Author Topic: Tales from Mother Russia  (Read 96657 times)

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Offline fajwat

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #15 on: December 15, 2006, 08:12:43 PM »
last I heard, squealching opposition parties was simple in Russia: they simply don't renew your political party's license.
"If it were up to me I would close Guantánamo not tomorrow but this afternoon... Essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in America's justice system... and it's causing us far more damage than any good we get from it."

-Colin Powell

Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2006, 03:17:36 PM »
Quote
Litvinenko killed over dossier on Russian: Shvets

LONDON (Reuters) - Murdered Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko was killed because of an eight-page dossier he had compiled on a powerful Russian figure for a British company, a business associate told the BBC on Saturday.

Litvinenko died in London on November 23 after receiving a lethal dose of radioactive polonium 210. On his deathbed, he accused Russian President        Vladimir Putin of ordering his killing. The Kremlin has denied involvement.

Ex-spy Yuri Shvets, who is based in the United States, said Litvinenko had been employed by Western companies to provide information on potential Russian clients before they committed to investment deals in the former Soviet Union.

He said Litvinenko was asked by a British company to write reports on five Russians and asked Shvets for help. The British company was not named. Shvets said he had passed Litvinenko the information for the dossier on one individual in September.

The BBC said it had obtained extracts of the dossier, which British detectives also have, from an unnamed source. The BBC said the report contained damaging personal details about a "very highly placed member of Putin's administration."

"Litvinenko obtained the report on September 20," Shvets told the BBC. "Within the next two weeks he gave the report to Andrei Lugovoy. I believe that triggered the entire assassination."

Lugovoy is a former Russian spy who told Reuters on Thursday he had known Litvinenko casually for nearly a decade and had worked closely with him during 2005, meeting him about 10 times.

Shvets said Litvinenko had given the dossier to Lugovoy to show him how reports on Russian companies and individuals should be presented to Western clients.

However, Shvets said he believed Lugovoy was still employed by the Russian secret service the FSB, the successor to the KGB, and had leaked Litvinenko's dossier to the Russian figure.

Shvets said the report had led to the British company pulling out of a deal, losing the Russian figure potential earnings of "dozens of millions of dollars."

LONDON HOTEL

Lugovoy and businessman Dmitry Kovtun met Litvinenko at a central London hotel, soon after he had met Italian KGB expert Mario Scaramella at a sushi bar. Litvinenko felt ill that night and two days later was admitted to hospital.

"Litvinenko told me he met Lugovoy and other Russians and they offered him tea that wasn't made in front of him, said Shvets.

Lugovoy told Reuters in an interview that he met Litvinenko in October and November but he has repeatedly denied having anything to do with his death.

Litvinenko never blamed Lugovoy publicly for his murder before dying in the London hospital. However, Shvets said he had come around to that possibility.

"I asked Litvenenko who did you think did it?" Shvets told the BBC. "He immediately said Scaramella. For three days he stubbornly reiterated it was Scaramella and only on the fourth day did he admit he met Lugovoy and other Russians.

"I stopped communicating with Litvinenko when it was diagnosed he had been poisoned. But I spoke to his wife and she told me Litvinenko shared my opinion," Shvets told the BBC.

The BBC said senior Scotland Yard officers had interviewed Shvets.

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2007, 12:58:16 PM »
Quote
Putin pledges effective response to U.S. anti-missile plan
Thu Feb 1, 2007 9:25 AM ET



MOSCOW (Reuters) - President Vladimir Putin criticized Washington's plans for an anti-missile system in Central Europe and said on Thursday Russia would come up with a "highly effective" response.

The U.S. has proposed stationing a radar station in the Czech Republic and a battery of rockets in Poland to detect and shoot down hostile missiles, which the Pentagon says could be fired from Iran in the future.

Putin dismissed Washington's arguments about defending Europe from Iran and said the anti-missile system would "directly affect" Russia.

"Our specialists don't think that anti-missile systems in Eastern Europe are aimed against terrorists or Iran. Can you really fight terrorists with ballistic missiles?" he told a news conference in Moscow.

Iran, he said, did not possess long-range ballistic missiles, only medium-range devices.

"We are also thinking about how to ensure our external security," Putin added. "All our responses will be asymmetric but they will be highly effective".

