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Monday, February 11, 2008

EDITORIAL: Four Signs of the Neo-Soviet Apocalypse

This is how Russian president Vladimir Putin helps you answer the question as to
whether it is wrong to think of his country as "a little bit savage" or as having
"just climbed down from the trees." Persuasive fellow, isn't he?


Four Signs of the Neo-Soviet Apocalypse

If there was anyone left who still had any doubts about whether Russia had fully transformed itself into the neo-Soviet state, surely they were laid to rest by a Moscow Times report last week that the Bank of New York had exposed an attempt by the Russian government to manufacture counterfeit documents in order to press its case against BoNY for $22.5 million in penalties for alleged money laundering. The MT reported:
Ivan Marisin, a lawyer for the bank, said a document that gave a U.S. lawyer the power of attorney to sign the lawsuit on behalf of the Federal Customs Service was counterfeit. The customs service lawyers provided the court with the document -- issued to Steven Marks at Miami-based law firm Podhurst Orseck -- at a court session last month, after Marisin argued that without it the case should be scrapped. But Marisin said Wednesday that the document, dated April 27, 2007, was fake because it featured a letterhead that the Federal Customs Service introduced several months later, in October. Marisin's comments appeared to wipe an ironic expression off of the face of Yekaterina Dukhina, a customs service lawyer who had struggled to keep from chuckling at Marisin's earlier comments on a separate issue. "I am simply shocked! We received the certificate from the Federal Customs Service and we have no doubts about its authenticity," Dukhina said emotionally, prompting the presiding judge, Lyudmila Pulova, to ask if she was all right.
The judge needn't have asked that question because nobody -- nobody -- is "all right" in neo-Soviet Russia.

Simply to manufacture false documents, in such a ridiculously ham-handed fashion, is exactly what we would have expected from the USSR. Indeed, we saw such behavior on a routine basis. Movies were made about it. But one would have hoped that, seeing the USSR collapse into a pile of rubble, the people of Russia would have realized that perhaps, just perhaps, such a course of action isn't good for the country.

It's a clear sign of the neo-Soviet apocalypse that Russians have brought upon themselves, and we report others below. A major Moscow Xanadu burns to the ground, shrouded in controversy and appalling excess. A major new book announces the new Cold War, and calls for action. A major newspaper jumps on the Russophobe bandwagon. Russia is caught red-handed in a naked act of aggression, alienating yet another powerful nation.

But all that is only the first course, though, in the disaster that is Vladimir Putin's Russia. For the main dish, as we reported last week on Publius Pundit:
Sir David King, who as the [British] Government's Chief Scientist played a key role in the investigation into Litvinenko's murder, has accused the Russian president of masterminding the murder of nearly 300 of his own people in the Moscow apartment bombings in 1999, which Putin blamed on Chechen terrorists. "I can tell you that Putin was responsible for the bombings," Sir David claimed to Mandrake at the Morgan Stanley Great Britons Awards. "I've seen the evidence. There is no way that Putin would have won the election if it wasn't for the bombings. Before them he was getting 10 per cent approval ratings. After, they shot up to 80 per cent."
The mere fact that Russia could have a government, at one and the same time, both so venal and so incompetent that a leading British official would make such a statement, believing it would have credibility and that no serious consequences could flow from it, speaks volumes about the extent of the failure of the Putin regime. But, in fact, the evidence has long been clear that the Moscow bombings were ordered by the Kremlin. Why else would it raze the scenes so quickly? How else to explain the intimidation, jailing and murder of those who attempted to investigate? And above all, what about the KGB spies caught red-handed in Ryazan planting yet another bomb?

It's worth pointing out that Russia can, at times, actually be more evil than it even intends, bringing not only long-term disaster but short term horror as well. So, for example, the Moscow Times gave us dessert in a story last week:

Russia said Wednesday that Iran's test launch of a rocket raised suspicions about the real nature of the country's atomic program, in what could signal a hardening of its stance toward Tehran. Iran launched a rocket Monday designed to carry its first locally made research satellite next year, showing the country's advances in ballistics at a time when Western powers are already wary that it may be developing a nuclear weapon. "Any movement in terms of creating such a potential weapon naturally worries us and others," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyuko told journalists, Interfax reported. "All the more so since it creates suspicion toward Iran about its possible desire to create a nuclear weapon. Rockets of such range are one of the components of such a weapons system. Of course this raises concern," he added Russia has previously said there is no evidence that Tehran is trying to make nuclear weapons.

Suddenly, even Russia itself has realized it may have gone too far in supplying nuclear technology to Iran, creating a Frankenstein creature far beyond Russia's control and with the power to strike Moscow at will whenever Russia might offend Islam. Oops.

To put it mildly, Russia can survive this type of barbaric behavior by its malignant overlords, fully authorized by a callow and cowardly population, no more than could the USSR. We can only thank our lucky stars that John McCain has come along at such a propitious moment, to lead us in a new confrontation with a new Evil Empire. His dominant performance in last week's "Super Tuesday" election contest was most heartening, as is the heroic work of journalists like the brilliant Edward Lucas of the Economist, who has been pulling a yeoman's share of the load in alerting the world to the dangers it now faces behind the new Iron Curtain.

PS: In case you were wondering, the fourth one is the picture. Let's call that the cheese course, shall we?


Anonymous said...

I disagree. In the USSR document forgery was an art, they wouldn't make that kind of blunder

Artfldgr said...

Oh, I agree, but one has to note the reason for the problem, a VERY reasonable one that has snagged people throughout history.

the designs on the paper changed.

in fact, this kind of thing got so nutty that there were people charged with measuring borders in newspapers and computing locations of comments!

however, when a new symbol, or currency, or anything likt that comes into place, the use of an old one is ok, but a new one too early is not.

in other countries were US currency compliments other currencies (like indonesia), the people will NOT accept older bills. period. they know that korea, and russia and others manufacture the older bills, and so will not accept them.

this mistake is exactly the kind of mistake that a VERY good agency can make. one of those, real world is complex, and you cant control for everything issues.