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Just in: Gidon Kremer plans anti-Putin concert

The violinist is putting together a group of like-minded artists – he names Martha Argerich, Daniel Barenboim, Khatia Buniatishvili and Nicolas Altstaedt – to perform a concert in support of Russian oppositionists who have been suppressed or jailed by Vladimir Putin. Among the pieces to be performed is Giya Kancheli’s Angels of Sorrow, dedicated to the 50th birthday of the jailed oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovski.

It’s not the first time Kremer has spoken out against the Putin regime but he has not linked his views before to public protest. Asked about colleagues such as Anna Netrebko and Valery Gergiev who are outspoken Putin supporters, he refused to comment on the acts of individuals under a harsh regime. ‘My teacher David Oistrakh was a representative of the Soviet regime and, at the same time, a very great artist,’ said Kremer. ‘I can well imagine what he went through. Who knows if it did not take years off his life.’

Read the full interview here (auf Deutsch).

kremer

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Comments

  1. Fabio Fabrici says:

    I admire Kremer’s noble support for freedom and democracy.
    But Khodorkovski was a mole for foreign entities, trying to control the Russian oil industry. They stopped him quite brutally, but Khodorkovski is in no way the innocent victim our western cold-war sclerotic propaganda machinery tries to paint.
    With Russia it’s VERY important to get beyond the infantile “good guys – bad guys” dichotomy our thinking in the west is so infected with, probably due to cold war realities and decades of Disney cartoons influence. ;)
    A Russia under anyone else than Putin – e.g. under another drunk corrupt leader like Jelzin – by today would probably be a colonized entity of the global corporations that had big eyes for Russia’s vast natural assets. Jelzin almost achieved that, but fortunately Putin got a grip back on Russia’s national resources. What is the best for Russia? Russians after Jelzin could choose between two “evils” (to fall back into the dichotomy), and I think with Putin they chose the better one.

    • PR Deltoid says:

      Fabio, I agree with you. Putin is not a nice fellow, but he probably saved Russia from total collapse – people forget (or don’t know) just how bad it was there in the 90s. Khodorkovsky is a thug with a large PR machine. It’s sad to see foreign artists being essentially suckered into supporting him – one could also mention Arvo Pärt, who dedicated his last symphony to Kh.

      I see below some posts protesting Russia’s new anti-gay legislation. I sympathize, but the problem here is not Putin, but the illiberal prejudices of the Russian public at large. In this case Putin is following, not leading.

  2. Scott Rose says:

    Putin is a horrid monster who just got passed a series of brutally oppressive anti-gay “laws.” They forbid “gay propaganda” i.e. any form of speech or activity that acknowledges gay people as human beings. As Harvey Fierstein points out in an editorial in the New York Times, these laws mean that a judge, newspaper editorial writer, et cetera is not free to advocate for LGBT Russians’ human rights. Two people of the same gender, walking down a Russian street, holding hands and imagined to be gay can be immediately imprisoned. We already have plenty of credible reports of arbitrary detentions. Already we know of the resurgence of antisemitism in Russia (as if antisemitism there had ever gone away). If the Orthodox Church in collusion with the government feels emboldened to do this against LGBT Russians, which minority is next? The time to boycott Russia and Russian goods is right now. The Olympic Committee should be taking a stand, refusing to carry out plans for the games there this winter. The point is not whether athletes will be safe there; the point is to help the Russian victims of these cruel and unjust laws.

    • Gurnemanz says:

      This is a patent misrepresentation of the situation in Russia that plays on the worst stereotypes and fears. Then again, it does come from the NYT so how could it be any different?

      • Robert Switzer says:

        It is not a patent misrepresentation. It’s a fact. And it has been reported by many reputable publications (although I suppose you feel that the New York Times and any of the others are not reputable because you appear to support a fascist dictator). The truth is that Putin has signed legislation that makes it illegal to discuss homosexuality in a positive light. To do so is equated with creating pornography and corrupting public morals. Moreover, any person simply perceived of being supportive of LGBT rights can be arrested. Putin has also made it illegal for unwanted Russian children to be adopted by parents in any country that supports marriage equality, regardless of the sexual orientation of the prospective parents.

        • Gurnemanz says:

          I do not support any fascist dictator and I resent the suggestion. As for the NYT, any paper that has Thomas Friedmann as a factor of any kind is a joke.