Putin said Russia already had systems capable of overcoming missile defenses but promised a future generation of weapon on which missile defense systems "will have absolutely no effect". He did not give details.

Putin also complained about Washington's decision last year to impose sanctions on Russian arms firms because of sales to Iran and Syria. The real motive, he said, was to stop Russian arms firms from taking business away from U.S. rivals.

"We have taken a serious niche on the arms market in recent years and will continue to boost our position," Putin told the news conference. "I consider (the) sanctions as a sign of unfair competition".

Offline fajwat

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2007, 01:20:42 PM »
death ray! 
"If it were up to me I would close Guantánamo not tomorrow but this afternoon... Essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in America's justice system... and it's causing us far more damage than any good we get from it."

-Colin Powell

Offline Nubbins

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2007, 01:58:19 PM »
Doomsday Device!

8=o tation

Offline fajwat

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2007, 02:32:08 PM »
properly placed (and it's hard not to) nucular submarines bypass pretty much any anti-missile defense.
"If it were up to me I would close Guantánamo not tomorrow but this afternoon... Essentially, we have shaken the belief that the world had in America's justice system... and it's causing us far more damage than any good we get from it."

-Colin Powell

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2007, 03:39:20 PM »
I can bypass a missile defense system. 

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2007, 12:06:40 PM »
Meanwhile...

Quote
Russia has said the system, which tracks and destroys missiles launched at the US, will trigger an arms race.


That's our dream.  Enough of getting mired down with monkeys in the desert.  What we need, and what Putin needs, is another Cold War.  A mutually agreed on arms race freakout with two civilized, old school enemies.  Lines of tanks staring at each other, MAD, all the mixins for nuclear or conventional war on the battlefield we've been trained to recognize, accept and fight on.

For us, it'll be political and social stability.  Jobs and happiness.  An enemy we can love and understand.

For Russia, it'll be an economic boost and unity.  With "democracy" in the mix, they can now face the Cold War the way we did -- a military-industrial complex.  Jobs and technology.  It'll be the glory of an Americanized 1950's. 

Quote
UK-US in talks on missile defence
The UK and US have held high level talks on the possibility of putting a "Son of Star Wars" anti-ballistic missile defence system on British soil.
An article in The Economist claims Prime Minister Tony Blair has lobbied President George Bush for the system.

But government sources have told the BBC that talks are "to keep Britain's options open", not a lobbying effort.

The US said it is still more likely to site a missile defence system in eastern Europe than in the UK.

Russia has said the system, which tracks and destroys missiles launched at the US, will trigger an arms race.

Poland and the Czech Republic have both been approached by America about locating part of the hugely expensive system on their soil.

A spokesman at the US embassy in London said there may be opportunities to talk about other needs but it was looking at the Czech Republic or Poland as the primary sites.

Secret talks

BBC Defence Correspondent Paul Wood said he had confirmed "secret high-level negotiations" had been taking place.

Talks were continuing between the National Security Council and Britain's top foreign affairs adviser Sir Nigel Sheinwald, he said.

But Downing Street has said talks are at a very early stage, and were intended only to keep Britain in consideration as plans were developed.


 
 

David Rennie, from the Economist, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme his understanding was that Mr Blair had "personally led" efforts for silos to be based in the UK, believing it would make Britain safer.

The system uses radar and satellites to detect enemy missile launches and to guide interceptors to their targets.

Shadow defence secretary Liam Fox said the Conservatives would not oppose locating part of the system in the UK, but wanted to examine it in detail.

'Get honest'

"We have had no details at all from the government despite asking a lot of questions in Parliament.

"If the government really do want to maintain what they regard as a bipartisan approach to defence in this country, they better start getting honest with the opposition," said Mr Fox.

Poland has recently confirmed the US wants to use its territory to build part of its missile defence base.


 Even if it did work, it would be tackling the wrong problem at the wrong time
Paul Ingram
British American Security Information Council 

The US has also asked permission from the Czech Republic and received the backing of Czech Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek.

In 2002, the US withdrew from the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty it signed with the Soviet Union.

It says a missile defence system could significantly reduce threats from so-called "rogue states" such as Iran and North Korea.


 HAVE YOUR SAY
Missile defence systems like these are already obsolete and incapable of intercepting modern missiles
Tom, Reading
 

But Paul Ingram, of the British American Security Information Council, said the success of the system was "a long way from being proven".

