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Putin Gets Away With Murder
Weekly Standard ^ | 10/23/06 | Anders Åslund

Posted on 10/16/2006 5:24:37 AM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo

Putin Gets Away with Murder It's time to confront the Russian leader. by Anders Åslund 10/23/2006, Volume 012, Issue 06

IN RUSSIA, gangsters have the macabre custom of making a birthday present of a murder. On Vladimir Putin's 54th birthday, one of his fiercest domestic critics, the journalist Anna Politkovskaya, was shot to death in her apartment building in central Moscow. She worked for the weekly Novaya Gazeta, Russia's last independent newspaper. Its deputy editor was murdered a couple of years ago, and the killer was never found. Although Politkovskaya had been tailed by the FSB for years and her murderer was captured on film, he got away. The Kremlin has made no comment. The prosecutor general claims to have personally taken charge of the investigation, but such investigations seldom result in an arrest.

Western policy toward Russia has been an unmitigated failure since Vladimir Putin became president on New Year's Eve 1999. Every year since then, the Russian government has moved further away from both the United States and the European Union, and Western influence over Russia has waned.

In the last year, President Putin has exported ground-to-air missiles to Iran that can shoot down American F-16s. He has exported arms to Syria that were successfully used by Hezbollah against Israel. A year ago, the Kremlin cheered when Uzbekistan evicted a large U.S. air base, and now it is encouraging Kyrgyzstan to do the same.

Meanwhile, state-controlled Russian media spew out nationalist and anti-Western propaganda. Every evening after the first state channel's main newscast, one of the Kremlin's foremost propagandists, Mikhail Leontiev, delivers his daily diatribe against the West.

To consider Putin a strategic partner or even ally would be to close one's eyes to reality. If Putin persistently behaves like an enemy of both the United States and the E.U., we had better pick up the gauntlet. Only a fool or a coward would do otherwise.

The G-8 summit in St. Petersburg in July became a symbol of all that is wrong with Western policy toward Russia. For three days, the Western leaders participated in this televised celebration of Putin's new authoritarian powers, and they got nothing in return.

To flatter himself further, Putin invited the presidents of the other eleven former Soviet states for the ensuing week, but they know how to handle him. A few hours before the summit, four of them dropped out--two announcing that they were going on vacations. By contrast, in St. Petersburg it was President Bush who endured Putin's insult ("We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq.").

The fundamental problem of Western policy toward Russia is that it is still based on the idea that the Cold War is over. Alas, this truth has become obsolete, as Putin has gone about reviving one feature after another of a police state, including authoritarian rule and an anti-Western foreign policy.

The West has retained the same friendly but half-hearted policy toward Russia it pursued under Boris Yeltsin. But Putin is no Yeltsin. In fact, Putin is the anti-Yeltsin. What ever Yeltsin was, Putin is not. Whatever policy the West pursued toward Yeltsin should be replaced with its opposite--with a few exceptions: Not even Putin wants to revive Communist ideol ogy, and Russia remains a market economy.

Although poorly understood in the West, Yeltsin was a democrat, as Leon Aron shows in his excellent biography. Yeltsin believed in free and fair elections and free media. Putin, by contrast, is a secret policeman. In his book First Person, made up of in terviews, he marvels at his own skillful repression of dissidents.

Putin talks about dem ocracy while systematically destroying it, as Berkeley political scientist Steven Fish has detailed in Democracy Derailed in Russia. Putin has mostly destroyed press freedom, deprived both par liamentary chambers of power, undermined free elections, eliminated the election of regional governors, and seized control over the courts. Where Boris Yeltsin boldly and peacefully dissolved the Soviet empire, giving its peoples freedom, his successor has publicly complained that this was the "greatest geopolitical tragedy of the 20th century."

Yeltsin believed in private enterprise. He has been criticized for privatizing the Russian economy in the only way that was possible, rather than leaving a larger share in the hands of the state. Putin is currently undertaking the greatest re-nationalization the world has seen.

Yeltsin regarded both himself and Russia as part of the free and democratic Western world, while Putin does not. He criticizes both the United States and the E.U. in ever more paranoid and conspiratorial language, while praising China more and more. Unlike Westerners, the Chinese do not ask nosy questions about authoritarianism, corruption, and money-laundering, questions for which Putin has no good answers.

