Archive for the ‘Russia’ Category

We interrupt our blogging on Latin America to bring you the latest on Putin

Thursday, April 3rd, 2014

if you have a strong stomach, that is,
Look out, ladies. Vladimir Putin is single now

Any chicks looking to hook up with the world’s most powerful bachelor will have to wait in line, however. He’s rumored to be dating former Olympic rhythmic gymnast (yes, that’s a real sport) Alina Kabeva, and the heat she and Vladimir were making outside of the ring is most likely why she (very conveniently) found herself among Russia’s top athletes called upon to light the Sochi Olympic flame. This all came about probably because she can do this:

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Then again, it’s unlikely a man who wrestles wildlife, rides horses shirtless and wrote a definitive book on martial arts is going to limit himself to one lady.

Indeed, since Vlad’s rather knowledgable about orgies, and has mused that group sex is better than one-on-one intercourse because participants can take a break.

If that’s not cringeworthy enough for you, here’s Vlad singing at a 2010 fundraiser, to a celebrity audience that includes newly-Russian Gerard Depardieu, and those lovely Americans Sharon Stone, Goldie Hawn, Mickey Rourke, Kevin Costner, and Kurt Russell.

Bonus:
Gérard Depardieu launches ‘Proud to be Russian’ line of watches
The French actor, who left his home country for Russia following a proposed change in tax law, has partnered with watch manufacturer Cvstos

Double bonus:
Go to the Depardieu link and look at his blouse.

Blogging on Latin America shall resume shortly.

The Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, March 31st, 2014

LatinAmerARGENTINA
Argentina Is Joined In The Supreme Court By The Coalition Of Weasels

Why Argentina Is Struggling to Find Lifelines

Argentina Moves to Trim Subsidies
Argentina will cut expensive natural-gas and water subsidies this year as it struggles with growing deficits that have been financed through inflation-fueling money printing.

BARBADOS
US Congress honours T&T and Barbados born judges

BOLIVIA
Bolivia clashes over anti-drugs base
Dozens of people in Bolivia clash with police in a protest against the construction of a military anti-drugs base in a coca-growing area

CHILE
Chile’s Codelco 2013 profit halves

COLOMBIA
Colombia current account deficit ends 2013 at 3.4 percent, “as lower prices for some key exports contributed to the near halving of the Andean nation’s trade surplus.”

COSTA RICA
Costa Rica’s two top political parties agree to runoff presidential debate, with or without candidates

In lieu of a candidate to support, PLN lawmaker Luis Villanueva said the campaign was about “ideas, programs and the emphasis” of each party.

CUBA
Azuuuucar !!! Chong Chon Gang returns for another load

Ukraine Angle to Cuba’s “Purchase” of Russian Antonov Planes

Tread carefully in Cuba’s ‘open’ economy: Experts

ECUADOR
Ecuador President Rafael Correa to Speak at Harvard
Has been criticized for anti-American rhetoric, crackdown on press freedoms

Correa has long pursued a multi-billion dollar judgment against oil company Chevron for alleged pollution that occurred in Ecuador’s Lago Agrio region. A U.S. federal judge ruled earlier this month that the judgment could not be enforced in America because the plaintiffs’ attorneys bribed a judge in Ecuador, ghostwrote purportedly neutral scientific studies, and conspired to break the law.

Correa in December dissolved a nongovernment organization protesting state oil drilling in the Amazon. He previously called the Free Beacon“corrupt” for reporting on the Chevron case.

Correa has also emulated Chavez by frequently decrying the alleged “imperial” influence of the United States in Latin America. He has expelled an American ambassador, shut down a joint U.S. anti-drug base, and grantedasylum to WikiLeaks founder and privacy advocate Julian Assange despiteallegations that Correa’s government has spied on reporters.

EL SALVADOR
El Salvador opposition admits defeat
El Salvador’s Arena party finally accepts the defeat of its candidate to former rebel leader Salvador Sanchez Ceren in a tight vote earlier this month.

JAMAICA
The Petrocaribe Trap

LATIN AMERICA
Life after the commodity boom
Instead of the crises of the past, mediocre growth is the big risk—unless productivity rises

As Obama Dismisses Russia As “Regional,” It Expands Its Reach

Latin Leftists with Blood on Their Hands

MEXICO
Stranded: In One Week Authorities Found 370 Abandoned Immigrant Children Wandering Around In Mexico

Mexico Intercepts 63 Guatemalans Headed for U.S.

