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Two sets of standards: one for them, one for us

by zoe Sat May 19th, 2007 at 04:50:35 AM EST

In Russia, ahead of the Samara EU-Russia summit:

German Chancellor Angela Merkel voiced concern Friday about Russian opposition activists having problems in traveling to the site of a planned demonstration in the Volga River city of Samara.

"I'm concerned about some people getting problems in traveling here. I hope they will be given an opportunity to express their opinion," Merkel said at a news conference wrapping up an EU-Russia summit at a resort near Samara following talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One of the Kremlin's biggest detractors, chess great Garry Kasparov, was barred Friday from boarding a flight from Moscow to Samara.

Meanwhile, in Germany:

Earlier this week police launched a series of raids on anti-globalisation campaigners across northern Germany which prompted demonstrations by left-wing protesters on the streets of Hamburg and Berlin.

Police impounded computers and documents during the raids, which were part of two separate probes into anti-globalisation militants

Why are protesters good for them, but bad for us, unless we assume a priori, that they need reforming, and we don't?

from the diaries. -- Jérôme

Good point! That could use some unpacking...

"Once in awhile we get shown the light, in the strangest of places, if we look at it right" - Hunter/Garcia
by whataboutbob on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 12:34:30 PM EST

maybe my English isn't so good - what do you mean "unpacking"?

by zoe on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 12:37:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
German Chancellor Angela Merkel expressed alarm at the detention of activists intending to protest against the Russian government.

Vladimir Putin retorted that Estonia's ethnic Russians were being persecuted.

Correspondents said the exchanges just illustrated the souring mood between the EU and its eastern neighbour.


by zoe on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 02:47:01 PM EST

Kasparov, an American citizen, is just imported face for Western consumption. The bodies for the protests are provided by Limonov's National Bolshevik Party and AKM, which would be "violent utra-left wing" in Western media speak.
by blackhawk on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:37:48 PM EST
Limonov reminds me of Lenin. And I'd take czar Putin over Lenin/Limonov, any time.

Anyway, Limonov writes a column for www.exile.ru , a great paper.

On top of that, in the last issue they had this article:

Mark Ames explains why last weekend's protests are such a genuine threat to the Kremlin...and why Gary Kasparov's ties to the worst of America's neo-con goons is a threat to Russia's protest movement...


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:47:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said by telephone from Samara that he did not know the details of Kasparov's case. He said that Eduard Limonov, a founder of the banned National Bolshevik Party, had tried to travel on another person's passport and that he was worried about the potential of violence by followers of the party.

His party is banned and he travels on a fake passport - and he gets detained for a few hours.  

Putin is guilty of a l ot of things, but I think that the Western press is exagerating here.

by zoe on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:51:38 PM EST
[ Parent ]

He writes about his Samara experience in his latest column.

Limonov tells how he kept narrowly escaping arrest, how he was finally arrested and interroganted in Petersburg, and about the state's death threat hanging over his head...


Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:56:24 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The latest eXile, a pdf of the print version: http://www.exile.ru/pdf/exile262.pdf

The paper has been around since 1997.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:59:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that's a very good article you referred to:

But first, what is wrong with how the protest movement is being sold to the West. Gary Kasparov, the man they're making into the next Nelson Mandela, is what's wrong. You probably haven't read about this anywhere (unless you read the Russian blogger world), but Kasparov is so deep in bed with the vilest of America's neo-con goons, a VIP member of their PR-politics-lobbying network, that it almost seems like a bad setup. The strangest thing of all is how no one in the major Western media has touched on Kasparov's neo-con connections.

Gary Kasparov is a minor political figure at home, but he gets unusually high-profile access to every major media outlet in the West. The more far-right the media outlet, the more Kasparov-friendly it is. Case-in-point: The Wall Street Journal now identifies Kasparov as a "contributing editor" to that paper's opinion page, largely because he has been such a regular contributor. The Cheney/neo-con agenda, spelled out in the Project for a New American Century, calls for containing Russia and keeping it weak in order both to control the Caspian Sea resources and to prevent a potential rival from checking American power. That agenda exactly describes the opinion page of The Wall Street Journal. The Journal has been stridently anti-Putin, particularly since the arrest of former Yukos owner Mikhail Khodorkovsky -- an arrest which was a major blow to American oil interests.

