Sunday, January 31, 2016

Just How Bad is Putin? Ever More People Are Counting the Ways

Paul Goble

            Staunton, January 31 – As the number of Vladimir Putin’s violations of international law and normal morality grows, ever more people are offering lists of the actions for which he must be held accountable.  Three particularly interesting examples of that trend have been offered over the last several days.

            Russian journalist Oleg Kashin offers a list of 11 Putin actions which show just how bad the Kremlin leader is (

·         “Putin is a usurper” who destroyed Russia’s parliament, courts, regional power and so on.

·         “Putin is an enemy of progress and an enemy of culture,” who has driven society back toward medievalism promoted “pseudo-Orthodox traditions, caricature-like puritanism and homophobia,” and opposition to so many features of modernity including the Internet.

·         “Putin stole May 9,” the only holiday that truly unites all Russians in order to build his power.

·         “Putin is a man of the past,” who has implemented in Russia everything bad that he and others like him believed about the West in their youth: militarism, police rule, the cult of geopolitics, and a belief in conspiracies.

·         “Putin is a revanchist,” who is restoring those parts of the Soviet past that no one wants back including the nomenklatura, ideological diktat, and a fencing off the rest of the world.

·         “Putin is a builder of a state that is hostile to its own population,” as shown by Chechnya.

·         “Putin is the president of unrealized hopes and marching in place.” 

·         “Putin is the president of the lie.”

·         “Putin is a cynic” who believes htat everyone can be bought or intimidated.

·         “Putin has deprived Russia of its faith in itself.”

·         And “Putin is corrupt.”

Commentator Konstantin Borovoy has a similar list of things he says Putin should be held responsible for (

·         “Usurpation of power and illegal revision of the Constitution.”

·         Blowing Up the Apartment Buildings in 1999 to restart the Chechen war.

·         Blocking the resolution of frozen conflicts in Abkhazia and Transdniestria.

·         “Unleashing and conducting aggressive wars of conquest in Georgia and Ukraine,” during which he ignored international law and agreements.

·         Corrupt and illegal actions while he was in St. Petersburg.

·         The Magnitsky case, for which he bears responsibility for blocking a genuine investigation if not more.

·         Illegal seize of property and use of the legal system against Yukos and Khordokovsky.

·         The murder of Litvinenko.

·         Crimes against humanity in Syria.

·         Laundering criminally obtained moneys and corruption.

·         “The hero-ization of Stalin (‘an effective manager’), the USSR (‘he who does not regret the disintegration of the USSR doesn’t have a heart’), and the CPSU (‘Unlike many former members of the CPSU, I haven’t burned but rather preserved my party card’).”

·         “Ineffective and unprofessional administration of the Russian economy,” leading to its current “catastrophic state.”

And finally, a group of Ukrainian officials have put together a 40-page listing of the crimes the Kremlin leader has been behind in his invasion of Ukraine. The presentation of the book to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has sparked a furor.  An online copy is available at;

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