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Russian combat aircraft to join military drills with Belarus

Posted by Kris Roman on October 15, 2008


Russian military aircraft and helicopters will conduct joint exercises with the Belarusian Air Force, a Russian Air Force spokesman said on Wednesday.

Lt. Col. Vladimir Drik said Russian MiG-29 Fulcrum fighters, Su-25 Frogfoot close-support aircraft and Mi-24 Hind attack helicopters had landed at three Belarusian airbases on October 13 in preparation for the Fall-2008 operational and tactical exercises with the Belarusian Armed Forces.

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President Medvedev criticizes gold producer Polyus Gold

Posted by Kris Roman on September 24, 2008


Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who is currently on a tour of the Magadan Region in Russia’s Far East, criticized gold miner Polyus Gold on Wednesday, and told its management not to “whine”.

“I understand that it is not easy for business to work because our bureaucratic mechanism is still very difficult, but there is no need to whine,” Medvedev told Yevgeny Ivanov, general director of Russia’s largest gold producer Polyus Gold.

Medvedev said gold miners should give up their jobs if they were dissatisfied with them, as the state could find other miners to develop the industry or even revoke Polyus Gold’s license for a large gold deposit in the region.

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Russia harshly criticizes Group of Seven members for their hypocrisy

Posted by Kris Roman on August 27, 2008

G7 countries united against Russia and issued a joint statement in which they condemned Russia’s recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Foreign ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the USA and Great Britain said that Russia had violated the territorial integrity in Georgia, as well as the resolution of the UN Security Council regulating relations between Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

“Russia’s decision has called into question its commitment to peace and security in the Caucasus,” the counties’ foreign ministers said in a statement. “We deplore Russia ‘s excessive use of military force in Georgia and its continued occupation of parts of Georgia.”

The ministers urged Russia to withdraw its troops from Georgia to the positions where they had been stationed before the conflict.

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U.S. lawyer Zeltser jailed for 3 years in Belarus

Posted by Kris Roman on August 11, 2008

A Belarusian court has sentenced U.S. citizen Emanuel Zeltser to three years in prison for industrial espionage and the use of forged documents, the country’s Supreme Court said on Monday.

The Soviet-born lawyer and financial expert was detained by the Belarusian security service along with his secretary on arrival in Belarus on March 12, and accused of using forged documents. In late May, Zeltser was officially charged with drug smuggling and possession, and later with industrial spying.

“Minsk’s city court, which considered Zeltser’s case, found that his culpability in industrial espionage and the use of forged documents was proven,” the Supreme Court said.

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USA to deploy another radar system in Turkey in addition to Poland and Czech Republic

Posted by Kris Roman on July 16, 2008

The US administration has been conducting secret talks on the deployment of a mobile radar of its missile defense system in another European country – Turkey. The USA may start official negotiations on the matter during the NATO summit. For the time being it is known that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates touched upon the issue during his recent visit to Turkey. The new plans of the US administration may seriously aggravate its relations with Moscow.

The fact of USA’s negotiations with Turkey has been officially confirmed only on March 13, 2008. Pentagon Press Secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters of Gates’s recent visit to Ankara, the capital of Turkey. US and Turkish officials discussed the military operation of the Turkish Army in Iraq. In addition, Morrell said, the parties discussed plans on the establishment of the missile defense system in Turkey.

John Rood, acting Undersecretary of State, previously rejected the fact of the negotiations. Rood particularly stated in Washington that the USA was not planning any missile defense talks with any countries other than Poland and the Czech Republic.

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Russian becomes enemy language in former USSR

Posted by Kris Roman on June 13, 2008

Ivan Shmelev

The Russian administration has decided to do everything possible to make Russian the official language in all countries of the former USSR (currently known as the Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS). However, the leaders of some of those countries are not eager to follow Russia at this point.

The idea to make the Russian language the official language on the post-Soviet space is not new. Russia’s Foreign Affairs Ministry started working on the subject in 2003.

“If a country decides to acknowledge Russia its official language then it is up to this country to elaborate necessary mechanisms for it,” a spokesman for the Institute of the CIS, Vladimir Zharikhin told

The specialist urged not to politicize the issue of the Russian language in post-Soviet states. “This is a humanitarian mission, first and foremost. Studying the Russian language and culture is one of the ways to become a part of world culture,” he said.

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A response to America’s Excalibur

Posted by Kris Roman on May 27, 2008


RIA Novosti military commentator Ilya Kramnik

Artillery-launched guided projectiles were developed long ago. The laser-guided Copperhead and Krasnopol have already been in use for more than 20 years.

As technology evolves, the latest generation of these weapons use signals from satellite navigation systems. The first munition of this type to go into production was the American M982 Excalibur, named after King Arthur’s legendary sword.

