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Russia's Dying Democracy

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  • David-Constantine Wright
    http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24950 Russia s Dying Democracy By Stephen Brown FrontPageMagazine.com | October 18, 2006 She kept on
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 30, 2006
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      http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24950

      Russia's Dying Democracy
      By Stephen Brown
      FrontPageMagazine.com | October 18, 2006

      "She kept on asking for it, and she fell."


      That is how the editor of one Moscow newspaper correctly summed up the
      recent contract-style murder of top Russian investigative journalist,
      Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down in the elevator of her
      apartment building. The savage slaying of the internationally renowned
      Politkovskaya, who threw fear into Russia's and Chechnya's ruling
      elites with her relentless, uncompromising investigations into their
      corruption and human rights abuses, shocked not only her countrymen but
      the world.

      The Russian journalist's brutal death is symptomatic of present-day
      "democracy" in Russia. This Eastern European land has degenerated into
      such a lawless state the last ten years that whoever "asks for it",
      like Politkovskaya, is definitely "going to get it." Regarding
      journalists, in the last fifteen years Russia has become the
      third-deadliest country in the world for the members of this important
      profession behind only Algeria and Iraq. Forty-two Russian journalists
      "got it", like Politkovskaya, during that time with few of their
      murders ever being solved. The Russian government appears unable, or
      perhaps even unwilling, to protect its newspaper writers, although a
      free, vibrant journalism is one of the pillars of a healthy civil
      society.

      But perhaps even more disturbingly, the world has seen the Kremlin
      export its lawless ways outside its borders to those countries who are
      "asking for it." This criminal manner of conducting international
      diplomacy is now a part of Russian government foreign policy. One saw
      this not too long ago when the Kremlin tried to influence the outcome
      of the Ukrainian election. And the latest country to "get it" from
      Russia is the small state of Georgia, located in the Caucasus Mountains
      on the Black Sea. The plucky Georgians, who want to join NATO, recently
      seized - and released - four Russian officers, whom they accused of
      spying. In response, the Kremlin has imposed a transportation blockade
      of the Caucasian nation and stopped issuing visas to Georgians.


      Inside of Russia itself, the persecution of Georgian nationals proceeds

      apace. Many Georgians are living in Russia illegally, but authorities
      have turned a blind eye to their presence - until now. Hundreds of
      Georgians have now been deported from Russian territory. Police have
      even had schools provide them with lists of students with Georgian
      names, so that they can check on the residence status of the parents.
      Even the Georgian Orthodox Church in Moscow was not spared this
      disgraceful policy when holding a funeral, as attendees were subjected
      to identity checks. Postal services to Georgia and work contracts have
      also been cancelled, while Russian tax officials are harassing
      Georgian-owned businesses.

      As for the destructive long term effects of the 'non-war" against
      Georgia, journalist Simon Shuster says the Kremlin is not only
      discrediting ".the essence and content of contractual rights and the
      market economy as a whole." in the eyes of the people, but the people
      also see in cynical fashion that ".the law means nothing and can be
      used arbitrarily."

      And the extent of Kremlin lawlessness does not stop with the bullying
      of one small country. A German journalist, Jens Hartmann, describes
      Russia under Putin as a "façade democracy", behind which stands a
      ruling elite. And of the top people in the Kremlin, in the ministries
      and in the state industries, more than forty per cent have military or
      secret service backgrounds. This elite, including Politburo members,
      are also not shy in helping themselves to the country's economic
      goodies. The Financial Times reports that Russia is the only G-8
      country, in which top Kremlin advisors sit on the board of directors of
      state concerns. Like in Third World countries, private businesses in
      Russia also find it expedient to have a secret police official sit on
      their board of directors for protection.

      One European newspaper reports other changes in Russia that have caused

      democracy to decay. One is the growth of the FSB, the Russian secret
      service, from 80,000 to 350,000 members, while the number of government

      officials is now three times larger than in the Soviet era. Russia,
      according to Transparency International, also now ranks a poor 126 out
      of 158 countries on its corruption scale. The courts and the legal
      system are also very weak, serving the needs of the elite when called
      upon, while most large media outlets have been brought into line by the
      state, giving Russians little access to points of view critical of the
      government and thus forming "an information blockade." In the same
      newspaper, sociologist Olga Kryschtanowskaya describes the current
      Russian political system as neo-authoritarian and says Putin's
      "militarization of power" is meant: "To keep everything under control:
      civil society; elections; the private business sphere; the independent
      press; the parliament."

