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> Return of the Tsar?, Putin getting a bit excited?
turnea
post May 15 2005, 12:18 AM
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QUOTE
Georgia asked Saturday for calm negotiations over the withdrawal of two Soviet-era bases as Moscow threatened retaliation if services were cut to the facilities -- something Georgia's parliament threatened to do earlier this year.

A Georgian presidential spokesman said the nation was dropping the threat made by parliament in March to isolate the bases if a deal on a pullout was not reached by Sunday.[...]Georgia and Russia have been sparring over the timetable for withdrawal. Tbilisi wants the troops out within two years, while Moscow insists it needs at least four years and possibly more than a decade to complete the job.

Georgia Seeks to Calm Furor Over Base Plan
QUOTE
Just 17 percent of the world's population lives in countries that enjoy a free press.

If you live in Central Asia, Russia, Afghanistan, or Iran you are not among them. You belong to the 45 percent of the globe's inhabitants that live in countries with media that is rated as "not free."

That's according to a new survey titled "Freedom of Press: A Global Survey of Media Independence" by Freedom House, a U.S. nongovernmental organization.

Freedom House Report Says Global Press Freedom In Decline
Is Russia under president Putin moving towards greater or less respect for human rights and democracy?

Is Russia overstepping its bounds in "negotiating" bases on foreign soil after it has been asked to pull out?

If so, what can the international community do to encourage more responsible policy in Russia?
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English Horn
post May 15 2005, 02:18 AM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 14 2005, 07:18 PM)
Is Russia under president Putin moving towards greater or less respect for human rights and democracy?

Is Russia overstepping its bounds in "negotiating" bases on foreign soil after it has been asked to pull out?

If so, what can the international community do to encourage more responsible policy in Russia?

*



Putin gives Russians exactly as much freedom as they need. While he no longer enjoys 70-80 percent popularity ratings that he had 3-4 years ago, he is still quite popular by Western standards. Why? Because "freedom of press", while important, is not a first priority for an average Russian; the state of the economy and the overall stability is. And Russia under Putin made significant strides towards improving a life for an average Joe from the street. The economy is growing; even with the recent slowdown economic recovery since 1998 crisis has been impressive. So impressive that Russia is going to pay back 15 bln. dollars it owes to the West, at face value:

QUOTE
The deal -- the largest ever Paris Club debt redemption -- crowns Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin's drive to use Russia's growing oil wealth to reduce the $43 billion it owes to the Club's other 18 members, comprising the world's leading industrialized nations.
...
Germany, Russia's largest creditor which badly needs a cash injection to help fund its budget deficit, expects to reap $6.4 billion in the deal. Italy, the second biggest creditor, can expect $1.93 billion.
...
That is a far cry from the dark days of 1998, when the $40 billion pyramid scheme that was Russia's domestic government bond market collapsed, bringing the rouble down with it.


Russia had absolute, uncontrolled freedom of press during the mid-late 1990s, the Yeltsin years; I have yet to meet a person in Russia from any social circle who would want to return to those days. My wife's uncle, who owns a successful business in St. Petersburg, remembers those days with horror: "chaos" is the word most often used. Bear in mind, he is not a big fan of Putin; he faults him for the Yukos affair which demonstrated that regardless of your personal wealth, if you break the rules of the game and venture out of business affairs into the politics - you'll be brought down. Yet he moved his family from a Western European country back to Russia since he feels that the country is stable enough and safe enough for them to live there.

As for military bases, Georgia has very weak hand in these negotiations. Quarter of Georgian economy is agriculture, and Russia consumes the balk of their output of citrus fruites, nut, grapes, and tea. More than 55 percent of their GDP comes from tourism, and guess what? 80 percent of tourists going there are Russians. Anybody on this board went to Georgia for vacation recently? wink.gif
Combined with the fact that Georgia has very little in terms of natural and energy resources, Russia effectively controls Georgian economy. Also, Georgia has been part of Russian Empire for a long, long time (for more than hundred years prior to the Revolution of 1917, much longer than Hawaii was part of the United States). While it is indeed a "foreign soil" rolleyes.gif , it's unreasonable to expect Russia to disassemble and pull out everything that took hundreds of years to build in a two-year time frame.

