Author Topic: Tales from Mother Russia  (Read 96659 times)

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Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #30 on: March 26, 2007, 02:25:25 PM »
Oh!  I missed this.

Quote
Putin decrees creation of a media and Internet regulator
Reuters - Published: March 15, 2007

MOSCOW: President Vladimir Putin has decreed the creation of an agency to regulate the media and the Internet, sparking fears among some Russian journalists of a bid to extend tight publishing controls to the relatively free Web.

Putin signed a decree this week merging two existing agencies into one that will license broadcasters, newspapers and Web sites and oversee their editorial content.

The step, taken with national elections due next year, unites the organization supervising media and culture, Rosokhrankultura, with the federal body controlling telecommunications and information technology, Rossvyaznadzor.

Officials said this would improve efficiency by putting a single entity in charge of media content and technology, but some of Russia's top journalists expressed concern.

Under Putin's rule, independent publishers have mostly been taken over by Kremlin-friendly businessmen. The domestic media are under heavy pressure not to criticize the government, making journalists suspicious of any official initiative.

Raf Shakirov, who was dismissed as editor of the daily Izvestia after critical coverage of the 2004 Beslan school siege, said Putin's decree could extend Soviet-style controls to Russia's online media, which have been relatively free.

"This is an attempt to put everything under control, not only electronic media but also personal data about people such as bloggers," he said.

Russians have increasingly turned to the Internet to find independent sources of information.

But the authorities have already fired a warning shot across the bows of one leading news Web site, www.gazeta.ru, which got an official warning last year for "extremism" after writing about cartoons that satirized the Prophet Mohammad.

Roman Bodanin, the political editor at gazeta.ru, said the new regulator could make it easier for the government to track and pressure independent media because the same agency would grant licenses and supervise content.

Andrei Vasilyev, editor of the daily Kommersant, saw the move as part of a Kremlin drive to consolidate power before parliamentary and presidential elections in the next 12 months.

"It's very dangerous to scatter the ownership of broadcasting frequencies and licenses between different institutions," he said about the Kremlin, saying he was speaking in a personal capacity. "There might be a loophole for some alternative information channel."

Government officials said Russia's media would benefit from the new body, due to start work within three months.

"The question of regulation will now be easier," said Yevgeny Strelchik, a spokesman for Rosokhrankultura. He dismissed fears about more control over the media as "journalists' fantasies."

No official announcement has been made on who will head the regulator.


Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #31 on: March 26, 2007, 03:43:36 PM »
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article1563806.ece

Quote
From The Sunday TimesMarch 25, 2007

Russia is Europe's natural ally
Vladimir Putin

Two thousand years ago Roman soldiers united enormous territories from Britain to Athens, from the Rhine to the Iberian peninsula, by the sword. Europe has survived many destructive wars and the collapse of empires. It overcame the dictatorship of tyrants and the horrors of Nazism, but at the same time lived through the Renaissance and sowed the seeds of democracy. It was Europe that formulated the noble ideas of humanism and the Enlightenment, which formed the foundation of European civilisation.

As often happens, history made an astonishing turn — it was in Rome, the Eternal City, where 50 years ago treaties were signed that laid the foundation for a new association of European nations, based not on force or coercion but on common aspirations and values.

The treaties of Rome were in many respects innovative and almost revolutionary for their time. Many wounds of the second world war had still not healed. But the signatory countries demonstrated the political will to work out a joint strategy of cooperation and integration while overcoming the burdens of the past.

The founding fathers of the pan-European movement dreamt about “the prosperity, peace and independence of the continent”. They were right in guessing the future, realising that security and wellbeing are indivisible. The establishment of the European communities on March 25, 1957 had an enormous influence in shaping contemporary Europe. European Union states have been able to further the rights and freedoms of citizens and achieve economic and social progress.

But it was only the end of the cold war that brought about real conditions for the fulfilment of the “fundamental” European idea — the unification of the continent. This was “the peace dividend” following the collapse of the Berlin Wall. The Russian people’s choice in the early 1990s did not merely expand the space of freedom on the continent but actually determined the path of further European integration.

