Voices from Russia

Friday, 4 May 2012

4 May 2012. D’oh! Are Doughnuts the Latest Thing in Russia? Pyshki in Murino Outside Piter…



Doughnuts three for a buck… sausage in dough (“pigs in a blanket“) or pirozhki, a buck apiece… chicken legs for four bucks… pork shashlyk for five bucks… a “gamburger” or a “sendvich” for a buck and a half… betcha the bus drivers hang out here...



Got a yen for something sweet and not-so-good-for-you? Yes, Virginia, you CAN find halfway-decent doughnuts in the Rodina. In Moscow, they’re known as ponchiki… in Piter, they’re pyshki… no, I do NOT know why there’s a difference! They’re good eats, whatever you call them… the images are from a pyshki shop near Piter in Murino.

Click here for an audio presentation of the In Between programme from VOR talking about doughnuts and fast food. It can take a minute or two to load… some good stuff (24 minutes) on ordinary life. Doughnuts… not bombs… pastries… not demonstrations. Sit back and enjoy Donna and Julia… it’s in English, guys…



Scandal Surrounding CIA Secret Prisons in Eastern Europe


The General Procurator in Warsaw asked the procurature in Kraków to open an investigation of the alleged existence of secret CIA prisons in Poland in 2002-03. According to experts, the Polish authorities are trying once more to tamp down the explosive scandal. The scandal about secret CIA prisons erupted in February 2005 following revelations in the main edition of the Washington Post. According to the newspaper, the CIA secreted the most dangerous terrorists, allegedly from al-Qaeda, at so-called “black sites”… clandestine prisons located in Eastern European countries such as Lithuania and Poland.

In August 2008, Poland began an investigation into the possible existence of such facilities in the country. However, Polish leaders continued to deny the existence of secret CIA prisons in Poland. Vladimir Bruter, an expert with the International Institute of Humanitarian and Political Studies, explained, “For the President and the Prime Minister to acknowledge the presence in the country of foreign prisons meant that they’d confess to breaking the law. From a legal point of view, that’s contrary to Polish law, so, therefore, every person who committed such acts in Poland without authorisation is a criminal and we should prosecute them as such. From a political point of view, Poland considers itself an American ally; obviously, it couldn’t ignore such a request, if it really took place. That is, it turns out that the law exists for some, but for others, it doesn’t”.

At “black sites”, prisoners were allegedly subject to psychological pressure and torture, including waterboarding, sleep deprivation, and other sophisticated investigative techniques prohibited under the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Bruter told us, “The Americans used their allies in order not to violate the law on their own territory. In my opinion, they weren’t full-fledged prisons, but rather holding pens. Simply put, they existed because, according to American law, it wasn’t possible to imprison detainees nicked by the CIA. Therefore, the USA used sites in Eastern European countries to hide this from view”.

In February 2009, President Obama ordered the closure of all CIA prisons. However, the US government didn’t carry out this order completely, which didn’t escape public attention. The detention centre at Guantánamo in Cuba continues to operate. Feliks Burdzhalov, an expert on the USA, said, “If confirmed, the existence of ‘black sites’ in Lithuania, Poland, and other Eastern European countries would inevitably affect the image of President Obama, affecting his campaign for a second term. The presence of American prisons in other countries is illegal. Moreover, of course, it’s bad for his image. However, I must say that the alternatives open to Mr Obama in this regard are very limited. He hasn’t yet completely closed down the Guantánamo facility due to pressure from military sources. Whatever his own wishes, he’s forced to go along with them on this”.

This week, CIA official José Rodríguez published a book entitled Cruel Measures justifying the torture measures applied to prisoners at the secret prisons. Once again, the book sparked off a global public debate and drew attention to those pro-American countries in Eastern Europe that violated the law and deceived their own citizens.

4 May 2012

Margarita Bogatova


Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė believes that the investigation of the secret CIA prison for terrorists presumably situated in Lithuania stalled because the USA’s unwilling to divulge any information on it. She spoke to reporters during a visit by a delegation of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Domestic Policy in order to clarify Lithuania’s stance on the matter. In President Grybauskaitė’s opinion, Lithuania has the political will necessary to examine the question, saying, “Politically, we’ve made every effort to investigate our suspicions”. However, she went on to say that the authorities haven’t formally closed the case, adding, “From a legal standpoint, it’s stalled, because the USA won’t release to us any additional information. We haven’t received it, we didn’t get it”. She believes that we should evaluate Vilnius’ efforts to investigate the case of a secret CIA prison positively.

