Oh, those Russians love their pride.
They'd rather, apparently, be proud than free.
I recently asked a woman from Belarus, a Russian satellite country, what she thought of Putin.
"Thumbs up", she said and gesticulated. Then she changed her mind: "Two thumbs up", as she shook her head an affirmative yes.
And what's not to like about Vladimir Putin? State-controlled radio and TV, state-owned oil companies, after taking over and liquidating the companies and literally jailing their CEO's. Then there's all that nuclear technology they're so willing to sell. I thought it was a nice touch that they sold Saddam Hussein advanced surface-to-air missiles right before we invaded.
And can anyone even count the number of murders of dissidents? The Forbes Russian Editor, the famous woman critic of the Chechnyan war, and man others (see below).
Now, Russia looks like it's going to enact a treason bill which counts as treason acts that are "damaging" to Russia's constitution. In other words, any protest.
Full article here: Russian treason bill could hit Kremlin critics
"New legislation backed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would allow Russian authorities to label any government critic a traitor—a move that rights activists said Wednesday was a chilling throwback to times of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin."
And you think Iraq is a failure of diplomacy on our part? Letting Russia slide back into abyss of first lawlessness in the 90's and now into Stalinism under the guise of "sovereign democracy", is a massive failure on the part of Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.
And to add some frosting to this sweet cake of a story, let's end with a 2006 WaPost piece on all of Russia's assassinations, written by a former Soviet KGB Colonel...
Russia's Killing Ways
"orders for assassinations no longer have names or signatures on them, according to what I am told by my connections. Directives such as the one to assassinate Alexander Litvinenko are written to say, for example, "Request permission to carry out inquiry abroad," with no mention of the target. The document goes to an archive with nothing tying those involved to an assassination."
Now, with Litvinenko, they have dared to kill a citizen of Britain on the soil of that country. Yandarbiyev, Shchekochikhin, Politkovskaya, Litvinenko: Russia has become a terrorist regime."