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Jan Klimkowski
08-06-2010, 06:53 PM
:hmmmm2:

Photogallery here:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/gallery/2010/aug/06/russia-wildfires-gallery#/?picture=365509591&index=0


Smoke from Russian fires blankets Moscow

Landmarks reduced to outlines in thick pollution and visibility down to 50 metres in some areas

A thick acrid smog enveloped Moscow today as scores of fires blazed and peat bogs smouldered outside the city.

Emergency officials said they were beginning to tame the fires which have spread across western and central Russia, but the capital woke to its worst bout of pollution yet after smog that dispersed yesterday returned with a vengeance.

Famous landmarks like the Ostankino television tower and St Basil's cathedral were reduced to outlines and the sun was a pale yellow orb. Visibility was down to 50 metres in some areas as coils of pungent smoke threaded into apartment buildings, offices and metro stations. Dozens of flights were cancelled at Domodedovo and Vnukovo airports in the south of the city.

Doctors advised Muscovites to stay home as the Department of Nature Protection and Environmental Management warned that carbon monoxide in the air was at five times acceptable levels.

Many of those who did venture out wore masks or clutched handkerchiefs to their faces. "It's unbearable, God knows what it's doing to our health," said Yulia Novikova, 25, who was hurrying home with groceries in Frunzenskaya district near the Moscow river. "I was just reading about the Great Smog of London in 1952. This looks a lot worse."

Vladimir Stepanov of the National Crisis Management Centre said fires were abating in the Urals and in the Volga region, but the situation remained tense around Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod. "Firefighters and rescuers did not let the fires approach populated areas," he said. "Not a single person has died over the past 24 hours."

The wildfires have so far claimed 50 lives and left more than 3,000 people homeless, prompting criticism of the official response to the crisis.

Earlier this week the prime minister, Vladimir Putin, promised he would personally monitor the reconstruction of destroyed homes via video images beamed to his home. State television showed the cameras being installed at building sites today.

Government officials said they could not have anticipated the heatwave that provoked the fires, the hottest in 140 years. The temperature in Moscow was above 36C all week. But critics have blamed complacent officials for ignoring warnings of blazes near villages.

United Russia, the pro-Kremlin party which dominates parliament, has boasted of sending volunteers to help extinguish the fires. But that claim was thrown into doubt yesterday when the party was accused of doctoring a photograph placed on its website.

A sharp-eyed blogger noticed that the picture showing volunteers apparently wrestling with a piece of timber in a smoky wood had been created in 2008 and altered in Photoshop last Saturday. The smoke, he claimed, had been added for effect.

United Russia immediately removed the picture but did not respond to requests for comment.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/06/russia-fires-moscow

Jan Klimkowski
08-09-2010, 05:55 PM
There's plenty of evidence that weather modification technology exists.

So why aren't the Russians using it to protect Moscow and Ozersk?


Toxic Smoke Causes Deaths To Double In Moscow, As Russia Announces State Of Emergency In Nuclear Center City Of Ozersk

Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/09/2010 08:59 -0500

Wheat prices may be lower now that the dramatic spike higher has seen various speculators coming out and betting on a reversion, but little has been resolved yet, as Russia now debates extending the grain export ban beyond the December 31, even as fires in the Russian countryside continue to burn, and a record heatwave and lack of winds have concentrated a huge toxic cloud of carbon monoxide above the Russian capital. To be sure, some development has been noted with fires now affecting "only" 170,000 hectares of land, compared to the peak of 190,000, although firefighters are still having a difficult time materially containing the blaze. The worst consequence of the inferno: the mortality rate in Moscow has doubled as a result.

The FT reports: "The death rate in Moscow has doubled due to the toxic smog hanging over the city from wildfires raging around the Russian capital and the worst heatwave since records began, a senior city health official said on Monday. Andrei Seltsovsky, the head of Moscow’s health department, said the number of people dying daily in the city had now reached about 700, while the death rate normally averages about 360 to 380 people a day. “The mortality rate has doubled,” the official told reporters." And taking things from bad to worse is the breaking news that Russia has just declared a state of emergency in Ozersk, where one of the largest nuclear storage and fuel-reprocessing center Mayak is located.

From Xinhua:

MOSCOW, Aug. 9 (Xinhua) --
A state of emergency has been declared in Russia's Urals city of Ozersk, where one of the largest nuclear storage and fuel-reprocessing center Mayak is located, reported RIA Novosti news agency Monday, citing the local administration.