Far more disturbing than Kasparov's status as a "contributing editor" to the Wall Street Journal, even as the same paper writes up his role in the protest movement, are his ties to the far-right foreign policy machine. Specifically, Gary Kasparov is, or was, a member of the neo-con Center for Security Policy. The think-tank's mission statement declares that it is "committed to the time-tested philosophy of promoting international peace through American strength." And Kasparov is not just a casual member - he once served on the CSP's National Security Advisory Council, an inner-working group headed by ex-CIA goon James Woolsey. It's a group with extensive ties to the Pentagon. The Center for Security Policy's member list reads like a Who's Who of the neo-con elite: along with Woolsey, it boasts Richard Perle, Douglas Feith, Elliott Abrams and Frank Gaffney, and was highly influential not just in formulating President Bush's disastrous imperial strategy in his first term, but also in lobbying for the repeal of the ABM treaty, a move which was in many ways the start of the growing rift between Russia and America.

by zoe on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:59:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Russian National Bolshevist Party

Founding Philosophy: The Russian National Bolshevist Party (NBP) is an organization of anti-globalists and Russian nationalists founded in 1993 by writer Eduard Limonov. The group has branches across Russia and in other countries of the former Soviet Union. The NBP opposes capitalism, globalization and the U.S., as well as Russian President Vladimir Putin, whom they accuse of attacking democracy in Russia and running a police state. The NBP is also linked to anti-Semitism. The group participates in frequent rallies and demonstrations against Putin, U.S. President George W. Bush and globalization.

The NBP will remain active in Russia and in the major cities of the former Soviet Union for the foreseeable future. The group will continue to protest Putin's program and attract those left behind in post-communist Russia. Some small-scale violence and hooliganism associated with the group is also likely to persist. However, their violent actions are not likely to proceed beyond isolated, minor incidents.

On Kasparov organized marches they no longer use a party flag, but a Russian Imperial flag:

by blackhawk on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 04:14:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
he may be fighting for ideas that are hard to support, but he at least walks the walks, and has been fighting for his ideas - and for the ability to express them, with consistency and bravery in the face of constant police harassment. He's spent a couple of years in year on highly dubious charges.

His columns on the exile over the past several years are a must-read.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 04:48:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
One could have said the same of Hitler in 1930.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 08:38:20 AM EST
[ Parent ]
but he sure believes in the right to sprout it, and has gone to great lengths to fight for that right.

He writes in a pseudo broken English in the exile which only shows how well he masters the language and is able to play the semi-ignoramus to get some points across. All his texts suggest that his party cannot threaten anything - they just pretend to (cf the flag posted below - it's hard not to think that it's full of double entendres and deep irony) but are taken highly seriously because they are fighting for something more important - the right to irreverence and independent expression.

Note: a typo in my text above was that he spent a couple of years in jail, if that was not obvious.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 01:23:23 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, like the guys over at Stalin lives?

By the way, Kasparov sure takes himself very seriously, so are you suggesting Limonov is taking both Putin and Kasparon for a ride, and that he got himself jailed for the entertainment value?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 06:10:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Limonov personally is also ego-centric. As for perceptions of NBP in Russia, the organization is not being viewed as extremist, primarily because of Limonov's background as writer.

In current form NBP is mostly anti-capitalist and anti-establishment where youth can roleplay as revolutionaries and street fighters with the police. Open question, though, for the authorities is always whether members of NBP take NBP press seriously or view it as an post-modern project.

Limonov was jailed for arms purchase and acquitted on charges of creation of illegal armed group and terrorism. Several NBP members were arrested for purchase of the AKs, and one of them told prosecution that Limonov was personally involved in the purchase.  Prosecution also tried to portray article in "Limonka"  (NBP party newspaper, "Limonka" itself is a nick name for the Soviet F1 grenade) calling for NBP members to organize armed insurrection among Russians in Kazakhstan as an actionable plan by the party leadership. The charges were questionable, given Limonov's record, and suspicion that unidentified  AK sellers were police agents, although provocation of this type is legal in Russia. He was freed after few months in jail after the sentence and seemed to choose not to appeal.

NBP was telling at the time that the process is political at the authorities of Kazakhstan and Latvia were concerned about NBP activities there (radical actions in the defense of Russian minority) and were pushing Russian government to take action. One of the consequences of the arrest was that Latvian courts took a harder line on NBP as organization and reclassified seizure of a building by NBP members in Latvia with wooden mockup of a grenade from hooliganism to terrorism and gave them a sentence of 15 years in jail.

