Editorial note: If you have not yet read our mission statement above, please do so in order that you can put our blogs in context.
13 December 2012
Hard to credit it, we know, but now we have Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for the revival of spiritual values in his moribund dominion.
Adopting the mantle of a Dostoyevsky or a Solzhenitsyn when he addressed a 1000-strong audience of Russian politicians in the Kremlin yesterday 12 December 2012, Putin said:
“Today Russian society has a clear deficit of spiritual principles – mercy, compassion, mutual suffering and support – a deficit of that which, through all of history, made us stronger, made us proud.”
Exhorting Russian officials to “strengthen the strong spiritual and moral fabric of society”, he called for the reinstatement of patriotism in Russian schools and businesses and hit out in particular at the relocation of Russian businesses off-shore so as to avoid paying taxes.
Referring to a campaign he launched recently to stamp out government corruption, he also flaunted his liberal credentials, saying that “Russia does not and cannot have any political choice but democracy….we share the universal principles of democracy that have been adopted throughout the world.”
Incredible, certainly, but yes, that’s what he said.
One question then, albeit a multiple one.
Is this the same Vladimir Putin
who smashed Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, to smithereens in 1994 and 1999 when the Chechens rose in revolt against Russian tyranny?
who, during the past 18 months, has provided a continuous supply of artillery, guns and munitions to Bashar al-Assad, the butcher of Syria, thereby enabling him to slaughter 40 000 of his fellow-countrymen?
who, holding the reins of power in Russia, either as Prime Minister or as President, without interruption since 1999, has surrendered the Russian economy to a tiny oligarchy of crony capitalist billionaires at the same time that the standard of living of the mass of the Russian people was plummeting to subsistence levels?
who has ruthlessly suppressed all democratic opposition to his despotic rule – outlawing protests and roughing up or jailing critics (such as Pussy Riot) – since he was re-elected to the presidency last May in a poll that is said to have reeked with the stench of widespread fraud?
Yep, that’s the guy.
You might perhaps care to view some of our earlier posts. For instance:
1. Why? or How? That is the question (3 Jan 2012)
2. Partitocracy v. Democracy (20 July 2012)
3. The shoddiest possible goods at the highest possible prices (2 Feb 2012)
4. Capitalism in practice (4 July 2012)
5.Ladder (21 June 2012)
6. A tale of two cities (1) (6 June 2012)
7. A tale of two cities (2) (7 June 2012)
8. Where’s the beef? Ontology and tinned meat (31 Jan 2012)
Every so often we shall change this sample of previously published posts.