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Medvedev Sworn in as new Russian President, names Putin as Prime Minister
May 7, 2008 6:55 AM   Subscribe

Meet the new boss... Same as the old boss.
posted by psmealey (42 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

 
Hey, wait, this isn't about The Who or Bruce Springsteen.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:01 AM on May 7, 2008


"... and now... we go clubbing."
posted by Viomeda at 7:02 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty happy about Medvedev so far. Peaceful transition of power, hey, the guy knows the value of preschool... I don't know what you want. A vice president taking over? How well is that going to work out?
posted by ewkpates at 7:05 AM on May 7, 2008


Gazprom is the new halliburton.
posted by delmoi at 7:13 AM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Long live economic liberalization.

And now we go clubbing.
posted by johannahdeschanel at 7:14 AM on May 7, 2008


LOL INTERNET.

...i mean, RUSSIA.
posted by phylum sinter at 7:17 AM on May 7, 2008


Putin's Mini Me. Definitely Mini Me.
posted by three blind mice at 7:20 AM on May 7, 2008


Within hours, Mr Medvedev, 42, nominated Mr Putin, his mentor, as prime minister.

I lol'd. Big change guys.
posted by auralcoral at 7:52 AM on May 7, 2008


They're both the same height, right?
posted by From Bklyn at 7:58 AM on May 7, 2008


Makes me cringe: The way the CNN story reports this as news, blowing half its wad extolling the 'differences' that Medvedev represents... without once mentioning that the entire President-PM power shuffle is what Putin had planned and engineered for at least a full year now.
posted by rokusan at 8:04 AM on May 7, 2008


Yeah, what rokusan said. But:

Just before the presidential election, Dmitry Medvedev told the Russian news magazine Itogi that his ancestors included farm workers, a blacksmith and a hat maker.

At least he's got good bloodlines!
posted by languagehat at 8:35 AM on May 7, 2008


From that MiniMe article: Putin ruthlessly and efficiently engineered the selection - none dare call it an election in any credible democratic sense - of his successor, who won 70 percent of the vote.

Interesting how these things are. If 70% of the electorate votes for you, that's undemocratic. But if you're a court-appointed president with a 33% approval rating, you're doing a heck of a job and you're country is a shining beacon of democracy.
posted by c13 at 8:51 AM on May 7, 2008


c13 writes: If 70% of the electorate votes for you, that's undemocratic. But if you're a court-appointed president with a 33% approval rating, you're doing a heck of a job and you're country is a shining beacon of democracy.

There's no cognitive dissonance because the people that say the first thing are not the same people that say the second thing.
posted by anifinder at 9:25 AM on May 7, 2008


Probably not. But that article was written for american consumption, for people who, quite frankly, should mind their own damn business. Especially now before the elections. Being a "christian nation", surely many will remember Matthew 7:5..
rising inflation, slow economic growth and a health care system in shambles applies a lot more to US than to Russia , and let's not even mention the "corrosive authoritarianism" thing.
We've got precious little moral and philosophical legitimacy left to attempt emulating not-a-crook Nixon.
posted by c13 at 10:16 AM on May 7, 2008


Man, they cut off Prokofiev right before the cymbal crash. Don't people know the value of news anymore?
posted by gorgor_balabala at 10:24 AM on May 7, 2008


If you were president of Russia don't tell me you wouldn't put this man in charge next to you.
posted by msaleem at 11:07 AM on May 7, 2008


We'll see what he'll be like. But, the good news is that Medvedev proudly continues the hair/no hair pattern of Russian post-revolution leaders.

