibs can only be faulted so much for the ongoing status quo. RT and some others could and should be doing more.

      • Leos Tomicek says:

        It requires a thick skin to express views that excite passions.

        • Misha says:

          A good deal of hypocrisy taking the form of those who dish it out, while not being as accepting when their manner is shoved back at them – a point relating to what’s really wrong with the coverage among the more high profile of venues.

    • marknesop says:

      And yes, yes, it’s all part of a “Kremlin crackdown”. Really, when you think about it, Putin has been cracking down for as long as he’s been in office in any capacity – I dispute if there is any further down he can crack. In fact, freedom must have been pretty much wiped out now, so that you probably need a Kremlin pass to go down to the magazina for a jar of pickled beets. It’s good of him to put on a dog-and-pony show for western tourists whenever they visit, though, so that they don’t notice the streets are empty except for marching troops and a few furtive, scurrying residents like the way it is when there are no tourists there. Hey, if a crackdown happens in Moscow and there’s no Human Rights Activist there to hear it, does it make a sound? I wonder how the bars and restaurants stay in business, now that Putin has cracked down so far that there is no freedom left whatsoever. Try this, just for fun – say “Kremlin crackdown” out loud 500 times without stopping, except to draw breath. You will find the phrase loses all meaning after about 300. Which is just about where I’m at. The phrase, “Kremlin crackdown” is wasted on me, because it has lost its sting through promiscuous overuse.

      Also, naturally, it must be somebody who has the resources and free time to track her 24 hours a day, who can tap her phone with ease and who has no scruples about threatening her unborn child (cough* FSB * cough).

      • Misha says:

        There seems to be a bit of an irony regarding some of the critics of Putin. He comes across as being more tolerant of criticism than them.

    • Misha says:

      Regarding that HRW affiliated Russian brought up earlier by Kirill at this thread:

      http://www.hrw.org/news/2012/10/05/putins-miscalculation

      Kenneth Roth, the author of the above piece has been HRW’s undemocratically selected executive director for quite some time – offhand, I think longer than Putin has been the elected Russian president. At HRW, has there been any disagreement with Roth’s positions?

      Concerning what Moscow Exile said, the above piece starts from the get go with a link to Putin.

  28. Misha says:

    Another Al Arabiya exclusive:

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/160558

    This claim seems more believable than the one concerning Russia and a downed Turkish jet.

    While Al Arabiya’s claimed proof (from the anti-Syrian government opposition) might be crock, it’s nevertheless within reason to believe that Israel and Syria might’ve reached some off record understanding

    • marknesop says:

      I highly doubt it. The entire document sounds as if it were written by the rebels. Turkish pilots downed in the shooting incident were deliberately executed by Damascus after consultation with Moscow?? Yes, very likely; Putin said, “You shoot those pilots right now, Bashar. And send me some more of those preserved lemons”. As if. An administrative error was “discovered by the Joint Command (Syria/Iran/Russia”??? What “Joint Command”?? Have Syria, Iran and Russia announced a formal military alliance? Conveniently, China is absent from this discussion, because the west still hopes to mend fences with China; who – not coincidentally – holds enormous amounts of western debt.

      The Commanding Officer of the Iranian Quds Force contacted Assad directly and confirmed “the chemical warheads were ready to be relocated”?? What kind of bullshit is that? How the hell would he know? He’s been under a travel ban for years. How would he know things about Syria’s chemical weapons that Assad doesn’t know, and why would he write to Assad directly instead of the Commanding Officer of 3rd Corps, headquartered in Aleppo, which is responsible for chemical and biological weapons? Is he talking about chemical weapons being moved from Iran to Syria? He doesn’t think that’d be a little risky, since American authorities have declared that as soon as Assad moves any of his chemical weapons, they will jump in his shit forthwith and directly? He decided to let Assad know that Iran thought this would be a good time to move some chemical weapons, and let him know in a letter that would take God knows how long to be delivered in a war zone, if ever, when he could have just picked up the phone and spoken in a simple code? How stupid does Al Arabiya (and Arutz Sheva) think people are?

      This is just those crude boobs, the Saudis, and their pet lunatics in Syria trying to cook up something that will send America over the edge and into war – even the Turks, who are sweating to mix it up with Syria (or say they are) say the documents look fake. This is about as believable as Bibi with his big bomb graphic at the UN. It’s a collection of every red line NATO has said will propel them over the border and charging for Damascus, all conveniently mixed in with Iran and Russia. I’m starting to think there are even worse warmongers than Bibi And The Likudniks, and they live in a monarchy that starts with “Saudi” and ends with “Arabia”.

  29. yalensis says:

    File this under “Only in Russia…”
    After losing her American USAID grant, Alexeeva, badly in need of new funding, announces she will apply to Putin for a Russian government grant.
    What a country!

    http://anna-news.info/node/7681

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And file this “Only in the Russian media….”

      Todays Moscow News compares protests and protesters in New York City and Moscow.

      The article leads thus: “Does Moscow’s protest movement have much in common with Occupy Wall Street? And what can members of either movement expect when they take to the street?”

      The Moscow protester whose opinion MT reports is a certain Baronova, who “emerged as an activist during the first mass protests for fair elections that erupted in Russia in December 2011″.

      Later she “became an aide to opposition State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomaryov”.

      “We have neither democracy, nor autocracy”, says Baranova. “There are no rules. We have no politics.”

      Baronova wants Putin to leave office.

      Baronova now faces public order charges as regards her alleged actions perpetrated at Bolotnaya. The maximum penalty that she faces if found guilty is 10 years in a “colony”.

      So far all this is factual, although it is hardly likely that Baronova would get sent down for 10 years if found guilty.

      Right at the end of the article, however, Boronova is aked what she expects the result of her trial to be. Baronova replies: “That’s a question for Vladimir Vladimirovich”.

      And there the impressionable reader is left with the image of an evil tyrant who sits within the Kremlin ever observant and always control, whence he dictates the verdicts handed out at political trials.

      Of course, that Putin dictates the verdicts of trials is only Baronova’s opinion, which, it seems, she is free to express in the Russian news media, albeit she offers not one shred of evidence to support her statement that her fate will be entirely decided by the Russian president, nor is this pointed out by Anna Arturyan, the journalist that wrote the article.

      Artuyan was born in Erevan, Armenia, in 1983 but grew up in the United States, where she studied journalism at New York University. (Some sites say she was born in Russia [see: http://www.mcgraw-hill.co.uk/html/0335228895.html%5D: some people, it seems, still cannot distinguish the difference between Russia, the Soviet Union and and a constituent Soviet Socialist Republic thereof.)

      Likewise Verzilov, Tolokonnikova’s mincing husband, states on You Tube that his wife’s is at present incarcerated because Putin ordered it.

      No concrete proof offered: just “proof” by assertion.

      And no counter statement by a spokesman for the Russian government either.

      So the lie is repeated.

      Repeat the lie.

      Repeat the lie.

      Clampdown!

      Authoritarian regime!

      Return to Stalinism!

      Pussy Riot trial a show trial similar to those of Stalin’s time…

      And on and on and on….

      See: http://www.themoscownews.com/politics/20121001/190304527.html

      • Misha says:

        People close to the Moscow media scene have likened Arutunyan to Gessen – thereby making the Ekho Moskvy spat that she had with Albats appear comedic.

        Count Arutunyan as another JRL promoted journo with a certain kind of Western mass media slant who has appeared on RT without having her biases challenged.

    • marknesop says:

      I suspect she is only asking because she expects to be refused, and that such a refusal is a necessary part of her anticipated narrative. To be fair, the Russian government’s line on the new registration laws did mention that funding exists within Russia and there is no need to swing off the foreign teat, especially one whose current policy is opposed to the present Russian government. She may well receive some funding from the Russian government. If so, that’ll give her something to angrily reject later when she says that the government is trying to censor her and steer her narrative. She should just move to Washington or something – there she’ll be amply provided with funds and flattery. In fact, that message applies to all those noisy Russian dissidents and anarchists: move to America, and complain about Russia from that vantage point. It works well for “native Muscovite” Alexei Beyer. Just be careful not to flood the market with diatribes against Russia, or interest will go down. It helps to have a second country you hate and in which you are also an expert, like Iran or Syria.

      • It’s a well known propaganda tactic – repeat the same lie endlessly and it acquires the appearance of truth.