In many respects this choice was defined by the history of Russia. In terms of spirit and culture Russia is an integral part of European civilisation. Our people made an invaluable contribution to its development.

The history of relations between Russia and Europe is one of mutual influence and benefit. St Petersburg, my native city, became a magnificent northern capital thanks to architects and artists from western Europe. Symbolically, the people of the city withstood a 900-day blockade by fascist troops in the second world war, heroically resisting a barbaric ideology that was and is the very antithesis of everything “European”.

Russia has shared all the triumphs and tragedies of Europe. We have twice played a decisive role in disrupting attempts to unite Europe by force, the last time in the second world war. Today’s European project, based on the goodwill of Europeans, would have been infeasible without this.

Today, building a sovereign democratic state, we share the values and principles of the vast majority of Europeans. Respect for international law, rejection of force to settle international problems and preference for strengthening common approaches in European and global politics are factors that unite us. In our joint work within the United Nations, the G8 and other forums, we always feel we share a common view of the world.

A stable, prosperous and united Europe is in our interests. European integration is an integral part of the emerging multipolar world order. That the EU is becoming an increasingly authoritative and influential centre of world politics, considerably contributing to regional and global security, is important.

The development of multifaceted ties with the EU is Russia’s principled choice. In the foreseeable future, for obvious reasons, we have no intention of either joining the EU or establishing any form of institutional association with it. Russia intends to build its relations with the EU on a pragmatic basis with a treaty and a strategic partnership. In this regard I agree with Romano Prodi’s view of Russian-EU relations: “Anything but institutions.”

We are prepared to develop this partnership to a maximum extent, expecting of course that our partners will meet us halfway along this road.

The interests of Russia and the EU will not always coincide. Competition is the reverse side of cooperation and an integral part of the process of globalisation. At the same time, one should not see political intrigues behind purely economic measures. One should not superimpose cold war ideological labels on legal and quite understandable actions aimed at protecting our national interests. Let me say again: we are ready to settle differences through open dialogue and compromise, based on mutually agreed rules.

I am convinced that the development of relations between Russia and the EU has logically led us to the need for a new treaty on strategic partnership. The treaty should become an instrument capable of ensuring a higher level of economic integration and interaction, providing for freedom and security on the European continent. We understand all the difficulties of our partners in developing one position. We agree that it takes time. It is also clear that any pause in the dialogue is always going to be counterproductive.

There is much to discuss together. The choice to be made will determine the outlook of the continent for decades to come. We should not let bloc mentalities prevail in European politics, nor should we allow new dividing lines to appear on our continent or unilateral projects to be implemented to the detriment of the interests and security of our neighbours. We expect the evolution of the EU will serve to strengthen the unity of our common continent.

I am convinced that only on a genuinely collective, trustworthy basis can we find solutions to the world’s challenges and threats: the question of antimissile defences in Europe, the stabilisation of Afghanistan, international terrorism, the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction, drug trafficking, illegal immigration and global poverty. Russia stands ready for that. I hope the choice will be made in favour of mutual efforts to construct our common future.

Half a century ago six European nations, principally the French and the Germans, decided to put aside former enmities and, as Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, has noted, “grow together”. The people of the new democratic Russia want their country to be a prosperous power, living a dignified life in friendship and harmony with their neighbours.

We wish our European partners success and count on continuing fruitful cooperation for the benefit of peace and progress.

Vladimir Putin has been president of Russia since 2000


Offline RottingCorpse

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #32 on: March 31, 2007, 11:36:21 PM »
Quote
From The Sunday TimesMarch 25, 2007

Russia is Europe's natural ally
Vladimir Putin

Why don't you ask the Germans how they feel about that, Vladie.

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #33 on: April 01, 2007, 09:01:52 AM »
If it means oil and money, I'm sure they'll be fine.

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2007, 10:35:29 AM »
Tee-hee!


Quote
Brussels warns Russia on EU unity
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso has told Russia that any problems it has with an individual EU state are problems with the whole bloc.

Speaking at an EU-Russian summit, Mr Barroso said the EU was based on principles of solidarity.

