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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

MAILBOX: On Putin's Resume, Hostage Swaps and Bank PR

In response to "Does a KGB Resum? Make Putin a Stalin?" of Jan. 13.


In an ideal world, which Russia is definitely not a part of, people with resumes like Vladimir Putin's would be forever banned from running for public office, especially if it's not something like the mayor of a small town or a local deputy, but the presidency of a huge country with a 1000-year record of authoritarianism, massive secret police abuses of power which ended only 10 years ago, 25,000 nuclear warheads and most importantly, a senseless and cruel war conducted now on Putin's orders.

Therefore, with all due respect for Yevgenia Albats' expertise in Russian politics, I disagree with her call for tolerance toward Putin's background. The stakes are just too high to give Putin the benefit of the doubt, elect him president of Russia and then see what happens. I don't think that Albats would have kept all her savings in a bank having found out that its president 10 years ago was robbing banks, even if there is ample proof that the guy has since become a good husband and father, attends church every Sunday and plays the violin.

Unfortunately, we "rotten liberals" outside and inside of Russia can only pontificate on the subject of whether or not to give the "underdog" Putin a chance. For he has already been given this chance by a bunch of corrupt officials, oligarchs and army generals. But the saddest thing, for me at least, is that Putin enjoys strong support among common folks enchanted by his promises to obtain a swift and spectacular victory over one of Russia's minorities, establish iron order in the country and promptly pay back wages and pensions. It seems to me, therefore, that Albats' unexpected support of Putin - considering her resume - is belated and irrelevant.

Alexander Batchan

Former Moscow correspondent for Voice of America

Prague, Czech Republic

If Not Putin, Who?

In response to editorial "Putin Plays Machiavelli in St. Pete," Jan. 21.


In reference to your Jan. 21 editorial, I am just wondering where, other than the Kremlin, you expect liberal St. Petersburgers to draw hope?

Their governor is a thug and given what happened in 1998 Legislative Assembly elections, they can hardly expecta fair gubernatorial vote.

The liberal Yabloko party, which enjoys a huge base of support in St. Petersburg, helped install that very same governor.

Maybe Yabloko is repentant now, but that hardly alters the fact that short of Kremlin support for a challenger, there is almost no chance of dislodging Governor Vladimir Yakovlev. Four more years of having their beautiful city tagged "the criminal capital" makes placing (possibly forlorn) hope in Vladimir Putin perfectly understandable.

Michael Heath


Hijack Claim Disputed

In response to "India Incited Hijacking," Jan. 13.


Rohan Oberoi's assertion that the three men freed by India in exchange for the release of passengers on a hijacked Indian Airlines plane had never been charged with a crime and had been illegally detained in the first place is absolutely false. One of these prisoners, British national Ahmad Omar Sayed Sheikh, was a convicted felon and serving a court-imposed sentence at the time he was freed in response to the hijackers' demands.

The other two, Masood Azhar and Mushtaq Ahmed Zargar, had been officially charged and proceedings against them were underway when they, too, were released. Zargar was on trial murders in Jammu and Kashmir. Furthermore, Oberoi's accusations of "custodial assassinations" are totally baseless.

The international community has accepted the humanitarian considerations which led India to free the terrorists.

The wanton hijacking of the Indian Airlines jet has only strengthened the resolve of India and other democratic and law-abiding countries, like the United States and Russia, to resolutely fight the menace of world terrorism.

Anil Trigunayat

First Secretary of Information and Press

Embassy of India


Article Missed Angle

In response to "U.S. PR Advocates Put Case to Bankers," Jan. 20.


Your article requires some clarification. First of all, Sitrick And Company was invited by a group of Russian bankers to make a presentation on the types of communications programs that have been successfully employed by companies and industry groups when their reputations were at risk. Our presentation, therefore, was designed to provide strategic options for the group.

Secondly, your reporter was attending what was supposed to be a private event. This was not a speech about the banking industry, nor was it a public proclamation regarding our approach to problem-solving.

Thirdly, your reporter unfortunately missed the major point of our presentation; namely, that before the bankers can entertain the idea of doing an image campaign they must first take a close look at their membership and determine whether they can stand up to scrutiny.

Finally, we think the news that should have been written about was the fact that the bankers were thinking about ways to improve the reputation of the industry, and that they brought an outside consulting firm in to speak to their membership. Your story should have been written from that perspective.

Michael Geczi and John Dillard

Sitrick And Company