Voices from Russia

Friday, 18 July 2008

Opera and ballet stars to support Russian Olympic team

Filed under: art music,ballet,China,cultural,Olympics,patriotic,Russian,science,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00

Maya Plisetskaya (1925- ), perhaps, the greatest ballerina of the 20th century

Russian opera and ballet stars will support Russian sportsmen at the Olympic Games in Beijing next month. A unique show will be organised in the official residence of the Russian Olympic Committee. The world-famous ballet-dancer Maya Plisetskaya, the prima-ballerina of the Bolshoi Theatre Mariya Alexandrova, and the famous opera soprano Lyubov Kazarnovskaya have prepared programmes. The demonstration also includes matches featuring such boxers as Kostyu Tszyu and the Klichko brothers are also on the programme.

18 July 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Vladimir (1971- ) and Vitaly Klichko (1976- ), Russian boxing champions

Now, there is something that you do NOT see in America. “Jocks” and “nerds” co-existing in peace. Perhaps, one reason is that, in Russia, they go to separate schools, so, there are no bitter disputes in the high-school years. We could learn from that, could we not? America is a young and immature society, in comparison with other world cultures. We shall be mature when art and athletics are honoured equally… such is not yet the case.

18 July 2008. Out and About…

Scientists investigate Pyramid of the Sun

A group of scientists from Mexico, the US, and Japan set off for an expedition to ancient Teotihuacan, an enormous archaeological site in the Basin of Mexico. They will explore the underground tunnels and the system of caves under the Pyramid of the Sun. They want to learn which functions Teotihuacan had in ancient times. Archaeologists believe that the underground complex of the Pyramid of the Sun was used for ritual purposes and sacrifice. The caves may also help the scientists to find out why the city of Teotihuacan, which was prosperous in the 2nd to 4th centuries AD, was destroyed in the 8th century AD.

16 July 2008


World’s longest sofa in Sopot in Poland

Pier in Sopot

If you want to see the world’s longest sofa, go to the Polish resort city of Sopot. The sofa is placed at the far end of Sopot pier, which extends 515 metres (1,690 feet) into the sea and is the longest wooden pier in Europe. The sofa is 51.4 metres (169 feet) long, it weighs 1,250 kilos (2,756 pounds), has 54 legs, and seats 104 people.

16 July 2008


Icebreaker rescues stranded Polar explorers

Nuclear-powered icebreaker Yamal, the sister-ship of the Artika

In the Arctic, the 300-day expedition of the Russian SP-35 scientific station drew to a close. The icebreaker/research vessel Mikhail Somov has on board 20 polar researchers, their personal belongings, and the station’s scientific equipment. It is accompanied by nuclear-powered icebreaker Artika, and both ships will shortly set a course towards the port of Murmansk. The need of emergency evacuation was prompted by the break-up of the ice floe the station was built upon. Since September, it drifted over 2,500 kilometres (1,350 nautical miles) in the Arctic Ocean, and numerous experiments were conducted.

16 July 2008


Russia’s international reserves stay unaffected by financial crisis

Russia’s international reserves are totally unaffected by the crisis in the US financial markets. The announcement was made by Aleksei Kudrin, the Vice Premier and Finance Minister, as he met with chief editors of top Russian newspapers earlier in the day. When asked why Russia is investing its reserves in US securities, he said he has no doubts about their reliability. In his opinion, the dollar, which has now hit its lowest point, is bound to climb up again in a year’s time.

17 July 2008


Lavrov says that Russia will support Serbia “in every respect”

Serbian Foreign Minister Vuk Jeremic (1975- ) (left) with Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (1950- )

Russia supports Serbia as completely now as it did in the past, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said during a meeting with his Serbian counterpart, Vuk Jeremic, in Moscow. Mr Lavrov confirmed that Russia would increase its cooperation with Serbia in every respect after a new Cabinet is formed in Belgrade. Mr Jeremic said Serbia appreciated Russia’s position and support and added that Russia had always been and remains Serbia’s major ally. The sides agreed to continue cooperation on Kosovo as both Moscow and Belgrade insist that the UDI of the Albanian separatists violated UN Security Council Resolution 1244 and undermines Serbia’s territorial integrity.

17 July 2008


Russia objects to attacks on Afghan and Iraqi children at UN

Russia raised objections to the detention of Afghan and Iraqi minors by the multinational forces. Igor Shcherbak, the senior deputy Russian Ambassador to the UN, took the floor at the UN Security Council to denounce both the deaths of children due to military action and cases of premeditated murder of minors in Afghanistan and Iraq. He reminded the Security Council that President Medvedev signed a bill last bill to ratify the optional protocol to the International Convent of Children’s Rights. That protocol focuses on the role of children in armed conflicts. Russia invites all nations to sign the Children’s Rights Convent.

