Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Putin's Russia

Image result for The Mask + images

The BBC reports that Alexei Navalny, a vocal Russian opposition leader and an arch-critic of President Putin continues to be intimidated by his political rivals.

While Navalny tries to make light of his situation with his 'Mask-like' Jim Carrey pose there is nothing funny about what's going on here and given the propensity for critics of President Putin to die mysterious and untimely deaths -the warning signs are clear.

How odd it is that Donald Trump should have such warm words for President Putin whose authoritarian, gangster-style version of capitalism Trump seems to admire.    



Russia opposition leader Alexei Navalny attacked with "brilliant green" dye

BBC Europe

Image copyright - @NAVALNY Image caption - It is the second time Mr Navalany has had dye thrown on him this year

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has been taken to hospital after an antiseptic green dye was splashed on his face in Moscow.

It is the second time he has been attacked with zelyonka ("brilliant green" in English) this year.

The dye is a common antiseptic in Russia and has been used in protests there and in Ukraine.

"It looks funny but it hurts like hell," Mr Navalny tweeted.

It is not clear who carried out the attack, which happened near the offices of the Anti-Corruption Fund (FBK) that he founded.

According to one report (in Russian) he was diagnosed with a chemical burn to the eye.

Navalny: Russia's vociferous opposition leader

Mr Navalny is one of the foremost Russian critics of President Vladimir Putin and has announced his intention to run for president himself.

But his intentions may be thwarted - he has been convicted of embezzlement, which would bar him from running for office, although he denies it.

A new weapon of choice - Vitaliy Shevchenko, BBC Monitoring

A mild antiseptic known as "brilliant green" has recently become a weapon of choice against government critics in Russia. 

Media caption - Footage from March appears to show Mr Navalny being attacked with a green liquid

Mr Navalny has been doused with it twice this year. One of Russia's most popular bloggers, Ilya Varlamov, had it thrown at him twice on the same day on 26 April. And pro-Western politician Mikhail Kasyanov had it splashed in his face at a rally commemorating murdered opposition activist Boris Nemtsov.

So why brilliant green? It stains the skin and is hard to wash off, which can be a problem if you want to take the media spotlight. Also, it doesn't do any lasting damage, which means attackers will not be facing charges of grave bodily harm.

But the attackers don't always have the last laugh. When Mr Navalny was last doused he turned his green face into an internet meme and was imitated by his supporters.

Mr Navalny was among 500 people arrested after organising an anti-corruption rally last month. Rallies across the country were the biggest opposition demonstrations in Russia in several years.

He has said repeatedly that he wants to challenge Vladimir Putin's control of the Kremlin and expose what he claims is the "myth" that Mr Putin commands more than 80% popular support.

Meanwhile a separate opposition group, Open Russia, says its office has been raided by police, a day after the group was blacklisted by the authorities.

Activists said more than 20 riot police raided the office and removed computer equipment and 100,000 flyers for an unsanctioned rally planned for this weekend.

Open Russia was founded by former oil tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky, who lives in exile after spending 10 years in a Siberian prison on fraud charges, which he says were politically motivated.

Tycoons and Oligarchs (08/04/17)

The Herald reported a remarkable story the other day claiming that shell companies in Scotland were used to money launder billions of pounds out of Russia and the former Soviet Union by the business figures and 'oligarchs' who have grown rich beyond their dreams under President Putin.

Now Scotland doesn't emerge from this sorry tale very well, but nor does the likes of Donald Trump who clearly admires the way President Putin does business - unencumbered by a free and independent press that is capable of holding the government to account. 

If you ask me, Trump's 'fake news' strategy is an attempt to discredit and neutralise the media so that he can run the White House along the lines of a business empire - which is how the Kremlin operates under Vladimir Putin.



Scots shell companies used to launder £4 billion out of Russia

Scots shell companies used to launder £4 billion out of Russia

By David Leask - The Herald

SCOTTISH shell firms were used to move at least £4 billion out of the former Soviet Union as part of what is thought to be the world’s biggest and most elaborate money-laundering scheme.

In a dramatic blow to the country’s global image, The Herald can reveal Scotland played a key role in the so-called “Laundromat”, a giant criminal conspiracy enabling Russia’s elite to funnel a minimum of $20bn out of their country.

Oligarchs Love-In

Share of wealth held by top 1%
Russia: 74.5%
India: 58.4% 
Indonesia: 49% 
Brazil: 48% 
US: 42% 
Mexico: 38% 

(Credit Suisse)

Who knows why Donald Trump admires Russia and President Putin so much?

But these figures from Credit Suisse might help provide a clue as to how President Trump aims to Make America Great Again.