          • There are many good writers for the New York Times, but Thomas Friedmann is not one of them. He find instant solutions to major problems in the world. I am referring among other, what he wrote about the Arab Spring after a short visit to Tahrir Square and having a short discussion with a young promoter of the revolution. His analysis of the situation has a depth of about a micron. His world ,for all I care, is flat. It pathetic how many people fall for precooked stuff and express their admiration. Apparently it is tp digest by a lot of minus habens.

    • Fabio Fabrici says:

      The gay law issue in Russia is horrid, but to understand it better, it is not driven by the government but pure populism, a tribute to the widespread homophobic values in Russian society. Doesn’t make it any better for the suppressed victims, but it’s hardly an issue we should have with Putin, but with the Russian society in general.

      • Robert Switzer says:

        Putin is exploiting an issue to shore up his support in a way that violates the fundamental human rights of millions of people. I doubt he needs to engage in such repression to hold power — his critics are mysteriously and conveniently dye off or are found guilty of crimes in unfair trials so they can be silenced, a warning to others not to cross their leader.

        Whether it’s Putin’s personal view or “the widespread homophobic values of Russian society,” the result is the same. Russia does not deserve to be rewarded with prestigious events such as the Olympics as long as it continues to repress behavior, speech, and thought. To stand idly by while this continues is to be complicit. Shame on you.

        • Fabio Fabrici says:

          Shame on me? For what? Let’s stay on the high road, that’s unworthy mud slinging otherwise.
          Putin is not driving the gay law issue. That’s mostly driven by politicians in parliaments on national and regional levels for obvious populistic reasons. Sure Putin could have a stricter stand for human rights and liberal values, but to focus every single issue on him, is our big mistake in the west for not being able to see the political structure in Russian “democracy”.
          I know this is news to you, but the cold war is over for us here in Europe, and we do not want to have it back, even though the usual war mongers in Washington and their profiteering buddies in the global corporate elite very much would love to get Russia back on track as their nice big enemy.
          Russia is our friend, not our enemy. Let us live in peace.
          Find some other useful idiot for your war machinery. Like a new bearded guy in a tent somewhere in a desert, since you got rid of the old one. Or even better find one on the moon, your ailing space program might benefit from it.

          • Fabio

            as someone who follows russian politics on a daily basis
            I must correct you. While it is correct that russian society as a whole
            is very homophobic – it is a very wrong conclusion that the issue is
            driven by the local and regional parliaments. You must understand
            the system in Russia is such that no guy in Vladivostok will come
            with ANY initiative before “confirming” it first with the president’s
            administration. Tactical decisions are taken by the administration
            strategic by Putin himself.

            In plain text: forget the whole democratic structure you are used
            to from the west. It is all just am imitation, a smoke screen.
            As a matter of fact everything is with one single overriding principle:

            Putin must remain in power FOREVER.

            Are you OK with that? I am not.

            Trying to push it over to discussing US is like whitewashing
            Ayatollah in Iran by saying that also in US no president can
            be elected who says he does not believe in God. Same topic
            but very different circumstances.

          • Fabio Fabrici says:

            Dmitri,

            well, I was saying it based on this (and other sources)

            http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/russias-duma-waves-through-antigay-law–by-436-votes-to-0-8654582.html

            “The law is modelled on regional legislation that outlaws “homosexual propaganda” in a number of Russian regions.”

            also this
            “the former Moscow Mayor famously referred to gay rallies as “a place for Satanists”.”

            …regional forces.

            I agree that the comparison of US and Russia is not what is at stake here. What I’m trying to point out is the hypocrisy from people – mostly from the US – who see the splinter in Russia’s eye but not the beam in their own eye.
            While homosexuality itself is not illegal in Russia, “only” “propaganda” for it (not my wording), in the US there are still states with legislation that make homosexual acts itself illegal. Why don’t these self declared Sheriffs of the world not first clean up in their own dirty house?
            http://www.sodomy.org/laws/

