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[RD] The Russia News Thread

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Agent327, Feb 7, 2016.

  1. Mechanicalsalvation

    Mechanicalsalvation -

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  2. Daw

    Daw Emperor

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    Given Gorby's experience of Presidency, I don't think he's an expert whose advice can be put to use with no checking. In fact, I think it's rather "listen to the man really carefully and do something entirely different from what he recommends" that's a much safer approach to using his expertise.
     
  3. Mechanicalsalvation

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    Could you be more specific? Look at the article or video and say what he is delusional about and what he got wrong. Or is it just some sort of "gut feeling" you are arguing from?
     
  4. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Seeing as even Putin's own party acknowledges the problem of corruption (and throws cartoons at it) I think we may that that comment with a large bag of salt.

    Meanwhile in Moscow:

    I couldn't find an English language version yet on this story.

    More on the Instagram video here: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-35476818
     
  5. Daw

    Daw Emperor

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    The main part of the quote on the opposition he is wrong about in is that not every opposition is good.

    Opposition, basically, is people who say, "There are better ways of doing things and better things to do." They then subdivide into two main parts:
    - the ones who start yelling about how everything is crappy and there's no way out and it's the current power that has to be blamed for it, and how if they had been elected none of that would have become a problem, and therefore they must be elected next time.
    - and the ones who say, look, here's what can be done, it will solve these and those issues and improve stuff here and there, and it may give us all a chance of getting better.

    Sadly, most of the opposition Putin has is the former type, which is highly destructive.

    The latter type, the constructive part, is in fact rarely referred to as opposition at all. But they are the opposition in the sense that they tell about flaws and weaknesses, and at the same time they are the people who actually try to fix the country, including through working with the government, which they might as well disagree with in many aspects.

    Apparently, if Putin was softer (as Gorbachev was) he would have ways more of the first type opposition. But I somehow feel there are more than enough yellers already.




    Next thing would be that while it is true that Putin was appointed when he first came to power, I believe it is also true that he has been re-elected for his later terms.

    His second term was justified by the margin by which he was so much unbelievably better than ever-drunken Yeltsin. While 56% he got in 2000 could be questionable, 71% in 2004 seem very believable to me, especially with who the other options were.

    Medvedev in 2008 passed as Putin's "proxy" man, the same team, the same crew, which ensured (not administratively, no) his passage with 70%. He was worse (maybe deliberately so) than Putin though, which somewhat undermined Putin's positions, too, so in 2012 Putin's return went with 63% of votes.

    If the elections were right now, I guess Putin would win hands down and through entirely honest and transparent elections.

    Yet I am also sure that the opposition would still moan about how forged and loaded everything is.

    The opposition does seem to have hard times though. They even try to excavate Kasyanov from the political scrapyard.




    Another aspect is what Gorbachev calls "manual rule" and "the supremacy of security structures." We all played civ, and know that there's an option for automated city development and automated workers. But if the player want to play effectively, he has to at least once in every while check what is going on there and manually set things up. Same here. Besides, most of the politicians were not cloned in petri dishes and did not come down from the skies. They, for the most part, came from the 90s. Now, it's the 90s that were the time of unfettered corruption and gang wars. You get the ruling class (the governors, the mayors, their associates and so forth) from there, you can be 100% sure you shouldn't give them too much rope and you still should watch them. And there shouldn't be much hope for the magical power of free elections that would ditch the poor managers. The 90s have shown that it would not. To learn more, watch "the Elections Day" ("День Выборов") - a good satiric comedy on how elections went then. IMDb ID 1198196, but I failed to find it on youtube with English subs or dubbing, I wish I could, the movie's really good.

    Wanna deal with crime that skyrocketed after Gorby dumped the Union and the Union's law enforcement system went to hell with it and there was none to replace it for a decade? The supremacy of security structures is an inevitable evil, and the lesser one, if you ask me. And Gorby can stick his opinion.



    Finally:
    Well, I don't like that either. I don't like Gorby speaking alone for 140 million here while at the same time saying he's ashamed for the indecency of the President and the PM who (imagine that!) dare to decide themselves (!) whether they are going to ballot or not. Huh?

    Well, Mr. Gorbachev, may I, for one, speak for myself, please?