In the end, Yeltsin was one of us, although larger than life. So it was worth talking to him and exploring our common interests through quiet diplomacy. The opposite is true of Putin. He gives lip service to our values, but regularly undermines them. A liar should not be treated like a gentleman.

On a few points, the United States has got its policy toward Russia right. First, the United States and the E.U. stood up for democracy during Ukraine's Orange Revolution, and Putin accepted defeat. Second, the West protested loudly against the restrictive Russian draft legislation on nongovernmental organizations, which was softened. Third, the Western outcry over Russia's cutoff of gas supplies to Ukraine last January led to an immediate resumption of deliveries. Putin was upset, but he changed his policy. And the recent U.S. embargo against the Russian state arms export agency Rosoboronexport and the military aircraft producer Sukhoi because of their deliveries of sophisticated arms to Iran is another step in the right direction.

The lesson is that Putin only responds if protests are loud, public, and backed up by threats. Rather than talking about the Cold War being over (which is true), we should remember that the most successful policies toward the Soviet Union were those of Ronald Reagan.

It could be argued that Western policy toward Russia has not mattered much in recent years because Russia has been too weak to dare to be foolhardy. That is no longer the case. In 1999, Russia's GDP was $200 billion in current dollars. This year, it will reach $920 billion. Russia has financial surpluses to waste on foolish policies at home, and perhaps also abroad.

Right now, Russia is apparently preparing for a war against the independent former Soviet republic of Georgia. With no justification whatsoever, Putin personally has accused Georgia of state terrorism. He likened the arrest of four senior Russian military spies in Georgia to the acts of Stalin's henchman Lavrenty Beria. Russia has evacuated its diplomats and citizens from Georgia and imposed a nearly complete embargo. Major Russian military maneuvers are under way.

Most analysts draw parallels to Yeltsin and argue that Russia's actions are meant only to frighten. I doubt that. Putin is a warrior. He won his presidency on a very dubious war, the second war in Chechnya--the region whose agony Anna Politkovskaya covered at the cost of her life. Putin won his reelection and authoritarian rule with his war against the oligarchs, especially his confiscation of the Yukos oil company. It is a logical next step to illegally prolong that rule by starting a war against Georgia.

It couldn't be plainer that the United States needs a serious policy toward Russia and needs it fast.

Anders Åslund is a senior fellow at the Institute for International Economics in Washington.

© Copyright 2006, News Corporation, Weekly Standard, All Rights Reserved.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/824dulje.asp


TOPICS: Editorial; Foreign Affairs; Russia
KEYWORDS: assassination; beslan; espionage; journalist; kgb; politkovskaya; putin; puttieput; russia; sovietunion
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Hat tip to NW_Arizona_Granny for e-mailing this commentary.

Morning Ruth!

1 posted on 10/16/2006 5:24:38 AM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo
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To: nw_arizona_granny; DAVEY CROCKETT

Ping


2 posted on 10/16/2006 5:25:25 AM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo

Wanting Russia to be our friend will not make it so.


3 posted on 10/16/2006 5:29:35 AM PDT by GBA
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To: AdmSmith

pong


4 posted on 10/16/2006 5:30:08 AM PDT by nuconvert ([there's a lot of bad people in the pistachio business] (...but his head is so tiny...))
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To: GBA

I believe Russia is America's friend as much as America is Russia's friend. In other words, America comes first in our eyes and Russia comes first in Putin's eyes. Both nations must remain practical.


5 posted on 10/16/2006 5:33:18 AM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo

All as is usual. Standard bosh, absolute ignorance of a situation.
It's interesting to me, how long the western press will be dancing on bones of Politkovskaya?


6 posted on 10/16/2006 5:37:01 AM PDT by Semargl
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To: Semargl

Nice to hear your thoughts. Please expand on them if you can.

I assume you are Russian and Russian-speaking (i.e., Russian is your native language). Is this correct?


7 posted on 10/16/2006 5:46:22 AM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo

Russia cannot be trusted. Putin is a murdering KGB power monger.


8 posted on 10/16/2006 6:07:12 AM PDT by yldstrk (My heros have always been cowboys-Reagan and Bush)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo

I sure hope this author is watching his back, considering Putin critics keep turning up dead.


9 posted on 10/16/2006 6:37:21 AM PDT by ravingnutter
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To: Donna Lee Nardo
Let's see, Putin has a 77% favorable rating with Russians, which compares with Ronald Reagan's best. Elections by outside observors have been validated as fair.