          • oh absolutely,
            there are places in US which are pretty bad
            but US is much more decentralized so one can at least make
            the case that if Texas is no good – one can always move to Boston etc…

            but yes- americans use different standards for themselves and for the rest of us

            just look at the Snowden affair; just imagine what would have happened
            if say a german company would build in spy devices in their cars and would
            spy for years on american citizens; when this flew up we would have buckets
            of dirt streaming from TV screens etc
            now if americans do that – this is just fine, cause they are the masters I guess

            and then they take themselves the right to chase their own citizen around the globe
            putting completely illegal pressure on any dissenting countries who even think
            of helping the guy – just unbelievable

            … and this is after all the result of a uni-polar world with Soviet Union down
            and Europe NOT up and no challenge to US authority…

          • Fabio Fabrici says:

            Russia decriminalized homosexuality in 1993. In the US by 2003 15 states still had homosexuality criminalized, only to be declared unconstitutional by the US supreme court in that year.
            Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Kansas, Michigan, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, and Utah still have yet to repeal or strike down their state’s sodomy laws, although unenforceable due to the Supreme Court ruling.
            This is why I constantly bring up the US-Russia comparison, pointing out the huge hypocrisy.

          • Robert Switzer says:

            Do you honestly believe national anti-gay laws would be introduced in the Duma if Putin did not approve?

            I don’t expect a meaningful answer from you because you can’t defend your position based on what’s happening in Russia. I never said the United States is perfect, but for you to believe you can defend Russian law based on inconsistencies in U.S. law or policy is specious. Your comparison is a false equivalency. It is worthless.

            As for homosexuality being decriminalized in Russia in 1993, you seem to be blind to the fact that the new law essentially recriminalizes it. In fact, it goes further. It allows for the arrest of people who support gay rights regardless of their sexual orientation. In the United States, there may be states that have not officially erased their anti-gay law from the books, but they do respect the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision and don’t enforce them.

            And if you don’t think Putin is serious, the anti-gay arrests have already begun. Four Dutch tourists were the first.

            http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/articles/493640/20130723/dutch-tourists-arrested-gay-propaganda-russia-law.htm

          • Fabio Fabrici says:

            I shouldn’t answer, because your constant attempt of going ad hominem below the belt disqualifies you. Your tone is unacceptable. But here is what I have to say.
            First of all I wouldn’t call existing “sodomy laws” in several US states mere “inconsistencies”, when Russia effectively scrapped their equivalent laws in 1993 and today were are talking about a law in Russia, that prevents exposing children from being exposed to homosexual “propaganda”. That is something that at least as strongly is happening in the south of the US. So the hypocrisy you expose is again huge. You call Putin “fascistic” for heading a country that has scrapped sodomy laws some time ago, but call US states that still have them “inconsistent”. Do you see the double standard? Probably not, I know now that you are blind on that eye that looks at yourself.

            Also you are not informed well enough to even have this debate. The new law does NOT recriminalize homosexuality. I do abhor the new Russian law, but we have to stay with the facts. The law criminalizes public “propaganda” (their words) of homosexuality to minors. Homosexuality itself is not criminalized.

            The US laws on the other hand, though unenforceable due to the Federal Supreme court decision, do criminalize homosexual acts and behavior directly. Why have these laws not been scrapped yet? Don’t you see that we in the world are shaking our heads and laughing about people like you, who think they can teach the world some values, while their own house stinks?
            Try to hold a homosexual rights rally passing kindergartens and schools in Texas or Utah, and then we talk again…

  3. Una Barry says:

    Don’t think these outstanding artists, like Barenboim would put his name to the likes of this without doing his homework. After all he’s conducting The Ring this week and his East West Orchestra at the Proms. But I’m not a politician so can’t comment on Putin as such, except his treatment of gays in his country. I’m not gay or Russian either.

  4. They should play ‘Ein Heldenleben’, and project images of Putin’s pathetic attempts at macho posturing: tagging a (heavily) sedated polar bear; deep-sea exploring in a glass-fronted submarine (and looking terrified); holding a tiger’s head (again heavily-sedated) as scientists fit a tracking device; horse riding whilst bare-chested; and general posing with a variety of guns, hunting knives, fast cars, jet planes – most of the time looking incredibly camp.

    • Detmar Huchting says:

      Intriguing idea! But I’m not sure this would meet Richard Strauss’s intentions whilst composing “Ein Heldenleben”

  5. Gurnemanz says:

    Yaaaaawn…Another crusader-for-democracy wannabe mouthing off about stuff he knows nothing about.