OIL
Here Comes $75 Oil
Lower energy costs will have a salutary effect on the U.S. economy. Not so Russia, where oil provides 50% of government income.

PANAMA
Crimea: The Panama precedent

PARAGUAY
Cocaine Distribution Hub Dismantled in Paraguay

PERU
Peru Received $2.7 Billion in Remittances During 2013

PUERTO RICO
Census Reveals Population Drop Across Puerto Rico by 3%

URUGUAY
Uruguay To Track Pot By Genetic Markers

VENEZUELA
The Obama Administration seems indifferent to the crisis in Venezuela. Why?

US Senator Menendez Calls for International Condemnation of Venezuela

Lawsuit filed in Miami accuses Venezuela top official, Diosdado Cabello, of bribery
A lawsuit filed in Miami accuses the president of Venezuela’s National Assembly of receiving at least $50 million in bribes from a company doing business in that country.

Venezuelan government takes on crossword writers in protest crackdown
After expelling an opposition parliamentarian and arresting three air-force generals, the Venezuelan government has now taken aim at a new enemy: crosswords

The week’s posts and podcast:
Venezuela: How Hugo Chávez turned the country over to Cuba

Brazil: We shall soon be hearing about the “excellent healthcare”

Venezuela: more censorship, in “one of the most democratic nations on Earth”

#ThanksLarry: In praise of Larry Kudlow

The Isaías, on @Instapundit’s post

#SOSVenezuela: Marco Rubio’s speech

Mexico: Navigators helping people sign up for Obamacare regardless of citizenship

Mexico’s Radio Tecnico: How The Zetas Cartel Took Over Mexico With Walkie-Talkies

Venezuela: Slingshots vs tanks

En español: Terapia intensiva #201

Venezuela: Leopoldo López, Hun School alumnus

Uruguay: Gitmo releases will be free to leave

At Da Tech Guy Blog:
No, Joe, illegals are not citizens

Book review – Eyes On Target: Inside Stories from the Brotherhood of the U.S. Navy SEALs

Venezuela: Slingshots vs tanks

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

A demonstrator uses a slingshot against the National Guard during a protest against Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro’s government in San Cristobal, about 410 miles (660 km) southwest of Caracas, February 27, 2014. REUTERS/Carlos Garcia Rawlins

Venezuela’s Failing State, by Leopoldo López, jailed since Feb. 18,

For 15 years, the definition of “intolerable” in this country has declined by degrees until, to our dismay, we found ourselves with one of the highest murder rates in the Western Hemisphere, a 57 percent inflation rate and a scarcity of basic goods unprecedented outside of wartime.

Our crippled economy is matched by an equally oppressive political climate. Since student protests began on Feb. 4, more than 1,500 protesters have been detained and more than 50 have reported that they were tortured while in police custody. Over 30 people, including security forces and civilians, have died in the demonstrations. What started as a peaceful march against crime on a university campus has exposed the depth of this government’s criminalization of dissent.

Indeed. As the country goes up in smoke, the same government who claims to have been “democratically elected” is in full assault against elected representatives:

And it’s also jailing the military:

President Nicolás Maduro said Tuesday that three air force generals allegedly plotting to overthrow the government had been arrested amid antigovernment protests that have roiled the country for nearly two months.

While publishing Leopoldo López’s letter, the NYT did a “two newspapers in one” by sending two reporters to gather opinions about Cuba’s interference in Venezuela. Babalu explains,

But alas, this is the New York Times and the outcome of their so-called investigation had already been decided before the reporters were even assigned to the story. Of course the newspaper of record – the same one that has brought us so many honest and respectable journalists such as Herbert Matthews — found absolutely no evidence whatsoever that Cuba’s Castro dictatorship has infiltrated Venezuela. Instead, what they discover are “hardliners” who are “fixated” with going after Cuba. They even trot out Castro regime supporter Arturo Lopez-Levy, a former Castro-intelligence-agent-turned-American-academic who also happens to be a member of the Castro crime family to prove their point.