"Yeltsin believed in private enterprise?" Oh! If you call letting the oligarchs steal all of the state resources for kopecks on the Ruble, then that is correct. Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a communist leader, is a prime example. He set up a dummy company, which bid $2 billion for Yukos, the intimidated the opposition bidders, and one was murdered. He put in his personal bid of $200k for Yukos. After bidding was complete he disolved the dummy company, which left his $200k as the winning bid. Oh, he never paid the $200k.

Yeltsin allowed the oligarchs to rule and reign in a way which would make the robber barons and mafia look like choir boys. Look up the Russian oligarchs and see how they stole their billions instead of listening to Russophobes like Anders Aslund.

Putin, Reagan and FDR

The Russia of today has a freedom unimaginable in Soviet times and stability unimaginable in the Yeltsin era. By Edward Lozansky. (President American University in Moscow)


If Westerners worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin would escalate the stinging war of words with the Bush administration, notably the combative Vice President Dick Cheney, they can rest easy. Mr. Putin's positive and quite constructive approach to the United States, most notably in his annual State of the Nation speech this week, should lessen any fears that Cold War breezes are returning.

Indeed, Mr. Putin stressed in his speech that Cold War mistakes shouldn't be repeated and many times he described his plans for “contemporary Russia” and the “modernization of Russia.” He focused on three local issues — energy, education and health service — that will be worldwide priorities at the July Group of Eight (G8) summit, which he will host.

In many respects, the Russian president's address sounded like practically any contemporary State of the Union Address by an American president. He talked of the need for strong economic progress, of economic freedom, of equal conditions for competition, of a responsible economic policy and of financial stability to encourage entrepreneurs. He sounded surprisingly like Ronald Reagan.

Mr. Putin acknowledged that much of the technological equipment used by Russian industry lags “not just years but decades behind the most advanced technology the world can offer.” Russia, he said, “must take serious measures to encourage investment in production infrastructure and innovative development while at the same time maintaining the financial stability we have achieved.”

Unquestionably,we should always be skeptical of past adversaries. That's human nature. But this is not the rhetoric of a saber-rattler, a Cold War-era leader bent on stirring up another battle with the West to raise his stature at home and on the world stage. Unlike Russian leaders before him, Mr. Putin didn't take the bait that the vice president tossed out last week when Mr. Cheney accused Moscow of backsliding on democracy. Mr. Putin did not ignite another firestorm of invective.

Indeed, in his speech, the Russian leader was as mindful of the threats of terrorism from elsewhere as any major leader. He contended that the rest of the world isn't considering seriously enough terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons. And he identified plans for Russia to deter potential terrorist attacks.

While the West again may want to paint Russia as bad, it is as plain as the clearest Russian vodka to me that Russia is making real progress in its long journey away from Soviet times. Am I naive, or even blind? Assuredly not. I know firsthand of this transformation. In 1975, I got in big trouble with Soviet authorities for publicly criticizing their foreign and domestic policies and I now spend a lot of time in Moscow running the American University in Moscow, the first private school in Russia, founded in 1990.

Does Russia have more to do in terms of democracy building? Of course. But far from falling into old habits, the Russia of today has a freedom unimaginable in Soviet times and stability unimaginable in the Yeltsin era.

To truly grasp the changes underway in today's Russia, you need only have heard a brief passage in Mr. Putin's State of the Nation address, in which he talked of the challenges he has faced: “Working on this great national program that aims at providing basic comforts for the broad masses, we have indeed trodden on some corns, and we will continue to do so. But these are the corns of those who attempt to gain position or wealth, or even both, by taking shortcuts — at the expense of the common good.”

Those were fine words — but they weren't Mr. Putin's. He was quoting Franklin D. Roosevelt, who spoke them as president in 1934. Now if that isn't a symbol and signal of change in Russia, Vice President Cheney, I don't know what is!
10 posted on 10/16/2006 6:40:49 AM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo

She worked for the weekly Novaya Gazeta, Russia's last independent newspaper.==

"Last independent newspaper"?:)) How about "Exile" or "MoscowTimes" then? Or "Komersant"? Or "Novoe Vremya"?


11 posted on 10/16/2006 6:47:45 AM PDT by RusIvan ("THINK!" the motto of IBM)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo
I'm from Kazakhstan, and you're right - i'm Russian-speaking.

