Voices from Russia

Monday, 19 January 2009

Gazprom and Naftogaz Are Due To Sign an Agreement to Ensure Resumption of Gas Deliveries to Europe in the Presence of Prime Ministers Putin and Timoshenko


President Dmitri Medvedev (1965- ), greeting Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuliya Timoshenko (1960- ), in the Kremlin. Prime Minister Vladimir Putin (1952- ) is in the background.

The gas crisis, which has kept Europe on tenterhooks for almost a fortnight, is nearing a settlement. Later today, documents are due to be signed in Moscow in the presence of Russian and Ukrainian Prime Ministers Vladimir Putin and Yuliya Timoshenko to finalise the latest Russian-Ukrainian agreements on gas supplies. In the past 24 hours, Gazprom and the Ukrainian energy company Naftogaz have prepared for signing the package of documents that are needed to ensure a resumption of gas deliveries to Europe. The documents specifically deal with new versions of the contract for gas transit and an agreement on gas deliveries to the Ukraine. The settlement was made feasible owing to agreements reached by Prime Ministers Putin and Timoshenko on Saturday night.

In keeping with the agreements, this year, Kiev will pay 80 percent of the current European price for Russian gas. Russia’s gas transit tariff will remain what it was last year. The two countries will switch over to the European price formation as of January next year. This holds both for the cost of gas and tariffs for the pumping of gas across the Ukraine. Once the agreement is signed and comes into force, it is safe to claim the gas crisis is over. At least, Ms Timoshenko said the Ukraine will resume all natural gas deliveries right after the agreement is signed. You may remember that this crisis was provoked by the Ukraine, which cut off the transit gas pipelines on 7 January. Many European countries, above all those in the Balkans, have suffered from a major fuel deficit as a result and have been compelled to halt production and cut off heating in residential houses.

The crisis made politicians, suppliers, and consumers alike concentrate on the necessity of optimising gas delivery routes and creating mechanisms to prevent similar situations from ever happening again. As a part of this effort, President Medvedev called for an emergency meeting to solve the crisis. He drew attention to this need for controlling structures during the gas summit held in the Moscow Kremlin on Saturday, a conference that set the stage for the settlement of the crisis.

He said, “I think that we should learn all the possible lessons from what happened and set up both a bilateral mechanism to prevent this kind of conflict in future and a multilateral one that would involve all interested nations. Again, I’d like to emphasise one simple idea. Now, however much we may try to point out that the crisis came as a result of bilateral misunderstanding, a controversy between Russia and the Ukraine, this sort of problem does complicate things for a great number of nations, and we, therefore, need international mechanisms. As for the diversification of gas delivery routes, Russia is building the Nord Stream and South Stream gas pipelines, with the former to be laid across the bed of the Baltic Sea, whilst the latter shall be laid across the bed of the Black Sea. The two will remove the risks in Russian gas transit to Europe and boost European energy security”.

19 January 2009

Yevgeni Kryshkin

Voice of Russia World Service


Editor’s Note:

Do note well who is NOT involved. Firstly, Viktor Yushchenko is out of the loop. He is dead meat, politically. Yuliya is going to take the credit for this; as well she should, and, make no mistake on it, she smells Yushchenko’s blood in the water. His popularity rating is even lower than GWB’s, and with the departure of his American sugar daddy, his end is only a matter of time. Yuliya is a land-shark, and she, certainly, senses his loss of support (Now, where is the Coroner of Munchkin Land when one needs him? “I thoroughly examined him… he is truly and absolutely dead” (backed by a full Munchkin chorus, of course)).

Secondly, despite loud posturing and posing in the American and British press, the US and its British running-dog-lackeys were cut out of the process. A simple fact tells the story. The Russians received 80 percent of their demanded price; whereas the Ukrainians had to pay approximately double what they tendered. No matter if you slice this bologna thick or thin, the Ukrainians lost, lost publicly, and in a humiliating matter. Yuliya found out that the EU was not going to pressure Russia. Ergo, she dealt. Of course, she is going to use this in her electoral campaign against Yushchenko! Truly, one has to pity this individual. Everyone, save for himself, knows that the play is essentially over. Even his inner circle knows this. He and Saakashvili are being left to rot on the vine by the Russians. It is Führerbunker redux for the Orange and Rose “Revolutions”.

