Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Could Romney Deliver on His Hawkish Pledges?


The campaign pledges of American Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney include 50 new ships for the US Navy and, notably, a tougher stance towards Putin on everything that concerns missile defence. The crux of the matter is that George W Bush planned to deploy an early-warning radar site near Prague in Czechia and ABM interceptor silos in northern Poland. Barack Obama deemed this layout useless against Russia and superfluous for fending off potential missile threats from North Korea and Iran. Accordingly, he redirected American missile defence development plans towards Rumania, Turkey, and the Eastern Mediterranean. Apparently, Romney’s promising a return to the original layout plus heavy interceptor rockets, also positioned in Poland and capable of destroying Russian ICBMs within moments of their blast-off. To put it bluntly, Mitt’s planning another Cold War. Can Mitt deliver on his defence plans? The answer is “no”. They’re no more than hawkish campaign rhetoric. Should he try to implement them, the debt- and deficit-burdened USA would have to squander tens of billions more dollars each year and reduce resources allocated to programmes to fend off looming military threats from China. America’s real moneybag rulers would immediately put things right and make Romney’s ABM plans fizzle out.

10 October 2012

Ilya Kramnik

Voice of Russia World Service



German Airline Messes with Rights of Disabled Russians


A group of disabled Russians are going to sue the German airline Air Berlin for refusing to board people in wheelchairs. Once again, this case attracted public attention to the problems of disabled people in Europe. Fortunately, at present, it looks like no public place remains in Europe where there are physical barriers for the disabled. However, sometimes, it also seems that it’s easier to bring down physical barriers than to change people’s mindset. The attitude of some managers and workers in commercial concerns towards disabled people quite often turns out to be not very friendly. Air Berlin’s management often boasts that their company always tries to create the best conditions for disabled people. Unfortunately, the real situation is not always that idyllic.

Nadezhda Belkova, a disabled rights activist, said, “At least, the company might have refunded the money to the people that it refused to board beforehand, not several minutes before the plane took off. I can’t call such an attitude of a company to its clients as anything else than negligence. We’d gone through all the preflight preparations. We filed our first request in August, and, since then, we informed the company every week about new people who wanted to join us. We’d already gone through the customs check and settled in the plane, when they suddenly announced that they were delaying the takeoff for some reason. Then, they said that they could only take two people in wheelchairs; the other disabled people should leave the plane. It seemed to me that the flight crew just didn’t want to spend time on helping the disabled people to get on and off the plane”.

Now, Air Berlin is trying to defuse the scandal. They claimed that their company has a rule, dictated by safety considerations, that only two people in wheelchairs can ride on one flight. However, if this rule really exists, the company should’ve warned the Russian delegation about this beforehand, not after about a half of them (34 people, including six in wheelchairs) were already in the plane.

German lawyer Max Gutbrod, who works for the company Baker & McKenzieCIS, said, “This case isn’t only a violation of the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, but it’s also a violation of the contract between the company and its clients. True, to a certain extent, a plane’s captain has the right to decide what is and what is not safe for the plane. Care for these disabled people might even have dictated the actions of the captain of this flight… probably, it would’ve been hard for him to evacuate them in the case of an emergency. However, the law common to the entire EU states that if disabled people are going anywhere by pane, they have to warn the air company about everything they might need in the flight within 48 hours before the flight. If the would-be passengers of the flight in question fulfilled this condition, they could sue the company, demanding that it should compensate them for this nuisance. If a treaty about transporting certain people was concluded, but the plane’s captain refuses to transport them without any particular reason, an alternative flight should be offered to them… probably, in business class”.

The German company offered an alternative flight only after this story appeared in a number of media sources. In the end, the Russian airline Aeroflot flew the delegation to Düsseldorf. The funniest… and, at the same time, the saddest… thing about this story is that the Russian delegation was going to Germany to take part in a conference devoted to the creation of better condition for disabled people in Europe. To get there, they had to wait at the airport for a whole day. Air Berlin didn’t even care to offer them any food or to take them to a hotel. Initially, the Russian delegation intended to return from Germany by Air Berlin and had already bought the return tickets. Now, Air Berlin’s officials suggest that two of the six Russians in wheelchairs could fly to Russia on one of their flights, two on another flight, and the other two by Aeroflot. By the way, Aeroflot rules don’t set any limitations concerning how many people in wheelchairs may fly on one flight.

10 October 2012

Aleksandra Zakharova

Voice of Russia World Service


Komersant Sez that Russia Scrapped Nunn-Lugar Agreement


 On Wednesday, Kommersant reported that Moscow would end its participation in a decades-old program with the USA aimed at dismantling WMDs. The paper reported sources in the US State Department as saying that Russia’s no longer interested in the Nunn-Lugar programme…also known as the Cooperative Threat Reduction Programme (CTR)… that dates back to the early 1990’s, which helped decommission scores of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons after the Soviet collapse.

US officials told the paper that their Russian counterparts informed them during a recent meeting that Moscow no longer needed financial assistance, emphasising instead the importance of guarding state secrets. The move is the latest in Moscow’s review of its relationship with Washington, and comes after the Kremlin kicked the USAID out of Russia earlier this month. It also follows comments last week by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that the “reset” policy between Russia and the United States “can’t last forever”.

The CTR program began in 1991, and has had two extensions, in 1999 and 2006. The current terms expires in 2013. According to the CTR website, the USA spent an estimated 8 billion USD on CTR, which included measures to increase safety at nuclear plants in the former USSR and generating alternative work for former institutes and production facilities that had produced WMDs.

10 October 2012



One of the Cabinet Noticed that Monomuckos Has Done a 180 on Moriak


One of the Cabinet whispered to me:

I read the whole piece on Moriak’s texts on Monomachos. They do seem to have turned on Moriak, haven’t they? It was little more than a year ago that they were lauding Moriak for issuing a letter in “defence” of traditional marriage. It was also only a few months ago that they kept mentioning Moriak’s name as a possible replacement for JP, second in choice only to Dahulich. Considering how the Monomachos folks have hung onto JP like they’re a dog whose bone is under threat, it’s been rather gratifying to see how quickly they seem to have thrown Moriak under the bus. It’s an odd way to look at it, but the whole thing is over the cliff.

Indeed, a few months ago, Moriak could do no wrong, he was their fair-haired boy, and all of us who were bitching about his nepotistic favours to his son were nasty calumniators. Now, he can do no right. Trust me, the objective situation hasn’t changed at all; this turning on Moriak is proof, even for the slow learners, that the konvertsy are cultists at heart, not Real Orthodox at all. Note well how they all turned in lockstep unison, just like Jim Jones’ bunch drinkin’ the Kool Aid. The sooner that we’re rid of Fathausen, Peterson, Dahulich, Moriak, and Maymon, and all of their shitbird konvertsy backers, the better off we’ll be. However, I think that they’re going to turn on each other. We won’t have to do much beyond putting up fences to contain the damage. See how they love one another… excuse me, I’ve gotta hurl…


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