Sunday, March 1, 2015

A tribute to Boris Nemtsov

I feel obliged to write this, given what happened in Russia on Friday. Boris Nemtsov was murdered on Friday, and he was a leading figure to the opposition in Russia, despite not currently holding a position in government.

Russia has lost a true patriot with this killing, and the reversion back to the bad old days (to use a phrase from the other side of the Iron Curtain) is going to look more and more apparent to observers.

The United States and EU don't have much they can do in response. A power vacuum from a political assassination attempt would destabilize Russia and its colonies(?) (Not sure exactly what word to use in reference to Belarus, Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Kazakhstan), and the person who replaces Putin could then be much worse. Starting World War III through invasion is also off the table.

So here we are with the world's 6th largest economy being controlled by the richest man in the world who is killing his political opposition through bullets. There are no truly liberal parties which actually oppose Putin's policies in the Duma (the leader of A Just Russia is deeply involved in Ukraine) and parties which truly do oppose Putin are not on the ballot. There is clearly a large movement for a different tone in Russia, with so many people protesting in Moscow yesterday, but with no ballot access for their party making change through their system is going be practically impossible.

It is a sad month for Russia and all the world. The Soviet Union is back.

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