Showing posts sorted by relevance for query President Putin. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query President Putin. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, September 10, 2012

Big Deals Made At ECONOMIC SUMMIT In Russia

Titling their news summary, For Putin, a Flight of Fancy at a Summit Meeting‘s CloseThe New York Times described President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, limping and in pain this weekend, but as the annual Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting wrapped on Sunday, in Vladivostok, the Russian leader showed trademark swagger by hitting back at political opponents who mocked his latest stunt, flying a motorized glider to help lead endangered cranes from Siberia migrating south.
Oh yeah? I bet if Michelle Obama flew that glider we couldn’t hear enough about how significant a journey that was for renewing the public’s involvement in what nature means, now that we’re so inundated by machines.
So the President of Russia has a photo-op helping nature. Fabulous, next he’ll grow a garden in the Kremlin, himself, or at least help during The Photo-Op. As with litter on beaches, or crap blowing in the wind through our parking lots, people have to even be coerced into cooperating with what’s good for them. So this means President Putin is signed up for whatever it takes to get and keep the earth’s atmosphere clean?
Hardly? As The Times states – Seizing on a question at his closing news conference, that may or may not have been planted by aides, Mr. Putin signaled that he was not bothered by jokes and ridicule, including assertions that some cranes, like some Russian voters, opted not to follow him. “Only the weak ones,” Mr. Putin said, after urging the audience to applaud the question, which was asked by a reporter from the tabloid, Komsomolskaya Pravda. “The weak ones didn’t follow me.”
Mr. Putin also made clear his little interest in working with the United States to encourage a political transition in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad’s government continues to cling to power with a violent crackdown on the rebels there.
There it is, isn’t it, Vladimir? No one has bid enough to compensate for Russia’s cooperation. And true, as the Russia’s President has spoken, it’s hard to guess which crew will end up ruling the neighborhood. All President Putin knows for sure is he’s not moving in.
The Times continues, painting President Putin’s picture of the crane episode as a parable about how his tight control and strong leadership keep Russia from descending into chaos.
The New York Times quotes President Putin, thus, “To be frank with you, not all of the cranes flew, and the leader, the pilot, has to be blamed because he was too fast in gaining speed and altitude and they were just lagging behind; they couldn’t catch up. But that is not the whole of the truth: simply during certain circumstances, when there is strong wind and bad weather, the pilot has to lift very speedily or otherwise the flying machine vehicle could overturn and capsize.”
The Times’ DAVID M. HERSZENHORN and STEVEN LEE MYERS maintain – It was a thinly veiled description of his view of himself as Russia’s paramount leader, and it echoed a speech he delivered to lawmakers just days before parliamentary elections in December, in which he urged them to unite behind him “so that the boat really does not turn over.”
Big deal. The Press can tabulate rhetoric. Swaggering President Putin is just playing. How could it matter that The Times can state – Accounts of widespread fraud in those elections led to big protests in Moscow last winter, when tens of thousands took to the streets, often chanting “Russia without Putin!” Because Mr. Putin still went on to easily win election to a third term as president, and, on Sunday, essentially mocked his mockers of his bird adventure, deriding them as out of the mainstream as odd ducks, perhaps, or dodos. “What else can be said? There are certain birds that don’t fly in flocks. They prefer to have their nests separately. But this is a different sort of problem. Even if they are not members of the flock they are members of our population, and they have to be treated very carefully to the extent possible.”
Pawns kept in their place? You’re kidding? Right, President Putin? Maybe? Because public relations is just a toy. Boisterous, public, political theater. A ceremonial backdrop to The Real World point of what Vladivostok was all about.
Even The Times concludes – The jabs at the opposition were bookended by more serious declarations of success about the, held for the first time in Russia, summit meeting. Mr. Putin used the event to underscore his country’s eagerness to sharply increase business and trade ties with the Far East. “We believe we have reached all the goals set for the APEC leaders’ week in Vladivostok,” he declared.
