Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

18 June 2008. Out and About…

Fyodor Koniukhov plans to trek along the Great Silk Road

The famous Russian adventurer Fyodor Koniukhov plans to undertake a camel-back expedition along the Great Silk Road next year. The entire route will extend across more than 10 countries, from Russia to China. Mr Koniukhov’s last adventure was a single-handed world race aboard his yacht around Antarctica in winter and spring of this year (the summer and autumn in the southern hemisphere).

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28534&cid=87&p=18.06.2008

Russian inflation rate so far this year is 8.3 percent

Aleksei Kudrin (1960- ), Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister

The Russian inflation rate so far this year is 8.3 percent. According to Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin, rocketing food and fuel prices worldwide are likely to make the targeted annual inflation limit of 10.5 percent fairly unrealistic.

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28557&cid=46&p=18.06.2008

If the Ukraine enters NATO, Russia can reclaim the Crimean Peninsula

Dmitri Rogozin (1963- ), Russian ambassador to NATO

If the Ukraine enters NATO, Russia can reclaim the Crimean Peninsula. In a newspaper interview Wednesday, Dmitri Rogozin, the Russian ambassador to NATO, recalled the fact that Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchov commemorated 300 years of the renewal of Russian-Ukrainian unity when he transferred the peninsula to Ukraine in 1954. Moreover, when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the Ukraine solemnly undertook to remain neutral.

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28563&cid=47&p=18.06.2008

Russian nuclear icebreakers resume summer tourist trips to the North Pole

Russian nuclear icebreakers are resuming their summer tourist trips to the North Pole. At the end of June, the newest icebreaker, Fifty years of Victory, will set off for its first journey of the year, reported Andrei Smirnov, a spokesman for the Murmansk Shipping Company. For some years now, their icebreakers have transported travellers to distant areas of the Arctic Ocean. In the course of a normal 16-day trip, Russian and foreign tourists visit not only the Pole itself, but, also, the Franz Josef Islands.

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28535&cid=48&p=18.06.2008

Russian prosecutors charge three men with carrying out Anna Politkovskaya’s assassination

Anna Politkovskaya (1958-2006), Russian investigative reporter, murdered by Chechen terrorists

Russian prosecutors have formally charged three men, all Chechens, with organising and carrying out the assassination of the investigative journalist Anna Politkovskaya, who was gunned down in October 2006 in the stairwell of her apartment house in Moscow. All three are being held. The investigating committee at the Moscow prosecutor general’s office announced that the preliminary investigation was concluded, and the three, Sergei Khadzhikurbanov, Dzhabrail Makhmudov and Ibragim Makhmudov, were set to stand trial for murder. A fourth suspect, believed to be the kingpin, is hiding abroad. Ms Politkovskaya won acclaim for exposing wrongs in the Russian Caucasus.

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28558&cid=48&p=18.06.2008

Kosachov feels the crisis over the recognition of the UDI of Kosovo is what split the EU

Konstantin Kosachov (1962- ), chairman of the RF Gosduma Foreign Affairs Committee

The issue of the recognition of the UDI of the Serbian province of Kosovo has split the European Union in two, said Konstantin Kosachov, the chairman of the RF Gosduma Committee for Foreign Affairs, in an interview with Voice of Russia. At least seven EU nations have said loud and clear they will under no circumstances recognise Kosovo’s independence. According to Mr Kosachov, those behind the Kosovo adventure gambled that they would manage to quickly obtain world recognition of the Serbian province’s independence. Now that four months have elapsed, those opposed to Kosovo’s independence are still in the majority. Mr Kosachov feels that the issue of Kosovo shall have top priority on the agenda of the forthcoming Russia-EU summit in Khanty-Mansisysk.

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28515&cid=45&p=18.06.2008

Ukrainian opposition contents legitimacy of Orange ruling coalition

Viktor Yanukovych (1950- ), leader of the patriotic opposition in the Ukraine

In Kiev, the opposition Party of Regions asked the Constitutional Court to deny legitimacy to the government of the Orange coalition of President Yushchenko and Prime Minister Timoshenko. Departure by two Rada deputies left the coalition without a constitutional majority in the Ukrainian Supreme Rada. A new government crisis is in the offing.

