Jan 30, 2008
In the summer of 2001, President Putin vowed to "end the oligarchs as a class." In the end, he succeeded in ending the oligarchs who oppose the Kremlin...as a class.
Now, First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has set his own agenda: end Russia's “legal nihilism.” Now, this is the same legal disease which the Kremlin used to end said oligarchs. Nevertheless, Medvedev is shocked, shocked (!) that such a thing exists on a “huge scale." No European country can boast of such “disdain for the law,” he said. (Jamestown)
Nihilists! Fuck me. I mean, say what you like about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos!
Jan 29, 2008
Jan 28, 2008
Jan 22, 2008
...you knew who your enemies were.
Today's EDM notes how those days are long gone. "Yushchenko has thwarted Tymoshenko’s planned visit to Moscow, torpedoed planned appointments to her government, disagreed with her privatization plan, and come up with a package of bills aimed at diminishing the role of the prime minister and the Cabinet."
The Magic Braids aren't having any of it, saying “if the Cabinet is limited by certain restrictions, if they start putting forward certain conditions,” then she'll just have to run for president herself.
Jan 18, 2008
Jan 16, 2008
Instead, the Kremlin insists on brow-beating the British Council -- clumsy retaliation for the Litvinenko investigation.
Jan 15, 2008
…Transnistria now has a tourism brand.
That's right, everyone’s favorite living museum of the Soviet Union has decided to market itself through Special Advertising Sections in the Guardian.
How the hell do you market Transnistria, the land that 1989 forgot and home of the world's largest arsenal of illeagal weapons...to tourists? Why, with these little gems of course:
--“Compared to Moldova, this is ‘like the Riviera’”
--“Standard of living: ‘Visibly higher’”
--"Kids are playing computer games"
--"16 types of hamburger toppings"
Big thanks to Aleksandr Griboyedov over at Leopolis for the heads-up on all of this insanity.
Jan 14, 2008
Anatoly Kucherena, the director, has stated the goal of the new, Kremlin-backed (although not Kremlin-funded) organization to be "to monitor the observance of human rights in different countries and develop methods of perfecting civil society institutions." Wait, that sounds like the mission of Freedom House. Apparently not: "I have no desire to copy the behavior of organizations like Freedom House . . . . We have completely different tasks. . . . Freedom House has only one goal: to publish data, which was assembled using methodologies that nobody understands, in order to draw attention to themselves."
So, the question remains, what exactly will this organization be doing? In the words of Putin - 'to set up a think tank for freedom and democracy . . . [that] counters the activity of Western nongovernmental organizations operating in Russia." Ah, that makes more sense. It seems that the battle over "truthiness" has escalated.
Jan 11, 2008
In key sectors like security, health, and development, Russia has preformed worse under Putin than during the Yeltsin era. Economic growth is bleow the post-Soviet average. Murder rates are higher. Terrorist attacks are higher. People are dying younger. Meanwhile the population at large has yet to fully gain from the energy boom. Many are doing worse.
Prognosis? Russia will become the new Angola: a failed state built on rents and oil. Not really new. But its good to see that Fukuyama's disciples are still beating the drum. Even if the prophet of democracy and markets has all but disavowed them.
Jan 10, 2008
Jan 9, 2008
...and village sluts will bring you yogurt?
We assume that's the take-away message the Ukranian government was aiming for in this recruitment video.
Oh yeah, and the Army will dub your voice -- no extra charge!
Reuters has a zinger: A Polish man got the shock of his life when he visited a brothel and spotted his wife among the establishment's employees. The woman had told her husband she worked at a store in a nearby town.
"I was dumfounded. I thought I was dreaming," the husband said.