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Vladimir Putin: America's "trusted friend"
By Steve Montgomery and Steve Farrell
web posted November 26, 2001
Recently, we, like many of you, looked on in horror as an American President with a howdy dudey Texas drawl, and a I-don't-need-to-consult-with-Congress presumptuousness, announced the unilateral disarmament of two-thirds of America's nuclear capability, even as he introduced as his "trusted" partner, Russian President Vladimir Putin, a man he described as a "reformer" and a "friend" of the United States.
How did our President arrive at this controversial assessment? He said, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy. . . . I was able to get a sense of his soul." That's how! Well, that's quite a method! Apparently, no longer is Bush just a President, but a prophet as well!
But, more down to earth appraisals of Vladimir Putin soundly disagree with President Bush. Today, Stiff Right Jab turns to 1. the research of communist expert John Stormer, the top selling author of "None Dare Call It Treason" (our primary source - see the Oct. & Nov. editions of the Schwartz Report); 2. the ever accurate anti-Communist watchdog, the New American; and 3. insider views from the Moscow Times and others to present what we believe are answers to the following vital questions about Mr. Putin -- Is he a reformer? Is he a friend? Can he be trusted? Here is what we found.
Pre-Election Putin - A Few Clues
President Vladimir Putin is a 16-year veteran and key member of the dreaded
Transition/Post-Election Putin - Welcome Back KGB
Authoritarian tendencies, indeed. During Putin's three months as acting president following Yeltsin's resignation and in the days following his own election, he left no doubt as to what path he would take Russia down.
He appointed 10 identified former KGB secret police officers to high government posts out of 24 such jobs (the number was up to 17 by March 2000).
Since Putin came to power, notes the Wall Street Journal, "[the secret services have been] trying to control all structures of power in Russia."
Putting an End to local Autonomy
But Putin didn't stop there. Despite the fact that he was elected president with the support of most regional governors and officials, Putin moved quickly to strip them of their rights to govern, centralizing all power in the Kremlin. This is how he did it.
By a 75% margin, his fellow "reformers" in the Duma went along with a Putin decree, granting the "President" power to remove any and all of the regional governors from office and appoint successors in the Federation Council (the upper Duma) in 2002.
But not everyone was playing dumb. Business tycoon Boris Berezovsky, a Duma member and one-time Kremlin insider who helped engineer Putin's presidential victory, resigned from the legislature in protest. Berezovsky warned: "All power will be concentrated in the president's hands. Russia has no chance of surviving under authoritarian rule." A new Soviet Union would arise.
Freedom of Speech/Press Goes Next
Putin, next cracked down on the limited, yet dangerous freedom the media had achieved during Yeltsin's years in office (scores of private journalists were murdered without investigation). Since obtaining power, Putin's forces have moved to take back total control of the nation's three TV networks. They supposedly enjoyed freedom of the press until some of the TV personalities ridiculed and opposed Putin, who took them off the air.
Four days after Putin's inauguration in May, 2000, what The Reader's Digest described as "armed agents in camouflage uniforms and black ski masks raided the headquarters of Media-Most, Russia's largest private-sector media conglomerate and a persistent Putin critic. The agents hauled out files and equipment; prosecutors said the raid was part of an investigation of banking irregularities and violations of privacy."
Three weeks later, Media-Most's NTV networks was forced by the Kremlin to censor its broadcasts of a nationally popular satirical puppet show for daring to ridicule Russia's ruling elite, including Putin.
A month later, Vladimir Gusinsky, Media-Most's owner, was jailed and accused of swindling $10 million from the government in a privatization deal. After an international outcry Putin questioned whether prosecutors had gone too far and Gusinsky was released. However, the harassment continued until in a predawn raid on Saturday, April 14, 2001, Gazprom, the government controlled natural gas monopoly seized control, ending the only remotely independent mass media outlet in Russia.
Russia's most popular news magazine, the Sergei Dorenko Show, was ousted next. Dorenko said his fate was sealed when, after an August 29 meeting with the President, Dorenko resisted Putin's request that the broadcaster "play on his team." Dorenko resisted and criticized Putin, saying his team consisted of his 40-million viewers. The program was canceled four days later.
Once again, Kremlin Insider Boris Berezovsky, during a Washington DC visit warned, "[Putin] wants to combine all political powerexecutive, legislative, judicialin his own hands. There is no real opposition in Russia today whatsoever."
Paranoia and a Dictator's Control of Career Paths
Putin's tyrannical and paranoiac crackdown extends even to seventeen-year-old girls.
The British Broadcasting Corporation reported that Anna Provorova, an outstanding student, lost her medical school appointment as a result of a letter she wrote to Putin. In keeping with the Russian tradition of cutting through red tape by writing directly to the Tsars for help, Anna went to the top requesting a video camera to film her school-leaving (graduation) ceremony. Soon inspectors arrived at her school and ordered her to write an explanation for her "disrespectful letter."
"Free Enterprise, Anyone?"