Why there's so much talk about Russia's "occupation" of states such as Georgia when in essence it's not much different from United States' annexation of Hawaii in 1898?


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CruisingRam
post May 15 2005, 08:10 AM
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Very well put EH- and as you know, one of Putin's nicknames is "The good Stalin"-

Being married to a Russian, but having been a cold warrior myself, I am often amazed at how similar Russia can be to America, until you find something very suddenly different.

Russians value stability far more than the American concept of freedom. They are very uptight and conservative in some areas, and then very European in others.

My wife is horrified at American culture almost every day- and when we are able to retire, we too will live there-

the countries that have thier "revolution" will most likely be far worse off than before, and like Russia before them, will probably move back towards the style of goverment they were more used to.

There will be more "western" style freedom, but not the craziness of the Yeltsin years either, when it was basically chaos. There is a siginficant part of the population that remembers that the average standard of living during Breshnev is much higher than now!
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turnea
post May 15 2005, 05:20 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 14 2005, 09:18 PM)
Putin gives Russians exactly as much freedom as they need. While he no longer enjoys 70-80 percent popularity ratings that he had 3-4 years ago, he is still quite popular by Western standards. Why? Because "freedom of press", while important, is not a first priority for an average Russian; the state of the economy and the overall stability is.

What you describe is giving Russians as much freedom as the majority demands not as much as the entire nation needs. "Tyranny of the Majority" is not an idle phrase.

Come EH and especially CR (Bush is moving the US towards fascism but letting the Russian government crush free press is just fine rolleyes.gif )

None of us just fell off the turnip truck and it would take an impressive measure of gullibility to believe what either of you have said justifies the state of affairs in Russia

Press freedom and economic growth are not at odds (in fact foreign investors would likely feel more comfortable knowing that the KGB isn't breathing down their necks).

Russia is signatory to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights a legally-binding treaty which protects to right to freedom of expression and information. The Russian government may keep the Russian people ignorant to their rights but they (and we) know better.

QUOTE(English Horn)

Also, Georgia has been part of Russian Empire for a long, long time (for more than hundred years prior to the Revolution of 1917, much longer than Hawaii was part of the United States). While it is indeed a "foreign soil"  rolleyes.gif , it's unreasonable to expect Russia to disassemble and pull out everything that took hundreds of years to build in a two-year time frame. 

Why there's so much talk about Russia's "occupation" of states such as Georgia when in essence it's not much different from United States' annexation of Hawaii in 1898?
*


Excuses, excuses....

One, the comparison to Hawaii doesn't help your case, that too was an example of heartless imperialism that never should have happened. If Hawaiians chose to secede on those grounds they should be allowed to.

Secondly, the situation in Georgia is different. Georgia is not part of Russia. Legally and politically it is independent and has every right to add military independence to that list.

Thirdly, it would not take that long for Russians to pull out of Georgia. You will note that the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia in one fell swoop. Syria left Lebanon in months, not years. All you have to do is take the troops home, the Georgians would be happy to assist I'm sure.

The profanity blocker would censor the accurate description of Russia's argument on this not, but I think we all know what to call it. shifty.gif

This post has been edited by turnea: May 15 2005, 05:21 PM
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English Horn
post May 15 2005, 06:06 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 12:20 PM)
Excuses, excuses....

One, the comparison to Hawaii doesn't help your case, that too was an example of heartless imperialism that never should have happened. If Hawaiians chose to secede on those grounds they should be allowed to.

Secondly, the situation in Georgia is different. Georgia is not part of Russia. Legally and politically it is independent and has every right to add military independence to that list.

Thirdly, it would not take that long for Russians to pull out of Georgia. You will note that the US pulled out of Saudi Arabia in one fell swoop. Syria left Lebanon in months, not years. All you have to do is take the troops home, the Georgians would be happy to assist I'm sure.