And – In a joint declaration, the leaders of the 21 members of the economic conference, which includes nations from the Asian Pacific and several North and South American countries that border the ocean, applauded efforts to address economic damage in Europe.
In the declaration, the leaders also said they would continue to promote free trade and combat protectionism, particularly in food exports. They announced a new agreement to reduce tariffs on a list of goods identified as beneficial to the environment, and they pledged to combat corruption and protect endangered wildlife.
Platitudes. Yet business moves forward, nonetheless. Numerous important deals were reached, including an accord signed by Japan and Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled natural gas monopoly. A station that will help increase Russian energy exports to Japan, which is in need of alternatives to its largely shuttered nuclear power industry.
The Times prints – Mr. Putin’s swagger could be seen in relations with the United States, too. Only days before the meeting, injecting himself into the American presidential campaign calling President Obama honest and rebuking Mitt Romney. But when it came to Syria and Iran, he rebuffed the Obama administration and its highest representative here, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. Mrs. Clinton met privately with Mr. Putin and sat next to him for 90 minutes at the closing dinner on Saturday night, chatting about wildlife and the Winter Olympics that Russia will host in 2014. But the two failed to bridge the gaps that divided them.
Really? Apart from reporters she grilled him on Olympic wildlife, or more probably spent the dinner exchanging goo-goo eyes with everyone attending they wanted to maintain influence with. For appearances sake, they could have talked about the Vail, Colorado ski season, so the entire room knew who remained the most powerful. As Mrs. Clinton said in Vladivostok before returning to the United States, “We haven’t seen eye to eye with Russia on Syria. That may continue.”
His move, President Putin’s power to decide, is what he’s not giving up.
According to The Times, Russia, along with China, has vetoed three United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Syria. But Mrs. Clinton had hoped Russia would show more flexibility as the violence has worsened. Instead, Russia’s foreign minister, Sergey V. Lavrov, publicly rebuked her on Syria, as well as on Iran.
“Our American partners have a prevailing tendency to threaten and increase pressure, adopt ever more sanctions against Syria and against Iran,” Mr. Lavrov said. “Russia is fundamentally against this, since for resolving problems you have to engage the countries you are having issues with and not isolate them.” While President Putin, in his news conference, called his discussions with Mrs. Clinton “useful” and said they concerned “primarily economic ties and certain political issues. We touched on hot spots in the Middle East, in Asia. It was a constructive, very businesslike conversation.” But, he added, “no special decisions” were made.
In his summary on Sunday, Mr. Putin expressed condolences to the Chinese, enduring a tragic earthquake, as well as to Ms. Gillard, the Australian prime minister, whose father died unexpectedly.
Mr. Putin also strongly defended the huge expenditures in Vladivostok that were undertaken in preparation for the economic summit meeting. Including money for three new bridges and an entire new campus for Far East Federal University. Two luxury hotels, a theater for opera and ballet and an aquarium are under construction.
Sometimes enterprise is government, right, Vladimir? Certainly economic compromises are made, but, between whom?
The Times prints that Mr. Putin said, “We will certainly continue developing and improving the living conditions in the Far East,” arguing the goal is to “tap the new opportunities that integration and partnership with our Asia-Pacific neighbors opens up.”
And this is what a third elected term is for President Putin? The highest public official in your country micro-manages international business?
The Times said Russia’s president was swaggering. So, without directly saying so, implied how now is the time to let the power trip go. No? What really requires the Russian President’s attention is how far, and well, trickle-down economics permeates your country. Address what is of real consequence, Vladimir. Your legacy is not just how much money Russia made, but what all your fellow Russians are left with today, and tomorrow.
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Even When Not News, President Putin Is The Story Every Day

