Merry Sodding Orthodox Christmas
And to celebrate, why not check out a rather good round-up of how Vladimir Putin seems to be following in the fine tradition of psychotic Russian despots?
Then why not follow up with a bit more on Andrei Illarionov, the brave Presidential aide and economic advisor who risked going public with his concerns about Putin's policies - especially regarding the Yukos scam - and was sacked for his pains? (And will he soon disappear for re-education like other critics of the regime or be silenced by other methods, one wonders?)
Meanwhile, Yukos is left at a loss over how to get out of this one - as Illarionov rightly pointed out, "This entire affair regrettably demonstrates that any of the official or semiofficial explanations given to the public regarding the Yukos affair do not have a leg to stand on". The same could be said about official Russian proclamations on pretty much any aspect of society.
Putin's style of government is becoming increasingly reminiscent of the tactics of the Soviets under which he first made a name for himself. Perhaps the best Christmas present the West could offer ordinary Russians is finally to condemn Putin for what he is - a thoroughly unpleasant bastard. I mean, hey - we got rid of Saddam because he was a tyrant - why not the equally undemocratic and autocratic Putin?
But then again, we really, really can't risk pissing him off...