Voices from Russia

Monday, 21 July 2008

21 July 2008. Out and About…

Russian Expert Warns about Growing Illegal Arms Trade

According to some estimates, the annual turnover of smuggled arms exceeds 1 billion dollars (23.187 billion roubles. 627.6 million euros. 499.3 million UK pounds). The US, for example, is very active in this lucrative business, supplying weapons to illegal armed groups in Asia and Africa. To stop this, the leading arms producers could sign an agreement providing special measures aimed at preventing illegal arms trading, Viktor Mizin, the head of the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, believes. In an interview with of Russia, Mr Mizin noted that such measures should first of all be taken in the conflict areas and in the countries with totalitarian political regimes.

20 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29909&cid=47&p=20.07.2008

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Russian Social Development Level Remains High

The levels of social development in Russia in the first half of 2008 remained high. Real incomes of Russians have increased by 8.1 percent (adjusted for inflation). As of June, average salaries increased by 28.6 percent, the state statistics service reported. There was also registered a rise in retail trade turnover. The number of unemployed workers dropped 100,000.

21 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29929&cid=46&p=21.07.2008

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Russian Foreign Trade Rises

Russian foreign trade in the opening five months was 47 percent up on the same period in 2007 to over 303 billion US dollars (7.025 trillion roubles. 190.163 million euros. 151.288 million UK pounds). Significantly, exports grew significantly faster than imports. The national debt’s now down to 44 billion US dollars (1.02 trillion roubles. 27.636 billion euros. 21.98 billion UK pounds), which is almost 9 percent less than in January. The first half-year investment figure is up 17 percent. The numbers are from National Statistics.

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29954&cid=46&p=21.07.2008

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Brzeziński says that US Troop Surge in Afghanistan may Damage America’s International Image

Former White House national security adviser Zbigniew Brzeziński believes a proposed troop surge in Afghanistan would further damage America’s international image whilst doing nothing to defeat terrorism. He said this to The Financial Times in an interview Monday. His opinion comes one day after Democratic presidential hopeful Barack Obama backed proposals to deploy two more US brigades to Afghanistan.

21 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29956&cid=45&p=21.07.2008

Voice of Russia World Service

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Latvian Emergency Workers Catch Alligator in Public Pond

“Will you be my neighbour?”

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Latvian firemen and veterinary workers caught an alligator in a small pond in the suburbs of the capital, local emergency services said on Monday. The five-foot-long reptile gave residents a fright in a small community near Riga, who immediately called emergency services. The crocodile was caught with a net, transported to a local zoo, and examined by medical personnel. Police are still unsure how the animal ended up in the pond, but, they suspect it could’ave been kept by a nearby resident as a household pet, and escaped. Cases of alligators being kept as pets are extremely rare. Even in the United States, where there are reportedly eight million pet reptiles, only a few are alligators or crocodiles.

21 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/world/20080721/114560984.html

RIA-Novosti

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Festival “Baltic Seasons”: Our Favourite Time of the Year

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

Denis Matsuyev (1975- ), pianist, honoured artist of Russia, winner of the 1998 Chaikovsky Competition

The Arts Festival “Baltic Seasons” is one of our favourite times of the year. Most people in Kaliningrad, the westernmost city in Russia, would agree. For the fifth time, this regional arts festival, the largest in the country, is being held, and it shall run through October. Due to its historical connections, this Russian enclave on the Baltic coast centred on the city of Kaliningrad (formerly, the Prussian/German city of Königsberg) has more and durable cultural contacts with Western Europe than it does with metropolitan Russia. This festival, “Baltic Seasons”, helps to fill this cultural gap, presenting to audiences in Kaliningrad oblast the stars of Russian art and music. This year is noted by the presence of many young performers, typified by the pianist Denis Matsuyev. He is a true virtuoso, one of the most acclaimed musicians on the contemporary world stage, and he has gathered about himself a veritable host of the brightest stars of classical music.

Terem Quartet does “Volare”… amongst other things

Mr Matsuyev asserted, “There are many artists who bring lustre to Russian performing arts throughout the world, but, unfortunately, the Russian public doesn’t always have the chance to hear them. In a very real sense, we fill that niche here. When we started the “Baltic Seasons” festival, we were able to introduce the people here to not only the best musicians, but, also to the best actors. Besides showcasing the leading lights from the finest theatres of Moscow, St Petersburg, and other large Russian cities, by the second season of the festival we were also highlighting the stars of the future, the students from the theatrical institutes throughout Russia”.