18 July 2008


Voice of Russia World Service

Russian dancers banned from Farnborough air show

A Russian aircraft engine manufacturer was banned from using dancers to attract guests to its stand at the Farnborough International Air Show in southern England, a spokesman for the company said. Two Russian dancers strutted their stuff between presentations at the Klimov company stand, attracting dozens of onlookers and experts from other stands, and, as the organisers of the air show claimed, disturbing the work of other exhibitors and making the area hard to pass through. “It is a pity that the organisers banned our girls from performing. They introduced an element of novelty to the exhibition, and looked good performing against a backdrop of military and civil machinery”, the spokesman said. Klimov is a leading Russian developer of gas turbine engines. The international air show runs 14-20 July. The previous exhibition, in 2006, saw 42 billion dollars (975.483 billion roubles. 26.489 billion euros. 21.004 billion UK pounds) in orders, with around 270,000 people attending the event.

16 June 2008


Editor’s Note:

Why do I have the sneaky suspicion that the dancers were VERY scantily clad? Why do I think that the Hooters girls are modestly attired in comparison? Hmm… However, since I am a “sport”, and not a “spoil-sport”, what’s the fuss? I think that neo-puritans with a terminal hatred of fun were behind this. In any case, we women know it’s all smoke and little (if, any) fire. There are much more important things to get steamed about.


Lightning kills three, injures five in Russian Volga republic

Three people, including two teenagers, were killed, and five injured, when they were struck by lightning in the Volga Republic of Bashkortostan, a local emergencies spokesman said on Thursday. The tragedy happened at about 17.00 Moscow time [13.00 GMT, 09.00 EDT] on Wednesday. The people were on the bank of the Kama River, when the lightning hit them. The injured were admitted to hospital in Neftekamsk, 200 kilometres (136 miles) away from Bashkortostan’s capital Ufa.

17 July 2008


Russian international reserves up 3.9 billion dollars in week

Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves increased by 3.9 billion dollars (90.571 billion roubles. 2.46 billion euros. 1.95 billion UK pounds), to 578.3 billion dollars (13.43 trillion roubles. 364.734 billion euros. 289.208 billion UK pounds), in the week of 4 July to 11 July, the Central Bank of Russia said Thursday.

17 July 2008


Jehovah’s Witnesses plans for stadium service in Russia blocked

Prosecutors in the northeast Russian city of Murmansk said on Friday that a planned series of Jehovah’s Witnesses services in a stadium cannot go ahead, as they contravene a law on the use of sports facilities. The statement said that according to Russian law, sports facilities cannot be used for religious purposes. The group had signed a contract with the Murmansk Central Stadium for services from 18-20 July. In May 2007, the Murmansk branch of the Jehovah’s Witnesses, which has around 800 members, clashed with the local administration when the authorities refused to allocate land for the construction of a religious centre in a densely-populated area of the city. The group, known in the West for its persistent door-to-door evangelism, was formed in the 19th Century in the United States. It rejects the deity of Jesus Christ and claims that the Christian church has corrupted the Bible. The group’s religious text is the New World Translation of the Holy Scriptures. The Jehovah’s Witnesses have been banned in some post-Soviet countries.

18 July 2008


Russian monetary base up 3.682 billion dollars in week to 191.41 billion dollars

Russia’s Central Bank said Friday the country’s narrowly defined money supply (M1) was 4.4452 trillion roubles (191.41 billion USD. 120.722 billion euros. 95.724 billion UK pounds) as of 14 July, up 85.5 billion roubles (3.682 billion USD. 2.322 billion euros. 1.841 billion UK pounds) in the week since 7 July. According to the Bank, M1 money supply consists of the currency issued by the bank, including cash in vaults of credit institutions, and required reserves balances on rouble deposits with the Central Bank.

18 July 2008



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

Irkutsk State Musical Theatre begins tour in Minsk

The Old Town of Irkutsk

The Irkutsk State Musical Theatre began its tour in Minsk, Belarus. On the first day, the troupe will perform a gala-concert “We are from the Baikal shores”. A performance “We part to meet again” will close the programme. Government sources in Irkutsk confirmed information about reciprocal performances by the Belarusian State Musical Theatre in Irkutsk next year.

16 July 2008


Big Book Prize short-list announced

The Organisation Committee of the Russian National “Big Book” Prize has published the texts by all authors of the 2008 short list on its website so that readers could familiarise themselves with all the runners-up. The laureates will be announced in November.

