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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

EDITORIAL: Putin's Folly


Putin's Folly

It would be farcical and amusing if it were not so very sad and outrageous.

We report below on Russia's plans, in light of the threats it faces because of the increasingly dangerous political climate in southern Russia, to build an island in the middle of the Black Sea (shown above in an artist's rendering) to house the world's athletes at the Sochi games in 2014.

The irony cannot be lost on anyone: The world's largest country, in terms of land mass, doesn't have any suitable acreage on which to house the athletes, either in terms of ambiance or security, so it has to isolate them in the middle of the sea. And it can't build the island itself, it has to bring in the Japanese to do it.

When one considers Russia's plans to send manned flights to Mars and colonize the Moon together with its Russia-shaped artificial archipelago (to say nothing of Russia's astronomical military spending and universal conscription), one cannot fail to be outraged. Here is a country where the average man works for less than $4/hour and does not live to see his 60th year. A country whose population falls by hundreds of thousands every year and which yet holds the world's largest territory in its clutches as if to allow one grain of sand to escape would mean disaster. A country whose people are plagued by double-digit inflation and an unspeakable array of diseases from bird flu to Hemorrhagic Fever. And it is planning to spend $6.2 billion -- yes, that's right, billion with a "B" -- to build an artificial island shaped like itself.

What we see in Russia today is exactly what we saw three or four decades ago: A country which has brutally crushed all forms of dissent and hence all flows of information, a country with a government increasingly unhinged from reality, making policies that can only lead to the nation's downfall. Have Russians learned nothing from the mistakes that led to the obliteration of the USSR? Do they think that it was just bad luck that caused the USSR to implode, and that this time they'll get it right?

Those who think such thoughts could not be in the heads of today's Russians simply haven't met them. And indeed, an even more dire analysis would predict that Russians are fully aware that their government is pursuing self-destructive policies, and say nothing because they are hellbent on national suicide. Most dire of all, another analysis might suggest that Russians know their government is on a path to ruin, just as in the times of Stalin, but are simply too cowardly to stop it.


Anonymous said...

At any rate, this project is more interesting than the artificial Palm Islands in Dubai:

La Russophobe said...

Stalin thought the Gulag Archipelago was very "interesting" too.

The difference is that Dubai can afford what they are doing and lacks space. Some might think that makes Russia's project considerably less interesting, if not insane.

Anonymous said...

Does any human being, not a chick, have got bird flu in Russia?

La Russophobe said...

Are you suggesting that Vladimir Putin would tell the Russian people if that was happening? You see, once a proud KGB spy has been "elected" president, you don't really get to ask such questions. You pretty much just have to assume that they are. Or they will tomorrow, and you won't be told.

Meanwhile, some people do like to eat chicken, you know.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Russia has huge land mass, but if you know Geography, you should also know that her sea cost is mostly the Arctic waters. Russian warm sea coast is very short. This is just the small area with subtropical climate where the city of Sochi is.
So, expanding that area is not a bad or stupid idea. After the Olympics are over, the artificial islands and the facilities on them will be used as a luxury resort.
Russian millionaires and billionaires will stop going to Nice or Monaco for vacation and will take their getaway on the island enjoying themself and bringing money to the region. Their money, not of the state will be used for this project. So, it is going to be a good tourist business and an interesting project.
How dare some American "la russophobe" to teach Russians how to do business? Russians can teach you!
So, stop your stupid comments, or we'll buy your whole Florida.

La Russophobe said...

A country whose men don't live to reach age 60 shouldn't be thinking about beaches. The fact that you don't understand this explains why Russian men have such short lifespans.

Anonymous said...

The Russian media openly report about wild or domestic fowl got bird flu or about more tragic cases of endemic hemorrhagic fever, and at the same time they can't report about similar cases of bird flu among people, can they?

You think such statements have any logic? Do you really think a problem exists that can't be speculated about in Russian media, more or less broadly?

La Russophobe said...

Thanks for the links proving you are correct about the Russian media. Why do you now change the subject? Is it because you know you have no basis to believe that Kremlin-controlled media would report human fatalities if they occurred?


Anonymous said...

So why do 'that Kremlin-conltrolled media' openly inform about many cases of fatalities, deceases, accidents, social problems, notwithstanding the harm to the public opinion and to the image of country, and at the same time have any reason to hide other information, having little difference from the former (if the latter 'hidden truth really exists')?

La Russophobe said...

They don't, and you have offered absolutely no evidence to the contrary.

Once in a while they may mention a problem, solely for the purpose of proving how necessary it is to give them even more power. But in the main the people of Russia have Soviet-type ignorance of the country's level of attainment in comparison to other countries, and that is why they favor their dictator with such high approval ratings.

If they knew they were not in the top 100 in the world in male adult lifespan, wouldn't they complain? They would, unless they are already suicidal.

Artfldgr said...

I agree with you Russophobe, they dont. they let SOME information out because the absence of ALL information would be worse publicly than NO information. it also lets them continue the semblence of somethign free states push called "transparency".

this secretiveness is anotehr large facet of their failure as a nation of second order business (not raw materials).

if factory A claims an untruth, and factory B that takes output from A acts on it, as things spread through the economic system the numbers and errors compound themselves till the only thing one can be certain of is that there is no certainty.

[this problem was and is well known in circles that actually study facts. such studies and things can be downloaded, but most dont care to read such analysis thinking that the ideas and ideology that are behind the actions is dead]

Anonymous said...

"they let SOME information out because the absence of ALL information would be worse publicly than NO information"

Who are those terrible 'they'? Can any information on Russia be found in Western media that is out of free access in Russia?

One Legged Jew Boy said...

Bird flu exists in Russia. The article doesn't suggest that people are dying from it, but it exists here. And people have to deal with it. Moreover, Russian authorities are very skilled in holding back information, so who knows, there might be dozens of Russians killed by bird flu, but no one will ever find out. You wouldn't find out anything about Chernobyl if it wasn't for the strong wind.

Artfldgr said...

Can any information on Russia be found in Western media that is out of free access in Russia?

yes.. we know that the kgb is runnig things..

and from that point on, nothing else can be beleived 100%... it can be 100% true... 90% true... 100% false... its whatever they think it is that is expedient, and pragmatic, and will serve their purposes. which is why they control media.

of course they are not in controle of the whole world, and there are interfaces and such, so they are not completly capable of the kind of shell game that stalin pulled... but thats not too far off, given the changes...

Anonymous said...

To One Legged Jew Boy

"Bird flu exists in Russia. The article doesn't suggest that people are dying from it, but it exists here. And people have to deal with it."

Nobody doubts in it. It's broadly reported about every case with birds falling sick or even about the prospectives of the wild fowl season migrations. And nobody finds it reasonable to hide would-be cases of human bird flue or any other disease.

"Moreover, Russian authorities are very skilled in holding back information..."

They have absolutely lost this skill during so many years.


To Artfldgr

Almost all information on Russia (and simply all information making any sensation) published in Western media is got from Russian media or immediately being republished in Russian media or on Russian web.