The ubiquitous corruption and lack of accountability in Vladimir Putin’s Russia were, until recently, easy to sweep under the rug. But the relentless decline in oil prices is making the president’s political bets unsafe. Now the country’s problems are beginning to fester in plain view, giving the regime a tough choice: Start liberalizing or go for harsh repression.
The case of Prosecutor General Yuri Chaika will be a weather vane of what’s to come. He was justice minister when Putin became president in 2000, running, among other things, Russia’s vast prison system. In 2006, Putin made him prosecutor general. Apart from prosecuting cases on the state’s behalf, the prosecutor general’s office exercises control over all criminal investigations and coordinates the activities of all law enforcement bodies, making the prosecutor general one of the country’s most influential people. Continue reading
High-speed harbor buster shown on TV
A Russian document shown on state-run television confirmed that Moscow is developing a high-speed drone submarine capable of delivering a nuclear warhead.
The secret weapon was shown on a document during several Tuesday Russian television broadcasts of President Vladimir Putin announcing plans for new strike weapons capable of defeating missile defenses. Continue reading
Russian President Vladimir Putin has gone missing from public view without any explanation and Russians are wondering why.
Berlin: Russian President Vladimir Putin has disappeared. Well, not literally, but he hasn’t been seen in public for a full week and reports about his schedule on the presidential website seem suspect. The Kremlin denies that he is ill, and the Russian blogosphere is abuzz with speculation.
It’s still impossible for an outsider to tell where Putin is, or what he’s up to. But it isn’t too early to draw conclusions from this episode. It offers evidence enough that Russia has become an outright dictatorship. No other kind of state would be so opaque, nor its citizens so preoccupied with their ruler. Continue reading