    I mean, please understand that Gorby is exactly the man who allowed my country, the country I was born in, to be flushed down the toilet. It is hard to forgive and impossible to forget. But it's allright. What's done is done, what's dead is dead, and there's nothing good in raising it back and any other necromancy. But I really don't want the same thing to happen again to the country I currently live in, which is still alive. And the "opposition" does not help with that.
     
  6. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    Someone had to be President when the entire system collapsed. Of course China has done much better then Russia with its hybrid socialist capitalist system.
    Russia was importing huge amounts of foods and oil prices collapsed and there was revolutions in soviet satellite states every decade.
     
  7. Daw

    Daw Emperor

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    Sure. But it's a lengthy discussion, which would be off-topic in this thread anyway because it's history, not news, and besides apparently a pointless one because I really don't see how either of us can convince the other. It's just that I'm far from thinking the collapse was inevitable and it was the president's job to not let it happen.

    Anyway, like I said, what's dead is dead. There's no point in trying to get it back. I'm more concerned about the future. And with regard to the future the "opposition" (the destructive part of it) seems to be... well... dangerous. And for that unwelcome. Because the programs they come up with lead straight back to the thrice cursed 90s, or worse.
     
  8. FriendlyFire

    FriendlyFire Codex WMDicanious

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    But Russia is due for a collapse again :confused: (is joke)
    In the west we call it the "loyal opposition", where those opposed to the government but always with the interest of the people and country at heart. Destructive elements normally are never given any power and are ignored by the vast majority of the population

    Though there is occasional idiots are elected into power. They then proceed to launch moronic wars and wreck the world economy.
    Thankfully the insanity has passed, hopefully idiots have learnt their lesson
     
  9. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    So, in short, you are not ashamed of corruption. Noted.

    Now, what is your constructive plan? Because, after president Putin announced he will combat corruption, during the Kasyanov government reforms were actually undertaken. Then, after three years, Putin sacks the entire government. Could it be the government took reforms more serious than Mr Putin intended?

    Them, as you so pointedly pointed out, when Mr Kasyanov announced his run for presidency, corruption rumours started. The Russian media gladly pciked it up, and voilà: "Misha 2 percent". There was one conviction. How many? One. Kasyanov had to pay a fine. None of the major corruption rumours proved true.

    So, what has Mr Combat Corruption done since? As opposed to the 'destructive' opposition?

    And I note once again, you're not actually commenting on the news, just voicing your opinion. Which appears to be not very constructive. One might even say it is destructive. Perhaps someone should post an Instagram video on you. Or have come 'visit' you while dining out. That type of reasoning?
     
  10. hobbsyoyo

    hobbsyoyo Deity

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    My reply to the above is here.
     
  11. Verbose

    Verbose Deity

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    The problem isn't having an opposition, it's having no discernable actual mechanism for the transition of power. If there isn't one, it tends to breed opposition that has no sense of responsibility, because it knows it just won't get a shot at the handle of government. And there is not real incentive for a responsible opposition, because them that might be tempted also know they have no shot at the handle of government either. Hold on to power tight enough, then there is no incentive for a responsible opposition to form. The radical, potentially violent one has a better shot then, since it can reasonbly argued that power will have to be wrested from the dead cold hand of the present government...

    Even when there are obvious mechanisms for forming governments and taking turns at the helm, it tends to be a worry that the opposition lacks experience with government, if the incumbents have been at it long enough.
     
  12. Daw

    Daw Emperor

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    First, there is such a mechanism, it's called "elections". Second, transition of power to whom and for what?

    It's just I don't subscribe to transiting the power to some jerk merely for the fun of it.

    To get people voting for them, the guys need to roll out some ideas first. And preferably some good ones. The fact that they don't have any is not Putin's fault.
     
  13. Verbose

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    It's not actual. If those were in fact intended and designed to allow taking turns in power based on clear (credible) political alternatives shifting power — that might apply. In Russia as currently is, they're not. The state of the current opposition is as much an effect of that as anything else.

    Less rampant gerrymandering might be a start for changing Russia for the better in that respect. It puts even the US shenanigans in that respect to shame.

    Putin's Russia is a great example of "machine politics".
     
  14. Daw

    Daw Emperor

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    That's not true.

