Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Let the Triumphal March of Patriarch Aleksei in Kiev Inspire Us

Valery Kaurov, head of the Union of Orthodox Citizens of the Ukraine

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The head of the Union of Orthodox Citizens of the Ukraine (SPGU), Valery Kaurov, repeatedly confronted NATO servicemen on the Black Sea coast at the head of Orthodox pickets. Several days after the beginning of the protests against Sea Breeze 2008, he was in hospital in Odessa. He was taken without warning from his hospital room to the offices of the Ukrainian MVD, where he was subjected to a lengthy interrogation. However, our Interfax-Religion correspondent, Artur Priimak, found it possible to meet with Valery Vladimirovich.

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Artur Priimak

Could you tell me the spectrum of opinion in the Ukraine before the opening of the Sea Breeze 2008 exercises? What did the people of the region affected think of the upcoming manoeuvres?

Valery Kaurov

Most people in the Ukraine expected that strong protest actions would be mounted against NATO, just as they were in 2006 in Feodosiya, so, we gathered as many people as possible to picket the Sea Breeze exercises. Unfortunately, all too many of our efforts, both then and now, were somewhat uncoordinated, but it was obvious that the protest was a success. The NATO personnel involved were uneasy, they didn’t wish to appear in public in uniform, the NATO staff did their best to conceal their plans regarding the manoeuvres, and the Ukrainian government feared us so much that they tried to muzzle the leadership of the anti-NATO protest movement. Our main success was in the promotional and outreach role of our actions. It’s now abundantly clear that the Ukrainian people are opposed to joining NATO. It is important that we caused the cancellation of the formal naval review of the NATO forces and the military parade scheduled to be held in the streets of Odessa.

Artur Priimak

Was there anyone in the Orthodox community of the Ukraine who was opposed to the United Fatherland movement?

Valery Kaurov

Our actions were purely political. We didn’t carry religious items, in accordance with a resolution of the SPGU and in keeping with a promise that we gave to the First Hierarch of the UOC/MP. Therefore, the church hierarchy refused to comment on our activity and refused to criticise it. We strictly followed the new regulations passed by the SPGU Congress in June in Kiev, we didn’t speak for the church or its hierarchy, and so, we weren’t subject to criticism as we were in December 2007.

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When baba speaks, you’d best listen! Or, you’ll get the cane! OUCH!

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As far as the second part of the question is concerned, I must say that with regret that many Orthodox organisations were preoccupied with the problem of the ideas spread by Bishop Diomid in the course of his destructive activity in the church. Also, there were groups that directly confronted the MP hierarchy, and this undoubtedly weakened the Orthodox anti-NATO front and it lessened the number of believers who came forward in our protest actions. Furthermore, there was worry caused by the anticipation of untoward events being fomented by Yushchenko and Patriarch Bartholomew concerning the creation of a so-called “United Local Church”. Therefore, believers found themselves torn between two conflicts, and most chose to fight for the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, for that was more important.

Artur Priimak

What happened after the leadership of the anti-NATO protest action received an official warning from the Ukrainian court?

Valery Kaurov

The leadership resolved to act in such a way as to not violate the decision of the local administrative law court. We conducted two seaborne protests, and picketed the Sea Breeze 2008 manoeuvres near the City Hall, the Officer’s Club, and in the Armenian Street. The court forbade us to protest at the naval port, so, we only conducted a very short picket there to show the foreign journalists and NATO servicemen our posters and shout a few slogans. We set up a tent camp and a fixed protest site near the military training ground in Chabanka directly on the Black Sea shore. In all likelihood, our protest actions were one of the reasons that the police detained me for interrogation on 22 July 2008, four days after the end of the Sea Breeze 2008 manoeuvres, whilst I was in a hospital room of the intensive therapy wing of the Odessa cardiological clinic.

Artur Priimak

What impressions did Ukrainian Orthodox activists take away from their recent visit to Moscow, and, in particular what was their reaction to the Archpastoral Council of the MP?

