Huge anti-government protests in Russia, dateline March 21, 2010:
Reporting from Moscow — Thousands of demonstrators took to the streets across Russia on Saturday demanding the resignation of local and national leaders, including Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, over lingering economic woes.
A coalition of opposition groups, hoping to channel rising anxiety over unemployment and financial policy into anti-government activism, had called for nationwide protests under the slogan "Day of Wrath."
In Moscow, Mayor Yuri Luzhkov's government had banned the demonstration, and rows of riot police lined the perimeter of a bustling square in the city's historic heart to prevent protesters from gathering.
Police pounced as demonstrators slipped from the crowds of bystanders to unfurl banners, light flares or erupt into slogans such as "Down with Putin." Grabbing at limbs and clothes, they seized the demonstrators and dragged them, kicking and hollering, into waiting paddy wagons.
"Shame! Shame!" yelled the crowd as the police shoved the protesters into the vans. "Fascists!"
The opposition had applied for a permit but shrugged off the city's denial. Because the Russian Constitution guarantees the right to assembly, they argued, they had no real obligation to ask the city's permission.
"The Luzhkov government should resign, the Putin government should resign," opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov told reporters. "We'll hold our gathering here no matter what."
A few minutes later, Udaltsov was shoved into a police vehicle.
Christian Science Monitor, dateline March 21, 2010:
This weekend's Russia protests, in which thousands gathered in 20 Russian cities for 'Day of Wrath' demonstrations against Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and other government officials, brought together diverse political forces.
"These rallies brought together very diverse – even opposing – political forces, who mainly directed their anger at local authorities and not against the Kremlin," says Boris Kagarlitsky, a longtime political activist and head of the independent Institute for Globalization and Social Movements in Moscow.
"But the organization was brilliant. They managed to have 20 events involving a dozen different groups – liberals, environmentalists, Stalinists, human rights activists – and bring them together at the same time and place," to express a shared, if inchoate, rage against the government, he says.
On March 29, 2010 (yesterday)...
In the Moscow metro, bombs explode, killing 36 and injuring many more.
No more protests allowed, the the TV quickly pushes the "Nation is united!" meme.
And before you dismiss my crazy conspiracy theory, please consider the fact that this exact scenario happened before, exactly, and is what helped Putin's political ambition.
The exact same scenario.
Consider this, please:
Back in 1999, Russia was weak and in the clutches of profiteers and that pathetic drunkard, Boris Yeltsin. The western powers were like crows at a feast, cawing and feeding on the corpse, using the "free market" Russian entrepreneurs as their "in" into the country.
Apparently, the powers that be, the elites in Russia, decided that enough is enough and action was taken.
The ineffectual (and perpetually drunk) Yeltsin was strong armed to get Putin "in", and in a typical Eastern European fashion Putin got his team "in" also
Note: in Eastern Europe politics, one is never an individual, but is a member of a group, a team, and when one of the team rises - whether by his own efforts or by efforts - both legal and illegal - of the whole group, he then pulls his team into higher positions. There is a hidden combat in Russia to scramble to the top, just like it was in the days of the old Soviet Union Politbureau.
Look at the timeline; larussophobe link:
45-year-old former KGB agent Vladimir Putin (pictured, left) is plucked from obscurity out of the St. Petersburg local government apparatus by President Boris Yeltsin and named Deputy Chief of Staff. In June, he defends his PhD dissertation in “strategic planning” at St. Petersburg’s Mining Institute. Later, this document proves to have been plagiarized from a KGB translation of work by U.S. professors published many years earlier (as if nobody would notice, and in fact for quite a while nobody did).
In a second inexplicable move, Yeltsin names Putin head of the KGB (now called the FSB).
