PDA

View Full Version : Moscow police beat anti-Putin protesters


Achilles
04-15-2007, 12:27 AM
Link (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070415/ap_on_re_eu/russia_protests)

Anyone else concerned about the state of affairs in Russia?

martmeister
04-15-2007, 01:03 AM
Ahhh, Putin has killed any democratic progression. The only thing worth a damn there, is their large supply of oil and gas (3rd in the world, I hear (need confirmation on that)).

SilentScope001
04-15-2007, 01:10 AM
I'm a bit concerned, though not for the democratic future of Putin (he's running a tyranny by majority).

If Putin gets overthrown, the instablity of Russia would be quite grand indeed. The Anti-Putin Alliance would break up once Putin's gone, as the groups will want to take over Putin's regime. If the protesters succced, this would kill Russia's chance at becoming a world power and replacing the USA.

Realize also that many of the protesters are either extreme leftists or nationalists that lean a bit too close to fasicim while at the same time condemning Hitler for the invasion of Mother Russia. Neither of whom is appealing to me.

Samnmax221
04-15-2007, 01:12 AM
I keep my Homepage set to BBC News so I saw just saw it a few minutes ago. In the past few years I've seen the situation in Russia get progressively worse. One of the most important things to remember that Russia is the 3rd most dangerous place in the World for journalists, Anna Politkovskaya and Alexander Litvinenko are only the most publicized cases.

CPJ profile. (http://www.cpj.org/attacks06/europe06/rus06.html)

EDIT: Apparently Kasparov was one of the demonstrators arrested, nice going PR department.

Samuel Dravis
04-15-2007, 01:22 AM
Anyone else concerned about the state of affairs in Russia?Yes. I used to like Putin when he first came to power, but now I'm becoming more and more worried about him. With England and quite a few other countries in Europe dependent on natural gas from Russia, it means he has a big stick to get his way with come winter there. He's already used it once with Ukraine; I don't think he has any reservations about using it again.

Achilles
04-15-2007, 01:23 AM
Yeah, Russia is sitting on about 28% of the world's natural gas reserves. It's about 7th for oil reserves (approximately 60 billion barrels. Saudi Arabia is #1 with 262 billion barrels. The U.S. has about 22 billion).

So what do you think? Are they inching back toward communism or are we looking at a dictatorship?

EDIT:
@Samnmax221 - Yeah, I thought that too (re: Kasparov) :D
@Samuel Dravis - Part of me is a little afraid that U.S. intelligence agencies will begin supporting groups like the Chechen rebels if they see Putin getting too far out of hand.

SilentScope001
04-15-2007, 02:25 AM
@Samuel Dravis - Part of me is a little afraid that U.S. intelligence agencies will begin supporting groups like the Chechen rebels if they see Putin getting too far out of hand.

America...supporting terrorist groups?

Well, judging from the fact that Alexander Litvinenko converted to Islam on his deathbed and was buried by the Chechen rebels, who honored him as a great freedom fighter and a friend of the Chechens...and Alexander has massive public support within the West as well...well, maybe that could happen.

That would destroy all basis for the "War on Terrorism" though, and it would be quite stupid to arm groups that may end up biting the hand that you fed them with. Then again, the Americans did do this before...

He's already used it once with Ukraine; I don't think he has any reservations about using it again.

Right now, there is a political struggle against Viktor Yanukovych (leader of the Party of Regions and pro-Russian) and Viktor Yushchenko (leader of the Orange Revolution that overthrew Yanukovych peacefully via elections). Turns out that the people wanted Yanukovych again and gave him a majority in Parliment, and Yushchenko, angry, wants to dissolve Parliment and call for new elections (it's being held in the Supreme Court, I don't know if they will rule for or against). Reports suggest that it is quite likely that unless the Orange Revolution make a sudden reversal, Yanukovych will win the elections again, and by a greater margin.

I wouldn't be suprised if Russia has a stake in this.

You might also want to talk about the pipeline dispute between Belarus (a current ally of Russia) and Russia, where Russia's oil company demanded for Belarus to pay more money, and Belarus being forced to agree.