Local authorities claim the move was caused by the "complicated situation" with peat bog fires.

As for the standard of living in what is already the world's most expensive city, here are some additional news from the FT that will make living in Moscow virtually impossible:


Moscow was coated in choking smog on Monday for the fourth day running, with levels of pollution, including carbon monoxide and other harmful particles, more than 3 times acceptable levels. The pollution had climbed to nearly seven times acceptable norms on Saturday, prompting many to flee the capital and businesses and a handful of embassies to close, while the area hit by peat bog and forest fires tripled at the weekend.

Mr Seltsovsky’s comments were the first official confirmation of what many had feared. A Moscow morgue official told the Financial Times at the weekend that the number of corpses had doubled in recent days, with mainly the elderly affected, while death rates had been climbing for the last month and half due to the record heat. But other morgue officials had declined to comment and a senior health official on Sunday had disputed an anonymous blog written by a Moscow doctor claiming that medical staff were being forced to coverup the number of heat and smog-related deaths, while space was running out in city morgues.

Mr Seltsovsky said on Monday that the number of people hospitalised due to the heat had increased by 10 per cent, while the number of children in hospital had increased by 17 per cent. Alexei Yakovlev, a prominent doctor of biological science, told the Ekho Moskvy radio station he estimated the smog was costing 200 lives a day even as health officials urged residents to remain indoors with windows sealed while employers were urged to keep staff away from work until Tuesday, so as to reduce the number of people on the street.

Meteorologists said slight winds were expected to start to lift the smog by Wednesday as firefighters continued to battle the blazes that have broken out across a vast swathe of European Russia after the record heatwave turned forests and peat bogs into tinder boxes.

http://www.zerohedge.com/article/toxic-smoke-causes-deaths-double-moscow-russia-announces-state-emergency-nuclear-center-city

Jan Klimkowski
08-11-2010, 06:36 PM
Fears Russian wildfires could send Chernobyl waste to Moscow

Ecologist says radioactive particles from trees and plants burnt by summer fires in the Chernobyl fall-out area could be carried on the wind for hundreds of miles

Forest wardens stepped up patrols in the Chernobyl fallout zone today as a leading ecologist warned that fires there could send radioactive particles as far as Moscow.

About 160,000 emergency personnel are battling 600 wildfires across Russia, 290 of which ignited in the last 24 hours.

Greenpeace said that at least 20 fires, three of them in a highly contaminated forest area, had broken out in recent days in Bryansk region, bordering northern Ukraine. Bryansk was part of the zone sprayed with a plume of radioactive isotopes caesium-137 and strontium-90 when the Chernobyl power plant's fourth reactor exploded in 1986.

Alexei Yablokov, an ecologist and member of the Academy of Sciences, warned that winds could spread contaminants embedded in trees and plants as they succumb to the inferno.

"Radionuclides may reach places at distances of hundreds of kilometres, depending on the weather," he said. "If the Bryansk region is in flames, they can reach the Novgorod region, Moscow, and in some conditions, eastern Europe."

There were conflicting reports over the extent of the fires in Bryansk. Asked about the gravity of the threat, Gennady Onishchenko, the country's top public health official, said: "There's no need to sow panic. Everything is quiet there."

But Russia's forestry protection service said it was increasing patrols in the area after about 30 hectares of land went up in flames. "The situation is complicated, but stable and controllable," an official from the service told Interfax.

Greenpeace played down fears of Chernobyl pollution reaching Moscow, but said the harmful potential of smaller doses of radiation combined with smog, carbon monoxide and other particles should not be overlooked.

A veil of acrid smog lifted from Moscow on Tuesday morning but temperatures remained in the 30s Celcius (86+F) as political repercussions of the wildfires crisis emerged.

There was growing evidence that the absence of the city's powerful mayor during its hour of need could hasten his demise.

Yury Luzhkov left for holidays and "treatment for a serious sports injury" as the city sweltered on 2 August and did not return until Sunday, several days after a toxic cloud enveloped the city. A senior health official has said the smog killed at least 320 more people each day than usually die in the city.

Luzhkov, in office since 1992, is the last of the regional heavyweights in Russian politics, but his future as city boss has looked increasingly fragile amid allegations of sleaze and incompetence.