Less than four months after Putin takes over at the KGB, opposition Duma Deputy Galina Starovoitova (pictured, right), the most prominent pro-democracy Kremlin critic in the nation, is murdered at her apartment building in St. Petersburg. Four months after that, Putin will play a key role in silencing the Russian Attorney General, Yury Skuratov, who was investigating high-level corruption in the Kremlin, by airing an illicit sex video involving Skuratov on national TV. Four months after the dust settles in the Skuratov affair, Putin will be named Prime Minister.
Completing a hat trick of bizarre spontaneous promotions, proud KGB spy Putin is named by Yeltsin Prime Minister of Russia. Almost immediately, Putin orders a massive bombing campaign against the tiny, defenseless breakaway republic of Chechnya (...)
New Year’s Eve, 1999
Boris Yeltsin resigns the presidency of Russia, handing the office to Putin in order to allow him to run as an incumbent three months later. Given the pattern of bizarre promotions Putin has previously received, the move is hardly even surprising. So-called “experts” on Russia scoff at the possibility that Putin could be elected, proclaiming that, having tasted freedom, Russia can “never go back” to the dark days of the USSR.
Despite being the nominee of a man, Yeltsin, who enjoyed single-digit public approval ratings in polls, Vladimir Putin is elected “president” of Russia in a massive landslide (he wins nearly twice as many votes as his nearest competitor).
There is one very important fact missing from larussophobe's article.
Russian apartment bombings (Wikipedia), which happened in September 1999, killed 293 and injured 651.
From the Wikipedia article:
The Russian apartment bombings were a series of explosions that hit four apartment blocks in the Russian cities of Buynaksk, Moscow and Volgodonsk in September 1999, killing 293 people and injuring 651, spreading a wave of fear across the country. The blasts hit Buynaksk on 4 September, Moscow on 9 September and 13, and Volgodonsk on 16 September. Several other bombs were defused in Moscow at the time.
A similar bomb was found and defused in the Russian city of Ryazan on 23 September 1999. On the next day Federal Security Service Director Nikolai Patrushev announced that the Ryazan incident had been a training exercise.
A training exercise?
Just like the 9/11 training exercises of hijacked planes striking buildings.
But lets get back to Russia and the mysterious Mr. Putin and his inexplicable rise.
BBC: Sudden rise of the Unity party, dateline 20 December, 1999:
Rarely can a party with so few policies have performed so well in its first parliamentary election as Unity has done.
Three months ago, Unity did not even exist.
Unity relied on a mud-slinging campaign to discredit the alliance, backed up by mass popular support for the military operation in Chechnya.
Although the Unity party has only existed for a few months, experts in Moscow suggest it has been in the planning stage for some time.
On the one hand Vladimir Putin became prime minister, a former spy with a tough image on security, and the president [at that time - Putin; AG] introduced him as his favoured successor.
When the apartment bomb attacks shocked Russia this year, Mr Putin pinned the blame on Chechen "terrorists" and promptly launched a military operation against Chechnya.
That won him immediate and immense popularity.
Which apparently was the aim of the apartment bombings...
And who claimed responsibility?
Per Wiki, not the Chechens:
Although on 2 September 1999, Arab field commander Ibn Al-Khattab announced that "The mujahideen of Dagestan are going to carry out reprisals in various places across Russia," he would on 14 September deny responsibility in the blasts, adding that he was fighting the Russian army, not women and children.
Here's Wikipedia on investigations into the 1999 Moscow apartment bombings:
An official investigation of the bombings was completed by the Russian Federal Security Service in 2002.
According to the investigation and the court ruling that followed, the bombings were organized by Achemez Gochiyaev, who remained at large as of 2010, and ordered by Arab Mujahids Ibn Al-Khattab and Abu Omar al-Saif, who were killed.
Six other suspects have been convicted by Russian courts.
OK, any other investigations?
Russian Parliament member Yuri Shchekochikhin filed two motions for a parliamentary investigation of the events, but the motions were rejected by the Russian Duma in March 2000.