Pho3nix
04-15-2007, 08:04 AM
I keep my Homepage set to BBC News so I saw just saw it a few minutes ago. In the past few years I've seen the situation in Russia get progressively worse.

Past few years? :D

The situation has always been bad in Russia, even before the revolution in 1917. (which did grant Finland independence though)

stoffe
04-15-2007, 08:28 AM
Past few years? :D

The situation has always been bad in Russia, even before the revolution in 1917. (which did grant Finland independence though)

It's a matter of perspective, but from what I've read it seems the situation has gotten progressively worse for the large mass of "little people" in Russia since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The rift between the small number of extremely wealthy and vast mass of poor people has been growing steadily, along with rampant criminality, growing unemployment and rising prices on essentials such as food that doesn't match the rise in salaries.

Thus there seem to be a growing number of people who believe they were better off during the communist times. They had less freedom back then, but at least they always had food on the table, everyone had a job and (non-state) crime was almost unheard of.

With this in mind it is perhaps not to strange that there is a backlash against the democratic development recently. In particular since Russia doesn't have a democratic tradition, having been ruled by despots and dictators throughout history up until the collapse of the Soviet Union. What use is this lofty new idea of freedom if it leaves you much worse off than you were before, in the eyes of the large poor mass of citizens?

Putin's silk gloves may be collecting dust nowadays, but from what I've read I get the impression that many people support him anyway because he gets things done and is trying to break this development that has seemingly been brought on by democracy and market economy. Many mistakes were made early on when these two concepts were implemented, which we see the some of the consequences of now. When the people at large don't see any of the advantages that these political and economical systems can bring it's not so strange if they don't see them as essential.

At least this is the image of the situation I've gotten from what I have seen or read. I'm not saying that I like it, just that I can understand at least in part why it's happening.

Darth InSidious
04-15-2007, 08:48 AM
Hmm, correct me if I am wrong, but have I not mentioned in several threads that Russia is heading towards a Nazistic state, if one does not already exist, and that Putin seems quite willing to get rid of democracy, and declare a Europe-wide empire?

Everything would seem to point toward this, anyway.

martmeister
04-15-2007, 10:37 AM
Like any other country in the world, Russia has its own mentality (ie: France for surrendering, Japan for zany fads, the US with titanium balls and hubris to match). In Russia's case, it's the common citizen getting trampled on.
"Oh, we can't stand the sweet air of freedom; it is too much for us."
"But you've only had to make your own decisions and not bow before the government for <15 years!"
"We cannot function without the government dictating every function of our lives!"
"Ah, I see..."

In some ways, I respect the French people more; at least the people are truly in control of their lives.

Dagobahn Eagle
04-15-2007, 11:34 AM
(ie: France for surrendering, Japan for zany fads, the US with titanium balls and hubris to match).I hope that was a joke.

lukeiamyourdad
04-15-2007, 01:19 PM
Hmmm...

From what I know, life is better now then it was a few years ago in Russia. The newer generations are getting used to the freedoms. Mainly, it's the old folks who had total social safety back under the communist dictatorship that feel like something is wrong. Basically, before, you did not need to worry about retirement or pretty much anything else. Safe job, safe x, safe y, safe z. The State took care of you. Now it doesn't. It can be tough for some.

Russia is also a very corrupt country. Corruption is a huge problem, especially during the Yeltsin times, when the different government services and public owned enterprises were split among the ancient civil servants of the communist regime. The Russian millionaires of today worked for the government back then. So the regular folk got totally screwed in that department, with public services being dumped to the private sector, a private sector that was not subject to proper regulation, in record time. There's a reason why China is smart in their progressive liberalization of their country. They don't want to repeat the total collapse of the Soviet Union. 1.3 billion Chinese starving is no pretty sight.

As far as we know, opposition to Putin might be even larger then we think. It's totally plausible, considering the censorship, that people do not really speak their minds. It's easy for anyone in the west to tell them to speak up when it's needed but when you can be violently repressed, come back to me when you'll enjoy getting a baton hit to your face.