Lenin (bald)
Stalin (hairy)
Khrushchev (bald)
Brezhnev (hairy)
Andropov (bald)
Chernenko (hairy)
Gorbachev (bald)
Yeltsin (hairy)
Putin (bald)
Medvedev (hairy)
posted by epimorph at 11:23 AM on May 7, 2008 [11 favorites]


Interesting how these things are. If 70% of the electorate votes for you, that's undemocratic. But if you're a court-appointed president with a 33% approval rating, you're doing a heck of a job and you're country is a shining beacon of democracy.

heh, heh. yeah. 70% voted for him. after the only non-state-sanctioned opposition candidate, chessmaster garry kasparov was arrested and barred from running. don't kid yourself. putin is just bush on steroids with slightly better PR skills (well, worse, actually--he's more like cheney).

and i say that with all due respect and in no way intending to impugn this noble statesman whom history will no doubt judge as one of the greatest leaders of the russian people.

(nervously eyes soda bottle, wondering what radioactive isotopes might smell or taste like. remembers they're odorless and flavorless. drops bottle in trash bin.)
posted by saulgoodman at 12:23 PM on May 7, 2008


Snark all you want, but Russia sure looks like more fun than the USA these days. Elections? Hey, remember when the US could look down on those countries who didn't have "free" elections? And, forget not, they have oil.
posted by telstar at 12:58 PM on May 7, 2008


70% voted for him. after the only non-state-sanctioned opposition candidate, chessmaster garry kasparov was arrested and barred from running.

Yes, he fixed the election on a grand scale; it is, after all, what he's used to and probably enjoys, as an old KGB hand. But he would have won easily anyway. If you think he's unpopular among Russians, you're fooling yourself.
posted by languagehat at 1:09 PM on May 7, 2008


If you think he's unpopular among Russians, you're fooling yourself.

I don't harbor any illusions about his popularity among Russians. (Now, whether or not I think he should be popular among Russians is a different matter...)
posted by saulgoodman at 1:40 PM on May 7, 2008


Lots of things are popular among Russians. A few years ago, the Russian Orthodox bishops had to deal with a massively popular movement to make Stalin and Rasputin (!) Orthodox Saints. Many priests had to explain repeatedly that Stalin and Rasputin, far from being Saints, are probably the best examples we have at hand of FANTASTICALLY EVIL ENEMIES OF THE CHURCH.

So it is with a people only recently allowed to join the rest of the world. These 'last men' have a hard road.
posted by Viomeda at 2:08 PM on May 7, 2008


70% voted for him. after the only non-state-sanctioned opposition candidate, chessmaster garry kasparov was arrested and barred from running. don't kid yourself. putin is just bush on steroids with slightly better PR skills

Kasparov? The guy that won "Keeper of the Flame" award from the Center for Security Policy? The award, if I may quote The New Yorker, "which is given to “individuals for devoting their public careers to the defense of the United States and American values around the world,” has also gone to Newt Gingrich, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld." ? You're kidding, right? Right?
It's like if russian papers were to decry the lack of democracy in US because John Walker Lindh can't run for president.
posted by c13 at 2:27 PM on May 7, 2008


c13: Kasparov? The guy that won "Keeper of the Flame" award from the Center for Security Policy? The award, if I may quote The New Yorker, "which is given to “individuals for devoting their public careers to the defense of the United States and American values around the world,” has also gone to Newt Gingrich, Paul Wolfowitz, and Donald Rumsfeld." ? You're kidding, right? Right? It's like if russian papers were to decry the lack of democracy in US because John Walker Lindh can't run for president.

You're missing the gist of the statement. It was more along the lines of: "the only person they allowed to run besides their lapdogs was a somewhat nutty chess player, and even then they felt the need to arrest him on questionable charges and bar him from running. Which is to say: a candidate not affiliated with vlad the inhaler has less than a snowball's chance in hell of running, much less winning."
posted by Viomeda at 3:53 PM on May 7, 2008


