You might not believe it, dear reader, but we here at La Russophobe really hate to be proven right, because it inevitably means one more nail in Russia's coffin and the whole point of our activity is to save Russia from that fate. So it's with profound regret that we inform you of how right we were about the inevitability of huge, Stalin-like images of Vladimir Putin appearing in Russia to be worshipped by fawning minions waving red flags and creaking generals saluting. How scary is THAT? It was only a matter of time. And it's also only a matter of time until the GULAG gets going again (in fact, Mikhail Khodorkovsky would say that happened quite some time ago).
The Telegraph reports:
Rolling out ageing military chiefs and attractive young activists, the Kremlin laid on a lavish 55th birthday bash for President Vladimir Putin that successfully overshadowed the first anniversary of the murder of an outspoken critic. Nearly 10,000 members of the Kremlin-created Nashi youth movement, their red T-shirts emblazoned with images of the president's face, gathered in Moscow for a riverside birthday party. Activists hung giant Russian flags from 1,000 high-rise buildings around Moscow before unveiling their present for Mr Putin: a 722-ft "peace blanket" the movement said symbolized Russia's grandeur. Vladimir Voronin, the Moldovan president, presented him with a bottle of champagne said to be "the size of an adult woman" at a meeting in Bishkek, the Kyrgyz capital, before Mr Putin flew back to Moscow for a birthday party in the Kremlin attended by the most senior officers in the Russian armed forces and intelligence services as well as by ultra-loyalist aides and friends.
The mood was considerably more sombre in Moscow's Pushkin square, where 700 opposition activists gathered for a rally to commemorate the death of Anna Politkovskaya, the investigative reporter murdered on Mr Putin's birthday last year. Under international pressure, Russian prosecutors announced the arrest of 11 suspects last month but are no closer to revealing who may have instigated the killing. The Kremlin has denied any connection to the murder, and Mr Putin has stated that she was too insignificant for the government to view as a serious threat — an argument similarly used by the president over the murder of Alexander Litvinenko, the ex-KGB defector, in London last year.
10,000 for Putin. 700 for Politkovskaya. It's a barbaric, uncivilized nation that would do such a thing.