    Look, I'd be happy to vote for a guy who started small by winning his local municipal elections in his village or neighborhood, then managed to turn the place into a paradise with good roads, nice schools, valid healthcare, and high lawfulness, then went on to a higher level (say, regional) and did the same there, then repeated it on the republican level, and only then went for presidency. After all, the President is the head of the executive power branch. So the candidate is supposed to have a portfolio of how good he is at executive management to show.

    But when some Mr.Bigmouth comes up with no achievements scored and a big bag of weird ideas and an agenda like, "I win the Presidency -> ... -> Profit," I feel skeptical about that guy.

    And it looks like I am not alone at that.
     
  15. red_elk

    red_elk Deity

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    Results of the latest presidential elections in Russia, 2012:

    Putin 63.6%
    Zyuganov (communists) 17.2%
    Prokhorov (independent, liberal) 8.0%

    What do you think would be the real distribution of votes, without "rampant gerrymandering"?
     
  16. Yeekim

    Yeekim Deity

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    The thread has seen some discussion on Kadyrov, so I wanter to share an article from "Echo Moskvy" by Andrey Piontkowsky that I found highly interesting and has caused somewhat of a stir, with both Russian Duma and Chechen parliament members requesting that author be prosecuted and editors of the paper removing few last paragraphs.
    Sadly, I could find no full English translation, so I took it on myself to remedy this. I'll post the translation in next post. Sorry if it's a bit clunky - I used Google Translate as base, editing it to make sense. It was a fast work and my Russian is far from perfect - I am open to corrections, if I got something wrong (reasonably sure I didn't, but it's possible...).

    But anyway - do you think the author is correct (partially/entirely)?
    Would his proposal benefit Russia?
    What would become of Chechnya under Kadyrov with his 3 grades of school education and no federal subsidies?
    Is there perhaps a lesson to be learned here for the West/US, vis a vis our Syrian policy?
     
  17. Yeekim

    Yeekim Deity

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    Spoiler :
    I am forced to largely repeat my last year's article, "Project Kadyrov", because the topic is becoming more threateningly urgent.

    I'll start with the prophetic words of my teacher in politics, Dmitry Efimovich Furman, from his remarkable work "The most difficult people of Russia", published on the eve of the operation "Heir"(?) that launched the second Chechen war.

    "The deportation of Chechens in 1944 has about the same meaning to the colletive consciousness of Chechens as Hitler's genocide to that of the Jews and the Massacre in 1915 to that of Armenians. This is a terrible trauma and the memory of that horror and possibility of its repetition pursues every Chechen. And the events of the war revived that horror ...
    And even if we imagine that by some miracle we gathered our strength, subdued Chechnya and brought it back to the Federation, it would only turn Russia into a man whose body includes a ticking time bomb, which after some time is sure to explode."


    We have, indeed, miraculously brought Chechnya back to the Federation, but today, when the ticking of the clock mechanism inside the body of the Russia is again heard by everyone, we just need to understand the nature of our relationship with the "most difficult people" of Russia.

    Let's start with the miracle by which we dragged Chechnya into the Russian Federation as a result of the second Chechen war. Creator of this miracle is V.V.Putin, and it is called "project Kadyrov".

    For what did we fight twice in Chechnya? For the territorial integrity of Russia. For Chechnya as part of Russia. But the territorial integrity - can not mean parched land without people. We fought to prove to the Chechens that they are citizens of Russia. But we destroyed their towns and villages with airforce and rocket launchers ("On empty field stands "Grad", with us are Putin and Stalingrad") and abducted civilians whose corpses were later found with signs of torture.

    We proved to the Chechens the exact opposite of what we proclaimed to be arguing: by our conduct we proved them that they are not us, the citizens of Russia, that we have long ceased to consider them Russian citizens and their cities - Russian cities. We convincingly proved this not only to Chechens, but also to other Caucasians, who learned these clear lessons well.

    Mr Putin is often reminded of his sordid remark ["We'll shoot them behind outhouse"(?)] that determined the nature of the second Chechen war and its sad outcome for Russia. We must give credit to Putin: when, after years of bloody war, started in the name of his ascension to power, he was faced with "very bad" and "monstrous" options, the president chose "very bad".