No, YOU are missing the gist of the statement. There were several other parties and candidates that "were allowed" to run perfectly fine. The reason you don't hear about them much is because they've got a few percent each of the votes. The next highest percentage (after United Russia) was 11 for KPRF, and the lowest was 1 percent for SPS, for example. But there were at least 8 different parties participating, the ones that I know of. Which is four times as many as in the US. And since when people like Zhirinovsky, for example are considered Putin's lapdogs? Do you even know what you're talking about?
You're telling me that there is no democracy in Russia because they didn't allow a fucking neocon run for government? Look what they (the neocons) did to their own country. Who in their right mind would let them clean toilets, let alone run a country.
I'm not retarded enough to maintain that Russia is without problems. I'm just saying that people that allow a sorry ass attempt at a human being to be appointed their president by a rigged court, who don't mind when he ignores both national and international laws, the congress and the courts, strips the citizens of his own country of rights that have been the norm in the Western world for hundreds of years, brings back medieval torture methods, runs the country into the ground and makes it simultaneously a laughing stock and the most dangerous rouge state; maybe these people should mind their own business and figure out how to pull their asses out of the hole before criticizing other nations.
posted by c13 at 5:10 PM on May 7, 2008 [1 favorite]


Your argument, c13, is as odious as ones about how US behaviour X isn't "that bad" because, hey, Burma does worse things.

Valid criticism is valid criticism no matter who makes it.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:50 PM on May 7, 2008 [2 favorites]


Maybe, FFF. It's just that I don't get the feeling that those that are doing the criticizing know their subject very well.
posted by c13 at 6:35 PM on May 7, 2008


But, the good news is that Medvedev proudly continues the hair/no hair pattern of Russian post-revolution leaders.
And here, comrades, we see yet further proof of the infallibility of the dialectic as it governs history.
posted by Abiezer at 9:07 PM on May 7, 2008 [3 favorites]


I'm really not sure what you're on about, c13.

Whether or not Putin is popular in Russia, their democracy is pugnaciously flirting with breaking every standard test. Still, none dare call it treason &c.

Unquestionably Putin intends to continue to govern as PM. I'm interested in how this is going to change the balance of things, and whether Medvedev will get tired of being the lapdog President after a while. Who gets to have the nuclear football? That sort of thing. Russia does not have the mentoring tradition that China has developed. If anything, it has a lovely tradition of unceremoniously trotting its ex-Presidents off to a sort of Crimean resort-level exile.

Certainly, the very production values of the ceremony that I glimpsed screamed of exultant fakery. I swear they ran a camera down the red carpet with people applauding the camera, just to have the shot for when Medvedev came into the room. The glitz said in every respect that this was pro forma. It really doesn't look like Russia has much sense of institution at the moment, which is particularly sad, because that seemed to be the one thing they were really good at.
posted by dhartung at 10:22 PM on May 7, 2008


I'm really not sure what you're on about, c13.

Whether or not Putin is popular in Russia, their democracy is pugnaciously flirting with breaking every standard test.


Well, I'm not sure I can make what I wrote above any clearer. Especially to a person that thinks that the legitimacy of democracy depends not on how popular the president is, but whether a country passes a standard test made up by a hostile power.
But thank you for an additional theory that may explain the Bush phenomenon.
posted by c13 at 5:32 AM on May 8, 2008


Especially to a person that thinks that the legitimacy of democracy depends not on how popular the president is, but whether a country passes a standard test made up by a hostile power.

geez, you're touchy on this subject, c13.

also: just because it's likely putin would have won had there been a reasonably democratic process, that doesn't make the process itself democratic (it wasn't). a lack of democratic processes (regardless of outcomes) is what makes a country undemocratic.

besides, were any meaningful opposition ever allowed to organize and to pose a serious challenge to putin, he might not remain as popular as he is for long. (he knows that. that's why he's keen on preventing such an opposition from gaining traction.) in a democratic process, policy issues and public concerns that might otherwise be hidden are brought to light through engaged political discussion and participation. at least that's the idea. without a fair and transparent process, even if, from a particular perspective, you might judge the outcomes as reasonably democratic in spirit, they aren't democratic.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:23 AM on May 8, 2008


c13: Maybe, FFF. It's just that I don't get the feeling that those that are doing the criticizing know their subject very well.

