Tags: Putin | Takes | Flack | For | Russia's | 'Disintegration'

Putin Takes Flack For Russia's 'Disintegration'

Sunday, 24 February 2002 12:00 AM

The charges contained in an open letter published in the Sovietskaya Rossiya daily newspaper lambasted Putin for permitting U.S. forces in Central Asia to fight the war on terrorism and called for a referendum to reinstate socialism.

"These bases are not a strike against bin Laden, but in reality against Russia’s interests,” the article entitled, "Who Will Answer for the Disintegration?” said.

The authors compared the betrayal of Putin "with the Nazi aggression during the Great Patriotic War,” alluding to Hitler’s savaging of the Soviets in World War II.

"Russia’s international policy has become the policy of horse-trading the state’s interests,” the 23 signing parties said, referring especially to Putin’s closing of a Russian spy base in Cuba.

Former Defense Minister Igor Rodionov joined the other letter signers, opining that Putin had "lied to the people and betrayed their interests. Today it is obvious that the president is not for the people but for those who robbed and continue to rob them.”

Recently the Russian Journal reported that the contempt of most Russian military generals for Putin’s friendship with America is taken for granted in Moscow.

An open letter published Nov. 10 from "the generals and admirals of the Soviet armed forces to the president of the Russian Federation, deputies of the State Duma, members of the government and governors of the Russian Federation,” strongly criticized Putin’s military policies.

Communist Party boss Gennady Zyuganov in a previous open letter appearing in the Sovietskaya Rossiya compared Putin to former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former President Boris Yeltsin -- as a potential traitor.

Russian nationalist Alexei Mitrofanov has mocked Putin’s intention to replace Tony Blair as "the first deputy mayor of the global village.”

Political analyst Sergei Karaganov has said, "Putin is now far away from his obsolete foreign-policy establishment. People in Russia simply do not understand what the president is doing.”

Vyacheslav Nikonov, Karaganov’s colleague, has noted, "Putin has assumed a position that is more pro-Western than 90 percent of the Russian electorate and the elite are prepared to tolerate.”

Alexander Pikayev, a Russian arms-control expert, has criticized: "Putin has been doing a lot of things for the U.S., but so far the benefits are not clear. The more steps he takes without having something to show in exchange, the more criticism he will face among the ruling elite.”

In November, the newspaper Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported "growing disagreement within the Defense Ministry with the way in which the Kremlin is structuring its participation in the anti-terrorist coalition.... [T]he boot of the American soldier is trampling the recently Soviet soil of Uzbekistan and Tajikistan.”

Until relatively recently, direct criticism of Putin has been limited. The Russian leader has enjoyed a 60 to 70 percent approval rating. The former KGB member also controls most national TV networks in his country.

But other polls have indicated that his personal popularity, spawned in large measure by his leadership in ending the pension crisis while still prime minister, does not necessarily cross over to policy.

Only 39.8 percent of Russians polled favored U.S. access to air bases in Central Asia, with 63.5 percent of those sampled against it. Meanwhile 88.8 percent opposed Russian military involvement in Afghanistan.

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The charges contained in an open letter published in the Sovietskaya Rossiya daily newspaper lambasted Putin for permitting U.S. forces in Central Asia to fight the war on terrorism and called for a referendum to reinstate socialism. These bases are not a strike against...
Putin,Takes,Flack,For,Russia's,'Disintegration'
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2002-00-24
Sunday, 24 February 2002 12:00 AM
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