The New York Times headline – For Putin, Report Says, State Perks Pile High, By ANDREW E. KRAMER, notes what everyone knows. Even the emperor’s old clothes are well paid for. MOSCOW — President Vladimir V. Putin is rumored to be among the world’s wealthiest men with an oil-fed fortune worth tens of billions of dollars he vehemently denies, but a report to be published Tuesday suggests the dispute may be beside the point.
President Vladimir V. Putin may be wealthy, but the trappings of his office are even richer, a Times caption accuses.
The report is sarcastically titled “The Life of a Galley Slave” after the president’s own description of his tenure in office. Russian opposition leaders describe what they call an extraordinary expansion of presidential perks during the 12 years since the start of Mr. Putin’s first term as president — palaces, a fleet of jets and droves of luxury cars. While one can agree with Vladimir, that’s a lot of jobs that don’t really involve that much of his time till his pampered life floats over whichever perk awaits his convenience.
So complaints over which President Putin doesn’t really have that much time to spend include, the 20 residences available to the Russian president such as Constantine Palace, a Czarist-era estate on the Gulf of Finland restored at the cost of tens of millions of dollars. A ski lodge in the Caucasus Mountains and a Gothic revival palace in the Moscow region. The president also has at his disposal 15 helicopters, 4 spacious yachts and 43 aircraft, including the main presidential jet, an Ilyushin whose interior is furnished with gold inlay by artisans from the city of Sergiyev Posad, an Airbus and a Dassault Falcon. The 43 aircraft alone are worth an estimated $1 billion, the report says. More jobs, more jobs, more jobs, what’s the beef? There’s less left for everyone else to show off with? Because that’s what happens. Kings replace kings. Is there really a way around that?
So The Times authors pin the prize, printing, – This, the authors note, “in a country where many people hardly make ends meet.”
Then The Times becomes more expansive concluding – The report is cast in the genre of the fashion sleuthing that recently revealed designer clothing on the wife of the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un. Cute couple, is it true The Times is egging the world’s elite into looking at themselves through the crosshairs and deciding how not to be a target anymore. Probably not, maybe.
The Times sates – The authors, Boris Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister who has been jailed a number of times on various pretexts, and Leonid Martynyuk, a member of the Solidarity movement, present enlarged photographs of the Russian leader’s wrist during meetings and public appearances, revealing a variety of expensive watches, 11 in all, worth $687,000 at retail — about six times Mr. Putin’s annual salary.
Remember when Mrs. Gorbachev was criticized for flamboyant displays of wealth? Maybe this time this could let ride in her memory, President Putin. I want you to keep all your toys.
The Times reporter, ANDREW E. KRAMER, writes, “His lifestyle,” the authors conclude, “can be compared to that of a Persian Gulf monarch or a flamboyant oligarch.” BUT – The report does not dwell on the question of Mr. Putin’s personal wealth, but suggests that it may not be as enormous as many have suggested. The reason he “maniacally clings to power,” the report says, is the “atmosphere of wealth and luxury he has become accustomed to, and categorically does not want to part with.”
They’re kidding? A President’s ego could lead into enlightened statesmanship, not guardianship over a kingdom’s keys. Yet, the odds Mr. Putin pulls every string is minimal. A lot more people than him are involved, and look how long it’s taken commercial America to get even this far toward everyone having a taste?
The Times prints – In response to a written query, the Kremlin’s press office said Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov, was on vacation and unable to respond to the substance of the report. Not enough bucks for a cell phone, huh? Really like the old days waiting for a grand statement intended to fool the world. It’s just money I hope finds a happy home in general circulation when Mr. Putin really gets down to spreading it around. So think where else would he have so many bodyguards to provide for and feed? The is no other position that warrants his time.
Geez. If this were Monopoly, the game would be over. Everyone could go home because we’re done. Vladimir won. Call me tomorrow if you’ve found another game where the point is you just get to win. Yes, Vladimir, you represent a team. A portion of successful Russian Society dedicated to never losing so you’ll never quit. But it’s time for your legacy to kick in, isn’t it? Unless you’re just a tool, not a real king?
In a response reported by Kommersant, however, Mr. Peskov said the residences, aircraft and cars were government property used lawfully by the president. An obviousness admission that leads to more subtly serious satire by The Times. – In fairness, Mr. Putin’s delight in the watches has not been entirely selfish, twice removing a wristwatch for a bystander. The recipients, a boy and a laborer, received Blancpain watches that Mr. Nemtsov estimated to cost more than $9,000 apiece. While John D. Rockefeller, the American tycoon/philanthropist, just gave away dimes to the kids and adults. Look how far things have gotten if Vladimir can give so much away? Or so completely tragic inflation appears to have done us in after all.
The Times continues to pick on the poor president, citing that – Mr. Putin has never apologized for, at the very least, enjoying the trappings of office. In 2008, the Russian Information Agency reported, Vladimir said, “I’m not ashamed before the citizens who voted for me twice. All these eight years I toiled like a galley slave, from morning until evening.”
Yeah, we’re all working hard on your side Mr. President. If not for that satisfaction at the end of a day for a job well done, a man in your position just wouldn’t know how to survive without access to all the known spiritual fulfillment the world has to offer. Yes, an incredible load Russian people want to help you carry.
But sadly this Opposition Photo-Op combined with this coverageRussian Activists Criticize 8-Year Drug Sentence in the same day Times, By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN, leans hard on the hope the new day in Russian social justice is dawning. So remember, when the points are all that’s left to count in your legacy, Mr. President, remember what Stalin is remembered for. Answering there was nothing he could about anything because it was someone else’s job. Scapegoat what your real problems are with democracy, then that’s where we are, no one willing to take the blame or they’ll lose their job. Which dude, Mr. President, you should be above now, not just claiming objectivity.
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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