      Most observers of Russia say Putin, a former KGB official, dismisses
      both internal and foreign criticism of the pitiful state of Russian
      democracy and bases his immunity on the fact his country is one of the
      biggest energy suppliers in the world, especially of natural gas to
      Europe. Western countries may be wary of criticizing abuses of
      democracy in Russia too loudly for fear of jeopardizing their energy
      supply. Recently, the Russian state natural gas company, Gasprom, even
      bought a first division soccer team in Germany in order to burnish
      Russia's image abroad, although the Kremlin used Gasprom money to
      control Russian media outlets. As well, many Russians,
      who are not used to democracy, support the government's crackdown on
      those who disagree with the state, calling them anti-Russian.

      The murder of Anna Politkovskaya, to a large degree, is owed to the
      atmosphere of lawlessness in Russia today. History has also shown if
      lawlessness is ignored, it only gets worse. As a result, Putin would be
      wise to remember the fate of that other lawless state he once served so
      loyally and recall its degradation and collapse.
      ------------------------------------------------------------------
      Forwarded by Rd. David-C

      +-------------------------------------------------------------+
      | Reader David-Constantine Wright constantinewright@... |
      | Personal Website: http://constans_wright.tripod.com |
      | "God became Human so that humans could become gods." |
      | St. Athanasius the Great, *On the Incarnation* |
      +-------------------------------------------------------------+



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    • G3
      ... The article starts right off with spin. It is hardly as though only ruling elites had an ax to grind with Politkovskaya. In fact lots of folks,
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 30, 2006
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        --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, David-Constantine Wright
        <constantinewright@...> wrote:
        >
        > http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24950
        >
        > Russia's Dying Democracy
        > By Stephen Brown
        > FrontPageMagazine.com | October 18, 2006
        >
        > "She kept on asking for it, and she fell."
        >
        >
        > That is how the editor of one Moscow newspaper correctly summed up the
        > recent contract-style murder of top Russian investigative journalist,
        > Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down in the elevator of her
        > apartment building. The savage slaying of the internationally renowned
        > Politkovskaya, who threw fear into Russia's and Chechnya's ruling
        > elites with her relentless, uncompromising investigations into their
        > corruption and human rights abuses, shocked not only her countrymen but
        > the world.

        The article starts right off with spin. It is hardly as though only 'ruling elites' had an ax to
        grind with Politkovskaya. In fact lots of folks, including the mafia, muslim terrorists,
        disgraced low level officials she'd exposed, foreign exiled oligarchs like Berezovsky, had a
        motive. Frankly given that almost no one IN RUSSIA read her articles she posed the least
        threat to anyone there, and a much greater threat to folks like Soros, Berezovsky, or the
        terrorists who's bidding she always promised to do, but didn't make good on.

        > The Russian journalist's brutal death is symptomatic of present-day
        > "democracy" in Russia. This Eastern European land has degenerated into
        > such a lawless state the last ten years that whoever "asks for it",
        > like Politkovskaya, is definitely "going to get it." Regarding
        > journalists, in the last fifteen years Russia has become the
        > third-deadliest country in the world for the members of this important
        > profession behind only Algeria and Iraq. Forty-two Russian journalists
        > "got it", like Politkovskaya, during that time with few of their
        > murders ever being solved. The Russian government appears unable, or
        > perhaps even unwilling, to protect its newspaper writers, although a
        > free, vibrant journalism is one of the pillars of a healthy civil
        > society.

        I'd love to see statistics on actual crime in Russia over the last 10 years. I can tell you it
        most certainly is not at a high. Thus this 'lawless land' accusation is again not based in
        any sort of reality.