I do believe that Russia, when bullying other nations, is only trying to demonstrate what little power they have left. Unfortunately for them, Russia is not as serious a threat as it once was and national pride can take a pretty good hit. In fact, it's a bit of joke what they're doing in the G8. I don't believe either that they pose a serious threat to anyone else in the region. As more and more Eastern European nations join the EU, Russia will find itself quite isolated. Bullying a small ex-satellite state is something, but bullying the EU is another.

martmeister
04-15-2007, 02:11 PM
^^^I guess it makes sense; Putin is from the old-KGB-praise-our-god-Stalin USSR. Some people had good experiences under socialist rule while most others got screwed over. I would say that being a top KGB officer has its perks.

Samnmax221
04-15-2007, 04:37 PM
Past few years? :D

The situation has always been bad in Russia, even before the revolution in 1917. (which did grant Finland independence though)
I was referring to the more recent of their nosedives. Examples being Chechnya and the bungled Beslan crisis, Gazprom, and their constant interference with their neighbors.

SilentScope001
04-16-2007, 12:33 AM
I do believe that Russia, when bullying other nations, is only trying to demonstrate what little power they have left. Unfortunately for them, Russia is not as serious a threat as it once was and national pride can take a pretty good hit. In fact, it's a bit of joke what they're doing in the G8. I don't believe either that they pose a serious threat to anyone else in the region. As more and more Eastern European nations join the EU, Russia will find itself quite isolated. Bullying a small ex-satellite state is something, but bullying the EU is another.

I'd bet that Russia is still a force to be reckoned with, however. It got China as an ally, which is nice. It owns a lot of oil fields, and it makes deal with the third-world nations to get their assistance and aid. So the EU's angered? Fine. Start trading with Africa and Asia then. Yes, Russia doess want to defend its national pride, but it is understandable, given that all nations want to do such a thing. I guess a "wait-and-see" approach is necessary...if Putin gets overthrown, any chance that Russia could have to rebuild itself would be destroyed.

Russia really isn't afraid of the EU, though. It's afraid of NATO, the military alliance formed to protect against the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. As more and more nations that are RIGHT NEAR Russia join up with NATO, Russia will feel isolated, and will be more paranoid that NATO is surronding Russia, to intimate Russia and make it collapse. Why else were they afraid of the Missle Shield that was made to 'protect' NATO from Iran, but could also quite easily be used against Russia?

lukeiamyourdad
04-16-2007, 01:02 PM
I'd bet that Russia is still a force to be reckoned with, however. It got China as an ally, which is nice. It owns a lot of oil fields, and it makes deal with the third-world nations to get their assistance and aid. So the EU's angered? Fine. Start trading with Africa and Asia then. Yes, Russia doess want to defend its national pride, but it is understandable, given that all nations want to do such a thing. I guess a "wait-and-see" approach is necessary...if Putin gets overthrown, any chance that Russia could have to rebuild itself would be destroyed.


Meh, you seem not to realize the burgeoning economy of Russia. The strangest thing, is that with it's simply massive resources, it should be among the wealthiest countries in the world. Yet, it isn't. Corruption is still a massive problem and a lot of money is lost through this. Second, trading with Africa and Asia? I realize that Asia is not a bad option, but Africa...doesn't have the money to sustain itself, in a lot of areas. It's simply not a comparable market to the high consumption areas of North America or the EU. But even Asia. It could entirely be possible that with angering the EU and the US for example, both powers could bully smaller burgeoning economies in Asia, which exports a lot with those countries, into also boycotting Russia. Russia is nothing more then a paper tiger until it seriously recovers from the fall of the Soviet Union, which it hasn't totally yet.

Putin also is not the only thing that makes Russia go forward. At least, I agree that it's better then the Yeltsin era, when he allowed all the companies of the old public sector be taken by old civil servants and the Russian mob. Yeltsin gave a lot of industries to his friends, not exactly competent or incorruptible folks. However, saying that Putin is the only solution and that without him, everything will collapse is just a justification for a possible dictatorship. There's no indication that someone else won't do a better job.


Russia really isn't afraid of the EU, though. It's afraid of NATO, the military alliance formed to protect against the former Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. As more and more nations that are RIGHT NEAR Russia join up with NATO, Russia will feel isolated, and will be more paranoid that NATO is surronding Russia, to intimate Russia and make it collapse. Why else were they afraid of the Missle Shield that was made to 'protect' NATO from Iran, but could also quite easily be used against Russia?

