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Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Annals of the Neo-Soviet Empire

A fellow in the former Soviet slave state of Macedonia, an other such place now actively seeking to join NATO out of fear of Russian imperial designs, has given a group of Russian diplomats "five good reasons" to consider leaving his country, as ITAR-TASS reports:

Four employees of the Russian embassy in Macedonia have been attacked, a source at the Macedonian Interior Ministry told Itar-Tass on Sunday. The incident happened on Saturday evening. The four diplomats were about to leave a cafй on the central square of Skopje when a young man approached them and suddenly hit one of the diplomats. The cafй security joined the brawl when the diplomats went out. All in all, ten to twelve people took part in the attack. The diplomats were injured. They received medical aid at the Skopje hospital and were discharged for further treatment at home. The police are looking for the attackers. The Russian Foreign Ministry will make a protest, the source said.

Meanwhile, Russia has censored a Georgian television station operating in Moscow, knocking it off the air. Red Orbit reports from Echo Moskvy:

A cable TV channel broadcasting news and programmes in the Georgian language has been taken off the air in the town of Lobnya, in Moscow Region. Ajaria TV has now been replaced with a music channel. The [cable network] operator switched the channel off after it had received a phone call from the authorities telling it to stop anti-Russian propaganda, a member of the cable network operator's staff has told Novaya Gazeta [newspaper]. The source did not specify the department where the phone call had come from.

John McCain slammed Russia's "nostalgia" for Neo-Soviet imperial designs:

Arizona senator and likely presidential candidate John McCain charged Saturday that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “seeking to re-establish the Russian empire using petro-dollars to do it as he bullies and threatens his neighbors.” The Republican senator made the comments during a rally at the Elks Lodge in support of U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-2nd District. McCain, in warning his listeners that “this is a very dangerous world,” included Russia along with the usual suspects, such as Iran and North Korea. McCain said that given the dangerous complexities the nation faces, it is paramount to return Simmons — a man with military and CIA experience — to office. Simmons faces Democratic challenger Joe Courtney, a former state legislator, in the Nov. 7 election. At a brief news conference following the rally, McCain said he was not suggesting that Russia is a military threat to the United States, as the Soviet Union was during the Cold War. But it is troubling, he said, that Russia is not following the path to democracy that had been hoped for when the Soviet Union collapsed. “Every indication is that Putin has gone the way of autocracy and is nostalgic for the days of the Russian empire,” McCain said. “It's obvious the path they're on is certainly not one toward democracy.” He cited the repression of the independent press, the slaying of investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya and continued presence of Russian military bases in Georgia, against the Georgians' will, as reasons for concern.

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