Fearing Putin’s Russia

Ezra Klein thinks the Washington Post is unreasonably anti-Putin. I disagree.

Ezra Klein worries that the Washington Post is stirring up Russophobia:

There are three Russia stories in today’s paper. The one painting Putin as an authoritarian dictator in on A1. The story suggesting the country is tentatively moving towards internal political reforms is on A12. And the reporting on Russia’s apparent willingness to pressure Iran on the nuclear issue — which is, of course, a top priority of America’s — is on A13. So why is the Washington Post straining to paint such a dark picture of Russia, and burying the stories that conflict with the narrative, even as they have more relevance to American priorities?

If in fact Putin has finally gotten worried that his efforts to help Iran acquire nuclear weapons might have bad consequences, of course I’m delighted. But I doubt that what seems to be a small and ambiguous blip in Russo-Iranian relations is as important to the United States as the slow slide of quasi-democratic and inward-looking Russia back toward the Evil Empire: tyrannical internally, genocidal in Chechnya, and aggressive toward its neighbors.

If you want to see the real face of Putin’s Russia, look at the face of Victor Yushchenko, before and after his poisoning by the GSB, alias KGB.


I would criticize the press more for being slow to report this story than for reporting it now. The Democrats shouldn’t let the country forget that GWB, having looked into Putin’s soul, mostly watched benignly as his soulmate restored secret-police state in a country that still has a very large stock of nuclear weapons aimed at our cities.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com