Both of these paladins of “democracy” are going down, and their own people are going to fit the noose about their necks (if they are “lucky”, they shall flee to the USA and become professors at small liberal-arts colleges in New England… then, they shall have to deal with academic politics… a fate worse than death!). In this, one can see the collapse of the Cheney/Rice scheme in the Russian Near Abroad. Everyone now knows that the USA has nothing left in the store-cupboard. Is this the “retreat from Moscow” of the Bushies? Do remember what happened to M Bonaparte…



World Attention is Focused Sharply on the New US Administration and President Barack Obama


US President-elect Barack Obama (1961- ), to be inaugurated tomorrow in Washington DC as the 44th President of the USA

Tomorrow, Washington will host the inauguration of the 44th President of the United States. Democrat Barack Obama will become the first African-American president in the history of the USA. In 1963, the prominent African-American clergyman and human rights activist Martin Luther King delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington. In that speech, Rev King spoke of his desire for a future where blacks and whites, amongst others, could coexist harmoniously as equals. It took Americans more than 45 years to elect an African-American as their leader. Barack Obama was the first man to break that barrier.

Millions of people around the world will be watching Barack Obama’s swearing-in ceremony. Most of them have expectations and hopes connected with the arrival of a new owner in the White House. First of all, many wish that the US shall modify its foreign policy. It should not violate the UN Charter and it should show more respect to other nations. It may be a cliché, but, large countries do have big responsibilities. Many people abroad wish that the claims of the US to global leadership should not lead to the escalation of tensions either in Iraq or in Afghanistan. American interference in the internal affairs of other countries is also inadmissible.

Of course, Russia, both its political leadership and the common people, hopes for a noticeable improvement in cooperation with Washington. Repeatedly, President Dmitri Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared their readiness to build equal and mutually-productive cooperation with the US. In an interview with The Times Weekly and on the BBC, President-elect Obama mentioned that a thaw in relations with Russia was amongst his priorities. Of course, this did not go unnoticed in the Kremlin. The future US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, focused on the same theme in her speech to the US Senate.

Now, it is high time and important for the Obama Administration to start the implementation of the promises it gave during the election campaign. First of all, Russia and the US should achieve a compromise on the missile issue. Long ago, Moscow suggested an alternative to the deployment of the US anti-missile shield in Eastern Europe and expects Washington to give a response. Its proposal that Russia, the USA, and Europe cooperate in this matter is still valid. Apart from this, the sides should take urgent measures to work out a new Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty as the old version expires this year. The US Congress is also expected to ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty and the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. At present, the most important thing is that high hopes are not dashed, resulting in a great disappointment. Russia hopes this shall not occur, and wishes good luck and success to President Obama and expects him not to betray his people’s expectations.

19 January 2009

Viktor Yenikeyev

Voice of Russia World Service


Russian KAMAZ Master Team Truckers Win Dakar Rally in South America

Filed under: Russian,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00


Yet again, a Russian crew from the KAMAZ Master Team won the truck division of this year’s Dakar race, from Buenos Aires in Argentina to Valparaiso in Chile, and, then, back to Buenos Aires. The winning driver was Firdaus Kabirov. Vladimir Chagin piloted the second-place finisher.  Third-place went to the Dutchman Gerard de Roy, whose truck crossed the finish line nearly an hour after the winners. Fourth-place went to another member of the KAMAZ team, Ilgizar Mardeyev.

Remarkably, it was the eighth time that the KAMAZ truckers triumphed at the Dakar Rally. The Russian KAMAZ Master Team proved, without a doubt, that it has what it takes to win, whether the road is in Africa or in Latin America. All of the racers agree; the Latin American course is far tougher than the track in Africa. Less than half of the entrants who started the race crossed the finish line. Indeed, amongst those who were forced out of the running were competitors with much experience and “Dakar smarts”. All three KAMAZ entrants finished the race, though.

This was despite the fact that the route crossed the Andes through treacherous mountain passes at an elevation of more than 4,000 metres (13,123 feet) and went straight through the Atacama Desert, reputedly the most arid waste in the world. On top of all that, there were shifting sand dunes, mud, and invisible potholes, amongst a host of other hidden dangers. If that was not enough, unstable weather conditions, such as unrelenting heat, fog, and heavy snow in the mountains added headaches for both the participants and the organisers.

Unfortunately, therefore, it was not surprising that there were many tragic accidents. One of the emergencies involved Tomáš Tomiček of the Tatra team. The first vehicle at the scene of the accident was the one driven by Firdaus Kabirov, one of the KAMAZ team. Although he was leading the race, Kabirov stopped to render assistance to help the stricken Czech crew.