"Even if it did work, it would be tackling the wrong problem at the wrong time," he told the BBC.

"The proliferation of ballistic missile technology is not as racing away as we are being led to believe. It has no relevance at all when it comes to issues like the war on terror."

Meanwhile, US defence officials say work on one part of the missile defence programme based at RAF Fylingdales in North Yorkshire - an early warning radar system upgrade - is almost complete.

The government faced opposition in 2003 when it agreed the work could go ahead.



Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6388713.stm

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #23 on: March 13, 2007, 04:35:05 PM »
Tee-hee.

Quote
Russian election manager ousted
By Richard Galpin
BBC News, Moscow 



Election commission head Alexander Veshnyakov has been removed as Russia gears up for parliamentary and presidential polls in the next year.
Mr Veshnyakov had spoken out against the dominance of the pro-Kremlin party, United Russia, which controls the national parliament.

Last weekend, it swept the board in a series of regional elections.

There has been no official explanation for Mr Veshnyakov's removal. He had run the commission for eight years.

He had overseen both presidential elections won by Vladimir Putin.

Six of the 15 members of the election commission have been changed in a reshuffle. Mr Veshnyakov, the chairman, has been removed.

Most of the new members were hand-picked by President Putin.

Recently Mr Veshnyakov had begun to speak out about the lack of choice for voters, with the United Russia party - which supports Mr Putin - consolidating its grip across the country.

Political analysts also say he had annoyed the Kremlin by criticising changes to the electoral laws which make it more difficult for smaller parties to enter parliament.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6447419.stm

Offline Reginald McGraw

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #24 on: March 13, 2007, 04:37:35 PM »
Hey, it's just like America!

After the Demo-Republico Party is revealed to have been operating for the past 40 years in 2010, brilliantly disguised as a 2-party system.

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #25 on: March 13, 2007, 04:47:54 PM »
Except that we are the free angels of democracy (representative)!

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #26 on: March 13, 2007, 04:56:52 PM »
There's the pro-Putin party which has been joined by a new pro-Putin party balanced out by the other three pro-Putin parties and the smaller pro-Putin party.

2007 Ballot

[  ] Putin

[  ] Putin

[  ] Have your family shipped to a Gulag tonight

Quote
Kremlin parties lead Russian vote
Preliminary results from Sunday's regional elections in Russia indicate that pro-Kremlin parties have won in all 14 regions holding a vote.
United Russia, backed by President Vladimir Putin, is leading in 13 regions, while a new pro-Putin party, A Fair Russia, leads in the other region.

The elections are widely considered a rehearsal for upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections.

Opposition parties said they had been sidelined and dubbed the polls a sham.

The chairman of the Central Election Commission, Alexander Veshnyakov, said the preliminary results indicated that United Russia had won an average of 46% of the votes across the 14 regions.

Only in the southern region of Stavropol did A Fair Russia get more votes. However, the complex system there means that United Russia may end up with more seats in the regional assembly.

'Managed democracy'

A Fair Russia was formed late last year with the Kremlin's support as a means, officials said, to strengthen Russia's multi-party system.

Critics have said the party was created to foster the illusion of democracy in Russia.

Election officials said the Communist Party had secured 12.5% of the seats in the regional assemblies while A Fair Russia was close behind with 11.7%.

Turnout was 39.1% of the 14 regions' 31 million eligible voters - about one-third of Russia's total electorate.


"This is managed democracy," said Sergei Ivanyenko, deputy leader of the liberal Yabloko party.
Yabloko was barred from contesting four of the nine races it wanted to enter because it had failed to meet tough new election criteria. It had a poor showing in the other five regions.

Mr Ivanyenko said they were elections in name only "which look like democracy but where in fact the authorities hand out votes and determine which parties and candidates are convenient for them," he told Reuters news agency.

The vote was the first test of new electoral laws introduced last year.

The minimum threshold of the vote a party needs to secure seats was raised; the minimum voter turnout for elections to be valid was lowered; and the "against all" option on ballot papers was eliminated.

The BBC's Russian affairs analyst Steven Eke says the overall result was to halve the number of political parties registered in Russia and to destroy any possibility of the smaller, liberal opposition parties having their candidates elected.

The Russian government says it wanted to create a more efficient system based on two or three parties.

