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AspiringPhilosophe user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 03 Dec 07, 13:08 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

For those of you who have been living under a rock for the last two days (or who are reliant on TV Broadcast American News because no other countries exist on the planet in their mind)...there were "elections" in Russia on Sunday.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22061094/

Forced votes by municipal employees, campaigning the day of the election, busing people from polling station to polling station, free TV's and Refrigerators for those who voted for United Russia....the list goes on and on. Discuss.


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Posted: 03 Dec 07, 13:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Yes, well after all the hanging chads and everything else that we've had to listen to for the last 8-12 years, nothing compares to what is going on over there.

I would have voted for Gore if they would've given me a new flatscreen.

At Polling Station No. 402, located in a school in the small town of Pestovo, in the Novgorod region, dozens of ballots were already marked with a check next to United Russia, a local voter said.

"There were rumors that pensioners would get expensive plates if they accepted a prepared ballot before midday at a handful of schools," said Ella, a 42-year-old unemployed woman who asked that her last name not be used for fear of reprisal.

"When we saw they were actually giving away the plates, we couldn't believe it," Ella said by telephone from Pestovo.


Or, if you're ghetto:
Among hundreds of other complaints, Golos observers reported that plainclothes officers in Moscow had offered voters 700 rubles (about $29) to vote for United Russia; United Russia promotional posters were visible near polling stations in Moscow and other cities; and United Russia calendars were hanging in women's restrooms at several polling stations.


And, of course this is great, especially the payoff:
More than a dozen gay-rights activists were detained Sunday after voting at the same polling station as Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who has called gay parades "satanic" and denied permission to hold them. Police detained gay parade organizer Nikolai Alexeyev and 15 other activists at around 10:30 a.m. in central Moscow, Gazeta.ru reported.

Before they were detained, they wrote "No to Homophobia, No to Luzhkov" on their ballots instead of check marks, said Melkonyants, the Golos spokesman.

A law enforcement source told Interfax that the activists had been taken to the Tverskoye precinct for a "prophylactic conversation."


Did they at least get a free sandwich with that conversation?


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Posted: 03 Dec 07, 19:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Whether there was or wasn't election fraud, Putin and his party are far more popular than any opposition candidate, and, while the west may want to attribute that to "propaganda" or "suppression of freedoms", the simple fact is, quality of life is better. The real Russians living in Russia know what life is like under Putin and what life was like under Yeltsin and Gorbachev, whom the West tends to see as great liberators....

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Posted: 04 Dec 07, 11:27 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Ksu wrote:

while the west may want to attribute that to "propaganda" or "suppression of freedoms"


Yes, but how can you believe ANY propaganda coming from a police state, such as Russia. Quality of life is better? I've never been there, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't afford to live in Moscow like I live here in the U.S.

"The appreciation of the ruble against the U.S. dollar, combined with ever-increasing accommodation charges, has driven up costs for expatriates in Moscow," Mercer research manager Nathalie Constantin-Metral said in a statement.

A luxury two-bedroom in Moscow now rents for $4,000 a month; a CD costs $24.83, and an international newspaper, $6.30, according to Mercer. By comparison, a fast food meal with a burger is a steal at $4.80.




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Posted: 04 Dec 07, 12:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Micrówave wrote:

Ksu wrote:

while the west may want to attribute that to "propaganda" or "suppression of freedoms"


Yes, but how can you believe ANY propaganda coming from a police state, such as Russia. Quality of life is better? I've never been there, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't afford to live in Moscow like I live here in the U.S.

"The appreciation of the ruble against the U.S. dollar, combined with ever-increasing accommodation charges, has driven up costs for expatriates in Moscow," Mercer research manager Nathalie Constantin-Metral said in a statement.

A luxury two-bedroom in Moscow now rents for $4,000 a month; a CD costs $24.83, and an international newspaper, $6.30, according to Mercer. By comparison, a fast food meal with a burger is a steal at $4.80.



Ksu has a point. I was reading a special article about people like Chavez and Putin, who use oil to make themselves more powerful, and it is a fact that quality of life has improved in Russia. Worse than in the United States and most European countries? Certainly. But it has been improving.

I'm not defending Putin or anything. He basically needs people to feel happier so that there will be less people supporting the opposition. He is a cruel leader, he's probably behind the murder of that agent who was intoxicated with a radioactive chemical, he controls the press, and so on... But he was smart enough to make his own life easier by making Russian people feel their life's been improving.