Prime minister Vladimir Putin greeted the tanned-looking mayor in a televised meeting yesterday, saying: "You were quite right to return from your vacation. Your timing is perfect."

Observers interpreted those comments as an acid hint that Putin disapproved of Luzhkov's late showing. "Luzhkov underestimated the political situation and he underestimated how serious and tense the situation in Moscow is," said Gleb Pavlovsky, a political analyst with close ties to the Kremlin.

"Surely, he is in a very weak position now and worsened it even more by saying, amid all that is happening, that the situation in Moscow is quite normal."

Before Luzhkov returned, his spokesman, Sergei Tsoi, had claimed there was little reason for the mayor to cut short his break because there was no emergency. The fires causing Moscow's smog were outside the capital, Tsoi said, and therefore "nothing depends on the city authorities in dealing with the current environmental situation".

Luzhkov, 73, denied rumours that he was getting treatment in Tyrol, Austria, but declined to say where he had been.

Deputy mayor Vladimir Resin made a clumsy attempt to exonerate his boss, saying he had a backlog of 370 days of holiday. "He could have taken a whole year off," he said.

But a Kremlin source said it was "too bad" Luzhkov hadn't returned from holiday sooner. "The mayor's absence obviously did not help the necessary decisions to have been made in timely fashion," he said.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/aug/11/russia-wildfires-chernobyl-radiation

Charles Drago
08-11-2010, 10:31 PM
There's plenty of evidence that weather modification technology exists.

So why aren't the Russians using it to protect Moscow and Ozersk?

Who says their weather modification countermeasures are up to blunting the West's weather modification offensive capabilities?

Jan Klimkowski
08-12-2010, 04:54 PM
There's plenty of evidence that weather modification technology exists.

So why aren't the Russians using it to protect Moscow and Ozersk?

Who says their weather modification countermeasures are up to blunting the West's weather modification offensive capabilities?

Perhaps.

There are also suggestions that the recent behaviour of the Gulf Stream, which orginates in the area of the BP oil spill, and is subject to many other environmental pressures, is being minutely scrutinized by the monitoring stations and oceanographers who study such things.

Peter Lemkin
08-12-2010, 06:12 PM
I just heard that Putin said that 25% of wheat fields have been destroyed by fire. I doubt that is possible, given the size of Russia, but if even 25% correct it is a huge loss and a catastrophe!!......satellites should soon be able to confirm this one way or the other....

Magda Hassan
08-14-2010, 09:21 AM
'Blocked' jetstream to blame for freak weather in Russia and Pakistan, say scientists



By Niall Firth (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/search.html?s=y&authornamef=Niall+Firth)
Last updated at 11:36 AM on 12th August 2010

A massive heatwave in Russia and the current devastating floods in Pakistan could be linked by the unusual behaviour of the jetstream, scientists believe.
The jetstream is the high-altitude wind that circles the globe from west to east and normally pushes a series of wet but mild Atlantic lows across Britain.
But meteorologists who study the phenomenon say that it is producing unusual holding patterns which keep weather systems in one place and produce freak conditions.



Enlarge http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/12/article-1302225-0AC5FB3D000005DC-317_468x259.jpg (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/12/article-1302225-0AC5FB3D000005DC-317_468x259_popup.jpg) A satellite map which shows the intense heat that has built up over Russia after the jetstream has been held up due to Rossby waves


The jetstream is being held by the Rossby waves that normally produce its distinctive wave-like pattern.
These powerful spinning wind currents are caused by the Earth’s shape and rotation and push the jet stream from east to west at high altitudes.
Now scientists believe that Rossby waves are acting against the jetstream’s usual pattern, holding it in place, according to a report in New Scientist.
Since mid-July, when it would normally be moving eastwards the jetstream has been held in one place as strong Rossby waves push against it.
When the jet stream is held in one place it traps the weather systems that are caught between its meanders. Warm air is sucked north to the ‘peaks’ while cold air travels to the ‘troughs’.
Professor Mike Blackburn of the University of Reading believes that a blocked jetstream could be behind a heatwave in Japan which killed 60 and the sudden end to warm weather in the UK.
http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/11/article-0-0AC39C16000005DC-335_468x286.jpg A satellite image from this afternoon shows smoke from wildfires burning in Russia. The red dots indicate active fires. Scientists believe the jetstream could be to blame

http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/11/article-0-0AC38EEC000005DC-326_468x298.jpg Pakistani flood survivors evacuate a flooded area in Bssera village near Muzaffargarh today

In Pakistan, the blocking event took place at the same time as the summer monsoon, with tragic consequences.
Floods triggered by heavy monsoon rain over much of Pakistan began nearly two weeks ago and have killed around 1,600 people and forced more than two million from their homes.