NBP's #2, Linderman (Abel), from Latvia, who is now active in "Another Russia", is still wanted by Latvian authorities and Interpol on the charges of trafficking of the explosives; several kilograms of C-4 were allegedly found by the police in his Riga apartment. I think the latest is that Russian courts are refusing to extradite him on the suspicion of politically motivated prosecution.

by blackhawk on Sun May 20th, 2007 at 12:40:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]

"the right to irreverence" included (this is the newest case being prosecuted currently) two members of NBP engaged in military training, planning to organize bombing of the regional headquarters of security service and of a major dam (disrupting electricity supplies to a major Siberian city and flooding a part of it in the process), and trying to persuade a female friend of theirs to become a suicide bomber.

Thanks, no thanks, but I believe that post-modern stops somewhere, and that peoples' lives are more important than narcissism of this "glamour fascist", even though human life is such an archaic concept.

I am eternally surprised by Westerners believing that some things which would never be tolerated in their societies are OK in Russia just because the instigators shout "Oust the Putin gang!", or "Long live democracy!" before that. I became disgusted with such approach almost a decade ago, and still don't understand why some intelligent and very sensible people have a compartment in their minds where Russian people (and myself, therefore) are lumped together with guinea pigs (but definitely inferior to pandas).

by Sargon on Sun May 20th, 2007 at 05:44:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
and since when is democracy the be-all and end-all?

The USA and the EU find it quite convenient to disregard the results of the Palestinian election when Hamas is elected.  

by zoe on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 09:01:37 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh, and what about the Algerian Civil War?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 10:32:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hugo Chavez & Salvador Allende
by zoe on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 11:13:58 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mosssadegh and Lumumba.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 11:15:10 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ditto on Limonov.  He is also unbelieveably funny, though I'm never sure if it's on purpose.  

Anyway, one thing I've never figured out is how he fits into the Western MediaTM's meme of Putin wanting to return to Stalinism, illustrated by the way he won't let Kasparaov & his ilk demonstrate.  What about how Putin won't let The National Bolsheviks demonstrate, or really exist at all?  I mean, is Putin an evil Commie, or isn't he?  One could easily go after Putin, and perhaps correctly so, for just being in it for himself, and this is why/how he subverts democracy (like George Bush), and not rely on a flimsily constructed argument that Putin represents a return to the bad old days.  

But than we wouldn't have that conveinient package of a war of ideologies, good v. bad, Democracy v. -ism du jour to wrap everything up in in order to cover up the holes in our arguments and pat ourselves and our audience on the backs for being on the right side...  

Someone just being a jerk doesn't sell papers I guess.


Angela recently sent me a WSJ article on the possible disbarment of the laywer representing Kohodorkovsky and Kasparov.  It was hoot.  Again, instead of just reporting the facts, they framed it as "This person is one of the world's leading champions for human rights, and that's why she has become the target of Putin."  

Meanwhile we sit in America & mew about how United States Attorneys "serve at the pleasure of the President" so there is now wrongdoing in the mass firings of those who wont do his bidding...


"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.

by poemless on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 11:14:45 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I personally subscribe to the idea that he has voluntarily taken what appear to be really ugly ideas precisely to fight for the principle of freedom of expression - which should apply even if the ideas sound ugly.

And thus, apart from some support frome the literary world in France, he's been treated like an embarrassment to the West instead of defended - when he is just as worthy, if not more, than Kasparov.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes

by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 01:25:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
well Jérôme, if I crossed the border into Germany tomorrow and started a party called, let's say, the "Nationalist Socialist Party", I would be in prison very quickly.

I could say it was to defend democracy, but would you give me the benefit of the doubt - perhaps I am Adolf Hitler reincarnated.

by zoe on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 02:04:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Just came across this.  Pretty much sums it up:



My my how times change. Now again we see those evil, energy hogging Russkies for what they are. And suddenly, dissidents are right back in media fashion.

Today, UK's Labour Minister Peter Hain joined the chorus of Telegraph readers and declared that the `murky murder cast a shadow over Putin'. Moralising Peter Hain, by the way, just happens to be one of our Labour Ministers who refused to condemn Guantanamo Bay.