    Admitting defeat, he gave up all power in Chechnya to Kadyrov and his army and pays him tribute in fiscal transfers. In response, Kadyrov has formally declared loyalty not so much to the Kremlin, but rather to Putin personally. "Monstrous" would have been continuation of the war until extermination of the Chechen ethnos - in the way of Shamanov(?) or Budyonny (?).

    Having started and lost the war in the Caucasus, the Kremlin pays tribute in exchange for ostentatious humility not only to Kadyrov, but also to criminal elites in other republics. That is spent on palaces and golden pistols for local leaders. Declassed and unemployed young mountain-folk become soldiers of Allah, or migrate from the Caucasus into Russian cities. And in depressive neighborhoods like Biryulyovo (?) have grown a generation of children who've become absolute and total losers during the twenty years of "market reforms". Mentally, there is a yawning chasm between Russian and Caucasian youth, as the latter grew up in a brutal war - first Chechnyan, then pan-Caucasian.

    Young Muscovites march in the city shouting "Stop feeding the Caucasus!" while the young mountaineers behave on the streets of Russian cities defiantly and aggressively. They have developed an attitude of winners. In their view, Moscow has lost the Caucasian war, and they behave themselves accordingly in the conquered capital. In minds and hearts of Caucasus and Russia, they rapidly drift apart from each other. However, neither Kremlin nor North Caucasian "elite" are ready for a formal separation.

    Kremlin is still living in phantom imperial illusions about "zones of privileged interests" far beyond Russia - sometimes rambling about some "Eurasian horde" that Putin dreams of becoming Khan-for-life of, sometimes about some "Russian world", continuously being expanded on neighbors' expense, sometimes about some "Orthodox shrines" in Syria. Local potentates, starting with Kadyrov, do not want to give up the tribute paid to them by Moscow.

    Post-imperial quest for "Chechnya within Russia," has, by cruel mockery of fate, turned into a nightmare "Russia within Chechen Republic." This humiliating and hypocritical self-deceit can not continue indefinitely. But under the ruling Putin-Kadyrov diarchy it can not be adandoned. Simple way out was always seen by "siloviki", who from the beginning were very skeptical about Putin's "project Kadyrov" which in their view, once again snatched victory out of their hands. They have been unable to come to terms with loss of Chechnya - a place that fed them and, even more importantly for them, where they enjoyed power over life and death. "Project Kadyrov" deprived them of these two basic pleasures, and for that they genuinely hate Kadyrov.

    How deeply our "liberal" segments of society misunderstood the conflict between Russian security forces and Kadyrov after Nemtsov's murder is amazing.
    Reading regular leaks from FSB, one might think that ashes of murdered Nemtsov knock on consciences of messieurs Bortnikov or Patrushev; that their minds boil with anger and they are ready to lead a principled fight for the observance of the norms of capitalist legality. Nemtsov's murder for them is not a cause but an excuse for a decisive showdown with Kadyrov. And most likely, an excuse they themselves cleverly designed.

    Firstly, murder on the Red Square was impossible to conduct without assistance of top executives of Russian special services. Secondly, the alleged perpetrator - deputy commander of an elite unit "Sever" ("North"), Zaur Dadaev, would never have done this without Kadyrov's order, and Kadyrov only would have given such an order after direct request from Putin - or after receiving information about such request from someone among top leaders of the state...
    "The Blood Party" conceived and implemented Nemtsov's murder and uses it not as an end in itself, but as a detonator for implementing its far-reaching political ambitions. Kadyrov's men, apparently, were left under impression that an order for the murder came from the Big Man himself. It seemed so believable that they never doubted for a moment. Perpetrators were absolutely sure of their impunity.

    The main goal of a coordinated attack from security forces was to publicly discredit Kadyrov as much as possible - and through him his patron Putin, if the latter refused give up his protege. But for Putin, reneging on Kadyrov was very difficult. Giving up "project Kadyrov" under pressure from "siloviki" would mean recognition of Russia's defeat in the second Chechen war - and the announcement of the third. It would mean a return to 1999 in much worse starting position and a complete political delegitimization of Putin who became "Saviour of the Fatherland" in 1999. Putin has not yielded Kadyrov, consequently forcing the investigaton to present some chauffeur as the one who ordered the hit. But the security forces, it seems to me, have not given up completely on their plans.

