Voices from Russia

Thursday, 12 June 2008

A View from Moscow by Valentin Zorin… Kosovar Developments Sure to Re-echo Worldwide

United Nations headquarters in New York NY USA


Political leaders and the media alike have, for quite a few days now, been discussing the proclamation of Kosovar sovereignty and the breakneck speed at which Washington and allies of Washington scrambled to recognise the self-proclaimed republic of Kosovo. Their focusing on Kosovo is understandable; they’re concentrating attention on a really important event. However, hard as I try, I can find no mention of the biggest result of what’s happened and what will tell on the fate of the self-proclaimed republic and many other things in detailed Western, including American, comments on turns of developments in Kosovo. The problem of Kosovo is a threat to what has taken decades of painstaking efforts to build, the existing world order and global stability. What is happening reminds me that World War II began when Nazi Germany decided it was free to ignore international and domestic law. The illegitimate Anschluss of sovereign Austria, the brazen violation of the sovereign rights of Czechoslovakia, and, finally, the invasion of Poland were the opening pages in one of the biggest tragedies in the history of the human race. Austria, Czechoslovakia, and Poland were destined to foot the bill for the criminal disregard and gross violation of international law.

The difficult lesson of history was not taught in vain. The victorious Allied nations were quick to form an Organisation of the United Nations and wrote the UN Charter in September 1945. The UN Charter laid the groundwork for decades of concerted efforts to keep law and order on this planet. The most representative international organisation, the UN, turned into the best tool for the coordination of national efforts. In 1975, 35 countries of Europe, the USA, and Canada signed what is known as the Helsinki Act. That document finalises the national borders in post-war Europe and confirms the inviolable sovereignty of all countries of that continent. The post-war system of international agreements insured stability; it enabled mankind to move away from the brink of the nuclear abyss. Nevertheless, one day, Washington became disenchanted with the UN Charter. About six years ago, the Bush Administration outlined a new strategy for national security, which has since become known as the Bush doctrine. That unparalleled political document demands that the foreign strategies of the United States rest on the supporting pillars of military superiority, preventive warfare, and the ability to launch unilateral efforts. The concept of preventive warfare allows military action in circumstances that, according to Washington, call for this kind of action; the ability to launch unilateral efforts comes in handy when Washington fails to get other nations to protect American interests. It goes without saying that the Bush doctrine fails to be in consonance with the UN Charter and that there’s no room for it in the legal foundation for the existing world order.

Europe saw its first armed conflict of the post-war years in March 1999. It was based on a decision made on the banks of the Potomac and approved without delay by an obedient Brussels, in defiance of international law and the UN, that thousands of bombs were dropped on sovereign Yugoslavia and thousands of missiles were fired into that country. Impunity led to military action under the new Bush Doctrine. Without permission from the United Nations and in brazen violation of the UN Charter, the USA invaded sovereign Iraq. The American political ignoramuses learned no lesson from the unexpected and unwelcome aftermath of that illegitimate military adventure.

Repercussions of their moves are the last thing they thought of in their recent efforts to encourage and, that done, uphold the proclamation of Kosovar sovereignty which defies one of the basic principles of international law, that of the inviolability of national borders. Taken out of context, the American strategy for Kosovo does little save spotlight its disregard of international law. Yet, as a matter of fact, it puts a question mark over a century of painstaking efforts to lay a legal foundation for international relations, deals a heavy blow to the fundamental ideas of the UN, and reduces the effectiveness of the UN’s efforts to promote peace and global security.

Wrong are those who imagine they can feel safe while planning and playing this foul and dangerous political game. This world of ours is indivisible. However, the law of the jungle, which puts military might above all legal rules and regulations, turns it into a paradise for terrorists. It’s a threat to each and every member of the international community. Future generations of American leaders and the inadmissibly near-sighted supporters of today’s policy-makers will have to pay… pay a dear price, I’d say!… for the American failure to see that.

29 February 2008

Valentin Zorin

Voice of Russia World Service




Russian Programme of the 30th International Moscow Festival

Filed under: cinema,performing arts,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Moscow looks forward to a major cinema event this summer, the Moscow International Film Festival. The jubilee forum will be held from 19 to 28 June, and its programme has been posted. All in all, over 200 films from different countries are competing at the festival. Russia will be represented by two films, Orchard by Sergei Ovcharov, based on Anton Chekhov’s play Cherry Orchard, and Once in Province by Katya Shagalova. In addition, another film on the festival programme is Birds of Paradise by Russian film director Roman Balayan, who is working in the Ukraine at present. Many Russian films shall also be shown outside the framework of the competition, for example, there is a programme devoted to the centenary of cinema in Russia, which is marked this year, and a history of the Moscow film festival. A retrospective show of “Socialist avant-gardism” features the best Soviet films of 1929-1971.

