The Other Russia: Russians Unite In Satirizing The State (Gallery)

Russians Unite in Satirizing the State (gallery)

The Ekho Moskvy radio station has held several contests for its listeners to create political cartoons and collages.  The station, one of Russia’s few mainstream media sources that lets commentators openly criticize the authorities, most recently asked its audience to satirize the rapid devaluation of the Russian ruble.  Russia’s Central Bank has allowed the ruble’s exchange rate to fall to levels below that of the country’s 1998 financial crisis, sending many citizens into a rush to convert their savings to foreign currencies.   The forecast for the future is no better, and there are even signs that Russia is seeing a resurgence of a barter economy.

Ekho Moskvy told contestants to create a collage or caricature based on the statement that “the state is saving the falling ruble.”  Online readers are now voting to pick out the top three of 39 entries, some of which have been translated below.  Two entries from an earlier cartoon contest on the World Economic Forum in Davos are also included at the bottom.  The authors of the artwork are attributed by the online nicknames they used to submit their work, and translations have been provided by

Political cartoons on the falling ruble:

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Maidan: A Squalid Year For Russian Justice

A Squalid year for Russian justice


First the very good news: Vasily Aleksanian, Yukos Vice-President, who is gravely ill with two potentially fatal medical conditions, has finally been released on bail. He had been remanded in custody in Russia for more than two and a half years without any conviction on financial charges similar to those levelled against Mikhail Khodorkovsky and other people connected with Yukos.
As reported here, on 22 December 2008 the European Court of Human Rights found violations of four articles of the European Convention on Human Rights, including Article 3 (prohibition of inhuman or degrading treatment), and called for Aleksanian’s remand in custody to be substituted for less harsh measures. This came days after Vasily Aleksanian announced that he was simply unable to raise the exorbitant bail amount which a court for the first time had allowed as a possible preventive measure to replace custody (50 million roubles, 1.7 million USD).
The Russian authorities did not heed the European Court, and Aleksanian’s release is thanks to the many people who took part in collecting the outrageously large bond demanded.
In his letter of thanks, Vasily Aleksanian writes: “I would like to express my enormous gratitude for your support. It brings joy to realize that a great number of people in Russia have not lost true eternal values. I am certain that through the joint events of such people it will be possible to overcome and improve the situation in Russia”.
Svetlana Bakhmina and her new-born daughter remain in a prison hospital. Ms Bakhmina, former Yukos lawyer, was sentenced on charges of tax evasion and embezzlement to 6 and a half years imprisonment, despite having two small sons. She has served four years of the sentence and despite calls from all over the world to release her on parole all calls for mercy have thus far been turned down. She has always maintained her innocence, and although in October (with her baby due within weeks) she is believed to have changed this statement and simply applied for a pardon, this is by now means clear and all took place at a time when her family and lawyer were denied access to her.
The latest parole application should have been heard before New Year but was inexplicably deferred until 22 January 2009.
News of this came in the same week that we learned that Yury Budanov is to be released early from the sentence he finally began serving for murdering an eighteen-year-old girl in Chechnya. Budanov had already been in a low-security colony settlement despite the gravity of his crime, and will now be released 15 months early.
Yury Budanov was the first high-ranking Russian officer to be charged with serious crimes over Chechnya. He was originally charged with raping and murdering the 18-year-old. Later the rape charge was dropped, probably because the body of his victim had been burned. Budanov claimed that he had thought the young woman was a sniper. She was not.
The first trial, involving the notorious Serbsky Institute in Moscow, had ended in Budanov’s being released on the grounds of having been “temporarily insane” at the specific moment when he killed Elza Kungaeva. Not surprisingly the verdict was greeted with outrage, and eventually another judge sentenced him to 10 years.
It is worth mentioning that the “first trial” does not necessarily imply a great many others. Take, for example, the trial of Captain Ulman (
In April Edward Ulman, Vladimir Voevodin and Alexander Kalagansky were declared wanted after not appearing at their trial on charges of murdering 6 civilians in cold blood. On 11 January 2002 military servicemen under Captain Ulman’s command shot at a car carrying civilians, killing one of them, – the 65-year-old head of a village school. Then, having questioned the other passengers, a few hours later they killed them all, including a 35-year-old mother of 5. Ulman did not deny the killings but said that he had been obeying orders….
Presumably other orders were issued in order to assist the men to escape justice, after two court verdicts acquitting the men were overturned.
Thus, Vasily Aleksanian, who has been too ill to attend court hearings over charges of a financial nature, was held in custody for two and a half years, while men accused of murdering a number of people in cold blood were conveniently left to roam – as indeed they did when justice might otherwise have finally been demanded.
Political Prisoners
Russia for some unfathomable reason remains a member of the G-8 despite having a number of prisoners who are widely considered to have been imprisoned for motives having little, if anything, to do with justice.
The systematic destruction of Yukos, and Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who had become a strong opponent of Vladimir Putin, is the most prominent case where the justice system, no longer in the Soviet Union, but in the supposedly democratic Russian Federation, has been used against opponents of those in power.
The number of prisoners is, in fact, higher, including people imprisoned for long periods over absurd spying charges: Igor Sutyagin, Valentin Danilov, Igor Reshetin.
They are all in prison this New Year, and will be for a long time to come while the world remains silent.
Here’s hoping for a less wretched 2009.



