Don’t let Trump distract you from keeping your eyes on Putin

Russia’s Putin Picks Le Pen to Rule France

French presidential candidate Marine Le Pen—anti-American, anti-NATO, pro-Trump—was received in Moscow Friday as if she already were a head of state.

MOSCOW — Russian interference in the American elections last year was downright subtle compared to what we’ve seen this week in the run-up to French presidential elections.

The two-round vote on April 23 and May 7 could change politics, defense, and the economy in Europe more radically—and more in Russia’s favor—even than the chaos spawned by Donald Trump’s iffy triumph in the United States.

And on Friday, Putin endorsed his candidate: far-right-wing, anti-European-Union, anti-NATO, anti-immigrant, anti-American, pro-Trump candidate Marine Le Pen.

Of course, Putin said, “We don’t want to influence in any way the events going on [in France],” but his government received Le Pen as if she already were settled in as the head of state in Paris.

Olga Bychkova, deputy chief editor of the independent radio station Echo of Moscow, said that the reception accorded Le Pen in Russia was impressive. “She first had meetings with the leaders of the Duma [Russia’s parliament], then she was taken to an exhibit devoted to France at the Kremlin, then she met with Putin. That is a kind of program Moscow organizes for state leaders,” Bychkova said.

The French news magazine L’Express was quick to note the anomaly as well, calling it “altogether exceptional” that Putin would receive a presidential candidate so close to an election.

Read More:

Russia Detains Opposition Leader Navalny Amid Nationwide Protests

Dozens were arrested during the biggest anti-Kremlin demonstrations in years.

MOSCOW/YEKATERINBURG, March 26 (Reuters) – Police detained hundreds of protesters across Russia on Sunday, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, after thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against corruption and demand the resignation of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev.

The protests, reckoned to be the biggest since a wave of anti-Kremlin demonstrations in 2011/2012, come a year before a presidential election which Vladimir Putin is expected to contest, running for what would be a fourth term.

A Reuters reporter saw police detain Navalny, who hopes to run against Putin, as he walked along central Moscow’s Tverskaya Street with supporters, part of an unsanctioned rally as a police helicopter circled overhead.

Police put Navalny in a truck around which hundreds of protesters crowded, trying to open its doors.

“I’m happy that so many people came out (onto the streets) from the east (of the country) to Moscow,” Navalny said, moments before he was detained.

The Kremlin said on Friday that plans for the central Moscow protest, which the city’s authorities had rejected, were an illegal provocation.  read more:

History Professor Timothy Snyder “On Tyranny”

Yale History Professor Timothy Snyder’s latest book On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century outlines some of the things that fall under dictators as they rise to power. Bill Maher asked Snyder to give the top three lessons from tyranny for which Americans should suit up.

Don’t obey in advance,” was Snyder’s first instruction. He doesn’t necessarily mean obeying leaders or authority rather, “don’t follow what everyone else is doing… figure out what you stand for and be yourself.”

His second instruction was that Americans must defend institutions. Many anticipate that “the institution will save us” but Snyder said that this kind of thinking is wrong. “We have to save the institutions. They don’t do it on their own. This is the moment of ‘ask not what the institutions can do for you. Ask what you can do for the institutions.’”

His third was for Americans to believe in the truth. “Without truth, we don’t have trust. Without trust, we don’t have the rule of law. Without the rule of law, we don’t have democracy,” he continued.

He then explained that the people who are looking for a post-factual world and distributing false information are directly responsible for killing democracy.

“It was the fascists who said, ‘everyday life doesn’t matter. Every detail doesn’t matter. Facts don’t matter. All that matters is the message, the leader, the myth, the totality,’” Snyder continued. “We should be thinking about the 1920s.”

Watch the full exchange below:

Video of alleged Russian back assassination

Chilling video shows Kremlin critic’s death. CNN’s Fred Pleitgen reports on chilling new Ukrainian video that has surfaced showing the assassination of anti-Kremlin lawmaker Denis Voronenkov. Source: CNN




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