        With apologies to Peter I discussed the whole argument about the supposed political motivation behind these trials in my second Pussy Riot post. The European Court of Human Rights supervises the Russian judicial system because Russia is a signatory of the European Convention of Human Rights. If individuals who have been convicted of criminal offences can prove that the prosecution against them was politically motivated then they have the right to refer the conviction in their case to the European Court of Human Rights which will then quash it.

        There was one famous Russian case where precisely this happened. I don’t remember the exact details but to the best of my recollection a Russian businessman was imprisoned and told he would only be released if he signed away his shares in his company. He did so but the European Court of Human Rights had no hesitation in striking down his conviction and in ruling that his prosecution was politically motivated.

        That was a clearcut case in whch the complainant actually had evidence to support his complaint. An assumpion of political interference in a case is not evidence of political interference in a case and merely assuming that a certain prosecution is politically motivated does not make it so especially where there is no doubt that a crime has in fact been committed.

    • Misha says:

      I’ve heard that there’s difficulty for pro-Russian advocacy positions in the US to get American government funding in contrast to what anti-Russian leaning orgs have been able to get.

      Touching on this thought, consider the Cold War era created Captive Nations Committee (greatly influenced by some people of Ukrainian background with a pro-Bandera sentiment) and how it influenced the US Congress to officially approve a “Captive Nations Week”, which recognized every Communist country as captive (including some Nazi created ones) with the exception of Russia.

      For good reason, it’s considered bigoted to collectively hold Jews as greatly responsible for Soviet wrongs. In contrast, presenting Russia/Russians with inaccurate negativity has been more acceptable.

  30. Misha says:

    In the role of Monday morning quarterback, this JRL promoted source presents some pretty obvious views:

    http://russialist.org/wordpress/the-vote-in-georgia-why-saakashvili-lost-why-ivanishvili-won-and-what-this-means-for-the-future/

    Not like the cutting edge analytical insight, which offers something different and valid from what has been repeated in English language mass media.

    • marknesop says:

      Pretty typical for Paul Goble, really; an introductory paragraph which hints that what follows will be insightful discussion of an aspect or aspects of the issue that has/have been either overlooked by everyone else, or misinterpreted by everyone else, followed by several paragraphs of exactly what everybody else already said, bookended by a summary paragraph that offers a conclusion totally unsupported by anything the author previously said. Vintage Goble. The yearning conclusion that someday Russians themselves might want to have a democratic election followed by a peaceful transfer of power just suggests – as usual – that (a) there is no use talking to Paul Goble, because his mind is made up, and (b) he has been asleep since the 90’s.

      • Misha says:

        In that particular one, nothing new was really said in relation to what has been already circulated.

        In other instances, he has uncritically recycled some questionable points raised by partisan sources – that tend to get the nod at openDemocracy among other venues.

        From the perspective of reasoned pro-Russian advocacy, it’s better to promote competenttly earnest advocates, who get muted at venues, run by folks with some misguided notions about Russia/Russians.

  31. cartman says:

    OT, but I had no idea that Finland had been seizing so many children from Russian parents:

    http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/10/05/over_fifty_children_seized_from_russian-finnish_families_18866.html

    • kirill says:

      It’s that vaunted western tolerance and respect for individual rights. These cases expose the ugly racist mentality under the thin mask created from media myths and lies.

      • Misha says:

        On a bias that’s arguably bigoted, one can reference RFE/RL.

        An earlier RFE/RL anti-Mihailovic propaganda piece:

        http://www.rferl.org/content/Public_Opinion_On_Nazi_Collaborators_Gets_Revision_In_Balkans/2036823.html

        The comments section includes some coherent counter-points. That section isn’t exactly reflective of a free press. Rather, it shows that a paid journalist has a better chance of existing as such when he/she spins a certain line.

        *********

        A just released propaganda barrage on the same subject:

        http://www.rferl.org/content/draza-mihailovic-rehabilitation-tension-in-society/24730615.html

        This is part of an ongoing RFE/RL propaganda campaign, which downplays the gruesome manner of the Croat Ustasha, while providing negatively inaccurate characterizations of Serbs/Serbia, including Draza Mihailovic and his forces.

        On a related note, RFE/RL ran a recent piece on Serb Orthodox Christian priest with abusive actions stated against him. In contrast, RFE/RL appears to have had nothing on this story involving a Croat Catholic:

        http://www.b92.net/eng/news/region-article.php?yyyy=2012&mm=08&dd=23&nav_id=81890

        If anything, the above linked B92 leans more towards a pro-Partizan than pro-Chetnik stance.

        THERE’S NO COMPARING THE NAZI ALLIED LEGACY OF THE USTASHA WITH MIHAILOVIC AND HIS FOLLOWERS – SOMETHING THAT RFE/RL HAS BLATANTLY SIDESTEPPED.

        In the above article, note the utilization of Marko Attila Hoare, who is a sleaze cloaked with paper credentials. Hoare has specialized in making bully pulpit attacks, well short of an evenly moderated point-counterpoint situation. He makes no mention of how the Ustasha negatively treated shot down Allied airmen. His claim of Mihailovc’s forces turning over Nazi pilots to the Germans should be fact checked.

        An excerpt from the above linked RFE/RL piece –

        “While some characterize Mihailovic’s trial as biased, most Western scholars — and many in Serbia — consider his dealings with the Axis Powers and his oversight of ethnic massacres to be incontrovertible facts.”

        ****

        It was a Communist show trial, lacking any semblance of objectivity. The RFE/RL article deemphasizes the support accorded to Mihailovic in the West, as well as other issues like the Nazi wanted posters for Mihailovic. There’s also evidence of Partizan-Nazi collaboration – something that was acknowledged by people who were within Tito’s inner circle. As used, “most Western scholars” is dubious given that most scholars aren’t well versed on this historical matter, with some others having questionable slants. A brutal war was fought with deaths on all sides. Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki aren’t referred to as “ethnic massacres”. The Serbs had nothing matching Jasenovac.

        For a balanced perspective: as a counterweight to Hoare, RFE/RL could’ve taken into consideration the points noted in this book, which utilizes primary source material:

        • Misha says:

          Regarding Hoare’s pro-Partizan/anti-Chetnik lean, which includes describing the Chetniks as “opportunists”: unlike Tito, Mihailovic’s forces opposed the Nazis before the Nazis attacked the Soviet Union. This makes sense, given Tito’s Communist ties with the Soviet Union. Following WW II, Tito played let’s make a deal with the West, followed by a policy that can be termed as seeking to simultaneously get the best from the West and Soviet bloc.

          The suggestion that the Partizans were free of committing atrocities is sheer crock.

  32. Misha says:

    Latest Buchanan:

    http://www.eurasiareview.com/05102012-patrick-buchanan-folks-we-have-a-brand-new-ballgame-oped/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review%29

    Be interesting to see how the foreign policy issues are discussed in the upcoming foreign policy debate on October 16 at Hofstra University.

    Iran, the Syrian conflict and dealing with China are foreign policy topics getting stressed in the presidential campaign. Russia will surely find it way as well.

    I once again recall the 2000 Kerry-Bush foreign policy debate, when Russia took up more time than China and the Middle East – with Kerry attacking Bush for being “soft” on Russia. At times, politicians use some issues as a political football.

    ————–

    Claim that Saakashvili lost by a wider margin than recorded:

    http://www.eurasiareview.com/04102012-georgia-dream-claims-won-more-mp-seats-than-official-results-show/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+eurasiareview%2FVsnE+%28Eurasia+Review%29

    ————–

    On Syrian-Turkish relations:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2012/10/05/turkey-plays-chicken-for-nato/

    http://sana.sy/eng/22/2012/10/05/445388.htm

  33. Misha says:

    Geopolitical comedy:

    http://www.voanews.com/content/soviet-union-light-future-putin-russia/1521341.html

    Excerpt –

    “Why did Putin say he wanted a Eurasian Union in place by 2015?

    By then, some Moscow analysts predict the United States will be fully out of Iraq and Afghanistan, and Washington will refocus its attention on Russia.

    Of course, if Mitt Romney wins next month’s U.S. presidential election, that day could come sooner. The Republican candidate has singled out Russia as America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”

    ****

    Chalk up another JRL promoted source lacking substantive analysis when compared to some others not getting as much high profile treatment.

    The author of the above piece seems to have some kind of a fetish for thinking that Russia’s fate (refer to his earlier WW II bit) and decision making revolves around his very faulty red, white and bull mindset.

