Wednesday, May 23, 2007

rant rant rant from Daily Mail

Do not read further if you want balanced commentary and thoughtful nuance. This piece is written for a mass-circulation tabloid. Many other things could and should be said on this subject. It does not represent the view of The Economist, and certainly not of my colleagues there. But it comes from the heart.



22/05/07 - News section

Back to the Cold War - Putin's Russia threat to Britain
By EDWARD LUCAS

Murder on our streets. Blackmail over oil supplies. Cyber- terrorism. Putin's Russia poses a grave threat to our way of life.

So now it's official: the nuclear terrorist attack on the streets of London that killed Alexander Litvinenko and contaminated 17 others was not by 'person or persons unknown'.

The British authorities have publicly named the man many have long seen as the prime suspect: Andrei Lugovoy, a multi-millionaire ex-KGB agent with close ties to the Kremlin.

His trail leads through London and Hamburg, marked by traces of Polonium-210, the lethal radioactive isotope that condemned the Russian defector to a grisly death.

{R}

Many mysteries remain.

Mr Lugovoy vehemently protests his innocence.

Was he set up by the real assassins? Or was he a bungler? Professional KGB killers would never have left so many clues.

Maybe the Kremlin wanted to send a powerful message, condemning a man they saw as a traitor to a slow, agonising and public death?

And how serious was Mr Litvinenko, with his increasingly wild allegations of paedophilia in the Kremlin and Russian support for Al-Qaeda?

In spy novels, such puzzles are neatly unravelled by the end of the story. But this real-life thriller has only just begun, and there are few answers to any of the terrifying problems that it poses.

The truth is that Russia, under Vladimir Putin, has become a nation that matches the resources and ambition of a superpower with the ruthlessness and ingenuity of gangsters and terrorists.

As even the most sentimental and feeble-minded westerners are beginning to realise, Russia poses a profound threat to our way of life, and one that we are still pitifully ill- equipped to counter.

The first and most blatant weapon in its armoury is murder. As Paul Joyal, a prominent American expert on intelligence and Kremlin dirty tricks - and a friend of Mr Litvinenko's - said on an American television programme: "A message has been communicated to anyone who wants to speak out against the Kremlin: 'If you do, no matter who you are, where you are, we will find you and we will silence you - in the most horrible way possible.' "

A week after that interview was broadcast, Mr Joyal was gunned down outside his home near Washington DC.

Initial reports said it was just a sinister coincidence. Mr Joyal himself, his internal organs torn to pieces by the attacker's bullet, was in a drug-induced coma for nearly a month.

Since then he has said little. But when I spoke to him, he said that the behaviour of the attackers and the fact that they left his wallet, briefcase, computer and car (as well as other objects that must stay confidential for now) mean it is virtually impossible that it was mere street crime.

That suspicion might also be shared by America's FBI, which - highly unusually - is assisting the local county police in their investigation.

Kremlin death squads have killed others.

Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, an exiled Chechen leader, was blown up in February 2004 in the Qatari capital, Doha, along with two bodyguards and his young son.

The perpetrators - officers in Russia's elite GRU military intelligence service - were caught, tried and imprisoned.

As part of a deal with Russia, they were returned home, supposedly to serve out the rest of their sentences. Instead, they received a heroes' welcome and were released.

So much for legality in Russia, a country that has passed a law authorising the murder of its enemies abroad. The definition of enemies, incidentally, includes "extremist" - a word that Russian officials use to describe anyone who disagrees with them.

Russia shows a similarly cavalier attitude to its business dealings with the outside world.

Tearing up contracts without the slightest hesitation, it uses blackmail against its neighbours in a way that would have been unimaginable even in the depths of the Cold War.

Lithuania and Estonia, two brave Baltic nations that cast off the shackles of communist tyranny in 1991, are in the front line of Russian energy sanctions.

A vital oil pipeline to Lithuania's Mazeikiai oil refinery - the mainstay of that country's economy - has been cut off, supposedly for urgent maintenance.

But the repair works have been going on for nearly a year and are set to continue indefinitely.

When Lithuanian officials protested, a senior Russian visitor told them: "Sorry, you should have sold the refinery to us" (Lithuania had sold it to the main oil company in friendly, neighbouring Poland).

Among other sanctions on Estonia, Russian officials have crippled trade by closing that country's main road bridge from Russia, again claiming that it needs "urgent repairs".