Because it's used to protect against any missile attack, no matter where they're coming from? There's no reason for anyone right now to intimidate Russia into collapsing. And yes, it is afraid of the EU, its direct neighbors, both economically and militarily. Russia, being in the same position as Turkey (biggest part of Russia is in Asia), might find itself outside of the European block and it will cause it to have less economical influence upon the old satellite nations.

Achilles
04-18-2007, 03:26 PM
Russia toughens penalties for extremism. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070418/ap_on_re_eu/russia_opposition)

Anyone want to take a guess on what they mean by "political extremists"? Oh wait: Russian lawmakers on Wednesday endorsed new restrictions on political extremism that will toughen punishments and could make it easier for the Kremlin to apply the rules to its opponents.

As parliament's lower house voted, a court considered a request from authorities to label an increasingly vocal opposition group as extremist.

Totenkopf
04-18-2007, 07:13 PM
It seems you can take the man out of the KGB, but not necessarily the KGB out of the man. It would be a mistake to dismiss Russia out of hand. First, while many Soviet era nukes are apparently missing (other things as well probably), they no doubt have enough control to be dangerous. Second, their fuel supplies (barring any real switch to "eco-friendly" alternatives worldwide) give them a steady supply of revenue, which in turn can be used to modernize their military as well as exert political influence over the EU and others. Also, there is the potential China card it can use against the West (specifically America) to exert influence. And, less the EU expand it's military might to be commensurate with it's potential economic prowess, I doubt that the Russians have much to fear from them. They need only observe how the islamofacists are handling europe to gauge how easily they can do the same.



...(ie: France for surrendering, Japan for zany fads, the US with titanium balls and hubris to match).

I hope that was a joke.

How so?

Jae Onasi
04-18-2007, 07:20 PM
Russia toughens penalties for extremism. (http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20070418/ap_on_re_eu/russia_opposition)

Anyone want to take a guess on what they mean by "political extremists"? Oh wait:

[Iago (the parrot) voice]What a surprise. I think I'll have a heart attack and die from that surprise.[/Iago voice]

Those of us old enough to remember Soviet Russia are likely not surprised at all to see this happen. Putin's used to wielding a lot of power, and I have no doubt he wants more of it. I'm disturbed that he's going about it this way, but there's no one like Yeltsin to rally people to keep him in check.

lukeiamyourdad
04-18-2007, 09:43 PM
It would be a mistake to dismiss Russia out of hand. First, while many Soviet era nukes are apparently missing (other things as well probably), they no doubt have enough control to be dangerous.

I have no doubt that they still possess quite an arsenal, but the question is it enough to fight the forces of the West? Would they use those weapons in the event of a conflict they would start? To the Western side lies two defensive treaties, the EU and NATO. It seems like an invasion of Western Europe by Russia would be suicide.


Second, their fuel supplies (barring any real switch to "eco-friendly" alternatives worldwide) give them a steady supply of revenue, which in turn can be used to modernize their military as well as exert political influence over the EU and others.


The recent Belorussian conflict is a good proof of their influence regarding the supply of fossil fuel to the rest of Europe. However, the instrument in use here is an economical one.

As for modernizing their military, it's still rather strange that Russia is a relatively poor country considering their vast resources. Perhaps corruption makes money go out of the hands of the State, even out of the military.


Also, there is the potential China card it can use against the West (specifically America) to exert influence.

I don't think China is likely to be influenced by Russia. The other way around perhaps...after all, China is currently the bigger dog and taking only military power into play, the Chinese are far more likely to be on top. Even economically.


And, less the EU expand it's military might to be commensurate with it's potential economic prowess, I doubt that the Russians have much to fear from them.

Well, Russia doesn't have to fear being attacked by the EU, that's for sure. The other way around, I doubt Russia could face all the forces of the EU. Remember that it's a confederation and that every European country is independent so although a country like Poland might not have a military capable of facing the Russians, the union of the other countries will be more then enough. NATO will probably also come into play eventually, if Russia attacks.



