Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

16 July 2008. Out and about…

Russian ISS-17 Crew Completes Second Spacewalk

Russian cosmonauts Sergei Volkov and Oleg Kononenko, members of the ISS-17 crew, completed their second spacewalk, a spokesman for the Russian Space Flight Centre reported. During a 6-hour spacewalk, Volkov and Kononenko fulfilled several scientific and technical tasks, including the installation of a target at the “Pierce” module for the docking with a new Russian multi-purpose module which is due to arrive in orbit in 2009.

16 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29731&cid=50&p=16.07.2008

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Russian-Ukrainian Zenit Missile Successfully Launched

A Russian-Ukrainian Zenit missile with an EchoStar 11 telecommunication satellite on board was successfully launched today from a floating space port in the vicinity of the equator in the Pacific Ocean as part of the Sea Start programme. It is meant to broadcast TV signals to the US. The Sea Start consortium is a Russian concept uniting Russian, Ukrainian, US, and British-Norwegian companies. Heavier satellites can be put into orbit from the vicinity of the equator as compared with space ports at higher latitudes.

16 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29760&cid=50&p=16.07.2008

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Memorial Concert in Honour of Tsar Nikolai II and His Family in Moscow

Tsar-Martyr St Nikolai Aleksandrovich the Passionbearer (1868-1918, ruled 1894-1917)

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The Hall of Church Councils at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow shall host a concert, A Requiem for the Last Russian Tsar Nikolai II and His Family. The members of the imperial family were shot by the Bolsheviks 90 years ago in the city of Yekaterinburg. Today, all cathedrals in the MP will hold divine services in honour of the Tsar-Martyr St Nikolai II and his family. A religious procession is due to take place in Yekaterinburg, where the family was imprisoned, and, then, executed.

16 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29730&cid=48&p=16.07.2008

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Russia Marks 90 Years Since the Massacre of the Royal Family

Shooting Gallery

Valery Balabanov

1980s

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Services, conferences, and concerts mark the  90th anniversary since the Bolsheviks executed the entire household of the last Russian tsar, Nikolai II. The Tsar, Tsaritsa, Tsarevich, and the four Grand Princesses are now Orthodox Saints. Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour opened an exhibition about their ordeal. The industrial city of Yekaterinburg, where they faced the firing squad, is hosting a festival of Orthodox culture.

16 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29774&cid=48&p=16.07.2008

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World Financial Markets Shaken by Dollar Scare

Global financial markets remain under stress after the US dollar reached an all-time low record Tuesday with a sharp drop in oil prices helping to temporarily offset the mounting gloom over the US financial sector. American banks are facing serious difficulties amidst a current crisis in the mortgage market. According to recent surveys, over the past 7 months, investors have lost 13 trillion dollars (302.232 trillion roubles. 8.2 trillion euros. 6.499 trillion UK pounds) trading on the world financial and stock markets.

16 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29732&cid=46&p=16.07.2008

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Estonia Empowered Businesses to Sack Employees for Poor Command of the Estonian Language

Estonian police in riot gear attacking Russian residents protecting the “Bronze Soldier” in 2007. This was evil. 

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The government of Estonia empowered businesses to sack employees for poor command of the Estonian language. Many job-seekers now face an exam in Estonian. The measures are seen as an attempt to tighten the screws on the one-third of Estonia’s people who are native speakers of Russian.

16 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29775&cid=45&p=16.07.2008

Editor’s Note:

This is in contravention of not only all decent human standards, but, of many declarations of the UN and other international bodies concerning minority rights. Russians in Estonia are routinely denied the right to vote, are harassed by the police, and now have to fear for their jobs. Reflect on the fact the US supports this neo-fascist régime and that Tallinn honours former SS troopers and pays them pensions for their Nazi service. For shame! (I’ll not be bullied into silence. Latvia and Estonia were fervent supporters of the Nazis, and I’ll say it loud and proud! That included the Garklavs family… interesting, no?)

BMD

Voice of Russia World Service

Lisbon Agreement Divided Europe

Filed under: EU,politics,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

A mist is thickening over the Lisbon agreement, which was sort of a Constitution for a united Europe. The negative outcome of the Irish referendum explains why some members of the European Union decided last month to shelve that document. Polish President Lech Kaczynski is one of those who are in no hurry to sign the Lisbon agreement. To tell you the truth, he is perfectly willing to replace his “no” with a “yes”. But, for him to say “yes”, the EU will have to give financial aid to two struggling dockyards in Gdansk and Szeczin. The European Commission is reluctant to do this because, it said, financial aid to such enterprises violates free competition. Warsaw does not care about that sort of argument. It has developed a habit of solving its own problems at the expense of the other EU members, demanding, for example, that more pressure be put on Moscow when it refused to buy its poor quality meat.

When he was getting ready to become chairman of the EU, M Sarkozy insisted on the ratification of the Lisbon agreement. His declaration left Europe practically untroubled. The Czech legislature still stands divided on the amended Constitution of united Europe. President Vaclav Klaus is ready to follow in the footsteps of his Polish counterpart. Germany holds yet another disappointment, for President Horst Kohler is waiting for a verdict of the Constitutional Court before putting his signature under the European Constitution.