Opponents of the changes say they were designed to ensure the Kremlin maintains control over the country's electoral system ahead of parliamentary elections later this year and a vote to choose a successor to Mr Putin next year.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6438827.stm

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2007, 06:54:15 PM »
I'm reading the below right now during my Stolen WSJ Half Hour (I take it from the counter in the public policy office after they all go home).

Quote
Fueled by Oil Money, Russian Economy Soars
By Guy Chazan
Word Count: 2,102  |  Companies Featured in This Article: Intel, Ford Motor, Citigroup, Asahi Glass, Renault
BOR, Russia -- On Bor Glassworks' state-of-the-art production line here, workers in blue overalls churn out windshields for Russian-made Fords and Renaults -- and offer a glimpse of an investment boom transforming Russia's industrial landscape.

The glass company was once so poor it paid its workers with sewing machines and other tradable goods. Now, after an injection of $100 million from Belgian investors, it's a success story: Bor produces a growing share of windows for the Western cars assembled on Russian soil.

"We have a great future ahead of us," says Valery Tarbeyev, Bor's chief executive. "Some people are waiting ...

...in line up to six months for a new Ford Focus

And not just them.  There are a bunch of other companies upgrading as well.

This has been Putin's little plan, which he started in 2000 by revitalizing the energy sector.  But we haven't seen shit till now, when the money is really coming in.  As with any sort of stable impoverished company, all the US businesses bought in.  Buy the castles for a few dollars and all.  So, now, Russia isn't grimy little Russia anymore.  Putin's dragged people out of poverty, quadrupled the GDP, and won himself a kingdom.

It's the oil, stupid.  Russia trades in it like there's no tomorrow, and they're sitting on a ton of it.  Putin's no dummy.

Ah, business.

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #28 on: March 14, 2007, 12:14:46 PM »
Quote
Russia and Italy to sign gas pact
Italy's Prime Minister, Romano Prodi, is expected to finalise a major energy deal with Russia at a meeting with President Vladimir Putin.
The agreement between Russia's Gazprom and Italy's ENI will give Russia the right to sell gas directly to Italian consumers for the first time.

The two men will also discuss Russia's political differences with the EU at talks in the Adriatic city of Bari.

On Tuesday, Mr Putin met Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican for the first time.

The Pope and Mr Putin held "cordial" private talks lasting about 25 minutes, speaking mostly in German, Vatican officials said.

They discussed ways to improve relations between the Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox Churches, dogged by long-standing differences.

The Vatican said the talks had been held in a "very positive atmosphere".

The BBC's Christian Fraser in Rome says the focus of Mr Putin's trip will now turn to energy and security as he meets Mr Prodi.

The two men are likely to discuss disagreements between Europe and Russia over major issues such as Iran, Iraq and the Middle East.

They will also talk about energy since the Russian gas giant, Gazprom, signed a deal with the Italian energy company, ENI, in November which gives the Russian state monopoly a foothold in southern Europe.

But while Mr Prodi is a supporter of closer economic ties, he is looking for assurances from Mr Putin that Russia will guarantee supply and will not use gas and oil to drive hard diplomatic agendas with its neighbours, as Moscow has been accused of doing in the past, our correspondent says.



Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/business/6449261.stm

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2007, 11:12:44 AM »
Just for the collection...


Quote
Russian Police Trample Anti-Putin Protest
By THE NEW YORK TIMES

NIZHNY NOVGOROD, Russia, March 24 — Riot police officers swarmed on a group of several dozen journalists and demonstrators on Saturday in Nizhny Novgorod, Russia’s third-largest city, cutting off a protest against the government of President Vladimir V. Putin.

The police, vastly outnumbering the protesters and wielding night sticks and metal shields, detained about 30 people, the Interfax agency quoted a spokesman as saying. A protest organizer said the number of people detained at the raid was more than 100, plus another 100 who had been arrested in an earlier roundup. Among those detained were several foreign and Russian journalists, including a photographer for The New York Times who was later released.

A small group of elderly people yelling “Fascists! Fascists!” tried to hold back a second wave of police officers, who charged the square after the initial protesters had been carted off. But they fell to the ground under the heavy police shields.

“Look, this is a democracy,” said one woman there who refused to be identified. “Under Stalin we had free education and free health care. Now we are not free to say anything.”

The heavy police presence was necessary to “protect the children” in the area, said Larisa V. Kurylyova, a city government spokeswoman.