Russian Communists don’t like Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, reports the Associated Press. But the communists in question are not the Communist Party of the Russian Federation (KPRF), as the report implies. There are several communist parties in Russia and the one that has began a campaign against Indy is a small 500 member sect called Communists of the St. Petersburg and Leningrad Region (KPLO).
According to their website, KPLO have no official affiliation with the KPRF. Rather they, “are communists, like the KPRF, only better: more modern, younger, lively, and creative.” They forgot to add freakier. Just check out the accompanying photo. I’ve seen a lot of things but never communist vestments. And what’s up with that Young Pioneer? He looks like should adorn someone’s lawn.
And what has the good Dr. Jones done to get the KPLO all hot and bothered? As the Ideological Committee of the TsK KPLO explains in a letter to the film’s stars Harrison Ford and Kate Blanchet:
Your role in the film Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skill offends all the Soviet and Russia people, all who remember the difficult 1950s, when our country finished the reconstruction after the Great [Patriotic]War, and didn’t send to the United States merciless terrorists.
A bunch of ranting and attempts at historical corrections follow. The film’s plot centers around Indy battling Soviet agents trying to get their hands on some skull with secret powers that, I assume, will aid them in world domination. Maybe someone should let the KPLO know that it’s just a movie, and probably not a very good one in the first place. Also, maybe someone at AP should do their homework and realize that in Russia, not all Communist parties are the same.
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By Sean — 10 years ago
Maybe it’s some kind of gangster code. All gangsters, of whatever stripes, stick together.
Russia and China took a steaming dump on the Zimbabwean opposition and much of the world by vetoing a UN Security Council Resolution that would place sanctions on Robert Mugabe and 13 members of his gang. Nine countries backed the proposal, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Burkina Faso, Costa Rica, Croatia, Italy and Panama. Five opposed it: Russia, China, South Africa, and Vietnam. China and Russia carry the big veto stick.
The sanctions would have imposed a travel ban and frozen Mugabe and his thug’s assets.
In recent weeks, Mugabe has unleashed a chistka on the opposition throughout Zimbabwe. The latest report is that 133 supporters of the Movement for Democratic Change have been killed in political violence. Reports the AFP,
Among the most recent victims was a polling agent, Gift Mutsvungunu, whose body was found in a suburb of Harare on Thursday after he was reported missing last week, the MDC said in a statement.
“His body shows signs of intense torture, his eyes were gouged out and his backside suffered serious burns before his abductors killed him,” it added.
“There is reasonable suspicion that state security agents killed him, as his injuries are consistent with those of other deceased persons who were abducted and later killed by state security agents.”
Alas, the Russians couldn’t do the right thing. It seemed that Russia was on board two days ago. The Financial Times reported,
Robert Mugabe’s regime in Zimbabwe last night faced a growing likelihood of global sanctions after world leaders, including Russia, backed international action to resolve the crisis provoked by June’s flawed elections.
It seems that the G8 leaders figured that Medvedev was making an about face by signing his name to a statement calling for action against Mugabe. Nope. That was a press opportunity. Going along with the crowd. Plus Russia’s vote is a good middle finger to Britain and America.
I guess Russia is thinking, why they should do the Anglos any favors? US wants missiles in the Czech Republic. The US is already talking to Poland about missiles. Now they want Russia to play a long. Not gonna happen.
It’s no surprise that many neighboring African leaders want the UN to stay out. Seven of them said as much at the G8. “Robert Mugabe may retire in a few years time,” was their view. I also get why the Africans don’t want interfere simply on principle. It has never brought them any good.
Still, I can’t help but also speculate that Russia, China, the Africans, and Vietnamese don’t want to set any precedents. The last thing they want is for the UN get in the business of poking its nose in a state’s right to use terror. After all, you never know when it might come in handy.
Then again, its also not that simple. And of course you have to wonder what sanctions will do anyway. Okay so Mugabe and his people can’t leave Zimbabwe and their asserts are frozen. And that’s going to do what exactly? It’s really just a gesture when you think of it.
However, it’s not like the Russians are providing much in way of a solution. Russian senior G8 negotiator Alexander Pankin told the press, “Threatening sanctions is not the best way to settle the issue. We believe there should be negotiations between the parties involved with the participation of African leaders.” Well that is nice. The opposition shows up to the negotiations and gets slaughtered. That sounds just as idealistic as thinking sanctions will make a difference.
But at least sanctions are something. Sometimes such gestures are important. It also sounds like these are precise. If they were general sanctions on the country as a whole, a la Cuba, Iraq, or North Korea, then forget it. There is no reason why the Zimbabweans have to suffer more than they already do.
Plus, hitting Mugabe in his pocketbook might at least annoy him. Or even better get him in trouble with his young wife. As seven million Zimbabweans starve, Mugabe’s beloved Grace bounces around Europe buying $50,000 diamond encrusted Rolexes and staying in $20,000 a night, 33 room hotel suites. She zips around in Hef’s old jet. She’s known in Zimbabwe as the First Shopper. I hope that travel ban also included her. Cutting off her access to Ferragamo shoes, which can run in the few thousand a pair, might be the best way to send a message to Mugabe. “I have very narrow feet, so I wear only Ferragamo,” she says.
