In the Moscow Times, Lilia Shevtsova writes about the efforts of Russia’s elite to separate itself from the mass of the country’s citizenry and establish its own private relationship of the privileged and wealthy with the United States and the West, while cutting the rest of the population off from Western influences by means of an orchestrated campaign of anti-Western and anti-American propaganda. Shevtsova sees this as a danger for President Obama – she suggests that when he visits Moscow next month, he may be walking into a carefully-prepared trap:
The White House has little chance of being able to cooperate with the Kremlin without making some concessions to the Russian elite. However, such cooperation promises to promote the current Russian system, which functions with the “besieged fortress” mentality in which Russia is surrounded by enemies. If Obama takes a value-based approach, his opportunities on security will be limited.
Last night saw the formal opening of the Victory Monument on Tallinn’s Freedom Square. The monument commemorates Estonia’s victory in the Estonian War of Liberation – the defensive campaign of the Estonian Army and its allied White Russian Northwestern Army against the Soviet Western Front offensive and the Baltic German Landeswehr offensives in 1918–1920 in connection with the Russian Civil War.
Jamestown analyst Pavel Felgenhauer is once again pointing to the possibility of a Russian intervention in Georgia this summer:
The most dangerous period within which a new full-scale war with Georgia might occur will be from July 10 until after President Barack Obama visits Moscow, while the invasion forces are already deployed and poised for action, under the cover of “Kavkaz-2009.” If Russian forces go into action, their objectives will be decisive.
This is not quite clear, as according to most sources President Obama’s Moscow visit is scheduled for July 6-8. Perhaps July 10 is a typo for July 1?
See also: Risk of Russian military intervention in Georgia?
Ingushetia’s President Yunus-bek Yevkurov has been wounded in an assassination attempt, AP reports.
The Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. now has a web site, the Global Museum on Communism.
The site is quite dependent on flash video, and on some systems the graphics can take a while to load, but the project is both ambitious and worthwhile, and represents a serious effort to chronicle and portray the history and the victims of Communism worldwide.
(Hat tip: Leopoldo)
Again at Prague Watchdog, a discussion of the choice that currently faces Chechens: either the Moscow-backed Islamism of Ramzan Kadyrov, or the genuine Islamism of Dokka Umarov. Is there really much to choose between them? And is a third alternative possible?
See also: Russia without the Caucasus
Via Jeremy Putley:
I have just got information from Malika Zubajraev. She is in Grozny. She tells that the last info on Zubajr’s whereabouts was a week ago. An unknown person called her number on Zubajr’s request (in her words) to let them know that he was temporarily being located in Novosibirsk. Malika tells that she has been trying to contact Novosibirsk after that but was told that Zubajr had been already moved. There has been no information on his whereabouts since then and it is not known whether he was brought to Enisejsk (Krasnojarsk region) or not.
What is really worrying is that Malika told that she also received an official notification from Volgograd that she will be taken to account for “defamation” against LIU 15 colony. Tne letter is from May 22 and it is signed by the deputy head of UFSIN of Volgograd Zubov.
See also: “Institutionalized lawlessness”
“Institutionalized lawlessness” – 2