Day: September 10, 2009

Looking through GQ

Commenting on the recent GQ controversy, and the question of “Radio Liberty’s failure for a number of days to post on its Russian-language website any in-depth reports about the banning in Russia of Scott Anderson’s “GQ” magazine article, which was highly critical of Mr. Putin and accused the FSB of instigating terrorist attacks to help his rise to power”, ex-VOA reporter and executive Ted Lepien writes that

Thirty-one years ago this week, on 7 September 1978, Georgi Markov, a Bulgarian émigré journalist who wrote for Radio Free Europe, BBC and Deutsche Welle, was assaulted in broad daylight on London’s Waterloo Bridge. Markov’s murder happened during the Cold War, but in more recent years the murder of Anna Politkovskaya and of numerous other journalists in Russia, as well as the assassination in London of former KGB and FSB officer Alexander Litvinenko, who became a vocal critic of Mr. Putin, have brought into focus the question of how safe it is in the post-Cold War world to criticize Russian leaders, especially for journalists living in Russia, but also for anybody living in the West who has ties to Russia.

Hat tip: Mari-Ann Kelam

Chavez dictatorship recognizes Abkhazia, S. Ossetia

http://en.rian.ru/world/20090910/156084433.html

From civil.ge:

The Georgian Foreign Ministry condemned the decision by Venezuelan “dictator” Hugo Chavez to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as “an extremely unfriendly” move and said it hoped Venezuela would retract its decision after a “democratically elected” government comes into power in that country.

A few hours after Venezuelan President, Hugo Chavez, made announcement about the recognition at a meeting with his Russian counterpart in Moscow on September 10, the Georgian Foreign Ministry issued a statement which said that “such violation of norms and principles of international law will be counter-productive for Venezuela itself.”

The Foreign Ministry said Tbilisi was sure that the Venezuelan leader made such a decision in exchange for Moscow’s pledge to give Venezuela “hundreds of millions in credit and a great amount of armaments.”

“It is regrettable that Russia’s irresponsible authorities are wasting taxes paid by the population of the Russian Federation, which lives on the verge of poverty, on satisfying ephemeral foreign policy whims,” the statement reads.

Why is Ukraine not Russia?

Paul Goble, translating and quoting Moscow commentator Igor Yakovenko, in the Georgian Daily: Ukraine is Escaping the Past but Russia is Not, Moscow Analyst Says:

Russia remains trapped in the grip of a desire to build “a new empire,” but “the chances for the realization of this project are not simply small. They are equal to zero. They do not exist.” Russia could play a role if it was willing to accept the status of a junior partner to the US, Europe or China, but Russians are not prepared to do this.

They are not prepared to give up their “messianic goals” or to recognize that Europe has moved beyond zero-sum politics, in which there are clear winners and losers, into a system in which all participants must take away something positive. Russians remain convinced that any victory for them requires a defeat for others, and vice versa.

Moscow has “bought Schroeder, made friends with Berlusconi, purchased wholesale and retail experts and politicians in Eastern Europe, Western Europe and the United States.” But this has not brought Russia happiness, because Russia is not in a position to achieve its messianic goal of a new empire.

This then, Yakovenko argues, is “the main distinction of Russia and Ukraine.” Russia continues to think that it is an empire, to celebrate its size and power as the main things. But Ukraine is rapidly moving toward an acceptance of the reality that it is a second-tier country that must cooperate with others in a European fashion in order to survive and flourish.

Winning wars and losing them

At Z-Word Blog, Eamonn McDonagh writes about some double standards that prevail in Western war reporting:

You  remember all the fuss at the start of the year about Israel’s supposedly disproportionate use of force in Gaza, no? Well, unless you are a close student of Afghan affairs it may have escaped your attention that last Thursday Spanish forces killed 13 members of the Taliban without suffering so much as a scratch on their own side.

 

Read the whole article.