Shame on Russia.Post Views: 110
By Sean — 11 years ago
Putin signed a decree today officially suspending Russia’s participation in the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty and threatens to fully withdraw in five months time unless a compromise was found on some of its provisions. The CFE, which was signed in 1990 and amended in 1999, limits troop deployments on the European continent. The 1999 revisions require the Russians to fully withdraw its troops from Moldova and Georgia. Russia is in the process of withdrawing troops from the latter but has refused to consider the former because of the dispute over Transnistria. NATO has used Russian troops stationed in the two former Soviet Republics as reason to not sign the amended treaty.
According to the decree, Russia considers linking of the signing of the treaty with Russian bilateral talks with Georgia and Moldova as “wrong” and the need to suspend participation in the treaty stems from several “exceptional circumstances.” These include:
- The failure of Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to make the necessary changes in the composition of group of states party to the Treaty on the accession of these countries to NATO;
- The excessive parties to the CFE Treaty that belong to NATO, and the exclusive group that formed among CFE Treaty members as a result of the widening of the alliance;
- The negative impact of the planned deployment of America’s conventional forces in Bulgaria and Romania because of this exclusive group mentality;
- The failure of a number of parties of the CFE Treaty to comply with the political obligations contained in the Istanbul Agreements relating to the early ratification of the Adapted Treaty;
- The failure of Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic to comply with commitments accepted in Istanbul to adjust their territorial ceilings;
- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’s failure to participate in the CFE Treaty has adverse effects on Russia’s ability to implement its political commitments to military containment in the northwestern part of the Russian Federation. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’s actions result in a territory in which there are no restrictions on the deployment of conventional forces, including other countries’ forces.
The decree goes on to state that Russia’s suspension is in accordance with international and federal law. Pavel Felgenhauer told CNN that Russia’s move was illegal since “This is basically non-compliance, and this is an illegal move.” This is despite the fact that a few days ago he wrote: “Any state may, exercising its national sovereignty, withdraw from CFE, but only after giving a notice 150 days prior to the intended withdrawal. The notice must “include a statement of the extraordinary events” that have caused the withdrawal.” Russia has stated both in its announcement.
Russia’s move places a moratorium on European efforts to inspect Russian military sites and removes limits on conventional forces.
Russia’s announcement has, of course, elicited disappointment. NATO spokesman James Appathurai said, “NATO considers this treaty to be an important cornerstone of European security,” adding that Russia suspension was “a disappointing step in the wrong direction.” Witold Waszczykowski, Poland’s Deputy Foreign Minister, told RIA Novosti that “Poland is astonished by the Kremlin decision” but stated that his country was open to negotiations on the issue.
There is also no doubt that talk about a “New Cold War” will get another gasp of life even though there seems to be an early consensus that Russia’s move is mostly symbolic. “Stability” between European countries is hardly at risk. The bigger risks to stability are increasing tensions over immigration, Islam, and European integration show within European countries, not between them. Plus Russia’s influence over Europe does not reside in its hard power, but in its economic soft power. The real area of global insecurity stretches across the Central Asia and the Middle East.
So while some will be quick to lambaste Russia over this, there is nothing to suggest that the move is anything more than diplomatic posturing. Whether this move actually pays off remains to be seen.Post Views: 120
By Sean — 8 years ago
Russian politics is a joke. I’m not being sarcastic. It really is funny. Perhaps in an effort to one up the inanity of American politics (as we all know Russians just want to be like us!), or because it has a fatuous dynamic of its own, what passes for the political over there often epitomizes the absurd. Take the most recent scandal involving the Anti-Soviet Kebab House, the Moscow Veterans Committee, the dissident Alexander Podrabinek, and Nashi. It was a publicity stunt within a publicity stunt. A narcissistic plea of “Look at me!” if I’ve ever seen one. A better political parody couldn’t have been concocted by the Kremlin’s best spin doctors. The sad thing is that the ensuing scandal would have been really, really funny if the joke wasn’t so bad.
Long story short: After a summer of renovations, the owner of kebab restaurant on Leningradskii prospekt decided to call his place “Anti-Soviet” to poke fun at the Soviet Hotel across the street. The name went well the the restaurant’s dissident theme of photos of “anti-Soviet” figures of the past. Plus the moniker was a “jokey name” used by patrons in the Soviet period. Vets, however, didn’t see the humor and complained to the local district administration, demanding the restaurant be renamed. The “anti-” in Anti-Soviet Kebab House, they said, hurt their feelings and denigrated their sacrifice in saving Russia from Nazism. Within days, the district’s “crusading environmental inspector,” Oleg Mitvol, paid the Anti-Soviet Kebab House a visit ordering the “anti-” be removed. The owners begrudgingly complied. “We took down the sign under pressure from the district authorities,” Alexander Vanin, the restaurant’s manager told the Moscow Times. “It was to avoid a war and attacks from the prefect, Oleg Mitvol.” Another bad joke bombs to the politics of the absurd.