On second thoughts, maybe Litvinenko should get a Nobel Prize. He doesn't deserve one as much as a real dissident writer like Limonov. But Sasha's affair has exposed the hype and hypocrisy of the British media establishment like nothing else.

"Pretending that you already know the answer when you don't is not actually very helpful." ~Migeru.
by poemless on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 02:27:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Personally I have a lot of sympathy to Limonov and even to  his movement, as long as NBP and its splinter cells to not overindulge in AKs and RDX.

It's just a little bit amusing how punks, anarchists and radical left are suddenly the best hope against "Putin's regime" for Western leadership and those inside Russia who only 10 years ago were demanding lustrations and use of police and military against Communists.

by blackhawk on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 04:17:43 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Now they only need add a crescent and they'll have all three fascist ideologies lined up.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.
by Starvid on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 08:26:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ah, so you subscribe to the equation of communism and fascism, and you also believe in 'Islamofascism'?...

BTW, here are some commie nazis...

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 12:59:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
We usually just call it islamism. Islamofascism just sound so... redundant.

It's like saying communistofascism or fascistocommunism, when communism and fascism are awful enough on their own accounts.

Peak oil is not an energy crisis. It is a liquid fuel crisis.

by Starvid on Sun May 20th, 2007 at 09:49:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It sounds like meaningless gibberish.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sun May 20th, 2007 at 09:52:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 06:25:41 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Flag time?
Symbol of the Swedish-Norvegian union 1844-1899. Known as 'the herring sallad' (sillsallaten) for its rather silly (herringy?) look:
by someone (s0me1smail(a)gmail(d)com) on Sun May 20th, 2007 at 03:50:01 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Hey, Spain also bans political parties, on the basis of guilt by association.

I think Russia is ready for EU membership.

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 10:38:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
But Mr. Putin sought to turn the tables on his European guests, pointing at German police have also detained protesters. "Law enforcement authorities in practically all countries make preventative arrests, there are examples in Germany," he said. "Such action isn't always justified." Mr. Putin also assailed the EU for failing to respond to the death of a Russian citizen during riots in Estonia over the removal of a monument to a Soviet soldier from Tallinn, the capital.

European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso told reporters at Volzhsky Utyos, a riverside resort not far from the Volga city of Samara, that democracy and rule of law are "sacred principles for the EU." "We stress the importance of democracy, freedom of the press, freedom of association, freedom of demonstration," he said. "These are values [which] I'm sure, unite, not divide us. It's very important for all European countries, and Russia is a European country ... to ensure the full respect of those principles and values."


by zoe on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:38:07 PM EST
If these clowns from the EU are negotiating for us, we're in big trouble.  
by zoe on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:39:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]

Sorry state of denial for European leadership.
by blackhawk on Fri May 18th, 2007 at 03:48:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Our protesters are lefties, thus dangerous extremists. Theirs (supposedly) anti-Putin, thus pro-democracy heroes and potential 'reformists'.

In the long run, we're all dead. John Maynard Keynes
by Jerome a Paris (etg@eurotrib.com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 04:49:34 AM EST
it reminds me of the cog-diss around how nuclear power is great for france, america and yurp, because we are superior beings blessed with higher iq and 'enlightenment values TM', but the furry brown people can't have them...

why does europe follow this american model of ridiculously moralistic posturing in front of putin, who does not seem fooled for one second?

how refreshing it would be to hear merkel reply:

'why yes vlad, mein freund, we did have an embarrassing little incident the other day, trying to protect the sharks from the minnows, you know, but we've cleared it up swiftly.

we are sensitive to our history and have made sure that from now on this kind of state thuggery is unacceptable, don't you agree?'

attempting to take the mediatic moral high ground while practicing appalling invasions of privacy upon one's own citizens planning to peacefully demonstrate their democratic right and duty to voice their dissent makes you look stooopid!

please respect the public's intelligence a bit more

'The history of public debt is full of irony. It rarely follows our ideas of order and justice.' Thomas Piketty

by melo (melometa4(at)gmail.com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 05:47:15 AM EST
One of the Kremlin's biggest detractors, chess great Garry Kasparov, was barred Friday from boarding a flight from Moscow to Samara.

You mean Russia has secret, politically motivated, no-fly lists, like the US?

Bush is a symptom, not the disease.

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Sat May 19th, 2007 at 11:17:08 AM EST

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