I suppose there's no way to make realists realize that there is more then just the military. Currently, the Russian middle-class is developing rapidly and for sure it will not support Putin in some mad quest to conquer Europe. Such an event will throw their economy down the drain and once people enjoy buying many pairs of shoes, they don't want to stop. The apparent opposition to Putin is also there. Furthermore, Russia is a burgeoning economy. To halt its development would be madness in the short term.

In a way, that's why China isn't a huge threat everyone should be afraid of. At least in our lifetimes. In the current context of globalization, it's in nobody's interest to start an open conflict and military power as a mean of coercion is becoming unpopular. Unless you're a nutjob, but no one ever said that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad(spl?) was sane :p

Totenkopf
04-20-2007, 01:03 AM
I have no doubt that they still possess quite an arsenal, but the question is it enough to fight the forces of the West? Would they use those weapons in the event of a conflict they would start? To the Western side lies two defensive treaties, the EU and NATO. It seems like an invasion of Western Europe by Russia would be suicide.

wouldn't disagree w/that, nor was I suggesting the Cold War Fulda Gap scenario. That said, the real concern would more likely be the proxy war strategy of the Cold War era.


The recent Belorussian conflict is a good proof of their influence regarding the supply of fossil fuel to the rest of Europe. However, the instrument in use here is an economical one.As for modernizing their military, it's still rather strange that Russia is a relatively poor country considering their vast resources. Perhaps corruption makes money go out of the hands of the State, even out of the military.

I don't think China is likely to be influenced by Russia. The other way around perhaps...after all, China is currently the bigger dog and taking only military power into play, the Chinese are far more likely to be on top. Even economically.

Well, Russia doesn't have to fear being attacked by the EU, that's for sure. The other way around, I doubt Russia could face all the forces of the EU. Remember that it's a confederation and that every European country is independent so although a country like Poland might not have a military capable of facing the Russians, the union of the other countries will be more then enough. NATO will probably also come into play eventually, if Russia attacks.

I suppose there's no way to make realists realize that there is more then just the military. Currently, the Russian middle-class is developing rapidly and for sure it will not support Putin in some mad quest to conquer Europe. Such an event will throw their economy down the drain and once people enjoy buying many pairs of shoes, they don't want to stop. The apparent opposition to Putin is also there. Furthermore, Russia is a burgeoning economy. To halt its development would be madness in the short term.

In a way, that's why China isn't a huge threat everyone should be afraid of. At least in our lifetimes. In the current context of globalization, it's in nobody's interest to start an open conflict and military power as a mean of coercion is becoming unpopular. Unless you're a nutjob, but no one ever said MahmoudAhmadinejad(spl?) was sane


--I wasn't suggesting as to who the senior partner would be should something like this occur. Either way it would spell trouble. Influence is influence. Whether I threaten you physically/psychologically or just squeeze your wallet (or any combo) will depend on the circumstances.

One should never assume that b/c an enemy appears weaker that they are not really a threat. The Germans conquered Europe in a matter of weeks b/c the other side, while certainly more powerful in numbers and on paper, was outfought. This is not suggesting that Russia has the ability or desire to "take on" the EU, but if they geared up for a such a conflict, I rather doubt the EU would be able to stop them, w/o the threat of nuke retaliation. Frankly, I think that the EU would cave if the threat were real, at least given who's currently running it. However, contrary to what you seem to think, I'm not even addressing this strictly in terms of only using a big stick when conducting foreign policy. Warfare is not strictly confined to military clashes, but a big stick and the will to use it are indespensible.

Conflict in "peacetime" often takes on an economic, psychological and/or political form. Military dustups usually occurring via proxies. But I'd take your observation one step further. Globalization aside, man's ability to annihilate himself has rendered him less likely to desire direct large scale military conflict, where even the winners (should there be any) would be losers as well. The odd crackpot aside, it is highly unlikely that any of the world's major powers will face off insome type of deathmatch now that man is in the nuclear age.

Given the pace of technology, I wouldn't be so sure about China. If by threat you mean that Chinese tanks and troops would be frog marching the leaders of western countries (esp the USA)to the surrender table in their own countries in our lifetime, I agree that that's more unlikely than not. But not all threats are of an imminent military nature.