Valery Kaurov

We had two main impressions. Firstly, it was necessary for us to defend the Archpastoral Council from provocations and confrontations offered by the followers of Diomid, for a majority of them came from the Ukraine. It reached the point where radical supporters of Diomid and Ippolit Khilko assaulted the loyal Orthodox picketers, which led to much coverage in the Russian media. On the other hand, we were pleasantly surprised by the actions of the kids from the Orthodox section of the youth group Nashi (Ours), and we stood together with them for two days on the picket line [in support of the Archpastoral Council]. This speaks highly of the success of the Orthodox missionary effort in Russia. Did our visit to Moscow help us? It goes without saying that it did. Any visit to its sparkling towers are always a holiday for believers! We strengthened our ties with the Rus Party as we went on a joint pilgrimage to the Nikolo-Perevinsky Monastery. Our political allies were dismayed at the situation surrounding Bishop Diomid, and, as a result, they began to understand some of the problems facing contemporary Orthodoxy. This led to them having a deeper relationship with us. It is possible that we conceived a new social and political formulation in Moscow, an ideology for the protection of Orthodoxy and a missionary counterattack to retake all the key positions [in society].

Artur Priimak

How are things in the Diocese of Odessa? There appears to be many rumours flying about concerning the imminent retirement of Metropolitan Agafangel…

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Orthodox protestors in Lvov opposing Orangies. What guts!

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Valery Kaurov

The fact is that Metropolitan Agafangel is a steadfast supporter of the unity of the Russian Orthodox Church, a determined opponent of the entry of the Ukraine into NATO, and a zealous defender of the Russian language. Not only do we in the Diocese of Odessa support him completely, he also has wide support far beyond its limits. He’s well aware of the plans of some in the Ukrainian government to attack the UOC/MP. Repeatedly, with great courage, Metropolitan Agafangel publicly voiced his opinion on these questions and unambiguously told the government that not only he would never obey a forced union with the autocephalists, other dioceses and parishes would follow him. In such a manner, he foiled the plots of the Orange faction. They tried to take vengeance on him by spreading rumours of his imminent retirement. However, the Lord is found in Truth, not in force, and he triumphed [over the Orangies]. Vladyki Agafangel prayed in the cathedral at the time of the announcement of Yushchenko’s plans to create a so-called “United Local Church” during the celebration of the anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, and Yushchenko’s efforts came to naught. There’s much grace in our metropolitan here in Odessa.

Artur Priimak

In your view, why do some “nationalistic” factions in the Ukraine, including religious organisations, support the entrance of the Ukraine into NATO?

Valery Kaurov

You’re speaking of those who support the Orange faction and everything connected with it. They hate Russia, they hate Russian Orthodoxy, and they hope that NATO shall help them with their fight. The present “nationalist” forces in the Ukraine are made up of those who attacked Moscow [together with the Poles] at time of the Great Smuta {1610s, it refers to those Little Russians who supported the False Dmitri and the Polish occupation of Moscow: editor} and they consider themselves the heirs of Pugachov and all those who rebelled against the Russian state. Those of us who live in the Ukraine find it strange that this wasn’t clear to those living in Russia until recently. Specifically, the parishes of the MP [in the Ukraine] maintain the spiritual and cultural heritage of our triune Russian people {that is, Russians, Ukrainians, and Byelorussians: editor}, we have share a common history, we pray to the same holy righteous men of God who shone forth in our common homeland, we share common Orthodox sacred objects, and we share common monasteries. We’re going to preserve this unity, and we’ll never allow anyone to break up this spiritual, cultural, and historical space.

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Defence of the Holy Trinity St Sergius Lavra Against the Poles in 1610

