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By Mick Krever, CNN
A decidedly undiplomatic spat between Russia and the Netherlands is bringing to the forefront once again what Russian journalist Masha Gessen calls President Vladimir Putin’s “bully” syndrome.
Late Tuesday night, a senior Dutch diplomat in Russia, Onno Elderenbosch, was beaten in his apartment by two men posing as electricians.
Just days ago before that, Dutch police arrested a Russian diplomat in The Hague after neighbors reported suspected child abuse – police released him hours later and apologized to Moscow.
And all this comes on top of Russia’s arrest of 30 Greenpeace activists who, using a Dutch-flagged ship, were protesting oil and gas drilling in the Arctic. Earlier this month, Russia charged the 28 activists and two journalists on board with piracy, which carries a potential sentence of 15 years.
“This was a high-level diplomatic message of sorts,” Gessen told Amanpour from Moscow. “It’s not specific to the Dutch-Russian relationship, but it is specific to the way Russia is treating the rest of the world.”
President Vladimir Putin has run the country “like a thug” for 14 years, Gessen said, and is only now showing the world who he really is.
Putin began his third presidential term last year, after a brief interlude as prime minister.
“Russia is showing the rest of the world what it thinks of it,” Gessen told Amanpour. “The message to the world is basically we’re going to do whatever we want and there’s nothing you can do to us. It’s a bully’s message.”
Gessen, more than most, is personally affected by Putin style of governance. She is gay, and is planning to flee the country with her partner and children at the end of the year.
A law passed earlier this year in Russia bans "propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations around minors."
But it is a another law, Gessen said, that is forcing her exit from her mother country.
In February, she told Amanpour, parliament will vote on a law that allows social services to remove children “from people who are known or believed to be homosexual.”
“That affects our three kids – one of whom is already in the States because he is adopted and most vulnerable – and the other two who are all in Moscow, and we’re all going to leave at the end of the year before they pass this law – and they will pass this law.”
Pressure on Russia over its stance on homosexuals is building not only because of these laws, but also because it is due to host the Winter Olympics, in Sochi, in a matter of months.
The pressure, Gessen said, “is forcing Russia to take an even more aggressive stand.” But, she added, “it doesn’t make the pressure wrong, to my mind.”
“If you think of it as dealing with a bully in the street or in a schoolyard, this is the kind of reaction you are going to get,” she told Amanpour. “Putin is acting like a cornered animal, or again like a bully who is being confronted. He’s lashing out; his government is doing more and more absurd things.”
While the assault on the Dutch diplomat and arrest of the Greenpeace activists is “outrageous,” she said, “it is part and parcel of the larger crackdown that’s been going on in Russia for at least the last year and a half, which is affecting anyone who is perceived as an outsider.”
“Hate sells everywhere,” Gessen said. “And hate sells particularly well in countries where there’s nothing else is on television, which is the situation that we’ve had in Russia for years.”
“Where,” Amanpour asked, “do you see the trend in terms of democracy, civil liberties, going in Russia?”
“I’m not even sure those words are applicable at this point,” Gessen said.
She surmised that Russia could offer some “grudging” kind of political compromise in the next few months, to ensure that the Olympics go off smoothly – for example, releasing some of the Greenpeace activists.
If you ask a corned bully for something, Gessen said, “he might throw the thing back at you and say, ‘Here, have it, I didn’t want it in the first place.’”
“That doesn’t stop his bullying. And that’s what’s happening in Russia. The crackdown will certainly continue; I think it will intensify after the Olympics.”
Besides the fact that the drunk Russian diplomat was briefly detained to protect his children from more molestions (dragging them on their hairs on the street), his wife was busy as well. At the same time she was drunk and driving a car, causing an accident involving damaging 4 other cars. They dont get punished......
GESSEN MAY BE RIGHT IN ALL HER CHARGES AGAINST pUTIN,IN sYRIA HIS ROLE WAS POSITIVE UN SHOULD NOW TAKE UP RESOLUTION FOR DESTRUCTION OF CHEMICAL WEAPNS.RUSSIA WILL NOT VETO THAT.
There are no evidence that can prove this story. Police didn't report about it.
