Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Friday, January 28, 2005

Russia's second revolution?

By Aussiegirl

Herbert Meyer, who worked in the CIA during the Reagan years and was the only analyst to correctly predict the downfall of the Soviet Union writes this great article in today's American Thinker.

The so-called "babushka" revolution that has been happening recently in Russia is only the tip of the iceberg in a restiveness that is permeating Russia, especially with the recent democratic developments and the success of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the Rose revolution in Georgia. Be sure and read the entire article -- here's a snippet:

The second half of Russia's second revolution has begun. It started in mid-January, when in cities throughout the country tens of thousands of mostly-older citizens took to the streets for days on end to protest President Vladimir Putin's welfare reform plan. Already hope is starting to rise, both inside the country and beyond, that "people power" will bring to Russia the kind of real democracy it is bringing right now to the neighboring countries of Ukraine and Georgia. But Russia is well, Russia which means that this revolution will go on longer, spill more blood, and could end less happily than the revolutions nearby. Which leads to one big question that the Bush Administration will need to answer sooner rather than later: whose side are we on?

(snip) And it's impossible to exaggerate the sheer joy and relief among Russians that they finally had someone in charge who was young, healthy and athletic a good omen for the country's future. Everyone tried hard not to notice that Putin had secured his election by, among other nasty stunts, a string of Moscow apartment-house bombings his law-and-order campaign blamed on Chechen terrorists, but which turned out to be organized by Putin's alma mater, the Russian intelligence service. And everyone kept trying not to notice that, once securely in office, Putin started to strangle Russia's fragile free-market democracy. Newspapers and television networks that opposed him were shut down, or forced to sell out to Putin supporters. A new law that Putin rammed through the Duma allowed him to appoint regional governors who had been subject to election. The assassination of independent journalists and opposition politicians became commonplace. In October 2003 Putin arrested Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a major funder of opposition politicians and the founder of Yukos Oil, Russia's largest energy company, on trumped-up charges of tax evasion and fraud. By the time Putin ran for re-election in 2004, there really was no opposition.

Putin's second term has been an unmitigated disaster. His inept handling of the attack on a school in Beslan last September, which left more than 300 children dead and which he attributes once again -- to Chechen terrorists, shattered his reputation for tough competence. In October, his clumsy intervention in Ukraine's presidential election on behalf of the corrupt incumbent backfired, and the pro-west Viktor Yushchenko is now that country's president. (There's no official verdict on who ordered Yushchenko's poisoning during his campaign, but the world's record for botched assassinations has long been held by the Soviet intelligence service which these days reports to you-know-whom.) In January, while the Yukos Oil founder rotted in jail, Putin seized the company itself and shattered hopes that Russia will play by the rule of law. And now his welfare reform flop has brought tens of thousands of ordinary Russians the very core of Putin's political base -- into the streets against him.


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