Putin Back with a Vengeance


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There was something grimly fitting about Vladimir Putin’s swearing-in ceremony this Monday for a new six-year term. While Russia’s president-elect paid tribute to “democracy” and civil society, baton-wielding riot police pummeled protestors and rounded up opposition activists on Moscow’s streets.

The rift between rhetoric and reality aptly sums up the legacy of Putin’s rule, which has seen a rapid erosion of democratic government and the rule of law in Russia. Putin’s third term promises more of the same. Even before Putin’s inauguration ceremony began on Monday, Russian police beat up and arrested over 400 people taking part in anti-government demonstrations. Some of the younger demonstrators were reportedly handed military draft notices upon their arrest.

Police continued the crackdown on Monday, arresting hundreds and clearing the main thoroughfares completely so that Putin’s motorcade could proceed. One Russian blogger posted images of totally deserted streets, with the sarcastic caption: “Joyous crowds of Muscovites greet the new cleanly elected president!” Dissent is alive and well in Russia, as the 20,000-strong weekend demonstrations suggest, but Putin’s idea of democracy means that those who disagree with the government are neither heard nor seen.

Emptied streets cannot hide the fact that Putin’s new term has not been welcomed, particularly in major urban hubs like Moscow. The prospect of Putin resuming the office that he never really surrendered has proved a galvanizing force in Russia over the past year, awaking a previously dormant middle class, and sparking the largest street protests in Russia since the dying days of the Soviet Union. Not powerful enough to prevent Putin’s reelection – largely a formality in Russia’s fraud-plagued elections – the protests have revealed what the state-run media has long managed to suppress: widespread distrust of the political system and popular contempt for Putin.

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  • pennylane

    Putin doesn't need to rig the vote. Putin still has, by far, the greatest support among Russians. All independent surveys put him at well over 40%, trailed by his Communist rival Sjuganow at around 10%. All other candidates are on single figures. In the Twitter and Facebook protest world, talk is cheap and facts are scarce, as we all know from the "occupy" movement. Where are their candidates and leaders, where the political agenda and programms? Can we even be sure if they are posting from inside Russia, or are they stationed in Langley?

    The last thing Russians want is the USA model Jelzin tried to impose, with a 1% of oligarch parasisites sapping the nations wealth assisted by the "international free markets". Putin is a mafiosi, but he's the Russian godfather catering for Russian interests and not the interests of Halliburton, Texaco and Goldmann-Sachs. That's why he will be ariund for a long while to come.

    • reader

      He's so good for Russians that he keeps his wealth syphoned from Russian soil in Swiss Gunvor and who knows what other holdings.

    • http://thelampoonist-american.com David Baker

      Putin a Christian and is the enemy of Bolshevism….He is the true leader and advocate of a religious freedom, including the Russian Orthodox Church, The Rothchilds have assignerd a henchman Boris Berezovski, a Rothshild agent, in charge of overthrowing Putin didicated to removing Putin by any means..Ditto the the Obama Bolsheviks, they had Comrade Hillary in Vilnius ginning up opposition to Putin..Anti-Putin sentiments in Front Page Magazine is disconcerting

      • Rosine Ghawji

        iI agree with you… I have friends in the Russian Orthodox church et pas des moindre … and in the exiled russian nobility…. they all love Putin.I dont understand Front page either….. Putin is a real fighter against radical Islam.Fighting the opposition is a must when you deal with a bunch of lazy idiots trouble maker…. Soon the US are going to leanr the hardway too and understand that when you mix freedom and anarchy it can become explosive…..

        • reader

          Sorry to break the news for you, but your friends must be KGB, just like all the Russian Orthodox Church brass.

          • Rosine Ghawji

            no I dont think so….you can see KGB agents all over.

          • reader

            Yes, because the head of the Russian Orthodox Church is a documented KGB agent. Not hard to verify for those who really want to know history and – to some degree – the present.

          • tagalog

            The entire hierarchy of the Russian Orthodox Church were informers for the KGB from the time of Stalin onward. Kind of makes you wonder about the sanctity of the confessional, doesn't it? For written confirmation of the above claim, see "It Was a Long Time Ago, And It Never Happened Anyway" by David Satter.

      • reader

        Really? Berezovsky is Rotshchild's henchman, and Putin is anti-Bolshevik? And, if Obama Bolsheviks are against Putin, why is it that Putin's media is pushing Obama's reelection full speed ahead?

        • Ghostwriter

          Are some of these posters kidding? Putin is siding with Syria and Iran,two very autocratic countries. He may be a lot of things but a democrat ISN'T one of them.

          • crackerjack

            The US sides with Saudi Arabia, Katar, Kazachstan, Pakistan.

            Anyone who still falls for the US "Democracy" or "Human Rights" mantra should bear in mind that all hell broke loose when the Soviets entered Afghanistan to crush the Islamists during the 80's. The Olympics were boycotted and Russia declared a Empire of Evil and the Afghan Mudjihadeen declared freedom fighters and champions of religious self determination. Now, 3 decades on, the Us invasion is declared a freedom mission. Only fools fall for their own propaganda.