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Posted: 05 Dec 07, 17:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

<font color="lime">Raf840 wrote:

Micrówave wrote:

Ksu wrote:

while the west may want to attribute that to "propaganda" or "suppression of freedoms"


Yes, but how can you believe ANY propaganda coming from a police state, such as Russia. Quality of life is better? I've never been there, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't afford to live in Moscow like I live here in the U.S.

"The appreciation of the ruble against the U.S. dollar, combined with ever-increasing accommodation charges, has driven up costs for expatriates in Moscow," Mercer research manager Nathalie Constantin-Metral said in a statement.

A luxury two-bedroom in Moscow now rents for $4,000 a month; a CD costs $24.83, and an international newspaper, $6.30, according to Mercer. By comparison, a fast food meal with a burger is a steal at $4.80.



Ksu has a point. I was reading a special article about people like Chavez and Putin, who use oil to make themselves more powerful, and it is a fact that quality of life has improved in Russia. Worse than in the United States and most European countries? Certainly. But it has been improving.

I'm not defending Putin or anything. He basically needs people to feel happier so that there will be less people supporting the opposition. He is a cruel leader, he's probably behind the murder of that agent who was intoxicated with a radioactive chemical, he controls the press, and so on... But he was smart enough to make his own life easier by making Russian people feel their life's been improving.


Yeah, he can make the average people feel better about their lives.

Unfortunately the downside is that Putin is just as much in need of diversion from Russia's problems as other dictators have been... It's easy to make some people forget about the internal problems and make them feel better about themselves by focusing on the external issues (whether they are generic "terrorists" in Caucasus or Estonian "fascists").

In the short term it helps him stay in power, but in the long term it might demand him to keep creating more dramatic threats for the country. :/

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Posted: 07 Dec 07, 08:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Unfortunately his claims about improving Russia for the people are true, to a certain extent. The economy has improved and a middle class is starting to get established. However, since the economy was in the toilet after the breaking up of the USSR, it had no where to go but up. It couldn't get any worse.
Unfortunately, he is using that stroke of luck to the fullest extent that he can...claiming that HE is the sole reason it is better for the Russian people, and saying he can do more for them if he has his way and these reforms, and most importantly by scaring them into thinking that without him all of "his" progress will go away.
That is what makes Putin so dangerous. Someone like Chavez or Kim Jong Il is not really a danger....they are idiots who can't do much more than hurt themselves and their people...while that isn't a good thing at all, it's nothing compared to what Putin is capable of. He's intelligent, knows exactly what he's doing and is even now involved in brainwashing the citizens (mainly the youth) to his ways of thinking. Putin is going to re-start the Cold War with the west again without a doubt...and possibly worse in the future.


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Posted: 07 Dec 07, 09:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I wonder why you think he will start a new Cold War, History Girl. As you say yourself he is very intelligent. He is also very familiar with other countries and he surely knows that in a global world he needs his European partners if he wants his country to improve. While Gorbachev was a hero in the West he is not so much a hero in his own country because he gave up the super power status of the USSR in favour of peace and freedom - but the people in his country felt they lost. Putin gives them back their national pride when he takes a stand against the USA in many international issues.

When you say the elections were manipulated and Putin is a ruthless power hungry man who cannot be trusted - well you can say that about a lot of other countries and leaders.

I have been in my local election committee for a long time and I have seen more irregularities than I ever expected in my worst nightmares. Starting with party driving service of senior citizens manipulating them to vote for the party, committee members who do not know the counting procedure and count perfectly legal votes invalid and the other way round and many other cases. More than once I had to call in a supervisor to stop the most obvious irregularities.

I think we should not act like our countries have a bunch of un-corrupt, democratic and honest political leaders because it's not true. We should not act like our leaders are only striving for the good because it's not true, either. Considering our democratic history our political leaders are not much better than Putin.
But we still vote for them, don't we?



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Posted: 07 Dec 07, 12:21 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

YourValentine wrote:

I wonder why you think he will start a new Cold War, History Girl. As you say yourself he is very intelligent. He is also very familiar with other countries and he surely knows that in a global world he needs his European partners if he wants his country to improve. While Gorbachev was a hero in the West he is not so much a hero in his own country because he gave up the super power status of the USSR in favour of peace and freedom - but the people in his country felt they lost. Putin gives them back their national pride when he takes a stand against the USA in many international issues.

