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Thursday, April 21, 2005

Moscow rebuffs U.S. sermon on democracy

This is from The Hindu, India's National Newspaper. I think the leftists are hard at work in India.
MOSCOW: Moscow has rebuffed Washington's attempts to preach Russia on democracy, foreign policy and nuclear security.

The visiting U.S. Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice, was told in Moscow that Russia was just as concerned about democracy in the U.S. as Washington was concerned about democracy in Russia.

"Just as the U.S. wants to see a strong and democratic Russia, we want to see a strong and democratic U.S. that acts in the international arena jointly with other states and with respect for international law," said the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, after talks with Dr. Rice. He was commenting on Dr. Rice's interview to a Russian radio where she said U.S.-Russian relations would be better if Russia had more democracy.
More detail on what the above article was actually going on about World will be watching Yukos ruling
Condoleezza Rice, US secretary of state, said the world would be watching the outcome of the trial of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, founder of the Yukos oil company, "to see what the Yukos case says about the rule of law in Russia".

Her comments were made in an interview with Ekho Moskvy, the independent Moscow radio station, hours before she met President Vladimir Putin during a visit to the Russian capital.

Mr Khodorkovsky and his business partner Platon Lebedev face up to 10 years in jail if found guilty of fraud and tax evasion in a judgment expected next week. The attack on Mr Khodorkovsky and Yukos, hit with a $28bn (€21bn, £14.5bn) back-tax bill, has contributed to slowing in-vestment growth in Russia.

Ms Rice stopped short of criticising the action by the Russian authorities, widely seen in Russia as punishment for Mr Khodorkovsky's attempts to use his wealth to gain political influence. But her remarks were among the few occasions that a senior international politician has commented directly on the case. "It did raise concerns about what was going on in terms of the courts and the rule of law," Ms Rice said. "And we and investors and the rest of the international community will hope that it is a process that inspires confidence that the rule of law obtains in Russia."

Ms Rice repeated concerns she had expressed to reporters during her flight to Moscow over the concentration of power in the hands of Mr Putin. But she insisted the US-Russia relationship remained a positive one, describing Russia as a "strategic partner".

Asked if Russia could experience an "orange revolution" - a reference to the popular uprising that brought Viktor Yushchenko to power in neighbouring Ukraine - Ms Rice said Russia was a country that had "the possibility of developing democratic processes and institutions in which people can express their aspirations and their views".
UPDATE 10:15 pm: Aha! There's more to this than meets the eye.

U.S. Congressmen: Russia should admit occupation
RIGA - U.S. Congressmen put forth a strongly worded resolution on April 12, calling on Russia to admit that the Soviet Union had illegally occupied the Baltic states in 1940 until the fall of communism in 1991.

The resolution, which has yet to be voted on by the House of Representatives, was greeted with cheers by Baltic supporters and blasted by Russian politicians. The memorandum was timed purposefully – nearly a month before the 60th anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe and U.S. President George W. Bush’s visit to Moscow.

Posted by Lucia Maria | 4/21/2005 06:35:00 pm


Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

I must say, that America is not the bastion of Democracy that it used to be. It gives lipservice to democracy, but following Sept 11, even their own citizens are suffering from losses of personal privacy, increased surveillance and other similar occurances. The US has seen a drop in overseas students studying in the states because of hassles with visas. I actually laugh when I hear Americans claim how 'free' they are, I think New Zealand and a number of European countries are relatively more free than the US. So when countries like Russia come out and question their committment to democracy - at some levels they are correct. But with all my ranting aside, it does reek of the pot calling the kettle black. Regards Bernard.

4/21/2005 08:10:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Bernard, I always thought democracy was the ability to choose leaders freely. Loss of privacy and increased surveillance is kinda a different issue?

