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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Putin Cracks Down on "Other Russia"

The Other Russia website reports:

The Russian government of Vladimir Putin has increased pressure against the activities of the Other Russia across the country, including in Moscow, during our primary election cycle. In recent days four delegate conferences have been blocked by the government. This is a significant escalation by the Kremlin because their actions come not against street protests or public demonstrations, but against formal meetings of people attempting to engage in the democratic process. Our conferences are open and transparent, but apparently even these democratic discussions have been forbidden by the Kremlin. This signifies a broad step onto totalitarian soil.

Participants in Rostov and Smolensk were taken into custody and later released without charges — clearly the only intent was to disrupt the conferences. In Nizhny Novgorod and Moscow, the conferences were blocked by the sudden withdrawal of permission by the host sites, which had been booked well in advance. The cinema in Moscow called to say they “needed the approval of local authorities” and that they were breaking our contract because we “hadn’t informed them of the political nature of the event.” Our backup site then sent a message saying it would be unavailable the date of the conference “due to a technical problem with the building.” Several of our members went to the site to notify people because we hadn’t had enough time to reach everyone. When we arrived, there were many police as well as a large “under repairs” sign.

So we tried the giant Izmailova hotel complex, where they also have a large conference hall and other facilities. This is where we have reserved rooms and meeting space for the September 30th Congress and we hoped they might save the day by hosting our Moscow regional conference there at the last minute. They accepted and received our down payment. But on Saturday they contacted us to say that the event couldn’t take place, with no further explanation. The owners had always put business first, but clearly that is no longer the case.

At a press conference today in Moscow, we publicly requested that the Izmailova representatives confirm our reservation for the 30th. This is a huge package with a substantial down payment that includes the conference hall, 400 rooms with food, etc. Their response was that they would “need approval from the local authorities.” It appears the same script has been handed out widely.

This is not just more of the same from the Kremlin. As Garry Kasparov put it in chess terms:
“This is an illegal move, a pawn jump from e3 to e6. Putin isn’t playing games anymore, he is simply banning a legitimate event with Russian citizens attempting to participate in a democratic process. And this is in Moscow itself, not in a distant region far from scrutiny. They don’t care anymore. The gloves are off and the iron fist reveals itself. It’s one thing to employ rule changes and tricks to prevent us from registering for elections, or to antagonize us in the street. This is as close as the regime has come to simply banning all opposition activities.”

Again we ask, if Russia is a democracy, why can we not participate? If Putin and his gang are not afraid, if they are so popular, why do they not allow us to meet and to organize? Their worst fear, it now becomes apparent, is not a few thousand marchers in the streets. It is a few thousand Russians participating in an open and democratic system and setting a bad example for the rest of the country.

* * *

Burning books is considered passé these days in Moscow. Preference is given to quieter methods of keeping critical tomes off the shelves of Russian bookstores, or the Moscow International Book Fair. First, the largest Russian publisher, Eksmo, announced that Other Russia leader Garry Kasparov’s new book, “How Life Imitates Chess,” would not be released in time for the Fair as planned. First they said there was a delay due to a technical issue and now a spokesperson says it is because Kasparov’s contract with Eskmo has expired. Certainly it couldn’t be that it was deemed unwise to have a big display of an opposition leader’s face with elections so near at hand? After over seven years of Putin we simply don’t believe in such coincidences.

Now the new book of political activist Ruslan Linkov has also disappeared from the shelves. An unknown buyer purchased the entire print run of 5,000 books to ensure it wouldn’t be available at the Book Fair, where it was scheduled to be launched yesterday. The book delves into the mysterious assassinations of several Kremlin critics, including Galina Starovoitova, killed in 1998 in St. Petersburg. Linkov was her assistant and was himself shot in the head during the attack. Every copy of his book, “Notes from a Survivor,” were purchased by a single buyer before they were even printed. More will now be printed, but of course the book fair launch has been missed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

To quote the article:
Again we ask, if Russia is a democracy, why can we not participate?

I think this would be understandable if one just look at the way the form of their ideology forces them to look at the world. Personally I think most people find it impossible to “put themselves in someone shoes” effectively. I am not talking about the ability to be empathetic, and such. what I am referring to is knowing enough about the different places, and ways people think and being able to sit in their shoes and perhaps see more like they do, and see WHY they make the choices they make.

One has to remember that the majority of KGB, FSB, GRU, etc, don’t see themselves as evil monsters. So to understand one has to somehow come to some premise that would allow them to naturally take their position, and not see themselves in the way that someone neutral to that position would see them (and definitely those interested would see it).

Lennin looked down on the proletariat, as did all leaders from there. They are the lumpenproletariat. To them, almost another species that because of their failure to rise up on cue, must be too stupid to take care of themselves.

Its from this regard that they then set themselves up as the elite and knowledgeable leaders that are taking care of the proletariat masses. As I mentioned in other places, around the Korean War, Stalin wrote a lovely ditty on linguistics. And what is confusing is the split between the natural and dominant definition of democracy, and the special definition of that item that they use through their greater understanding of the real situation.

These other definitions and such are or have been formulated to advantage. Its in this way that they can honestly speak about their goals, and intentions and such, and yet never tell their opponents what they are doing, or something they don’t want to hear.

So when they speak of democracy, they are going to do for the masses the same as their ideology says so. Its not democracy western style, its democracy reformed through a Marxist dialectic.

In this case the masses are still the lumpen proletariat, and they must be taken care of by the socialist state (note that this lets them also keep being socialist without changing too), and since the rulers are the special elite that can see things as they are, they must be the ones to vote for this lumpen proletariat.

Well shucky darn, give a sociopath a dictionary and some time, and see what they cook up? Kind of cute actually… and since the leaders do the voting, the rest of the state must be taken care of and remain socialist and a planned economy.

Taken to the next level, the whole perestroika (restructuring), was just that, a restructuring, and their financial success and position and getting all this technology and such, is seen as a confirmation of their ideological success and progress.

The fact that the US and EU are so socialist is also confirming them in their footsteps. Like a frentic fanatical zealot leading a group of revolutionaries, they believe that if they were wrong, they would lose.

But few see that in the real world, the concept of right and wrong are complex issues and not simple facts. This does not make them relative, which is what they use to play more linguistic games. That the mental realization of right or wrong is not confirmed in some mechanical connection to the real world.

So winning is not a confirmation of being right. how one wins, that complex issue, makes a difference in the mental knowledge of whether its right or wrong. This other view harkens back to trial by combat. Which forced end justifies the means thinking unless coupled with a real sense of right or wrong, a real sense of justice (no matter where it comes for that individual).

The whole dialectic has spent the most time forming its way to turn everything to its way. in fact even more than its spent working on the validity of the way it thinks things should be. For them, the end result, if its believed by them (which I have no way of knowing), is communism, and the state will dissolve away. (and I guess we will all be in teletubby land or something… they never get this far)

So what you have is a huge means, and a small distant vague idea of what you hope that awful means will get you to. This suits the sociopath control freaks just fine. After all, when you ride a horse, do you worry what the horse actually thinks that gets it to resolve the situation, do it, and live? No. that’s the horses problem, and if the horse delusionally thinks something that drags it the right way, why should they correct them?

Its only when the horse grants the wish and the end result is seen that the split between the two definitions is evident. The classic response would be “oh, my mistake, I thought this was what you meant”.

Or maybe they might say:
“Again we ask, if Russia is a democracy, why can we not participate?”