But the inanity didn’t stop there. In fact, it was only beginning.
Enter Alexander Podrabinek, the famous Soviet dissident and now Putin foe. Having had enough of the “restoration of the Soviet past,” Podrabinek pounded out a diatribe “Letter to Soviet Veterans,” where he called the name change as “great pity” and lambasted the complaining veterans as “idiotic, base, and stupid.” He then went on to charge the vets as “the ones who served as whipmasters in labour camps and prisons, political commissars of anti-retreat units, and executioners at firing grounds.” According to Podrabinek, he and others who defied the Soviet regime are the country’s real heroes. The letter was published on Podrabinek’s blog and on the website of the liberal rag Ezhdnevnyi zhurnal.
The real pity however, isn’t so much that the Anti-Soviet Kebab House was muscled into changing its name. Nor is it the substance of Podrabinek’s rant, ridiculous as it is. It’s the fact that screaming about the “restoration of the Soviet past” is really all Russian liberals have as a political issue. It’s no wonder your average Russian, many of who probably sympathize with the veterans, can’t stand the liberals (assuming they know the liberals exist). Instead of engaging in a politics that, I don’t know, actually matters like the economic crisis, layoffs, prices and other issues, Russia’s liberal intelligentsia choose to dig up the old bones of the past, wave them furiously in the air, and use them to beat the citizenry over the head. The politics of the dead just doesn’t make sense when you could be engaging in a politics of the living. But oh no. Many Russian liberals believe that constantly screaming about Stalin is going to further their political agenda. Newsflash: It’s not.
Thus, what began as a joke that flew over the heads of some thin-skinned old-timers, only revealed the joke that is Russia’s liberal intellgentisa.
Sadly, the comedy sketch didn’t end there.
Enter Nashi. Nashi has been aimless since the election of Dmitry Medvedev. With “colored revolution” vanquished, a number of its chapters liquidated, and little need for mass street protests, the kids in Nashi don’t know what to do with themselves. They purport to have all sorts of programs to train the next generation of Putinistas, but none of that makes the headlines in the Russian or international press. This doesn’t mean that Nashi hasn’t found a niche in the Medvedevian Thaw. Every generation needs a war, and if you can’t provide a real one, then a virtual one will just have to suffice. Taking the “anti-fascist” part of their name waaay to seriously, Nashi has decided that anything that criticizes the integrity of Soviet past and the Russian present is “fascism.” So Nashi’s activities over the last several months have focused on publicity stunts to unmask Russia’s internal enemies supported by the “fascist” West.
As soon as Nashi joined the fray, what was already a political farce quickly turned into tragedy. Soon after Prodabinek’s diatribe hit runet, Nashi began mobilizing its apparatus of outrage. Members began pickets outside of Prodrabinek’s apartment, released his phone number and address on the internet, and vowed to run him out of the country. According to Nashi’s GenSek, Nikita Borovikov, all these actions are “of the most democratic in nature.”
Fearing for his life, Probrabinek went into hiding. Not because of Nashi, whose actions he considers a “propaganda stunt” and an “imitation of public outrage” (which it is), but because of “information from reliable sources” that “serious people” want him taken care of. That is “taking care of” in the bullet-in-head sense of the phrase.
More outrage ensued. Ezhdnevnyi zhurnal began an online petition in support of Prodrabinek, which now sports over 3000 signatures, a virtual who’s who of the Russian liberal intelligentsia. Not to be outdone, Nashi claims to have over 5000 signatures against Prodrabinek.
I just have to ask a number of questions. Are you kidding me? Hiding? Is this a joke? You do know that this is all because of a shashlik joint? Do you? Someone please tell me that this is part of some Russian version of Punk’d. Because if this is real then someone call Dr. Phil to mediate between the vets, Prodrabinek, and Nashi. There is a little to much of the “talk to the hand ’cause the face don’t understand” going on.
But apparently it is real or at least appears real enough. And always ready to jump on the latest scandal in Russia, the Western media and rights groups have hitched a ride on the outrage express. The Committee for the Protection of Journalists released a statement calling for an end to the harassment of and for the protection of Prodrabinek. Even the French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner “contacted the relevant authorities to make sure [Prodrabinek] is safe.”
All for the name of a kebab restaurant.
But this is what passes for small-p politics in Russia. A bad joke produces outrage, which in the end exposes what utter jokes Russia’s liberals and Nashi really are. And the joke isn’t funny any more as the great Morrissey once sang. Because for Russians like the 27,600 AvtoVAZ workers in Togliatti waiting for their pink slips, the message is clear: Russia’s liberals and Nashi don’t care about you. Not when there are kebab restaurants and Soviet pride to defend.Post Views: 180