Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 10 June 2008

“I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”

Filed under: Christian,Orthodox hierarchs,Orthodox life,religious,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

All of us are familiar with this tagline from Wellington J. Wimpy (or, is it J. Wellington Wimpy? I stand under correction in such an important assertion). Did Wimpy ever have any intention of paying on Tuesday? Absolutely not (my Nicky thinks that Wimpy made himself very scarce on Tuesday, just as the OCA bishops cannot be found when real questions are asked). In addition, he was a coward and poltroon. Does this sound like some bishops that we all know…?

Things are getting curiouser and curiouser, as Alice would put it. Do look at the following snippet from the OCA news website. It is serious; it is not a parody.

The first of nine “Town Hall” meetings to be held in preparation for the 15th All-American Council took place on Saturday, June 7th, at Ottawa’s Annunciation Cathedral. Twenty-five persons, clergy and laity from Ontario, Québec, and upstate New York, attended the meeting. Both Archbishop Seraphim and Bishop Nikon were present for, in the words of one participant, “a lively event” that “ far exceeded (my) expectations in the breadth and depth of the candour of the comments, and the open, listening stance of the hierarchs”.

Orthodox Christians for Accountability


“Twenty-five persons, clergy and laity from Ontario, Québec, and upstate New York, attended the meeting”. A parish meeting with that number of participants would be considered a failure. That is a “lively event”? Note well that there was no breakdown of clergy and laity; so, one does not know the audience composition. This is another case of classic GIGO from Syosset, and note well that Mark Stokoe is cooperating with them.

A small group of activists showed up, and it is paraded as the “voice of the people”. I do beg to differ. Nothing of substance was discussed. The investigative commission’s report is still held more secret than a CIA situation précis. But, this is the same sort of thing that happened prior to RSK’s ouster. A meeting in Florida where he spoke at was described as an “overflow crowd”… 100 people showed up.

I would say that the rank-and-file laity and clergy have given up on ever hearing the truth from the Syosset/SVS true believers and apparatchiki. There is a sense of expectancy, everyone knows that change is coming, but, what? It would be best if Herman and some of his minions resigned now. If not, there are things now hidden that shall come out in the wash. I say this in all love for the church. It would be best if this is ended quietly by mass resignations rather than have some of the sordid details come out in public.

If you think this has been a scandal… it is time for certain hierarchs and their clerical hangers-on to leave. If not, don’t blame me for what happens. I am only a reporter with no influence on events whatsoever. However, it is my duty to report what I see and know, so that others can make up their minds with the facts in hand.

“I will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today”. Tuesday is here now, and the bill is due… shall it be honoured?

Vara Drezhlo

Tuesday 10 June 2008


OPEC is not about to Boost Oil Production despite Price Leaps on the World Market

Filed under: business,diplomacy,economy,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Officials of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), stated that OPEC is not about to step up oil production despite the leap prices on the world market. OPEC Secretary-General Abdullah Salem Badri said that the organisation shall not increase its daily oil output until the OPEC meeting on 9 September in Vienna. He adds he sees no need for this kind of increase. Mr Al-Badri pointed out in a message to the participants in a seminar in Abuja, Nigeria, that commercial stocks on hand of the oil exporters exceed the average for the past five years.

Officials of oil-exporting countries have been even more specific on the subject. The head of the Libyan National Oil Corporation, Shokri Ganem, felt oil is currently offered on the market in sufficient quantities. Saudi Arabia is the only OPEC member that could boost oil production in the short term, but, it is unprepared for the move. The Saudi Government said during a meeting on Monday that the oil market is saturated and that there is no fundamental reason for any price growth. In this context, Saudi Arabia plans to call a meeting of the world’s main oil producers and consumers to discuss the situation that’s taken shape. One local newspaper even reported in the wake of the Government meeting that Saudi Arabia was actually prepared to boost its oil deliveries to the world market.

