Darkness Falling Fast in Putin’s Russia

Darkness is falling with horrifying finality and speed in Putin’s Russia.  The news  of it is almost too vast too document.

Just Russia is sundered and destroyed.

Opposition protests have fallen back to the size they had before the co-called “white” awakening.

Only a puny number of Russians care to remember the atrocities of Stalin, and the leaders of Russia totally ignore such memorials.

The last important bastion of the market economy in Russia has been wiped out.

A draconian new law allows the Kremlin to brand almost anyone a “traitor” just for disagreeing with the Kremlin. Almost as terrifying as a second law permitting the Kremlin to shut down websites at will without due process.

A new era of reckless neo-Soviet style confrontation with the USA has begun, including a virulent attack by Nashi on Mormonism, the religion of the Republican nominee.  In fact, they’re even going after Barack Obama’s car!

Meanwhile, the Russian Orthodox Church is one breath away from calling for pogroms against non-Slavs and anointing Putin as the Holy Russian Emperor.

It’s all so gotten so bad so fast that Vladmir Pozner has had a “Cronkite moment” on state-sponsored TV. He’s already facing calls for his dismissal.

Russia is now ruled by a proud KGB spy for life, and he is eradicating the very last vestiges of civil society in Russia. The nation, once again, is doomed.

An Election in Russia?

On Monday, voting closed in the Russian opposition’s online election.  170,000 had signed up for the process, but only 98,000 actually took the trouble to document their identity.  Of the registered voters, only 82,000 actually went to the polls to cast their votes.

The spinning began immediately.

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The Russians are Russia’s Worst Enemy

Once again, the craven denizens of Russia have shown that they are by far the greatest threat to the survival of their country. They make Hitler look like Peter I.

I could have said this was another election stolen from the people, but I won’t.  The people have stolen this election from themselves. Such a turnout is a disgrace and an incredible help to fraudsters.

So wrote Russian blogger Viktor Troinov of the recent spate of local elections held in Putin’s Russia.

Only one in twenty eligible voters went to the polls to support Yevgenia Chirikova’s bid for Mayor of Khimiki, despite a massive avalanche of publicity from the glitterati of the Russian opposition.  Nationwide, two thirds or more of the electorate stayed home and ignored elections which the opposition had claimed were their new focus.  United Russia brutally crushed the opposition virtually everywhere, winning massive landslides in all regional and gubernatorial polls.

In the time of Stalin, Russians turned a blind eye or informed on their neighbors. They did not resist, they did not fight for their country’s future. The result was that the USSR collapsed into rubble. And now Russians have learned nothing, and they repeat the same ghastly error.

Once again, the leadership of the opposition has been proved totally fraudulent.  Yet another promise has been broken. First we were told they would force new Duma elections. It did not happen. Then they would force Putin into a runoff. Nope. Then they would vastly increase their street demonstrations. They did the opposite. And now, when they claimed that they would make up for all that failure by succeeding at the local level, once again they have utterly collapsed.  And through it all, there is not the slightest hint of introspection, of a change in leadership, of reform.

It is the beginning of the end for Russia.  As Leonid Bershidsky has written:   “The October 14 polls sent an unmistakable message: Electoral democracy as we know it is dying a slow, painful death under President Vladimir Putin.”  And make no mistake:  It is the people of Russia who are killing it, along with their children’s hope for a better, different life from the disastrous failure of the USSR.

Russia by the Numbers

Sometimes, numbers paint a picture of a people better than words:

69%

Share of the Russian population that believes the Pussy Riot sentence, two years in jail, one at hard labor for young mothers singing in church, was appropriate or too lenient.

64%

Share of the Russian population that voted for Vladimir Putin

63%

Share of the Russian population that supports Internet censorship.

Remembering Politkovskaya

Today’s date, October 7, has double significance in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

First, it’s Putin’s birthday, and this year is a big one. He turns sixty today.

Second, it’s the date on which Putin had Anna Politkovskaya murdered for reporting his outrageous violation of basic human rights in Chechnya.  The date was chosen by the assassin he employed so that her killing would be a birthday present for Putin, the kind he likes best:  bloody.

The U.S. State Department has issued a memorial statement which demands that “all involved in her murder” be “identified and prosecuted.”  Presumably, this includes Putin.

Putin’s murderous campaign against opposition figures began the moment he took office in the Kremlin, with Galina Starovoitova. It continued after Politkovskaya to reach Alexander Litvinenko, Stanislav Markelov and Natalia Estemirova. And not once — not once — has so much as a trigger man been brought to justice. In the wake of her killing, Putin branded Politkovskaya a threat to the nation.  Before she was gunned down, she had written: “I have wondered a great deal why I have so got it in for Putin. What is it that makes me dislike him so much as to feel moved to write a book about him? I am not one of his political opponents or rivals, just a woman living in Russia. Quite simply, I am a 45-year-old Muscovite who observed the Soviet Union at its most disgraceful in the 1970s and ’80s. I really don’t want to find myself back there again.”

