Tag Archive for ‘Russia’
“There have been times when they slip back into Cold War thinking,” said President Obama in his tutorial with Jay Leno. And to show the Russians that such Cold War thinking is antiquated, Obama canceled his September summit with Vladimir Putin. The reason: Putin’s grant of asylum to Edward Snowden, who showed up at the Moscow airport, his computers full of secrets that our National Security Agency has been thieving from every country on earth, including Russia.
You’d think Putin had constructed a gas chamber on the edge of Olympik Village in Sochi, but the reality is much less shocking.
It would be equally interesting to imagine the reaction of McCain et al. if Russia routinely resorted to the arrest of American citizens in third countries—Belarus or Kazakhstan, say—and their extradition to Moscow for trial on various charges. That is exactly what the U.S. is doing to Russians.
Russian authorities set up a detention camp for illegal immigrants, after 4,500 of them were arrested in Moscow during raids on garment factories and markets. The arrested illegals were Vietnamese, Syrians, Egyptians, and Moroccans, along with the usual citizens of former Soviet Central Asian republics. Raids are now taking place in St. Petersburg, where Russian police already arrested hundreds of people.
A brutal attack at Moscow’s Matveyevsky market, which left a policeman hospitalized with a fractured skull outraged Russians and spurred the authorities into action. The attack took place when cops tried to arrest eighteen-year-old Magomed ( the Russified version of “Muhammad”) Magomedov for raping a fifteen-year-old girl. Magomedov, who came to Moscow to help his parents sell counterfeit clothes, confessed on video that he “groped and undressed the still little, underage” girl. When officers attempted to detain Magomedov, his relative Magomed Rasulov, ran up to them and fractured a detective’s skull with a pair of brass knuckles. This outrage, perpetrated in broad daylight in the middle of Moscow, spurred Russian police into action.
The problem of “illegal migrants”, which I have described elsewhere, plagued Russia for about two decades now, since the Soviet Union collapsed and the non-Russian republics rapidly descended into poverty. Current estimates state that there are at least a million of Uzbeks and Tajiks in Moscow and the surrounding region. While citizens of other former Soviet republics like Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan can be deported, Muslim migrants from the lawless autonomous Islamic republics of Dagestan and Chechnya are citizens of the Russian Federation. The two troublemaking Magomeds, for example, are natives of Dagestan, which made it very hard to keep them out of Moscow.
The measures taken by Russian cops, seem to be designed to quiet down the outrage in the Russian media and social networks, and are likely not the sign of a true, sophisticated crackdown on illegal immigration. Unlike in other countries plagued by mass illegal immigration, the Russian public would support strong measures against illegal immigrants. However, the rampant corruption prevalent in Russian government agencies and their dire ineffectiveness stand in the way of any such measures.
The geopolitical framework for an upgrade in Russian-German relations.
Recent developments in Moldova have placed the former Soviet republic, strategically placed at the hub of Central and Southeastern Europe’s energy corridors, at the center of Russia’s occasionally tense relations with the West. On February 7, Senator Richard Lugar, a leading NATO expansionist and Russophobic hawk, demanded that Obama put pressure on Medvedev to “solve” the issue of the Trans-Dniester region that seceded from Moldova in the early 1990s.
WikiLeaks documents reveal that Russian operatives may have been tracking the assassins of rogue intelligence officer Alexander Litvinenko well before he was poisoned in London in November 2006. The agents apparently wanted to prevent his murder not because they cared for him, which they did not, but because they knew that Moscow would be blamed for the deed.
It was another episode in a series of shocking crimes against children. Little Sasha, just three years old, was pulled from the frigid waters of the Pekhorka River in January 2009. He was bound to a car battery with adhesive tape, his body battered and bearing the marks of cigarette burns. It was the second death of an adopted child in the Grechushkin family: The December before Sasha’s body was discovered, their one-year-old’s death had aroused suspicions. The third child was placed in an orphanage, and the adoptive parents were arrested.
In August, the Georgian navy seized a Turkish tanker carrying fuel to Abkhazia, Georgia’s former province whose declaration of independence a year ago is recognized by Russia but not the West.
The Turkish captain was sentenced to 24 years. When Ankara protested, he was released. Abkhazia has now threatened to sink any Georgian ship interfering in its “territorial waters,” but it has no navy.
The recent invasion of South Ossetia by the U.S.-trained and -equipped Georgian army turned into a debacle for both Tbilisi and Washington. It also demonstrated that, for the U.S. government, the fall of the Soviet Union on December 8, 1991, did not mean the Cold War had ended.