I have a Master's in political science, and focused on Russia for a time.

That is all.

posted by Viomeda at 7:17 AM on May 8, 2008


Not touchy as much as surprised, I guess. I mean I understand that the job of the media is propaganda, so that Herald article or what CNN is saying about the current elections are ought to be taken as a given. It's just weird to hear things like what dehartung or Viomeda are saying here on Metafilter.
posted by c13 at 7:20 AM on May 8, 2008


That's great, Viomeda. I'm really happy for you. I've read about how rocket motors work. Been meaning to evaluate the Apollo program, but just haven't had time.
posted by c13 at 7:24 AM on May 8, 2008


Well, maybe not all.

c13: Well, I'm not sure I can make what I wrote above any clearer. Especially to a person that thinks that the legitimacy of democracy depends not on how popular the president is, but whether a country passes a standard test made up by a hostile power.
But thank you for an additional theory that may explain the Bush phenomenon.


You aren't making sense. What fucking standard are you talking about? The one dhartung is talking about? The one I'm talking about? Maybe you're lying in your profile and you're not really from Tennessee, but if you are, then your standard is just as much "a standard test made up by a hostile power" as ours is. Or are you equating us with the Bush regime? It's just as much yours as it is ours.

If a person can't look at a country and validly discuss whether its regime is just or unjust, then we can't talk about politics at all. If we can't look at Russia and at least talk about whether their government is democratic at all, or if our ability to do so depends not on how much we know about it but where we were born, then there's no such thing as political thought; only shifting political opinion, and it's pointless to talk about it anyhow. It's almost needless to say that, in that case, there wouldn't even be any point in talking about our own country; we'd only be speaking from points of view that are hopelessly skewed by our background and our upbringing.

If you'd like to continue pretending that anyone who criticizes Russia is a Bushite stooge, you're welcome to it; just don't expect people to take such ridiculous blather lying down. It was fucking stupid when the Stalinists went on about how they were better than the fascists and the fascists went on about how they were better than the Stalinists, as though we were stuck with a choice between the two, and it's fucking stupid when you reenact the whole dog and pony show with Russia and the US. Meanwhile, you'd best get your goddamned facts straight.

There were several other parties and candidates that "were allowed" to run perfectly fine. The reason you don't hear about them much is because they've got a few percent each of the votes. The next highest percentage (after United Russia) was 11 for KPRF, and the lowest was 1 percent for SPS, for example. But there were at least 8 different parties participating, the ones that I know of. Which is four times as many as in the US.

Discounting the fact that hundreds of parties run in the general election in the US, and about five or six prominently, this is somewhat specious. The point is not to compare the two, but anyone can run for president in the US so long as they're a lifelong citizen not guilty of a felony, and one can write in any candidate that meets those criteria. Russia has, over the past several years, accumulated enough 'anti-extremist' laws, strict campaign laws, strange requirements (by my understanding, you have to gather at least 500 supporters in one place to put yourself on the ballot; as I recall, that's why Kasparov announced he couldn't run) for elections and such that it's ridiculous. The last person who would be expected to say such a thing, Mikhail Gorbachev, has sharply criticized Russian election laws and Putin's shirking of democracy generally.

And since when people like Zhirinovsky, for example are considered Putin's lapdogs? Do you even know what you're talking about?

I have a feeling you know a hell of a lot less about this than you think you do. Zhirinovsky? Please. Proto-fascists who promise free vodka and underwear if they're elected aren't likely to win, much less challenge the reigning regime or encourage democracy. And Bogdanov fits the lapdog label quite nicely, thank you. The only legitimate opposition candidate, Zuganov, has his own problems, but he's been routinely marginalized since the start of the election. It became clear in January that he wouldn't be allowed to become a problem for the regime in the voting booths, and furthermore that he wouldn't be granted the media access to do so.