The profanity blocker would censor the accurate description of Russia's argument on this not, but I think we all know what to call it. shifty.gif


Ah, it should never had happened, but it had happened. Hawaii was annexed (or occupied), and it doesn't matter whether native Hawaiians want to secede or not - it will never happen. For once, United States did exactly what any colonial power would have done - it saturated the island with non-Hawaiians, so any referendum would have a diminished chance of passing. Second, for a state to secede doesn't it require an approval of the rest of the Union? Now who in the right mind on the mainland would let the best vacation spot in the Union go? w00t.gif
Unlike Hawaii, which was part of the Union for mere 50 plus years, and US territory for a mere 100 years, Georgia was part of the Russian Empire for close to 200 years; in fact, in 200 years prior to 1991 Georgia has been independent for measly 2 years - between 1917 and 1919. Despite all that, Russians were fairly nice and let Georgia (and other 13 republics) go in peace - without any bloodshed, any all-Russia referendums, or much fuss otherwise. How many historical equivalents you can find to that? Your example with US pulling out of Saudi Arabia doesn't hold water because SA was never part of the United States. How long it took for U.K. to give up Hong Kong to China? Wasn't it handled over to them as recently as 1999? What about Falkland islands in South Atlantic? All these lands are far away from United Kingdom, yet England was resisting to the last to give up these "strategic places of interest". Think about Corsica in France, Basques in Spain, Northern Ireland in UK... how many of them have a real chance at secession? Georgia is right next to Russia, was part of Russia for 200 years, and all Russia wants is to have some time to maybe build new base on the Georgian border, or re-establish new defence systems, etc. Because Russia learned its lesson with the Baltic states - even though Gorbachev was promised that no NATO bases will be there, look at them now 15 years later... It is in Russia's strategic interests to be ready this time around. Yes, "legally and politically Georgia is independent", but just because in 1991 Russia allowed it to be so. It had a full right to treat Georgia the same way United States treats Hawaii, yet it chose not to. In appreciation, Georgians can be a little patient... thumbsup.gif


Edited to add:
QUOTE
What you describe is giving Russians as much freedom as the majority demands not as much as the entire nation needs. "Tyranny of the Majority" is not an idle phrase.

Press freedom and economic growth are not at odds (in fact foreign investors would likely feel more comfortable knowing that the KGB isn't breathing down their necks).

There're such things as cultural differences. It doesn't matter how democratic Afganistan eventually may become, you'll never see Afgani women participating in international Cheerleading competition. It doesn't matter how much freedom may eventually come to Saudi Arabia or Iran, some things which are normal and customary to Western women, you'll never see women from the Middle East do, even if they were free to do it. Same applies to Russia.
Back in early 18th century when Peter the Great visited the Western Europe (Portsmouth England to be exact) he wished to see scaffolding, a punishment for sailors at the time. To Peter's astonishment, he was refused: there was nobody who deserved such punishment at the time (hardly enough reason for Peter). When he offered one of his own sailors, he was refused again: since he was in England, his sailors were under protection of the British Law.
I offer this historical anecdote to you as an example how different cultural differences may be. What we may perceive a lack of free press in Russia can be perceived as perfectly normal for an average Joe. And if people are happy, why change?

This post has been edited by English Horn: May 15 2005, 07:55 PM
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turnea
post May 15 2005, 09:46 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 15 2005, 01:06 PM)

Unlike Hawaii, which was part of the Union for mere 50 plus years, and US territory for a mere 100 years, Georgia was part of the Russian Empire for close to 200 years; in fact, in 200 years prior to 1991 Georgia has been independent for measly 2 years - between 1917 and 1919. Despite all that, Russians were fairly nice and let Georgia (and other 13 republics) go in peace - without any bloodshed, any all-Russia referendums, or much fuss otherwise.

..and much like the Hawaii red herring this is all irrelevant to any practical concerns of a russian pullout. History is just that, history. Moving troops is the same virtually anywhere. Pack 'em up.... ship 'em out.

Pointing to historical examples of other imperialistic behavior does not aid your case. One cannot justify a wrong by pointing out other wrongs.

QUOTE(English Horn)
It is in Russia's strategic interests to be ready this time around. Yes, "legally and politically Georgia is independent", but just because in 1991 Russia allowed it to be so. It had a full right to treat Georgia the same way United States treats Hawaii, yet it chose not to. In appreciation, Georgians can be a little patient...  thumbsup.gif

Absolutely not, for if Georgians have to be patient with Russian extraterritorial demands then the independence is is not complete and there is nothing to be appreciative about.