Sergei Milorodovich

no date

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All so-called “Ukrainian nationalists” had best understand this, for they are but Western puppets hell-bent on transforming the Ukraine into a Russophobic and anti-Russian state. They wish it to become just another bridgehead for NATO [against Russia]. These aspirations date back to the time Uniate Catholic Galicia was under the domination of Austria-Hungary and Poland, both historical enemies of Russia. Even at that date, plans were laid for the weakening and destruction of Russia, and the so-called “Ukrainian nationalists” were given an important role. The main obstacle to these plans was Holy Orthodoxy as embodied by the largest Local Church, the MP. The UOC/MP numbers more than 11,000 parishes and monasteries. It’s obvious that the sundering of the UOC/MP from the MP and the subsequent Catholic takeover of the Ukraine is the dream of the “nationalists” of all colours. To help achieve this goal, they wish to draw the Ukraine into the aggressive NATO bloc. There’s no difference in the goals of the Western “democracies”, the Galician lobby, the Orange faction, and the Ukrainian schismatics. However, we’ll resist them and we’re assured of victory! Let the triumphal march of Patriarch Aleksei in Kiev inspire us, and let us remember the words of St Lavrenty of Chernigov, as repeated by Metropolitan Kirill in front of a crowd of 100,000 on the Kreshchatka, “Russia, the Ukraine, and Byelorussia, this is Holy Russia!” {in Russian, “Россия, Украина и Беларусь… это и есть Святая Русь!” (Rossiya, Ukraina, i Belarus… eta i yest Svyataya Rus!}, it loses its poetry in translation: editor)

30 July 2008

InterfaxReligion

http://www.interfax-religion.ru/?act=interview&div=190

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For a Great, United, and Free Russia!

Dmitri Shmarin

2004

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Editor’s Note:

I’ve been accused of simplistic propaganda and being out of the mainstream by some “Ukrainian” and Ukrainophile commenters. Of course, one can’t talk to the incorrigible. My conclusions are based on knowledge of the sources in Russian, German, and English. In fact, there’s something that these people do NOT wish you to know. That is, no independent and explicitly-identified Ukrainian state existed prior to 1991, and the Baltic states of Estonia and Latvia existed only between 1920 and 1940, and from 1991 onwards. These are peoples with no experience in governing themselves, and it shows. They have always been part of some larger entity. I believe that this puts these commenters to bed. I would advise these sorts not to try to comment here, for I’ll delete such, but do what I do. Run your own website; put your case out to the world. Put it forth into the marketplace of ideas. It isn’t easy, let me assure you. However, instead of attacking, give the world your case! Let it be heard! Let the devil take the hindmost, I say, and I can rest easy, for I know that I’m willing to pull on my wellies and do the dirty work necessary to get the word out. Do likewise, or, go home. That’s the way of it.

BMD

 

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30 July 2008. Out and About…

New military satellite goes into orbit

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A Soyuz-2 rocket placed a military satellite of the Kosmos series in orbit from the Plesetsk cosmodrome in the northwest of the country. The Soyuz-2 rocket was developed at the request of the Defence Ministry and the Federal Space Agency. According to experts, the modernised rocket can place a satellite more precisely in orbit. It can carry up to 7.5 tons of payload. Most likely, the Soyuz-2 rocket system will be handed over to the space forces later this year.

27 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30158&cid=50&p=27.07.2008

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Russian space gear arrives in Guiana

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The first ship carrying Russian equipment for the Soyuz Kourou launch pad arrived in French Guiana. The Flinterland delivered 161 containers, including the service module, the key element of the prospective launch pad.

28 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30185&cid=87&p=28.07.2008

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Russian fireworks in South Korea

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Pyrotechnicians from five countries, including Japan and Russia, will light up the night skies over Pjojan during a week-long fireworks festival that just kicked off in this South Korean town.

29 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30234&cid=87&p=29.07.2008

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Moscow Patriarchate doesn’t rule out reprisals by Ukrainian schismatics

Patriarch Aleksei Ridiger of Moscow and all Russia (1929- ) on his recent pastoral visit to the Ukraine

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The Moscow Patriarchate doesn’t rule out attempts at reprisal on the part of Ukrainian schismatics and will do its utmost to foil such attempts. A statement to this effect was made at a press conference in Moscow by Metropolitan Kirill of Smolensk and Kaliningrad. He stressed that we can only use canonical means to overcome the church schism in the Ukraine. No political schemes are of any use. As Metropolitan Kirill emphasised, at the recent session of the Holy Synod of the UOC/MP, all hierarchs except one defended the preservation of Orthodox unity. The recent visit to Kiev by Patriarch Aleksei of Moscow and all the Russias, who took part in the festivities marking the 1020th anniversary of the Baptism of Russia, is an important factor that helped in this cause.