When you say the elections were manipulated and Putin is a ruthless power hungry man who cannot be trusted - well you can say that about a lot of other countries and leaders.

I have been in my local election committee for a long time and I have seen more irregularities than I ever expected in my worst nightmares. Starting with party driving service of senior citizens manipulating them to vote for the party, committee members who do not know the counting procedure and count perfectly legal votes invalid and the other way round and many other cases. More than once I had to call in a supervisor to stop the most obvious irregularities.

I think we should not act like our countries have a bunch of un-corrupt, democratic and honest political leaders because it's not true. We should not act like our leaders are only striving for the good because it's not true, either. Considering our democratic history our political leaders are not much better than Putin.
But we still vote for them, don't we?


**laughes** Some do, but I NEVER vote for a Democrat or a Republican here, because I recognize that as long as it is a two party system in the US corruption and problems will continue to exist.
Putin is an intelligent man...but that doesn't mean he is intelligent overall. Even the most intelligent people have a downfall of some kind, usually pride. Does Putin realize he needs European support? Doesn't seem like it, particularly since he's busy pissing Germany off with his not letting planes fly over Russian airspace. He is constantly doing the opposite of whatever Europe is doing...he appears to be moving closer to China at the moment. My guess is that since he thinks he's done so well with the economy right now, he doesn't need anyone else's help. Nationalism is all well and good, but too much of a good thing can quickly turn bad.
Voting irregularities...yeah, they are everywhere. Heck, I don't need to look back any further than the 2000 election here in the US to see that, and we were supposed to be the bastion of democracy. But occasional regularities can (to a certain extent) written off. But add up the obvious voter fraud in Russia with his activities in the last six years or so, and it's not hard to piece together a pattern; a pattern that is very frightening. OK, so I sounded scarily like President Bush just then, but I think most of you will know that I don't just parrot what he says like it's fact...I look at the facts of the case for myself and make my own decisions.
I just don't trust Putin. He's clearly got some kind of ulterior motive. There are surely other corrupt and power hungry and ruthless leaders in the world, you are right about that. But most of them are also not a threat to anyone else outside of their own countries. This is not an excuse for that kind of activity by any stretch of the imagination, but Putin has all the power and more than he can ever want in Russia and yet still doesn't seem satisfied.


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Posted: 07 Dec 07, 12:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It's funny how the people who are terrified of Putin and think he's a dangerous dictator are the people who've never set foot in Russia. Russian people are actually pretty cynical when it comes to politics, especially since the collapse of the USSR, and are not prone to blindly follow any leader. I think you'll find that a lot of people who vote for Putin are not brainwashed and don't see him as some savior. They just realize that their current life is stable and better than in the 90s, that they know they'll have food tomorrow, and that Kasparov and the other "freedom fighters" as they are seen in the West are actually a bunch of loonies.

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Posted: 07 Dec 07, 13:29 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Your Valentine speaks the truth.

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Posted: 07 Dec 07, 13:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm not terrified of Putin...I simply don't trust him. I have never set foot in Russia I will admit, but one of my very good friends who just graduated from the department studied abroad there for a year, and I heard all of his stories.
Russians in general may be cynical about politics, this is true. But Putin isn't brainwashing them. His strongest and most ardent supporters are the youth...the people who are not old enough to remember (or perhaps weren't even born during) the collapse of the USSR. They have been basically comfortable their whole lives, and thus have a great deal more faith in Putin because they don't have a reason to be cynical about politics.
I wouldn't call Putin a dictator yet, but he appears to be moving in that direction. But if someone can prove to me that he's not moving in that direction, I'm more than willing to examine any proof that person has to offer.


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Posted: 07 Dec 07, 16:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I, too, have stepped foot in Russia, so my opinion is obviously an outsiders' view and may be way off base, I don't know.

Personally, I don't think it's about a "better Russia now".

I think there's a lot of Russians out there that are still mad about no longer being the "Super Power" they once were. I think they blame democracy and the political climate change in the late 80s/90s. Putin is the most likely candidate to try to get them back into the ballgame.

And Kasparov didn't look too loony last month on the Bill Maher show. He was actually Maher's most interesting guest all season.