She worked for the weekly Novaya Gazeta, Russia's last independent newspaper.
There many the oppositional and independent newspapers in Russia, is simple at them a small rating.
Russians steady immunity to criticism of the West from the moment of disorder of the USSR
and the newspaper (sounding positions of democratic parties) have low demand.

Western policy toward Russia has been an unmitigated failure since Vladimir Putin became president on New Year's Eve 1999.
Every year since then, the Russian government has moved further away from both the United States
and the European Union, and Western influence over Russia has waned.

The West has lost Russia much earlier. Simply there not was a politics in Russia which could sound a position of a greater
part of the population. (Zhirinovsky is not counted.)
" Democracy in Russia has been finally killed by the first bomb fallen to Yugoslavia" (C).
The West has disturbed all arrangements accepted at disintegration of the USSR. Russian have apprehended it as attempt to finish their country.

Western policy toward Russia has been an unmitigated failure since Vladimir Putin became president on New Year's Eve 1999.
Every year since then, the Russian government has moved further away from both the United States and the European Union, and Western influence over Russia has waned.

Leonov expresses exclusively the position. The Kremlin declares daily, that " cold war " is finished and it will not be to return.
Active work on normalization of relations with the EU is conducted.
As if to the USA, the Kremlin simply plays with them in a chess.
There nobody doubts in Russia, that problems of Russian in Georgia are organized by the USA.
(periodic statements of high-ranking officials of Washington confirm it).
In the answer the Kremlin creates the USA problems on other fronts, NK, Iran.... The Vivid example - last exchange of two figures can - the USA have handed over Georgia in the UN, Russia has softened a position on NK.

A year ago, the Kremlin cheered when Uzbekistan evicted a large U.S. air base, and now it is encouraging Kyrgyzstan to do the same.
Uzbekistan has difficult relations with RF, and Kirghizia too poor country to throw out investors.
While Americans pay their base will be in Kirghizia.

Meanwhile, state-controlled Russian media spew out nationalist and anti-Western propaganda.
Every evening after the first state channel's main newscast, one of the Kremlin's foremost propagandists,
Mikhail Leontiev, delivers his daily diatribe against the West.

Nationalist? Russia the multinational country. If the Kremlin has allowed to conduct nationalist propagation on the central channels it would break off the country on a part.
By the way, the author repeats.

The G-8 summit in St. Petersburg in July became a symbol of all that is wrong with Western policy toward Russia. For three days, the Western leaders participated in this televised celebration of Putin's new authoritarian powers, and they got nothing in return. Authoritarian ? Why ? Look at the Putin's rating.
Putin was the DEMOCRATIC CHOSEN LEADER, and people supports him.
It's other question that Putin's actions like Russians instead of the West.

By contrast, in St. Petersburg it was President Bush who endured Putin's insult ("We certainly would not want to have the same kind of democracy as they have in Iraq.").
CanYou tell fairly, would You like to have the same democracy as in Iraq in the Your country ? Good joke.
The fundamental problem of Western policy toward Russia is that it is still based on the idea that the Cold War is over.
Really ?
Why the arrangement with Gorbachev about Baltic has been disturbed?
For what the sanitary cordon is created around of Russia ?
For what the bases of NATO and the USA are created around of Russia?
Why sounds the aggressive rhetoric basically in a direction of Russia during 16 years?
What percent of articles carries in itself the positive information on Russia?

The West has retained the same friendly but half-hearted policy toward Russia it pursued under Boris Yeltsin. But Putin is no Yeltsin. In fact, Putin is the anti-Yeltsin. What ever Yeltsin was, Putin is not. Whatever policy the West pursued toward Yeltsin should be replaced with its opposite--with a few exceptions: Not even Putin wants to revive Communist ideol ogy, and Russia remains a market economy.

Although poorly understood in the West, Yeltsin was a democrat, as Leon Aron shows in his excellent biography. Yeltsin believed in free and fair elections and free media. Putin, by contrast, is a secret policeman. In his book First Person, made up of in terviews, he marvels at his own skillful repression of dissidents.

Excuse me, but I do not wish to make comments on this hysterical set of stamps.

