Friday, January 21, 2005


Beslan Fallout Continues

An AP story in the Washington Post sheds some light on the continuing fallout from the Beslan tragedy of this past September. For two days now about 100 family members of children who were killed in the Beslan school in September have been protesting - blocking off a highway in southern Russia and demanding that Alexander Dzasokhov, president of the North Ossetian region, resign. They don't think that the situation was handled correctly (and how could they, with so many of their children's lives lost).

For those that do not know, Dzasokhov was the Moscow-supported candidate who won the last election in the typical way that Moscow candidates are installed in the Caucasus. Sure, there was an election, but the main opposition candidate was "disqualified" (a decision that, surprise surprise, the Moscow courts upheld). Anyhow, Putin sure isn't going to have his hold over the region upset by these parents. Today he called for "restructuring" of the state's programs (making no mention of the protestor's demand for an international investigation of the Beslan tragedy... Putin doesn't do investigations, and he certainly doesn't do international.)
"A whole series of terrorist acts organized and carried out last year by international criminal groups showed the necessity of a serious restructuring of state activity in the security sphere," ITAR-Tass and the Interfax news agency quoted Putin as telling a meeting of prosecutors.
That doesn't sound good for anybody, least of all for the poor parents, out in the cold, blocking a highway in southern Russia.

UPDATE: In other cheery Russian news, al-Jazeera is reporting that "Moscow is planning to erect a new statue of Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, returning his image to its streets after an absence of four decades."
"A monument will be erected to those who took part in leading the war against Adolf Hitler, including Stalin," said Oleg Tolkachev, Moscow's senator in the upper house of parliament.

Interfax news agency reported earlier that a Stalin monument would also be built in the Belgorod region near the Ukrainian border to mark the Soviet victory against Nazi Germany 60 years ago.

In another sign of Stalin’s growing appeal, state television channels have shown a number of prime-time television shows in recent months depicting him in a positive light.

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