  6. Yes, yes but??? The truth is rarely pure and never simple. Netrebko is a global brand and the only people in Russia who depend on her are her immediate family. I dare say that she could decamp tomorrow to Berlin, New York and all points west. Gergiev is responsible for a huge theatre complex and all its employees. What is he to do? Quit Russia and leave them in the lurch? It would be so easy for him to issue well-meaning bromides from Vienna or London or anywhere else. Who would that help? The only route is through political and economic persuasion. Note that Navalny has been bailed pro-tem. An accident? Respect for Kremer but there are other routes.

  7. How any of you could paint a rosy picture of Russia is completely beyond me. Gurnemanz! What is your position on this other than to post withering and sarcastic comments? Perhaps these artists know what they are talking about, as does the New York Times. What, they all made this up? I have visited and worked in Russia and have thoroughly enjoyed experiencing that land of high culture. But I will never set foot in such a place until these fascistic laws repealed. It is not just about democracy. It is about the very real persecution of minorities, which is nothing to “yawn” over! And how is it that you know so much? Where do you get your unimpeachable information? Do you care to share it with the rest of us? No, you do not have any such special knowledge. Maybe it is you who have no idea what they are talking about.

    • Fabio Fabrici says:

      Russia is still a long way from being a liberal, enlightened, tolerant and economically stable society. But “fascism” is actually what we see in the US developing these days. Just look at the Orwellian surveillance nightmare the US has become.

      Where are the famous US artists, organizing concerts against Guantanamo, torture and the demolition of due process and the rule of law?

      What Russia has is: no debt and vast natural resources. They can lean back and watch the west, led by the overstretched US, sink… no wonder the mainstream media in the west is full of vitriol against Russia by the usual spin doctors. Remember the Georgia-Russia war int he last days of the Bush admin? That was a glimpse behind the curtains who is meddling there to tease the Russkies. Read about which nations had hundreds of military advisors in Georgia days before Georgia attacked South Ossetia, and you will understand the dirty game played maybe a bit better…

      • Robert Switzer says:

        And that makes what Putin is doing, scapegoating homosexuals to deflect Russians from their own problems, right I suppose from the way you view matters. Give me a break.

        • Fabio Fabrici says:

          No it doesn’t, if you read and understand what I said rationally.

          • Robert Switzer says:

            I read and understood what you wrote. It is your comment that is irrational. You somehow think it is rational to defend the repression of the Russian government by criticizing actions of the United States. I think that’s the recourse taken by one who can’t defend his position.

  8. Elsalon says:

    Grunematz: At the risk of inviting your ongoing uninformative arrogant diatribes, your comments are the epitome of what’s wrong with discussions about politics or other topics in social media. Instead of shedding any light on the subject from your self-imposed position of authority, your comments insult not only the individuals who take the time to offer a comment, but apparently also any institution or philosophy that doesn’t match your own narrow position. You say that Mr. Rose’s comment is a patent misrepresentation of the situation in Russia, but just over the weekend three Dutch citizens/tourists were arrested in Russia on gay propaganda charges. Putin has endorsed this new Gay Propaganda Law.

    Instead of putting people down for their comments, why don’t you actually try to argue your point of view. Enlighten all of us, who clearly are too beneath you, to waste your time to defend a position.

  9. mitzouko says:

    HAVE NOT FORGOTTEN THE KURSK: PUTIN REFUSED FOREIGN HELP AND THE WHOLE CREW HAD TO DIE WHILE WAITING FOR THE INEFFICIENT AND SLOW RUSSIAN HELP:

    • Gurnemanz says:

      Western “help” always comes with a price tag attached , and usually a huge one. Russians learned that the hard way during the 1990-ties.

      • Michael Schaffer says:

        Right – so it was better to just let the whole crew die miserably. I see.

        • Fabio Fabrici says:

          The Kursk is a case, where we commoners don’t know what exactly happened, much of the actual events were classified. So was the submarine itself and it’s supposed new high speed torpedoes that were to be tested. “Spying” US submarines in the vicinity also played a role, which role exactly is not officially known. So I would not feel competent to make a judgement which decision was right and which not.
          Also even if Putin had allowed foreign help immediately, the sailors still would have died, reportedly most of them died within hours after the explosions, long before any help would have reached the sailors trapped in the wreck.

