Putin's Putsch


Here's one (predictable) way the Beslan tragedy is playing out in Russia: Vladimir Putin is kick-starting a "a series of anti-terror initiatives yesterday that would strengthen the Kremlin's grip on every layer of political life."

Whole Washington Times story here.

NEXT: Walters vs. Nadelmann

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  1. Which came first:
    The Rashputin or the Dubya?

  2. Hit and Run righties TALK a good game about the media aiding terrorists, but it takes someone like Putin to actually put their ideas into practice.

  3. I was reflecting on Putins history in the KGB.

    The more things change, the more they stay the same.

    Ho Hum.

    Golly Gee mom, who woulda thunk it, Putin doin’ a power grab? Wow, I sure am surprised. Heil Putin.

  4. “I looked into his heart. He is a good man.” — Princeps W.

  5. A world leader using a tragedy to tighten his grip on power and extend government authority?

    I wonder what that’s like.

  6. Yeah, Putin is taking W’s lead:

    the proposals were short on security measures, focusing instead on electoral changes, including the elimination of popularly elected governors and an overhaul of the way Russians elect their parliament – a measure likely to increase the control of the dominant, pro-Kremlin faction.

    Just like Bush did here in the US!

  7. Rehabilation Watch: A new statue of the founder of what became the KGB, Felix Dzerzhinsky, has been unveiled in a small town outside Moscow…

  8. As further evidence of the miserable cynic I’ve become recently, I propose that Putin could help the war on terror most of all by following his KGB instincts to the hilt.

    The US alternative might seem more attractive by comparison.

  9. Jason,
    By helping the WoT by following his KGB instincts, which it appears he is doing, do you mean help the terror side of the equation? These tactics sure ain’t gonna win more friends.

    Of course, now the WWII anaology w/ the WoT my be more apt. Putin could be a decent modern Stalin.

  10. joe,

    Do you really want to start the game of exagerating other poster’s positions and pointing at Russian leaders for examples of those ideas in practice?

  11. In all seriousness, looking at the way that Putin is using this to enhance his power, it is scary. Would it be totally out of the question to ponder whether Putin’s friends in the intelligence services arranged for this attack?

    Not that it would in any way legitimate what the attackers did. Monsters who butcher kids are monsters, pure and simple, regardless of who is pulling their strings.

  12. Mo:

    What I am getting at is that if Putin were to do something truly horrific in Chechnya in response, we could put to bed all the silly false equations of the US occupation of Iraq with the worst crimes in history.

    We didn’t plan well for the reconstruction and post war period, and the administration is doing its best to bung it up still, but it would help if we were perceived to be making a good faith effort to fix it and leave (which is what we are doing). What might help that perception is to have a wack-job like Putin annihilate a whole region to illustrate that we are really offering the carrot, and THAT is the stick.

    We are screwing up a difficult situation, but the idea that what we are doing is indistinguishable from killing every muslim we find is amazingly widespread, and maybe a swell guy like Putin could illustrate what the distinction is.

    I feel like such a swell person for having thoughts like this cross my mind. I am beaten down by reports of OBLs popularity, and I am becoming more and more convinced that we are in fact at war with every person on earth with a favorable impression of AQ.

  13. Jason:
    I see your poin and it’s a good one. As unhappy as I am with the execution of the war in Iraq and the “Saddam was worse” rhetoric, I generally believe we’re pretty damn humane. The casualty numbers, on both sides, is lower than I expected. Cases like Abu Ghraib appear to be the exception and piss me off because they’re inhumane and counterproductive. But Putin will make Abu Ghraib look like summer camp.

    My question is, if and when Putin shows the fundies what real terrorism is, whatside will we be on? My idealistic side thinks that we’ll try to straddle taking out the AQ monsters and their ilk, while denouncing Putin. My cynical side is that we’ll accept Putin’s actions as egg breaking for the omelette.

    Heck, Putin might bring us back to the days where we are global good guys and the Russians are bad guys again. I pray for the innocent Chechens that will pay for the actions of a few monsters and the people of Beslan that lost their loved ones. This is going to get much worse before it gets better.

  14. Jason-

    We aren’t at war with every person on earth who thinks favorably of OBL. Or at least we don’t need to be. We only need to be at war with the people actually involved with violence. Please note that I take an expansive view of “involved with violence”, including those who knowingly provide money, shelter, etc.

    If we tried to be at war with every person who thinks well of OBL we’d have to unleash a bloodbath that would make even Putin go “damn!” And we’d just make OBL even more popular by convincing the world to believe the lies that he tells about us.

  15. “Would it be totally out of the question to ponder whether Putin’s friends in the intelligence services arranged for this attack?”


    And the CIA planned 9/11, too…

  16. andy-

    Putin’s response to Beslan (“I should appoint the regional governors!”) has just been downright creepy. That’s in a totally different category than Bush’s response to 9/11. Hence conspiracy theories are more appropriate here.

  17. andy,
    Gee, it’s not like the Russians haven’t staged andti-Russia violence to make the Chechens look bad.

    In October 1994, Moscow decided finally to put things right by staging an armed uprising in Chechnya. It was meant to look like a spontaneous rebellion of pro-Moscow Chechens, but it was so poorly planned that it failed, and several dozen participants were detained by the Chechens. All the supposed rebels turned out to be ethnic Russians employed by the secret services.

    Source: http://slate.msn.com/id/2106287

  18. “And we’d just make OBL even more popular by convincing the world to believe the lies that he tells about us.”

    They already believe it, thoreau. Every time a terrorist hides behind an old muslim lady, he seems to be viewed as somehow heroic by muslims. The more innocents he killed the better. The blame for muslim deaths always falls on the victim of the terrorist act. Terrorists may hide, but mostly they are hidden. Israel could eliminate bomb threats to them within a week with a generally helpful populace. I am starting to believe there are two ways of looking at this:

    1) Gaius is right. Terrorists always win. You cant fight them at all. As soon as someone starts blowing things up, the correct response is to give him what he wants. Attacking terrorists makes them stronger. Collateral damage is completely unacceptable.

    2) There is a problem with the terrorist, but the larger problem is that he is popular. Failing to turn in a neighbor who is a terrorist makes you culpable. Hiding behind granny shouldn’t save you any more, because granny is part of the problem. If everyone really believes that we think along these lines, the fundamental shield of the terrorist has been breached. My suspicion is that after moderate body count, the idea of the martyr will shift. When the terrorist martyr is perceived as a plague bearer rather than a hero, we have won the war on terror. We are left with clean up.

    I am open to suggestions as to how that change of perception can occur in the absence of high casualties. I am very gloomy about this at the moment, and I can’t really see a way.

  19. Andy, after a series of bombings of Moscow apartment buildings in the late 90s (blamed on Chechens), a lucky break led to the defusing of a bomb in the basement of yet another building, and the capture of the bombers.

    They were FSB employees, and their communications with FSB headquarters (“They’ve closed off the streets, we’re surrounded, what should we do?”) have been published.

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