Berezovsky says of Putin: "Forget the words, watch the actions." Putin and his forces, employ the characteristic double-speak of old line communists. "We must end an omnipresent state control of businesses," they say, "but the state's role must be increased." Consider:
In spite of the goal of "ending omnipresent state control of business," the state's role in businesses has been increased with, for example, a move to take over vodka production. In a Moscow dispatch, the London Observer reported: "A shakeup of Russia's alcohol industry is provoking fears among Moscow vodka magnates that President Vladimir Putin is determined to bring their industry back under state control."
Putin the Mass Murderer?
Putin's deadly reputation precedes and follows his "election," an election some say was preceded by a coup d' etat.
A Sept 21, 1999 Moscow Times editorial concluded, what so many other honest observers have, that Putin's FSB were behind the bombings of six apartment buildings which Putin blamed on Chechnyan "bandits."
This KGB/FSB insider job killed 300 civilians and launched the Chechnyan War to the point where entire cities, towns, and villages of men, women, and children were wiped out by what American intelligence experts describe as "huge bombs," and indiscriminate use of artillery and air bombardment. Tens of thousands have died, hundreds of thousands have been left homeless. But Putin wasn't and isn't content with killing tens of thousands. He wants the refugees dead too. That is why he has mercilessly stood in the way of international humanitarian aid efforts directed at these freezing and starving refugees, of all varieties, and all ages - and still does to this very day. And so does Mass murderer fit? Perfectly, just as it did on his predecessors in the Soviet Union.
Police State, Prejudice, and Anti-Semitism
The same "terrorist" bombing of six apartment complexes in less than a month, "transformed Moscow into a police regime," says the Christian Science Monitor (Sept. 23, 1999). Moscow's streets, once again are teeming with heavily armed security police, and summary arrest and detention of Muslims has become commonplace. On that subject, Boris Kagarlitsky, editorialist at the Moscow Times, in a Nov. 11, 2001 op-ed adds:
The police for some years now have been doing all they can to terrorize "persons of Caucasian nationality" on the streets -- blatantly trying to demonstrate to us all that they are second-class people and undesirable elements in Moscow.
Putin's "Sense of Humor"
Texas high school students were treated to President Vladimir Putin's sense of humor last week. Putin does have a sense of humor, all right. His best display followed his coup d' etat/election.
Liberal commentator William Pfaff, in the January 10th edition of the International Herald Tribune, describes the election process:
An early presidential election has suddenly been called, at a moment when war [with Chechen separatists] has produced a patriotic mobilization of the public. Controlled television, radio and press are enlisted to support not only the war but also a candidate whose sole discernible entitlement to the presidency is that he is waging that war.
OK, so here comes the punch line.
During last December's celebration of "Security Organs Day" at Moscow's Lubyanka Square, Putin told a group of his associates in the FSB (the re-named KGB) that "a group of FSB colleagues dispatched to work undercover in the government has successfully completed its first mission" - the bombing caused the war that brought Putin to power. The January 12th Los Angeles Times explained that Putin's remark was "meant to be funny."
It's Not Funny
Russian critics of the secret police are not amused. "The KGB has risen from the ashes and come to power in Russia," states Sergei Grigoryants, who was repeatedly arrested by the KGB during the 1970s and 1980s and served nine years in prison as punishment for criticizing the Soviet regime. "It is the logical outcome of the process that has been unfolding for the past decade." That being, that the Soviet-era Communist Party elite, including the KGB, has retained its control over Russia and most of the former Soviet Block.
Sing all Hail to the Soviet Union
Vladimir Putin has made it clear that his fixed goal is to reconstruct the old Soviet Union.
In a symbolic and alarming move Vladimir Putin, revived the old Soviet national anthem with new words written by the composer of the original anthem.
But what Putin wants, Putin gets, the victims of communism be damned. A year later, the ominous anthem stands - as does the red banner as Russia's military flag - another Putin "reform."
Rebuilding the Warsaw Pact
Accompanying the pro-Soviet music are pro-Soviet actions. Here are but a few of them:
Foreknowledge, Business as Usual
As early as June 2001, Putin, through his chief financial advisor, Dr. Tatyana Koryagina, had prior knowledge of a planned take down of the United States - they even had a date - held financial seminars all over Russia on how to profit as a result - and of course, didn't tip the US off, becoming in truth, an accomplice to but one more mass murder. (1, and 2)
So this is a "reformer?" This is our friend? This is a man we can trust? If the President of the United States honestly believes this about Vladimir Putin, is willing to lay down America's arms in holy fellowship with him, and is so deluded as to Prophet-of-God-like encourage all Americans to trust Putin simply because the President of the United States has the gift to "see into men's souls," then the question must be asked, "Can we any longer trust the leadership of President George W. Bush?" For the only soul ordinary men perceive in Putin - is the one which clearly matches his works - a Russian graveyard.
Contact Steve & Steve at StiffRightJab@aol.com
Special thanks to:
1. The work of John Stormer and "the Schwartz Report" -- http://www.schwarzreport.org/main.htm.
2. The New American and their fabulous political research tool available at http://www.thenewamerican.com/tna/cd-rom/
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