Posts Tagged ‘tom balmforth’

May 2012

Getting the New Kremlin Cabinet Wrong: No, These Are Not Liberals

Minding Russia

Tom Balmforth’s article on Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty about the new cabinet puzzled me, as his pieces often do in taking a more liberal view of Russia’s intentions than I think are merited. Where does this come from? Does it come from interviews with actual Russian officials? I don’t see such interviews referenced in the piece.

No, I think it comes from simply Balmforth’s own worldview, the evidently “progressive” view which he frames the entire Russian story in the first place, such as to make what he sees as reasoned estimates of Russia’s behaviour.

But they all strike me as being quite wrong.

First, there’s the notion that Vladislav Surkov was “demoted” and “in disgrace”. “Last December, he was relegated to an obscure deputy prime minister’s portfolio,” says Balmforth. But there was never any evidence for any punishment — and the evidence that it was NEVER the case is in fact now before us, as Surkov is back with just as much power (or more) than ever! It was just a maneuver.

Surkov was moved out of the limelight strategically at a time when demonstrators were seeing him as the heart of darkness, and Golos, the nonprofit election monitors were blasting NTV as “Surkovskaya propaganda.” Surkov has always been the grey cardinal of the Kremlin and never ceased being so — and while he was furloughed, he was put in charge of religion, too, and that’s why no doubt we see a nasty new legislative development regarding religious groups — no longer can they register as nonprofit or non-commercial groups like NGOs; they will have to be approved in a separate section of law.

Read More →

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Buzz
  • LinkedIn
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • Tumblr
  • StumbleUpon
  • FriendFeed
  • NewsVine
  • Digg