        > But perhaps even more disturbingly, the world has seen the Kremlin
        > export its lawless ways outside its borders to those countries who are
        > "asking for it." This criminal manner of conducting international
        > diplomacy is now a part of Russian government foreign policy. One saw
        > this not too long ago when the Kremlin tried to influence the outcome
        > of the Ukrainian election. And the latest country to "get it" from
        > Russia is the small state of Georgia, located in the Caucasus Mountains
        > on the Black Sea. The plucky Georgians, who want to join NATO, recently
        > seized - and released - four Russian officers, whom they accused of
        > spying. In response, the Kremlin has imposed a transportation blockade
        > of the Caucasian nation and stopped issuing visas to Georgians.

        Even the United Nations, which is pretty pro-Georgia, has confessed that it has continually
        been Georgia escalating matters there. Speaking of corruption btw, almost no one
        beleives the official election results; Georgia's citizens are continually angry at the
        Saakashvili regime. As for accusations of election fixing, one might start with looking at
        how much US Taxpayer money was given to the campaigns of Yushchenko and Saakashvili
        (along side massive contributions by George Soros) through the guise of the NED and
        USAID.

        > Inside of Russia itself, the persecution of Georgian nationals proceeds
        >
        > apace. Many Georgians are living in Russia illegally, but authorities
        > have turned a blind eye to their presence - until now. Hundreds of
        > Georgians have now been deported from Russian territory. Police have
        > even had schools provide them with lists of students with Georgian
        > names, so that they can check on the residence status of the parents.
        > Even the Georgian Orthodox Church in Moscow was not spared this
        > disgraceful policy when holding a funeral, as attendees were subjected
        > to identity checks. Postal services to Georgia and work contracts have
        > also been cancelled, while Russian tax officials are harassing
        > Georgian-owned businesses.

        I'm interested; what does Front Page Mag advocate for ilegal aliens in the united states,
        where there has also been a blind eye turned to their presence? This shows the complete
        hypocrisy of the authors.

        > As for the destructive long term effects of the 'non-war" against
        > Georgia, journalist Simon Shuster says the Kremlin is not only
        > discrediting ".the essence and content of contractual rights and the
        > market economy as a whole." in the eyes of the people, but the people
        > also see in cynical fashion that ".the law means nothing and can be
        > used arbitrarily."

        Generally blackmail and coercion are not consitered 'freemarket values'. In fact in general
        the Kremlin has followed a very simple policy; prices even for freinds will be increased,
        though discounting for freinds will continue to some degree. Price discounts for self
        stated foes will be brought to market levels. (Ok actually 1/3rd of market levels. 160 for
        gas is about a third of what countries like Britain or the United States pay for natural gas)

        > And the extent of Kremlin lawlessness does not stop with the bullying
        > of one small country. A German journalist, Jens Hartmann, describes
        > Russia under Putin as a "façade democracy", behind which stands a
        > ruling elite. And of the top people in the Kremlin, in the ministries
        > and in the state industries, more than forty per cent have military or
        > secret service backgrounds. This elite, including Politburo members,
        > are also not shy in helping themselves to the country's economic
        > goodies. The Financial Times reports that Russia is the only G-8
        > country, in which top Kremlin advisors sit on the board of directors of
        > state concerns. Like in Third World countries, private businesses in
        > Russia also find it expedient to have a secret police official sit on
        > their board of directors for protection.

        Again by bullying the authors mean to state revoking price breaks for stated enemies, and
        replacing them with market prices.

        > One European newspaper reports other changes in Russia that have caused
        > democracy to decay. One is the growth of the FSB, the Russian secret
        > service, from 80,000 to 350,000 members, while the number of government
        > officials is now three times larger than in the Soviet era. Russia,
        > according to Transparency International, also now ranks a poor 126 out
        > of 158 countries on its corruption scale. The courts and the legal
        > system are also very weak, serving the needs of the elite when called
        > upon, while most large media outlets have been brought into line by the
        > state, giving Russians little access to points of view critical of the
        > government and thus forming "an information blockade." In the same
        > newspaper, sociologist Olga Kryschtanowskaya describes the current
        > Russian political system as neo-authoritarian and says Putin's
        > "militarization of power" is meant: "To keep everything under control:
        > civil society; elections; the private business sphere; the independent
        > press; the parliament."

        I'm interested why FrontPagMag feels the need to engage in plagerism, and also won't
        name their source. Could it be because in fact their source is a well known liberal rag, as
        are many Europeon papers, which their readers would automatically see as a red flag that
        this article is tripe?