    But what does "Project Kadyrov" mean for Chechnya itself, and what would its closure by security forces mean? When federals were omnipotent in Chechnya, any Chechen regardless of his views or actions could be captured by the Federals, kidnapped, subjected to humiliation, torture or execution. In today's Chechnya, the same fate may befall any Chechen acting against Kadyrov. This is a great progress in ensuring one's personal security - a difference as fundamental as that between a status of a Jew and a German in Hitler's Germany. This is a radical change, and established a base of support for Kadyrov. Of course, over the years of his power, he has made both enemies and blood-brothers. But any attempt by security forces to return to the old ways, would unite Chechen society in violent resistance.

    A convincing and very timely indicator of the direction of changes which security forces dream of, was the murder of Chechen Jambulat Dadaev in Grozny, perpetrated by security forces that arrived from Stavropol. Even from the helplessly false statement made by Ministry of Internal Affairs after the murder, it was clear that the soldiers did not come to detain the suspect, but to eliminate a victim. This is a routine daily practice, which the security forces used for years in Chechnya and which still is regularly used in Dagestan and other North Caucasian republics. These "eliminations" are so commonplace that they are even often in news of federal channels, apparently for the purpose of patriotic education of youth. But Kadyrov stopped the Safari for the Feds in Chechnya. He reserved this privilege only for himself. The Chechens don't want to stop being Germans in the Third Reich and become Jews again. They will resist this fate. With or without Kadyrov.

    Here are a few statements from a variety of well-known Chechens, from Kadyrov to Zakayev, made after execution in Grozny.

    "These are the 2000s. Someone wanted to "get a result" - captured a Chechen and killed him. This will not happen [again]. Enough. We were humiliated, insulted. We did not accept the Constitution to be killed."

    "In memory of the people, extrajudicial executions, arbitrary detentions and arrests, torture and other massive human rights violations committed by unknown masked men in unmarked vehicles, are still quite fresh. We have five thousand people missing. Hundreds of thousands were killed."
    "Today, the population of Chechnya, of course, will support Ramzan Kadyrov. He enjoys the loyalty of the Chechens just because he protects them. People link termination of sweeps and chaos that reigned in Chechnya, with him. ".

    Cleansings and massacres have been committed in Chechnya by Russian authorities for centuries. We all remember the testimony of a Russian officer, a participant of this endless war in Caucasus: "Heads of families gathered on the square and, squatting, discussed their situation. None spoke of hatred against Russians. The feeling experienced by all the Chechens, young and old, was stronger than hate. It was not hatred, but refusing to consider these Russian dogs human and being so disgusted and perplexed by the senseless cruelty of these creatures, that the desire to exterminate them like rats, poisonous spiders and wolves, was as natural feeling as a sense of self-preservation. "
    I read "Hadji Murad" as a child, but only relatively recently have understood the meaning of these terrible words, unbearable for Russian consciousness - after the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, its investigation and trial of the direct perpetrators. Anna, who wrote the truth about the crimes of the Russian government in Chechnya, was a saint. In the heavenly Jerusalem, she has a place at the Alley of the Righteous. Her writings were filled with intolerable human pain, suffering of torn bodies and souls of the victims. For them, who died in hell, Anna returned sympathy and dignity after death. Her murder was ordered and organized by powerful Russian scoundrels. Murderers were provided logistical support by two operational groups from Interior Ministry and FSB. But the killers were Chechen.

    And neither her murder, nor disclosure of the names of her killers shook the Chechen society. It remains totally indifferent to the fate of Anna. It was concerned with hiding his shooter, Rustam Makhmudov, from the court. It seemed absolutely incomprehensible to me, until I realized, finally, a simple thing. Putin and Politkovskaya and all the rest of us are largely indistinguishable for so many Chechens.