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Sergei Kislyak named as new ambassador in Washington

Sergei Kislyak (1950- ), new Ambassador of the RF to the USA (left) with Polish Foreign Minister Witold Waszczykowski (1957-  ) (right)

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Russia named Sergei Kislyak, who previously served as this country’s point man on US missile defence and Iran, as the new ambassador in Washington. Kislyak, who once was on the staff of the Soviet mission to the UN and the Soviet embassy in Washington, replaces Yuri Ushakov who was recently appointed the Kremlin’s deputy chief of staff.

29 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30242&cid=45&p=29.07.2008

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Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan to discuss Customs Union

President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- ) (left) with President Aleksandr Lukashenko (1954- ) of Belarus

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The integration committee of Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan shall discuss issues linked with the foundation of a Customs Union as a part of the Eurasian Economic Union at its meeting in Moscow. Russia will be represented by First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov. Russian President Dmitri Medvedev discussed the issue with his Byelorussian counterpart when he visited Minsk. The senior officials from the three countries will also draw up documents that will be signed by their presidents at the summit in autumn.

29 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30222&cid=45&p=29.07.2008

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New Buildings in Moscow for City Day

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Some new buildings objects will appear in Moscow on the eve of City Day celebrations on 6-7 September, a spokesman for the city government reported. Among other sites, there will be a new metro station, a museum of the history of medicine, and a retro car museum. Seventeen new kindergartens and more than 10 schools will open their doors to children at the beginning of the new academic year.

30 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30300&cid=87&p=30.07.2008

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Russia and ESA to design new spaceship

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Russia, together with the European Space Agency, is working to design a new piloted spaceship that is expected to replace the famous Soyuz ships, a spokesman for the Energy Missile and Space Corporation reported. The new ship will accommodate 6 crew-members and will be used to deliver cosmonauts to the ISS and the Moon. The first test flights are expected in 2015, and the first piloted launch in 2018 from a launching site in the Russian Far East.

30 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30307&cid=50&p=30.07.2008

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Tourists arrive in Novosibirsk for solar eclipse

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Thousands of foreign and Russian tourists are arriving in Novosibirsk to watch the total solar eclipse on 1 August. It will be seen perfectly there, as weather forecasters promise no clouds. Hundreds of telescopes will be emplaced on the roofs of the highest buildings in the city. The solar eclipse will be broadcast on the Internet.

30 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30306&cid=48&p=30.07.2008

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HQ war games in Moscow

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In Moscow, the second stage of the Rubezh-2008 command and staff military training exercises began under the aegis of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation. The participants are expected to elaborate on matters of giving military and military-technical assistance to the Organisation’s member-nations subjected to outside attack. Involved in the training exercises are some 4,000 servicemen, armoured troop carriers, heavy guns, aircraft, anti-aircraft missiles, and communication units. The Collective Security Treaty Organisation comprises Russia, Armenia, Byelorussia, Kazakhstan, Kirgizia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan.

30 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30287&cid=47&p=30.07.2008

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Russia to spend 120 billion USD on Chechnya’s restoration

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In the coming 4 years, the Russian government will allocate 120 billion dollars (2.812 trillion roubles. 77.004 billion euros. 60.516 billion UK pounds) for the restoration of Chechnya. The money will go into the restoration of over 2,000 facilities, including higher educational establishments and the airport. By 2012, industrial output in the republic is expected to double, and almost 100,000 new jobs will be created.

30 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30284&cid=46&p=30.07.2008

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Karadžić’s trial may ruin credibility of The Hague tribunal

Radovan Karadžić (1945- ), as President of Sprbska Bosna

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Leading Russian law-makers believe the trial of Radovan Karadžić will ultimately ruin the credibility of The Hague tribunal. They accuse the Tribunal of exercising double-standards and selectively targeting Serbians amongst the multitude of violent actors in the late Balkan wars. The foreign affairs head of the upper house of the RF Gosduma, Mikhail Margelov, told the media this on Wednesday a few hours after Serbia extradited the former Bosnian Serb leader to The Hague to face charges of war crimes. The Serbian people are bitterly divided over the extradition.