World's Fashionable Rulers Should Look At Themselves To Understand What Facing Shame Doesn't Mean?

Russian President Vladimir Putin delivers annual
address to Russian Federal Assembly at the
Kremlin's St. George Hall on December 12, 2012.
(RIA Novosti / Alexey Kudenko)
Just the headline alone drew my attention. From RT, no less, this,  Russia needs a free market economy, rather than capitalism – Putin. Full of anticipation, having yet to read the article, had me wondering is it Christmas already or  Hanukkah, or possibly another of the great grand ceremonial religious days? Because if President Putin even mentioned anything close to that headline, he's written this satire for me. Again when the world is just tied in knots with nothing more to add, Vladimir comes to my rescue. Well, we'll see. 

Quoting RT's introduction - Russia needs to develop a free market economy based on industry and middle size business as the growth potential of a resource based economy is exhausted, President Vladimir Putin said. 

What commentators have advised for, easily, a few years. Yet this called for, supposedly new, financial tactic still pertains to how money fluctuates through the hands of those powerful enough to hold onto a sizable sum for any length of time. Not your average Russian citizen's situation one would want "a free market economy, rather than capitalism" to be about. But nonetheless, what next RT?

“The situation when the Russian budget depends on foreign financial and commodity markets is unacceptable,” Putin said during his annual address to the Federal Assembly. Most people can’t fulfill their potential and realize their talents under such conditions, he added. 

So there you go. Something most everyone should want to hear. The president can go home now. But oh dear, just RT's second paragraph.


“It’s important to return the country to a leading position in key industries and in middle business,” Putin stressed. He asked the government to prepare “road maps” for accelerated development of high-tech branches of the economy such as biotechnologies, rare earth metals, gene engineering, urban building and IT.

Oh come on. This is new news? President Putin has just been preaching this for quite a while. He's juggling orange apples and red oranges for gosh sakes. Oh sorry. He's the president who can't dirty his hands with the nuts and bolts big business currently has to manipulate their country with. Maybe RT should be ashamed for implying anything is different? Next RT? 

A number - The measures are crucial for the Russian economy to achieve a 6% growth target, according to President Putin.

Ignoring the hustlers in the street as any self-respecting in-the-pocket of big-business American politician would. Huh? 


RT - Putin also asked the government to draft proposals on scaling down the role of offshore companies in the Russian economy to fight capital outflow. "We need a whole system of measures to 'de-offshore' the economy. And I'm asking the government to submit a set of proposals on this," he said.

Great. No more loose ends with foreign capitalists keeping their own money while trying to save their own skins from the clutches of the country's true ruthless entrepreneurs who are really in charge of the country's significant sums. The conspiracies of little Donald Trumps running around under the protection of hired guns. The shame is below the veneer of well-dressed capitalism is the ruthlessness hasn't changed and neither will it by labeling the country a free market economy.

And the president is summed up by RT as calling for more efficient taxation of the rich. While I suggest leaving the rich alone. They have the power to make up for what's taken from them, that then comes down on all our heads in the form of rampant inflation that the eggheads who should be smart enough to fix, can't, because they have no incentive to help.  Because big money is made surfing inflation while the rest of us are caught up in the undertow and President Putin among all the world's leaders refuse to get their feet wet. No?
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The New York Times' John Tierney report on harsh Criminal Enterprise System sentencing. For Lesser Crimes, Rethinking Life Behind Bars

Wikipedia - While historically crime and punishment intensities have often been poorly correlated, the scale and lack of balance of the present USA criminal justice activity and penal system have turned it, according to Alexander, into a system of social control unparalleled in world history. Its targets can be defined largely by race. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Noted Stalin Biographer Runs Down Historical Parallels To Journalist Masha Gessen’s Phone Call From President Putin

Under The New York Times headline, Please Hold for Mr. Putin,SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE adds some historical perspective to a recent firing over editorial integrity.