Adequate article can be seen seldom, and similar articles simply correspond one with another, words a little change, but stamps remain.
12 posted on 10/16/2006 6:49:22 AM PDT by Semargl
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To: Donna Lee Nardo

Right now, Russia is apparently preparing for a war against the independent former Soviet republic of Georgia. With no justification whatsoever, Putin personally has accused Georgia of state terrorism. He likened the arrest of four senior Russian military spies in Georgia to the acts of Stalin's henchman Lavrenty Beria. Russia has evacuated its diplomats and citizens from Georgia and imposed a nearly complete embargo. Major Russian military maneuvers are under way. ===

What "Major Russian military maneuvers" I'd like to learn?

BTW it is enough justification for Isarel to start war with Lebanon when they captured 2(!) soldiers not 4 military officers.


13 posted on 10/16/2006 6:50:00 AM PDT by RusIvan ("THINK!" the motto of IBM)
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To: RusIvan
It's not the same. Hamas went to Israel and captured two Israeli soldiers in Israel and took them back to Lebanon. That is an act of war.

Going into a neighboring country and capturing their soldiers is not the same as a country arresting foreigners spying while in that country.

14 posted on 10/16/2006 9:54:43 AM PDT by GBA
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To: Semargl
It's interesting to me, how long the western press will be dancing on bones of Politkovskaya?

You know, if the Russian law enforcement solved a journalist's-murder case once in a while, maybe the western press would turn its attention elsewhere.

15 posted on 10/16/2006 10:02:49 AM PDT by 1rudeboy
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To: Donna Lee Nardo
It couldn't be plainer that the United States needs a serious policy toward Russia and needs it fast.

Eurasianism Explained

16 posted on 10/16/2006 10:33:54 AM PDT by MarMema
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To: RusIvan
Israeli soldiers.

Russian spies.

17 posted on 10/16/2006 10:36:24 AM PDT by MarMema
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To: Semargl

Thank you for all your comments, Semargl. I understand your vantage point and overall beef with the Western media.

I hope I can call on you if I ever need to clarify/make better sense of sometimes awkward machine translations of the Russian language. Would that be alright?

It may never be necessary. So far, I've made do. But it would be nice to keep you handy if ever.


18 posted on 10/16/2006 5:12:56 PM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: MarMema

Thanks; I appreciate the link. It was an interesting read. It never really made sense to me that Russia came under the Asian umbrella.


19 posted on 10/16/2006 5:21:20 PM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: GarySpFc

I think Putin would fare far better if he would quote Teddy Roosevelt instead of FDR!

Funny...this is serendipity for me. Yesterday I was thinking about both Roosevelts quite alot because I was eyeing a very sharp-looking bronze figure of an elk. I found it stunning.

Someone told me that it was called a Roosevelt Elk (that mostly all American elk are considered Roosevelt elks, in fact). I said that from now on I will call all elks TEDDY Roosevelt elks only. No FDR for my elks :)


20 posted on 10/16/2006 5:38:55 PM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo

It couldn't be plainer that the United States needs a serious policy toward Russia and needs it fast. <<<

Morning to you, thanks for posting this.

Too much going on over there, to make one sleep well at night.


21 posted on 10/16/2006 6:39:32 PM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (Time for the world to wake up and face the fact that there is a war going on, it is world wide!)
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To: Velveeta; Founding Father; LibertyRocks; milford421; Pepper777; Tailgunner Joe; struwwelpeter

ping.


22 posted on 10/16/2006 6:48:19 PM PDT by nw_arizona_granny (Time for the world to wake up and face the fact that there is a war going on, it is world wide!)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo
I think Putin would fare far better if he would quote Teddy Roosevelt instead of FDR!

Agreed, but even FDR had some good thoughts. Inded, I have little doubt Putin and TR had some things in common. In the case quoted Putin was quoting the view that gaining wealth by raping others is wrong.
23 posted on 10/16/2006 6:49:54 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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Comment #24 Removed by Moderator

To: GarySpFc; yldstrk; spanalot; MarMema; Thunder90; Tailgunner Joe; Proud_USA_Republican

"Let's see, Putin has a 77% favorable rating with Russians, which compares with Ronald Reagan's best."

How dare you place that KGB pig in the same line as America's greatest president (Ronald Reagan) of the 20th century.

The anti-Western, terrorist exporting Axis of Evil régimes are the identical collection of thugs Czar Putin is arming to the teeth today.

Russian weapons, sold by Putin, to those Axis of Evil dictatorships & their cohorts, are murdering American troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but what do you care as long as your boy Putin has the best public relations you can provide.

