The Bloomberg News story began, “Thousands of Muslims vented their anger in unison, shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ as their leader condemned supporters of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo after militants murdered five of its cartoonists.” This protest against caricatures of the prophet Mohammed and the policies of the U.S. and its allies was organized by the state and televised live across the country, but it wasn’t in Iran or Pakistan or Yemen.
It was in Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin is now attempting to turn Muslim anger to his- and Russia’s- advantage by pushing for a united front against the United States. “The protest was an attempt to meld Muslim opinions with Russian-wide views about the Western world” in order to unite the population around Putin one Middle East analyst said.
Yet Ramzan Kadyrov, a Putin loyalist, has said that the U.S. secretly controls ISIL. Say again?
Fomenting Islamic terror as a weapon against the U.S. and the West is new for Russia.
And now Russia is threatening to cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine and Europe, an action it has taken in past disputes with rivals, even as it categorically denies using energy as a weapon.
It has come to this: Boris Nemtsov, a Russian opposition leader and sharp critic of President Vladimir Putin, was shot dead last week near the Kremlin. One day before a protest against Putin’s rule. Nemtsov’s lawyer said the politician had received threats on social networks recently and had informed the police about them, but authorities didn’t take any steps to protect him.
What an amazing series of coincidences! One opposition activist said Nemtsov was working on a report presenting evidence that he believed proved Russia’s direct involvement in the separatist rebellion that “erupted” in Ukraine this past year, something that the Russian government has vehemently denied. He has no doubt that Nemtsov’s murder was politically motivated.
An “atmosphere of hatred toward alternative thinkers” has clearly formed since the annexation of Crimea last year, stated a Russian political analyst. (Sadly, an atmosphere of hatred toward “alternative thinkers,” i.e. conservatives, has clearly formed over the years in the United States, as well, especially on college campuses and as illustrated by the mainstream media).
The Russian authorities were not backing off in the wake of Nemtsov’s death, either, according to the Bloomberg piece. The national Internet watchdog briefly blocked the blog of Alexei Navalny, the leader of a younger generation of Kremlin critics. Just hours after the Nemtsov assassination, investigators showed up at Navalny’s apartment in Moscow, searched his files and confiscated his hard drive. Navalny is in jail serving a 15-day sentence for distributing fliers promoting the rally.
Russia’s state-run television networks, meanwhile, spew violent rhetoric, with anchors bragging about the nation’s military prowess. And “Investigators” say that one of the possibilities they are considering is that the opposition movement itself arranged for Nemtsov to be murdered, in order to create a martyr that it could rally around.
“Investigators” were also forcing Nemtsov’s long-time girlfriend, Ukrainian citizen Anna Duritskaya, to remain in Moscow against her will. She was under heavy guard and will not be allowed to return home any time soon, according to her lawyer.
And I wonder when I’ll be home again and the morning answers “Never”
And the evening sighs, and the steely Russian skies go on… forever
(last lines from Al Stewart’s song, “Roads to Moscow,” published by Dick James Music, BMI; 1974 Arista Records, Inc.)