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28564&cid=45&p=18.06.2008

Voice of Russia World Service

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18 June 2008. A Shot of Culture, if you please…

Main Prize of the Kinotavr Russian Film Festival Goes to the Movie Schultes

A short clip from Schultes

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The Main Prize of the 19th Kinotavr Russian Film Festival has gone to the movie Schultes by director and scriptwriter Bakur Bkuradze. This came in a statement during the festival’s closing ceremony on Sunday. According to Pavel Chukhrai, the chairman of the panel of judges, the festival is bound to support this kind of movie. In Schultes, the main character leads a double life. At present, he is a poor soul who lost his memory. In the past, he was a thief. The film is an attempt to understand his troubled personality. Mr Chukrai believed that the director’s point is to ask the audience if they think that they are any better than the protagonist.

16 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28414&cid=51&p=16.06.2008

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Moscow’s Pushkin Fine Arts Museum to Take its Collection of Matisse to an Exhibition in Shanghai

The Dessert: Harmony in Red

Henri Matisse

1908

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Moscow’s Pushkin Fine Arts Museum is going to take its collection of paintings, drawings, etchings, and statuettes by the French post-impressionist artist Henri Matisse to a panoramic exhibition in Shanghai. The opening is due for 2010. The announcement came from the chief curator at the Pushkin Fine Arts Museum, Dr Irina Antonova.

16 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28452&cid=51&p=16.06.2008

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Book about Valery Gergiev Published

Maestro Valery Gergiev (1953- ), Artistic Director of the Mariinsky Theatre, St Petersburg

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The book Valery Gergiev. Music. Theatre. Life, comprising statements made by the Maestro, was presented in St Petersburg’s Angleterre Hotel in the presence of Maestro Gergiev. The book is based on quotations from the conductor, his thoughts, and comments, presented in the form of a diary. Maestro Gergiev voiced the hope that the book would enable readers to get an idea of how much the Mariinsky theatre company has done over the years to push their theatre into a leading position on the world art music scene. In his opinion, the theatre exerts every effort to ensure that St Petersburg continues as a world cultural capital in real terms.

17 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28494&cid=87&p=17.06.2008

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Third International Festival of Baltic Cities Due in St Petersburg

Interior of the Hermitage in St Petersburg

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The Third International Festival of Baltic Cities is due in St Petersburg. According to the festival director, Sergei Shub, St Petersburg came up with the idea of holding this kind of festival, since the city boasts much experience in staging this sort of thing. Art celebrities now pave the way for politicians, who sometimes find it difficult to meet each other halfway. The festival agenda features a roundtable discussion entitled Culture as a Universal Language in the Baltic Countries’ Dialogue.

17 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28494&cid=87&p=17.06.2008

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Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater Begins a Week-Long Tour of Latvia

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A voice from the past of the Bolshoi, tenor Zurab Andjaparidze

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Moscow’s Bolshoi Theater begins a weeklong tour of Latvia as part of a festival of Russian culture opening today in this former Soviet Baltic republic. Last year, the Latvian National Opera Company performed in Moscow as part of a Latvian art festival in Russia. The Bolshoi’s tour kicks off a long series of Russian cultural events, concerts, and exhibitions to run throughout the summer.

17 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28461&cid=51&p=17.06.2008

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Julio Iglesias Concert in Moscow Tonight

Julio Iglesias (1943- ), famous Spanish pop singer

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The famous Spanish crooner Julio Iglesias is kicking off a new Russian tour with a single concert in Moscow tonight, offering the audience a wide selection of new songs and old hits like Manuela, Hey, and El Amor. Señor Iglesias turns 65 in September; he says that this is his farewell tour. During his long career, Julio Iglesias has released a staggering 77 albums and has given almost 5,000 concerts.

17 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28493&cid=51&p=17.06.2008

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Life in World Heritage Monuments Exhibition Opens in Moscow

Golden Twenties development in Berlin, designed by Bruno Taut, built 1927-28

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The presentation-exhibition Life in World Heritage Monuments. Residential Heighbourhoods of Berlin Constructivism opened in Moscow. The exhibition documents the history of the construction of settlements built to the design of the German constructivist architect Bruno Taut in Berlin and its suburbs in the 1920s. The travelling exhibition has already been in Berlin, Paris, Vienna, Athens, and Glasgow, and is timed for the 125th anniversary of Herr Taut’s birth.