      • Misha says:

        Pardon the mishap. I’ll add that:

        America has a great deal to be proud of. Responsible patriotism shouldn’t be confused with a jingoism that can include overplaying the role of a given nation.
        On Russia, Romney has said some (put mildly) questionable things, which should make for an interesting October 16 foreign policy debate between him and Obama.

        • Misha says:

          Besides, Romney has a reputation for flip flopping.

          As Americna prez, there’s little he can substantively do if Russia and some other former Soviet republics arrange for closer ties in a practically based manner.

  34. Moscow Exile says:

    Anatomy of Protest – Part 2

    Shown last Thursday – a continuation of the NTV exposé of the alleged trickery and provocations that the “opposition” has been using in its protest movement. Part 2 focuses on Udaltsov’s activities. (Not too far off-topic, as in the documentary there is exposed a Gruzian connection with the traitor Udaltsov.)

    Udaltsov has, of course, been kicking up a fuss about this 2nd documentary – all lies he says, a sentiment so eruditely expressed in the You Tube comments to this video:

    Пиздец, НТВ опять отслужилось перед диктатором. Какое же говно люди по зомбоящику смотрят, и ведь верят всей это лжи.

    [NTV has fucking well been serving the dictator again!. What shit people watch on the idiot box and then believe all these lies.]

    See:

    From the first Anatomy of Protest:

    The youth handing out food to fighters for freedom and democracy during the “White Ring” demonstration, when asked who is beind this benevolent act, simply replies: “People. We are just kind people”.

    He is probably unaware of his probable sponsors’ all too true aphorism: There’s no such thing as a free lunch.

    • Misha says:

      On the matter of protestors and how they get portrayed, see the RFE/RL photo of anti-Mihailovic protestors at this link:

      http://www.rferl.org/content/draza-mihailovic-rehabilitation-tension-in-society/24730615.html

      Navalny and friends have done much better, which for the sake of democratically replacing Putin isn’t saying much.

      There seems to be a zombie element with the RFE/RL photo in question. RFE/RL doesn’t seem to realize that in actuality that shot isn’t good PR for the anti-Mihailovic slant. Then again, how many serious readers of that article would pick up on this observation?

    • yalensis says:

      Same video was posted by a commenter on Navalny’s blog, but somebody (presumably Navalny) removed it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The oppositionists (or the US embassy) have produced a counter video to NTV’s latest “Anatomy of Protest” called “Aнатомия протеста-2. Зарещенный выпуск” (Anatomy of Protest-2. Forbidden Edition”).

        It just goes on and on about what a disaster for Ruissia Putin has been – demographic crisis, the only increase in statistical figures are the numbers that are dying and /or leaving the country, corruption, vote rigging etc. In other words, the stuff pumped out daily by the CIA and Russian “experts” and “native Muscovites” resident in the USA, whence they fled to escape endemic Russian antisemitism, lack of freedom and human rights etc., etc., etc.

        It’s the old, old story that is shouted out ever louder the more it is contradicted.

        See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SZVkQ04KYiw

    • Leos Tomicek says:

      That kompromat video with the Georgian fatso looks wicked. I hope somebody posts the whole thing in time…

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Towards the end of documentary “Anatomy of Protest-2″, the NTV commentator challenges the Russian traitors and the Georgian Targamadze and his fellow plotters, who are shown in the documentary attending a secret meeting to discuss means of destabilising and overthrowing the legal government of the Russian Federation, by basically inviting them to take legal action against the NTV if they should wish to accuse that channel of fabricating the whole thing.

        From 47:28 in the programme: “A colour revolution situation in Russia is not a myth: it definitely exists and the material that we have shown today proves that it does. If those taking part in this video recording want to accuse us of publishing falsifications, we can show the whole uncut version”.

        As regards the opposition reply to the NTV documentary “Aнатомия протеста-2″, namely “Aнатомия протеста-2. Запрещенный выпуск” (Anatomy of Protest-2.
        Forbidden Edition”), I once again find it highly amusing how the oppositionists in their wish to emphasis the alleged curtailmaint of civil rights and freedoms under the present Russian “regime” clearly contradict this claim that Russia is a represssive state by the very fact that the “forbidden publication” is very much unforbidden and free for all and sundry to view.

        If Russia were really as repressive a state as these traitors claim it to be; if Putin really were a latter day Stalin and Russia were as repressive a state as was Stalin’s USSR, then Udaltsov, Nemtsov, the Ponomaryevs – both father and son -, Navalny, Sobchak,Targamadze and his henchmen together with many, many others would have vanished long ago from public life, never to be seen again. Furthermore, if Russia were really as repressive a state as these traitors claim it to be, I certainly wouldn’t be bringing up my three children here.

        I am sure these aforementioned people are fully aware of the ludicrous nature of their exagerrated claims concerning the represiveness of the present Russian state – or are they? Have they really become so full of their own shit that they have become blinded to reality? Does Gessen, for example, pathologically embittered and seemingly frustrated woman that she is, a person who has chosen to live in a land and society that she so clearly detests, really believe that the recent trial and imprisonment of three anarchistic degenerate women is of the same political nature as the 1952/1953 arrests and subsequent trials under Stalin’s orders of large numbers of predominently Jewish doctors, who most certainly would have been found guilty and executed had Stalin not died?

        Apparently she does.

        • yalensis says:

          Hell also posted a copy of the video-expose on his blog, with blogpost entitled “How Bald Shithead Tiutiuken sold his ass to the Gruzians”. (For some reason, Hell calls Udaltsov “Tiutiuken”, some kind of in-joke that I don’t get.)

          http://torquemada.bloground.ru/?p=14537

          Meanwhile, the video has caused tremors all over Russia. Members of Duma are demanding an investigation. Opps accuse NTV of fabricating the whole thing (like, they got an actor to play Targamadze; maybe it was the same actor who portrayed Jabba the Hutt in Star Wars). NTV responds that they have additional video and authentication that they can prove the damn thing is not a forgery.
          Sobchak is taking the Navalnyesque route of trying to deflect accusations with inappropriate irony, as in, “Now they are saying that I am both a Gruzian spy AND an American spy all at the same time. How is such a thing possible?” Er… think about it for a second, Ksiusha, it IS possible to serve two masters, if one is the boss of the other…

          http://top.rbc.ru/politics/06/10/2012/673011.shtml

          • kirill says:

            The Russia haters (inside and outside) want everyone to believe that videos can be faked. No they can’t. Using actors is not faking a video since you can process the image of the actor and the real thing and tell the difference. Does Givi have a twin working for the Russians? Nope.

            But these clowns butcher the truth as a career, so lying about faked videos is totally predictable. Various suckers will buy this BS since they want to believe that the 5th columnists are really saintly democracy advocates. That would be democracy for a minority clique a la the oligarchs during the 1990s. Russians would just be like the slaves in ancient Athens.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Dear Yalensis,

            “Hell” calls Udaltsov “Tiutiuken” because that was Udalt’sov’s father’s family name (Тютюкин).

            As I’ve said elsewhere, I suspect that Udaltsov tries hard to project the image of his being a hard-case street fighter of probably working class origins, but he ain’t: he’s bourgeois like the rest of them. In the English language biographies his birth date is given and then his graduation date and very little about his background, though it is sometimes stated that upon his birth he was given his mother’s family name.

            See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Udaltsov

            Sometimes you find more information about Udaltsov in Russian search engines though. Compare this information from the Russian Wiki with the paltry details presented by the English language one linked above:

            Сергей Удальцов — сын доктора исторических наук, профессора Станислава Васильевича Тютюкина. Племянник посла Российской Федерации в Латвии в 1997—2001 годах Александра Удальцова, отцом которого был Иван Иванович
            Удальцов — председатель правления Агентства печати «Новости» (1970—1976) и посол СССР в Греции (1976—1979). Сергей Удальцов — правнук ректора МГУ и первого директора МГИМО, члена партии большевиков с 1905 года Ивана Дмитриевича Удальцова, в честь которого названа улица в Москве.

            Жена — Анастасия Удальцова (род. 1978), занимает должность руководителя пресс-службы АКМ с 2004 года, с 2007 года — также «Левого фронта».

            Двое сыновей: Иван (2002 года рождения) и Олег (2005 года рождения).