          • reader

            Brezhnev did not invade Afghanistan to "crush islamists",dufus. Islamists had been so marginal at the time that Brezhnev did not even know that they existed. The left just can't go by an inch without rewriting history, because their world does not work.

          • crackerjack

            Learn a little history reader. Start by checking out the Saur Revolution and then Afghan president Hafizullah Amin and his convergence towards Pakistan, Iran and the House of Saud.

            Of course the Afghan-Soviet war was a proxy war aimed at securing Soviet influence. But the fact that the USA was then arming and financing the Islamists it is now fighting against, goes to prove the fact that all this talk about human rights and democracy is dust in the wind. The Soviets invaded with the same ticket decades ago – Womens rights, schools for girls, modernisation, building of roads and religious freedom while the rebels carried green flag of Islam. Check out "Rambo III" and all will become clear. ;-)

            How about we all just stop pretending that world powers invade coutrys for any other reason than their own interests and that the plight of the invaded population is the last thing on their mind. It's quite simple really.

          • reader

            Bullcrap. I know what ticket the Soviets invaded on because I was watching all three channels of Brezhnev TV at exactly the time of the invasion. Brezhnev's subjects would not know womens rights from their soap rations, you ignorant drone following the KGB talking point, even though you don't know it. In addition to that, it was Carter and Bzezinsky who initiated the resitence arming, and most of the support went to the Masud's fighter, who weren't "islamists" by a long shot. Neither Taliban, not Al Qaida even existed at the time. Bin Laden inserted himself in there at some point, but nobody even knew who he was, really.

    • Fred Dawes

      Americans do not get it, you do so most will hate you for being right. Its normal in a world that is ran by stinking globalists monkeys. Thank you I for one do not want to be a good German and do not want to be the new jew in the camp system that this government is wants here. see Alex Jones for more info on the system death camps being build in front of us all. never Forget, its up to all good people to stop evil.

    • Glennd1

      Omigod, reading the responses here is, well, sobering… First off, let's actually try and take you seriously, just for a second to show where the disagreement is. You seem to believe that polls from a populace in a political system in which dissent is suppressed, including reporters and attorneys, some of whom have been killed by the regime holding power over that political system, that the results of those polls actually matter? Since opposition is actively exterminated by the many organs of the state, the very assumption that a legitimate political system exists in the first place has to be called into question.

      Today's Russia no longer has an independent judiciary or legislature, and all it's provincial governors are handpicked by Putin. Putin has total, autocratic control over the major institutions and organs of political power in Russia. So, prima facie, it is an illegitimate government. There are no 'checks and balances' left in the system and accordingly, Russians aren't really 'free' any longer in the way that we mean in a society based on classical liberal values. One in which dissenting speech is exalted, such as ours. Any and all voices get heard here – which is a different kind of problem, but one that comes along with free speech so it's well worth the trouble. James Madison claimed that revolution was the 'divine right of every human being', so the argument that criticizing leadership or the government gets one in trouble here in the U.S. as well is not worth starting.

      What you give up so glibly, under a guise of supposed practicality and 'realpolitik', is everything in the end. Do you wonder why an ethical, vibrant free market isn't arising in Russian society? A simple idea which shows why, one that so many supposedly smart people in the West don't even think about, is that of the amount of "trust" in societies drive wealth creation. Meaning, how safe do i feel about protecting my rights when encountering others and institutions in society? The higher the trust, the higher the economic growth and productivity gains. High trust societies facilitate much greater cooperation and collaboration than lower trust one's do. And guess what Russia is? The definition of a "low-trust" society.

      Russians love to view themselves as tough, practical and smart people, very worldly and grounded. However, on this issue of Putin they are giving in to their great weakness in the belief in "the strong man". Most westerners don't really understand how Stalin ruled for so long, after ridding his administration of many a good communist. It was because of his personality and exercise of personal power. He was a magnetic, dark and powerful man. I read a biography of him recently that was hair raising. He was so skilled in the use of power and manipulating public opinion, so coldly calculating and so willing to shed blood of friend and foe alike that it's really hard for anyone not living there to grasp it. And even after Stalin died, what was left is much better understood as Stalinism versus "communism".

      This has left an indelible mark on the Russian soul. Somehow, in its darkest recesses, it doesn't trust itself, the people of Russia are like abused children who've now taken as an adult a lover just as abusive as their father had been. It's like Russians look at themselves in the mirror, and then in large number conclude, ."well it would be crazy to try and let me run things. Better leave it up to the magic of the strong man, the "daddy-state" ". That is the only possible example. I mean, comments like this have to be explained somehow and we all have our pre-dilections, don't we?

  • SCREW SOCIALISM

    KGB Tzar Putin is back in the official seat of power, where he was all the time. Medvedev was a puppet controlled by Putin.

    Another FAKE Socialist "election", like the ones in Cuba, North Korea, Syria, Iran.

    • BIg Bird

      and Amerika

  • Silver Scumbag

    Putin should bring a crackdown on bad plastic surgeons. What happened to his face?