Most experts believe that a spate of recent price hikes, with last week’s record of almost 140 dollars per barrel, have nothing to do with existing supply and demand. For instance, Nikolai Kashcheyev, chief of the analytical service of Russia’s Vneshtorgbank bank, tends to trace the price hikes to speculation and changes in the world economy. “Today, speculation accounts for a sizeable part of the cost of many types of raw materials. Also, an important factor is that many expect that some economies may sever their links to that of the United States, which is not at all unlikely. These are the developing economies, which are due, whatever happens, to develop at a faster pace through boosting the consumption of fuels”. Specifically, Mr Kashcheyev spoke of the economies of China, India, and Brazil, and also some other countries that have made impressive progress in their economic development.

Meanwhile, the OPEC president, Chakib Khelil, the Algerian Minister of Energy and Mines, said the oil price hike has been prompted by the devaluation of the US dollar because of the US economic problems. Certainly, some political factors also influenced the situation. Last Friday, the oil price shot up following the aggravation of tension in relations between Israel and Iran, which is one of the world’s leading oil exporters.

10 June 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

There has been much loose talk of OPEC not producing enough oil, thus creating an artificial shortage in supply. This is not so. George Bush’s feckless economic policy is solely responsible for the price rise. In 2003, the Canadian dollar was worth 0.71 USD. I know this because of my statements from my ATM card reflecting purchases made in Montréal. Today, the Canadian dollar is worth 0.972 USD, which shows a 27 percent drop in value for the US dollar. In 2003, the Russian rouble was 30 to one US dollar. Today, it is 23.653 roubles to one US dollar, which is a 21 percent drop for the US dollar. The Russian inflation rate is higher than the American rate, so, this shows the weakness of the American currency.

This drop is due to adverse trade balances and the economic stress caused by the Iraq War, which Mr Bush is attempting to finance without raising taxes (mostly via increased borrowing). In addition, Mr Bush’s profligate policy of increasing spending and cutting taxes at the same time has weakened confidence abroad in American financial health.

In short, one can see that American dependence on foreign sources for some 60 percent of its oil is one of the factors in the price increase. If the dollar is worth less, it buys less, therefore, upping the pump price. Another source of oil price inflation is that the US is not reining in the futures market, despite the fact that regulatory mechanisms exist to cool down the price spike.

You see, the present level of prices is a bubble. That is to say, the price shall go down to natural levels soon enough and that is why OPEC and Russia are not counting on it to last. Who’s gonna get the cardboard box and get a soaking? Why, the friendly neighbourhood futures traders, of course. Don’t shed a tear for these @#%!* buccaneers. They are some of the most greedy, selfish, and short-sighted sorts about, and if a few of ‘em go under, I say, “good riddance to bad rubbish”. Don’t blame the sheikhs or the lot in the Kremlin, blame good ol’ fashioned sinful greed. Who said, “money is the root of all evil”…?

10 June 2008. Out and About…

Russia’s first-quarter foreign trade is up 31 percent over the same period in 2007

Russia’s first-quarter foreign trade is up 31 percent compared to the same period in 2007, to 227 billion dollars (5.361 trillion roubles. 145.831 billion euros. 115.726 billion UK pounds). The main exports are oil, gas, metals, pulp, timber, and engineering products. The main imports are machinery, industrial equipment, and food. Main trading partners are Germany, the Netherlands, and China.

6 June 2008


Amount of foreign investment in Russia this year may reach 60 billion dollars

Economics Minister Elvira Nabullina (1963- )

The amount of foreign investment in the Russian economy this year may reach 60 billion dollars (1.417 trillion roubles. 38.546 billion euros. 30.588 billion UK pounds), said Minister for Economic Development and Trade Elvira Nabiullina. She spoke during a Russia-US roundtable meeting in St Petersburg. Ms Nabullina said the US is always tardy in reacting to any positive change in the Russian economy. The United States accounts for a mere 4 percent of Russian overall trade turnover, whilst the European Union accounts for more than 50 percent.