I should say that, to anybody who reads nothing up to the newspapers the day of the election is likely to get the impression that they were roundly fair. The votes were counted correctly, and there were several parties involved, but this election was about as fair as Microsoft's NTFS' partitioning system. What that person reading the election-day newspapers is the years of marginalization, disqualification, shutting-down, arresting, blackmailing, and out-and-out destruction that any and every serious competitor to Putin's power was subjected to. I'm not the only one who thinks so.

In short: just because the election returns reflect the votes that people submitted, just because a leader is 'democratically elected,' doesn't mean that leader is democratic and not despotic or repressive. Fuck, it's nearly impossible to believe that anymore; Silvio Berlusconi just got reelected, remember?

You're telling me that there is no democracy in Russia because they didn't allow a fucking neocon run for government? Look what they (the neocons) did to their own country. Who in their right mind would let them clean toilets, let alone run a country.

Christ in fucking hell. What the fuck do you mean? Kasparov hangs out with some 'neocon' dolts from the US, and he's suddenly a 'neocon' himself. I hardly care; he's absolutely no threat. Hell, you're right, he shouldn't even be cleaning toilets. He's more of a hack who appreciates the attention from foreigners than anything else; didn't anybody notice that he was marching with the Communists when he got arrested? Meanwhile, Putin improves on the neocons' methods by locking down the media, quashing any resistance, bending the rules to maintain power, and inflicting a kind of economic fascism, and you don't care? Are you really against neocons, or are you just against American neocons?

I'm not retarded enough to maintain that Russia is without problems. I'm just saying that people that allow a sorry ass attempt at a human being to be appointed their president by a rigged court, who don't mind when he ignores both national and international laws, the congress and the courts, strips the citizens of his own country of rights that have been the norm in the Western world for hundreds of years, brings back medieval torture methods, runs the country into the ground and makes it simultaneously a laughing stock and the most dangerous rouge state; maybe these people should mind their own business and figure out how to pull their asses out of the hole before criticizing other nations.

I'm not one of those people. I didn't allow it-- I fought against it-- and I do mind. Moreover, as long as there are people like Vladimir Putin, Silvio Berlusconi, Margaret Thatcher, John Howard, and the rest 'leading' the world, it'll be exponentially more difficult to get rid of people like Bush.

I say it again: we're allowed to talk about politics. Everyone is. We don't sit on high horses and criticize from the point of view of our americanness; we're talking about something more important here, and everybody has a seat at the table.

the most dangerous rouge state

The US is emphatically not the most dangerous rouge state. I'd say it's more of a mauve. China is probably the most dangerous rouge state, but at least they're not red anymore.
posted by Viomeda at 8:19 AM on May 8, 2008


What fucking standard are you talking about?
I'm not. I was quoting dhartung. I haven't seen anything about what this standard involves. All I hear is that the elections weren't up to it.

Why would I lie in my profile? I lived in TN for 11 years, and at the time of registration here on MeTa. I'm not there now, and I hope I don't have to come back.

I have a feeling you know a hell of a lot less about this than you think you do. Zhirinovsky? Please. Proto-fascists who promise free vodka and underwear if they're elected aren't likely to win, much less challenge the reigning regime or encourage democracy. And Bogdanov fits the lapdog label quite nicely, thank you. The only legitimate opposition candidate, Zuganov, has his own problems, but he's been routinely marginalized since the start of the election.

I have a feeling you aren't very good at reading. I brought up Zhirinovsky to illustrate why the alternative parties did not get much support. It's not up to Putin, United Russia or Medvedev to create an opposition to themselves that is anything but a laughing stock. It's not their fault people don't care much for communists. Zuganov's party got 11% of the votes, second largest number after United Russia. So? You yourself say they've got problems (a nice understatement), can it maybe, possibly be the real reason they are marginalized? As in "the people prefer Putin & Co much more"?