30 July 2008

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=eng&q=30328&cid=45&p=30.07.2008

Voice of Russia World Service

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Toddler survives after being run over by train in Eastern Siberia

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An 18-month-old girl who crawled onto a railroad track in Eastern Siberia’s Krasnoyarsk krai survived between the rails as a freight train passed over her, transport police said on Monday. The girl made her way to the rail line located about 50 metres (160 feet) from the family home near the town of Achinsk, while her mother thought the child was sleeping. “The freight train driver noticed the child, sounded the horn, and used the emergency brake, but, the heavily loaded cars were unable to stop, and the girl ended up under the locomotive”, spokesman Irina Belova said. When the train screeched to a halt, the driver’s assistant found the child under the locomotive, with only minor scratches. The child was taken to a nearby hospital and treated for shock, but, was released the next day. Ms Belova said the family home had no fence to prevent the girl from reaching the rail line, and that the parents are likely to be fined.

28 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080728/115072329.html

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Russian court fines woman for ‘illegal’ feeding of stray cats

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A court in Primorye krai in the Russian Far East ordered a woman to pay a 3,000 rouble (128 USD. 82.14 euros. 64.58 UK pounds) fine for “illegal” feeding of stray cats, local court authorities said on Tuesday. The woman’s neighbours, troubled by the animals that were taking shelter in the basement and nearby buildings, asked the court to help them fight the cat-lover. The court told the woman to stop feeding the cats for sanitary reasons. However, she was twice caught feeding the animals when court authorities came to visit her. A court spokesman said the woman would continue to be fined until she complied with the court order.

29 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080729/115151946.html

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New doomsday sect in Penza “calmly awaiting end of world”

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Two months after a doomsday sect gave up its underground wait for the apocalypse in central Russia, a new cult has been discovered in the same region, a local official told RIA-Novosti on Tuesday. The Penza oblast sect has existed since the 1990s, when Russia was submerged by a tidal wave of New Age groups and self-proclaimed messiahs. “They are not doing anything dangerous, they are calmly waiting for the end of the world”, said Aleksandr Yelantontsev, who is responsible for religious issues in the provincial administration. The group, said to consist of a core of about 15 women aged 45-50, is headed by 52-year-old Aleksandr Zhukov, who calls himself Raphael. According to a number of occultists, the archangel Raphael is one of the seven angels of the apocalypse. Among Catholics, Raphael is the patron saint of mental illness. Mr Yelantontsev said that more of the group’s followers, “from the surrounding regions”, often come to visit ‘Raphael’ in the sect’s fenced-off residence on the outskirts of Penza.

Last November, 35 members of another Penza oblast sect went underground to wait for the apocalypse, which they initially claimed would come in May. Their leader, Pyotr Kuznetsov, is reported to have said they would be given the power to decide who would be sent to hell and who would go to heaven. The sect pledged to commit mass suicide if any attempt was made to force them to come to the surface. Two members of the sect perished in the dugout, one from malnutrition brought about during fasting, and another from cancer. Although Kuznetsov has already been declared legally insane, a court is currently attempting to determine his mental state at the time his followers first went underground. He himself remained above ground. Both Kuznetsov’s sect and the current group are generally considered part of a wave of extreme Russian Orthodoxy sweeping Russia and some former Soviet republics. Adherents of this radical form of Christianity refuse to own passports, as they “contain the number of the Beast”, and will not handle money or consume products packaged in containers bearing ‘Satanic’ barcodes.

Russia has seen a great number of sects throughout its history. One of the most famous of these was the Skoptsy, who castrated themselves and cut off women’s breasts “to avoid sexual temptation and sin”. The sect was first reported in the 18th century and is known to have still existed in the 1920s. Another notorious sect was the Khlysty, a breakaway offshoot of the Russian Orthodox Church. The Khlysty believed that the way to salvation lay through the repentance of sins. The greater the sin, the greater the repentance, the Khlysty reasoned, and following this logic they rejected conventional doctrines of “right and wrong”, indulging in sins that they could later confess to, being in this way “pleasing to God”. Grigori Rasputin, the mysterious monk who had a major influence on the Tsar and the Tsaritsa prior to the 1917 Russian Revolution, is believed to have had links to the group, which was active from the 17th to the early 20th century.