        > Most observers of Russia say Putin, a former KGB official, dismisses
        > both internal and foreign criticism of the pitiful state of Russian
        > democracy and bases his immunity on the fact his country is one of the
        > biggest energy suppliers in the world, especially of natural gas to
        > Europe. Western countries may be wary of criticizing abuses of
        > democracy in Russia too loudly for fear of jeopardizing their energy
        > supply. Recently, the Russian state natural gas company, Gasprom, even
        > bought a first division soccer team in Germany in order to burnish
        > Russia's image abroad, although the Kremlin used Gasprom money to
        > control Russian media outlets. As well, many Russians,
        > who are not used to democracy, support the government's crackdown on
        > those who disagree with the state, calling them anti-Russian.

        Never has there been a greater indication of lawlessness than buying football teams. Does
        anyone at Frontpagemag care to wager how much the US spends on bolstering the
        American image abroad? (For that matter would they like to compare the popularity of the
        two?)

        > The murder of Anna Politkovskaya, to a large degree, is owed to the
        > atmosphere of lawlessness in Russia today. History has also shown if
        > lawlessness is ignored, it only gets worse. As a result, Putin would be
        > wise to remember the fate of that other lawless state he once served so
        > loyally and recall its degradation and collapse.

        This entire piece 1, fails to show any of this aledged lawlessness. In fact the only statistic
        it mentions, and yet fails to cite its source, suggest Russia has more law enforcement
        agents. 2, the article fails to link Politkovskaya's murder to any of the sczisophrenic list of
        issues it careens through, possibly because aside from some indications it was carried out
        by the mafia, there's no real evidence yet to link it to anything. Further it attributes
        sovereignty and free market capitalism to 'bullying'.

        Change a few names and dates and this is text book Soviet Era propagandizing.

        It's quite sad to see this posted to the list.

        George
      • Fr. John R. Shaw
        ... JRS: Stephen Brown seems to equate democracy with law and order . But in reality, law and order means that democracy and freedom are restricted.
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 30, 2006
        • 0 Attachment
          --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, David-Constantine Wright
          <constantinewright@...> wrote:

          > http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24950
          >
          > Russia's Dying Democracy
          > By Stephen Brown
          > FrontPageMagazine.com | October 18, 2006

          > The murder of Anna Politkovskaya, to a large degree, is owed to the
          > atmosphere of lawlessness in Russia today. History has also shown if
          > lawlessness is ignored, it only gets worse. As a result, Putin would be
          > wise to remember the fate of that other lawless state he once served so
          > loyally and recall its degradation and collapse.

          JRS: Stephen Brown seems to equate "democracy" with "law and order".

          But in reality, "law and order" means that "democracy and freedom" are restricted.

          Perhaps the most democratic thing in the world is the lynch mob.

          In Christ
          Fr. John R. Shaw
        • G3
          ... Which is actually another good point; the United States was specifically founded to NOT be a democracy but a Republic. In fact the original plan called
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 30, 2006
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            --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, "Fr. John R. Shaw" <vrevjrs@...> wrote:
            >
            > --- In orthodox-synod@yahoogroups.com, David-Constantine Wright
            > <constantinewright@> wrote:
            >
            > > http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/ReadArticle.asp?ID=24950
            > >
            > > Russia's Dying Democracy
            > > By Stephen Brown
            > > FrontPageMagazine.com | October 18, 2006
            >
            > > The murder of Anna Politkovskaya, to a large degree, is owed to the
            > > atmosphere of lawlessness in Russia today. History has also shown if
            > > lawlessness is ignored, it only gets worse. As a result, Putin would be
            > > wise to remember the fate of that other lawless state he once served so
            > > loyally and recall its degradation and collapse.
            >
            > JRS: Stephen Brown seems to equate "democracy" with "law and order".
            >
            > But in reality, "law and order" means that "democracy and freedom" are restricted.
            >
            > Perhaps the most democratic thing in the world is the lynch mob.

            Which is actually another good point; the United States was specifically founded to NOT be
            a democracy but a Republic. In fact the original plan called for direct election ONLY of
            representatives, with Senators being nominated by governors, and themselves picking the
            president. Even then only landowners could vote. The founders of the US universally felt
            that democracies quickly fell apart, and that all famous democracies had been shortlived.