16 July 2008


New translation of Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle to appear in 2009

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1918- ), honoured author, Nobel Prize laureate, and Russian patriot

The New-York based Harper Perennial publishing house will release in 2009 a full version of Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s The First Circle in English. The translation was made by Harry Willetts, who already translated Solzhenitsyn’s The Gulag Archipelago.

16 July 2008


Bolshoi Ballet opens Dutch tour

The Amsterdam tour by the Bolshoi ballet opened with Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake on Wednesday. Dutch audiences had been looking forward to welcoming the famous Bolshoi Ballet, whose last visit was 22 years ago. Besides Swan Lake, the Bolshoi ballet is performing Spartacus by Aram Khachaturian and The Limpid Stream by Dmitri Shostakovich. All in all, there shall be 13 shows and the tour will end on 27 July.

17 July 2008


World Children’s Theatre Festival in Moscow

The 10th World Festival of Children’s Theatres kicks off in Moscow today. The programme will include bright firework performances and clownery. The “Mister Pageot’s Travelling Puppies” street performance is expected to draw much attention. In all, 54 theatres from 20 countries will perform in Moscow. The audience will also have a chance to enjoy stage productions with teenage actors.

17 July 2008


Yevgeny Yevtushenko turns 75

Yevgeny Yevtushenko (1933- ), Honoured Artist of Russia

One of the best known Russian poets, Yevgeny Yevtushenko, turned 75. A leading member of the post-Stalin generation, he remains a leading author in Russia. Yevtushenko will long be known as a critically-minded political poet. The best members of Russian society have always heeded his voice. He has written 19 epic poems, two novels, and thousands of short poems. He still loves reciting his poetry before all kinds of audiences because, he said, that enables him to feel a part of the life surrounding him. President Dmitri Medvedev said, in his letter of birthday greetings, that Yevtushenko challenges indifference and the humdrum of routine life.

18 July 2008


Russian musicians to play at the BBC Proms

Valery Gergiev (1953- ), Russian conductor and musician

Russian musicians and conductors are to play at the world’s biggest festival of classical music, the London-based BBC Proms, which kicks off today to continue until 13 September. The BBC festival highlights two contributions from the London Symphony Orchestra. Valery Gergiev will lead it in Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty on the 20 August, and listeners will be treated to a concert suite from Rimsky-Korsakov’s rarely-staged Kashchey The Immortal on 3 September.

18 July 2008


Voice of Russia World Service

Archaeologists find 600-year-old chess-piece in northwest Russia

Archaeologists in northwest Russia discovered a chess-piece dating back to the late-14th century, a spokesman for local archaeologists said on Friday. “The king, around several centimetres tall, is made of solid wood, possibly of juniper”, the spokesman said. The excavations are being carried out at the site of the Palace of Facets, in the Novgorod Kremlin in Veliky Novgorod. The palace is believed to be the oldest in Russia.

According to the city chronicles, chess as a competitive game emerged in Veliky Novgorod, the foremost historic city in northwest Russia, in the 13th century, but, was banned in 1286 by the church. However, besides the king, archaeologists in the region have found a total of 82 chess-pieces dating back to at least the 14th century, showing that the game remained popular among the local population despite the church ban. In late May, archaeologists in the ancient city uncovered a number of medieval baby bottles. Medieval Slavs made feeding bottles by attaching leather bags to the wider part of a cow’s horn. The babies drank milk from holes made in the tip of the horns.

The first historical mention of Veliky Novgorod was in 859 AD. City chronicles say that by 862 AD it was already a stop on the trading route between the Baltics and Byzantium. The city will celebrate its 1150th anniversary in 2009.

18 July 2008



18 July 2008. A Day at the Races…

Filed under: Russian,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00

Olga Komyagina wins 3 000 meters in Athens

Olga Komyagina (1974- ), Russian long-distance running champion

Olga Komyagina won the women’s 3,000 metres event at an international athletics competition in Athens. Her result was 8 minutes 51.72 seconds. The second and third places were won by Monika Jepkoech from Kenya and Ahmed Zemzen from Ethiopia respectively. Tatiana Kotova won the silver in women’s long jump. The gold was won by Maggie Maurren from Brazil and the bronze by Vickoria Rybalko from the Ukraine.

15 July 2008


China-Mongolia-Russia rally kicks off

More than a hundred drivers from China, Russia, Mongolia, South Korea, Japan, and Singapore are taking part in the China-Mongolia-Russia 2008 rally that kicked off at Liaoning, China, to cover 5,120 kilometres (3,181 miles) with stopovers at Ulan Bator, Mongolia and Irkutsk, Russia.