Your own anti-American propaganda speaks loud and clear.

"If Westerners worried that Russian President Vladimir Putin would escalate the stinging war of words with the Bush administration, notably the combative Vice President Dick Cheney, they can rest easy. .."

"..I now spend a lot of time in Moscow running the American University in Moscow,..."

(I bet you do at that, "comrade".)

25 posted on 10/16/2006 7:07:22 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is not free)
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To: GarySpFc; Donna Lee Nardo
gaining wealth by raping others is wrong

But it's just fine gaining wealth by selling missiles and uranium to the Ayatollahs, submarines to Red China and fighter jets and machineguns to Hugo Chavez.

26 posted on 10/16/2006 7:17:49 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: GarySpFc

No link, what's the date on that writing you posted?


27 posted on 10/16/2006 7:18:53 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: Tailgunner Joe

:) Touche.


28 posted on 10/16/2006 7:19:23 PM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: M. Espinola

This weekend we had a Special Forces Association meeting, and they had nothing but good to say about the relaionship between America and Russia. Indeed, Roger Donlon, Medal of Honor winner, told of marching in a parade in Moscow. They were pro-Russia and told of having good relationships with Spetsnaz. The only KGB pig here appears to be your little bitter mind.


29 posted on 10/16/2006 7:20:42 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo
Not to mention rockets and intelligence to Hizb-allah via Syria. Killing Israelis can be profitable too.
30 posted on 10/16/2006 7:21:27 PM PDT by Tailgunner Joe
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To: Tailgunner Joe
Who was the individual who posted the lying article on Free Republic that Putin awarded Kim Jong the Medal or Honor, when in reality it was only one of several million medals? Did that individual love the truth enough to correct that error?
31 posted on 10/16/2006 7:26:07 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: MarMema
No link, what's the date on that writing you posted?

This article originally appeared in Washington Times on May 15, 2006
32 posted on 10/16/2006 7:32:26 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: M. Espinola
Hey, you know the rule...

Oh wait...this thread is not about Bibi. [I'm blushing now.]

BTW, you have many great Putin photos!

33 posted on 10/16/2006 7:34:18 PM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: GarySpFc; Tailgunner Joe

Please gentlemen, Puttie-Put put out a warning that heads will roll faster than those of some recent Russian journalists if there is any arguing on his thread. ;)


34 posted on 10/16/2006 7:37:48 PM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: GarySpFc
You cannot deny the tyrannical behavior of the Russian leadership today. They willingly put themselves in the news as bullies.

And anyone who thinks they have a police force that is actually functional is beyond help, I believe.

Russia consistently over the last few years rates in the top five for corruption by those watchdog groups.

35 posted on 10/16/2006 7:41:53 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: Tailgunner Joe
But it's just fine gaining wealth by selling missiles and uranium to the Ayatollahs, submarines to Red China and fighter jets and machineguns to Hugo Chavez.

There is a difference between gaining wealth and surviving. Apparently you have never heard of Saudi Arabia or Egypt. I seem to remember we sell F-15's and AWACS to S.A. BTW, AKs are not considered machine guns.
36 posted on 10/16/2006 7:48:14 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: GarySpFc

You are correct as well. Many of our allies in capitalism peeve some of our WOT and other strategic partners.


37 posted on 10/16/2006 7:53:14 PM PDT by Donna Lee Nardo (DEATH TO ISLAMIC TERRORISTS AND ANIMAL AND CHILD ABUSERS.)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo
Bloomberg Publications has requested that Free Republic allow none of their material to be posted.
38 posted on 10/16/2006 7:55:43 PM PDT by Admin Moderator
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To: MarMema
You cannot deny the tyrannical behavior of the Russian leadership today. They willingly put themselves in the news as bullies.

Let's see, Georgia fragrantly violates the Geneva Convention, and they would lecture Russia?

And anyone who thinks they have a police force that is actually functional is beyond help, I believe.

I learned a long time not to stereotype all individuals into one group, because as a Christian I recognize the distinction between good and bad. Consistently calling good evil or evil good is a dangerous way for a Christian to think.

