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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Another Khrushchev Moment for Putin

So let's see if we understand. In regard to the December parliamentary elections in Russia, Vladimir Putin has:

  • banned various parties and candidates outright from the ballot
  • seized truckloads of opposition campaign literature
  • refused to allow his party to engage in debates
  • severely restricted the ability of foreign observers to scrutinize the polls
  • beaten and arrested opposition party leaders
  • imposed price controls to hide the effects of chronic inflation
And two opposition figures have been assassinated (see report below). Yet it's the United States, not the Kremlin, that is undermining the elections?!?

And, while Russia has ever right to intervene in elections in Ukraine and Georgia, the U.S. is venal felon for attempting to do so in neo-Soviet Russia?

Ummm . . . OK. The Times of London reports:

Vladimir Putin accused the United States today of plotting to discredit the results of parliamentary elections in Russia. President Putin claimed that the US had pressed international observers to cancel a monitoring mission to Russia and cautioned that Moscow's future relations with Washington would be affected. Mr Putin hit out as the Federation Council, Russia's Senate, announced March 2 as the date of the next presidential election. He is barred by the Russian Constitution from seeking a third consecutive term.

Today's blunt allegation signalled a new chilling of relations with America as the pro-Kremlin United Russia party heads for a sweeping victory in the elections to the Duma on Sunday. Europe's principal election watchdog, the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR), abandoned efforts to monitor the vote ten days ago after accusing Moscow of obstructing its work. It is the elections arm of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which includes Russia and the US among its 56 members. Mr Putin told a meeting of United Russia supporters in St Petersburg that the US had been behind the decision in an attempt to undermine the legitimacy of the election.

“Information available to us suggests that this has been done yet again on the recommendation of the US State Department and this will be taken into account in our inter-state relations with that country,” he said. “Their goal is to make the elections illegitimate. But they will fail again to attain this goal.” Urdur Gunnarsdottir, an ODIHR spokeswoman, said that Mr Putin's claims were “nonsense” and that the decision to withdraw the mission had not been made “on the recommendation or co-ordinated with any government”.

The growing harshness of Mr Putin's rhetoric against Europe and the US, however, suggests that the Kremlin's campaign to install a successor in the presidential elections will be based on antagonism to the West. Mr Putin described his opponents last week as “jackals” in the pay of foreign governments to stir up a revolution. The chairman of Russia's Central Election Commission today ruled out one ruse to let Mr Putin seek a third term. Vladimir Churov said that the law did not permit a president to step down early and seek re-election while a caretaker took his place.

Candidates have 25 days from the announcement of the poll date to register for the election. Opinion polls show that growing numbers of Russians believe that Mr Putin will back Viktor Zubkov, 66, the bureaucrat that he plucked from obscurity in September to become Prime Minister. Many analysts are convinced that Mr Zubkov would become president for only a short time before resigning for “health reasons” and paving the way for Mr Putin to return to the Kremlin. The ODIHR cancelled its visit after complaining that Moscow had failed to issue visas in time and had limited the organisation to 70 observers. It sent more than 400 monitors to parliamentary elections in 2003.

The State Department accused Moscow of deliberately impeding the OSCE's ability to monitor the vote. Russia blamed the OSCE. A crackdown by riot police on weekend protests against Mr Putin drew sharp criticism from the European Commission today. Hundreds were arrested in Moscow and St Petersburg and the former chess champion Garry Kasparov was jailed for five days. “I was very concerned to see reports of police harassment and arrests of politicians and peaceful demonstrators in Russia,” said José Manuel Barroso, the Commission's president. “The right to free speech and assembly are basic fundamental human rights and I very much regret that the authorities found it necessary to take such heavy-handed action.”

Boris Nemtsov, one of the politicians arrested in St Petersburg, called the elections a sham. Mr Nemtsov, a candidate for the liberal Union of Right Forces, said: “There is absolutely no doubt that these elections will not be recognised anywhere in the world as free and democratic.”


Artfldgr said...

makes one wonder what goes on that never reaches press or public perview.

after all, with all the newspapers in the US, only a small amount of actual actions get reported... thats true of anywhere... so in effect a press report of some incident can be a kind of litmus test for the things that are going on outside the view and not high enough on the totem to get covered in some way.

how many lesser people, who are not in public, are meeting fates?

the older people right now are probably happy they are not exposing their selves on the internet as that would be their greatest protection from a return of the past.

the elections are a problem in that they force a certain dance to happen and that dance is not convenient and the lack of the surity of the end result at a critical point is not something that they would accept. (LR has more than clearly shown that they are not the most sportsman like attitude when it comes to losing or winning)

they are just making sure that they call the tune when the piper plays the dance. true to form.

though i would bet anything that the reason this has happened this way is that putin jumped the gun in their plan. in this its a kind of reverse hot potato... some person in the future after the fall would resurect things and go forward.. as each leader takes his turn, wondering if they are the ones to hold the hot potatoe or not. the one nearest but not it would be the one to jump the gun to try to make the one at that crux them.

of course if someone were to do such, they would have EXACTLY the problems that putin is having. lack of the support of the fix, a military not updated enough, economy not healthy enough yet, abakov's work would be undone (which is why more are seeing the truth), and other things that flow from the premise.

no way to actually know if this is the situation... or it just looks like that, and the defectors and such have made it appear that way.

though either way or some other way, a whole heap of bad is going on again.

the habitual liar can only tell the truth for so long. the nasty person can only be good so long.

if they worked this hard at doing good, things would be pretty great there... instead they waste much resources and focus on these unproductive games.


because the leaders are there for their own not there representing the people in any way shape or form other than to protect themselves.

[the most sardonically sick point is that being really good at doing good there, and dissolving all this bad would secure him a solid place. not only that, but he would make much more money working the speech circuit after his rule ended and much easier... that is unless he actually thinks that the country belongs to him and his crew(so anything else is a big step down). this and the fact that he likes the game would explain a lot]

Anonymous said...

Nicely said.

Anonymous said...

just did 2 months in moscow and vladimir region. russia as much as ever is a failed and sad society. public drunkeness and begging is worse than ever. there's a meanness, a disdain for one another, an envy, a 'to hell with the next guy' attitude that just keeps getting worse. and don't get me started on the anti-american mood----i now lie and say i'm from canada, telling the truth too often leads to hostility.