4/21/2005 09:10:00 pm  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

True, but political democracy stems from having personal freedom and rights. If broader freedoms and rights are now being curtailed in the US, can one expect political freedoms to also be curtailed? Here's a good example. Democracies should have open laws. The USA is now enacting secret laws, and even court cases brought by citizens have not yet been able to reveal the secret laws. In this case it is the TSA. Check out this site as to how this came about. So, I certainly believe that the right to privacy etc is related to democracy, and why I would also suggest that we are a more democratic nation that the United States. We are just not as able to take democracy to other countries like the US does :)

4/21/2005 11:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You are absolutely correct Bernard. Homeland Security, Patriot Acts I & II, Total Information Awareness, Electronic Voting. The effects of those developments on the constitutional freedoms that existed prior to 911 are highly significant. If anyone really wants to understand what is around the world in terms of US foreign policy, a good understanding of those dynamics are crucial background reading. Sadly however, many people have missed it or blythly imagine that "this is America", there's "nothing to see here folks". I personally think that is incredibly naive of them - the writing is on the wall in flaming letters 10 feet high and has been for years. And if they want to see if I'm correct or not, they wouldn't take my word for it, so I suggest that they themselves conduct their own investigation into the realities of the effects of all those aforementioned things on the constitutional freedoms of the US citizen.

And regarding the US-Russia thing, there are a number of very interesting questions.

(1) In terms of Putin and the oligarchs, I think one of the answers to this question lies in finding out who funded the oligarchs originally. Anyone know? I have a theory and his name is Jacob Rothschild. Khororkovsky's shares were passed to him under a secret deal when K became unable to exercise control.


Here's a background article on the oligarchs. http://www.counterpunch.org/weir02172005.html
[BTW, people sometimes criticise articles simply cause they come from lefty sources. Acknowledged, Counterpunch is just that, but who cares, if the facts are there?]

(2) Of course I have no idea but logically the CIA looks to be behind the Ukraine revolution, and that's dynamite. The Ukraine is Russia's backyard. If the US is taking on Russia there, a whole lot of issues are going to come up.

Sorry for length.


4/21/2005 11:06:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Ok, Bernard, I'm going to admit now that I'm out of my depth on this one... but, here goes:

The USA as far as I know is not a democracy, but a republic. Which is different.

The secret laws etc, used to really freak me out about the US, except for a number of "signs" about what they are up to that is really starting to make sense. Sorry if this makes no sense to you.

Which gets me to Reid, if the US is going after Russia ... about freakin' time!

4/21/2005 11:20:00 pm  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Lucyna, well I'm getting out of my depth too but learning stuff :) I don't believe that democracy and republic are mutually exclusive. Democracies tend to have a number of different characteristics - many of them certain freedoms. Democracies then have different models of governance, of which republics and parliaments are some. Democracies seem to be more about ideals and freedom, whilst the detail of how its done is what varies more from country to country. I've just spent a bit of time reading through some snippets from Wikipedia on politics and the answer is far from clear as there are many different definitions and applications. I believe therefore that the US is a democracy, and their form of democracy is a republic/federal republic, whilst New Zealand follows a parliamentary system, but is also a democratic country. Its just our application of democracy that differs - but we all have the same/similar characteristics as outlined in the democracy link earlier this post.

4/22/2005 01:02:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if you guys are interested in following up on the previous post but rather than summarise what's happening with the Orange revolution and why it's not a good thing and why it's not (contrary to most beliefs) about democracy, read these articles.

http://xymphora.blogspot.com/2004/12/ukrainian-choice.html - explains issue in context, you should if interested in the subject follow up most links they are all informative, the Grand Chessboard link is especially intersting for those who aren't aware that Ukraine is one of the geopolitical pivot states and what that means.

http://www.rense.com/general62/iuk.htm and http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=2761 - Gives background to some senior appointments

http://www.rense.com/general61/putwa.htm - good summary of the issues, this is a long page with several issues, start reading half way down, from... THE ARRANGED ORANGE REVOLUTION

http://www.thetruthseeker.co.uk/article.asp?ID=2517 - "Ukraine has been turned into a geostrategic matter not by Moscow but by the US, which refuses to abandon its cold war policy of encircling Russia and seeking to pull every former Soviet republic to its side."

Whether or not you buy any particular facet of the arguments, this is the best explanation so far as to what's happening in the region itself. Anyone who imagines it's about exporting democracy to the world is just naive.

Again sorry for length but complex subject


4/22/2005 09:42:00 am  
Blogger Bernard Woolley said...