29 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080729/115154013.html

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Estonian who lost passport detained swimming home from Russia

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Estonian border guards said Tuesday they detained one of their citizens who lost his passport during a visit to Russia and tried to return home by swimming across the border at the Narova River. The 45-year-old man was drunk and soaking wet when he was detained near an Estonian border post after climbing out of the river, which is on average 300 metres (@1,000 feet) wide when it flows between the easternmost Estonian city of Narva and the Russian town of Ivangorod and on into the Gulf of Finland. The man has been charged and faces a fine if found guilty.

29 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/world/20080729/115188581.html

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Russian mini-subs on Lake Baikal to continue work on 2 August

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Repairs on one of the mini-submarines being used for the ongoing exploration of Siberia’s Lake Baikal are almost complete and the research mission will continue on 2 August, the expedition leader said. The Mir-2 DSRV sustained minor damage on Wednesday whilst being lowered from a barge with a crane. Due to a sudden gust of wind, the Mir-2 struck the side of the barge and one of its propellers was damaged.

“The repairs will be completed by tomorrow and the expedition will continue its work on 2 August, according to schedule”, Academician Artur Chilingarov said. On Tuesday, the Mir-1 and Mir-2 DSRVs descended to one of the deepest points of what locals call the “Sacred Sea”. The crew initially claimed to have reached a depth of 1,680 meters (5,515 feet), which would have been a record for a freshwater dive, but, after clarification, they said no records had been broken and the maximum depth during Tuesday’s dive was 1,592 meters (5,223 feet). The expedition is set to run for two years, during which the scientists will conduct around 160 dives in various areas of the lake. Research will include tectonic information-gathering and a search for archaeological artefacts.

30 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/russia/20080730/115258689.html

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1 August 2008: Full solar eclipse 

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On 1 August 2008, residents of Moscow will be able to watch a partial solar eclipse during which the Moon’s shadow will hide about half of the Sun. The eclipse will begin in northern Canada at 13.21 hours MSK. The full eclipse of the Sun would be seen in Nizhnevartovsk at 14.31 hours Moscow time, in Novosibirsk at 14.45 hours MSK, and in Barnaul at 14.48 hours MSK. Full solar eclipses were observed in Moscow on 11 August 1123; 20 March 1140; 7 June 1415, and 25 February 1476. In Moscow Oblast, one was observed on 19 August 1887.

30 July 2008

http://en.rian.ru/science/20080730/115258953.html

Editor’s Note:

Moscow time is 8 hours ahead of EDT, so 13.21 would be 05.21, 14.31 would be 06.31, 14.45 would be 06.45, and 14.48 would be 06.48. That is, if you are on the east coast of the USA, get up early and have the STRONGEST coffee you can on the brew! On the west coast of the USA, which is three hours behind New York, conversely, STAY UP LATE. You are going to have to brew even-stronger coffee. What’s that? The “real thing?” Don’t crack open a bottle of THAT until it’s over (and I DON’T mean Coca-Cola!)

RIA-Novosti

Four Russian Girls Capable Of Winning the Gold in Tennis at the Olympics in Beijing

Filed under: China,international organisations,Olympics,patriotic,Russian,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00

Maria Sharapova (1987- ), Russian tennis star

Shamil Tarpishchev, the president of the Russian Tennis Federation and coach of the national tennis team, told VOR that 4 Russian girls out of the 8 hot favourites are capable of winning the gold medal in tennis at the 29th Summer Olympic Games in Beijing. According to Coach Tarpishchev, “The Russian women’s tennis team is in the running for medals in both the singles and doubles competition. Apart from Maria Sharapova, Yelena Dementyeva, Svetlana Kuznetsova, and Dinara Safina, the Williams sisters,Venus and Serena, and Serbian tennis stars Yelena Yankovic and Anna Ivanova are also capable of winning a gold medal in the singles tennis event.

