Category Archives: foreign affairs/human rights

Ukraine and Yuschenko Stand Firm on Gas

Forbes reports that Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko has rejected a Russian loan as a means of coping with impending hikes in prices by Russia’s state-controlled Gazprom. According to the article, Gazprom is forcing a 4-fold increase in prices upon the Ukraine. Others have speculated that this action comes as retribution for the defeat of the Kremlin’s candidate in Ukraine’s elections last year, in which Viktor Yuschenko overcame poisoning and election fraud to stymie the Kremlin’s undue influence in that nation.

Congratulations to Ukraine for refusing to become entangled with Russia by accepting the Gazprom loan.

The Return of Russian Despotism

This Washington Post article sums up the state of affairs in Russia. Key points include:

  • Supression of free media outlets

  • Forced nationalization of key economic sectors, such as the oil industry

  • Punishment of neighboring countries using oil prices as a weapon

  • Manipulation of the national legislature to make it subservient to the Kremlin

The net effect is a removal of most of the checks that originally existed to contain the power of the executive. All of this prompted resigning Kremlin economic adviser Andrei Illarionov to say that “[Russia] is no longer a democratic country. It is no longer a free country.”

Please also see this Freedom House press release concerning recently approved legislation to restrict the activities of Non-Government Organizations in Russia. Note that Freedom House has recently lowered Russia’s rating from “partly free” to “not free.”