It’s not just Cuba; it’s also Russia. Back when he was alive, Hugo Chavez offered Putin the use of military installations as Russian bases. A Venezuelan general has even tweeted about it:
SECRET ACCORD with Russia signed in 2009 when Chavez unconditionally offered Russia the use of the Orchilla Island military base.”

Related: Putin’s quiet Latin America play, and it’s not only Russia,

With the American presence waning, officials say rivals such as Russia, China and Iran are quickly filling the void.

Iran has opened up 11 additional embassies and 33 cultural centers in Latin America while supporting the “operational presence” of militant group Lebanese Hezbollah in the region.

“On the military side, I believe they’re establishing, if you will, lily pads for future use if they needed to use them,” Kelly said.

China is making a play for Latin America a well, and is now the fastest growing investor in the region, according to experts. Although their activity is mostly economic, they are also increasing military activity through educational exchanges.

The Chinese Navy conducted a goodwill visit in Brazil, Chile and Argentina last year and conducted its first-ever naval exercise with the Argentine Navy.

It’s slingshots vs tanks.


Latin America: Putin gets his license

Friday, March 21st, 2014

The Economist‘s cover story:

Mr Putin’s new order, in short, is built on revanchism, a reckless disdain for the truth and the twisting of the law to mean whatever suits those in power. That makes it no order at all.

Some of the more unsavory heads of state in Latin America have been borrowing a page from Putin: Last year I posted on Mary O’Grady’s article on how Cuba Studies ‘Putinismo’ for Survival Tips

behind the scenes, putinismo blends authoritarian political control and crony capitalism to produce a lock on power.

It’s not only indirect “putinismo”: Putin has been interested in Latin America all along.

Russia has been cruising through the region for quite a while.

Read the rest at Da Tech Guy Blog.

UPDATE
Related: Putin’s quiet Latin America play

Linked to by Doug Ross. Thank you!

Venezuela: #SOSVenezuela and the war against the Chuckys

Monday, March 17th, 2014

A week ago,

In one of his more bizarre televised speeches, Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro compared the opposition to movie villain Chucky from the 1980′s ‘Child’s Play’ slasher series

“The Chuckys of fascism,” according to him.

At least he stayed away from zombies.

He’s gone on to say that “behind ever Chucky there’s a Chuckylina,” an outsider who’s pulling the strings.

During a speech last Saturday where he warned that President Obama “has given orders to assassinate President Maduro” while

he was surrounded by men wearing olive uniforms, Maduro warned the “Chuckys”–he has rechristened the protesters after the bloodthirsty doll from the 1990s–that they had “a few hours” to leave Altamira Plaza in Caracas or they would face the full force of the Venezuelan military. Maduro warned that he was ready “to finish liberating the places still hijacked by the scammers and violent people who have taken them… I will go liberate those spaces with the public forces.”
Maduro also boasted that Venezuelan police had “captured almost 60 Chuckys in Plaza Altamira” and that he would “respect all the human rights,” above all the “right to work and right to health.” He then called opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski, who ran against Maduro in the country’s last election cycle, a “fascist.”

Daniel Duquenal asks, Is Capriles going to negotiate our surrender?

But back to the demonstrators, during yesterday’s “Cubans go home” protest,
Daniel found

not a flag from any political party. None, I have seen none!!!! In the two hours that I walked along, and back home. This is not about politics, about who should represent the opposition. This is about millions of Venezuelans that have had enough of chavismo, that want to reclaim their future.

They have their work cut out for them:

Maduro has been employing the services of armed paramilitary groups on motorcycles commonly known as “motorizados” or “colectivos,” who have wreaked havoc in both the capital of Caracas and outside rebel states like Táchira. Maduro has also employed the Bolivarian National Guard (GNB), the domestic wing of the military, against protesters, many of whom are said to be Cuban nationals and trained in torture and violent repression of political speech.

These groups have engaged in an active torture campaign, disfiguring the faces of protesters, and shot many in the face to prevent an open casket funeral featuring a young protester. They have also flooded apartment buildings known to house college students with teargas at night in an attempt to intimidate the protesters into not coming out the next morning. The current death toll is at 28, all unarmed student protesters.

It’s worth pointing out that the Bolivarian militia, an armed civilian force, is similar to Cuba’s Territorial Militia.