Russia consistently over the last few years rates in the top five for corruption by those watchdog groups

Who is those, and what are their qualifications for making that judgment? That said, on this 2005 corruption list Russia rates number 126 and Georgia 130. The 2005 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index That said, I fully realize this is a judgment call on these countries.
39 posted on 10/16/2006 8:11:31 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: GarySpFc
Sure comrade, relations between America and Russia and just bloody ducky -lol

Say hi to Uncle Vlad on the next trip to Moscow :)

40 posted on 10/16/2006 8:18:48 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is not free)
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To: Donna Lee Nardo
Bibi's the man!

I would love it if Bibi could join this debate :)

I endeavour to publish the very best Puttie the Putz photos which are out there.

41 posted on 10/16/2006 8:26:06 PM PDT by M. Espinola (Freedom is not free)
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To: yldstrk

Bump!


42 posted on 10/16/2006 8:30:50 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Our troops will send all of the worlds terrorists to hell in a handbasket with no virgins!)
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To: Admin Moderator

Nice Republican, that Bloomberg : )


43 posted on 10/16/2006 8:31:45 PM PDT by stephenjohnbanker (Our troops will send all of the worlds terrorists to hell in a handbasket with no virgins!)
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To: M. Espinola
Sure comrade, relations between America and Russia and just bloody ducky -lol

In fact, Russia's punishment of Georgia is all about US, not Georgia.

"It is not that we do not want Georgia in NATO," Tretyakov said, "but that we do not want NATO and the United States in the Caucasus."

Which is why it is so despicable. They're deliberately and maliciously hurting a nation of poor people for choosing America over Russia.

44 posted on 10/16/2006 8:41:26 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: GarySpFc
Georgia has had serious corruption issues, but they are working hard to change. If they were not, NATO would not be in intensive dialogue with them right now. President Bush hailed the successes in Georgia in overcoming corruption not too long ago.

Russia, otoh, seems to be sinking into a morass of moral decline.

45 posted on 10/16/2006 8:43:16 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: M. Espinola
Sure comrade, relations between America and Russia and just bloody ducky -lol
Say hi to Uncle Vlad on the next trip to Moscow :),/i>

Before you tuck in with your teddy bear make certain to check under your bed for evil KGB spies.

46 posted on 10/16/2006 8:43:43 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: MarMema
Russia, otoh, seems to be sinking into a morass of moral decline.,/i>

Let's see, the difference between 126 and 130 is what? Maybe they have increased to 128.

47 posted on 10/16/2006 8:45:44 PM PDT by GarySpFc (Jesus on Immigration, John 10:1)
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To: M. Espinola
here is my response last time I saw that 77% rating.

Number 31.

48 posted on 10/16/2006 8:54:37 PM PDT by MarMema
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To: Donna Lee Nardo

Anytime


49 posted on 10/16/2006 9:01:24 PM PDT by Semargl
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To: GarySpFc
Corruption. Although Russian politicians and the media talked about the problem frequently, officials did little to address it. Extensive corruption among law enforcement agencies in particular stymied any coherent response. Corruption had tragic consequences for Russia in 2004 as it facilitated numerous terrorist attacks on Russian territory through the exchange of access for payment. Russia's rating for corruption remains unchanged at 5.75 because the country and its political leaders seem to lack the political will to address the problem in a comprehensive manner.

Does this mean that 2005 saw an unprecedented rise in corruption? Certainly not. It has occurred during the past five years. It is simply that last year a certain psychological barrier was crossed - a barrier that had existed for many people who for various reasons approved of the incumbent political regime. In other words, their expectations were dashed.

One of the interesting stories that captured my imagination is when the President first came into office and he cleaned out the police forces in order to rid the country of corruption in the law enforcement -- understanding full well that the people must trust security in order for a society to flourish. And so, Mr. President, you've got hard work ahead of you. You've tackled problems with vigor and enthusiasm. But, most importantly, you've stayed true to a philosophy that I admire. So welcome back to the Oval Office, and please give your good wife all my very best.

So I think it is about where a country is headed too. And I can't resist sharing this from the same link above.

"First, Mr. President, welcome. I reminded the President about what a fantastic visit I had to Georgia. Laura and I will never forget your hospitality, we will never forget the food for which Georgia is quite famous, we will never forget the fantastic folk dancing we saw. And then I'll never forget our visits and the speech to the Georgian people. It was a fantastic trip."

Heh,heh, the US ambassador's wife told me that President Bush told her that Georgia was his favorite country to visit. He enjoyed it as much as I did.

50 posted on 10/16/2006 9:04:41 PM PDT by MarMema
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