Jean-Pierre Jouyet, the French minister of State for European Affairs, added fuel to the fire. He blamed the “no” vote in the Irish referendum on US rednecks. In his opinion, the EU has powerful and wealthy enemies on the other side of the Atlantic. The European media took up where he left off. It turns out that the US-based Libertas interest group campaigned against the ratification of the Lisbon agreement in Ireland and spent 1.3 billion Euros (47.905 billion roubles. 2.061 billion USD. 1.029 billion UK pounds) in attacks on the document.

Two factors explain the US intervention in the Irish referendum. Firstly, US investors feared that the Lisbon agreement would put an end to their Irish tax exemptions. Secondly, a united Europe is a monstrosity in Washington’s point of view. If the Lisbon agreement entered into effect, the EU would have a President and a foreign minister next January. These plans have been put on ice. The United States of America finds it easier to pull strings in a divided Europe.

16 July 2008

Voice of Russia World Service

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29771&cid=56&p=16.07.2008

US Moves to Undermine Strategic Security Disappoint Russia

President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- )

President Medvedev told foreign Ambassadors to Russia on Tuesday that US moves to undermine strategic security were unfortunate. He cited US plans to deploy elements of an ABM defence in system in Eastern Europe. He said that would only make things more difficult for Europe because Russia would have to respond to such a provocation. Russia has to respond to this move because the Bush Administration rejected its calls for a shared effort on possible missile threats and responses to them, as well as a Russian suggestion that Europe, Russia, the United States of America, and other parties join forces to build an alternative ABM defence system.

Sad as it sounds, he could have cited much more. See for yourself. For example, the United States withdrew from the ABM agreement of 1972. Washington is creating a global system of ABM defence, with some elements to be deployed in outer space. Therefore, the United States repeatedly rejected Russian appeals for a legally-binding pledge not to militarise outer space. Americans are developing mini-nuclear bombs for attacking the command posts and missile silos of its supposed enemies. The United States of America and its allies invent countless excuses to avoid ratifying the treaty on conventional armed forces in Europe, although Russia did so a long time ago. NATO, in defiance of its pledges and Russian objections, expanded eastwards and now moves its forces ever closer to the Russian border. Washington has yet to give an answer to a Russian proposal to replace the START-1 treaty, due to expire next year, with a new, but, equally-binding pact.

America’s conduct, or, rather, America’s failure to take action when such is necessary, reflects a self-centred philosophy that stipulates a muscular stance in international relations and continual indifference towards the UN Charter and the UN Security Council. As President Medvedev said, Moscow will try to counter that with multilateralism in global affairs, efforts to spread the responsibility for global security onto the entire international community, and attempts to open the world’s eyes to see its own capabilities. At the same time, Moscow will make finely-nuanced moves to protect the interests of Russia without a dangerous confrontation.

16 July 2008

Voice of Russia World Service

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29763&cid=56&p=16.07.2008

Editor’s Note:

It appears as thought the USA does not wish to accept Russia as a strong and credible actor on the world stage. When one considers the free-fall of the dollar, the spiralling budget deficits of the Bushies, the weakness in the US banking sector, and the fact that stop-loss orders exist in the US forces (that is, personnel are compelled to serve past their separation dates), it does not look good for America, or for its claims of being the “sole superpower”. Can Bush be stopped before he grasps for “the bridge too far?” God willing, he shall.

BMD

Falling Dollar Fraught With Global Crisis

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

The dollar slumped to a new record low against other leading currencies. Analysts blame the downward trend on the continuing mortgage crisis in the United States, which broke out last year, hitting such giants as the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac), which control half of the American mortgage market. Both sustained billions of dollars in losses. Their shares nosedived, sowing panic among investors. Promises by the Bush Administration to rescue Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac failed to alleviate investors’ concerns. The government’s interference, so untypical for the US market economy, was interpreted by many as a signal that things may grow even more risky, prompting investors to get rid of their dollars. Experts predict the dollar to continue to be under relentless pressure in the foreseeable future despite measures taken by the American government.

Dmitri Smyslov, an analyst at the Moscow-based Centre for Problems of Currency Funds, pointed to a change of balance in the world economy. “In the time when the United States absolutely dominated the world economy, the dollar was indeed the main reserve and dominant currency. But, as the role of the United States is growing weaker, other countries are beginning to reduce the amount of dollars in their currency reserves”.

There are other reasons behind the weakening of the dollar. Unlike World War II and the immediate post-war years, the US currency lacks adequate security. The massive dollar emissions of the past decades, which enabled the United States to partly offset their problems on to other countries, led to the devaluation of the dollar. Faced with the need to protect their interests, US trading partners and oil exporters pushed prices up and converted their dollar assets into other currencies. The crisis in the US signals that a dollar-based international financial system is in deep trouble.

16 July 2008

Yevgeny Kryshkin

Voice of Russia World Service

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29769&cid=57&p=16.07.2008

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