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Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Neo-Soviet Kremlin So Desperate for Allies it is Prepared to Support Genocide

The Moscow News reports that "Vlad the Impaler" Putin is backing the homicidal regime in Uzbekistan. Looks like Russia is getting pretty hard up for friends, first Iran, then China, now Uzbekistan (the banner calls Dictator Karimov a bloody murderer). How Neo-Soviet can you get?:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has offered rare diplomatic support to Uzbek President Islam Karimov by hosting him at a Black Sea resort on the eve of the first anniversary of the Andijan massacre, AFP reported. Russia’s backing came on Friday amid Western criticism of Karimov’s leadership over massive bloodshed in the eastern Uzbek province of Andijan on May 13 last year.

A protest marking the anniversary in the Uzbek capital Tashkent was nipped in the bud Friday, but demonstrations took place or were planned in other capitals by opponents of Karimov’s regime. Uzbekistan’s government claims 187 people died, nearly all of them servicemen or “Islamist terrorists” behind disturbances which saw armed men free inmates from a jail and large crowds gather in the provincial capital.

Journalists and local witnesses, backed by human rights organisations, say hundreds died when security forces rampaged through the city, firing without warning on a crowd of 10,000 people. The United Nations later described the attack as a slaughter.

Meeting Karimov at the Russian leader’s Sochi residence, Putin hailed a recently concluded symbolic agreement on “allied relations” between Russia and the energy-rich Central Asian nation. The accord marked progress towards “the formation of a qualitatively new level of cooperation between our two countries,” Putin said in televised comments.

Karimov emphasised his desire for closer economic ties between his ex-Soviet nation and Russia, saying that Tashkent was “open to the privatisation of major enterprises,” the RIA news agency said. The effort to renew ties with what was the Soviet Union’s second-largest natural gas producer comes after Karimov halted a short-lived flirtation with the United States, following Western criticism over the Andijan bloodshed.

Uzbekistan last November closed a U.S. air base that supported the international coalition in neighbouring Afghanistan and caused unease in Russian military circles.

The Kommersant daily described the Sochi talks as a “visit of self-preservation” by Karimov, saying the Uzbek leader had “serious reasons to worry about the viability of his regime, due to ever more pressure from the West”. Human rights groups have voiced alarm at Russia’s support for Karimov, who was Uzbekistan’s last Soviet-era leader and has clung to power ever since.

A tiny demonstration bloodshed occurred on Friday in central Tashkent, where activists placed flowers at a Soviet-era monument to victims of a 1966 earthquake, saying the gesture was intended to honour the Andijan dead. Eight of them then tried to mount a demonstration, but had their placards ripped from their hands by unidentified security men.

In Kiev, about 50 Uzbek and Ukrainian nationals demonstrated outside the Uzbek embassy, chanting “Freedom for political prisoners!” and “Uzbekistan without Karimov!” Rallies were planned on Saturday in London, Belgium, Egypt and Moscow, Uzbek activist Shahida Iakoub told AFP. He said the London protest was designed to persuade the British government to support a petition drawn up by Uzbek organisations that calls on the European Union to give a stronger response to the uprising.

In Brussels EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana said Friday, “It is with great regret that I note the continuing refusal of the Uzbek authorities to heed the calls of the EU and others for a credible investigation into those events.” “I urge the Uzbek authorities to engage positively with the EU and others, and in adhering to the principles of respect for human rights, rule of law and fundamental freedoms,” he added in a statement.

EU foreign ministers were also expected to deplore what they call the increasingly serious harassment of human rights defenders and the persecution, prosecution and jailing of leading opposition figures. Despite Russian worries about Western pressure on Karimov, however, human rights groups say it has been inadequate, particularly from the United States.

On Thursday, the head of the Moscow office of Human Rights Watch, Allison Gill, urged the EU to strengthen existing sanctions against Uzbekistan, which include a visa ban on some top officials but not on Karimov. She urged the United States, which imposed no sanctions at all on Uzbekistan, to follow Europe’s lead.


Anonymous said...

Is Uzbekistan the same country that the United States cosied up to after 9/11? Is it the same country in which the United States would still have a military base had they not been booted out by the Uzbek government last October? Is it the same country that received millions of dollars of U.S. security assistance while the State Department Report of Human Rights was lambasting it from pillar to post? Is it the neighbour of Kyrgyzstan, which has recently been backsliding into anti-democratic practices and where the United States also have an important military presence?
Is it also the neighbour of Kazakhstan, the oil-wealthy country Cheney graced with his presence only a matter of hours after criticising Russia's poor democratic performance and the country where President Nazarbayev was recently re-elected with over 90% of the vote? What is good for the goose, it seems, does not suit the fancies of the gander.