First, what’s funny on initial glance is Ms. Gessen’s phone is tapped and intermittently shut off, and President Putin dials her up through a secretary as if shooting the breeze with a critic is routine. Keep this cool. After all America spent decades fighting corruption and, in the end, it’s the legal varieties that stab our best intentions in the back anyway. And yes, I hardly believe myself either. But certainly centuries of experience have proven the only solution is the evolution of the criminal class, when it no longer pays to deceive.
So the American/Russian journalist, MASHA GESSEN, fairly-objectively recounts in Flying Putin, Fired Editor her recent firing for refusing to send a reporter to cover President Vladimir V. Putin’s hang-glider flight. Then Mr. Montefiore writes – Last week she received an unexpected phone call. She said, “My phone rang. … I listened to silence for two minutes.” Finally: “Don’t hang up. I will connect you.” Frustrated, Ms. Gessen shouted: “Do you want to introduce yourself?” A famous voice replied: “Putin, Vladimir Vladimirovich. I heard you were fired and that I unwittingly served as the reason for it.” He invited her to meet.
Ms. Gessen was flummoxed: “But how do I know this is not a prank?”
Mr. Montefiore speculates – Educated Russians would have spotted similarities between this call and earlier Olympian interventions into the lives of writers by Romanov and Communist autocrats, illuminating rituals of Russian leadership and the relationship between power and art. This tradition flatters the writer in a culture where literature has special prestige. But the surprise also promotes the cult of the unpredictable czar who moves, like God, in mysterious ways.
And Mr. Montefiore continues – Eighty-two years ago, Mikhail Bulgakov, novelist and playwright, had been fired from Soviet theaters, his works banned, when his phone rang: “Comrade Bulgakov? … Please hold. Comrade Stalinwill speak to you.” Then the famous voice began, “I apologize … we shall try to do something for you.” Afterward Bulgakov phoned the Kremlin: was it a prank? It was Stalin. Soon, the theater employed Bulgakov again. Unpublished nor produced but allowed to live.
In May 1934, the poet Osip Mandelstam was arrested for a poem mocking Stalin. His fellow poetBoris Pasternak tried to help. His phone rang. Stalin: “Mandelstam’s case is being reviewed. Everything will be all right. … He’s a genius, isn’t he?” Pasternak: “But that’s not the point.” He said he wanted to talk “about life and death.” Stalin rang off. Pasternak phoned the Kremlin, asking Stalin’s secretary if he could tell others about the conversation. Yes, he could.
Tidbits in lieu of the freedom to tell Stalin to ____ himself. Come on President Putin, don’t let your legacy be a part of his.
Mr. Montefiore is not done despite a newspaper’s limited space. – March 1949:the composer Dmitri Shostakovich refused to represent the U.S.S.R. abroad. Stalin rang: Shostakovich said he wouldn’t join a Soviet delegation when no Soviet orchestra performed his work. Stalin: “Why don’t they play it?” It was banned by censors. Stalin: “We didn’t give such an order. I’ll have to correct the comrades.”
Always someone else responsible for the mistakes, right Vladimir, sir?
Mr. Montefiore goes – Even further back, 1826: Nicholas I, after crushing theDecembrist rebels, invited their exiled supporter, the poet Aleksander Pushkin, in for a chat. The czar appointed himself Pushkin’s censor and declared, “Today I had a conversation with the cleverest man in Russia.” Pushkin told everyone about Nicholas’s charm.
Stalin was channeling Nicholas; Putin channeled both. Nicholas I has been called “Genghis Khan with a telegraph.” Stalin was “Genghis Khan with a telephone.” But Mr. Putin is not Genghis Khan with a BlackBerry. Those Russias were dominated by the missions of Orthodox czardom and homicidal totalitarian Marxist-Leninism; today’s Russia is authoritarian but still freer.
Mr. Montefiore, now is that freer when government indiscriminately leaves you alone? Or free from government on your back? Freer than years past, no doubt, but the deterioration of something that wasn’t quite established is obviously frustrating to people who’ve been treated asproles for too long.
Mr. Montefiore describes Stalin – Physically awkward, with one shorter arm, once a published poet, was half murderous tyrant, half intellectual, always reading. He was fascinated by literary genius: half of his huge library is said to sit in the president’s Kremlin office. Mr. Putin’s interest seems more utilitarian. He prefers Tarzanian displays of bare-chested, tiger-whispering environmentalism. But he still may have learned something from those books.
And evidently Mr. Montefiore is trying encourage President Putin. – Russian writers enjoy almost sacred status. Mandelstam reflected that poetry was so respected in Russia, “people are killed for it.” He perished in the gulag. Under Stalin, artists weren’t dissidents; all they hoped was to survive and write. Today’s Russia is still worryingly unsafe: journalists have been assassinated, oppositionists beaten, the punk protesters Pussy Riotimprisoned. So Ms. Gessen showed courage at her presidential encounter: when offered her job back, she refused to be a “Kremlin appointee.” Ms. Gessen gave a full accounting of the call and meeting in a blog post forThe International Herald Tribune, The Times global edition.
So Mr. Montefiore asks – why, really, do these czars make the call? The outcome of the conversation is irrelevant. (In Ms. Gessen’s telling, faced with an issue, Putin blew her off in person.) The point isn’t the call itself but the myth of the call, spreading like ripples in the pond of the intelligentsia. (That’s why Stalin’s secretary told Pasternak he could recount the story.) It showed the president had heard of Ms. Gessen’s plight and reached down, with imperial magnanimity, to a hostile writer to correct an injustice. He was also able to prove that though he may have been mocked for his adventures — when it emerged that a tiger he “captured” was from a zoo and that ancient amphorae he “discovered” on a dive were planted — he was not deceived. “There are excesses,” he admitted jovially, but only in the cause of saving nature. His candor, thus reported by Ms. Gessen, disarmed ridicule. The good czar showed he despised the preposterous sycophancy of his pettifogging officials just like ordinary Russians did. He saw all. He knew.
Today’s oppositionists are bloggers, not poets, but an autocrat of the Internet age still paid a compliment to the old-fashioned written word. As Bulgakov wrote, “Manuscripts don’t burn.”
Words alone can shine, that can’t be decreed.
SIMON SEBAG MONTEFIORE is the author of Stalin: The Court of the Red Tsar and Jerusalem: The Biography.
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Thursday, November 8, 2012