Many survivors from flooded villages have lost their stores of food as well as crops and livestock and are surviving on relief handouts.
In Russia, the immobile jetstream pulled in hot air from Africa creating stifling conditions and horrendous smog in Moscow.
Hundreds of wildfires have been burning across three time zones. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin yesterday boarded a fire-fighting plane to dump water on blazes close to Moscow, where the smoke has caused thick smog
Scientists are still unclear as to the cause of ‘blocking events’ although there have been some research that linked them to low solar activity.
Enlarge http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/11/article-1302225-0AC3C1EA000005DC-568_468x332.jpg (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/11/article-1302225-0AC3C1EA000005DC-568_468x332_popup.jpg) A graph for 24 - 30th July which shows a succession of meanders along the jet stream, with a northward meander (ridge of high pressure) over the Atlantic, a southward meander (trough of low pressure) over Europe. Here the jet splits, around a large 'blocking' anticyclone over western Russia. On the eastern side of this anticyclone, air moves into the southward meander (trough) close to Pakistan from quite far north



Enlarge http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/11/article-1302225-0AC3C205000005DC-780_468x332.jpg (http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix/2010/08/11/article-1302225-0AC3C205000005DC-780_468x332_popup.jpg) A graph from the same period over a number of years shows what scientists would normally expect over this period with calmer winds and fewer 'trapped' weather patterns
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-1302225/Blocked-jetstream-blame-freak-weather-Russia-Pakistan.html

Magda Hassan
08-23-2010, 04:27 AM
Published by the International Committee of the Fourth International (ICFI)
The political and social roots of Russia?s wildfire disaster
By Andrea Peters
21 August 2010

A cold wave hitting central Russia has finally provided relief to
millions of Moscow residents who have been living in suffocating heat
and smog for weeks. While the wildfires that turned the air in the
nation?s capital into a toxic haze have reportedly been brought under
control, numerous blazes continue to burn in other areas, in particular
Siberia and the Far East.

Earlier this week, the government reported that the number of hectares
in flames had fallen from 45,800 to 22,700. A wildfire threatening the
nuclear facility in the closed town of Sarov has been brought under
control. Blazes that consumed land polluted with radioactive fallout
during the 1986 Chernobyl disaster have also been contained, although
environmentalists have questioned the government?s claim that the
wildfires did not release radioactive smoke into the air.

Despite the improved situation, resource-strapped firefighters continue
to struggle to extinguish blazes in peat bogs that have been smoldering
for weeks. A fire in the Denezhkin Kamen Nature Preserve in the
Sverdlovsk region that had been reduced to a quarter of a hectare on
Tuesday has once again started to spread, threatening the region?s
unique species and ecosystem.

While officials acknowledge 54 deaths directly from the fires thus far,
the numbers who perished as a result of the pollution caused by the
fires are many times higher. On Tuesday, the BBC reported that,
according to Boris Revich, a researcher with the Russian Academy of
Sciences, 5,840 more people died in Moscow in July than during the same
time last year. Statistics for August, when some of the worst smog
blanketed the capital, are not yet available.

Over the past week news stories have begun to emerge about the
difficulties fire victims have encountered in receiving even the limited
compensation promised by the government. According to the business daily
Kommersant, those who lost property due to grass fires, as opposed to
forest fires, and those who were not able to legally register their
property beforehand?a common problem in Russia due to the complex
bureaucratic procedures associated with this process?are ineligible for
compensation. In addition, family members of individuals who died before
the government announced its special fund for fire victims cannot
receive any aid.

On August 17, RosBiznesKonsalting reported: ?In Zavadskii village in
Riazan oblast, Irina Iakovleva was refused compensation for her mother,
who died in a fire. At the government office in Sasovskii, they told her
that ?she died on July 26, but it has to be after the 28th.?

The wildfire disaster has brought to the fore, once again, the vast
chasm that exists between ordinary working people in Russia and all
sections of the state bureaucracy and the wealthy elite it serves. This
summer?s events will further fuel popular discontent over the rising
cost of living, limited economic and job prospects, the elimination of
public services, and deteriorating social conditions in Russia?s
industrial towns.