Freedom to pace in one's cage is no freedom worth applauding.

QUOTE(English Horn)

There're such things as cultural differences. It doesn't matter how democratic Afganistan eventually may become, you'll never see Afgani women participating in international Cheerleading competition. It doesn't matter how much freedom may eventually come to Saudi Arabia or Iran, some things which are normal and customary to Western women, you'll never see women from the Middle East do, even if they were free to do it.  Same applies to Russia.

Again with the red herring.

1. I would hope you would not contend that free press suppression is somehow an integral part of Russian culture, that would be silly.

2. In all examples you posed you have missed the point. Whether or not a culture chooses to participate in an activity (free press.... cheerleading... same difference rolleyes.gif )

can be legitimately prescribed to cultural differences. For those who do chose to participate in such behavior the government has no right to prevent them from doing so. Culture has no bearing on fundamental human rights.
QUOTE(English Horn)

Back in early 18th century when Peter the Great visited the Western Europe (Portsmouth England to be exact) he wished to see scaffolding, a punishment for sailors at the time. To Peter's astonishment, he was refused: there was nobody who deserved such punishment at the time (hardly enough reason for Peter). When he offered one of his own sailors, he was refused again: since he was in England, his sailors were under protection of the British Law.
I offer this historical anecdote to you as an example how different cultural differences may be. What we may perceive a lack of free press in Russia can be perceived as perfectly normal for an average Joe. And if people are happy, why change?
*


Again, not all the people are happy. The journalists who are kidnapped and beaten or killed are certainly not happy. The people who value civic participation and want to be free to know the truth are not happy.

Heck, people were darn happy about slavery....

Except the slaves ermm.gif
Edited to Add:
To make it clea that I'm not fixated on press freedom it goes much deeper than that

Russians have no free elections. Observers condemn Russia election

Russian candidate 'was kidnapped'

If they are unhappy, they have no sure method of showing it...

This post has been edited by turnea: May 15 2005, 10:02 PM
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English Horn
post May 15 2005, 10:05 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 04:46 PM)
..and much like the Hawaii red herring this is all irrelevant to any practical concerns of a russian pullout. History is just that, history. Moving troops is the same virtually anywhere. Pack 'em up.... ship 'em out. 
Pointing to historical examples of other imperialistic behavior does not aid your case. One cannot justify a wrong by pointing out other wrongs.


Of course one can. I do. smile.gif Seriously, though, I am not pointing "wrongs", I am just pointing to how things are done. Why should United States, United Kingdom, France, or anyone else demand something from Russia when they themselves didn't do the same thing?


QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 04:46 PM)
Again, not all the people are happy. The journalists who are kidnapped and beaten or killed are certainly not happy. The people who value civic participation and want to be free to know the truth are not happy.


What you would consider "free press"? If I post to you several links to Russian papers critisizing Putin, would it qualify as "free press"? While there definitely has been a tightening of screws lately, Russian press is much more free than the Western media is trying to portray.

QUOTE
To make it clea that I'm not fixated on press freedom it goes much deeper than that

Russians have no free elections. Observers condemn Russia election.


Observers always condemn something. It's their job.

Observers condemn elections in United States.

Edited to add: I offer the link above not to "point to other wrong" but to say that even in United States which considers itself the model of democracy, voting irregularities happen, and international observers are quick to point them out. This is in the oldest democracy in the world. What do you expect in a country where democracy is 13 years old?

This post has been edited by English Horn: May 15 2005, 10:23 PM
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turnea
post May 15 2005, 10:17 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 15 2005, 05:05 PM)

Of course one can. I do.  smile.gif  Seriously, though, I am not pointing "wrongs", I am just pointing to how things are done. Why should United States, United Kingdom, France, or anyone else demand something from Russia when they themselves didn't do the same thing?

Perhaps because they have learned something from the centuries of strife these actions have engendered, a respect for human right and dignity.

I ask too much I know... dry.gif

Even if such tortured logic held and the west has no right to criticize, the UN as a whole does.

QUOTE

What you would consider "free press"? If I post to you several links to Russian papers critisizing Putin, would it qualify as "free press"? While there definitely has been a tightening of screws lately, Russian press is much more free than the Western media is trying to portray.

