Progressive is as progressive does

Russian President (now Prime Minister) Vladimir Putin,
fishing on the Khemchik River in the Republic of Tuva. August 15, 2007.

Action hero to a certain breed of recalcitrant leftist, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin is now collecting worldwide accolades for convincing the Russian Cabinet to ban seal hunting.

The dewy-eyed innocence of baby seals has prompted a rare burst of environmental activism in Russia that has moved Vladimir Putin to end their slaughter. The annual spring cull in the northern White Sea region has been scrapped after Mr Putin condemned the clubbing of baby seals for their fur as a “bloody trade”.

The Natural Resources and Ecology Ministry said that it was responding to public concern, but the Prime Minister’s words appeared to have been decisive.

Yuri Trutnev, the Natural Resources Minister, reacted swiftly, outlawing the cull of harp seals younger than one year old after Mr Putin told a Cabinet meeting that “it’s clear that it should have been banned long ago”.

— Tony Halpin.  “Slaughter of the seals in Russia is stopped by Vladimir Putin“, London Times, March 20th, 2009.

Predictably, tyrant-loving Western celebrities, Canadian journalists and the soft-headed are tripping over each other in the rush to award Russia laurels for its belated discovery of an eco-conscience, while completely ignoring the nation’s long list of environmental catastrophes—including nuclear contamination of the Barents Sea and Sea of Japan, raw sewage pollution of the Baltic Sea, the almost complete dessication of the Aral Sea, chemical pollution of Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega, not to mention numerous incidents of health-damaging air or water quality throughout the federation.  Putting radioactive waste water into the harp seals’ prime habitat is no biggie; all is now forgiven because Russians will no longer bash seals about the head once a year.

Harp seals are somewhat exotic creatures to us inland-dwellers in the Centre of the Universe; like earwigs, only with fewer nasty-looking pincers. I wouldn’t go out of my way to bash a seal in the head, but if I spot one crawling around a darkened kitchen, it’s a safe bet it’s going to die.  You let these things breed and eventually they’ll displace the city’s natural flora and fauna, like silverfish and raccoons.

To my mind it seems profoundly stupid to laud a guy for refraining from seal-bashing when, at the same time, he’s busy dumping thousands of litres of radioactive poison into the very place where the seals live.  But then I’m not a celebrity or a journalist.

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