There is proof about that. Actually the proof that Borodin would be beaten by the Dutch police isn't credible, because he was talking to Russian journalists the day after, without any bruises. Never the less, the Dutch police shouldn't have entered Borodins home and arrested him, because he falls under Russian law, not the Dutch law.
When it comes to the treaty of Vienna it tells that such privileges and immunities, is not to benefit individuals (like the behavior of Borodin and his wife) but to
ensure the efficient performance of the functions of diplomatic missions as representing States.
So although Borodin has immunity, that immunity isn't meant to behave like total idiots in foreign countries.. or Russia wants to represent herself as a child molesting, drunk driving, car crashing country.
What should have happened was Russia calling Borodin back. Instead Russia is acting like a drama queen over this incident.
Putin has no idea how to run Russia effectively in modern way, all he knows is to pursue his opponents by all means.
Can you please post some of the things Masha Gessen has said about the family unit? Why is she given a platform?
lol as if he (putin) cares is she leaves .....
APROPOS THE BRAVEST GIRL MALALA I SAT WITH A ROAD SIDE BARBER FOR HAIR CUT,I MENTIONED MALALA,HE SAID O SHE IS US AGENT?
WILL NOT AMANPOUR TAKE UP MY HARASSMENT BY THE ESTABLISHMENT FOLLOWING BHUTTOS JUDICIAL MURDER IN WHICH I HAD A ROLE,MY UNCLES MURDER(PM277/64JPGMC)ATTACK ON ME CAUSING GREVIOUS HURT(2003)sECURITY AGENCYFIA TAKING OUT pkr300000/-THROUGH FORGERY FROM ACCOUNT AT SCB ON ,18TH JUNE 2004.
Putin is a bully extraordinaire. The problem with some People is that they grew up dominating others and/or getting what they want through unkind means/ways. It can gradually become a sickness whereby you constantly hurt/terrorise others and yourself although at first you might not realise the pain you are causing yourself. That type usually when they experience self inflicted pain will take it out on others. They can up as murderers or suicidal.
Did Moscow take revenge? Only days after the forceful detention of a Russian diplomat in the Netherlands, a dutch diplomat in Russia was severely beaten. Coincidence? In 2005 2 polish diplomats were beaten in Russia after children of a Russian diplomat had been beaten by skinheads in Poland! For more analysis of international affairs google: Lawandgeopolitics,com
The sort of parity that existed between the Soviet Union and the US during the Cold War is no longer possible. However, if Russia wishes to be taken seriously as a middle power, it should become a more normal country, guided by the rule of law. That may also help modernise its economy.
Putin is a bully! Nothing happens in Russia today without Putin's consent! Nothing at all "democratic", just another dictator! However, Russia's love their dictators! Always have and always will!
No one is that powerful. Putin does not know what all his closest friends are doing all the time. However, if he acts thuggish, that kinda signals the lower downs that that sort of behavior is okay. Happened to a lot of police in the US during Nixon's administration as well. Cops stopped being so aggressive when gentle Carter came into the White House. Kind of silly behavior, following a leader, but better to follow kind behavior by a leader than thuggish.
In other words behave like the US , which changes alliances depending on College or Media fashions, a media the ownership of which is like a closed shop, almost tribal. The nasty thing is that law-abiding progressive people like the Christians in the Middle East and many others feel threatened not by what Putin does but by what Americans like Obama do.
Obama should hand his Nobel Peace Prize to Putin who saved lots of American and Syrian lives
NB Why is someone like Christiane so unfeeling and unmoved about the plight of the Christians yet so full of herself?
It doesn't matter much. The U.S. is in effect bankrupt. It cannot ever hope to pay back its loans Yet politicians of other countries. mostly take the U.S. seriously
russophobic rant by this neo-con-establishment crone.
Bloody tdiot. Everyone knows Putin is the ‘Godfathe"r of a Mafai syle Government. Of course he would send his goons to do a beating
If you ask nicely, Vladimir will show you his fingernail collection.
Have you been to Russia? Do you know where it is?
comments ARE pre-screened... at least mine has not appeared... great job, CNN!
Gessen is mentally ill. Just search for her photos.