15 July 2008


Frenchman prepares to break skydiving records

Michel Fournier (1944- ), adventurer and skydiver

Retired French Air Force Colonel and parachutist Michel Fournier, 64, is preparing for an attempt to break a skydiving world record by plunging from a balloon into thin air 40,000 metres (131,324 feet/25 miles) above Canada’s vast western plains. If he succeeds, Mr Fournier will break four world records: for fastest freefall, longest freefall, highest jump, and highest altitude reached by a man in a balloon.

16 July 2008


Anchors aweigh for Lake Onega regatta

The international regatta “Onega-2008” for sailing yachts began on 5 July in Petrozavodsk, on one of the largest lakes in Europe, Lake Onega. The regatta was established in 1972. More than 40 crews took part in the present event. Among them, there were sailors from all regions of Russia, Finland, France, Poland, and Belarus. The majority of entrants competed for Russia.

Traditionally, the “Onega Regatta” takes place at the end of July or in early August, but, the schedule is so full that the sailors cannot enjoy the lake in full, in the opinion of Vasili Filin, the Deputy Chairman of the State Sports Committee of the Republic of Karelia. “This year, the regatta began earlier. On previous occasions, the yachts used to cover a distance of 500 (nautical) miles (926 kilometres), but, this time, it was no more than 300 (565 kilometres). To spend 2 days sailing and competing with other crews is not an easy task. The wind is constantly changing on the Lake Onega, so only high-class yachtsmen can achieve top-flight results”.

Today, the Regatta is rightly considered one of the most prestigious competitions amongst yachtsmen and is ranked as the open championship of Russia. The winners were announced on 12 July.

17 July 2008


Voice of Russia World Service

Arshavin wants Zenit to lower his transfer price

Andrei Arshavin (1981- ), star forward for FC Zenit St Petersburg

FC Zenit St Petersburg forward Andrei Arshavin wants his club to lower his 30 million euro (1.103 billion roubles. 47.535 million USD. 23.79 UK million pounds) price-tag so he can fulfil a childhood dream to play for Spanish giants Barcelona, the website Sporting Life said on Thursday. Barcelona bid 15 million euros (551.902 million roubles. 23.769 million USD. 11.893 million UK pounds) for Arshavin, one of the stars of Euro 2008, earlier this month. However, the offer for the 27-year-old was turned down by Zenit, who are financed by the Russian energy giant Gazprom, as being “too low”. “I really hope that they call and can sign me, but, Zenit are asking for so much money”, Arshavin told Sporting Life. “I know nothing more than that Barca offered 15 million euros, and Zenit said they wanted 30 million, which seems a lot”.

Barcelona have recently completed the signing of Belarusian midfielder Alexander Hleb for a reported 15 million euros from Arsenal, and Arshavin commented that, “As they have signed Hleb, I don’t know if they will want me too. We play in different positions, I know that, but does Barca have more money to spend on me?” Arshavin denied that he had recently travelled to England for talks with Premier League clubs Arsenal and Chelsea. “I was not in London negotiating anything. My club let me have a holiday after the European Championships, but, I did not go to London”, he said.

Arshavin has supported Barcelona since he was a child, and earlier said that he would only ever leave Zenit for the Spanish club. The issue, he maintains, is not about money, but “sporting desire”. “Money? I doubt that many other clubs would be able to pay me what Zenit can. It is not an economic question, it is about sporting desire. I want to play in one of the big leagues”, he said. “My dream is Barca, but, saying that is nothing new. Everyone knows that my dream has always been to play there”, he added.

Arshavin scored two goals in three games at Euro 2008, and was named in UEFA’s symbolic squad for the tournament along with fellow Russians Roman Pavlyuchenko, Yuri Zhirkov, and Konstantin Zyrianov. However, one of the factors behind Barcelona’s reluctance to up their bid for the 27-year-old Arshavin is believed to have been his ineffectiveness against Spanish La Liga defenders as Russia went down 3-0 to Spain in the Euro 2008 semi-finals. The Russians star’s agent, Dennis Lakhter, also said earlier that if Barcelona were not willing to up their offer for his client then that would seem to indicate that they did not see him as an automatic first team choice, something that “would not suit Arshavin”.

While Zenit are so far unwilling to drop their asking price for Arshavin, there have been rumours in the Russian media that pressure is being brought on the team from “very high up”, to release the player, as the presence of a Russian footballer in a top European league “would be good for the country’s image”. However, with the club set to make its debut in the Champions League, the Arshavin saga may continue right up to 31 August, when the transfer window closes.

17 July 2008



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