Given Europe's dependence on Russian energy, that is already alarming. But it is another kind of onslaught unleashed against plucky Estonia that has set deafening alarm bells ringing in Brussels and Washington.

Last month, Estonia's government decided to move a Soviet war memorial in the centre of the capital, Tallinn, to a nearby military cemetery.

That prompted demonstrations by local Russians, egged on by the Kremlin's spies and provocateurs, which soon turned into riots and looting.

In the chocolate-box streets of medieval Tallinn, familiar to many British holidaymakers as one of the friendliest and most charming capitals of Europe, drunken Russian hooligans emptied shops and burnt cars, chanting "It's all ours" and "Soviet Union for ever".

In Moscow, thugs blockaded and attacked the Estonian embassy - a flagrant breach of the Vienna convention. When the Swedish ambassador visited, they tried to turn over his car.

But that was only a taste of the havoc to be wreaked in cyberspace. Estonia's most vital computers experienced a cyber-attack on a scale and ferocity unknown in the history of the internet.

Techniques normally employed by cyber-criminals, such as huge remote-controlled networks of hijacked computers, were used to cripple vital public services, paralyse the banking system and cut off the government's websites from the outside world.

By cutting Estonia off from the world, the Kremlin's propagandists could freely peddle their poisonous lies about a "fascist revival" in this peaceful, prosperous and democratic country.

Luckily for us, Russia's goons and spooks have overplayed their hand. Outrage in Germany about the way Vladimir Putin's thuggish regime crushes opposition and bullies its neighbours makes it easier for the steely Chancellor, Angela Merkel, herself a former inmate of the grim Communist prison camp of East Germany, to show her own distaste.

The European Union's summit with Russia in Samara last week was a frosty affair - a welcome change from days of Silvio Berlusconi, Jacques Chirac and Gerhard Schroder, infamous for their sleazy backslapping with Russia's leaders.

But we in Britain have yet to catch up - thanks, paradoxically, to our open, globalised economy. Russia's energyfuelled wealth has given it a vital bridgehead, creating a powerful lobby of banks and business partners that overlooks any crimes in the hope of profit.

BP's imminent loss of its most prized investment in Russia, the $6 billion Kovykta gas field, is a punishment for the British authorities' temerity in charging Mr Lugovoy.

That shows how high the stakes are.

Even now, the Kremlin's slimy spin-doctors are trying to downplay the Litvinenko murder: he was a "provocative" figure, one of them murmured to me.

But since when has being "provocative" attracted a death sentence, meted out without judge or jury on the streets of London?

The dismal truth is this: during the Cold War, capitalists and freedom-fighters were on the same side.

Now that Russia has adopted capitalism - albeit its own barbarous version - a fifth column has marched straight into the heart of the British establishment.

What will it take to counteract it?



30 comments:

db330 said...

well, i agree with the disclaimer.

i'm a russia follower and a firm supporter of the putin administration. thanks i guess for summing up a few misconceptions and stereotypes and using them as basis of your article... but, yeah, with nato encircling it, the west coming off its almost complete plunder of it during the 90s, and the nationalistic anti-semetic regimes in the baltics, poland, and georgia continuously instigating it and demonizing it in the press, it's only natural that russia begins to regroup and reengange.

i mean, the west simply assumed that post-cold war russia would be like africa, we would have a full say and our companies would rule the waves, destroying the environment to get all the oil, all the gold. maybe at first the russians thought so too but the completely disgraceful way we behaved in the 90s opened their eyes and we're reaping what he sowed.

Nothing is Free said...

Read the article before the disclaimer. Found it no different to your usual Economist fare (when it comes to Russia at least). I guess the Economist is now racing the Daily Mail to the bottom.

bonzoq said...

It reads like a spy novel, but sadly it's true and I couldn't agree with it more.

Mait said...

As rants go, this was a quality one. Thanks;)

La Russophobe said...

Thank God for Edward Lucas! This may very well be the best thing about Russia ever written in that amount of space, and getting it the huge audience is a major coup!

Attaboy!! Encore!! Molodets!

You may not realize it, but you're a true Russian patriot, Edward.

bochkis said...

