Tuesday, March 18 2008, Condoleezza Rice shakes hand of President Dmitry Medvedev during her visit with Robert Gates to Moscow (Photo by ITAR-TASS)
Since the presidential elections of March 2, Russia has almost disappeared from the Western news media. Both liberal and conservative think tanks apparently decided to take a "moment of silence" concerning Russia. No wonder! So much money and effort had been spent trying to brainwash Americans and Europeans into believing that Putin would stay for a third term - or at least, if Putin did not do so, then Russians, like a herd of sheep, would vote 99% for his hand-picked successor with a siloviki background; that Garry Kasparov would run for president, but most likely get killed by the evil KGB; and even if none of the above took place, something else very bad and undemocratic would most definitely occur in Russia.
None of the above happened, and good news from Moscow apparently does not merit column space. Only the Financial Times published a stunningly honest article "Let the Russians Sort out Russia," and the New York Times wrote a wonderful profile of Metropolitan Laurus, who healed a decades-old rift in the Russian Orthodox Church, and died on March 17 at the age of 80 in Jordanville, New York.
The problem with all the rambling produced by some of the top Beltway thinkers, was that while they were fighting the windmill, assuming that it was still the 1970s outside of their windows, Russia became a democracy. Russians chose a 42-year-old entrepreneur as their president over communists and fascists. Garry Kasparov was never a viable candidate and in his CNN interview on March 2nd he could not even properly pronounce the name of the new Russian president. The chess master speaks English better than Russian, and Vladimir Putin correctly pointed out in his interview with Time magazine that, "Why did Mr. Kasparov, when arrested, speak out in English rather than Russian? When a politician works the crowd of other nations rather than the Russian nation, it tells you something."
Surprisingly, we haven't heard much critiques from Washington D.C. towards the human rights problems in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the People's Republic of China. America's dependence on Arab oil and Chinese financing of our huge national debt might have something to do with it. However, Russia Blog won't question the motives of our esteemed Beltway policy makers, and instead will simply assume that Chinese people and Arab women enjoy more freedoms than Russians do, and that the recent Georgians elections, that yielded one dead candidate and multiple violations, can be upheld as a true role model for democracy in the former Soviet Union.