The summit, near the city of Samara, was marred by Moscow's rows with countries including Estonia and Poland.

Disputes between Moscow and Brussels have also arisen over the status of Kosovo, energy supplies and trade.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose country holds the EU's rotating presidency, expressed concern at the difficulties Russian opposition activists were reporting in getting to the summit venue.

 Moscow police prevented former world chess champion Garry Kasparov and other opposition leaders from flying to attend a protest rally.

Several foreign journalists were also reportedly prevented from travelling.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, for his part, condemned the treatment of ethnic Russians in the Baltic states.

In a break with previous practice, no joint declaration was prepared before the summit at Volzhsky Utyos government resort.

Polish veto

"We had an occasion to say to our Russian partners that a difficulty for a member state is a difficulty for the whole European community," Mr Barroso said at the news conference.



"The Polish problem is a European problem. The Lithuanian and Estonian problems are also EU problems.

"It is very important if you want to have close co-operation to understand that the EU is based on principles of solidarity," Mr Barroso said.

He was referring a Russian trade dispute with Poland, the cutting of Russian oil supplies to Lithuania in a separate row, and a bitter dispute over the treatment of ethnic Russians in Estonia.

Poland has imposed a veto on any new strategic partnership accord between the EU and Russia.

The veto - now also supported by Lithuania - follows Russia's decision last year to block meat imports from Poland over apparent food safety issues.

"We believe there is no reason for a (Russian) ban on Polish meat imports," Mr Barroso told President Putin.

'Unacceptable violations'

Another major factor in the deterioration of relations has been Estonia's removal last month of a World War II monument to Red Army soldiers in central Tallinn.

The event sparked unrest by mostly ethnic Russians in Estonia, that left one person dead and more than 160 injured.

At the summit, Mr Putin accused Estonia - and also Latvia - of "unacceptable " violations of the rights of Russian-speakers.

He also condemned what he described as heavy-handed methods of Estonian police during the riots.

"They didn't just disperse demonstrators. They killed one demonstrator. We demand that the criminals be brought to account," Mr Putin said.

The Kosovo issue also dominated the summit's agenda.

EU leaders have recently expressed alarm about Russian threats to veto a UN Security Council resolution proposing Kosovo's de facto independence from Serbia.
Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/6668111.stm

Offline fajwat

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2007, 11:13:05 AM »
I didn't know Kosovo had come that far.  Independence, eh?  Nifty.
"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 fajwat

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #36 on: May 22, 2007, 02:12:48 PM »
people are still upset about the spies....


da article

Quote
Lugovoy a "walking time bomb": Litvinenko friend
Tue May 22, 2007 11:26AM EDT

By Mark Trevelyan

LONDON (Reuters) - The Russian accused by British authorities of poisoning dissident Alexander Litvinenko is a "walking time bomb" for the Kremlin and his life may be in danger, a friend of the murdered man said on Tuesday.

British prosecutors named Andrei Lugovoy, a businessman who had worked for the Soviet KGB security service, as the man who poisoned Litvinenko in London last year with radioactive polonium 210.

Litvinenko's friend Alexander Goldfarb said Lugovoy, who denies the accusation, was at risk because he knew who had ordered the murder.

"Lugovoy will probably show up dead very shortly," Goldfarb told Reuters. "If he talks -- and he understands that he is a walking time bomb for the Russian government -- then it will be really bad. I would be very much surprised if he lives long."

Goldfarb is himself an outspoken critic of the Kremlin and heads a New York-based civil liberties foundation set up by exiled tycoon Boris Berezovsky, whom Russia wants to extradite from Britain on accusations of plotting a coup.

On his deathbed, Litvinenko accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of ordering his murder, a charge Moscow has dismissed as ludicrous.

NO ROGUE ELEMENT

Lugovoy said on Tuesday the British accusations against him were politically motivated. Britain wants to extradite him, but Russian prosecutors said this was barred by the constitution.

Goldfarb said he believed Lugovoy must have been acting on the orders of senior figures, without whom he could not have got access to the rare radioactive element polonium.