The scale of the fires, and the thousands of deaths they caused, are
bound up with the semi-privatization of Russia?s forests in the
interests of powerful logging and paper manufacturing corporations and
the near-total liquidation of the country?s 70,000-strong forestry
service. The collapse of infrastructure in poor rural areas meant that
villages burnt to the ground for lack of firefighting equipment, while
in some cases the summer homes of nearby wealthy residents were saved by
emergency services that were ordered to ignore the pleas of ordinary
people for help.

The indifference of the ruling elite to the conditions of life of masses
of people found graphic expression in the actions of Moscow Mayor Iuri
Luzhkov, who did not bother to interrupt his vacation in the Austrian
Alps as millions of his constituents choked on foul air. On Wednesday,
Luzhkov, who only returned to the capital on August 8, went back on holiday.

The Kremlin is nervous about the political consequences of the wildfire
disaster. It is also aware that lingering anger over this event will
only be exacerbated by soaring food prices in coming months, caused by a
30 percent fall in the country?s grain output due to drought.

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have
attempted to head off rising popular anger over the wildfires through a
series of publicity stunts. Medvedev held a meeting with Russia?s
oligarchs to insist that they ?share? in the suffering by contributing
financially to rebuilding homes and compensating victims, while Putin
rode in the cockpit of a bomber dropping water on fires.

In a meeting with several of Russia?s wealthiest and most powerful
businessmen, Medvedev thanked oligarch Oleg Deripaska for his
willingness to extend his ?patronage? to some of Russia?s destroyed
villages. Deripaska, one of the most widely despised figures in the
country, is the owner of a vast industrial empire. Last year he was the
object of fierce popular protests in the town of Pikalevo, where
desperate residents blocked a federal highway in order to demand back
pay and the restoration of their jobs at factories recently closed down
by Deripaska and other industrial magnates.

The amount of aid promised to disaster victims, which has ranged in
different government statements from 200,000 to 2 million rubles (about
$7,000 to $66,000), is probably equivalent to what one of Russia?s
multi-billionaire businessmen spends on a casual afternoon of shopping.
The Kremlin?s efforts to make a show of demanding that this criminal
elite help the fire victims are at once absurd and grotesque.

Medevev, however, is concerned that the deep-seated hostility towards
these social layers could once again explode as people take stock of the
summer?s events. His demands that they help rebuild the country are
aimed at containing popular anger while providing a measure of cover for
the oligarchs.

An August 17 article published in RosBiznesKonsalting noted, ?Experts
agree that major businesses will come out winners all the same, even if
they are compelled now to raise money to carry out the president?s
wishes? The state is considering procurement of Deripaska?s interest in
Norilsk Nickel, a convenient moment for recommending him to build a
village or two in his native Nizhni Novgorod.?

The online news site went on to quote an expert who pointed out, ?The
matter concerns $8-9 billion, so that what Deripaska will spend on
reconstruction of a village looks like a pittance in comparison.?

While the Russian government has made various well-publicized promises
regarding the devotion of increased resources to forest maintenance and
the reflooding of peat bogs, the Kremlin remains impervious to popular
demands that the 2007 forest code that set the stage for the wildfire
disaster be reversed.

The lesson that the ruling elite is drawing from these events is that it
is necessary to further consolidate its grip on power in order to
prevent similar crises in the future from sparking a challenge to its
authority. In an August 11 article published in the government newspaper
Rossiskaia Gazeta and entitled ?Lessons of a Hot Summer,? Nikolai Zlobin
warns that the Russian state must consider the national security
implications of the wildfire disaster.

?Today [national security] threats frequently lie in spheres far removed
from the purely military. When such threats are unexpectedly exacerbated
the state and its citizens become vulnerable and defenseless and the
situation threatens to get out of control, to become unmanageable, and
to lead to destabilization, instability, and a decline in the
authorities? prestige.?

Russia?s liberal opposition has responded to the wildfire disaster by
denouncing the Kremlin, directing the bulk of its criticism to Putin, as
opposed to Medvedev, who it views as a potential political ally. In
particular, several leading newspapers have carried editorials insisting
that the slow response of local officials to the disaster and the
efforts of regional leaders to cover up the extent of the crisis in
their areas point to the failure of Putin?s ?power vertical,? whereby
regional governors are appointed by the Kremlin. Government corruption,
several have noted, contributed to the wildfire disaster, as money
intended for firefighting purposes was often used to purchase luxury
items for state bureaucrats.