If the U.S. Statement Department is really serious when it says “journalists across the globe who speak out against abuses and work to secure fundamental freedoms for their fellow citizens must be protected” then it’s time for actions, not mere words.  Sanctions should be imposed on the malignant neo-Soviet regime led by Putin, and public efforts should be made to reach out to and assist those few remaining figures who dare to continue Politkovskaya’s work.  Among them are Yevgenia Albats, Lida Yusupova, Yulia Latynina, Maria Litvinovich and Svetlana Gannushkina.  They should all get invitations to come to the White House and munch burgers with Obama, just like Medvedev got.

Most recently, another one of Polikovskaya’s heirs came in for the treatment.  Tatyana Lokshina, a specialist for Human Rights Watch, received a barrage of threatening text messages that included menacing her unborn child and knowledge of her personal movements, indicating she was being watched and followed by a shadowy organization that seems very much like the KGB beloved by Vladimir Putin. And one thing we know for sure is that the KGB and other Russian law enforcement agencies have done absolutely nothing since Lokshina received the messages, despite a specific demand for action by the American ambassador, to investigate and apprehend the culprit.

Russians learned nothing from the demise of Politkovskaya. Instead of rising to demand Putin leave office, they handed him unlimited power for life and now watch him to all he can to recreate the USSR.  And President Barack Obama has pursued a policy of appeasement that can only make Putin sure he’ll be able to get away with murder.

Russian Economic Meltdown?

Over on the massive Pajamas Media megablog, Kim Zigfeld reviews recent economic data from Russia which shows the country on the verge of a major financial meltdown.   Who can be surprised by this, when Russians blithely hand unlimited power for life to a proud KGB spy with no hint of business or economics training or acumen, who plagiarized his way to a university degree and spent his career being a thief and a thug?

Putin earns $120,000 per year, while the average Russian earns $8,000.  So Putin’s salary is fifteen times the Russian average.  Barack Obama earns $400,000 while the average American earns $46,000.  So the disparity between presidential and popular income in Russia is nearly double what it is in the U.S. Americans earn nearly six times more than Russians, yet they bear half the burden Russians do in compensating their chief executive.  And that’s to say nothing of Russia’s infamous corruption, of course, which makes Putin and his administration far more expensive still.

Russia, Nation of Morons

In yet another epic humiliation for Putin’s Russia, the country has once again been totally excluded from the list of the top 200 universities in the world.  Anyone even vaguely familiar with Russian universities, where professors are paid slave wages and students cheat and bribe the way normal students in other countries drink bottled water.  Russian higher education is corrupt from top to bottom, and decades out of date, mired in neo-Soviet politics.

Or take a look at the list of Nobel prize winners.  Good luck finding even one Russian, much less a significant contingent there.  Russian universities prize slavish adherence to authority and bureaucracy, not the kind of creative cutting-edge thinking that leads to advances in knowledge.  The result is, just for instance, the totally humiliating revelation that Russia has been reduced to using spies to steal simple microchips available on the U.S. commercial market because it can’t produce such basic technology itself.

We firmly believe that the Putin Kremlin does not want it to be any different. A real university system would mean educated, powerful young people who are difficult to control. Putin wants Russians sick and ignorant, because they are so much easier to dominate and control that way. Why else would Putin take the appalling action of kicking UNICEF out of Russia, denying thousands of Russian children a healthier, better life?  It’s the same attitude the rulers of the USSR had, the same attitude that drove the USSR to collapse onto the ash heap of history.

Obama Knifes the Radio Liberty Baby

If anyone was hoping that Barack Obama would finally stand up for his country and its values and condemn the Putin Kremlin’s liquidation of USAID, they were stunned and appalled when Obama did the exact opposite, and went Putin one better by liquidating Radio Liberty.

Two brutal condemnations of Obama’s craven actions have been written by Russians, and they are required reading for any American citizen. First, Vladimir Kara-Murza called the Obama policy “ludicrous”  and “a celebration for the enemies of freedom in Russia.”  Then Vladimir Ryzhkov wrote that Obama’s America was guilty of a “cowardly retreat from its democratic principles.”

Obama is the new Chamberlain. He promised us his “reset” policy, a euphemism for appeasement, would cause Russia to stop supporting American enemies like Venezuela and Syria and Iran. Instead, sensing weakness, Putin only redoubled his support for them, and happily took advantage of Obama’s invitation to wipe out the last vestiges of civil society in Russia.  Obama has given America the worst of all possible worlds.

All Americans should bow their heads in shame, and offer their humble apology to brave Russians like Kara-Murza and Ryzhkov who have risked being Politkovskized by Putin in order to fight for American values.  It has never been more clear that Obama must be removed from office so that the rebuilding of America’s reputation can begin before it is irreparably destroyed.