            [Sergei Udal'tsov - son of a doctor of history, Professor Stanislav Vasil'evich Tyutyukin. Nephew of the Russian Ambassador to Latvia (1997-2001), Aleksandr Udal'tsov, whose father was Ivan Ivanivich Udal'tsov, Chairman of the agency "Novosti" (1970-1976) and Soviet Union Ambassador to Greece (1976-1979). Sergei Udal'tsov is the great-grandson of Ivan Dmitrievich Udal'tsov, Rector of Moscow State University, first director of MGIMO (Moscow State Institute of International Relationships), member of the Bolshevik Party since 1905 and in whose honour is named a Moscow street.

            Udal'tsov's wife, Anastasiya Udal'tsova (born 1978) has been the head of the AKM (Red Youth Vanguard) press service since 2004 and of "Left Front" since 2007.

            They have two children: Ivan (date of birth 2002) and Oleg (date of birth 2005).]

        • Leos Tomicek says:

          I saw that part at the end, I hope some liberal will be stupid enough to attempt to discredit that tape, I really want to it for possible future use…

        • kirill says:

          I think that a lot of these malcontents are schizophrenics. That would explain them believing their own shit. Maybe they don’t see imaginary people like in the “Beautiful Mind”, but they seem to have a complete illusion about Russian and western reality. Mental disorders come in shades of grey.

    • yalensis says:

      @MoscowExile: Thank you for posting NTV’s “Anatomy of a Protest”. This is a brilliant piece of expose journalism. I had heard about it, but hadn’t watched it before. The major theme is the expose of Udaltsov as a Gruzian agent. (It goes without saying that the other Opps leaders are Gruzian/American paid agents, but I suppose some naïve people thought Udaltsov was not part of that because he shouts pseudo-leftist slogans.)
      To be of assistance, especially those who don’t know Russian, here is my break-down of salient points in the video:
      At 5:00 minutes in, what appears to be a hidden camera shows Udaltsov and his posse meeting with Givi Targemadze, a powerful member of Gruzian government (and Saakashvili ally) who deals with national security issues. This footage is quite extraordinary and shows Givi and the Russian conspirators brazenly plotting to overthrow Russian government and seize power.
      10:00 in: Opps leaders go to London to collect a bag of money, return to Russia, and buy a bunch of trade-unionist rank and file to pose as nationalists and beef up the ranks of the “March of Millions”.
      Even our old friend Boris Berezovsky is not neglected in all this: Givi orders Opps to meet with Berezovsky in London. Berezovsky may be broke now, so he can’t give them $$$ but he will be able at least to provide the “revolutionaries” with false passports.
      11:00 in: Givi brags about getting some of his Chechen friends to cause a provocation by blowing something up. Udaltsov seems cool with that idea.
      12:00 in: Givi’s next big idea is for revolutionaries to seize Kaliningrad first, declare themselves in power and start issuing decrees. Then ask NATO to protect them with a no-fly zone. Once NATO is engaged, the game will be afoot.
      After this important meeting with Givi, Udaltsov goes on a tour to several Russian cities, including Kaliningrad, and sets up paramilitary summer camps (especially in Lithuania and Romania) using Che Guevara symbolika and logo to train Russian revolutionary youth. [Meanwhile, Che himself is rolling in his grave, that these imperialist lackeys are using his name and image – that’s just my remark, it’s not in the video!]
      17:00 in: Also, Che’s guerrillas lived very simply and went hungry most of the time, whereas Udaltsov’s training camps are basically party camps: Using generous funding provided by Gruzians, the merry bandits eat caviar, drink champagne, have sex orgies, party it up, run around on the rifle range stinking drunk and end up shooting each other in the head. Sounds like fun!
      Moderator concludes that Western emphasis has recently shifted to Udaltsov for the following reason: Foreign handlers finally figured out that Russian people don’t want to have anything to do with liberals like Nemtsov/Kasparov. They either like existing power (=Putin), or maybe something from the radical left side of the menu (as in, a return to communism, a system under which vast majority of people were perfectly happy). Also, Putin government will not be forced out through peaceful protests. Hence, a shift to the idea of an armed revolutionary uprising. In other words, a switch from Maidan scenario to Benghazi scenario. To prepare for this, Givi orders Udaltsov to gather together a motley army of nationalists, pseudo-leftists and armed gangsters, train them in Jedi/Ninja tactics and prepare them for apocalyptic confrontation with government.
      At 33:00 in, we are brought up to date with events in Gruzia, the prison scandal and the mass protests. [Will be interesting to see how this plays out and what the effect will be on Russian Opps, if new government cuts off their funding.]
      At 41:30 in, Givi’s phone conversation with Konstantin Lebedev (Udaltsov’s second-in-command) is tapped (presumably by KGB). Givi and K.L. are chatting towards the end of the (March o’ Millions). Givi is disappointed in the poor turnout and threatens to cut off funding if Opps don’t announce a new demo, which needs to be in a couple of weeks. Givi relays his commands real-time to K.L., who relays them to Udaltsov up on the podium. Udaltsov responds by haranguing the mob to show up again for the new march on October 20. Yashin/Navalny are upset that Udaltsov just decided this date on his own, without consulting them.
      In conclusion: I am simply in awe with energy level of Givi Targamadze. Despite the fact that this fat bloated drunken piece of s**t lolls around on his couch all day like Jabba the Hutt deciding the fate of galaxies, somehow he still seems to get everything done and has everybody running around day and night and doing his bidding. Bravo, Jabba!

      • kirill says:

        Western policy is totally f*cked up. First they can’t figure out the right opposition to support and now they think they can pull a Benghazi. They need to lay the crack pipe down fast. To paraphrase in fluid dynamics language: the background state is not unstable and any perturbation will not grow due to lack of available potential energy. Russia in 2012 is nothing like in 1917 and having some twats who want to rule Russia as your allies does not create a revolution. The revolution has to tap into popular discontent. This applies to Libya even if it was regional and pumped up by NATO meddling.

        It is rather clear from the protests that started in December 2011:

        1) Most of the demonstrators were not liberasts but rather a melange of commies and nationalists (and even some Islamic elements).

        2) The protests shriveled up instead of growing: this clearly indicates lack of “available potential energy”. So using the radical leftist card is a failure just like the neoliberal card.

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    “Moderator concludes that Western emphasis has recently shifted to Udaltsov for the following reason: Foreign handlers finally figured out that Russian people don’t want to have anything to do with liberals like Nemtsov/Kasparov. They either like existing power (=Putin), or maybe something from the radical left side of the menu (as in, a return to communism, a system under which vast majority of people were perfectly happy).”

    Right! And that’s why, I suspect, Udaltsov has been cultivating this hard-man image. If you search for his biographies, there is no mention of his childhood and background: just his birth date and his graduation date.

    The common denominator for very many of these Russian traitors is that they are members of the pampered bourgeois – and mostly post-Soviet at that. Udaltsov, who tries hard to project a
    hard-man image is, according to Komsomolskfya Pravda, the son of a professor and grandson of an ambassador and an academic.

    I have said this before and I will say it again: the Russian working classes do not have much time for these bourgeois agitators. “Have they no job to go to?” was the common query that I mostly heard off the hoi-poloi when Udaltsov and his ilk were camping out on the Garden Ring last summer.

    Liberal-bourgeoise Guardianistas the lot of them!

    Bear in mind, Che Guevara was well brung up as well.
    :-)

    • yalensis says:

      “Have they no job to go to?”

      Job? Who needs a job? Unless this video was lying, these guys are receiving a salary of $35K American bucks per MONTH, as doled out by paymaster Givi. That’s no chump change.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    Moskovskaya Pravda headlines “Anatomy of a Protest-2 throws the opposition ranks into confusion”, but the article goes on to query the authenticity of the secret recordings of Udaltsov’s meeting with Jabba the Georgian, even though the subhead reads: “The recording of the meeting is factual and does not look like a fabrication”.

    See: http://www.mk.ru/politics/article/2012/10/05/757721-anatomiya-protesta2-vnesla-smyatenie-v-ryadyi-oppozitsii.html

    • kirill says:

      How does one fabricate a video? Even frame by frame photoshopping will leave too many artifacts to hide. There is no CGI technology today or in the near future that can render true photographic level of detail with all the physics. They can’t even simulate human movement properly with CGI, it is always too fluid.

      People claiming a faked video should take it to a real expert and not to their ignorant, uneducated analysis.