Afterwards, he said, “Only the vehicle was smashed up. Tomiček was lucky; he only had a scratch on his hand. It happened on the road after we descended from the mountains. It was a slippery, slick, and serpentine section of road, some three kilometres (1.86 miles) in length. Apparently, Tomiček’s vehicle overshot a curve; it flew off the road and overturned. We were the closest to the accident, so, we stopped after we heard their SOS signal to all the participants. I rang up the French team, requested a helicopter, and, then, began to help Tomiček. We flagged down six more vehicles to help us, and we all pulled out the Czech crew. Thank goodness! None of them were hurt! We put them all up in our cab for about 40 minutes. Since we figured out that there was no risk of fire, we could take our time taking care of things”.

Another Russian driver, Vladimir Chagin, a five-time Dakar Rally winner, noted that, due to the attitude of the spectators on the way, the route was known to be dangerous. As they travelled through the villages and towns, the racers observed different reactions from the local residents. Some threw things at the windscreens of the vehicles, whilst others ran into the road to snap photos of the trucks with their mobile phones. “It’s quite scary when they do that. They think that they’ll have time to jump aside, but, I wasn’t always sure that they would”, Chagin said.

Giving their impressions, Chagin called it a two-week marathon, interesting, unusual, and different. On his part, Kabirov thought it both dusty and muddy. Everyone agreed; the Dakar 2009 rally ran over a tough track. It ground down many of the other competitors. However, most importantly, the KAMAZ vehicles, once again, proved their solid reliability and endurance, and they are still the top of the heap in their class of trucks.

President Dmitri Medvedev sent a message to the winners on Sunday, in which he praised the KAMAZ truck-makers for the superb quality of their products. Another tribute to Firdaus Kabirov and his crew came from the public relations officer of KAMAZ, Mr Vladimir Samoilov. “I was happy to see him racing again after recovering from a serious injury, which forced him to skip the previous Dakar race. This comeback has proved a triumph, propelling Kabirov to world stardom on the truck-racing circuit”.

He now has two Dakar titles under his belt. The truck race brought together 32 international crews on vehicles from 10 big-name firms. The best Russian crew in the car division came eighth. This year, the total number of participants amounted to 500 trucks, cars, motorbikes, and quadrocycles from 50 countries. For the first time in the 30-year history of the Dakar Rally, the organisers relocated it from Africa to South America. They cited serious security reasons and are thinking of making the change permanent. This year’s race covered more than 10,000 kilometres (6,213 miles) and lasted 15 days.

19 January 2009

Konstantin Garibov

Svetlana Kalmykova

Voice of Russia World Service



Yelena Dementieva: Favourite of the 2009 Australian Open

Filed under: Olympics,Russian,sport — 01varvara @ 00.00

Yelena Dementieva (1981- ) at the US Open

In Melbourne, the first Big Helmet Competition has started… the Australian Open tennis championship. The Russian team is again on the court, especially, the women’s squad. Fifteen Russian women will compete for victory in that prestigious tournament. In the male competition, there are only seven Russians, but, amongst them is an ex-champion of the Australian Open, Marat Safin. There are, however, certain losses on the Russian team. For instance, last year’s winner Maria Sharapova will not defend her championship title because of injuries, and Russia’s top player, Nikolai Davydenko is not coming, either. Yet, all the other players have only one desire… to win. But, desire is one thing, and actually winning is quite another kettle of fish. According to Shamil Tarpishchev, the President of the Russian Tennis Federation, amongst those who have a good chance at winning are Yelena Dementieva and Dinara Safina.

Beijing Olympic Champion Yelena Dementieva has been showing good form since the beginning of the season. She has won two tournaments in succession. By the way, in the finals of one of the tournaments she played against Dinara Safina. After the victory, she said that she likes to play against Dinara, and, at that match in Sydney, both of them aspired to win, but, there could only be one victor. Yelena went on to say, “I was happy to win that tournament in Sydney. I participated in it many times, but, failed to get into the finals, to say nothing of winning the tournament. Therefore, I am happy at present. I also hope for a stroke of luck at the Australian Open championship in Melbourne”.

The founder of the renowned US Tennis Academy, Nick Bollettieri, said that Yelena has a good chance to win. He believes that there is no more enthusiastic player in women’s tennis at present. He brought to mind that she won two tournaments in succession. “Her serve is no longer a present to her rivals; as for her shots from the back line, they have always been her trump card. Her good physical training should also be added. So, you cannot find a better player than Yelena Dementieva in the world today”. Besides Dinara Safina, Yelena’s main rivals at the current competition are the Williams sisters and Jelena Janković from Serbia. The finalists shall be announced on 31 January.

19 January 2009

Voice of Russia World Service


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