Crossing Borders: The Stark Differences between the US and Canada - Not so much interested in the marijuana issue, but the difference in treatment at the border is amazing - in a very sad way. I will very seriously think about not returning to the United States. Things are getting so heavy-handed there, and it is eating away at so many personal freedoms - the heart of democracy.

4/22/2005 04:39:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Reid, this bit really nails this point of view as Russio-centric :

Ukraine has been turned into a geostrategic matter not by Moscow but by the US, which refuses to abandon its cold war policy of encircling Russia and seeking to pull every former Soviet republic to its side. The EU should have none of this. Many Ukrainians certainly want a more democratic system. Putin is not inherently against this, however authoritarian he is in his own country. What concerns him is instability, the threat of anti-Russian regimes on his borders, and American mischief.

Reid do you know the Polish/USSR/Allied history of WW2? That might be the missing link for you. I'm really starting to think that the US is now doing what it should have done 65 years ago.

4/22/2005 05:29:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Bernard, are you American?

Have a look at Germany, they have a democratic system, but just about no privacy. Everyone is kept track of to the nth degree.

I agree that America does appear to becoming more heavy handed, yet, there is a bigger context here.

4/22/2005 05:32:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes Lucyna I know it very well having made WWII one of my lifelong study hobbies (as has I believe Adolf), however I'm not sure why that's germane.


4/22/2005 06:09:00 pm  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Hey Reid - you might want to get yourself a Blogger login (you don't need to create a blog) just in case we ditch anonymous comments. Not likely, but you never know.

4/22/2005 06:30:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Ok, Reid. Let's see how much you know.

When the Polish Second Corps, after fighting in Italy, was repatriated to Britain after WW2, were the soldiers told to keep their experiences in Soviet Russia secret : true or false?

Why were the Polish Armed Forces not allowed to march in the Victory in London in 1945 when the war ended?

When did the Polish Government in Exile officially hand over power to the rightful Polish Goverment?

4/22/2005 06:51:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Oops, question 2 was:

Why were the Polish Armed Forces not allowed to march in the Victory Parade in London in 1945 when the war ended?

4/22/2005 06:51:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

OK Lucyna I'll answer those questions but I'd like to say there are about a zillion facts in WWII and knowledge or not of any of them proves nothing either way. I'm haven't been a uni student for 20 years and these sound like test questions. It's knowledge of trends, effects and esoteric issues, that to me, establishes understanding of a subject.

(1) I have no idea, but interested in knowing why.

(2) I have no idea but wonder if perhaps it was because the Poles were screwed by Churchill Stalin and Rossevelt at Yalta.

(3) Depends on who you define as the rightful govt.

Now I don't care if I got 3 or 0, I could have looked it up on Google if I did care, but don't see what this proves. Can I ask you one?

Why did Hitler stop his tanks in France '41 thus allowing Dunkirk evac to occur and losing him the war?

See I don't pay much attention to dates. They mean nothing to me in the wider dynamic. Those sorts of questions above however, they to me are where the real guts of history are because those types of questions expand understanding of the drivers behind great events.


4/22/2005 07:10:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Reid, you did say that "I know it very well having made WWII one of my lifelong study hobbies" in answer to my question of "do you know the Polish/USSR/Allied history of WW2?"

If I'm correct (this is a big if, but I'm starting to think I am) and you don't know that specific history in detail, you won't understand what is happening now.

Here are the answers:
1. True, they had to keep quiet about their experiences.

2. The Polish Army outside of Poland was seen as an illegal army by the Soviet Union, so even though it was instrumental in the allied victory, it was not allowed to be part of that victory.

3. 1990, another significant date. The legal Polish Government operated outside of Poland from 1939-1989. WW2 ended for Poland in 1989.

You're right, there many, many facts that can be known about WW2. Some are incredibly significant, though. The questions I asked were to determine if you were aware of some of them. If you don't know the history I'm talking about, you won't know what to look out for and what to ignore.

BTW, the Poles were screwed from the moment the Soviets invaded in 1939, 16 days after Hilter.