    • yalensis says:

      From your MKRU link:
      Теперь о том, что заставляет задуматься о поддельности записи. Сам Удальцов появляется в кадре лишь на первых секундах, когда заходит в комнату, где на диване то ли в пижаме, то ли в одежде санитара восседает Таргамадзе…
      “Now, about the question of the authenticity of the (secret) videotape. Udaltsov appears in the frame only in the first few seconds when he walks into the room, where, on the sofa presides Targamadze, sometimes in his pajamas, sometimes wearing a smock…”

      I am pleased to announce I have acquired still more video of a very lazy Targamadze, aka “Jabba the Georgian”; in this secretly recorded tape, an unshaven and unkempt Boris Berezovsky is attempting to rouse this fat sloth from his bed:

  37. yalensis says:

    A commenter named Anton Levanter on DNI thinks the video is a fake:

    http://www.dni.ru/polit/2012/10/6/241627.html

    He points out that there is same sequence of video frames at 10:30 and 23:04, but different audio. At 10:30 audio is about making of false passports; whereas at 23:04 audio is about paying money.
    Storyboard is as follows: at 10:30 a heavy-set bald guy walks into the frame from the camera’s left. He puts a bottle down on the table. He hikes up his pants and appears to stare directly at the hidden camera. Then he starts to sit down. Camera cuts away at that moment to focus on Givi lounging on his sofa. [The fact that there is a jump cut in a hidden-camera video is also suspicious; proves that we are watching edited, not raw, footage.]
    At 23:04 the sequence repeats: the heavy-set bald guys walks into the frame from the camera’s left. He puts a bottle down on the table. He hikes up his pants and appears to stare directly at the hidden camera. This time camera does not cut away, as he sits down in his chair, picks up the bottle, and twists off the cap.
    I watched these sequences several times to be sure, and they are identical. This does not necessarily prove that the video is a fake, but it does prove that the video and audio were edited and spliced together separately.

    • kirill says:

      The attention span of the average viewer is not long enough to look through 90% video filler. So of course it was edited. That is routine journalism in the west. But now when the spotlight is on the squirming maggot “opposition” it’s some sort of malicious manipulation and fabrication. What utter BS.

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    Towards the very end of “Anatomy of Protest-2″, NTV says, in effect, that the sequences are edited in that the documentary narrator says at 47:28: “If those taking part in this video recording want to accuse us of publishing falsifications, we can show the whole uncut version”.

    • kirill says:

      Once again the trope is that no truth can come from news media and governments that are not rubber stamped by the precious west. Only Udaltsov and Navalny can speak the truth and do the good deeds. These clowns got caught with their pants down and no amount of whinging from their western backers will make them squeaky clean.

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    The shit hits the fan;

    “Факты, предъявленные в фильме “Анатомия протеста-2″, требуют немедленной проверки правоохранительными органами, убеждена председатель Комитета Госдумы по безопасности и противодействию коррупции Ирина Яровая.”

    [Chairman of the Duma Committee for Security and Anti-Corruption Irina Yarovaya is of the firm conviction that "The facts presented in the film 'Anatomy of Protest-2' require immediate verification by law enforcement agencies".]

    See: http://rus.ruvr.ru/radio_broadcast/no_program/90416255.html

    See also:

    http://lenta.ru/articles/2012/10/05/anatomy/

    and

    http://www.interfax.ru/society/txt.asp?id=269418

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, the LENTA piece does mention that the hidden camera footage was cut and edited to make a more dramatic effect for the television viewers:
      Беседа Удальцова и Таргамадзе в фильме показана в нескольких эпизодах, между ними – постоянные “перебивки” (съемки из других мест) и закадровый голос; так что сделать вывод о тоне и тематике всей встречи представителей “Левого фронта” с грузинским политиком невозможно. В конце программы говорится, что в случае если запечатленные на съемке лица заявят о подделке, то видеозапись появится в полном виде, без каких-либо сокращений.
      “The conversation between Udaltsov and Targamadze in the film is shown in several chunks, interspersed with constant cuts (frames spliced in from other sections), and the narrator’s voice….[…] At the end of the program it is mentioned that in the case the photographed personages cry fake, then the videotape will be published in its full form, without any cuts.”
      Sounds almost like the NTV editors deliberately edited the tape in such a way as to dare Udaltsov and the others to cry fake, so they can publish the full version! I hope they do, I would be very eager to watch it.
      Anyhow, Udaltsov has already cried “fake”, he claims he has not eve been to Gruzia in the past year. (The video was supposedly taped at the beginning of summer, 3-4 months ago.)
      Now, I have reading a lot of blogs today, because this story is so interesting, and there is some speculation that Udaltsov and his posse may have met with Givi in Ukraine, not in Gruzia. Also, some Opps are crying foul, like, “It’s a crime to secretly videotape someone without their permission.” Others point out that if a person is videotaped committing an actual crime, then it matters little if they gave permission or not. Opps can cry procedural foul all they like, but there is the legal concept of “Res ipsa loquitur”. (“The matter speaks for itself.”)
      As a spy buff, I am personally more interested in (1) what type of camera they used, and (2) who planted it. Maybe there is a mole among Givi’s personal entourage? Maybe even that chunky fellow who keeps hiking his pants up and staring at the hidden camera?

  40. Moscow Exile says:

    Interfax:

    http://www.interfax.ru/politics/news.asp?id=269522

    Translation:

    Udaltsov believes the Prosecutor General’s order to check out what was presented in “Anatomy of a Protest” is part of a plan to suppress the left opposition

    Moscow. 6 October. INTERFAX.RU- One of the chief heroes of the NTV film “Anatomy of a Protest-2,” opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov, has no doubt that the film and subsequent actions of law enforcement agencies are part of a plan to eliminate the left movement in the country.

    “The statement by the Prosecutor’s Office confirms my hypothesis that everything that has happened is a well-planned campaign for new repressions against oppositionists. Was this done to all intents and purposes as a gift on the eve of Vladimir Putin’s birthday?” said S. Udaltsov to Interfax on Saturday when commenting on the intention of the Prosecutor General’s Office to investigate the facts contained in the NTV TV channel film “Anatomy of a protest-2”. S. Udaltsov did not rule out that he or his associates could be prosecuted, “or that there will be a new development of the 6 May case (the criminal case of mass disorder on Bolotnaya square).

    The oppositionist is convinced that “In light of the fact that the protest has recently adopted a social nature, has moved leftwards, then the task has been set, in the words of Putin, to ‘wipe out’ the left wing opposition on the landing beaches”. He pointed out that as regards this matter, he was mentally prepared. “I know that no crime has been committed. If we have decided to take part in a struggle for social change, it is necessary to go to the end”, said Udaltsov.

    “But the Government will make a big mistake if instead of building bridges with the opposition, having a dialogue with it, it begins a new round of repression. This will only cause a new wave of discontent”, said the oppositionist.

    Earlier on Saturday, Russian Prosecutor General Office spokeswoman Marina Gridneva told Interfax that the Prosecutor General, Yuri Chaika, has instructed that the facts in “Anatomy of a Protest-2″ be checked.

    See the origal material at: http://www.interfax.ru/politics/news.asp?id=269522

    End of translation.

    • yalensis says:

      These are HUGE charges made by NTV against Udaltsov (=treason, terrorism, money laundering, the works), and it goes without saying that the Prosecutor’s Office will have no choice but to investigate. They will have to subpoena all the videotapes, witnesses, etc.
      Udaltsov claims that he has not seen the movie, nor does he intend to. Really? If they made a big movie about me, charging me with every crime under the sun, I would be very eager to watch it. I would watch it with a microscope and examine it frame by frame. But this only happened yesterday, and maybe Udaltsov is still in shock and a state of denial.

      • kirill says:

        All the squirming by these maggots. They don’t represent genuine social activism but are a collection of paid shills and agitators. The west thinks it can stage a revolution in Russia with some tricks. No, if you look at Serbia, Georgia and even Ukraine, there was actually something to tap into. What the heck to Russians need from Udaltsov? A leader for life or something?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          This is what Udaltsov said on Ekho Moskvy radio station after the transmission of “Anatomy of Protest-2″ and his rection to it:

          http://www.echo.msk.ru/blog/udaltsov/937726-echo/

          Remember, Ekho Moskvy is the favourite of the white-ribbon bearing bourgoisie.