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Chechenpres:Shabalkin Again Telling Lies About “The Closest Assistant Of Basaev”

From: Eagle_wng

Shabalkin again has told lies about “the closest assistant of Basaev”

As it is known, on Friday, on the 15 th of June, 5 mojaheds, having sustained 12-hour fight with several hundreds of invaders armed with tanks and armored troop carriers, not only killed and wounded 20 Putin’s terrorists, but also, having punched the ring of surrounding, left the settlement. Shabalkin today has decided to compensate such a shattering defeat of the Russian fighters by a new canard, that in the Chechen Republic , ostensibly, “the closest assistant of Basaev is detained”. Thus Shabalkin, contrary to the usage, gives about the arrested “assistant” the minimum of data. Nevertheless, the data, given by the Hankala liar, is enough to learn, that he speaks about the inhabitant of the settlement Kalinin detained on the 6 th of June in the Chechen capital, a native of Vedeno.

On Monday, the 6 th of June, in settlement Kalinin of the Chechen capital there was an unequal fight between invaders and a Chechen mojahed, a native of village Vedeno. The mojahed, who was visiting his relative, noticed the invaders only when they had already surrounded the house, and at once began to shoot at them. In the fight, which proceeded for about 4 hours, the Chechen became a Shahid (insha Allah!), but before that he had had time to kill and wound five invaders. Enraged by the losses, invaders severely beat and took away the owner of the house – a relative of the mojahed.

About this owner of the house, who did not take any part in the fight, Shabalkin was talking in his interview to the Russian press. Powerless against real mojaheds, invaders create illusion of their nonexistent successes, take peace people hostages and then give them out for “closest assistants of Basaev”.

Chechenpress, 23.06.05.

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Interfax: Power Cut To Moscow’s Paveletskaya Metro Station

From: Eagle_wng

May 25 2005 6:17PM
Power cut to Moscow’s Paveletskaya metro station

MOSCOW. May 25 (Interfax) – Power supplies were cut to the Paveletskaya circle line metro station in Moscow for the second time on Wednesday afternoon, metro officials told Interfax.

The reason for the blackout has yet to be established. Trains are not stopping at the station, where a large number of passengers have built up.

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Alhazur Erbiev For Chechenpress: Shabalkin Aspires To A Marshal

From: Eagle-wng

Shabalkin aspires to a marshal

Almost all Russian mass-media have republished the next analytical review of Shabalkin, who made quite a good career from a colonel up to a general of the FSB on literary (in the genre of reality) products. New product of Shabalkin has an intriguing name “About the situation in the Chechen gangster underground” . However, an average Russian reader, who has been brought up on worship security officers’ daring and espionage stories, reading Shabalkin’s masterpiece will be a little disappointed. The matter is that the general of the FSB right at the beginning frankly admits that the data, analyzed by him from “the gangster underground” are found out not by brave Russian scouts, and Chechen sellers, gone for business to Istanbul markets. We shall quote the analyst:

“Recently the events and situations attract attention, about which citizens tell, basically people of the Chechen nationality. Not only those, who lives in the Chechen Republic , but also those, who are in other regions of Russia . They share their impressions, which have developed at them during their foreign trips for solving of family-household problems, for meetings with relatives and for business in the countries of the Near East and Southeast Asia “.