Here's a part of that history A Voyage Into the Soviet Memory Hole

4/22/2005 08:06:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's fine Lucyan I'm not in any way bothered by what you may imagine my knowledge of WWII to be but I'm not at all sure what connections you're drawing here.

Can you please spell it out?


4/22/2005 08:37:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Reid, I think they are dealing to the Russian/Soviet threat once and for all, a threat that can only be understood by looking at the history I referred to.

I can't condense it down, there's too much. An Army in Exile by General Wladislaw Anders written in 1949 goes into a lot of it. A Question of Honor by Lynne Olson and Stanley Cloud goes into more.

4/22/2005 09:14:00 pm  
Blogger reid said...

OK Lucyna I finally read the only link I could find on all your posts, the memory hole, and I still have no idea what you are trying to allege here.

Who cares about Katyn? Everyone knows, always knew it was the Soviets. What's your point re: this fact?

I have to say I found the article disappointing, when writers start using anthropomorphism to describe nations, it says nothing. IMO, nations have interests, period. They aren't immature, angry, sad, or anything else.

Maybe I'm just being a bit obtuse here Lucyna, but not on purpose. Are you focusing merely on that part of your original post regarding that April 12 resolution? If so, agreed, but all of my posts have been about the other parts, not that one. Have you read them BTW?

4/25/2005 10:07:00 am  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Reid, I read all your Ukraine related links, if that is what you mean.

The Soviet Memory hole was an example of what I'm talking about. I'm not trying to be obtuse on purpose, it's just that it's difficult to explain and have the significance understood. I will probably try to explain it over time, but it will take many posts and many examples.

4/25/2005 01:49:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

Oh, and the Katyn Massacre was incredibly significant. It should have cause an immediate split in alliance between the Soviets and Western allies, and yet it didn't. If it had been 4,000 British officers and intellectuals, I bet it would have. It is now known that the order was given to execute 25,000.

The way Russia is acting now, not releasing further documents, not acknowledging and apologising and not making reparations says alot as well.

Have you read any of my Russia related posts? There's one where they can't understand why the Baltic states don't rejoice with Russia over the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, and instead want Russias occupation of their countries declared as illegal.

4/25/2005 01:55:00 pm  
Blogger reid said...

Yeh I read your posts, but I don't really think that WW II and Cold War incidents are having a significant influence on the events of today, but maybe I'm wrong. I haven't noticed it, put it that way.

Re: Katyn, there are so many things like this that happen in war all nations do it and rights or wrongs don't come into it. Wartime alliances of the importance of the UK-Soviet one are certainly not threatened by such incidents at Katyn given the pragmatism that necessarily must prevail because of the situation.

Even when the Nazi's tried to make the truth known the Britsh propogandists spun it, as they had to, since they could not threaten that vital alliance.

I'm certainly open to the possibility of Polish influence but currently I see much more of the CIA in this whole region than Poland and as my links pointed out that means a great big bowl of trouble.

4/25/2005 03:18:00 pm  
Blogger Lucyna said...

No, no, it's not so much Poland in this, it's more that the US now appears to totally understands the malignant monster that is Russia. I wouldn't be surprised if there is trouble brewing.

Russia at it's heart is a bully. Bullies don't act unless they know they can win. They talk big, but really they're just cowards underneath. They'll talk it up, but if they haven't acted yet, they are unable to.

4/25/2005 04:21:00 pm  
Blogger reid said...

Right but how well do you know Russian history? You are probably aware of the cold war argument that all of the Russian actions were a result of forming defensive lines about themselves. That's what the USSR was all about, Russia surrounded herself with buffer states because she felt threatened.

Now whether that's true or not is another question, but if you know Russian history, it's an understandable view, held since the days of Muscovy.

My point is I'm not saying you're not correct re: the bully behaviours (e.g. look at Chechnya) but I'm not sure that it's the only dynamic operating. Also, I don't think it's the case that everything the US is doing is good, and everything Russia is doing is bad. How would the US react to an equivalent degree of Russian interference in Cuba and Mexico? Not well I imagine, and Russia is already doing it with the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) alliance. What goes around, comes around.

Interesting thread Lucyna, thank you for your insights.

4/25/2005 06:42:00 pm  

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