          Translation:

          “Anatomy of a protest-2” is the harbinger of new repression
          October 6, 2012, 09:53

          I have not watched NTV since March and have not appeared on that channel, though they have said my name. I am in no way bothered about this. But yesterday reporters, who seem to be disciples of Goebbels, hatched up a new masterpiece entitled “Anatomy of Protest-2”. Everybody is clamouring for comments from me, so I had to watch it on the Internet. So, to briefly summarize:

          Generally speaking, I have to say “thank you” to the Kremlin masters (I have no doubt that the order for the creation of the “masterpiece” came from there) for your excellent advertising in prime time. If, through their propaganda, the illegitimate authorities accuse us of all mortal sins, right up to the preparation of a conspiracy, this means that we live not in vain on this earth. I mean, it is our way of life to rub up the crooks and thieves the wrong way. For a short while I have even felt like a new Lenin (though, of course, to reach Vladimir Ilicha’s level, one has to study and study). By the way, in the evening I was riding on the metro and several people came up to me to say that they liked the film and wished me success in the struggle. And my e-mail is just piled up with letters of support for the revolutionary line of the “Left Front”. So, having said that, we demand that the series be the continued!

          2. To be serious now: it was absolutely no surprise that the new film was devoted, basically, to my modest self and the Left Front. Protest has of late significantly turned to the left; social demands, which have filled the whole country, are on the agenda of our marches and rallies, and they have therefore decided to liquidate the left wing opposition. Because of this, the viewer has been sent a well tried message: they said what has long been known about the Liberals, that they are fed from western hands, and lo and behold, it now turns out that comrade Udaltsov is such a “traitor to national interests”. There was even found a quote from Zyuganov, and they also reminded the viewer about Victor Ivanovich Anpilov, who has recently and suddenly intensely fallen in love with our president. In General, it was all pretty predictable and trite.

          3. The story is, essentially, the delusion of a raving lunatic. I shall not be revealing a big secret when I say that the purpose of the present opposition organization is to fight for power. This is normal and natural. Let me in any case just remind you that the Left Front preaches strong, but exclusively peaceful means of political struggle (mass meetings, standing on the streets, strikes, etc.) and supports the formation of a government by holding free elections on the basis of democratic procedures. This is why we are participating today in the work of wider protest: the coalition, which was formed in December last year. To achieve our goals, I, like any other public figure, have to communicate daily with dozens of people, from whom (even from, at first glance, serious ones) I at times have to listen to a variety of “tips” on how to seize the “post and telegraph office”. [A reference to the Bolshevik seizure of the Petrograd post and telegraph offices in October 1917 – ME.]

          As well as the various security bodies that closely follow me – and we do not check passports during meetings (it is probably time we did) – do not be surprised if tomorrow there are a dozen more similar films, where I should be shown not only meeting the notorious Givi from Georgian intelligence, but also Abraham from Mossad, John from the CIA, as well as Pyotr from the FSB and Basil from Centre “Э” that offered “to blow up bridges and take hostages”. But making conclusions on the basis of blurred video frames with a man “who looks like Udaltsov” that acts of terrorism are being prepared, an insurrection in Kaliningrad and almost a world revolution (albeit that a world revolution is, of course, tempting), is – excuse me – kindergarten stuff. It cannot really be anything else.

          I will say outright that after the initiation of criminal proceedings concerning the events of 6 May on Bolotnaya Square, I have found myself to be under complete observation: they are listening to me; they watch me outside; they do searches. In the summer they rooted all around my flat, as they did my elderly parents’. Investigators from the UK have put my income under the microscope, but, to their great disappointment, have not found any illicit rubles, dollars, euros or – and I am not afraid of saying the word – Georgian lari. Under such a situation of total control, the availability of some kind of facts about financing by Western intelligence services, and, even more so, the facts of the “coup” has led to the initiation of high-profile criminal cases against me.

          But there are no such facts (facts not concocted by speculation) and there could not have been. That is why the thieves and swindlers had to resort to their favourite “anatomic” techniques and concoct a cheap little fantasy film. So, I shall have to upset my ultra-radical fellow citizens: as of yet no Winter Storm is planned. And to soothe the defenders of our historic heritage, there is nothing that threatens the Ivan the Great Bell Tower.

          4. Now for the most important matter: the fundamental and sad conclusion that can be drawn after the transmission of “Anatomy of Protest-2”, helpfully displayed on the eve of VVP’s birthday, is that a dialogue between the authorities and the opposition is not to be expected. I assume (and not unreasonably so) that the strategic objective of this programme is not just to throw mud once again at the protest movement, but to prepare public opinion for a new crackdown. Well, how else to proceed with “conspirators” other than imprison and pressurize them! No wonder United Russia and its little brothers in the Liberal Democratic Party have become so fiercely agitated at one and the same time. For instance, the vice speaker of the State Duma of Russia, Sergei Zheleznyak , intends to appeal to the law enforcement agencies, namely the General Prosecutor’s Office, the FSB, MVD and Investigative Committee.

          “I think that it is absolutely necessary that a most thorough investigation be undertaken concerning those facts that were revealed in the film because we are talking about serious criminal offences. It is about the purposeful preparation and conduct of terrorist activities on Russian territory with the involvement of organized crime and foreign secret services”, said Zheleznyak in an interview. And here is an excerpt from a statement by Vladimir Zhirinovsky’s hawks: “Urgent measures to prevent the development of situations favourable to a “revolutionary” scenario. The infection has to be stamped out at its root, at the first sign of a sneeze and before the body goes under to a fatal virus”. That is what Egor Letov [punk, garage rock, psychedelic, experimental singer-song writer; died young through booze; head-banger – ME] sang in “New 37-th” [album – ME]: “Hanging in the air and standing on the edge”.

          From all the foregoing I make the simple conclusion: we all have to be activated immediately; we have to get rid of our slackness and recall that under arrest now are our comrades – the Bolotnaya arrested – and that further arrests are coming. After 15 September many oppositionists began to repeat the mantra that “it is necessary to look for new forms of protest”. And blissfully they sank into the hilarious whirlwind of elections to the Opposition Coordinating Council. I am not arguing against this: the OCC is good and important; I am involved with them. But you have to understand a simple thing – if street protest dies, then the OCC will be suitable only for collective masturbation, and that would only be the best of situations. Many taking part in the elections will, in the foreseeable future, most likely be talking about their programme for the development of Russia not as viewers of the “Dozhd” TV channel [literally “Rain” channel, a youth channel similar to MTV – ME], but as fellow inmates of a prison cell.

          In this regard I once again repeat the simple truth: the best defence is attack. For that reason I call for beginning as soon as possible preparation for a new March of Millions in early December. We must mobilize all the forces so that they come in and finish the year on a winning note, and not on defeatist lamentations. It is also necessary to step up the fight for the release of political prisoners, as each new arrest is meet by massive actions by the Investigative Committee, otherwise the motto “one for all and all for one!” will remain a dead letter. That is what a simple anatomy is.

          End of translation

          He says nothing in his defence. He says nothing concerning the accusations made against him apart that the whole programme was the “delusion of a lunatic”.

          He bleats about criminal legislation being directed at him and his party, yet does not concede that such measures are hardly surprising in the light of the accusations being made, which is that his alleged behaviour, by any yardstick, is treasonous. He simply says that, basically, the “thieves and swindlers” are out to get him because he is fighting for socialist social justice. And his remedy against such an unjust and scurrillous attack by the “illigitimate” government against him and his supporters? – another “March of the Millions”.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            This is what TV Dozhd says about itself in Wiki:

            “Dozhd is all about honest news, daring experiments, live concerts, interesting discussions, culture, politics, business and documentary. The channel’s moto is ‘talk about important things with those who are important to us’. Most of the Dozhd shows are LIVE broadcasts”.

            The channel came under criticism for having the white ribbon as its logo.

            See: http://tvrain.ru/

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Udaltsov says something concrete about the allegations made in the NTV documentary at the very end of this RIA Novosti report:

              http://www.ria.ru/society/20121006/767405263.html

              “Я категорически отрицаю факты получения денег, спонсирования из-за рубежа, тем более подготовки каких-то силовых действий. Это просто клевета. Наши юристы посмотрят – я просто принципиально не смотрю всю эту мерзость – посмотрят, если найдут основания, конечно, будем подавать иски соответствующие”, – сказал РИА Новости Удальцов.

