Putin, Krymsk and the Neo-Stalinist Meat Grinder

You hardly needed to read this report on the horrific flooding in southern Russia which has killed nearly 200:

Officials have acknowledged they were aware of the dangers posed by rising waters, but failed to deliver that information to the residents of Krymsk, the city of 57,000 devastated by the flood.

You already knew it was the case.

It is the same each and every time something like this happens in Russia, just as it was in Soviet times.  The government of Russia, embodied by the Kremlin and its hoard of proud KGB spies, simply does not care about the lives of ordinary Russians.

And it does not care for one simple reason:  Those ordinary Russians don’t demand to be cared about. They turn a blind eye as their government commits all manner of atrocities, from invading Georgia to murdering Anna Politkovskaya.

In fact, at best they turn a blind eye. At worst, they stand and cheer, or turn in their neighbors, actually carrying out such barbaric acts.  And they continue to elect and reelect Putin and his KGB cohort, and continue to allow them to roll the clock back on human rights.

Even as the reports of horror in Krymsk were rolling in, it was also being reported that the Russian Duma was putting the finishing touches on brutal new measures to block foreign human rights support and crush the Internet, the two last remaining vestiges of support for the Russian opposition movement. Also moving in the Duma is a law that would, in effect, make criticizing Putin and his cadre of demons a criminal offense, just as in Soviet times.

When Russians act this way, it’s very hard to feel sorry for them when natural disasters brutalize them.  There was a time when we saw Russians as innocent victims of their government, as oppressed by it as we were. But now, it’s hard not to see them as perpetrators, collaborators, and part of the problem, not the solution.