Unlike laser-guided projectiles, this weapon is unaffected by weather conditions and needs no target illumination, which enables it to hit targets at the anticipated coordinates with pinpoint accuracy. Its circular error probable is 10 meters (compared to 200-300 with non-guided projectiles), dramatically decreasing the number of rounds required to destroy a target. The only disadvantage is the Excalibur’s high cost, exceeding $100,000 per shell.

Tests were completed last year. Besides the U.S. Armed Forces, Canadian, Swedish and, recently, the Australian military wish to have the new weapon in their arsenals.

Like any other monopoly in military technology, U.S. and their allies’ monopoly of the new projectile lasted only for a short period, with the Moscow Design Bureau Kompas (Compass) developing a new guidance system for artillery-delivered munitions within the Dinamika (Dynamics) program. Like Excalibur, the new Russian projectile can use either the GPS (Global Positioning System) and GLONASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) signals for homing.

In comparison to the American projectile, the Russian weapon, currently under development, has one major advantage – it does not have to decrease the rotation rate to receive a signal from the navigation system, simplifying the control system and reducing costs.

The Russian 152-203 mm GLONASS projectiles’ circular error probable will be 10 meters, similar to that of the American one. The rounds can also be equipped with laser-seekers, which when combined with satellite guidance enable them to hit targets with a precision of 1-2 meters, without adjustment fire. These capabilities will provide a sudden hit on a hard target with minimum ammunition expenditure, which is valuable in any possible armed conflict, either a limited counterinsurgency or a full-scale warfare against large regular armed forces.

The Kompas Bureau spokesmen say that work on the Dinamika program will be finished by 2011, though problems of GLONASS deployment, already behind schedule, could slow the process down.

The importance of GLONASS is high, and it keeps growing steadily, and so do the number of military and civil technologies bound with it. The Kompas Bureau alone, beside the Dinamika program, is developing a series of systems meant to be used in connection with GLONASS, ranging from a landing system, enabling the use of deck-pad helicopters at night and in stormy weather, to portable and vehicle navigation units for civil use. The bulk of these products, which are based on domestic-made components, are supposed to hit the market in the near future. Therefore a number of science-intensive programs depend on the deployment of Russia’s satellite navigation system.

Another problem is the frequent changes in the government’s defense order management system, each slowing the work down by a few months, as weapons, military equipment and components developers and manufacturers complain. Management stability and transparency of rules are also considered to be the key factors for the success of any high-tech development. Non-system approach and lack of uniform understanding can bury any plan.

Many captains sink the ship, as the saying goes.


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Dmitry Medvedev congratulated the staff of the State History Museum on the 125th anniversary of its founding.

Posted by Kris Roman on May 27, 2008

The message of congratulations reads, in part:

“Since its inception, the museum has become one of the leading national cultural centres. It houses our country’s largest collection of historical monuments and unique exhibits of a truly global significance. Getting acquainted with the variety of displays and exhibitions in the museum provides its many visitors with an excellent opportunity to appreciate the rich spiritual and cultural heritage of the peoples of Russia and to discover the wonderful world of history.

The museum’s staff has become one of its most treasured assets, consisting of generations of well-known historians, specialists in museum management, high-level cultural authorities and a talented group of like-minded people motivated by a genuine love for what they do”.

Located on Red Square, the State History Museum houses a collection that represents the history of Russia since ancient times. The collection includes about 4.5 million items and more than 15 million pieces of documentary evidence.

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Orthodox bishop links homosexuals to paedophiles

Posted by Kris Roman on May 13, 2008


A senior Russian church leader has condemned social acceptance of homosexuality, declaring that it is the church’s “duty” to correct public opinion.

In an interview with the German magazineDer Spiegal, Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad, who is head of the Moscow Patriarchate department for external church relations, said that not viewing homosexuality as a sin will lead to a variety of other sexual perversions.

“Morality is either absolute or it does not exist. If you excuse homosexuality, why not excuse paedophilia?” he said.

When the interviewer pointed out that there was a “great difference” between homosexuality and paedophilia, as the latter violated the “personal freedom” of children, Bishop Kirill said that people in the future would say that “12-year-old girls were considered children before, but now they develop much faster.

“Twenty years ago nobody could imagine that Germany would legalise homosexual marriages,” he continued.

“However, they get used to it by now. It is a matter of principle. There is one moral nature.

“Gay parade is an intrusive display of depravity. Thus we can successfully promote any other sin, as is done on TV.

“It vitiates public morality. The task of the Church is to say that sin is sin. Otherwise, the Church is not needed.”

In March 2007, Bishop Kirill objected to Moscow hosting a gay pride parade.