La Russophobe said...

La Russophobe doesn't know what country, or perhaps planet would be a better noun, REITH comes from, but here on planet earth if a person commits murder and then tells the judge that he can't be prosecuted because other people commit murder, the judge laughs out loud and sends that person to prison for life or, better still, to the electric chair, confident in the knowledge that if the accused has only the acts of others to defend himself, he is guilty as charged.

And if that "other person" is someone who the accused has been accusing of inferiority and barbarity for years, the judge laughs even louder.

And if the accused is a crazed drug addict hurtling down the road to self destruction, the judge may shed a tear for the pathetic wretch.

Anonymous said...

Then it's agreed that Russia is not the only one that actively supports and condones "genocide" and breaches of democratic standards, and that the United States is equally culpable in both respects. The observation might be superfluous were you not positing the existence of a Cold War II, in which one side presumably plays the blameless and guiltless party, while the other cannot do enough that is evil and wrong. In actual fact, the truth should be observed with more nuance and complexity, both notions alien to this site. All the facts I listed in my earlier comment are true and suggest that the black and white, Russia versus America, scenario you have contrived is fundamentally false.

La Russophobe said...

Hitler wasn't the only one who murdered Jews. But that didn't mean the world had to wait to stop him until it had stopped everbody else first. Only those in neo-Soviet la-la-land fail to grasp that simple point.

If you think the US has the same culpability as Russia in denigrating human rights, La Russophobe thinks you are a major head case.

But even if it did, the US also has a thriving economy and population, whereas Russia is literally dying off. What's more, the US does not have a long history of brutal totalitarianism with tens of millions of citizens murdered. So Russia can ill afford its outrageous practices. Or at least that's the way La Russophobe sees it.

What's more, last time La Russophobe checked, Russians thought they were better than Americans.

Your attempt to justify Russian outrage by pointing to American outrage is classically neo-Soviet. Exactly the kind of "thinking" that brought Russia to its knees.

Anonymous said...

So it's agreed, you think that Russia is not the only one that actively supports and condones "genocide" and breaches of democratic standards, and that the United States is equally culpable in both respects.

"If you think the US has the same culpability as Russia in denigrating human rights, La Russophobe thinks you are a major head case."

Nobody is running a competition here and it is typically crass of you to put things in these terms. You are similarly shallow to disregard the extensive catalogue of U.S. assistance for undemocratic regime across the world, including ones with history in mass murder.
The real peach is this bit though:

"But even if it did, the US also has a thriving economy and population, whereas Russia is literally dying off. What's more, the US does not have a long history of brutal totalitarianism with tens of millions of citizens murdered. So Russia can ill afford its outrageous practices. Or at least that's the way La Russophobe sees it."

It would be OK for the United States to abet the human rights violations (Pinochet's Chile, Saddam Hussein's Iraq in the 80s, the Shah's Iran, and for domestic history look at the genocide of Native Americans, and for more recent U.S. atrocities consider the news now emerging from Iraq), because it's economically benefitted from it. That, even I cannot think of anything to reply to.

So "Hitler wasn't the only one who murdered Jews". Very true, but the Allies (including the United States, which joined the war two years late in spite of the mass murder of Jews) were not killing Jews themselves. They could therefore not be accused of double standards. If only the same could be said of the West today.

La Russophobe said...

REITHER: You do realize that you're now on record saying that the United States of America, with the world's oldest written constitution and more consecutive peaceful changes of power than any other current regime is as culpable in genocide as Russia, right? I mean, people are going to READ what you've written and remember it. Where does a person get some of that glue you've been sniffing? Sometimes reading all the news about Russia gives La Russophobe a great desire to step away from reality for a moment, and you seem to have managed it so often and so easily.

If you actually can't distinguish between the risk of being subjected to Russia or the U.S. where your human rights are concerned, I pity you, deluded neo-Soviet man.

Anonymous said...

There is a very simple response to your argument, based on the initial proposition that Russia was abetting genocide in Uzbekistan (which is not an accurate term to use to describe the situation in that country anyway.) The United States gave military and financial support to Uzbekistan in very much the same way that Russia is doing now. This makes both countries equally culpable for the problems of that country. It's very simple when you think about it.