Kuzma is KGB portianka (nasty smelly socks), don't talk to this bustard.
Masha, I recognized you. I know, you wish to be Ivan. But you still are ugly Masha.
The problem is not of Putin personally.
The Russian nationalism, reviled in Russia's neighbors and human kind for at least 1000 years.
Even before the era of "Byzantine Empire", when Russia decided to conquer the whole world.
The problem remains the Russian nationalism. It is a problem that the human race needs to solve, as it did with Nazism.
I guess, the problem is American “exceptionalism”. It is a problem that the human race needs to solve, as it did with Nazism.
Yes Jason, you ask Obama to borrow another trillion dollars from China, this time not to pay for your credit card debts but to invade Russia . But first have a trial run in Lebanon, Somalia, Afghanistan, Vietnam etc.
Sounds very much like how the US acts. And by the way, how come this Gessen woman end up having children when she is gay?
hi STUPID..and uh yes you are.
Yeah. It's a real mystery. Sort of like the virgin Mary giving birth,,,to a god. I mean, how in the world did she do THAT? Its a real mystery.
RRRRRRRRRRRRRLEOPOLDO CASTILLO US STATE AGENCIES INVESTIGATION.
HUGO CHAVEZ – KIRSHNER – RUSEF – AND – SPAIN KING – USE MANUIPULATION ALGORITMS TO MANIPULATE ELECTIONS.
SEE THE NEWs.
LEOPOLDO CASTILLO US STATE AGENCIES INVESTIGATION.
GLOBOVISION MEDIA 1999.
FIRST CHAVEZ ELECTIONs.
STATES USING BANDS IN ELECTROMAGNETIC SPECTRUM TO MANIPULATE HUMANS TELEPHONIC ORGS.
North american agencies inviting actrices to do asessins.
charliz theron know agencies kill people with nano technology and she alow this crimes.
and charge for starring.
Fundamental to Russia's behavior is the absence of US leadership.cwhile the US has a shameful chapter in its history for appeasing Soviet-era Russia but this pales in comparison to the appeasement-prove WH of present day.
Seriously? America (like any country) has plenty of shameful incidents in its past, but appeasing the Soviet Union "Neville Chamberlain style" wasn't one of them. Mainly because it didn't happen.
If you have an issue with compromises being made during the Cold War – and there were plenty – then that's the price of doing business when a few thousand nuclear warheads are 40 minutes away from dropping on your head at any given moment.
Sounds like you're disappointed that the Allies didn't follow through on Churchill's "Operation Unthinkable" back in 1945...
Hm. Previous post didn't make it. Maybe I need majik words. How about, Putin Is A Dictator!
Let's see if that works.
Yep. I guess that was the trick.
By the way, that "bully" controls your gas imports. Better be nice to him.
Sounds like the Assadification of Russia has begun. All power, no integrity.
Good interview. Always on target, Amanpour! WorldBuilder.
Putin suffers from Delusional Big Wang Syndrome (DBWS). Lots of dictator types do.
DENUNCIA A MONSANTO FARMACEUTICAS NORTE AMERICANAS FDA A LOS QUE ENVIAMOS LAS DENUNCIAS E INFORMACIONES, FARMACEUTICAS EUROPEAS Y ASIATICAS.
FARMACEUTICAS CHAVISTAS Y ARGENTINA KFC COMPRANDO TALCO INDUSTRIAL PARA PRODUCTOS.
MEDICAMENTOS EUROPEOS FABRICADOS POR FARMACEUTICAS EN LAS QUE POLITICOS TEIENEN ACCIONES
LISTA NEGRA DE PRODUCTOS CON MATERIAS PRIMAS QUE CONTIENEN NANO TECNOLOGIA.
Putin is a very generous and considerate man who cares a great deal about human rights and freedom. That's why he gives sanctuary to freedom fighters like Edward Snowden.
I can't agree more! Plus, why does this story give so much space to the gay woman who apparently has children? Don't children have rights too? I have no qualms about Putin's government taking the hapless children from they gay couples care.
is there anybody out there who seriously believes that Putin is NOT the Emperor (Csar) of Russia? (whether that is a good or bad thing)
I'd like to see an article on a Western news site which doesn't serve to spread yet more fear uncertainty and doubt about Russia & Putin. Balanced reporting and all that.