Dear comrade Lucas, we thank you for the great job you've been doing for us. The unwavering dedication ,with which you are imposing the image of the Liberal western Democracy, as being arrogant, self-promoting ethnocentric club for the major assholes who suffer from the genetically unmodifiable superiority complex ( previously known as White Man's Burden), truly burned itself into the mid of the average Russian citizen. As result, the word “democracy” causes variety of the reactions in the midst of Russian society, ranging from uncontrollable projectile vomiting ( cleansing digestive system of the Russians of the remains of Polish... errr beef ) to wide spread panic and profound need to copulate ( thus solving the demographic problem) . It is the people like you who ensure future rise of the Evil Empire it is indeed has been gone for too long. Accept this small token of our appreciation in the the form of the very special tea “Polonez” -feel free to share it with mr.Berezovskiy -tell him that we remember him fondly. Yours truly - Bloody Gebnia.

P.S try not to run around public places a whole lot after you consumed the tea.

arzhr said...

Dear Mr.Lukas,
Your piece was translated and posted in Ru-Web, so many Russians had opportunity to read it.

As we already know, the first and the most blatant weapon in your armory is outrageous lie. There, in particular, you are lying about the attempt of robbery of Mr.Joyal, while 2 black guys shoot him (yes, it's true. Probably Mr.Joyal lost ... his balls. Are balls those "objects that must stay confidential for now"?), trying to get his wallet. The police caught those guys, they were common robbers.

Secondly, if you read New York Times,
than you may find that "Zelimkhan Yandarbiyev, a separatist guerrilla leader linked to Al Qaeda". He was cruel terrorist. In accordance with Russian law, terrorists can be eliminated even in foreign countries. BTW, the US and the Israel have similar law.

Let's turn to the extremism question. The leader of our Russian Democracy movement is Garry Kasparov, the former world-chess champion. Certainly, he is not an extremist and nobody consider him like that. Also, it's true that in Russia there are extremist organizations. They use to promote nazi symbols like "swastika" and slogans "Russia for Russians". The funniest part is that Garry Kasparov joins hands with Russian Nazi, they are partners and friends! Are they popular? Well... in Moskow they had collected 2000 people (>0.05%), in Sankt-Petersburg 1000 people (it is 0.03%) and the last time 150 in Samara (<0.001%). Moreover, the local authorities has to protect their mass-meetings, because sometimes Russian people use to throw bottles, cobble and other trash to nazi. By the same reason the gay's march passing aren't allowed in Russia.

Since 1991, two brave Baltic nations Lithuania and Estonia, live at the expense of Russia. They use to buy Russian resources (oil, gas, non-ferrous metals) and sell it to the Western Europe. Also, they are trying to collect the transit tribute of gas and oil. From the modern, economical point of view, they live like parasites. Since Russia have changed the prices for those guys, they do not like Russia anymore and try to provoke Russia in many ways. BTW, according to Estonian statistics, so-called "drunken Russian hooligans" in Tallin were consisted of 1/3 of Estonian citizens. They are Estonian by nationality. Funny? heh... ;)

Since Russians do not like nazi, fascits and/or faggots, Russian businessmens stopped to trade with Estonia, evil Russian hackers attack Estonian Web space and some officials had decided to repair bridges and railroads. Why not? Russia is a freedom country, it's just our choice.

Finally, nobody in Kremlin care about former spies, so-called "traitors". After falling USSR, there are a lot of former soviet spies in over the world. Are they all need to be killed using 10 million dollar radioactive poison? Are you crazy? BTW, all Litvinenko's books you may find in cheap books stores or in Internet,it is for free.

Martin said...

Edward,

As time passes I grow more and more concerned for your sanity.

Really, I do.

Urmo said...

The truely sad fact is that huge part of RF supports Putin. People who have always loved authocratic leaders and will jump to defend them. Russians, living in mostly democratic country, will usually become really really apolitical. Estonia is a good example. Only russian "voice" heard here is mostly russian produced by pro-USSR extremists.

Remember how Stalin was idolized then he came to power? How people justified his actions when he initiated the purges. Only afterward they mumble "under Stalin regime, everybody suffered, including Russians", a kind of justification to Stalins regime. How absurd can this get?

Western world still doesn't understand the impact and success of the homo sovieticus project. Only years living in USSR or todays RF will teach you that. You, mr Lucas, have undestood it really well, I wonder how.

Nothing is Free said...

Putin is supported because of the low, low, low benchmark set by the West's favorite Russian Yeltsin.

Stalin was not a popularly elected leader. He was idolized in the same way you will idolize your torturer after a while. These comparisons between Putin and Stalin are ludicrous. You might as well equate Bush and Hitler, while you are at it.