              “I categorically deny the facts that I am in receipt of money from foreign sponsors, and more especially the preparation of any forceful action. This is just slander. Our lawyers will be looking at it. Basically, I just don’t watch such rubbish. They will be looking at it and if they find grounds for doing so, they will, of course, sue those responsible”, Udaltsov told RIA Novosti.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Backtracking? An admission that such a meeting with Georgians took place?

                See: http://www.ridus.ru/news/47843/

                Translation:

                Udaltsov has forgotten meeting Georgians

                The leader of the left front, Sergei Udaltsov, said in an interview with “MK” that he does not remember meeting the head of the Georgian Parliamentary Defence Committee, Givi Targamadze, and talks about preparing a forcible overthrow of the Government, which was shown in the film “Anatomy of Protest-2″. Udaltsov has also not denied that it was he who was in a video frame.

                “Most likely it is a multi-layer compilation of various conversations”, the oppositionist says. “I have a feeling that this is a joint operation by Russian and Georgian special services. I can’t say anything yet, but I have the impression that the purpose of the transmission is not only discredit me: it is too weird a coincidence that it was released on Election Day in Georgia”

                As regards the film, Udaltsov said he did not recall the specific meeting shown on video. According to him, there have recently been a huge number of meetings, including those concerned with financing. Sometimes those with whom we have conversations have their own opinions about how they see the development of the protest “but this does not mean that we implement them” said opposition leader.

                His assistant, Leonid Razvozzhaev, who appeared in the same recording, also claims that he is not acquainted with Targamadze, but said that he had met a certain Georgian businessman, who wished to remain anonymous.

                “It was about grant funding. But I do not exclude that from the beginning to the end it was an imposter. In the conversation he constantly tried to pull us into some questionable topics”, said Razvozzhaev. “The recording that was shown on NTV had parts detached from the context. They only showed that which related to a forceful seizure of power, but cut out the moments when we said that peace is a preferable script, and explained why. Generally there has been created the impression that they have inserted the sound from different parts of conversations: in some places the conversation has been substituted, in other places the conversation is real”.

                End

                • yalensis says:

                  Hm…. So… according to Razvozzhaev, whenever Givi started lisping about terrorism and forcible seizure of power, Udaltsov would manfully push back and retort that peaceful methods were better … but unfortunately for him, NTV edited all that mitigating stuff out of the tape, making it seem like he just kept sitting there and passively nodding his head. They also edited out the scene where Givi prates on about hiring Chechen assassins; then Udaltsov leaps to his feet and punches Givi in the nose, screaming: “Take THAT, how dare you threaten Mother Russia, you fascist piece of shit!”

          • yalensis says:

            Thanks for translation, @Exile, that was a tour de force.
            Udaltsov is in a panic, and is babbling all kinds of nonsense. His panic is warranted.

            • Dear Moscow Exile,

              This is indeed a tour de force just as Yalensis says.

              I think we can now take it that the video though definitely edited is genuine and that the meeting really happened and that the man in the video is indeed Udaltsov and that the things that are said in the video were actually said at the meeting. As Yalensis rightly says Udaltsov’s conduct is appalling. After hearing the things Targamadze was saying the right (and obvious?) thing to do was walk out of the room and report the whole matter to the police. Not only did Udaltsov not do this but when the video was produced instead of immediately admitting his mistake and apologising for his gross error of judgement he tried instead to bluff his way out by pretending the video was a fake. When that didn’t work he embarked for several days on a succession of increasingly desperate evasions and half truths, which still continue.

              • yalensis says:

                And also threatening to lustrate the NTV journalists. (Still pretending, or fantasizing, as if HE is the guy with power, who can threaten journalists and make them tremble before him.) Meanwhile, Udaltsov is supposed to go in for questioning probably a few hours from now to the Prosecutor’s office. Depending on how he answers the questions posed to him, it wouldn’t surprise me if he is placed under arrest at that time and will not emerge a free man. Is the West going to launch a huge propaganda campaign on his behalf, like they did with Pussy Riot? I don’t know. I do not believe there has been a single word about any of this in Western MSM?

                • Dear Yalensis,

                  I can’t speak for the entire western press but the British press has maintained a stony silence about the whole story. Presumably it is trying to work out how to report it. Bear in mind what I have said previously, if you got all your news about Russia from the British press you would almost certainly never have heard of Udaltsov. Reporting of the protest movement in Britain scarcely ever mentions him and gives no sense of his importance in the protest movement or of the nature of his political beliefs.

              • marknesop says:

                His defense in this is going to be that parts of the video in which he argued that his organization does not subscribe to such tactics, and will countenance only peaceful and legal resistance methods, has been edited out. But oh, that is such a dangerous road to take unless he can recall every single word he said, because NTV has indicated it is just waiting to be challenged on the authenticity of the tape so it can release the uncut version. Udaltsov should think very carefully about who he might incriminate, including himself.

          • marknesop says:

            You have to hand it to Udaltsov – he is direct when he feels the situation calls for it. As far as his description of the online OCC “elections” as an “hilarious whirlwind” goes, he and I are in complete agreement. But he seems to sense that he has gone too far, and in the next breath says they are good and necessary. Still, you get the sense that all this putting on airs and graces and aping a real political opposition grates on him, andf he’d be much happier with IRA-style bottle-throwing and street battles. He keeps returning to the subject of strikes, and you can see he would dearly like to get that going on. So would his western backers. Likely because the effort to break up picket lines would offer the potential for violence, and violence is a great newsmaker. If it bleeds, it leads.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              “[T]hey sank into the hilarious whirlwind of elections to the Opposition Coordinating Council. I am not arguing against this: the OCC is good and important; I am involved with them. But you have to understand a simple thing – if street protest dies, then the OCC will be suitable only for collective masturbation…” said comrade Udaltsov.

              He contradicts himself: the OCC is a laughable waste of time, but it is “good and important”, even though the OCC will only turn out to be a bunch of wankers if street protest dies.

              Now some may think that what I suggest is just too machiavellian to accept, but I have a strong suspicion that comrade sometimes-I-feel-like-Lenin Udaltsov really works for the other side.

              I have bitter experience of being beaten from pillar to post more than a quarter of a
              century ago during a year long strike in which there were often violent confrontations between mass pickets and huge concentrations of the forces of law and order: you don’t easily forget the experience of finding yourself on the receiving end of cavalry charges. However, despite the regular beatings and dispersals that we suffered, there were certain hard core “activists” within our ranks whose only policy was constantly demand more of the same and to activate support, to prepare for confrontation, to take to the streets and to have one huge, final set-to with the might and majesty of the full powers of the state. These advocates of permanent confrontation reminded me of WWI generals whose only tactic was to go for one final, “big push”: when you hear the whistle, go over the top, boys, and at ‘em!

              I am sure some of those “activists” at the time of the UK miners’ strike 1984-85 were employed by state security. At least one of the miners’ union high ranking union officials certainly was.

              Why hasn’t Udaltsov been arrested? Why has he only been invited for an interview with the IC? Why does he continually advocate confrontation when such a policy is clearly a dead letter?

              Who’s he working for?

  41. Ken Macaulay says:

    Back to the excellent Diane Johnstone article, Suzanne Nossel is someone well worth keeping an eye on, as she exemplifies the rise of western government linked professional ‘activist’ & the use of human rights as a regime-change weapon. Her past activities is typical for the breed, & the sheer range of organisations these people float through is astonishing.

    I wrote this post about her elsewhere, which makes a decent intro to some of her past work & connections, but you could probably spend months trying to unravel your way through the vast array of NGO’s, thinktanks, ‘scholarly’ programs, media organisations, etc. :

    ———

    One of the major figures in the use of Human Rights groups as a vehicle for regime change is Suzanne Nossel, the new Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, & former former Chief Operating Officer of Human Rights Watch.

    Nossel is also the former assistant to Richard Holbrooke in his capacity as UN Ambassador & former Deputy Assistant for International Organization Affairs for Hillary Clinton.

    Nossel is given credit for coming up with terminology “Smart Power”, which you hear bandied about repeatedly by US officials & pundits everywhere these days, and laying out the official policy behind it.

    Essentially the idea behind it was to reclaim “Liberal Internationalism” which she claimed had been hijacked by the Neo-Conservative movement, and re/turn it to the major foreign-policy platform of the Democrat’s.
    This appears to of been very successful.
    You can find the introduction to Nossel’s “Smart Power” paper at http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/59716/suzanne-nossel/smart-power
    but unfortunately you need to be a premium subscriber to read the whole thing.