In 2009, ABC-TV, an American media outlet, reported that the CIA operated secret prisons for al-Qaeda detainees in Lithuania for several years after the 9/11 attacks. A Vilnius parliamentary inquiry concluded that evidence pointed to an illicit secret CIA prison existing in Lithuania without official Lithuanian government approval, although it’s still unproven whether the clandestine facility was ever fully operational.

26 April 2012


In late April, a delegation of the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice, and Domestic Policy shall visit Lithuania to verify information concerning secret CIA prisons in the country. In particular, the delegation plan to meet with Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaitė , the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Defence, and Justice, members of parliamentary committees on defence and national security, foreign affairs, civil aviation, and the Institute for Monitoring Human Rights. The MEPs also wish to visit places in Lithuania that possibly acted as CIA prisons.

Initially, referring to leaks from former CIA employees, American journalists released reports about suspected terrorists held in possible secret CIA prisons in Lithuania. According to the sources, the CIA closed down the site in late 2005 after press reports surfaced of CIA use of secret prisons overseas. It held eight people at the time of its closure, some who’d been there for more than a year. Reports of CIA aircraft landing in Lithuania indirectly confirmed the existence of secret sites in Lithuania.

Later, the Lithuanian Seimas held a parliamentary inquiry on the matter. It established that there were, indeed, two secret facilities in Lithuania used by US intelligence agencies. However, the deputies didn’t find solid evidence that they kept prisoners there. An investigation carried out by the Lithuanian General Procurator found that former officials of the State Security Department actively collaborated with the CIA, “there are signs of disciplinary violations”. In early 2011, the Procurator terminated the investigation because it had reached the end of the statute of limitations.

In autumn 2011, a Palestinian, Abu Zubaydah, claimed that the Americans kept him in a secret “CIA prison” in Lithuania (he’s now detained at the Guantánamo Bay facility), so, he decided to file a claim against the Baltic republic in the European Court of Human Rights. Zubaydah’s advocate claimed that he had evidence of the existence of “CIA prisons” in Lithuania, as well as evidence confirming that they’d kept Zubaydah in custody there.

9 April 2012

Voice of Russia World Service




Editor’s Note:

Let’s keep this to the point. A vote for Willard Romney is a vote for torture… it’s a vote for secret prisons… it’s a vote for sneak drone attacks on sleeping civilians… it’s a vote for death squads. Think on that when you hear certain clergyman trumpet and praise the Republican line. GWB and Cheney (Cheney was another gutless bully unashamed of his dodging of service) unashamedly held prisoners under conditions that we hung Nazis and Japs for after World War II. I seem to notice that our standards have fallen precipitously. Oh, yes… Romney favours perpetual warfare… and he was an abject coward who cravenly avoided all forms of service during the Vietnam War (he was 21 in 1968). This man is fit to be commander-in-chief (he should appoint Rush Limbaugh his Secretary of Defence, as Rush dodged service by claiming that he had a cyst on his arse… poor baby!)? If he was a coward in his youth, he’s a coward now. That’s the long and the short of it all. It tells you volumes about the contemporary Republican Party, doesn’t it?

Kaufft nicht bei Romney!


4 May 2012. Graf Stolypin on Westernisers and Their Nonsense… In Honour of 150 Years Since His Birth in 1862


4 May 2012. If Paffhausen and His Rightwing Claque are Wrong… Who’s Correct?


The image is of Christ chasing out the merchants from the temple. One can say many things, but one can’t say that Our Lord Christ was a friend of the “entrepreneurs” and “businessmen” of His day. Indeed, he viewed them as contemporary Russians view “biznessmeni”… rather shady and dubious characters, at best.

You can agree with Vsevolod Anatolyevich (who’s a close confidant of His Nibs), or, you can agree with Fathausen (a friend of Mormons, squiffy off-brand Episkies, Uniates, and the Hard Right). Birds of a feather DO flock together! I know where I stand… what about you?


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