Edward Lucas said...

Thanks for all the feedback. A few points in response.

Urmo: I studied in Communist Poland, lived for 8 years in the USSR and its successor states.

Martin: I am not mad, just worried. You get pretty concerned about foreigners misbehaving in Britain, according to your blog. So why are you apparently not worried about Russians using lethal radioactive poisons?

Arzhr: The police have not caught Mr Joyal's assailants. If Yandarbiyev was not a "terrorist" why did the Kremlin itself negotiate with his Chechen colleagues at Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport in 2001? That was probably the best, and perhaps only, chance of settling the conflict.

You echo Soviet arguments: "There are very few dissidents, and many of them are mad, therefore we are right to treat them harshly".

Estonia does not "live off Russia". Only 10% of its exports go to Russia. It lives off modern-economy stuff like software, tourism, services. Go check the statistics.

If Russia wants to be treated as a civilised country, it has to stick to the civilised world's rules. That includes not using cyber-terrorism.

Bochkis: ditto. Making death threats rather undermines your case.

Thanks Kim, Mait, Bonzoq.

DB330. Lay off the western guilt. Russia is mainly in a mess now because of 70 years of appalling totalitarian rule. Whatever we or Gorby or Yeltsin or Gaidar did would not have brought a pleasant outcome. Specifically: I don't think the West "plundered" Russia in the 1990s. My memory is of billions of dollars of western loans and aid disappearing into Russian pockets. That was plunder but the other way round. The Baltic regimes are neither nationalist nor anti-semitic.

Nothing is Free: instead of insults, why not explain what you disagree with.

cheers

Edward

Nothing is Free said...

Martin,

He is perfectly sane, and there is no anti-Russian conspiracy in the media. Like every cynical journo he is going with the trends. Current trend is to vilify Russia, as that is the first natural reaction when unexpectedly your former adversary is getting of his knees.

Urmo said...

When asked for argumentation, the answer is generalization, another insult and then arrogance. "nothing is free", platnoi methods are pretty useless here.

urr said...

what a good article! amazing! how nice expressions about Tallinn and Estonia! Thank You for this.
I don't understand only this - why it is easier to tell the truth in the tabloid?
I can understand pretty well that the problems of tiny baltic states might not be important for big countries and big nations - until they are going to be in direct contact of the criminal regime of nowadays russia which has to be stopped as soon as possible. the western countries didn't stopped hitler and you know what happened.
I would like to point also that the land in siberia where all the russian and western companies are getting their profit is not belonging to russians. it belongs to indigenous people of siberia as for example khanti and nenets people. the harm which is already done to their land, nature and to those people is unspeakable. it is not clear if those people will survive this combined attack of communists and capitalists or not.

Vitaliy said...

Edward:

It is great that I may write to you and you may read my opinion. I understand that you may have your own "point of view", since you hate Russians (it's ok, we really hate you back >:-E ), but I just want to show the "real facts or reality", or, simply the truth.

ABOUT Mr. Joyal's accedent: Who one else do seriously belive in the colorfull "spy theory", that poor Mr.Joyal lost his (gm...) by the order of Putin? If you think that Putin has nothing to do, but to hunt journalist's (gm...) on, you are not right. Nobody takes your version seriously, I met just one(!) foreign publication that try to consider such version. (did you publish such version before?)

ABOUT Yandarbiyev: Are you serious about that it is possible to negotiate with terrorists in aeroports? :)))
It was just a short episode in that long conflict and the purpose of that meeting was not establishing the contact or doing negotiations.

If you look at history of the Chechen conflict, you may see that there were a lot of negotiations. Moreover, Chechnia de-facto got independence of Russia in 08/31/1996. Then, in 06/18/1999 Chechnia had attaked their muslim neighbours in the Dagestan Republic. Since Russia has ageement with Dagestan (Dagestan is a part of Russia Federation) about the protection in the case of agression, then Russia de-facto claimed the war to Checnia, on the base of UN article of self-defence. Note that it is the main difference between the first and the second Chechen wars. Also, during the period 1996-1999, Chechnia was the center of kidnapping, narcotraffic, illegal weapons trading, political violence and religious extremism and other shit that you just cannot imagine sitting in your warm chair. (BTW, if the West will be enough stupid to give independence to Kosovo, you will get the similar center of shit in the center of Europe. Well... may be you do not care, since you are living in London ;) )

Therefore, I want to show that:
1. (my main point) If you want to be a bit close to "objective journalism" and do not want to give a shit to your courteous readers, study the history of a topic. Apply that simple rule everytime! Next, you are writting that you have lived in USSR for 8 years. Then you can read Russian. So, go ahead, there are many materials in Russian and in English about that topic!