It is clear, that sellers, having come back to the Chechen Republic from the countries of the Near East and Southeast Asia, stood in a queue for meeting with Shabalkin in Hankala “to share their impressions”. But the circumstance that sellers have arrived also from Russian regions for such a confession to Shabalkin causes doubts. However, probably, we underestimate popularity of Shabalkin among broad masses of Chechen (and not only Chechen, as the general hints) sellers. Maybe, there is also a club of fans of Shabalkin in the Chechen Republic and in Russia, who go to work to their counters wearing T-shirts with portray of the wise and spiritualized face of the Hankala analyst. Having taken into consideration, we shall listen, about what “events and situations” the sellers told the general:

“Having visited abroad, the majority of them notice appreciable disagreements among the ideologists of illegal armed formations (IAF) and among those, who support them. On the one hand, there are functionaries of the extremist organizations supporting IAF in the Chechen Republic and focused on Shamil Basaev. On the other hand, there are those, who in due time expressed support to Aslan Mashadov. Accordingly there are more serious disagreements, which quite often pass to conflicts, between the so-called foreign representatives of these odious leaders of terrorists”.

Having read this analytical pearl, it is possible to think, that “ideologists of illegal armed formations (IAF) and those, who support them”, whom Shabalkin concerns to be two hostile fractions, gather together for discussions and debates exclusively on Istanbul and Baku markets so that the visiting sellers were well informed about their “disagreements” and then with the smallest details told about them to Shabalkin. Therefore it is no wonder, that these sellers, and from their words also Shabalkin, are perfectly informed about the discord in “the gangster underground”:

“For clear reasons these contradictions mention basically sphere of collecting of money in the Muslim countries under the pretext of rendering of humanitarian help to the coreligionists in the Chechen Republic. Thus there is not any case, when this money was spent on rendering of humanitarian help in the form of foodstuffs and essential commodities”.

If sellers told Shabalkin about the further destiny of money from the “sphere of collecting”, it is quite possible to trust his convictions that “there is not any case, when this money was spent on rendering of humanitarian help in the form of foodstuffs and essential commodities”. Apparently, “ideologists of illegal armed formations (IAF) and those, who support them” report to the sellers in details detailed report on where and how much money collected by them they send, and even press their personal stamps on accounting documents, so that Shabalkin, having taken them from the sellers, would not doubt of true purpose of “the sphere of collecting”:

“Actually a part of this money is spent on increase of the level of personal comfort of collectors, functionaries and so-called representatives. Only a small part of money, as a rule a scanty one, by secret channels is sent to the regions of conflicts, including to the Chechen Republic , and spent on financing of the gangster underground”.

Most likely, “ideologists of illegal armed formations (IAF) and those, who support them” were so careless, that they invited the sellers, Shabalkin’s fans, to their country houses with a sight at the Bosporus, and treated them with water-ice and a rahat lakoum, bragging of that the sums, collected by them, had been spent “on increase of the level of their personal comfort”. Artful sellers have paid back to the ideologists and the “supporters” with a black ingratitude, having told Shabalkin, about different crystals and porcelain, from which they eat and drink, sitting in Syrian armchairs put on Persian carpets.

However, it is necessary to give the sellers their due: they did not begin to conceal from Shabalkin, that “a small part of money, as a rule a scanty one”, nevertheless gets also to the Chechen Republic . By “secret channels”, which, probably, are well-known to the mentioned sellers and Shabalkin. However, even that “scanty part”, which reaches the Chechen Republic , can be useful in military facilities. Thus the awareness of the sellers is so exhaustively deep, that Shabalkin negligently draws “the events and situations” not only in the far abroad, but also in the Chechen Republic , in the most secret “gangster underground”:

“S. Basaev undertakes attempts to subordinate A.Mashadov’s so-called foreign representatives, who controlled his monetary channels, with a view of an establishment of his personal control over the whole financing of the IAF. However, he meets the sharp counteraction from Mashadov’s supporters. The conflicts happening abroad influence also the situation in the gangster underground in the territory of the Chechen Republic . The gangsters, who earlier obeyed to A. Mashadov, refuse to become subordinate to S. Basaev and try to pass to the self-proclaimed President of the CRI A-H. Sadulaev”.

