08 сакавіка 2006

Commenting on Russia Blog

In the post here, Charlie Ganske of Russia Blog, who is a staff writer at Discovery Institute, complains about "hangover for the mainstream media from the runup to the invasion of Iraq", and "a deeper problem in how the West views Russia", supposedly revealed in a
Richard Pipes piece from March 1st in the Wall Street Journal, "Why the Bear Growls".

Below is my comment.

Compared to most of the articles on this blog, this one seems much weaker.

Defending Kremlin on the Ukranian gas problem by blaming the Ukranians is silly. Even if the allegations of theft are true, it doesn't excuse the blackmail that Putin resorted to. Two wrongs don't make a right, and to me and most peopple in the West, the wrong of stealing gas is much less than the wrong of cutting it off. Besides, after Putin's congratulations to Yanukovich, the "theft" explanation can't be taken seriously.

With the NGOs, again, suppose your allegations are true - I personally think they are. In this case, there are two ways of dealing with this: one is to do what Putin did, and the other is to enforce the law. If the authorities are so sure that money laundering takes place, why don't they prosecute it? It's not like burden of proof is much of a concern in Russia.

I agree with this blog's authors that Putin's persona has been vilified too much in the West - especially compared to Yeltsin's who was no less authoritarian than VVP.

However, when you complain about "war-mongering neocons running the Bush administration" - ironically, to make the same point about Iran that the war-mongers have been making - you lose credibility. When you dismiss the significance of the Hamas invitation to Moscow by pointing out the questionable fact of Hamas "humiliation", Americans won't take you seriously, because the detals of the visit can't compare in significance with the fact that they were invited in the first place. Trying to make such a comparison seems like whitewashing to me, and doesn' add to your credibility.


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