        • Fabio Fabrici says:

          A version a bit different than what we were told, not to be dismissed right away, quite possible.
          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N_pFzMnaoIY

  10. Gurnemanz says:

    Biological laws are relentless, they do not yield to liberal interpretations and defining-down. When a certain percentage of homosexual population is achieved in a species or a society the end result is it’s extinction. No amount of on-paper legislation, supreme court deliberations and other proceedings held so dear by the so-called enlightened clique will change that.

    You know what the most gay-friendly human society recorded in history was? Sparta. Yes, the same Sparta of Leonidas, Thermopylae and the 300 made it practically a legal obligation for it’s men to have a fellow male as a lover. At one point their gene pool was so depleted due to this that it dawned on them that they will disappear so as a last desperate measure they began to give citizenship to some helots(it’s a long story to explain how and why this was traumatic to traditional Spartans) but to no avail since they long passed the point of no return.

    For a society that has had decades of population decline and low birth rates like Russia has to adopt a policy of facilitating practices that would make the latter decline further is suicidal, plain and simple. If suicidal tendencies are considered a mental disease in an individual, why are they being looked over, even celebrated when it comes to society at large?

    Cue qualifications of “bigotry”, “fascism”, “small-mindedness” an other in the same vein at me. If it makes you feel better, go ahead. It won’t make anything I wrote less true.

    • Daniel Loftin says:

      Your assertions are absolutely unfounded in fact. There has never been a culture which disappeared due to some mysterious rising percentage of homosexual population. You cite the example of Sparta, which did not disappear. Gay men and lesbian women have been marrying for millenia. The idea that Russia might be depopulated unless Russian homosexuals are quashed is ludicrous, at best.

      • Gurnemanz says:

        Sparta still exists? I suppose so, but it has about as much connection to the ancient Sparta as the current Mexico does with the Aztecs: it occupies (roughly) the same territory and that’s it. And there was nothing mysterious about “the rise of homosexualism” in ancient Sparta, it was, as I said, promoted by the state.

        • Fabio Fabrici says:

          Gurnemanz, I’m not sure you seriously want to believe in the scenario, that Russia is under existential threat due to homosexuality spreading. I think that’s just a myth falling on fertile ground in a traditionally very homophobic society.
          Don’t you think alcoholism would play a MUCH bigger role in the self extermination of Russians? Russian men have an average life expectancy around 60 years only, by far the shortest of all industrial G8 nations, mostly due to alcoholism.

    • Scott Rose says:

      Your [redacted:abuse] views on homosexuality are diametrically opposed to the overwhelming consensus in the medical sciences and in such disciplines as anthropology.

  11. Independently of all that is said consider these simple facts:

    - Putin is effectively ruling in his 4th term (which is by now 6 years)

    - he has no plans to resign, it is now obvious to everyone, even though he says otherwise

    - his party controls the parliament single-handedly, in addition it controls ALL
    regional parliaments and also ALL major cities; amazing for the country of that size;

    - government controls all major TV stations, which have black
    lists of people who are prohibited to appear on TV

    one can discuss whether his policies are good or bad but its this
    complete domination in power with no alternative points and no
    perspective which makes parts of the russian society desperate
    and demoralized

    it is very important that artists of this standing lend moral support
    to these parts of the russian society

    • Fabio Fabrici says:

      Good points, but do you think Russia will become a more open and democratic society by further alienation from the west, which is mainly driven by US (and a couple of smaller player’s) geopolitical agendas?
      Russia will open up and develop a more democratic society, if we lead them by example and integrate them.
      But that’s against the US geostrategy, which requires a strict “divide et impera” for the European continent, an enforced division between Russia and Western Europe.

      Culturally one could make a pointed statement, that Russia is actually closer to Western Europe than the US, even more so in the 21st century.
      If Europe wants to truly come to terms with it’s troubled past that culminated in the belligerent 20th century, and get rid of the de facto control of the US over it’s matters, it must tighten the bonds to Russia.

      • I agree with this 100%.
        Russia and US have very different history and different culture.
        Adopting the american way directly does not fit Russia,
        at least at the current stage of its development.
        Also geopolitically US and Russia are natural foes, whereas
        Russia and Europe have very many common interests.