An independent public commission to investigate the bombings was chaired by Duma deputy Sergei Kovalev. The commission was rendered ineffective because of government refusal to respond to its inquiries.
The Commission's lawyer Mikhail Trepashkin was arrested for exposing classified information.
And what about the infamous case of one Litvinenko?
Thefreelibrary article (pay attention, this is important):
Mr. Litvinenko, an ex-agent of the Soviet KGB (and its successor, the Russian FSB), was a fierce critic of Putin even before fleeing to Britain with his family in 2000. He had first come to the attention of the Western media in 1998 while still a lieutenant-colonel in the FSB, creating a stir with his public revelation that he had been ordered to assassinate Berezovsky [a critic of Putin, who had to flee the country to the UK to save his life; AG], one of Russia's richest new oligarchs. It was an order he refused to carry out. The head of the FSB at the time: Vladimir Putin.
After obtaining asylum in England, Mr. Litvinenko became an even bigger thorn in Putin's side. His powerful 2002 book, Blowing Up Russia: Terror From Within, with Yuri Felshtinsky, presents convincing evidence which supports the charges of investigative journalists and Russian analysts that the infamous series of apartment bombings in Moscow and Volgodonsk in 1999 were provocations by Putin's FSB, not the work of Chechen terrorists. The September 1999 bombings killed over 300 people and wounded hundreds of others. Putin, who was named prime minister under President Boris Yeltsin just three weeks before the bombings began, expertly played up the incidents to stir public outrage in favor of retaliation against Chechnya.
Here is the book, from Amazon: Blowing Up Russia: The Secret Plot to Bring Back KGB Terror [Bargain Price] (Hardcover).
Insane ratings of a deluded maniac?
First, no, because Russian assassins have been ordered to murder their victims in cold blood and have defected before - witness the case of Bohdan Stashynsky, who did just that.
And secondly, no, because Litvinenko himself was murdered.
The Litvinenko affair has a much more somber ending than the Stashynsky case - the ex-FSB (FSB is Russia's security service, a successor to the KGB) was himself assassinated.
And there are no ifs or buts about it - it was murder, and the world press agreed (with one notable exception - no prizes for guessing which country's mass media bucked world opinion).
BBC: Russia 'backed Litvinenko murder',
Newsnight's Mark Urban investigates the claims
The murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko was carried out with the backing of the Russian state, Whitehall sources have told the BBC.
A senior security official told Newsnight there were "very strong indications it was a state action".
Newsnight has also learned that officers at MI5 believe they thwarted an attempt last summer to kill another Russian dissident, Boris Berezovsky.
BBC: Poisoning of ex-spy Alexander Litvinenko sparked claims ,
Mr Litvinenko died in London in November 2006, having fallen violently ill after meeting two Russian men - one a former KGB security officer - at a hotel.
It later transpired he had been poisoned with radioactive polonium-210 and the case caused heightened tensions between the UK and Russia.
The radioactive Polonium 210 does not grow on trees, and is a somewhat difficult substance to ingest in one's body by mistake.
In an ultimate sad, black humor joke perpetrated by the FSB, Mr. Berezovsky, the would be victim of Litvinenko, was named by Russia as the murderer of him.
The pair had been friends since 1994, when Mr Litvinenko investigated an explosion in Moscow that had killed Mr Berezovsky's driver. Both were to become fierce critics of former President Vladimir Putin's regime.
In court, 63-year-old Mr Berezovsky credited his friend with twice saving his life. In return, he had offered support and financial help.
Mr Litvinenko's widow, Marina, said in evidence that Mr Berezovsky had come to her family's aid when her husband was remanded in custody after unveiling a plot to assassinate the businessman.
Her family had been granted asylum in the UK in 2001, months after Mr Berezovsky began his self-imposed exile.
Both became wanted men in their homeland. Mr Berezovsky was charged with fraud and political corruption in 2001, while Mr Litvinenko was convicted of abuse of office and stealing explosives in his absence in 2002.