Are you really against neocons, or are you just against American neocons?
What I'm against hardly matters. What matters much more is the fact that the vast majority of russians are deeply suspicious, if not downright allergic to anything coming from America these days. They've lived through perestroika, you know. So when someone who hangs out with the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld and gets a fucking award for advancing the American way for christ's sakes, he's not going to be too popular. What's the problem?

Meanwhile, Putin improves on the neocons' methods by locking down the media, quashing any resistance, bending the rules to maintain power, and inflicting a kind of economic fascism,

Any resistance? Any at all? What rules did he bend to stay in power? Especially now that he stepped down as president? What economic fascism are you talking about? Trying to stop the looting of the country?

China is probably the most dangerous rouge state,
China? How many foreign countries has China bombed recently? How many foreign military bases does it have? How many foreign citizens has China abducted and watertortured? Does China have a preemptive nuclear strike policy? How many UN resolutions and treaties has China ignored, violated or withdrew from?

We don't sit on high horses and criticize from the point of view of our americanness;
Bullshit. Look at your comment of 5:08PM. If that's not a high horse then I'm a damn ballerina.
posted by c13 at 9:19 AM on May 8, 2008


c13: You don't have to answer this, obviously, but I'm curious—are you Russian (in origin)? Because I completely understand the kind of over-the-top defensiveness you're exhibiting when it comes from Russians, but if you're not, it's pretty bizarre.
posted by languagehat at 9:29 AM on May 8, 2008


Yes, I am. Half of my life I lived there and half in the States. But that's not the reason I seem defensive of Russia. I don't think I hold many illusions about Russia as the fact that I willingly choose to to move back there seems to confirm. It's just that the hypocrisy of "spreading democracy" and "western values", and "passing the democratic muster" coming form the media and the political establishment irritates me no matter who happens to be on the receiving end, but I know a lot more about the real state of things in Russia, so I can talk about it.
posted by c13 at 9:46 AM on May 8, 2008


Oh, sure, I agree with you about the hypocrisy. Thanks for the explanation.
posted by languagehat at 10:11 AM on May 8, 2008


c13: What matters much more is the fact that the vast majority of russians are deeply suspicious, if not downright allergic to anything coming from America these days. They've lived through perestroika, you know. So when someone who hangs out with the likes of Cheney and Rumsfeld and gets a fucking award for advancing the American way for christ's sakes, he's not going to be too popular. What's the problem?

That's not precisely true. Russians are deeply suspicious of anything coming from The West nowadays, not just America. But that's their fault no more than it's the fault of millions of Americans who've been whipped into an anti-Arab frenzy by the neocons. The FSB's traditional dislike of "the West" has become the current propaganda. Thus The Economist of August 24 of last year has it:

To sense the depth of these feelings, consider the response of one FSB officer to the killing of Anna Politkovskaya, a journalist whose books criticising Mr Putin and his brutal war in Chechnya are better known outside than inside Russia. “I don’t know who killed her, but her articles were beneficial to the Western press. She deserved what she got.” And so, by this token, did Litvinenko, the ex-KGB officer poisoned by polonium in London last year... In such a climate, the idea that Russia’s security services are entitled to deal ruthlessly with enemies of the state, wherever they may be, has gained wide acceptance and is supported by a new set of laws. One, aimed at “extremism”, gives the FSB and other agencies ample scope to pursue anyone who acts or speaks against the Kremlin. It has already been invoked against independent analysts and journalists. A lawyer who complained to the Constitutional Court about the FSB’s illegal tapping of his client’s telephone has been accused of disclosing state secrets. Several scientists who collaborated with foreign firms are in jail for treason.

But I'm not the only one who feels like there's a problem in Russia right now. There are many, many people in other countries who agree.

Russia election not free or fair, say observers
The Guardian, March 3
"The Kremlin deliberately excluded Mikhail Kasyanov, the only genuinely democratic challenger, from the race."