            Putin's government is perhaps MORE like that the founders had designed then is the
            current government in America.

            George
          • David-Constantine Wright
            ... Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios of America on the Occasion of OXI Day - October 28, 2006 Protocol 107/06 October 28, 2006 To the Most Reverend
            Message 5 of 5 , Oct 31, 2006
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              --- Fr. John Shaw wrote:

              >JRS: Stephen Brown seems to equate "democracy" with "law and order".
              >But in reality, "law and order" means that "democracy and freedom" are
              >restricted.

              Encyclical of Archbishop Demetrios of America on the Occasion of OXI
              Day - October 28, 2006

              Protocol 107/06

              October 28, 2006

              To the Most Reverend Hierarchs, the Reverend Priests and Deacons, the
              Monks and Nuns, the Presidents and Members of the Parish Councils of
              the Greek Orthodox Communities, the Distinguished Archons of the Order
              of St. Andrew, the Day, Afternoon, and Church Schools, the Philoptochos
              Sisterhoods, the Youth, the Hellenic Organizations, the members of our
              Parishes and the entire Greek Orthodox Family in America

              Beloved Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

              Once again we greet with joy the arrival of the Twenty-Eighth of
              October. As Greek Orthodox Christians, we know this day as "OXI Day," a
              reference to the defiant "NO" (or "OXI") that the Hellenic nation
              boldly proclaimed in 1940 to the demands of Mussolini to surrender to
              the dark forces of Fascism that were sweeping across Europe at that
              time. This day is important because of the example that the nation of
              Greece set for the rest of the world. Greece's defiance to the demands
              of a hostile fascist aggressor stood for the undeniable, moral claim
              that there are certain values in this world that are so precious and so
              sacred, that they cannot be compromised at any cost.

              These values are those of liberty and freedom. The Hellenic nation knew
              then, as the world knows now, that God out of His love for all
              humankind has bestowed liberty and freedom as inalienable rights to
              people of every culture, race, and religion the world over. The right
              to live in conditions of liberty and freedom represents the product of
              a beautifully rich synthesis of Hellenism and Christianity. It speaks
              directly to us as Greek Orthodox Christians, who are the proud bearers
              of this cherished and unique legacy, which we have the responsibility
              to share with our neighbors.

              In reviewing the history of October 28, OXI Day, it is natural for us
              to look first and foremost to our fathers and their noble actions in
              Greece in 1940. Interestingly though, if we look deeper into our own
              American history, we find a notable connection with the date of October
              28; for on that day, in 1886, another important event that stood for
              liberty and freedom took place, namely, the dedication of the Statue of
              Liberty on Ellis Island, a safe harbor for hundreds of thousands of
              immigrants to America. Much in the same way, this event too confirmed
              the fundamental rights of liberty and freedom, and today the Statue of
              Liberty stands as a monument that continues to herald these ideals to
              people throughout the world.

              Thus, as we commemorate the Twenty-Eighth of October, we first bring to
              mind the events of Greece in 1940 and the courageous "OXI" which the
              brave Hellenic nation uttered in the face of fascist aggression. We
              remember the stand of our Hellenic fathers for liberty and freedom at
              all costs, which was a stand mandated by their Orthodox Christian
              faith. Second, we take this opportunity to probe deeper into notable
              events in American history that also occurred on the Twenty-Eighth of
              October, specifically the dedication of the Statue of Liberty in 1886,
              which stood for the very same principles. In so doing, we re-discover
              precious symbols and events in history which bring unique import to us
              as Greek Orthodox Christians who are citizens and residents of America,
              our beloved second home.

              We are thankful to God for giving us important events in history which
              serve to remind us of the precious gifts of liberty and freedom. It is
              my heartfelt prayer that as we reflect upon the significance of this
              date, we may direct our hearts and minds to reflect upon the conditions
              of liberty and freedom which are essential to our identity as Greek
              Orthodox Christians and which rightfully belong to all human beings,
              especially in places where these conditions are lacking. May the
              abiding love and peace of our gracious and merciful God be with you
              always.

              With paternal love in Christ,

              + DEMETRIOS
              Archbishop of America
              ----------------------------------------------------
              Forwarded by Rd. David-C



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