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28534&cid=87&p=18.06.2008

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Solo Exhibition by Photographer Marina Antonova Due in St Petersburg

From the cycle “Planeta Petersburg”

Marina Antonova

2008

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The magazine Digital Photo is due to launch a solo exhibition of the artistic photographer Marina Antonova in St Petersburg this coming Friday. The project, officially known as Planet Petersburg, is due to last for a whole year. Visitors will be welcome to enjoy the artist’s large panoramic canvases, of which some are more than 5 metres (@16 feet) long.

From the cycle “Planeta Petersburg”

Marina Antonova

2008

18 June 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28534&cid=87&p=18.06.2008

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Voice of Russia World Service

America’s Female Warriors: “Deep Wounds, Little Care”

Filed under: military,patriotic,politics,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

A book detailing personal stories of American servicewomen is to be published in the United States shortly and US military commanders may find some of those stories unpalatable. Last Memorial Day, as an ever-increasing number of mentally- and physically-wounded soldiers return from Iraq and Afghanistan, the Department of Veterans Affairs reportedly faced a pressing crisis. It appears that women become traumatised not only by combat, but, also by sexual abuse and harassment from their fellow service personnel. The department is said to be failing to deal with this problem adequately. Army statistics say that women make up some 15 percent of United States active duty forces, and 11 percent of the soldiers deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Incredibly, almost a third of female veterans say they were sexually assaulted or raped whilst in the military, and 71 to 90 percent say they were sexually harassed by the men with whom they served. This sort of abuse drastically increases the risk and intensity of post-traumatic stress disorder. The threat of post-traumatic stress has risen in recent years as women’s roles in war have changed. More of them now come under fire, suffer battle wounds, and kill the enemy, just as men do. As women return for repeat tours in combat zones, usually redeploying with the same units, many must go back to war with the same men who abused them. This leaves these women as threatened by their own comrades as by the war itself. Yet, the combination of sexual abuse and combat has barely been acknowledged by the military or studied by medical experts. Last April, when the RAND Corporation released a major non-military survey of the mental health of troops since 2001, it basically reflected this lack of research. The RAND survey found that women suffer from higher rates of post-traumatic stress disorder and depression than men do. A book to be released shortly called The Lonely Soldier by Helen Benedict, a Columbia University professor, is not about GI Jane, as depicted in the famous movie starring Demi Moore. It relates stories of personal hardships and humiliation suffered by humble US Army servicewomen. She’s the one who suffers the most at the hands of her male comrades-in-arms, as is told in the pages of this book.

18 June 2008

Yuri Reshetnikov

Voice of Russia World Service
http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=28542&cid=87&p=18.06.2008

Editor’s Note:

Not only are women in uniform nearing the end of their rope, so are the men. George Bush has dramatically increased the workload of the troops without increasing the forces to a level where they can do the job effectively. The US has only some 33 manoeuvre brigades in its active army (plus nine USMC brigade-equivalents), which means that most of the troops are kept on line for longer periods than is wise. In short, morale amongst the troops is low (although they’ll never say so) and there are no reserves either of equipment or manpower left to deal with any crisis that may erupt outside of Iraq or Afghanistan (both peripheral areas to vital US national interests, by the way). I weep for our troops. They’re being abused by an administration that is trying to run a war on the cheap, they are given nonsensical rules of engagement, and they are sent to combat more frequently than’s prudent for their mental health. If our war-weary troops were to face a fresh, adequately-trained, well-armed, and confident foe, the results would be disastrous. Our troops deserve better. Withdraw them. There’s no other way. As for our soldiers, I support them. Thank you. As for those who’ll never return… Vechnaya Pamyat. Eternal Memory.

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

BMD

“We shall be united… any Separation is the Fruit of Human Sinfulness”: Fr Vsevolod Chaplin

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin (1968- ), Zamglavy of the MP DECR

The 12th International Economic Forum was held in St Petersburg at the beginning of June. Seemingly, what relation does such an event have to the Church? Interestingly, one of the attendees of the conference was Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin, Zamglavy (assistant head) of the MP Department of External Church Relations. His observations are reported by different media outlets, particularly Interfax-Religion. His following statement has particular resonance for us today. “The political system currently dominant in the world boasts of its multi-confessional and multi-party make-up, separation of powers, competition, and conflict management, but, we Orthodox Christians view it only as the sign of a sinful disintegration of both individual people and mankind in general and a symptom of spiritual corruption”.

In the following interview with Nezavisimaya Gazeta-Religii, Fr Vsevolod expressed his viewpoints as regards the interrelation of the Church and contemporary society.