This year, the fifth season of the “Baltic Seasons” opened with appearances by renowned musicians, the Virtuosos of Moscow Chamber Orchestra directed by Maestro Vladimir Spivakov and the folk-instrument quarter Terem from St Pertersburg.

18 July 2008

Yekaterina Andrusenko

Voice of Russia World Service

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=rus&q=77477&cid=24&p=18.07.2008 (in Russian)

Former Air Force Commander says that Russia needs bombers in Cuba due to NATO expansion

Filed under: diplomacy,military,NATO,politics,Russian,USA — 01varvara @ 00.00

Tupolev Tu-95 strategic bomber, of the same vintage as and equal to the US B-52, both the Buff and the Bear have more mileage in them yet

The possible deployment of Russian strategic bombers in Cuba may be an effective response to the placement of NATO bases near Russia’s borders, a former Air Force commander said on Monday. The Russian newspaper Izvestiya earlier on Monday cited a senior Russian military source as saying that Russian strategic bombers could be stationed again in Cuba, only 90 miles (145 kilometres) from the US coast, in response to the US missile shield in Europe.

“If these plans are being considered, it would be a good response to the attempts to place NATO bases near the Russian borders”, General of the Army Pyotr Deinekin told RIA-Novosti. “I do not see anything wrong with it because nobody listens to our objections when they place airbases and electronic monitoring and surveillance stations near our borders”, he said. However, General Deinekin said the possibility of Russian bombers being stationed in Cuba is largely hypothetical, because Russian Tu-160 and Tu-95MS strategic bombers are both capable of reaching the US coast, patrolling the area for about 1.5 hours, and returning to airbases in Russia with mid-air refuelling.

Russia resumed strategic bomber patrol flights over the Pacific, Atlantic, and Arctic oceans last August, following an order signed by former President Vladimir Putin. Russian bombers have since carried out over 80 strategic patrol flights and are often been escorted by NATO planes. General Deinekin suggested that Cuba could be used as a refuelling stopover for Russian aircraft rather than as a permanent base, because the Russian political and military leadership would be unlikely to take such a drastic step under current global political conditions.

In October 1962, the Cuban Missile Crisis brought the US and the USSR to the brink of nuclear war when Soviet missiles were stationed in Cuba. The crisis was resolved after 12 days when the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, backed down and ordered the missiles removed. Moscow had a military presence on Cuba for almost four decades after that, maintaining an electronic listening post at Lourdes, about 20 kilometres (12.5 miles) from Havana, to monitor US military moves and communications. Russia paid 200 million dollars (4.643 billion roubles. 125.52 million euros. 99.8 million UK pounds) a year to lease the base, which it closed down in January 2002.

21 July 2008

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080721/114527149.html

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

Griboyedov Festival in Smolensk Oblast

Aleksandr Griboyedov (1795-1829), Russian diplomat and playwright

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An all-Russian Griboyedov Festival will be held in the Khemelita museum-reserve in Smolensk Oblast on Saturday. Among its participants shall be poets, writers, scholars, actors, and admirers of the Great Russian writer and diplomat, Aleksandr Griboyedov, the author of the comedy Woe from Wit. Khemelita is the estate of Griboyedovs. It was built by the grandfather of the playwright, Fyodor Griboyedov in the 18th century.

19 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29895&cid=51&p=19.07.2008

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“Baltic Seasons” Festival in Kaliningrad

Königsberger Dom


The Russian Academic Symphony Orchestra of St Petersburg, directed by Maestro Yuri Temirkanov, performed in the city of Kaliningrad on Saturday to mark the beginning of the 5th “Baltic Seasons” Festival. The company will give a few more concerts as a part of the festival. The audience will listen to music of Chaikovsky, Mussorgsky, and Khachaturyan. The Baltic Seasons Festival in Kaliningrad, which traditionally brings together leading theatre and musical groups from all over Russia, will last until November.

20 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29901&cid=51&p=20.07.2008

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Renowned Russian film director turns 70

Aleksei German (1938- ), honoured film director


The renowned Russian film director Aleksei German is celebrating his 70th birthday. Each of his films was a major cultural and social event. In Soviet times, German’s films Checkpoint and My Friend Ivan Lapshin were banned as ideologically harmful. At present, he is working on the adaptation of the Strugatskis’ novel It’s Hard to Be a God. The son of a popular Soviet-era writer, German pursues themes explored by his father.

20 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29915&cid=51&p=20.07.2008

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Moscow Circus in Japan

This “look” translated from “Tiger”: “Hello, Food!”