        Moving towards Europe in a sensible way would be right way
        for Russia but it is not what Putin is doing. All these values are
        incompatible if your purpose is plain:
        stay in power forever.
        And this is what they plan. Not just Putin, but the “elite”
        around him who has access to the profits from the natural resources.
        The primary goal is: access to these resources to enrich themselves,
        everything else (such as gay rights etc) is seconday to them – it is a smoke screen.
        The current political repression is just a reaction to the weak attempts
        of the society to wrestle the control over power and resources from
        this very small group of people.
        The sad part is that also the “west” in principle is happy with the situation
        and the primary goal for them is to have a stable source of natural resources
        at good prices. The freedom and rights of russian people is less important.

        • Fabio Fabrici says:

          While the corruption you mention is certainly the reality, we should in all fairness also consider that corruption is at least at equal or even bigger levels in the US. The difference is, that corruption in the US is mostly legal.
          Main difference between Russia and the US is, that the US has the dollar, the fiat currency the world is forced to except as legal tender, because it is backed by the mightiest military machine the world has ever seen. Besides that there is not much substantial difference. Both are plutocracies with a pseudo-democratic charade.

          • Fabio – I agree with some of the things about US
            but why does one want to discuss it here?
            The article is about Russia and Putin.
            Just because things are screwed in US does not give
            Putin an excuse for his actions.

            Besides the main features:
            irreplacable leader with bared torso, one party controlling
            everything, few big companies dominating everything together
            with the government are more like Mussolini’s Italy
            than today’s US

          • Fabio Fabrici says:

            Dmitry – you are right in your way, my objection is to the blind and undifferentiated attacks on anything Russian from a few very influential interest groups in the west.
            Nothing is rosy in Russia, but the more concerning development for world peace is the continuous undermining of European sovereignty and unity by some very clever interest groups in the US administration and plutocracy. Flat out democracy western style – as much as we would like to see it happen now – is not an option for ruling Russia at this point in time unfortunately.
            Bottom line – choosing between pest or cholera – it probably still is the much better option if the profits from Russian resources stay invested in Russia, as is mostly the case with the current oligarchy, rather than Russia being looted by the international corporate oligarchy.
            One of the “deals” Putin has with the oligarchy is that they have their way under his government, as long as they keep their money invested inside Russia. Khodorkovsky violated the rule and was shot down.
            Gideon Kremer or Barenboim in my opinion should stay out of this mess. There are no “good guys” they could support and they shouldn’t just play the tunes of Washington or Netanjahu. But they could encourage the Russians to develop toward a more civilized society.

          • actually the reason Khodorkovsky is in prison
            is because Putin put up a simple condition:
            the oligarchs should stay out of politics;
            it is of course ironic since Putin himself was brought
            to power by Berezovsky

            Khodorkovsky violated this condition and started
            to buy up members of parliament from the communist
            party and from the democratic party in order to uproot
            Putin from his office…

            so – it is a mirky story, but it does not give Putin
            the right to put someone in jail for so long
            in fact his plan is probably that Khodorkovsky should
            die in jail – this is too much, it is too cruel

            I

  12. Fabio,

    Somehow you reminds me an e-opinion maker, with a hidden message, that Russia is too powerful and processes are good and everybody who are not in favor of Mr.Putin are crooks and with quite blurred past?
    And of course west is bad….i heard this already 30 years ago..

    • Fabio Fabrici says:

      Sorry, but that’s total nonsense. I’m just sick of this daily propaganda from certain interest groups in the west, who have the alienation and political isolation of Russia on their agenda. If you don’t know about these agendas, you can easily find out about it. Or stick to what the mainstream media is spoon feeding you and keep repeating “war is peace” and other Newspeak items that are so typical of today’s western uninformed masses.

      • I agree with Fabio that there is a geopolitical struggle between Russia
        and US (but also for example between China and US or Europe and US)
        and undoubtedly western media are to a large part participating in this struggle.
        The overt agenda is: Russia must be subdued, it must stop even being a regional power and so on.
        This was very visible recently during a recent russian-georgian conflict
        when the media coverage was lopsided to phrase is diplomatically.
        These are all very interesting things to discuss, however, the article is not about that!
        So why get into them here?