So, the court heard, the "outrageous" allegation, made on Vesti Nedeli - described as the equivalent of the BBC's Newsnight - that the oligarch was responsible for the former spy's death came as a complete shock.
RTR offered no evidence that the broadcast was true, while UK police have identified Russian MP Andrei Lugovoi as the prime suspect. Moscow, however, has blocked his extradition.
A sick, sick joke.
Can you guess what organization Mr. Lugovoi belonged to?
No prizes if you guessed the same one as Mr. Putin.
The ex-KGB man accused of murder:
The Crown Prosecution Service says it has enough evidence to charge Mr Lugovoi with the murder of Mr Litvinenko.
Although the CPS [Crown Prosecution Service - UK courts; AG] has issued a formal request for Mr Lugovoi's extradition, Russian officials have said they will not hand him over because it would violate the country's constitution.
The former KGB officer, who now heads a private security firm, had tea with Mr Litvinenko at London's Millennium Mayfair Hotel on the day he fell ill.
Traces of the radioactive substance polonium-210, which caused Mr Litvinenko's death, have also been found in a string of places Mr Lugovoi visited in London.
So, rantings of a deluded maniac, or something more?
To put the final thought into this argument, I will leave you with this:
Wikipedia: List of deaths related to Russian apartment bombings,
* Alexander Litvinenko, an author of two books about the events, was assassinated in London. In a book he co-authored with Yuri Felshtinsky Mr. Litvinenko claimed that FSB was behind the bombings.
* Artyom Borovik investigated the Moscow apartment bombings and prepared a series of publications about them, according to Grigory Yavlinsky. Mr Borovik received numerous death threats and died in an airplane crash in March 2000.
* Anna Politkovskaya was murdered in 2006. She asked 2004 presidential nominees about the bombings.
* Igor Ponomarev died in London shortly before his scheduled meeting with Mario Scaramella, Mr. Litvinenko's associate.
* Sergei Yushenkov, a Russian lawmaker and vice-chairmen of unofficial Sergei Kovalev commission created to investigate the bombings was assassinated in April 2003
* Yuri Shchekochikhin, a Russian lawmaker and member of Kovalev commission was apparently poisoned on July 3, 2003
* Otto Lacis, another member of Kovalev commission, was assaulted in November 2003. He died two years later after a car accident.
* FSB General German Ugryumov who supervised the special forces Alpha and Vympel units at this time
* Maxim Lazovsky, an FSB officer who was allegedly involved in staging of bombings in Moscow in 1994.
* Vladimir Romanovich, an FSB officer who was identified by Mikhail Trepashkin as the man who rented basement of one of the bombed buildings, died in a hit and run accident in Cyprus
Official suspects of the case
* Arab-born Mujahid Ibn al-Khattab was poisoned by the FSB in 2002.
* Denis Saitakov, an ethnic Tatar from Uzbekistan, was killed in Georgia in 1999-2000)
* Khakim Abayev, an ethnic Karachai, was killed by FSB special forces in May 2004 in Ingushetia
* Ravil Akhmyarov, an ethnic Tatar, was killed in Chechnya in 1999-2000
* Timur Batchayev, an ethnic Karachai, was killed in Georgia in the clash with police during which Krymshakhalov was arrested
* Zaur Batchayev, an ethnic Karachai, was killed in Chechnya in 1999-2000
People who disappeared
* Achemez Gochiyayev who rented basements of the bombed buildings under request from Dyshenkov and later reported about other mined buildings to police, according to his tape that Chechen middle men passed to Sergei Kovalev Commission.
* Three FSB agents (two men and a women) who conducted the "training exercise" in the city of Ryazan. Their identities and fate remains unknown although their photos were advertised on Russian television.
This movie is a sequel, it all happened before, and the end result is the same - Russians died, TV propaganda pushes the "Nation is United" meme and Putin remains in power.