Cuban intelligence runs the Venezuelan state security apparatus, in exchange for 100,000 barrels of oil per day, as John Hinderaker points out. John links to that “Chuckylina” of the vast right wing conspiracy, the NY Times:

For Cuba, a military advisory role abroad is nothing new, even if its activities here differ from the combat brigades sent to Angola and Ethiopia in the 1970s or the advisers in Nicaragua in the 1980s. Cuba’s assistance in Venezuela is much broader, including areas like telecommunications and national identification card systems. The emergence of Cuba as Venezuela’s top ally has led to criticism that the Cubans are helping Mr. Chávez tighten his grip on an array of institutions.

Oscar Montealegre was in Caracas on February 12:

It was not the protesters that we had to worry about; it is more so the thugs that are commissioned by the government. I witnessed many of these thugs standing in the flatbeds of pick-up trucks; one truck had two men with no apparent government uniform with machine guns on their backs. Seeing that reinforced the intimidation tactics used by the government.

The students released this video on Saturday,

Among they protest also against Russia building a military base in Venezuela (3:10 in the video). John Hinderaker, again,

What happens in energy-rich Venezuela is important. Is it too much to hope that the final collapse of socialism in that country will extinguish the appeal of socialism across Latin America? Yes. Even here in the U.S., socialism–the stupidest idea that has ever occurred to a human being–keeps making comebacks. But in the medium term, the collapse of the Russia-Cuba-Venezuela-Nicaragua axis will be of great benefit.

It looks like Maduro called Cuba for reinforcements: Reports claim that Cuba prepares for Venezuela disruptions

two Cuban dissidents who have provided good information in the past said they have received reports that military reservists in six municipalities around the country were contacted this month to be ready for trouble in Venezuela.

Guillermo Fariñas, who served with a commando unit in Angola and underwent military training in the Soviet Union until he suffered a training accident, said three supporters told him about call-ups in his home province of Villa Clara.

The Military Committees in the municipalities of Santa Clara, Ranchuelo, Sagua La Grande and Manicaragua have asked several reservists with combat experience in Africa and Nicaragua and under 50 years of age if they would be willing to deploy to Venezuela.

So far, Maduro has not employed the official armed forces against protesters. Whether he’ll be able to control the military to the point that the Venezuelan military will fire on their fellow citizens remains to be seen.

Related: Busting the myth of freedom of speech in Venezuela

UPDATE:

Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua: Russia to add military bases overseas UPDATED

Wednesday, February 26th, 2014

Last November Secretary of State John Kerry declared the Monroe Doctrine dead; Putin was listening:

Russia Seeks Several Military Bases Abroad – Defense Minister (emphasis added)

Russia is planning to expand its permanent military presence outside its borders by placing military bases in a number of foreign countries, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said Wednesday.

Shoigu said the list includes Vietnam, Cuba, Venezuela, Nicaragua, the Seychelles, Singapore and several other countries.

“The talks are under way, and we are close to signing the relevant documents,” Shoigu told reporters in Moscow.

The minister added that the negotiations cover not only military bases but also visits to ports in such countries on favorable conditions as well as the opening of refueling sites for Russian strategic bombers on patrol.

Earlier this week, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel announced plans to shrink army to pre-World War II levels. His timing could not have been more perfect.

UPDATE, Thursday Feb. 27, 2014, via Kermit:
Russian spy ship docked in Havana

There you have it:

The Optimistic Conservative:

The timing of SSV-175’s patrol is presumably no coincidence. We don’t know exactly when she left her Northern Fleet home port on the Barents Sea, but since she was in Curacao on the 30th, we do know it was at least before 10 January (and probably before that. At an overall speed of 12 knots, the ship would have needed to leave the Barents around 2 or 3 January). It’s unlikely that the AGI is in Central America just for the excitement of popular unrest in Venezuela, however. The more interesting event could well be the deployment of the Iranian navy task force.

John Kerry was on TV just now saying “This is not Rocky IV.” No, it’s not: this is real.

The Winter Olympics week Carnival of Latin America and the Caribbean

Monday, February 10th, 2014

While the Sochi accommodations are nowhere near as nice as those in the more modest hotels in our hemisphere, Mexico sent the most interesting skier in the world, Bermudans wore shorts, and the guys from the Caymans wore shorts and flip-flops (which may explain why there only three). Dominica, Tortola of the British Virgin Islands, Jamaica (whose bobsled is now complete), Paraguay, Brazil, Peru and the US Virgin Islands also have athletes in Sochi.