2. Yandarbiyev was the coordinator and the "paymaster" of terrorist attacks. There is no any sense to negotiate with terorrists. They must be killed. Orderly. One-by-one. Now Russians found that rule empirically.

ABOUT "Soviet terminology": In explanatory English dictionary we find: "DISSIDENT: a person who dissents from some established policy." As I said, de-facto Chechnia was independent in 1996-1999. Russians didn't control its territory, Chechens lived by their own medieval rules (not laws, but rules. Note that!). So, according to that definition, what are you talking about?

ABOUT Estonia: Mr. Lucas, I wrote that the main source of Estonian income is RE-EXPORT of natural resources to the Western Europe. Do Estonia have oil-fields, ore deposit or gas-fields? No... So, why was Estonia one of the main (!!!) exporters of those resources? Because they did re-export of it from Russia. Russia do not mind ;) so Estonia may continue to do such business. However, now they must pay the world's prices for those resources. Nothing personal, just business.

Finally, ABOUT cyberattacks: In explanatory English dictionary we find: "CIVILISED:
1. having a high state of culture and development both social and technological;
2. marked by refinement in taste and manners."
hmm... 1. Russian culture is one of the oldest cultures in Europe. Moreover, through the centuries, Russia was the center of producing, establish contacts and cultural exchange for all slavic cultures, that includes: Russians, White-Russians, Ukranians, Polish, Serbian, Macedonian. Russia consolidates Siberian, Caucasian, Middle Asia (Kazakstan, Uzbekistan and so on) territories and preserve cultures and traditions of all nations and tribes (Siberian) on those territories. For example, in the Soviet time all young Russian that had lived in Kazakstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine MUST learn their national languages as the second language! It is just because they lived in those republics. Moreover, in the West Ukraine, you could use officially Ukranian language for office/clerical work i.e in court.
From the thecnological point of view, Russia today have some technologies that Britan doesn't have.
2. Estonian, Polish and Lithuania diplomats and athorities must be more polite and civilised as new European countries. They have established ultra-nationalist (fascist) regime. A one cite: "The lack of political will in Tallinn to prosecute Holocaust perpetrators is clearly evident in public pronouncements by officials such as former state prosecutor Heino Tonismagi ... ignores the active participation of numerous Estonians in WWII era crimes and the support of much of the local population for the Nazi occupation." - Jerusalem Post. Additionally, without any reasons, they behave oneself disrespectfully, like assholes and try to provoke us. It continues the last 18(!!!) years and Russians tried didn't pay much attention on that. I think we have full rights to pay back them economically and/or using their own "not-civilised" weapon. So fu...them'll.

Nothing is Free said...

urmo:

It's easier to make ridiculous claims than to refute them. If you believe otherwise, prove that 911 was not an inside job.

urr:

It is obvious that as a new state of US of A, you are now assured of your security, democracy, etc., etc., and can now devote yourself to unselfish causes. I think it is most appropriate that first and foremost, you should stand up for the indigenous peoples of your new country. It's only fair that they get their land back. For reference, please consult "Little Big Man" and "Dances with Wolves".

Martin said...

Edward.

You write,

"So why are you apparently not worried about Russians using lethal radioactive poisons"

I am very worried about the activities of Russian expatriates in the UK; if you scroll down the right hand side of my blog, you will see a heading marked 'The Litvinenko Posts'.

There are about 40 of them.

I have a terrible feeling that you are incapable of believing that Rusians should be Russians just as Brits should be allowed to be Brits.

Urmo said...

Dear "nothing is free", it might come as big supprise to you but I'm not a die-hard pro-american. And I would not be suprised if you were right about "inside job". But the facts represented in this case are quite vague, compared for example 1999 apartment bombings. FSB carring sugarbags? Only ultranaive westeners as naive ex-soviets can believe that.

Urmo said...

But now, look at the some of the ridiculous claims:

Claim 1: "Cyber-terrorism" - is that ridiculous? While I'm not sure RF government coordinates it, they have done exactly NOTHING to stop it.

Claim 2: "Radioactive attack". Article mentions that mr Lugovoy is prime suspect and he has close ties to Kremlin. Isn't he or doesn't he? And again, polonium coming from Russian reactors and RF goverment seems to have no problem with that.