Freedom House is hardly and agent of the "Western Media." They have criticized the US on a number of fronts as well, as they should. This is nothing compared to Russia however.
QUOTE(English Horn)

QUOTE
Culture has no bearing on fundamental human rights. 


I don't think "free press" qualifies as fundamental human right.
*


Without free press (or to use the wider term "freedom of information") there is no way to point out violations of the other rights.

It is the "lynchpin of freedom" to borrow a phrase. When Russia signed the Declaration of Human Rights someone should have read it. rolleyes.gif


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English Horn
post May 15 2005, 10:24 PM
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QUOTE
Russian candidate 'was kidnapped'


Why would Putin's cronies kidnap and drug a candidate which is expected to grab less than 2 percent of the vote? Even in the article you mentioned it says "Mr Rybkin is not seen as a serious contender for the Russian presidency." That would be an equivalent of Bush or Kerry worrying about the impact of Dennis Kucinich....

I see this as a guy who desperately trying to get some attention and makes up a story nobody can prove (or disprove)...
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turnea
post May 15 2005, 10:36 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 15 2005, 05:24 PM)
QUOTE
Russian candidate 'was kidnapped'


Why would Putin's cronies kidnap and drug a candidate which is expected to grab less than 2 percent of the vote? Even in the article you mentioned it says "Mr Rybkin is not seen as a serious contender for the Russian presidency." That would be an equivalent of Bush or Kerry worrying about the impact of Dennis Kucinich....

I see this as a guy who desperately trying to get some attention and makes up a story nobody can prove (or disprove)...
*


Perhaps, perhaps not... not that the Russian people will ever know considering the press situation.

In any case the Russian people are still without any means on accessing there countries stautus or doing much about it is they find it to be unsatisfactoy. Even if the majority are happy the unhappy minortiy has the legal and moral right to be protected.

The country has poltical freedom on par with Egypt, that is something to be met only with shame.
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English Horn
post May 16 2005, 02:14 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 05:36 PM)
Perhaps, perhaps not... not that the Russian people will ever know considering the press situation.


Like I said previously, you seem to overdramatize the situation, IMHO. Th Rybkin's case was played out in Russian media endlessly.

QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 05:36 PM)
In any case the Russian people are still without any means on accessing there countries stautus or doing much about it is they find it to be unsatisfactoy. Even if the majority are happy the unhappy minortiy has the legal and moral right to be protected.
The country has poltical freedom on par with Egypt, that is something to be met only with shame.


I agree with you, and I do like to see Russia's press to have more freedoms, Russian bureaucracy to be less corrupt, and Russia's government to be less centralized. What I don't agree with is your question 3:

What can the international community do to encourage more responsible policy in Russia?

And the answer should be nothing. The problems that I listed are the problems for Russians themselves to fix, and for noone else. The more international community will meddle in Russia's internal affairs, the more support Putin will have for his policies because they'll be viewed as "standing up to outside pressure".
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CruisingRam
post May 16 2005, 02:37 PM
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I watch Russian news (channel one and two) daily- I have a sattelite to recieve it- and they are no worse or better than the US propaganda machine. Possibly only the BBC is completely free compared to the rest of the world- but I watch both, in both native languages, and I don't see them being any less or more free than the US.

Here is a for instance I saw very clearly- during the chechnyan terrorist school children hostage situation- the large anti-terrorist demonstrations by muslims in
Grozny were not televised in America.
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turnea
post May 16 2005, 02:55 PM
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QUOTE(CruisingRam @ May 16 2005, 09:37 AM)
 
I watch Russian news (channel one and two) daily- I have a sattelite to recieve it- and they are no worse or better than the US propaganda machine. Possibly only the BBC is completely free compared to the rest of the world- but I watch both, in both native languages, and I don't see them being any less or more free than the US. 
 
Here is a for instance I saw very clearly- during the chechnyan terrorist school children hostage situation- the large anti-terrorist demonstrations by muslims in 
Grozny were not televised in America. 
*
 

Of course, such a thing would be beneficial to Putin's government. I'll bet Saudi media covered it too. rolleyes.gif
The fact remains that international observers and watchdog groups has been pointing out for quite a while that Russia has one of if not the most repressive regimes in the west.
freedom House Russia Overview.