According to Nikita Mikhalkov, the President of the Moscow International Film Festival and prominent film-maker, this year, Russian cinema was worthily represented at all world’s leading film festivals. Mr Mikhalkov stressed that this was just the beginning, since interest in Russian cinema was reviving everywhere in the world, not just in Russia alone. He believes that the reason for this is the fact Russian cinema increasingly turns to relevant topical issues of Russian life for its plots.

Moscow’s forum is a Class A festival, which is in the same class with such prestigious world’s film forums as the Cannes Festival, the Berlin Festival, and the Venetian Festival. The history of the Moscow forum can be traced back to 1935. Then, the first Moscow film festival was held. Owing to various reasons, there was a long interval, and the second film forum in Moscow was held only a quarter of a century later, in 1959. That year is considered to be the official birthday of the film festival in the Russian capital. Since 2000, the festival is now an annual event. In past years, the best masters of cinema came to Moscow. Amongst those who headed the festival’s jury previously were Claude Lelouch, Teo Angelopulos, Andrzej Wajda, and others. This year, the jury chairman shall be the world-famous Norwegian actress Liv Ullman.

11 June 2008

Milena Faustova

Voice of Russia World Service


International Choir Festival in St Petersburg

Filed under: art music,music,patriotic,performing arts,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Mariinsky Theatre Choir of St Petersburg

The International Choir Festival in St Petersburg to be held from 1 to 15 June is in honour of our main national holiday, Russia Day. This is only the second time that this festival has been held, but, it has already become one of the most representative international forums in Russia. Twenty-two concerts will be given by 10 Russian and 10 foreign groups from the Baltic region. All these choirs have a good professional reputation and enjoy much popularity; they specialise in classical and traditional music and folklore. Amongst the most popular choirs is the choir of the Mariinsky Theatre from St Petersburg, which performs not only with that world-famous company, but, also gives independent concerts.

A clip from the Glinka Boy’s Choir, one of the participants in the Festival, singing a German folk song

Poznan Boy’s Choir from Poland

The first concert of the festival took place on 1 June, International Children’s Day. Therefore, the programme featured concerts by children’s choirs and soloists. Among them were the renowned Poznan boy’s boys known to older generations as “Poznan Nightingales”, and the no less popular St Petersburg boy’s choir of the Glinka school. The audience was full of children from families having many children and orphans.

Youth Chamber Choir of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Society

All concerts of the festival shall be presented in the best concert halls of St Petersburg, the Academic Capella, the Hermitage and Aleksandrinsky theatres, and the Great Hall of the Philharmonic Society. In addition, secular and church music shall be performed at the renowned St Isaac Cathedral and the Church of Resurrection. A special project of the festival is a concert involving the Youth Chamber Choir of the St Petersburg Philharmonic Society, the Musica Petropolitana ancient music ensemble, and renowned British Baroque singer Emma Kirkby. The culmination of the festival shall be a gala concert on Russia Day to be given outdoors in the Mikhailovski Gardens and involving choirs of Russia’s seven federal districts.

11 June 2008

Natalia Viktorova

a vid by Musica Petropolitana… 


Russia and Mexico: A Dialogue in the Language of Art

Filed under: fine arts,intellectual,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Cinco de Mayo performers at the White House, Washington DC, USA

A watercolorist from St Petersburg, Nina Diakova, spends most of her time in Mexico, where she exhibits her works. Ms Diakova, a prominent artist, poetess, and traveller, found in Mexico a second home. Her heart has belonged to Mexico ever since she first set foot in the country in 1992. One trip proved not enough, and two trips proved not enough, either, she said. It was so fascinating to bask in the ancient Mexican art, to learn more of the nation’s centuries-old history engraved in timeless monuments of old architecture and rising above time. Still living in the country are Indian tribes that practise traditional lifestyles, dress in traditional costumes, and speak the language of the Aztecs and Maya. Even their faces are identical to the ones on old reliefs.

Ms Diakova studied the history of Mexico both in museums and in her travels. Her works depict national holidays, family occasions, and shaman dances. One of her most highly acclaimed pieces is a water-colour cycle called “A Chorale to the Glory of Mexican People”, where each of the pictures is accompanied by verse written by the artist herself. Old religious structures in Mexico are seen as a historical legacy which ought to be preserved. This idea was enhanced by works by Ms Diakova, icons and landscapes painted in water colours. Artistic personalities are endowed with a particular vision, so, they perceive much more than thought possible. For this reason, their experience, knowledge, and intuition is crucial in building a dialogue across cultures.

10 June 2008

Yelena Andrusenko

Voice of Russia World Service


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