President Putin Fires Crony's Former-ish Son-In-Law For Hand In Public Cookie Jar?





It is asoap opera rivaling America's in friends and acquaintances climbing each others' ladders into the higher echelons of government, as The New York Times prints  — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia fired his powerful defense minister on Tuesday after the police raided the property of a real estate company involved in the privatization of valuable ministry land near Moscow. The firing of Anatoly E. Serdyukov, a longtime Putin ally, is one of the highest-level dismissals tied to a corruption case in recent memory in Russia. A rare move by Mr. Putin, who has been reluctant to dismiss members of his inner circle.
Anatoly E. Serdyukov

Nice lead-in, but surface poppycock as the article goes on to explain. -  Mr. Putin appointed another longtime political ally, Sergei K. Shoigu, the former Minister of Emergency Situations, as the country’s new defense minister. But - Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitri S. Peskov said the firing was necessary to allow the police to continue their investigation of wrongdoing in the Defense Ministry, which he said would not be possible if Mr. Serdyukov remained. Even as Mr. Putin forced Mr. Serdyukov out, he praised the minister’s past work.

         Dmitry Peskov

What politician doesn't praise? 

According to The Times - Many ministers in the Russian government have secondary roles in business and extensive property and wealth that is typically tolerated unless they fall from favor for another reason, analysts of Russian politics say.

Given time their tarnished reputations should be as glossily corroded as any American influence peddler, no?

Karl Rove

Maria Lipman, a researcher at the Carnegie Moscow Center, said in an interview, “In Russia, where what matters first and foremost are informal deals and relations, we should be looking for some kind of intrigue behind this all, some kind of a clash of very important interests.” Uh huh.
Gazprom Building, St. Petersburg
Of course - Such moves - convenient for guess you who - won Mr. Serdyukov no friends within the officer corps, which he once derisively referred to as a group of “little green men.” Officers, in turn, took to calling him “General Stool,” in reference to the years he managed the 
Mebel-Market furniture shop, from 1985 until 2000, in St. Petersburg.
The Times continues - Ms. Lipman said that corruption cases are sometimes opened as a way of settling scores and that “in an environment as corrupt as Russia, almost anyone can fall victim.”

So The Times states - Why Mr. Serdyukov was removed from office is unclear. But then The Times goes on to explain. - The Russian news media have suggested that there might have been a clash of a personal nature between Mr. Serdyukov and his father-in-law, a close associate of Mr. Putin, or a conflict with military generals. And give details for something described as "unclear."

As follows, according to The Times. - Since his appointment in 2007, Mr. Serdyukov, a former furniture store manager, alienated the uniformed military through changes that thinned the top-heavy officer ranks. It was a policy to alter the “egg-shaped” hierarchy of the Russian Army into a pyramid form. He - fired or forced into early retirement 40,000 officers since 2008 and reduced the number of active-duty generals and admirals by almost half, from 1,107 four years ago to 610 today.



Next what The Times cites is worded almost as if the firing was political debt repayment for the president's re-election. So it's not that President Putin is all-powerful but blows-in-the-wind to vested interests? 

Again, according to The Times - Russia’s defense industry was a crucial base of support for Mr. Putin in the presidential election he won in March. As part of the campaign, Mr. Putin pledged major increases in military spending, promises that have been cast into uncertainty in budget negotiations.
Viktor Zubkov & Tatyana Golikova 

Power's squeaky wheels get the grease!

So, prints The Times - Now that the painful cuts are behind him, Mr. Putin wanted to distance himself from them by summarily firing the unpopular Mr. Serdyukov, thus appeasing the officers, suggested Ruslan Pukhov, director of Center for the Analysis of Strategy and Technologies, a Russian research group.
A lot of explanation for what The Times began describing as - "unclear."

Because there's more. - Mr. Serdyukov had also reportedly fallen out with his, close associate of Mr. Putin, father-in-law,  other analysts said. In this light, the firing of Mr. Serdyukov, who had overseen the nuclear arsenal, raised the prospect of potentially destabilizing family disagreements within the tight ruling elite in Russia, where nepotism is tolerated. 


Since American political staffs are so known to be intolerably free of unnecessary nepotism? 

Mr. Serdyukov was married to Yulia V. Pokhlebenina, the daughter of Viktor A. Zubkov, a former prime minister and chairman of, the natural gas company, Gazprom. A post in Russia with power at least rivaling that of minister of defense. Mr. Zubkov first worked as an aide to Mr. Putin in 1992, in the St. Petersburg mayor’s office, where Mr. Putin was a vice mayor.
Sounds as if the former defense minister knew the gig was up and had nowhere to run.
Aleksei Navalny & billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov
States the Times - But the couple had recently become estranged, some commentators said. Such as what Aleksei A. Navalny, an anticorruption activist and opposition leader, wrote in an online posting. “In the understanding of our leaders, betraying the family is a crime more dangerous than theft or murder. That is why today the son-in-law stopped being the minister of defense. Or, more accurately, the son-in-law stopped being the son-in-law, and so we need a new minister.”


So the soapy opera. - The authorities searched the home of a female director, Yevgenia N. Vasilyeva, a former subordinate to Mr. Serdyukov at the ministry. Though it a pre-dawn raid, they found Mr. Serdyukov at the home, LifeNews, an online publication that often receives exclusive news from the security services, reported. RBK newspaper reported the minister met investigators in slippers and a bathrobe. The police reportedly led Ms. Vasilyeva out in handcuffs and confiscated her jewelry and other valuables.

That'll teach them to what? Acquire, but be beholden to the powerful. God, there's so much further for Russia to go to even begin to depend on the rule-of-law for protection of individual rights. That's a president's job. Vladimir? It's Stalinesque to let the services carry out the dirty deeds as if they're out of the leader's hands. 


Vladimir Ryzhkov
As Vladimir A. Ryzhkov, an opposition politician, said, “This is a personal matter.” Describing the affair as evidence of the “clannish, byzantine and deeply personal” nature of the relationships among the high-placed officials around Mr. Putin who have led Russia for over a decade.

Alexei Venediktov
And, most likely, guaranteeing other voices remain under watchful eyes, Aleksei A. Venediktov, editor of Ekho Moskvy radio station, noted in a commentary over the weekend that under Russian nuclear deterrence policy the defense minister is entrusted, like the president, with the so-called nuclear suitcase of launch codes and communication equipment needed to order a nuclear strike. As such, he is also under round-the-clock guard. So - Only an order from Mr. Putin or his chief of staff, Sergei Ivanov, could compel the guard detail for the launch codes to stand aside, allowing criminal investigators to enter the apartment in Moscow where the defense minister and Ms. Vasilyeva were located. 

"It was a demonstrative humiliation," Mr. Venediktov said.


And so transparent.


Come on, Mr. President. Aren't there egalitarian moves to make? 


Andrew Roth contributed reporting to The New York Times article written By Andrew E. Kramer
SOAPBOX VIEWC@ST 
 November 8, 2012
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