March 12th 2005

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: The media elites versus the public

CANBERRA OBSERVED: American-style workplace relations for Australia?

SCHOOLS: Teacher training at the mercy of politics

HUMAN CLONING: UN victory's implications for Australia

WESTERN AUSTRALIA: Gallop Labor Government returned to power

EDITORIAL: Debt tsunami moves closer

AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY: The economy that will confront the next generation

NATIONAL AFFAIRS: Reserve Bank governor defends his record

ENERGY: Ethanol - Australia being left behind

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Visas for sale / Kyoto hot air convention / Europe, China and the US-Japan alliance / Edge of the abyss

ASIA: Japan, India and China - new strategic alliance?

VIETNAM: Hanoi's abysmal human rights record

A response to Babette Francis (letter)

Turkish massacre of the Armenians (letter)

Putin - can a leopard change his spots? (letter)

Abortion's hidden wounds (letter)

BOOKS: MICHAEL MOORE is a Big Fat Stupid White Man

BOOKS: SAME-SEX MARRIAGE: Putting Every Household at Risk

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Putin - can a leopard change his spots? (letter)

by Frank Bellet

News Weekly, March 12, 2005

I totally disagree with David M. Abbott's criticism of R.J. Stove's excellent article on Vladimir Putin and Russia (News Weekly, February 26, 2005).

I've become a little weary of bomb-throwers labelling as "right-wingers" anyone who calls a communist a communist. These people never seem to refer to Lenin's useful idiots as left-wingers.

Also the jury is not "still out on Putin". The jury (at least in Russia) has been put in jail.

I believe that the leopard Putin has not changed his spots. He has thrown the opposition, including journalists, into prison, and extended the time for the opening of the KGB terror network files from 30 to 70 years.

This is what you'd expect from a KGB officer (I won't use the word "former"), whose job in Soviet times was running a hard-currency racket for the mafia-like KGB, while supervising an informant organisation, called the 5th Chief Directorate, which was a vicious political section of the KGB.

Putin was for many years based in Germany before he was posted to what is now called St Petersburg (I think that might have been his home town).

During Bush's recent visit to Russia, a joke was doing the rounds about an American journalist boasting to a Russian journalist that he was free to criticise the American president as much as he liked.

The Russian journalist was unimpressed, replying: "I can do exactly the same. I too am free to criticise the American president as much as I like."

Frank Bellet,
Petrie, Qld

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