    And he and her and we all do, by virtue of our birth, in their perception belong into category of the very things to which they feel "a sense stronger than hate". Putin for them is simply an useful infidel - current chief of those creatures with whom important negotiations and transactions are concluded. Bring him a head of unimportant but hated journalist as a birthday present might be useful tactical move for the Chechen ethnos. Same thing with Nemtsov. Even though it was Nemtsov who collected one million signatures in Nizhny Novgorod, brought them to Kremlin, and did much to stop the first Chechen war.
    But after all that Romanovs and Yermolovs, Stalins and Yeltsins, Putins and Shamanovs have committed in Chechnya in the XIX, XX and XXI centuries, that "sense" has become overwhelming for the Chechens, that they just do not bother differentiating between shades of Russian any more. Two ethnic groups with such established relationships to each other can not live in one state. Project "Kadyrov" and its ticking bomb postponed solution for a decade, but its time is up.

    Recent media appearances of crazy Kadyrovites have turned the majority of Russian society sharply against them, despite the fact that their threats have only been referred against the "liberals". This plays into the hands of security officers, who may again pressure Putin into yielding Kadyrov, now relying on broad public support.

    Fuel was added to the fire through recent story of the deputy from Krasnoyarsk, whom the Chechen diaspora humiliatingly forced to apologize to Kadyrov. As a result, Putin appears as almost the only person who protects the not-very-beloved-by-Russians (to put it mildly) Chechen leader.
    Kadyrov is making a big mistake by overestimating Putin's ability to keep the situation under control, since his patron is in a very vulnerable position against the background of both external and internal isolation and large-scale economic crisis. His wild statements and threats only do not help the boss, but deepen his isolation, setting him into opposition not only with siloviks and liberals, but with whole Russian society.


    One of the leaders of "non-systemic opposition", Navalny, as you know, has already accused Kadyrov of intent to formalize the separation of Chechnya from Russia and create an Islamic state:

    "Well, finally, I repeat what I have said many times: Kadyrov's strategic objective is to secede from Russia and to create his own authoritarian state under the guise of Islamic slogans. He's just waiting for the moment when federal budget is completely out of money. "

    Golden words for the ears of our security forces, who long have dreamed of closing "Project Kadyrov". Here's that broad public support which they can rely on in the outbreak of the third Chechen war. To prevent the betrayal of Kadyrov and his flight from the Russian Federation together with a republic - of which, Vladimir Vladimirovich, not only we, but also patriotically-minded opposition leaders, have warned many times.

    And on the same day A.Navalny, for some reason, added into his blog a detailed post "How Chechens fought for Hitler," edging reader into justifying the genocide of 1944.
    It is hard to escape the impression that Navalny consciously massages his many supporters and fans into supporting the security forces in their next quest in "restoring constitutional order". And he does that, of course, not on someone's request but because of his own fundamental beliefs.

    The politician, who is preparing to lead the country, does not understand that such a scenario would be a disaster not only for Chechnya, but above all for Russia.
    We should not be thinking of returning Kadyrov's totalitarian "offshore" into our domestic Putinist jurisdiction via even more bloodier third Chechen war; but of getting rid of the imperial obsession, that for the third century in a row has forced us to shell and bomb a piece of land, populated by, still defiant, "most difficult people".

    Ticking bomb of Russian-Chechen disaster can be stopped only by quick exit of Checnya from Russia - and exit of Russia from Chechnya.
    Chechen Republic must by necessity be offered full sovereignty with all legal results to our bilateral international relations.


     
  18. Agent327

    Agent327 Observer

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    Interesting article on a politically sensitive topic. Also interesting that prosecution is asked of the author, not of the rather gruesome things mentioned (which aren't really new to people in Chechnya or to people following events in Chechnya).

    I'm not sure if secession of Chechnya would resolve any of the various problems mentioned, but then I'm not Mr Piontkovsky.

    An interesting detail also that apparently a majority of Russians do not approve of Mr Kadyrov terming opposition as "enemies of the people".
     
  19. Yeekim

    Yeekim Deity

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    Historically, granting independence to colonies did resolve a lot of problems... while simultaneously creating new ones.
     
  20. Daw

    Daw Emperor

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    The article, as far as I understand it, is based on the false (though popular) assumption that all Russians are alike, and all Chechens are also clones of each other.

    People are different in any ethnicity, be it Russian, Chechen or any other. The article ignores that.

    It also ignores the fact that jerks - of whatever ethnicity - tend to be more eye-catching.

    Yes, but I'd like to first define what a colony is. I think that there's a difference between "a colony" and "a province."
     

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