He said: “[It] is directed against the majority of Russian society.

“We believe that the law should not interfere in citizens’ private lives.

“You can sin if you want to, but you will answer to God.

“However, if you are trying to propagate your sin by seducing and degrading people, society must oppose it.”

Since 1989 Bishop Kirill has been active in the activities of the Russian Orthodox Church, strongly opposing the encroachment of Roman Catholicism into Russian.

In a statement issues in August 2000, he explained that globalisation would inevitably lead to the kingdom of the anti-Christ and that it was the Russian Orthodox Church’s role to defend Russian nationality and religious identity.


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Putin triumphs against NATO expansion

Posted by Kris Roman on April 10, 2008

President Vladimir Putin joined the NATO summit Thursday after triumphing in a bitter campaign to scupper the membership hopes of pro-Western Georgia and Ukraine.
Putin arrived in the Romanian capital Bucharest for dinner and was to deliver an address on Friday with expectations high that he will invite the alliance to use Russia for transit to the war in Afghanistan.

The ex-KGB officer, who is due to move to the prime minister’s post in May after eight years in the Kremlin, is the alliance’s most bitter critic, particularly over eastward expansion into the former Soviet bloc.

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Russian MPs seek ban on Jewish groups

Posted by Kris Roman on January 25, 2005

The Financial Times

A group of nationalist Russian parliament members yesterday wrote to the prosecutor-general asking him to ban all religious and ethnic Jewish organisations as “extremists” in the latest sign of growing anti-Semitism and chauvinism in the country. 

As world leaders prepare to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp in Poland, some 500 nationalists, including 19 members of the Russian Duma, the lower house of parliament, wrote that the hatred of Jews was justified. They argued that most criminal cases of ethnic hatred were started by Jews while “Russian patriots” were simply acting in self-defence when promoting their nationalistic slogans.

“Let us assure you, Mr Prosecutor-General, that there are a large number of well-established facts which lead to the indisputable conclusion: the negative assessment by Russian patriots of typical Jewish qualities and [their] actions against non-Jews are based on true facts and what is more these actions are not accidental, but prescribed by Judaism and have been practised over the past 2000 years,” the letter said. “Therefore, statements and publications against Jews are self-defence, which may not be stylistically correct, but justified in its essence.”

The letter, signed by 15 members of the nationalist Rodina (Motherland) party and four members of the Communist party, is the latest signal of growing chauvinism and xenophobia which over the past few years has spilled into mainstream Russian politics.

“A few years ago nationalistic statements were considered unacceptable. Now they are entering the main-stream of Russian politics,” said Galina Kozhevnikova, the author of a recent report on radical nationalism in Russia.

She says that while it would be wrong to say that President Vladimir Putin – who is due to attend the Auschwitz memorial – provokes xenophobia, “he does little to prevent it either”.

The letter comes less than two weeks after two Rabbis were attacked in a Moscow subway by a group of youths.

Alexander Lakshin, a US citizen and one of the victims of the attack, said he and his friend with two teenage brothers-in-law were on their way home when they were chased by a group of young people. “We told the kids to run for their lives. But they could not run fast enough, so we took their hands and dragged them through the underpass,” Mr Lakshin said.

Mr Lakshin managed to protect the children, but was kicked to the ground and beaten. “They shouted the usual ‘kill the Yids’ and smashed a bottle on my head.” Bleeding, he managed to escape to a 24-hour grocery store. “There were two security guards there and we asked them to call the police. But all they said was: ‘Please leave – you will stain our shop with your blood’.”

According to Global Forum Against Anti-Semitism, an Israeli government body, the number of violent anti-Semitic incidents in Russia rose from four to 55 in the past year. Another report on global anti-Semitism released by the US State Department says the number of skinheads who have committed most of these crimes has increased from few dozen in 1992 to more than 50,000 in 2004.

Attacks by skinheads and neo-Nazis in Russia are not limited to Jews. People from the Caucasus, Muslims and Africans are regularly subjected to ethnic crimes.

According to recent opinion polls, 53 per cent of Russia’s population subscribe to the idea of “Russia for the Russians”, 48 per cent think that the influence of Jews in politics and business should be restricted and 43 per cent say there should be restrictions on natives of the Caucasus living in Russia. Two nationalistic parties gained 20 per cent in the last parliamentary elections.

Xenophobia is the main election platform of the Rodina party, which was brought to life by Kremlin spin-doctors before last year’s parliamentary elections to take votes from the Communists and guarantee a majority for the pro-Kremlin United Russia party.

However, over the past year, Rodina’s nationalistic ideas appear to have gained their own momentum. “We have historic experience of this. This is how fascism started in Germany in 1933,” said Mr Lakshin. 

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