Here Shabalkin shows some forgetfulness, quite pardonable to an analyst, compelled daily to listen and write down the reports of huge quantities of sellers from the Chechen Republic and even from immense Russia . Earlier, in his March and April theses, Shabalkin categorically insisted that the President A-H. Sadulaev was not “an independent figure” and named him a “protege of Basaev”. And now Shabalkin has decided to change slightly the subject line and to recognize President Sadulaev to be the leader at least equal to S. Basaev by the degree of influence on “illegal armed formations (IAF)”. But it is not absolutely clear, why Shabalkin names Sadulaev “the self-proclaimed president”. It would be curious to listen, how Shabalkin imagines ceremony of “self-declaration as the president”.

It is uninteresting to read further, because Shabalkin repeats. Again, as during all previous five years, he has all participants of “illegal armed formations (IAF)” either running up, or in constant search of money. He again writes about Pankisi, where this time Shabalkin noticed “conflicts between the leaders of the gangs”, challenging the post of the leader of the gangster underground”. It is strange, that no one has heard about these conflicts in Pankisi and in Georgia as a whole, though the analyst assures, that “as the result of these conflicts there were fights between the insurgents of different gangs. In these cases, together with ordinary insurgents, who die and receive mutilations, the life and health of local residents is exposed to a great risk” (this fact, certainly, upsets very much).

Despite of the disturbing situation in Pankisi and annoying disagreements among “ideologists and supporters”, Shabalkin finishes his market review optimistically. He writes, “At the same time, the leaders f the gangs, being in S. Basaev’s subordination, continue to demand from their subordinates carrying out of acts of terrorism, because of fear to lose the financial support from the foreign extremist organizations. In this connection law enforcement bodies continue to carry out investigatory, operative and power actions on neutralization of their criminal activity”.

In other words, mojaheds will continue to fight against invaders, and Shabalkin will tell gossips and fables, heard by him from market sellers, in thousandth in quivering hope to make the next jump on his career ladder.

Alhazur Erbiev , Chechenpress, 24.04.05

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Mujahideen seized 300 weapons in Nalchik

From: eagle_wng
Mujahideen seized 300 weapons in Nalchik

One of the commanders of the mobile Mujahideen unit (call sign Assadula), who participated in the operation in Nalchik, spoke on the phone with the editorial staff of Kavkaz Center. He reported that the Mujahideen during the fighting in the city seized a weapon storage in the building of the Interior Ministry of Kabardino-Balkaria. All in all, more than 300 small arms, grenade dischargers and special weapons were confiscated in the building of the KBR IM, according to him.

The Mujahideen also confiscated weapons in other district departments and in the FSB building, according to the caller. In total, several hundred weapons and a large amount of ammunition was seized, according to him.

Amir Assadula also reported that the Mujahideen units successfully accomplished the assigned task. In the unit under his command, two Mujahideen became martyrs, according to him. It was difficult for him to inform about the total losses of the Mujahideen, but he stated that they were minimal.

Kavkaz Center News

2005-10-13 17:29:18

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From: eagle_wng
20.08.2005 – 00:18:49

The Constitutional Court of the Kabardino-Balkaria Republic ruled on 18 August that the controversial Law on the Status and Borders of Municipal Formations in the republic enacted in February does not violate the republican constitution…

That ruling is final and may not be appealed.

Residents of the republic´s Elbrus Raion appealed the law in June, arguing that it violates the rights of local Balkars insofar as it transfers to a local municipal council land that the villagers traditionally used for their flocks, depriving them of their livelihood.

On 12 July, the republican parliament amended several articles of the law in line with a request by villagers in Chegem Raion.

At that time, Deputy Prime Minister Anuar Chechenov said the parliament would also consider analogous requests from Elbrus villagers, but that none had been made.

(Agency Caucasus)

290705 Kabardino Balkaria

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