La Russophobe said...

REITH: You are the one who is non-responsive. If the only reason you can give to explain Russia's support for Uzbek murderers (and terrorists from Hamas, and maniacs in Iran, etc.) is that other countries support lunatics too, then Russia's position is without defense. One murderer is not excused because others commit murder.

Russia is a doomed nation grasping at straws as it sinks slowly beneath the quicksand it has intentionally stepped into.

You haven't named one single good reason for Russia to support Uzbek killers, and if you are now trying to deny that mass killing is going on in Uzbekistan then you are not worth the time of day.

Anonymous said...

If you need to have the fact that mass killings, for all the ones there may have been in Uzbekistan, is not synonymous with genocide explained to you, you should probably spend more time consulting the dictionary than you do ignoring the flagrant double standards that you employ in attacking Russia for allying itself with despotic governments that happened to be great friends of the United States only a matter of months ago. You cavil on this point, citing your neurotically Russocentric viewpoint, but the fact remains that you cannot, with any pretense to consistency, continue to excoriate countries for maintaining international standards of conduct that you deem despicable without recognising that there are many countries, the United States among them, responsible of exactly the same thing. You routinely express your moral indignation in one direction, as if to imply that Russia is the seat of all existing evil, ignoring all the time the hypocrisy of the nation that you believe the morally upright contestant in this nonsensical Cold War you keep rabbiting on about. It seems such a pity to see all this moral indignation and bile you have to excercise on a country you believe to be doomed of its own volition anyway, with or without all your tilting at the windmills, go to waste when atrocities like Haditha, perpetrated by the "inventors of democracy" no less, are taking place.

La Russophobe said...

REITH: You are quite insane. Attempting to explain how "mass killing" is not the same as "genocide" is the act of a Stalinist maniac. Attempting to equate the harm inflicted abroad and at home by the American democracy, greatest in world history, and the Russian dictatorship, most horrific in world history, is also the act of a Stalinist maniac. Calling my "russocentric," a synonym for a russophile (in fact, a euphemism they use for propaganda purposes) is simply insane.

Pound for pound, Russia as it currently exists is by far the world's greatest threat to civil liberties and democratic values.

Russia's horrific legacy of democratic abuse and genocide means that the slightest infraction has far more significance than for any other country, save perhaps Germany. And Russia's infractions are not slight, they are extremely severe and far more so than any offenses given by America.

The idea that there is no basis for preference between life under the White House and life under the Kremlin is so absurd and embarrassing that it is surprising even from you.

Anonymous said...

To get the facts straight, what you ignorantly characterise as genocide could only conceivably be a reference to the Andijan massacre which, as awful as it was, does not consitute a genocide. In case you don't what a genocide is, it's the "systematic and planned extermination of an entire national, racial, political, or ethnic group".
All this semantic fun would all be good and fine were it not for the fact this massacre took place in a country that was home to an American military base and a member of the coalition of the willing. It's double standards pure and simple for you to start banging about how Russia is implicated in this. The United States would still be there had they not been booted out.
Anything between 170 and 600-700 people died in Andijan last year, which still leaves it quite a bit short of the 38,000-42,000 citizens that have died so far in the war in Iraq. When it comes to the mass slaughter and atrocities, the United States have pretty much compromised their pompous attitude of lecturing others.
While it may be true that Russia is by far the greatest threat to its own civil liberties and democratic values, something I have never contested, the danger posed to the world by America's arrogant foreign policy cannot be understated. Except by you, that is, who squeals and screeches like the monkeys that see, hear and say nothing when it comes to talking about their own backyard.
So, enjoy your lovely great democracy, but it's only a shame that there are orphaned children in Haditha that will probably be unable to take much comfort from the ignorant smugness of people like you

La Russophobe said...

REITH: I'm glad we agree on the dangers posed by Russia. The fact that America is also dangerous, which I utterly reject, is totally irrelevant. America, if it is a problem, is somebody else's problem. This is La RUSSOphobe.

Meanwhile, if you agree Russia is dangerous and then attempt to deflect attention from that danger by pointing to the danger posed by some other country, you are helping Russia to continue to be dangerous and hence are part of the problem.

And, most important, I'm sure we can agree that whatever tactics were being used to guard against Russia before La Russophobe came along weren't working in the least little bit. So it's obviously time to try something new.