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Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Putin Puts An End To Electoral Politics In Russia

The Sunday September 18 election for the Russian parliament has given Vladimir Putin another pro-Putin parliament (Duma) to routinely rubber-stamp his most ludicrous and repressive legislation. His United Russia party gained a majority (54 percent according to preliminary results). No opposition party crossed the five percent hurdle; instead, the reliable Communist (13 percent), Liberal Democrat (13 percent), and Just Russia Parties (6 percent) will join United Russia in the new Duma. Only sixteen candidates from the so-called small parties gained seats in regional parliaments. In a word: The Duma election was a total wipeout of legislative opposition in Putin’s Russia. This is no big deal in itself because the legislative branch has little power, but the election signaled the end of hope for change through elections in Russia. Palace coups or the streets are the only remaining options of the Russian people.

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Sunday, September 18, 2016

An Open Letter To Donald Trump Regarding His Fondness For Vladimir Putin

Dear Mr. Trump: As someone who has studied Russia for a half century, I’d like to respond to each of the five main points concerning Vladimir Putin and Russia you made at NBC’s “Commander-in-Chief Forum“ on September 7. Some make eminent sense; others reflect a lack of understanding of Putin’s Russia. What follows are your five points, followed by my comments. (You did not speak about point six, but I add that anyway).

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Saturday, September 10, 2016

Hillary Delivers Self-Inflicted Wound with “Deplorables” Comment

To label 60 million Trump supporters as potential racists, sexists, homophobes, xenophobes. Islamophobes and whatever new “phobes” Clinton can come up with represents one of the greatest gaffes of American electoral history. It was supposed to be Trump to commit such an error, not the super-experienced Hillary.

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Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Putin Shuts Down Last Russian Independent Pollster In Anticipation of Russian and US Election

Putin plans his sweetest revenge for Hillary Clinton’s criticism of Russian “democracy” in 2011 and 2012, when she berated Putin for his phony parliamentary and presidential elections. With the hack of the Democratic National Committee (presumably by Russian cyber-attackers or subcontractors), he can now argue that the upcoming Russian parliamentary elections are as pure as the driven snow. After all, 14 parties are running their candidates. They have been allowed to debate on Russian TV (one was even allowed to call for Putin’s impeachment).

Putin will say: What a contrast to the flawed and crooked U.S. election. He will cite the DNC papers describing the party’s official campaign to favor Hillary Clinton and destroy the candidacy of the upright and honest Bernie Sanders. Putin can cite the “pay for play” politics of the Clintons and dare them to criticize Russia’s honest business men, when the King and Queen of corruption are none other than the Clintons themselves.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Russian Combat Medals Put Lie To Putin's Claim Of No Russian Troops In Ukraine

The Kremlin’s fig leaves that cast slight shadows of doubt on the truth of regular Russian troops in Ukraine provide a disorganized, timid, and even cowardly West a reason for inaction. We all know that a Russian missile shot down MH17 and that there are regular Russian troops in east Ukraine, but as long as there is a one in a thousand chance of another explanation, we have a reason to hold back. After all, isn’t Russia a “great nation?” Shouldn’t we give their explanations a hearing no matter how crazy?
There will be no peace until we call the Russian narrative for what it is – a lie. In the meantime, the words we use matter in determining the eventual outcome and burning Putin’s fig leaves remains a worthwhile activity.

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Monday, August 29, 2016

Under Russia's New Extremism Laws, Liking My Writings On Ukraine Could Mean Jail Terms

Although my piece was read by a third of a million readers and was picked up in major press reports, the Russian version of “historical facts and events” prevails. Putin’s propaganda machine, both at home and abroad, has overwhelmed what I consider to be the real story of the Crimean annexation with its repeated lies. The first change of postwar boundaries by military force was therefore justified on the basis of one out of five voters voting for annexation and a turnout below fifty percent.
Under the Yarovaya Amendment, it’s entirely conceivable that my Russian readers could go to jail for reading and liking my writings. Because the official Russian line on Crimea and Ukraine differs from the truth, any writer who describes the truth, under Russian law, is now an “extremist.” Putin’s “parallel universe” of “alternate reality” that has shocked world leaders does not reflect the truth, but the Russian people must accept it as truth, or face punishment.

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