        I do not think the article is anti-russian. It is anti-Putin, yes, not anti-russian.
        As a matter of fact – Gidon is from Soviet Union and he knows these things,
        he feels the pain of the progressive part of the russian society and this is why
        he wants to support them. He is PRO-Russian and what he does is good thing to do.

        … and boycotting Olympics, protesting political repression, reducing
        Putin to Quaddafi status, Magnitzky list and so on are all
        very good PRO-RUSSIAN things to do.

        There is no easy way and there are troubles ahead but
        first and foremost the dictator must go. Yes, after this russians
        must watch out for their natiional interests and not become
        neo-colonized by the americans (or by chinese!) but all things
        aside: freedom is important, and Putin good or bad should leave
        the sooner the better.

        • Fabio Fabrici says:

          We might have to agree to disagree about the current affairs in Russia and I respect your apparent inside knowledge. I’m not sure it is possible at this point in time to govern Russia with any other form of government than some form of – as benevolent as possible – dictatorship. The society is simply not ripe for it. Educated and more enlightened groups, mainly in the major cities of Russia, are frustrated about the suppression, but the society as a whole is not at the point to govern itself effectively democratically. It pretty much falls down to two choices, either law of the jungle, looting of the country by foreign entities and anarchy (Jelzin era), or an iron fist and strict control over Russia’s resources (Putin era). You might disagree, and I would hope you are right.

          • no question the iron fist and the strict control
            is better than the foreign colonization
            and this is precisely the reason Putin was shot to
            power by the russian public and this was
            his explicit mandate

            the problem is that in the meantime he has hijacked it!
            only a handful of families (effectively a state mafia)
            are looting all the resources which belong to the russian people

          • Fabio Fabrici says:

            Yes, and that’s why we in Europe have to strengthen our ties with Russia on all levels. We have to piss into the US war mongers soup and collaborate together and change Russia from within by slowly opening it up and enforcing the culture of enlightenment there.
            Further alienation of Russia strengthens the nationalistic, mysticistic and xenophobic elements in Russia. Europe has to stand up to the usurpation by the US as it is happening today.

  13. All this Putin-bashing is just a lot of American politically correct war propoganda, similar to the Soviet anti-American propaganda from the bad old Brezhnev days. Living in Russia is just as free as living in any Western country. Only the administrative structure has become centralized, which might make sense in a country like Russia, going through a lengthy transition from communism to capitalism. The reason Putin gets bashed by our politically correct news hacks is that he doesn’t kowtow to the United States in its craven striving for global domination and its insane wars in Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, its suppost of Kosovo Albanian, Chechen and rebel Syrian Al Qaeda terrorists. Incidentally, our politically correct hacks, in their phony call for “freedom” and “diversity” don’t allow any diversity from the American way of life and culture. Other societies diferent from Western ones have different views on homosexuality, family values and similar topics. But our PC totalitarian hacks declare any country different from our society to be inferior – this makes them similar to the Nazi propaganda sinsters.

    • Robert Switzer says:

      Your statement is simply untrue. You will not be arrested in the West for exercising the fundamental right of freedom of speech. And in the specific case of outlawing speech that is considered to be “homosexual propaganda” because it somehow threatens children, the law creates a vague definition that leaves anyone who says anything someone else may interpret to be offensive open to prosecution. Medical science has rejected through peer-reviewed, documented studies the canards about homosexuality; it is not a sickness and has nothing to do with pedophilia, and yet you obviously reject knowledge for ignorance. It is not a matter of being politically correct but of being accurately informed. And while there are “other societies different from Western ones (that) have different views on homosexuality,” these are merely “views,” opinion with no basis in fact. I haven’t heard people describe Russian society as inferior, but if you believe that a society should be able to target a class of people for reasons lacking any truthfulness, then perhaps it is accurate to say that society is inferior. It’s not one in which I would ever want to live.