While I personally believe that Putin's iron hand has been actually good for Russian stability and its people, and was needed to stave off the insidious encroachment of the Western world's "free market" scammers, I cannot condone state sanctioned murder to further political ambitions of Putin's clique.
NPR: Why 'GQ' Doesn't Want Russians To Read Its Story
For war journalist Scott Anderson, the most confounding part of his recent assignment for GQ magazine to explore the root of terrorist acts in Russia a decade ago wasn't the suggestion of treachery and subterfuge he found.
It was the reception his story ultimately received in the United States.
"It was quite mysterious to me," Anderson says. "All of a sudden, it became clear that they were going to run the article but they were going to try to bury it under a rock as much as they possibly could."
His investigative piece, published in the September American edition of GQ, challenges the official line on a series of bombings that killed hundreds of people in 1999 in Russia. It profiles a former KGB agent who spoke in great detail and on the record, at no small risk to himself. But instead of trumpeting his reporting, GQ's corporate owners went to extraordinary lengths to try to ensure no Russians will ever see it.
Conde Nast owns Vanity Fair and GQ as well as other publications, including Russian versions of GQ, Glamour, Tatler and Vogue. On July 23, Jerry S. Birenz, one of the company's top lawyers, sent an e-mail memo to more than a dozen corporate executives and GQ editors.
"Conde Nast management has decided that the September issue of U.S. GQ magazine containing Scott Anderson's article 'Vladimir Putin's Dark Rise to Power' should not be distributed in Russia," Birenz wrote.
He ordered that the article could not be posted to the magazine's Web site. No copies of the American edition of the magazine could be sent to Russia or shown in any country to Russian government officials, journalists or advertisers. Additionally, the piece could not be published in other Conde Nast magazines abroad, nor publicized in any way.
in today's Russia, says Nina Ognianova, the program director for Europe and Central Asia at the Committee to Protect Journalists, the origin of the 1999 bombings is a taboo topic. And she says Russian authorities often turn up the heat on reporters who stray into unwelcome terrain.
"You can be sued for defamation — but you don't even have to be sued. You can be audited," Ognianova says. "Politicized audits are a big hurdle for publications that dare to publish sensitive topics."
Those audits can focus on just about anything — including fire codes — that could paralyze a publication for months and send advertisers fleeing. That's a consequential result for media companies that see foreign publications as increasingly important sources of revenue.
Journalists in Russia do fear retribution. Ognianova will be in Moscow on Sept. 15 to release a CPJ report about 17 journalists who have been killed since 2000. There have been convictions in only one case.
Anderson had never hidden his subject from editors at GQ when they approached him to write something about Russia. His ensuing six-page story centered on Mikhail Trepashkin — a former KGB agent who had investigated the bombings. Trepashkin spoke at length about the inconsistencies in the case — and about possible links between the bombings and to the security agency that Putin once headed. Trepashkin himself has ties to a controversial Russian billionaire and recently spent several years in jail before being released. But Amnesty International said he had been treated unjustly and said the charges against him appeared to be politically motivated.
"Here's a guy who spent four years in prison on a trumped-up, really rather silly charge (that) was a direct result of the investigative effort he's made on these bombings," Anderson says. "Now he's out — he's certainly kind of walking around with a bullseye on his back — and yet is still willing to tell the story."
"I think it's really kind of sad," Anderson says. "Here now is finally an outlet for this story to be told, and you do everything possible to throw a tarp over it."
GQ editors were also told not to promote the story, but in an act of quiet defiance, the magazine sought publicity for Anderson's article from a few news outlets, including NPR's All Things Considered.
I wonder what will happen if Putin starts to lose the grip of power once again, and if, for the third time, a "terrorist outrage" happens.
On behalf of Muscovites, may I kindly ask the murderers to please space that beautiful city, and pick some other one.
Although, if one wants the world's cameras to witness the terrorists(?) work, nothing works as well the capital.