"This man knows where the polonium comes from and this man knows who orchestrated the whole thing. He knows specific people, obviously, and probably knows how high it goes," he said.

"It is somebody extremely high, it cannot be just a rogue element because they cannot get hold of polonium."

Asked why, if Lugovoy was the killer, he had carelessly left an extensive trail of radioactive contamination at many sites he visited, Goldfarb said he did not believe that the Russian had known the nature of the poison.

"I'm sure he was not told it's radioactive. He was told it's totally untreaceable. He was told it's a perfect poison."
« Last Edit: May 22, 2007, 04:37:01 PM by fajwat »
"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 #37 on: May 22, 2007, 02:35:14 PM »
So they should be.  It goes up to Putin, who's rapidly turning Russia into a new superpower.

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Offline Reginald McGraw

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #39 on: May 23, 2007, 10:14:08 AM »
I love how they call it Feudalism instead of Communism or Socialism.

Why?

Because Socialism is great!

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #40 on: May 23, 2007, 10:49:13 AM »
I think they need to look up feudalism.  How's the article go?  The authoritarian is no longer authoritarian, he's now a feudal lord! Except, it's just him....so... We're still at authoritarian. 

Offline fajwat

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #41 on: May 23, 2007, 10:56:25 AM »
I love how they call it Feudalism instead of Communism or Socialism.

Why?

Because Socialism is great!

Excuse me a minute.  Nominally, Russia's capitalist nowadays.  Where ya been?  Whatever you want to call their official system, it's corrupted far beyond that.  The article calls it a dictatorship and authoritarianism.  They make a case for a feudal system, involving barons, vassals, tribute, protection contracts, the works.  It's a bit of a stretch to call any modern society feudal (are cell phones a fief?) so yeah, I think they're just pushing for a catchy title.  Calling it Communism or Socialism would have been at least as much of a stretch.  The main feature is the authority of Putin, not any economic or political structures.
« Last Edit: May 23, 2007, 11:00:42 AM by fajwat »
"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 Reginald McGraw

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #42 on: May 23, 2007, 11:56:16 AM »
The main feature is the authority of Putin, not any economic or political structures.

And in this case, Putin represents the government. 

Nominally, Russia's capitalist in the same way that when they were communist, they were capitalist.  Nominally, Russia had elections under communism...but surprise, surprise, the communist party always won those!    So yes, it's corrupt, but it's corrupt involving vast governmental control over every facet of life...far closer to communism than market-driven capitalism.

Also, there's the whole, nationalizing of oil and gas and disallowing external companies to operate.  "Shell's real crime, it seems, was not to let state-owned Gazprom muscle in on the oilfield."

Offline nacho

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #43 on: May 28, 2007, 09:45:10 AM »
http://www.iht.com/articles/2007/05/24/news/russia.php

God.

Quote
Russia promises 'sword' to thwart U.S. missile shield

MOSCOW: The official considered to be a leading contender to succeed President Vladimir Putin criticized a landmark Soviet-U.S. arms treaty as being a "relic of the Cold War," and promised that Russia would have a "sword" capable of piercing a U.S. missile shield.

During a two-hour news conference Wednesday, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov harshly criticized U.S. plans to deploy elements of its missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying that Moscow does not trust Washington's claims that they are intended to fend off potential missile threats from Iran.

"A radar the U.S. is planning to deploy in the Czech Republic will be capable of scanning airspace up to the Ural Mountains," he said.

Ivanov said that Russia was not going to build a strategic missile defense system similar to the one the United States is developing but would take "adequate steps" to respond to the U.S. move. "A more efficient sword can be found for every shield," he said.

Ivanov also criticized the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, signed in 1987 by the former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and President Ronald Reagan. It eliminated an entire class of midrange missiles then based in Europe.

Ivanov called the treaty "a relic, a rudiment of the Cold War," saying that dozens of nations had developed intermediate range missiles since the pact was signed and that many of them are located close to Russia's borders. But he stopped short of saying that Moscow would opt out of the pact.

Ivanov also defended Putin's move to suspend Russia's observance of another critical Cold War-era agreement - the 1990 Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty - which limits the number of military aircraft, tanks and other non-nuclear heavy weapons around Europe.