“The results will hinge on the draw”, Coach Tarpishchev said. “If the situation is favourable, we can expect to win both the single and double gold medals”, he declared, saying that “8 female tennis players are eying the gold medal in the singles category, amongst who are 4 Russians. Three or four double teams, including the Russian pairs of Svetlana Kuznetsova-Dinara Safina and Yelena Vesnina-Vera Zvonareva, and the American, Chinese, and Serbian doubles teams are favourites in claiming the gold medal in women tennis. As for the men, there are three undisputed leaders, Roger Federer of Switzerland, Novak Djokovic of Serbia, and Rafael Nadal of Spain. Practically speaking, Russia doesn’t have a chance because all the male singles players also play in the doubles. The remaining players, about 20 of them, are almost equal in standards of play. But, there is always a chance… we will play!”

He mentioned that some of the Russian female players are competing in the Montréal tournament at present, from whence they will depart for the Beijing 2008 Olympics on 3 August. He described the tennis routine at the Olympics as complicated, meaning that competitors entered for both the singles and doubles events will have to play two matches in a day. Specifically, that was why Coach Tarpishchev took Maria Sharapova’s name out of the running for the honour of bearing the Russian colours during the march-past at the opening ceremony of the Games. There is unprecedented interest in tennis and other events in the Beijing Olympics and it explains why all the tickets are sold out. According to the organisers of the Beijing Games, some 6.8 million tickets were printed and the most expensive were for the opening ceremony at 645 dollars (15,120 roubles. 414 euros. 325 UK pounds) per ticket. Cost of tickets to 60 percent of the events is not more than 13 dollars (305 roubles. 8.35 euros. 6.56 UK pounds).

30 July 2008

Yelena Studneva

Voice of Russia World Service

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=rus&q=78580&cid=25&p=30.07.2008

ISS can be Operational in Space until 2020

To be or not to be… shall the International Space Station (ISS) be operational after 2015? The space agencies participating in this project discussed this serious question in Paris. They came to the conclusion that there are substantial reasons to believe that the ISS can remain operational until 2020. It is difficult to overestimate the value of the work done by the ISS, and much labour and money has been invested in it by various European, Asian, and North American states. The main result of all of this is that we have an international research station in orbit around the Earth. In the words of Andrei Perminov, the head of the Russian Federal Space Agency, “Today, we all agreed that we should go to our respective governments and request that all national space agencies continue work on the ISS until at least 2020”.

The ISS has had many different crews by now; it has become a comfortable and well-equipped multi-functional space platform for the work of physicists and other scientists. If the operation of the station is extended another five years, Russia shall delay three additional research modules until 2011, so that it can prepare a new energy module for the craft, which shall provide more flexibility for it. France agrees with Russia’s position on the extension of the ISS mission. Valerie Pecresse, the French Minister of Scientific Studies, stated his opinion clearly in the French press. “Despite the fact that the USA shall end its space shuttle missions in 2010 for the delivery of cosmonauts and supplies, we shall be able to use Russian craft and the unmanned ATS vehicle of the EU”.

This year, there has been significant work done on re-equipping the ISS. For example, the European laboratory module Columbus, the Japanese scientific research module Kibo, and the Canadian manipulator Dexter have been added. So far in 2008, there have been seven flights of various spacecraft to the ISS. Some experts see that the position of the USA towards the ISS is changing. Possibly, this is the end result of the clash of different interest groups with differing views on the future of national cosmonautics. Some are sceptical of the whole enterprise, viewing it as not too useful and overly-expensive. In its stead, they propose diverting funding to lunar and Mars missions. Moreover, the US presidential elections are forthcoming, and it is unknown what the future policy shall be towards space programmes. However, it is obvious that the ISS is necessary to all the partners, and without continuing cooperation on its operation, it shall hardly be of use to anyone.   

23 July 2008

Oleg Nekhai

Voice of Russia World Service

http://www.ruvr.ru/main.php?lng=rus&q=77887&cid=23&p=23.07.2008

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