The Moscow Circus presented a performance of 17 Amur tigers and tightrope-walking bears in Tokyo as a part of the Festival of Russian Culture, which was a joint project of the Russian and Japanese governments. It brought together prominent Russian actors and performers of different genres.

21 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29926&cid=87&p=21.07.2008

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Chinese and Russian filmmakers to cooperate on film

Town scene in Yunnan

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The local officials of the Chinese city of Xishuangbanna in south-western Yunnan province want to remake the film A Path Through the Jungle, produced by Chinese and Soviet film makers in 1959. Currently, they are negotiating the terms of a contract with Russia. The new film will narrate the history of the Chinese region, located on the Laos-Burma border.

21 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29926&cid=87&p=21.07.2008

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Ronnie Wood leaves Russian fiancée to return to wife

Ronnie Wood (1947- ), rock guitarist, member of the Rolling Stones

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Ronnie Wood, 61, guitarist of the legendary Rolling Stones rock band, hopes to reconcile with his spouse after a love affair with 19-year-old Russian Katia Ivanova. Currently, Wood is again seeking help for his battle with alcoholism in a rehabilitation centre.

21 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29926&cid=87&p=21.07.2008

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Moscow to host Eurovision-2009

Moscow won the right to host the next Eurovision Song Contest in 2009. According to Prime Minister Putin, this was possible after the city radically improved its infrastructure and Russian singer Dima Bilan won the top prize at Eurovision-2008 in Belgrade. An expected 25,000 spectators will watch performers from 43 nations compete in the main arena of the Olympic Stadium in the Russian capital. The international television audience may amount to 100 million. The figures are from Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zhukov.

21 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=29958&cid=51&p=21.07.2008

Voice of Russia World Service

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Russian Golden Ring town opens Cucumber Festival

The eighth international Cucumber Festival opened on Saturday in Suzdal, one of the historical Golden Ring towns to the northeast of Moscow. Guests at the festival will be offered a variety of cucumber dishes, and even cucumber jam. The event includes competitions for the best cucumber meal and the best cucumber-style costume. A Scandinavian folk group from Finland will perform on behalf of a similar vegetable-themed event, the Kerava Garlic Festival traditionally held in August. The Finish town near Helsinki has been hosting garlic parties for 20 years. Swedish and Danish visitors, as well as folk groups from throughout Russia are also taking part in the Suzdal festival. The author of Suzdal’s first chronicle described the town, founded 984 years ago, as the most favourable place for planting cucumbers, which were first brought to Russia from India in the 13th century.

19 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080719/114420453.html

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Moscow to host next year’s Eurovision song contest

Luzhniki Olympic Stadium, the venue for the next Eurovision Song Competition in 2009

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Moscow has been chosen ahead of other Russian cities bidding to host the 2009 Eurovision song context, Prime Minister Putin said on Monday. Mr Putin made the announcement at a meeting of the Russian inner Cabinet. Several Russian cities applied to host the event after Dima Bilan won this year’s contest in Belgrade. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Zhukov said the strongest rival bid came from St Petersburg. Mr Zhukov, charged with overseeing preparations for the event, said Moscow’s Olimpisky sports complex would be the likely venue. Contestants representing 43 countries will take part in the contest. Its final is scheduled for Saturday, 16 May next year. Dima Bilan won the 2008 Eurovision Song Contest on 24 May, beating 24 contestants to claim his country’s first win in the event with his heartfelt ballad I Believe. Bilan received 272 points from telephone voters for his stage show that also featured Hungarian violinist Edvin Marton and famous Russian Olympic figure skating champion Yevgeny Plyushchenko.

21 July 2008

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Monument to spaghetti to go up in Russia

A monument to spaghetti is to be unveiled in a village near Borovsk, a city south-west of Moscow, the project organiser said on Monday. The three-meter (9.8 feet) metallic sculpture portrays two pieces of pasta, one shaped like a smile, the other coloured red. A man and a woman sit on the edge of the “smile” eating pasta. The monument, designed by Ukrainian sculptors, will be unveiled on Saturday. Yevgeny Yegorov, the organiser of the project and also a keen spaghetti eater, said the Italian dish symbolises worldwide unity. The ceremony dedicated to the opening of the monument coincides with the start of a local food festival, “The world of spaghetti”. During the festival, a total of 15,000 visitors will be able to try different kinds of spaghetti.

21 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080721/114528168.html

RIA-Novosti

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