Dmitri Khaustov

Fr Vsevolod, what reaction did you receive to your statement that multi-confessional and multi-party ideologies and the separation of powers are symptoms of spiritual corruption? Does this mean that the Orthodox Church considers such as “evil”, a lesser evil, perhaps, but, still evil? What shall this do to the interreligious and interchurch dialogue of the MP, how shall it affect its nature and practise?

Fr Vsevolod Chaplin

I have voiced my viewpoints on the contemporary state of society many times, and I stated it yet again at the forum in St Petersburg. The Church can exist in a society that lives according to the ideology expressed in my quote. Indeed, many of these things are found in the Russian state, as well. The Orthodox ideal of society is one where the faith unites both the government and the people. Any separation is the fruit of human sinfulness. Separations are the direct result of the sin of Adam and the Fall of Man, it shall not be so in the Heavenly Kingdom, and we are called to emulate such in our earthly life.

By the way, there are tendencies in our Russian political life that correspond to the Orthodox ideal of unity. For example, the Public Chamber unites not the representatives of political parties, but, of natural social groups drawn from all levels of society. In any case, the standing of political parties [in Russia] is low. The people do not view their political bickering or the unbridled competition of businesses as positive forces. However, the idea of strengthening the unity of our society is very popular.

We participate in dialogue with other churches and religions, in fact, we do so with unbelievers. In union with all people of good will, we meet to discuss general problems and their possible solutions. However, we know that in the life of the age to come, the faith shall be one, all pluralism shall fall away, and only the truth shall stand victorious… the Truth of Christ.

Dmitri Khaustov

Why did you attend the economic forum in St Petersburg?

Fr Vsevolod

At first, the organisers of economic conferences did not invite official representatives of the Church to their forums. Recently, I was in Rome at the “Europe-Russia” forum. Then, I attended the Crane Mountain Forum and the Moscow sessions of the World Economic Forum. Today, the organisers of such conferences are interested in having people from the Church as participants. Probably, this is because both businessmen and politicians wish to learn more about religion and its increasing role in society.

Dmitri Khaustov

Is the Orthodox Church interested in attending these forums for its own reasons? Or, is it because the organisers wish to hear the viewpoint of the Church?

Fr Vsevolod

Whenever Orthodox Christians are asked questions about their beliefs, they must give a decent answer. The first Epistle of the Holy Apostle Peter says so.

Dmitri Khaustov

Recently, you attended the presentation of the textbook The Bases of Orthodox Culture, which was written by Boris Yakemenko, the leader of the youth group Nashi (Ours). Do you think that it was proper for a political figure to have written the textbook? Can it affect politics, the choice of who teaches The Bases of Orthodox Culture… and who doesn’t?

Fr Vsevolod

In any event, such things shall be determined by the public and by the schoolchildren. To speak honestly, I did not notice any attempts by Nashi to impose a particular political viewpoint on Orthodoxy. For a long time, I have been friendly with the Orthodox members of Nashi, I have associated much with them, in particular, this past summer, I visited their summer camp on Lake Seliger. These are sincerely-believing people, I say. When they carried out actions of an Orthodox nature, for example, some of the kids were handing out small crosses, I advised them to avoid any hint of political influence or entanglement. I would say that they listened to my advice.

Dmitri Khaustov

Recently, one hears more, both from clergy and active lay circles, that the church should reform the language of the divine services. What is your viewpoint on this? Is it necessary to make the language of the liturgy more contemporary or is the question irrelevant?

Fr Vsevolod

You have stated the two most extreme positions concerning this question. I do not support the radical reformers who wish to change the liturgical language. However, it is possible to change some of the details of the Church Slavonic text. For instance, the Greek grammar that is used in Church Slavonic is confusing to the average Russian-speaker. Some of the words are now incomprehensible to most people. I must note that this language shall remain the usage in the Church, for contemporary Orthodox believers are perfectly capable of understanding the Church Slavonic language with a bit of study, both intellectual and spiritual.

There is no doubt that the liturgical texts are complex. Fr Andrei Kuraev is completely correct in stating that it would very difficult to express the deep meaning of the services in the contemporary Russian language. We should pay more attention in the celebration of the services to the clearness of our enunciation of the prayers and responses, and to ensure that there is a sufficiency of moderately-priced popular guides to the liturgy so that people can learn and understand the services.

18 June 2008

Nezavisimaya Gazeta-Religii

Quoted in Interfax-Religion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=print&div=8518

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