  • tagalog

    Tsar Putin I. President For Life. Restoring the autarchy and turning Russia's back on acknowledging the horrors of the Communist past. They even brought back the old Soviet National Anthem as the national anthem for Russia. Sheesh.

  • Rosine Ghawji

    The same riots took place in Paris after Hollande election. Occupy wall street is flourishing in the US. Each country has its opposition and is dealing differently with it. The fact is that Russia economy is growing, not perfect but growing. Putin is loved and not hated at all by most Russians.
    He chose to deal with the riots the right way . In France , the police cannot even assure the security of the people . In the Us,, the problem is growing , the liberals are taking over and the so called dear freedom starts looking more like anarchy just take a look at the corruption…… Putin is a christian, strong minded and dedicated. The communist and the lazy people will always open their mouth. Putin also is very aware of the islamic danger which is not the case in many other countries including the US.

    • Rifleman

      You can tell how "very aware of the islamic danger," putin is, by his cozy dealings with the mad mullahs and boy assad. Nice try, but putin is kgb.

      • Rosine Ghawji

        my . dear Rifleman

        How many times did you go to Syria? did you live overther for a while.Boy Hassad and his daddy were the n1 enemy of the muslim brotherhood… if they could catch a member they will get rid of them.. This is why all the good members flew out of the country and now are growing in the US under your freedom of religion. They are growing in silence with the blessing of your idiot legislators til the day they will be in suffisant number …… imagine the next step.

        • Rifleman

          I know enough about Syria to know that although boy assad is a better option than the muslim brotherhood (as I've said before here and elsewhere), he's still an anti-American tinhorn dictator, and I make fun of him like I did his tinhorn daddy. Having common enemies, and military liasons since the 80's doesn't mean I mistake him for a friend.

        • Rosine Ghawji
  • Stephen_Brady

    Ah, I see we have a number of Putin apologists, in this thread.

    If you live in Russia, I can well understand your "support" for Putin. It would be wise to support him, and unhealthy not to.

    As for Putin being a Christian, he's as much a Christian as Barack Obama is. Anyone can say that they are Christians. But Christ NEVER said, "Worship me." He said, "Follow me." To prarphrase Scripture, "By their deeds, you will know them." What can I say about Putin's deeds? This former KGB operative?

    He starts with a threat against NATO, and violence against his own people. "Nuff said …

  • Alex

    it "might" surprise you:

    Obama’s State Department is giving away seven strategic, resource-laden Alaskan islands to the Russians. Yes, to the Putin regime in the Kremlin.
    The seven endangered islands in the Arctic Ocean and Bering Sea include one the size of Rhode Island and Delaware combined. The Russians are also to get the tens of thousands of square miles of oil-rich seabeds surrounding the islands. The Department of Interior estimates billions of barrels of oil are at stake.
    The agreement was negotiated in total secrecy." From WDN

    • WilliamJamesWard

      It is impossible for anyone to give away any land that is part of the United States……….William

    • Rifleman

      That's why after hussein's love message to putin, open mike gaffe, the Senate shouldn't ratify anything else his administration negotiates, or confirm anybody else he appoints. It's good to bear in mind that hillary has to be in on this, if it wasn't her idea from the start.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Can we now start believing anything that comes out of Russia outside of emigres and the
    sad stories they have to tell of their desperation and depredations of the government. How
    about cities that have their heating fuels cut off in Winter if not following the Putin lines.
    Ask Russian Jews how well off they are, Oh! they excaped to Israel in the Aliyah except
    for a few poor souls that will starve or freeze without outside help. I teach my hamsters
    to say words, so far Putin sounds like Pukin…………………….William

  • Ghostwriter

    Looks like the Putin apologists have crawled out of the woodwork for this one. Most Russians see through Putin. He's just another dictator. Worse,he was a former KGB operative! I doubt that being in the KGB will mean that he'll respect human rights and the rule of law. This man is a thug. He's proven that time and again with his protection of Syria and Iran. I also doubt that the Russian people want another replay of the Cold War just so Putin can look tough on the world stage.

  • http://www.maghrebchristians.com Youssef

    One of Mohammed’s Muslim friends advised him to see the Coptic priest and ask him to pray. God used that priest to cast out all his demons, and he was healed. Another friend suggested he go on the pilgrimage to Mecca to prevent the demons from coming back in the future. While in Mecca, Mohammed dreamed every day about that Coptic priest, and he saw the cross everywhere he looked.

    Read more: http://www.maghrebchristians.com/2012/05/09/man-d

    Youssef

  • dartson

    I am not a Putin apologist, but this article is nothing but a wishful thinking. 20,000 protestors in Moscow – a city with 8 million residents – can hardly be counted as a real dissent. Moreover, most of these protestors vote either for communists or for fascists (although it is hard to tell the difference between the two in Russia). Let's be honest here – Russia is not going to be a democratic country (such as US or EU countries) in a foreseeble future. If Putin goes away, he will just be replaced by another fascist autocratic ruler. Like it or not, but Putin was chosen by the majority of Russians and is supported by them.

  • Fred Dawes

    See it for what it is.