You do know both of Russia's major news channels are government-run right?


Interestingly, according to Freedom House's rankings the US ranks slightly higher in press freedom than the UK.

Apparently the gold standards are Finland, Iceland, and Sweden. Scandinavia scored high in general.

QUOTE(English Horn)
And the answer should be nothing. The problems that I listed are the problems for Russians themselves to fix, and for noone else. The more international community will meddle in Russia's internal affairs, the more support Putin will have for his policies because they'll be viewed as "standing up to outside pressure".

Perhaps, such a thing should be considered in any plan. However, efforts in Kyrgystan certainly payed off and I don't see any problem with the UN being straight with Russia about repression and human rights.

I don't believe we should leave the Russian people to suffer it out alone, right now those who value freedom are in dire straights.

The international community should make it clear that Russia and it's government should not be taken seriously in it's current state.

If the elections in 2008 do not live up to democratic standards, the "new" government should not be officially recognized. That should send a clear message and is perfectly within our rights.
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English Horn
post May 16 2005, 03:20 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 16 2005, 09:55 AM)
I don't believe we should leave the Russian people to suffer it out alone, right now those who value freedom are in dire straights. 
 
The international community should make it clear that Russia and it's government should not be taken seriously in it's current state. 
 
If the elections in 2008 do not live up to democratic standards, the "new" government should not be officially recognized. That should send a clear message and is perfectly within our rights.


I guess I still don't understand... if you make a poll and ask Russians about their problems, only a fairly small minority will put "freedom of press" on the list (I am not saying that it proves that there's a freedom of press in Russia, it just proves that the majority doesn't care.) So given a fact that the majority of Russians are satisfied with the current situation, how can you say that "we should not leave the Russian people to suffer it out alone"? It just doesn't seem that they're suffering...
You mentioned "Tyranny of the Majority" earlier... but any government's policy satisfies only a part of the population, never the whole.
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 15 2005, 06:05 PM)
QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 04:46 PM)
..and much like the Hawaii red herring this is all irrelevant to any practical concerns of a russian pullout. History is just that, history. Moving troops is the same virtually anywhere. Pack 'em up.... ship 'em out. 
Pointing to historical examples of other imperialistic behavior does not aid your case. One cannot justify a wrong by pointing out other wrongs.


Of course one can. I do. smile.gif Seriously, though, I am not pointing "wrongs", I am just pointing to how things are done. Why should United States, United Kingdom, France, or anyone else demand something from Russia when they themselves didn't do the same thing?


QUOTE(turnea @ May 15 2005, 04:46 PM)
Again, not all the people are happy. The journalists who are kidnapped and beaten or killed are certainly not happy. The people who value civic participation and want to be free to know the truth are not happy.
English Horn - I would like to make a more fair comparison that of say Puerto Rico. Currently it is a US Territory, if they voted for independence, which may happen. The US would abide by the results and yes we do have several bases in PR. We would have to negotiate with their new government for basing rights and if refused the US would leave.

I would side with Georgia, they have given 24 years for the Russians to go home, more than enough time has passed.

What you would consider "free press"? If I post to you several links to Russian papers critisizing Putin, would it qualify as "free press"? While there definitely has been a tightening of screws lately, Russian press is much more free than the Western media is trying to portray.

QUOTE
To make it clea that I'm not fixated on press freedom it goes much deeper than that

Russians have no free elections. Observers condemn Russia election.


Observers always condemn something. It's their job.

Observers condemn elections in United States.

Edited to add: I offer the link above not to "point to other wrong" but to say that even in United States which considers itself the model of democracy, voting irregularities happen, and international observers are quick to point them out. This is in the oldest democracy in the world. What do you expect in a country where democracy is 13 years old?
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turnea
post May 16 2005, 04:24 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 16 2005, 10:20 AM)
I guess I still don't understand... if you make a poll and ask Russians about their problems, only a fairly small minority will put "freedom of press" on the list (I am not saying that it proves that there's a freedom of press in Russia, it just proves that the majority doesn't care.) So given a fact that the majority of Russians are satisfied with the current situation, how can you say that "we should not leave the Russian people to suffer it out alone"? It just doesn't seem that they're suffering...
You mentioned "Tyranny of the Majority" earlier... but any government's policy satisfies only a part of the population, never the whole.
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A people can suffer without knowing it. That is especially true with regards to information. An african village which has never experienced decent education may not know what it is missing. They may well be more concerned with the scant harvest or the rising violence in their land.