7 June 2008


Russia’s vast reserves, stable finances make it immune to global credit crunch

President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- ) addressing the St Petersburg Economic Forum

Russia believes its vast reserves, stable finances, and sound macroeconomic management make it immune to the global credit crunch. Appearing before the St Petersburg economic forum on the opening day Saturday, President Medvedev also spoke about plans to make this country a financial hub and elevate the Russian rouble to an internationally-recognised reserve currency. He dismissed speculation about economic aggression by Russia and argued that Russian investment abroad creates jobs, brings forward free trade in oil and natural gas, and helps Europe stabilise its energy market. Mr Medvedev offered Russian help in organising a global financial conference and in tackling the global food crisis. He also criticised so-called “economic nationalism” for replacing pragmatism with myopic politics. He blamed the mounting financial problems around the world on the overblown economic role of the United States.

7 June 2008


Patriarch Aleksei serves molieben on the 125th anniversary of Christ the Saviour Cathedral

The Interior of Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow (Fyodor Klages, 1883)

The first hierarch of the MP, Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias, served a special molieben in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow on the 125th anniversary of its consecration. Amongst the participants were pilgrims who arrived in Moscow in 8 religious processions honouring the unity of Russian Orthodox Church. About 1,000 faithful started procession from Kolomensk Park early in the morning and moved towards the cathedral, which is near the centre of Moscow. The cathedral, which was built in the honour of the victory of 1812, was consecrated on 8 June 1883, an event timed to the coronation of Tsar Aleksandr III.

8 June 2008


Russian role in global cooperation shall grow

Vice Premier Aleksandr Zhukov (1956- )

The role of Russia in global cooperation shall continue to grow. Expressing this viewpoint in a TV interview, Vice Premier Aleksandr Zhukov said many are accustomed to see Russia as a major fuel supplier, and here its influence is very strong, but, it is developing faster than other countries and is setting new aims, for one, to become a world financial and business centre and a competitive player on technological and food markets. Mr Zhukov stressed the importance of the political and economic multi-polarity of modern world in which Russia would emerge as a powerful regional centre.

8 June 2008


Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses start “Russian Week”

On the Terrace (Konstantin Korovin, 1920)

Sotheby’s and Christie’s auction houses are putting up unique artworks for a week-long auction to sell off canvases by Russian painters. Trading kicks off in London today. Coming up for auction, among others, are such masterpieces as Still Life with Fruit by Natalia Goncharova, Alla by Marc Chagal, and A View from the Terrace by Konstantin Korovin. In all, Sotheby’s is putting up for sale 670 lots totalling 60 million dollars (1.417 billion roubles. 38.546 million euros. 30.588 million UK pounds). The pictures that shall uncork a surprise at Christie’s auction on Wednesday are The Crucifixion by Natalia Goncharova, Tatsuro Kawarasaki, a Japanese Actor by Pyotr Konchalovsky, and The Road by Isaak Levitan.

9 June 2008


Russia urges the EU to pressure Latvia and Estonia to end unfair treatment of ethnic Russians

Konstantin Kosachov (1962- ), RF Gosduma deputy

Russia urged the European Union to pressure new members Estonia and Latvia to end unfair treatment of ethnic Russians. Konstantin Kosachov, the Lower House’s foreign affairs head, argued the problem is more than a simple bilateral affair and must be addressed by all of Europe. Some 400,000 Russian-speakers in Latvia and 420,000 in Estonia are still denied civil rights. Estonia’s non-nationals account for 30 percent of the total population of that small Baltic country. The figures are from Amnesty International.

9 June 2008


This autumn Moscow to host meeting on global energy problems

Arkady Dvorkovich (1972- ), assistant to President Medvedev

This autumn, Moscow host a meeting of officials from 13 countries to focus on global energy problems, said Russian presidential assistant Arkady Dvorkovich, who attended the recent economic forum in St Petersburg. The forthcoming energy dialogue is in the 8 plus 5 format, that is, the G-8 countries plus China, India, Brazil, South Africa, and Mexico. The decisions made by the forum shall form part of a package of proposals for next year’s G-8 summit. Mr Dvorkovich added that the parties to this year’s G-8 summit in Japan would concentrate on energy and food security.

9 June 2008


Voice of Russia World Service

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