Russian Presidential election: for an election to be good it takes a good process, not just a good election day
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, March 3
"The result of the Presidential elections held on 2 March 2008 in the Russian Federation is a reflection of the will of an electorate whose democratic potential was, unfortunately, not tapped... Candidate registration concerns could not have been accommodated, putting into question the degree of how free the election was. Equal access of the candidates to the media and the public sphere in general has not improved, putting into question the fairness of the election... Candidate registration procedures should be simplified to be more inclusive and less cumbersome for independent candidates. The legislation on campaign funding should also be improved to increase the transparency of the process."


And what the hell about Kasyanov, eh? What the hell happened to him?

c13: Bullshit. Look at your comment of 5:08PM. If that's not a high horse then I'm a damn ballerina.

Ah. I understand. You mistake my comment for a stereotypical 'american' statement and for expressing disdain for Russia. Nothing could be further from the truth; as I was growing up, my father spoke a lot of Russian, though he was not Russian himself, and, though I'm no member, I might say I have some ties to the Russian Orthodox church. I feel a pretty strong connection to the country, in fact, which happens to be why I'm so pissed off that Russians voted for Putin; in the same way, I love Italy, and was somewhat miffed when they elected Berlusconi.

Putin earned my eternal ire when he dismissed Kasyanov. Even if he had done this one thing only, he'd have been the equal of Bush and his crew.

I'm not saying Russians are stupid any more than I'm saying Americans are stupid when I say that electing Bush again was a nightmare. But that's not to say that I'm not dismayed.
posted by Viomeda at 10:17 AM on May 8, 2008


which happens to be why I'm so pissed off that Russians voted for Putin;

Medvedev? That's first. Second, you've got no right to be pissed of at them. It's their country and their president. They've made their choice, and your approval or disapproval is completely irrelevant.

Furthermore, an Economist article? Seriously? Let me quote one paragraph above the one you did:
“A few years ago, we succumbed to the illusion that we don’t have enemies and we have paid dearly for that,” Mr Putin told the FSB in 1999. It is a view shared by most KGB veterans and their successors. The greatest danger comes from the West, whose aim is supposedly to weaken Russia and create disorder. “They want to make Russia dependent on their technologies,” says a current FSB staffer. “They have flooded our market with their goods. Thank God we still have nuclear arms.” The siege mentality of the siloviki and their anti-Westernism have played well with the Russian public. Mr Goloshchapov, the private agents’ spokesman, expresses the mood this way: “In Gorbachev’s time Russia was liked by the West and what did we get for it? We have surrendered everything: eastern Europe, Ukraine, Georgia. NATO has moved to our borders.”

From this perspective, anyone who plays into the West’s hands at home is the internal enemy. In this category are the last free-thinking journalists, the last NGOs sponsored by the West and the few liberal politicians who still share Western values.


Look at the bold part, let's analyze it a little bit. The "mentality" has "played well" with the Russian public. Isn't this just another way of saying that the Russian public thinks the same way? So that this mentality does not belong to "siloviki", like the article tries to imply, but is endemic in a general population. Indeed, I think this interpretation is a hell of a lot closer to the truth. You know why that is, and why But that's their fault no more than it's the fault of millions of Americans who've been whipped into an anti-Arab (Arabs? Which ones? Like Saudi Arabia? ) frenzy by the neocons. is bullshit? Because Russians had to survive through the "liberal reforms", no one had to whip them into a frenzy. They had a first hand experience, FSB officers, doctors, teachers, factory workers, all of them. All of them also remember very well that the war in Chechnya was started by the democratic darling of the west Boris Yeltsin, and the first was went to shit, just like the rest of the country under his government. You remember the first war, don't you? The Economist does not mention it for some reason. So when Politkovskaya criticizes Putin for cleaning up Yeltsin's fuckups, people are understandably not very receptive.
posted by c13 at 10:52 AM on May 8, 2008


and the first was went to shit,

Eeerh, and the first WAR went to shit....
posted by c13 at 10:54 AM on May 8, 2008


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