    An excert:
    “To advance from a nuanced dissent to a compelling vision, progressive policymakers should turn to the great mainstay of twentieth-century U.S. foreign policy: liberal internationalism, which posits that a global system of stable liberal democracies would be less prone to war.

    “Washington, the theory goes, should thus offer assertive leadership – diplomatic, economic, and not least, military – to advance a broad array of goals: self-determination, human rights, free trade, the rule of law, economic development, and the quarantine and elimination of dictators and weapons of mass destruction (WMD).”

    More at: Amnesty’s Shilling for US Wars

    http://original.antiwar.com/colleen-rowley/2012/06/21/amnestys-shilling-for-us-wars/

    written by former FBI whistle-blower Coleen Rowley.

    Nossel is also connected to a number of Jewish think-tanks, & has been thanked publicly by the Jacob Blaustein Institute for her work in : “During her two years in office, she and others were able to return a scrutiny to massive human rights violators such as Iran, Libya and Syria through new mandates to investigate situations. To some extent, they were also able to reduce somewhat the obsessive focus on Israel as compared to other countries,…”

    http://www.jbi-humanrights.org/jacob-blaustein-institute/2012/01/suzanne-nossel-on-un-human-rights-council-at-jbi-meeting.html

    In regards to the upgrade in strategy & tactics that Nossel has brought to the table, among her other previous positions, Nossel was also the vice president at Bertelsmann Media Worldwide, the Vice President of Strategy and Operations at the Wall Street Journal, & a scholar with the Council on Foreign Relations…

    You can find a typical example of her work here:
    “The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran – bent on regional domination, aggressive toward Israel, and hostile to the United States – is as serious a threat as the United States has confronted in recent decades….”

    This article written in 2007 for a faux-left organisation called “Dissent” explains why the US should not look to confront Iran forcefully now. Rather engage at a limited level, tie it up with engagement with other designated problem regimes, until the time is more suitable to deal with forcefully.

    http://dissentmagazine.org/article/?article=731

    Much of this relates back to Madeline Albright, but their is a “cadre” of similar types at senior postions right across the whole spectrum of Human Rights organisations, faux-left & ‘progressive’ think-tanks, & the whole spectrum of ‘progressive’ ‘NGOs’.

    More on Suzanne Nossel:

    http://www.amnestyusa.org/news/press-releases/amnesty-international-usa-announces-leadership-transition-suzanne-nossel-selected-as-new-executive-d

    http://www.alternet.org/story/156303/why_i_had_to_challenge_amnesty_international-usa%27s_claim_that_nato%27s_presence_benefits_afghan_women

    http://mondoweiss.net/2012/06/amnesty-intl-collapse-new-head-is-former-state-dept-official-who-rationalized-iran-sanctions-gaza-onslaught.html

    • Misha says:

      You’re referring to DJ’s not so distant Counterpunch article linked further above this thread.

      As noted somewhere at this thread, the Machiavellian use of human rights as a propaganda tool goes back to the Carter admin period (trump abuses in the USSR unlike in China and Romania) as well as before, when the “free world” included categorizing some countries which weren’t so free.

      Say and do the “right” diplomatic and trade things can lead to getting a freer pass on human rights abuses. Much like how sucking up to certain imperfections is done elsewhere for the perception of getting a greater personal return.

  42. Misha says:

    On that “Kremlin stooge” (sic) who won over Saak:

    http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/09/us-georgia-election-idUSBRE8980S220121009

    IMO, Georgian membership in NATO isn’t something that’s likely to happen anytime soon.

    • marknesop says:

      Not until they reach some sort of agreement on Abkhazia and South Ossetia, and simply ignoring their elections and not officially recognizing them as independent republics is only like shutting your eyes tight and going “lalalalala I cant hear you”; not very mature, or stastesmanlike. It would certainly not be the case if all those territories still belonged to Russia – including Georgia proper – and Abkhazia and South Ossetia declared their unilateral independence from the Russian Federation. Then the western countries would be tumbling over each other in their eagerness to recognize their independence and cement their status as free agents.

      However, it’s refreshing to get through an entire article on Ivanishvili in which zebras or eccentricity were not mentioned, although I could do without having it hammered into me every time that he made his fortune in Russia. Would it be as exciting, I wonder, if he had gotten rich in the Netherlands, or on the Caribbean rum trade, or importing tropical fish from Nuk’u Alofa?

      • Misha says:

        I’m curious to know what Lincoln Mirchell was paid as an adviser. As noted earlier, he had been with Saak. There’s a reasoned basis to change to Ivanishvili for reasons other than payola. Money thouigh serves as an inducement.

        RIAN quoted Lavrov saying that there will be no change in Russia’s position on Abkhazia and Souith Ossetia. The Georgian FM candidate said it’ll be impossible for Russia and Georgia to reestablish diplomatic realtions until South Ossetia and Abkhazia are part of Georgia:

        http://en.trend.az/regions/scaucasus/georgia/2075289.html

  43. Misha says:

    With the motivation of limiting Russian influence, checkout Lincoln Mitchell’s stated approach to advising the new Georgian government on South Ossetia and Abkhazia:

    http://www.rferl.org/content/analysis-georgia-ivanishvili-and-the-russians/24733895.html

    The bottom line is that Georgia’s continued non-recognition of South Ossetian and Abkhaz independence will limit Georgia’s sway with these two territories which Russia recognizes.

  44. kievite says:

    Just in case somebody missed it

  45. kievite says:

    This is simply brilliant: Alexander Litvinenko case = Leonid Razvozzhayev abduction case

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/russian-opposition-says-activist-kidnapped-as-putin-government-steps-up-pressure/2012/10/25/82f404a6-1ebd-11e2-9cd5-b55c38388962_story_1.html

    Two feminist punk rockers went to prison for singing in a cathedral, an offense against good taste but not a crime, he said. Before that, Sergei Magnitsky was charged with theft after he accused officials of the crime. He died in pre-trial detention and then was charged with the crime again, two years after his death.

    “The main problem is no one is protected,” he said. “You can destroy anyone’s life as long as he’s not stronger than you.”

    The abduction reports, he said, reminded him of the case of Alexander Litvinenko, who died in London in 2006 of polonium poisoning after he fell afoul of Russian officials.

    “I don’t see any big difference between the two,” he said. “They think they can act illegally against their opponents overseas, and no one will say no.”

    • kirill says:

      More drivel from the western MSM. Murders require motive, especially ones organized by a state and not committed by lunatics. Litvinenko was an indirect asset to Putin by continuously embarrassing his patron Berezovsky and the usual western Russophobes with wacky claims such as: “Putin staged the Danish Mohamed cartoon scandal”. Berezovsky is a gangster with a trail of dead bodies in Russia so the one with the biggest motive and opportunity was Berezovsky. Also, the use of Polonium is a clear attempt at frame-up. Criminals do not use flashy murder weapons they want the cops to trace back to them. If Putin wanted to link the crime to himself he would have ordered an official hit on Litvinenko.

      Applying the same standard of “guilt by association” as with the LItvinenko case to the list of dead people associated with Bill Clinton, would make Clinton a mass murderer. The Magnitsky case is also a clear example of guilt by association. There has been not a shred of evidence offered that the sixty people on the Magnitsky list were directly or indirectly involved with his death. As for him being arrested, well golly gosh gee willikers, he wasn’t Mother Teresa but an accountant at a corrupt firm run by crook Browder.

    • marknesop says:

      Wow. Just wow. I can’t even tell who they’re quoting; they start off with Kirill Rogov, then trip dizzyingly through Joseph Kruzich to Pastukhov. Fans of Pastukhov in particular will remember his seminal masterwork, “Putin, On The Shifting Sands Of Doubt“, reviewed here by this blog, in which Mr. Pastukhov carried out a surreal but detailed psychoanalysis of Vladimir Putin from a newspaper article written about him, in Kommersant.

      Russians could be forgiven for wondering if there is something in the water the west is drinking that causes paranoid delusions and seizures, or if westerners – especially western journalists – are unknowingly partaking in some bizarre experiment by space aliens. They must just shake their heads in wonder as westerners repeatedly shit their pants and roll their eyes and shudder all over like snake-handlers at a tent revival. Whenever you feel sure they must have reached the basement of the Crazyhouse, it turns out there is a level below that.

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