Claim3: "Some anti-kremlin" dissidents/journalists have been killed. Is that wrong? How many pro-Kremlin journalists have been killed in last years. Last time I counted, number was zero.

Claim4: "Mr Joyal was attacked but his belongings were not taken". Is that a typical robbery pattern? If it was done by afroamericans, that makes it impossible to be KGB job? And just by accident he was shot to the balls?

Claim5: "Russian government is really corrupted". I suggest you look up Putins' party member Alexander Lebedev giving interview for the HARDtalk. Even he admits it but of course denies Putin involvement. You also cannot deny KGB strong bonding with both government and businesses.

Claim6 "Russia has passed a law with a very fuzzy definition of extremist". You cannot argue it hasn't. Law doesn't address terrorists (international definition of terrorist is well known, extremist in the other hand has so many shades of grey.

I think I don't have to bring out relations to the close neightbours interfering with internal matters, using economical sanctions sugercoated as differet sorts of everyday problems, media hystery started btw long before this year and clear policy to fracture EU.

While the tone of the article suits truely a tabloid, I think the claims made there are quite valid.

bochkis said...

Dear Mr. Lucas you inability to recognize sarcasm is dully noted. Strangely enough, most Britons I know, do have quite keen sense of humor – something, that you are apparently, totally lacking. I hereby make a promise not to you use any form of jesting, while addressing you. Insofar as death threats are concerned : chocking on the hamburger, or beer or being hit by a cab or any other such unfortunate and unpredictable occurrence , has considerably greater chance of cutting your life short, than any operation by Russian secret services ,that your paranoid mind can come up with. Indeed, I would not be surprised at all if they are not aware of your existence. I however, sincerely wish that nothing bad or tragic happens to you – since you quite frankly provide such you provide quite a bit of comic relief – I do implore you to right more though. I bid you long and happy life in the land of Windsors - God save the Queen. Cheers.

Nothing is Free said...

1: How can you stop hacktivism?
2: Lugovoi spent time in jail only a few years ago, and was BAB's stooge in the years before that (just like Litvinenko). Anyway, all this hangs on the claim that Litvinenko was a significant player and his death would be beneficial to the Kremlin. He wasn't, it wasn't. It sure helped BAB from sliding into obscurity. Furthermore, in case you haven't heard, Lugovoi is a millionaire. Surely he could have paid for someone else to do a dirty job?
3: Paul Khlebnikov was pro-Putin, anti-chechen separatists, anti-BAB - a fact completely ignored by the media. The West was not so concerned when journalists were killed in droves in the 90s.
4: All that we've heard since is that the Washington Police think it's a common crime. We'll see. Again, all the innuendo hangs on the claim that these pundits pose any sort of threat to the Kremlin. They don't.
5: It is, but no more (and probably a lot less) than that of the drunkard and his family was.
6: It's a bad law. But I find it hard to believe that the security apparatus would be dumb enough to interpret it as a veiled order to assassinate government critics, no matter how "prominent" they are.

Nothing is Free said...

urmo:

The problem I have with this is that Western reporting always states that the apartment bombings were the casus belli of the second war, most often entirely omitting the fact that Chechens had invaded Dagestan, and the war had already started. There was no need for further casus belli. If you are cynical enough, you can claim that 911 was a convenient excuse for United States to entrench itself in Central Asia and later Iraq.

Urmo said...

"nothing is free", in my opinion, western media is quite right: bombings gave an excuse and massive public support for chechen invasion. And what is even more important, it gave Putin an huge leap in public support paving the way to his presidency. That is an oldest trick in a political how-to book. On a small scale it happened exactly the same way in Estonia during the Bronze Soldier riots. After the RF representatives had made the demand for the government to step down (i.e. foreign threat was introduced), it gained highest support ever.

PS: I actually claim that even 9/11 wasn't sufficient excuse for Afganistan/Iraq invasion. I think we both know the real reasons behind those invasion.

Urmo said...

"nothing is free", some thoughts on your anti-thoughts :)

"How can you stop hacktivism?"
Capture couple of hackers and make a strong example. Or are you claiming RF is unable to track and catch ANY hackers on RF soil?

Lugovoi case: everything having to do with Litvinenko case seems to be sloppily and I'm sure it's deliberate to send a message. But I'm sure then british say they have irrefutable evidence, they must really have something.