At the same time, he rejected claims of a new Cold War, saying that Russia and the United States have been cooperating productively in preventing the spread of weapons of mass destruction.

"Russia isn't the Soviet Union. Russia isn't going to return to an arms race, and our military budget proves that," he said, adding that the country's military budget accounted for around 2.7 percent of gross domestic product, compared with one-third of GDP in Soviet times.

Ivanov made statements on a gamut of issues during the news conference, from global security to children's sports, in what sounded like a presentation of his election program.

Putin has not yet endorsed any potential contender for the election next March, and Ivanov has not declared whether he will run. However, he and another first deputy prime minister, Dmitri Medvedev, are widely seen as leading candidates being groomed by the Kremlin.

Ivanov, a KGB veteran like Putin, praised the country's growing economic might and military power, saying Russia ranks among the top 10 economies in the world.

"Russia is one of the leading global powers, and it will remain such, not only because of its powerful military but also because of its economy and intellect," he said.

Polish and U.S. officials met Thursday to discuss a proposed missile defense base in Poland, The Associated Press reported from Warsaw.

Foreign Minister Anna Fotyga said the talks with Washington, which began last week, were "interesting" but "we should not jump to conclusions as to their outcome."

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Re: Dead Spy (and tales from Mother Russia)
« Reply #44 on: May 29, 2007, 12:29:31 PM »


Quote
Russia test-launches new ICBM

The Associated Press
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
 MOSCOW: Russia on Tuesday test-launched a new intercontinental ballistic missile capable of carrying multiple independent warheads, the Russian Strategic Missile Forces said.

The missile, called the RS-24 and fired from a mobile launcher at the Plesetsk launch in northwestern Russia, and its test warhead, landed on target some 5,500 kilometers (3,400 miles) away on the Far Eastern Kamchatka Peninsula, a statement from the forces said.

The new missile is seen as eventually replacing the aging RS-18s and RS-20s that are the backbone of the country's missile forces, the statement said. Those missiles are known in the West as the SS-19 Stiletto and the SS-18 Satan.

The statement said the RS-24 conforms with terms laid down in the START-I treaty and the 2002 Moscow Treaty, which calls for reductions in each country's nuclear arsenal to 1,700-2,000 warheads.

The RS-24 "strengthens the capability of the attack groups of the Strategic Missile Forces by surmounting anti-missile defense systems, at the same time strengthening the potential for nuclear deterrence," the statement said.

The statement did not specify how many warheads the missile can carry.

Alexander Golts, a respected military analyst with the Yezhenedelny Zhurnal online publication, expressed surprise at the announcement.

"It seems to be a brand new missile. It's either a decoy or something that has been developed in complete secrecy," he told The Associated Press.

The test comes at a time of increased tension between Russia and the West over missiles and other weapons issues.

Russia adamantly opposes U.S. efforts to deploy elements of a missile-defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic. The United States says the system is aimed at blocking possible attacks by countries such as North Korea and Iran, but Russia says the system would destroy the strategic balance of forces in Europe.

"We consider it harmful and dangerous to turn Europe into a powder keg," President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday, when asked at a news conference with Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates about the controversy.

Russia, meanwhile, called Monday for an emergency conference next month on a key Soviet-era arms control treaty that has been a source of increasing friction between Moscow and NATO.

The call for a conference on the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty follows last month's statement from Putin in which he declared a moratorium on observing Russia's obligations under the treaty.

The treaty, which limits the number of aircraft, tanks and other non-nuclear heavy weapons around Europe, was first signed in 1990 and then amended in 1999 to reflect changes since the Soviet breakup. Russia has ratified the amended version, but the United States and other NATO members have refused to do so until Moscow withdraws troops from the former Soviet republics of Moldova and Georgia — an issue Moscow says is unrelated.

Putin warned that Russia could dump the treaty altogether if Western nations refuse to ratify its amended version, and the Foreign Ministry said Monday that it lodged a formal request for a conference among treaty signatories in Vienna, Austria, on June 12-15.