Post Note: Why has Pres. Obama been on the Jay Leno Show so often (2 as a candidate; 4 as President) to talk serious issues? Press Sec. Carney says it’s to reach a different demographic who don’t read newspapers. But I think it is really beneath our Commander-In-Chief and a reaction to the sad reality that people don’t read newspapers.
An interesting article in The Atlantic by Christopher Read proposing that, although sometimes overly authoritarian, the Russian people prefer the soft-dictatorship of Putin versus the chaos of the 1990’s.
After being sentenced to a five year prison term yesterday on trumped up charges of embezzlement, Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny was released on bail today. Even though his next hearing is in just six weeks, when he could be taken directly into custody to serve his sentence, this move by the presiding judge to release him for now seems quite the turnaround and quite contrary to Putin’s record of how the Kremlin treats dissidents.
This unexpected turn of events leaves us with many questions, but Max Smith at The Post helps us find some of the answers in a good op-ed.
Aleksei A. Navalny, an opposition anti-corruption blogger and leader of street protests running for Mayor of Moscow, was tried on trumped up embezzlement charges today receiving a five year sentence and $15,000 fine. Both the EU and the United States have criticized the verdict harshly.
This case, along with recent others, have shown that in Russia, with Vladimir Putin’s “soft”-dictatorship active, that the legal system may be used to silence popular opposition leaders there.
Edward Snowden, NSA hacker and as seen-by-some whistle-blowing hero, is asking for asylum in Russia, where he currently resides in a Moscow airport, until he can find safe passage to one of three Latin American nations (Venezuela, Nicaragua, or Bolivia) who have offered him asylum. Now Russia does not want to hurt relations with the U.S., nor does Putin want to look weak by bending to America’s will. How will they react?
Alex Berenson, a former NYT reporter and spy novelist, wrote a very entertaining op-ed in the NYT today posing hero/villain Edward Snowden as the main character in a spy novel. And amidst all the fun is some great points about how the White House and other governing bodies have mucked-up their responses to Mr. Snowden’s actions.
A great piece in the NYT on how the Russian people have struggled with Stalin’s legacy over the decades. He was a tyrannical pragmatist who killed 32 million of his own people through purges, farming policies, and the NKVD, who were the secret police and forerunner of the KGB (at least Hitler was an ideologue who murdered perceived “others”). But he also industrialized the Soviet Union, built great cities, and furthered the cause of Communism. A great piece to be read.
In light of future international events in Russia that will draw tourist from around the world, Vladimir Putin is asking for higher vigilance amongst security forces regarding terror groups. But Putin is also cracking down on any opposition to his regime by labeling opposition leaders and groups as terrorist organizations. Here is good article from the CSM that outline details as Putin makes a further move to the right.