Amazing that Amanpour gives Masha Gessen any credibility. She's just an anti-Putin shrill. Just lowered my opinion of Amanpour even lower.
There is no question whether Masha is correct or not – there is another question: how many people see the issue and what can be done about that? Well, an answer could be simple – just try to recollect what occurred in the USSR after the Olympics 1980. All the things are likely to be repeated, and they include the time of the entire 1980ies. Perhaps, it would happen a bit quicker and violently this time.
You mean they will kill the oligarchs this time? That's very racist no?
This article and its author has a little sence of reality.
It says what author WISH TO SEE not what happens.
Rubbish journalism, pure & simple. I use the word journalism in its loosest possible context, as this "article" is little more than Amanmpour offering her space as a soapbox for a Russian radical anti-government gay activist shill.
And the day after the Dutch gets harrassed, the flat of the Russian diplomats get broken into in the Netherlands. You aren't bright if you think FSB or Putin is directly involved in this. The risks would not outweigh the benefits.
AFTER YEARS FO IRRADIATION CAUTERIZATIONS GENETICAL DAMAGES.
IN SOME KIND SATELITAL RADIO THERAPHY.
CAMPAIGN CONTINUES TO BE KNOWN CASES OF VENEZUELA, SUITS OF TORTURE, SATELLITE SURVEILLANCE, AND ELECTRONIC HARASSMENT V2K.
CAMPAIGN PROTEST SATELITAL TORTURES CONTINUES TO BE KNOWN CASES IN VENEZUELA, SUITS OF TORTURE, SATELLITE SURVEILLANCE, AND ELECTRONIC HARASSMENT V2K.
THIS IS THE REASON POLITICS CREATE AGENDAS OF DEPOPULACION.
TO ELIMINATE THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND THERE ARE MANY TECHNOLOGIES USED FOR THESE CRIMES.
TO ELIMINATE AQUEYOS COMPRISING MANY TECHNOLOGIES THAT ARE USED FOR THESE CRIMES.
TO ELIMINATE THOSE WHO UNDERSTAND THERE ARE MANY TECHNOLOGIES USED FOR THESE CRIMES.
PERFORMS PRECISELY CAMPAIGN FOR THIS.
PUBLICATIONS MILLION RADIATE WHILE WE HAVE AS IS LIKE WHEN SOME FOOD IN A MICROWAVE.
PERFORMS PRECISELY CAMPAIGN FOR THIS.
WRITE AND JUST MOVE CURSOR.
OS OPERATING SYSTEMS HAVE THE PROBLEM, WRITE SOMETHING AND EVEN CHANGE TEXT TO PRINT.
THESE WITH YOUR FRIENDS and suddenly, HAVE FEELINGS OF DREAMS FATIGUE UNCONTROLLABLE.
WRITE AND JUST MOVE CURSOR.
SOME CITIZENS LEAVE IN STATES OF UNCONSCIOUSNESS ARE IN MINUTES PER.
SOME SOLUTIONS TO BE RAISED IN PAPERS:
TO SPEAK DIRECTLY TO POLITICAL ASK THEM TO STOP FOR DAMAGE TO THE VICTIMS OF CRIME SATELLITE .
AFTER YEARS FOR IRRADIATION CAUTERIZATIONS GENETICAL DAMAGES.
Gessen??? Doesn't sound Russian? Is she some oligarch's daughter?
Let's have some real journalism Christiane. Go to Saudi Arabia, without putting anything funny on your head, and ask the "King" whether gay people can have their gay parade.
If She ask Saudi she will not able to return .May be it would be more easy to ask Chinese gov. about LGBT rights or PRIDE parade? Uh..!
I bet you know, right?
Putin is ex-KGB.That just about says all about the "man".
President Putin is right. This campaign is in two American imperialists represented by amampour, (poor off ideas ...) against corrections nationalists strong social content that Great Russia offers as an example to the world "each monkey in its own branch"
to return to the former Soviet Union, Putin Great! You are not arrogant lackey of the Americans
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