The claim is made that if the people had the right to choose local
leaders, the officials would behave more responsibly. Remarking on the
fact that the governor of Vladimir oblast, Nikolai Vinogradov, was on
vacation while thousands of hectares of forestland in his region were
ablaze, the liberal daily Nezavisimaia Gazeta stated, ?Of course, if
regional heads were elected, they would hardly permit themselves such
liberties.?

The profoundly anti-democratic character of the Russian political system
no doubt contributed to the wildfire disaster and the suffering of the
population. However, this alone cannot explain why villages burnt to the
ground for want of firefighting equipment or the peat bogs in
surrounding Moscow were left unmonitored for fire danger.

The collapse of public services in Russia and the semi-privatization of
the country?s forests are part and parcel of the restoration of
capitalism, which the liberal opposition hails as a great historic
achievement. The 2007 forest code passed by the Kremlin is not simply a
product of Putin?s corrupt relationship with powerful logging and paper
manufacturing interests in Russia. It is entirely in keeping with the
political principles dictated by Russia?s market economy, in which the
profit motive, not social needs, determines how resources will be utilized.

Jan Klimkowski
08-23-2010, 04:50 PM
On August 17, RosBiznesKonsalting reported: ?In Zavadskii village in
Riazan oblast, Irina Iakovleva was refused compensation for her mother,
who died in a fire. At the government office in Sasovskii, they told her
that ?she died on July 26, but it has to be after the 28th.?

(snip)

The scale of the fires, and the thousands of deaths they caused, are
bound up with the semi-privatization of Russia?s forests in the
interests of powerful logging and paper manufacturing corporations and
the near-total liquidation of the country?s 70,000-strong forestry
service. The collapse of infrastructure in poor rural areas meant that
villages burnt to the ground for lack of firefighting equipment, while
in some cases the summer homes of nearby wealthy residents were saved by
emergency services that were ordered to ignore the pleas of ordinary
people for help.

The oligarchs and the KGB were only too happy to assist western looters with the application of economic Shock Therapy to Russia.

Of course, everything is cool for the oligarchs. If there's a fire, they just divert the firefighters from saving the village to saving their country mansion.

It's as the serfs were never emancipated and the the Russian revolution never happened. :bootyshake:



Russian President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin have
attempted to head off rising popular anger over the wildfires through a
series of publicity stunts. Medvedev held a meeting with Russia?s
oligarchs to insist that they ?share? in the suffering by contributing
financially to rebuilding homes and compensating victims, while Putin
rode in the cockpit of a bomber dropping water on fires.

In a meeting with several of Russia?s wealthiest and most powerful
businessmen, Medvedev thanked oligarch Oleg Deripaska for his
willingness to extend his ?patronage? to some of Russia?s destroyed
villages.

(snip)

The amount of aid promised to disaster victims, which has ranged in
different government statements from 200,000 to 2 million rubles (about
$7,000 to $66,000), is probably equivalent to what one of Russia?s
multi-billionaire businessmen spends on a casual afternoon of shopping.
The Kremlin?s efforts to make a show of demanding that this criminal
elite help the fire victims are at once absurd and grotesque.

Putin and Medvedev have clearly been taking lessons from New Labour and Republican spin doctors.

Provide the masses with some showy "photo opportunity", designed to demonstrate that the Dear Leader is a Man of the People, taking personal action to Save The Day, and sideline anyone who describes such behaviour as superficial, evasive or the Theatre of the Truly Absurd.



The lesson that the ruling elite is drawing from these events is that it
is necessary to further consolidate its grip on power in order to
prevent similar crises in the future from sparking a challenge to its
authority. In an August 11 article published in the government newspaper
Rossiskaia Gazeta and entitled ?Lessons of a Hot Summer,? Nikolai Zlobin
warns that the Russian state must consider the national security
implications of the wildfire disaster.

?Today [national security] threats frequently lie in spheres far removed
from the purely military. When such threats are unexpectedly exacerbated
the state and its citizens become vulnerable and defenseless and the
situation threatens to get out of control, to become unmanageable, and
to lead to destabilization, instability, and a decline in the
authorities? prestige.?



Ah yes. Power does tend to Corrupt.

:eviltongue: