Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Putin's little circle of comrades

Here is an excellent documentary entitled "Murder by Numbers in Putinland" that delves deeply into the Russia that is currently being run by Vladimir Putin and his KGB buddies. As Georgia smolders in the aftermath of the brutal Russian invasion and the scope of the violence is unveiled in the coming days and weeks, it is important to see just who these people are—people like Putin, his hand-picked successor Medvedev, and other, more shadowy figures. One might wonder if Medvedev, the current Russian President, is spending more time in his office feeding his fish while self-appointed Prime Minister Putin runs things. The violence in Georgia is only the latest in a disturbing chain of events that can be traced back to the Kremlin.

How nice it was that this violence (the Georgia fighting) started on the opening day of the Olympics, as if the event was not overshadowed enough by China’s repressive actions in Tibet and the emerging threat of ethnic separatists targeting the games.

This documentary was released on youtube just days before Russia decided to flex its military power in the world stage against its tiny southern neighbor, and primarily deals with the assassinations of high level Putin critics, including ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvenenko and journalist Ana Politkovskaya. Unfortunately, people have a tendency to die when they speak out against Putin and his close circle. The killings that took place in 2006, along with Russia’s attack on Georgia, its support for the most despotic regimes (such as Zimbabwe’s Mugabe and Khamenei’s Iran), and its belligerent, Cold-War style actions are plenty of reason to put the west on edge. When Russia threatens to respond to the missile defense plan the US and NATO are trying to put forth in Eastern Europe, should we take them a lot more seriously?

The documentary has five parts to it and can be viewed here, for those of you who would like to see more.

Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5

*More News*

It's about time we show some support for our allies outside of a few "strongly worded statements"...

From Al-Jazeera English:

US military to take aid to Georgia

George Bush, the United States president, has said he is sending US military aircraft and naval forces with humanitarian supplies to Georgia.

Speaking from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington on Wednesday, Bush said: "Russia must keep its word and act to end this crisis."

He said: "The United States of America stands with the democratically- elected government of Georgia, [and] insists that the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Georgia be respected."

He also said he was sending Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, to Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, to show his support for the Georgian government.

Flanked by Rice and Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, Bush warned Moscow against breaking its pledge to halt its military action and announced that a US humanitarian aid flight was already on its way to Georgia.

'Unwavering support'

He said he had spoken to Nicolas Sarkozy, the French president, and Mikheil Saakashvili, the Georgian president, amid a peace push by Paris, which holds the rotating European Union presidency.

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