"Paul Khlebnikov case": I don't think that the fact of Khlebnikov investigation of corrupted moscow and chechen officials and probably including BAB as one of the bad guys make him pro-Putin. Putin mentioning him after the Russia had been declared one of the most hostile zone for journalists doesn't really mean nothing if you think about it. And btw, everybody is against separatists, I don't think any sane person in the world would support terrorists no matter where and who they are.

I cannot say anything on the "Putin is better than Yeltsin" matter if it is constructed as a beauty contest. Last time I recall Yeltsin and satan himself (BAB) were the one who put Putin to the throne. I guess they didn't want to pick the most blue-eyed angel.

And the law. Law does not order anything. Law gives some freedom to do some things if ordered. For example, if a true compeditor to the power would emerge. I think Kasparov and his company of clowns are allowed to exists only to show that there is some pieces of democracy left in RF. Everybody knows they don't have a chance against Putin so why not make some circus, that is what the little people want, don't they.

WhatnewEurope? said...

come on...mr Lucas. The Litvinenko case was annointed to be a propaganda gold-minde for the likely implicated west...but by now it is stale and unimportant...much like the storm-in-a-tea-cup stink about Polish meat (and African meat that moves through Poland). Who cares about either of these issues...even NATO reps - can one get any more politicized than that - have concluded that cyber attacks had no Russian trace. But for the russophobes, growing and recovering Russia is scarry, upsetting, and frustrating. I suspect that many in Europe also feel deep disgruntlement that on key issues their governments do not make their own decisions, but Washington does. So they dislike Russia even more - because it is not like them....one can always notice this petty inferiority complex that many non-sovereign states have against a great people...these are like the bitter wispers of midgets.
Sorr Mr. Lucas.

Edward Lucas said...

Hmmm

A few more points. I am not saying categorically that Joyal was attacked on Mr Putin's orders--only that the initial "street crime" explanation is now being questioned. I think that is quite interesting information.

It is classic Russian paranoia to say "now we are getting off our knees, the west hates us". Remember the billions of dollars in loans the west paid in the 1990s? That hardly suggests that our aim is a weak Russia.

The really scary thing about the cyber-attacks on Estonia is that nobody in Russia thinks it is anything more than a prank by well-meaning political activists who "maybe went a bit too far".

urr said...

to nothing is free
I'm not sure what You are talking about. in estonia the only indigenous people are estonians. those indigenous people about whom I was talking, live in russian federation and you should ask from the russian government why the genocide toward those people is still going on.

urr said...

to vitali and other russians full of hatred:
by some reason you do not remember that there are mainly russian businessmen (suported by Krelin regime) who are using our railways and harbours for transporting the oil. they are only spoiling the nature and the baltic sea with their oli wastes. we have no need for them, because the income from the transit for estonian government is very small.
about the old and nasty acuses that all estonians are fashists: we have heard it already more than fifty years. try a bit and find something more fresh. alo lõhmus has wrote a very good article in "Postimees" where he shows that already in 1924, when russian spies attacked tallinn with arms and tried to get the power - before the attack there were organized demonstrations in St Petersburg were even schoolchildren participated. they shouted the same - estonians are fashists! as a matter of fact, estonian president Konstatin Päts stopped the movement of so-called "freedom-war participants" and was a true friend of russia. there have never been any fashists or nazis in estonia. unfortunately there are a lot of them in nowadays russia.
already before the second world war there was an institution of cultural autonomy for minorities and for example jews used it successfully.

Kuba said...

may yes be yes and no mean no -

10 out of 10 from me for this text, Mr.E.L!

Hold on to that course, E.L, you've really made my day!

...As to the Russian voices in this discussion and elsewhere - I'll say only this: it is both spooky and sad to see the depth, strength and uniformity of the dillusion that has taken hold of this nation: regardless of age, status or education, whenever Russia's worldly affairs are discussed with a Russian - the same confused tangle comes up, a strange brew of half-truths, pseudo-facts glued together with either thinly spread rationalizing (cock-sure nonetheless) or sauced up with some obscure messianistic mysticism - all underpinned with hard contempt, which surprisingly swiftly changes to blame-game...
... Its uncanny to see otherwise sociable, brisk, decent individuals so zombified!

cheers
-

Nothing is Free said...

Kuba:

your fine words are your opinion, to which, of course, you are entitled. But at the end of the day it's just your opinion.