ARGENTINA
Argentina bus crash near Mendoza kills at least 18

COUNTING THE COST
Argentina’s great decline
It has gone from being one of the world’s wealthiest nations to a serial defaulter, but can it get back on track?

Argentina: Repeat Economic Offender

ARGENTINA FREE FALL
Kirchner Government Doubles Down In Its War Against Math

Argentina is doubling down in its war against math. The WSJ reports that political activists loyal to President Kirchner are publicly targeting retailers by putting posters of the executives up all over Buenos Aires. The posters accuse the leaders of Walmart and other companies of fueling the country’s ruinous inflation by raising prices, even as the government continues to devalue the official currency and ignore traditional IMF economic policy.

Argentina to US senators: Show a little respect

BELIZE
A magical world at Francis Ford Coppola’s luxe resorts in Belize
Need isolation? Coppola’s Blancaneaux Lodge is in the middle of the untamed, natural beauty of a Belizean forest preserve. Need local culture? Turtle Inn is on the coast near the fishing village of Placencia

BOLIVIA
Bolivia floods kill 38, more heavy rains forecast

The European Union (EU) Thursday called on Bolivia to respect the ruling of the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of British power generator Rurelec PLC, said an official. US$41 million.

BRAZIL
Brazil may face water shortages during World Cup, group says, but I’ll bet it won’t be like the Sochi water.

Removida delegada que apura ligação de Lula com mensalão

Responsável pelo inquérito que investiga a suposta participação do ex-presidente Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva no esquema do mensalão, a delegada Andrea Pinho foi removida do cargo nesta sexta-feira, 7. O inquérito que tem Lula como alvo será tocado por outro delegado, ainda não designado que pode pedir novas diligências ou o arquivamento do caso.

CHILE
Chile cool: art, music and graffiti in laid-back Valparaíso
The Chilean city of Valparaíso is alive with avant-garde culture and vibrant street art. Think mini Berlin by the seaside

COLOMBIA
Colombia`s media are wrong; election is up for grabs

Photo of Pres. Santos shaking hands with Timochenko, the FARC leader, back in the day, “If you want Timochenko as president and Iván Márquez in the Senate, you know who to vote for in the upcoming elections.”

COSTA RICA
‘Black Heart’ in Brazil heat drives coffee turnaround h/t DP

CUBA
Gorki Aguila, Cuban Rocker Faces Sham Trial

Cuba Regime Supporters Caught Off Guard with Reaction to Fanjul Story

Oh Happy Day! NBC refers to Communism as “pivotal experiment”

The Truth About Che Guevara

ECUADOR
Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon before:

Freedom of speech in Ecuador
Drawn and quartered
The government orders a newspaper to “correct” a critical cartoon

Xavier Bonilla’s cartoon after:

EL SALVADOR
JJ Rendón is suing Salvador’s president Mauricio Funes for $100 on defamation of character and slander from Funes calling him “a fugitive from justice, a rapist.” (link in Spanish) I hope Rendón wins, and gets to collect.

GUATEMALA
Claudia Paz y Paz, A Guatemalan crusader is reined in

Guatemalan court upholds top prosecutor’s ouster

HONDURAS
Democracy

MEXICO
In Apatzingán:Mexican Vigilantes Enter Key City in Michoacán State
Vigilantes Aim to Take Control of City from Organized Crime Group

THE AMERICAN VIGILANTE VERSUS THE MEXICAN CARTEL

Sochi 2014: ‘Mexican prince’ ready to hit slopes in Mariachi suit

Well, he already was successful lobbying against soft drinks: Look who’s giving advice to Mexico City? Señor Bloomberg. I suggest he brush up his Spanish,

NICARAGUA
Nicaragua: Ortega allowed to run for third successive term

PANAMA
Panama Canal work stops in $1.6bn row
The Spanish-led consortium working on a project to widen the Panama Canal confirms work has been suspended amid a row over cost overruns.

PARAGUAY
Julia Marino becomes Paraguay’s first Winter Olympian

PERU
400 Dead Dolphins Washed Up on Peru Beaches in January

PUERTO RICO
Networks Completely Ignore $70 Billion Puerto Rican Debt Crisis

Puerto Rico Downgrade Puts Bond Deal in Spotlight
Investors are looking beyond the junk-rated credit of Puerto Rico to see if it can sell debt needed for short-term finances, lay groundwork for economic recovery.

