Never Mind, I Just Answered My Own Question.
Is Russia’s brief experiment with democracy ending? I think we in America need to wake up and realize that Putin’s Russia is not our ally.
A society cannot be considered truly democratic without a free press. Putin (who, by the way, celebrates the birthday of Stalin and has called the fall of the Soviet Union “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the century”) has not shut down publications that criticize him (yet), but his political enemies and critics in the press sure are dropping like flies. Since Putin took power, 13 journalists who wrote unfavorably about Putin have been murdered in contract-style killings: http://www.washingtontimes.com/commentary/abeichman.htm None of these murders were properly investigated, much less prosecuted. Last Friday (March 2), the killers got creative and threw their latest victim, Ivan Safronov, from a 5th-floor stairwell window. Safronov was the military affairs writer for Kommersant (“The Bussinessman”), a commerce-oriented newspaper (printed and online) that often criticizes Putin and Russian government policy. http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,256699,00.html
No doubt the authorities will come up with a harmless explanation for Safronov’s defenestration: perhaps he slipped on a banana peel and fell through the window. Perhaps he was psychotic and imagined that he was performing a stunt for a new Arnold Schwarzenegger action flick. Sure, no monkey business here!
Putin’s political enemies also have a tendency to die in, um, unnatural ways:
In September of 2004, Viktor Yushchenko, a candidate for President of Ukraine who helped lead the Orange Revolution, and who was vigorously opposed by Putin, barely survived a poisoning. Doctors determined that he had been given the deadly chemical dioxin, which left his face disfigured and his health severely impaired. Since then, two members of the Duma, the Russian parliament, have been assassinated, and last September Andrei Kozlov, the deputy chief of Russia’s central bank, was shot outside a Moscow stadium following a company soccer match. Kozlov had initiated a highly visible effort to rid the country of banks that were little more than fronts for organized crime. And just a few weeks ago, in an execution that could have been planned by Al Capone, Movladi Baisarov, a former Chechen special-forces officer who had come to be seen by Kadyrov as a rival, was gunned down on Leninsky Prospekt, one of Moscow’s busiest thoroughfares. A series of control shots were administered in front of scores of witnesses, including high-ranking members of the police force. No arrests have been made.
And let’s not forget former KGB agentAlexander Litvinenko, who died last November of polonium poisoning (polonium is an extremely rare and deadly radioactive isotope–a millionth of a gram will destroy a person’s internal organs. Like the other murder victims, the dissident Litvinenko was an enemy of Putin’s. On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused Putin of being personally responsible for his death and for the death of journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down just four weeks earlier. http://www.newyorker.com/printables/fact/070129fa_fact_specter
Ever since the 2000 election, liberals in America have been throwing the world’s biggest temper tantrum about alleged abuses of press freedom. They imply (and in many cases, come right out and say) that George W. Bush is “Hitler,” a “Nazi,” or a “fascist” who somehow suppresses free speech–yet they remain miraculously unharmed and unsilenced by Bush. Why do they not do more to point out a situation where their fellow journalists are being viciously murdered, actually oppressed and persecuted, by a thug regime that calls itself democratic? Maybe because that would point up what a bunch of whiny little tittybabies our liberal journalists are–they reserve their deepest outrage for imagined slights and trumped-up offenses, yet ignore or explain away murder.
To put it in terms even a liberal could understand, imagine that the following people were all assassinated during the past 7 years: Alan Greenspan, John Murtha, Barbara Boxer, Cindy Sheehan, Helen Thomas, Arianna Huffington, Markos Moulitsas Zuniga (founder and main author of the Daily Kos), Molly Ivins, Jonathon Alter, Anthony Lewis, E.J. Dionne, Katha Pollitt, Alexander Cockburn, Eric Alterman, Robert Scheer, Richard Cohen, Frank Rich, and Barbara Ehrenreich. Say these folks all died of gunshot wounds, mysterious falls, and poisonings. Would you say there was a serious, major problem with the state of democracy and freedom of speech in America?
So, what do the aforementioned liberal pundits, politicians, and writers have to say about a very real threat of totalitarianism in Russia, and what that might mean for our country? Nothing! It’s much more important and useful for them to keep attacking Bush, their imaginary fascist. It’s just too easy to focus one’s anger and outrage on a target who will never strike back, who will never be a true threat to your safety or profession.