Ignorance is a tricky menace, it is self-concealing.

Just because the people are more concerned with crushing poverty than democratic institutions doesn't mean both aren't worth fighting or.

A government only has to choose between satisfying a majority o minority when the demands of the two groups are at odds. Economic progress is not at odds with (and it indeed linked to) greater democratization.

This is not and either or situation. According to Nationmaster Russians are some of the lest happy people in the west. Ghanians are happier about their lives than Russians.

All is not well and everyone but the Russians seem to know it.
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English Horn
post May 16 2005, 06:33 PM
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QUOTE(loreng59 @ May 16 2005, 10:54 AM)
English Horn - I would like to make a more fair comparison that of say Puerto Rico. Currently it is a US Territory, if they voted for independence, which may happen. The US would abide by the results and yes we do have several bases in PR. We would have to negotiate with their new government for basing rights and if refused the US would leave.

I would side with Georgia, they have given 24 years for the Russians to go home, more than enough time has passed.


Why do you feel that PR is more fair comparison? Puerto Ricans don't have representation in DC, they don't pay federal taxes; they are not part of the Union. Georgia had representation, paid taxes, enjoyed military protection, was a full-fledged and integral part of the Russian Empire and USSR. I still feel that Hawaii is in a very similar situation (and it's not even connected to a mainland, like Georgia).
So do Hawaiians have a chance to secede from the Union if they decide to do so? Not in a million years. I am not even sure if there's a provision in the Constitution on the subject. Wasn't the Civil War about Southern States' desire to secede?
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post May 16 2005, 06:47 PM
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QUOTE(English Horn @ May 16 2005, 02:33 PM)
Why do you feel that PR is more fair comparison? Puerto Ricans don't have representation in DC, they don't pay federal taxes; they are not part of the Union. Georgia had representation, paid taxes, enjoyed military protection, was a full-fledged and integral part of the Russian Empire and USSR. I still feel that Hawaii is in a very similar situation (and it's not even connected to a mainland, like Georgia).
So do Hawaiians have a chance to secede from the Union if they decide to do so? Not in a million years. I am not even sure if there's a provision in the Constitution on the subject. Wasn't the Civil War about Southern States' desire to secede?
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Yes the Civil War was about secession. Hawaii is not going to be able to to do so since the US government does not concede the possibility to member states.
Hypocrisy, heck yes, but when has that stopped the government?

I feel the Puerto Rico situation is more fitting. As you pointed out Puerto Rico is not a member state, does not have representation, and doesn't pay taxes.

On Georgia is not a member state of Russia, they do not have representation in Moscow, they do not pay Russian taxes. How are they different? Georgia may have had all of the above once so did Ukraine and are no longer, so what?

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post May 16 2005, 07:04 PM
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...of course the comparison whether it be Hawaii or Puerto Rico is still 100% irrelevant to whether or not Russia should pull out of a country whose government has ordered it out.

Georgia is well with it's sovereign rights to order a pull out and the Russians have no right to maintain bases on their soil.

This post has been edited by turnea: May 16 2005, 07:24 PM
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post May 16 2005, 07:20 PM
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QUOTE(turnea @ May 16 2005, 03:04 PM)
...of course the comparison whether it be Hawaii or Puerto Rico is still 100% irrelevant to whether or not Russia should pull out of a country whose government has ordered it out.

Georgia with well with it's sovereign rights to order a pull out and the Russians have no right to maintain bases on their soil.
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Turnea you are 100% correct and I agree with you.

English Horn was trying to claim that Russia has a special historic relationship that needs to be taken into account. I disagree and feel that the world changed, Imperial Russia needs to change as well. I was merely pointing out that even though the US has a 'special historic relationship' with Puerto Rico. If the residents decided to separate we too would be in the same boat as Russia, and most likely would have to do whatever those residents wanted.
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