URUGUAY
Uruguay’s president nominated for Nobel Peace Prize for legalizing marijuana

VENEZUELA
D.C. mayoral candidate’s business to host Venezuelan government’s pro-Chavez event

Toyota Halts Venezuela Production as Car Sales Fall

Venezuelans fume as government signals end to ‘free’ petrol
In a country where petrol is cheaper than water, ministers say prices must increase for the first time since a rise 15 years ago sparked deadly riots

The fascists in charge of Venezuela want to kill the press, while banging students

The Paradox Of Chavista “Planning”: Even Simple Things Are Hard For Them

Antonio Pardo, A Venezuelan in Sochi (Important Update)

According to Alek Boyd and others, Mr. Pardo is not quite the feel-good story we made him out to be. Turns out he allegedly has links to Antonini Wilson and the suitcase scandal. State news media is falsely reporting he won a gold medal.

Venezuelan “skier” in #Sochi2014 has a Swiss bank, is partners with Carlos Kauffmann & Co. His brother’s a partner of L. Oberto in St Barts

The week’s posts and podcast:
“Smart diplomacy”: Ambassador to Argentina may not even speak Spanish

Mexico: The most interesting skier in the world

Brazil: Cuban doctor seeks asylum

Argentina: Burning down the house

Venezuela: Squatting at the Presidential Mansion

Puerto Rico: Junk bond status

Sochi: Airline loses Jamaicans’ bobsled

Mexico: Behind the Peña Nieto-Fidel photo-op

Left turns: El Salvador and Costa Rica

At Da Tech Guy: Ask Fausta: Is now the time to travel to Latin America? The answer is yes.

Podcast: Elections in El Salvador plus other US-Latin America issues


Mexico: The most interesting skier in the world

Saturday, February 8th, 2014

At last night’s #Sochi opening ceremony, the incessantly boring and downright stupid talk

had a brief respite when Katie Couric Meredith Vieira referred to Hubertus von Hohenlohe as “the Most Interesting Man in the World.”

Humbertus (may I call him Humby?) was a friend of Andy Warhol, is the son of the Prince and Princess of Wurttemberg, and has competed in every winter Olympics since 1984. Since his mom is named Ira (which means “wrath” in Spanish) I wouldn’t dare ask if she has a tattoo that says “Son”, but he seems to have been beefing up his obituary.

He even sings on the swimming pool,

A great part of Humby’s “interestingness” is probably due to his having more money than G-d, which sets him apart from the other skiers.

Humby’s going to ski in this,

Let’s hope he remembers the rest of his gear.

Sochi: Airline loses Jamaicans’ bobsled

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

The Jamaican bobsleigh team missed their first training session on the Sochi Olympic track after their luggage was lost en-route to Russia.

Bad enough, but wait until they get there:
Shaun White Pulls Out of Snowboarding Event
White says the course is too risky.

And don’t use the water,

More at #SochiProblems

Putin, the new Evita

Friday, December 13th, 2013

Nina L. Khrushcheva takes out the big stick:
Putin the Perónist

Until recently, Putin’s resemblance to Evita was not so obvious (though his regular Botox treatments have given him the look that she took on after she was embalmed). But the similarities are becoming increasingly evident. Her passionate “messages for the suffering” resonated with Argentina’s poor in the way that Putin’s macho swagger appeals to a majority of Russians, mostly from the country’s hinterland and provincial cities.

Evita and Putin also share a streak of pettiness. Evita ruined the life of anyone who appeared to doubt her image as Argentina’s “godmother.” Putin takes revenge on anyone – whether the oligarch-cum-political prisoner Mikhail Khodorkovsky, members of the rock band Pussy Riot, or ordinary citizens joining anti-Kremlin protests – who challenges his status as “father of the nation.” Perhaps not coincidentally, capital flight is on the rise, and around 300,000 Russians – including many of the best educated – leave the country every year.

To top off this post, this:
Vladimir Putin claims Russia is moral compass of the world
Vladimir Putin asserts in his annual state of the nation address that Russia takes a morally superior world-view to the West and defended its Conservatives values
. Alexander Litvinenko could not be reached for comment.