      • You notice how these left-wing politically correct activists distort the truth and make up things which don’t exist just to suit their political agenda. What’s more, these lefties had never uttered any criticism of the Soviet regime or the Soviet Union during its existence, when people were really targeted and put to jail simply by thinking different from the government and reading the wrong books. But they are the first to condemn (non-Soviet) Russia, which is at least as free as any Western country. That’s because these lefties are essentially Soviet in their outlook on life and mentality. You obviously haven’t been to present-day Russia, so you don’t know the facts. No group is targeted for simply being what it is – they are all allowed the freedom of holding their beliefs and living the lives that they do. In addition, most written rules and laws are disregarded and bypassed in Russia more than in any country. It is only for promotion of homosexuality someone may get repremanded and lose their job. People lose their jobs in the USA for saying things that are not “politically correct” (however that may be interpreted subjectively), while the A Sharptons and the Louis Farrakhans get away with racist hate speeches. In Russia only those people wh go on unsanctioned rallies and demonstrations get arrested – just likesomeone would in Washington DC or New York, if the demonstration or rally are unsanctioned. But the politically correct gestapo will never get the real facts get in the way a sensational story, if they want to smear a country which doesn’t kowtow to ther lust for power. That’s all the politically correct brainwashing is all about – power for political groups which would not get the power otherwise!

        • Robt. Switzer says:

          This is perhaps the most ignorant, inane, offensive, and insulting comment I have ever read on any thread I have followed on Slipped Disc. For you to assert that leftists never criticized the USSR is patently false or that their mentality is “Soviet” in outlook is too outrageously absurd for any informed person to take seriously. It was liberals who actively opposed the lack of human rights in the old Soviet Union. Must I remind you that the first U.S president to stand by the Berlin wall and decry the Soviet system was a liberal, John F. Kennedy?

          To assert that Russia today is as free as any Western country is simply untrue because Russia makes illegal the expression of views it does not approve. Moreover, Russia effectively controls the broadcast news media, which slants the information people get towards the official viewpoint by denigrating anyone who opposes Mr. Putin. You say that no group is targeted; however, expressing a positive opinion about homosexuality, which I assume you include within the the meaning of “promotion” of that subject, will get, as you admit, the proponent reprimanded or fired and what you fail to mention arrested, fined, and jailed. (Maybe the Russian media haven’t reported that people have already been arrested for that, but it has happened.) That, sir, is not freedom. In Russia, it is thus a criminal act to express the simple idea that homosexuals should have the same relationship rights in law as heterosexuals. And it is equally criminal to “promote” peer-reviewed scientific studies that are commonly accepted by the world’s most respected medical societies because they unanimously have found that homosexuality is not a disease or disorder, that it is innate to the individual just as is heterosexuality for anyone who is attracted to the opposite sex, and that children cannot be “recruited” or persuaded to become homosexual. In other words, they reject the Russian view. Russia criminalizes the truth. Russia criminalizes scientific fact. Russia criminalizes something that can’t be promoted in itself because it isn’t something that can be spread by breathing the same air or standing near someone or being told it isn’t anything bad.

          Brainwashing is what Russia, not the West, is doing. It is controlling what can be spoken publicly not because it is correct or accurate but because it wants to deny the opportunity for a targeted group of people, homosexuals, to participate in the political process. In the United States, homosexuals have still not gained full equality in all of the states, but no state denies them the opportunity to engage the public politically, to make their case, to educate people about the scientific facts. Their success as of this date did not happen overnight. The first stirrings of the gay and lesbian movement in the States began six decades ago. Although it was once illegal for homosexuals to send political material in the post, the United States Supreme Court in the 1950s proclaimed that prohibition unconstitutional. This allowed the public debate that has overcome ignorance about sexual orientation to begin.

          As long as one does not advocate the overthrow by violence of the United States government, anyone is allowed to engage in American public debate (and that includes racists, communists, and neo-Nazis), but Russia does not allow such free expression within its borders. You are wrong about how public demonstrations work in the United States. If it is a large rally or parade, yes a permit is required but not based on the subject matter. It is to prepare the authorities to be able to handle large crowds in a public space. A rally or demonstration on private property does not require a permit. And a few people carrying picket signs can march without a permit wherever they want as long as they don’t block pedestrians or vehicle traffic. But in Russia, a public protest can end in arrest not because of logistics but because the government doesn’t want Russians to hear what peaceful protesters, even just a few, are saying when their message disagrees with the official line.

          Incidentally, I have been to Russia. And from what I saw, I totally agree with your statement, ironically the only accurate comment you’ve made, that most written rules and laws are either bypassed or disregarded in Russia. This makes your argument all the more ridiculous because it demonstrates how little respect Russia has for laws and their fair enforcement.

          Feel free to have the last word. Your intellectual dishonesty is not worth any more of my time.

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