Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Russian Bears Searching Remote Villages for Food

00 bear in a tree. 28.08.13

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Wildlife authorities in some of Russia’s more remote and wild regions warn residents to stay inside after dark after several encounters with wild animals resulted in attacks on humans, livestock, and guard dogs. Authorities in areas such as Kamchatka and Bashkiria said that they shoot aggressive animals, even from the air. The situation worsened with the arrival of the cold season. Hungry predators search for food as their resources in the forest become increasingly difficult to find, so, the animals search for food in the villages. In Kamchatka this year, authorities recorded a large number of anomalous bears that didn’t go into winter hibernation. So far, the bears killed three people and seriously injured two more.

However, the bears’ main target is livestock and poultry. Local scientists and hunters said that they believed that the bears are unable to hibernate because they’re still hungry. This year, rivers in Kamchatka had few fish, and bears had a hard time finding enough berries in the forests. Many predators didn’t have time to store up fat; now, they roam in search of food, even near settlements. Kamchatka Krai introduced a special decree… the authorities decided to shoot all bears not in “voluntary” winter sleep. They’ve already killed 140 predators. In Bashkiria in mid-October, a bear attacked and killed a mushroom collector.

Whilst bears remain a problem, some authorities consider wolves to be a greater threat. Primarily, their victims are pet dogs in yards. Usually, dogs are on a leash, so, they can’t fight the wolves. In the Komi Republic, wolves bit three pet dogs. In Kaliningrad Oblast, wolves ate 35 sheep and 20 cows. In Tuva, there were 15 attacks by wolves on livestock. In Lugansk Oblast, wolves tore up nine sheep. According to locals, this is the first case where predators attacked domestic animals within inhabited areas. In areas where wolf attacks are random, local authorities don’t issue formal permits for killing predators. They tell frightened residents to follow simple safety precautions. Don’t go out at night, don’t let children out unaccompanied, lock pet dogs inside the house, and call the authorities if you encounter a wild animal. Bears, unlike wolves, rarely go to towns, so, precautions to follow in regards to them are different. Don’t go into the woods alone, and if you walk in the woods, talk loudly, or even sing, so that the animals can hear you. If you see a bear, don’t make any sudden movements; move away slowly and smoothly. If a bear attacks, it’s better to fall on the ground and pretend to be dead. Chances of escaping from a bear or hiding in a tree are negligible.

However, there are regions where these recommendations aren’t enough. If the number of dangerous animals exceeds established standards, one must reduce their number by force. By law, killing wild animals is punishable by fines from 2,000 to 5,000 Roubles (61-153 USD. 64-162 CAD. 67-169 AUD. 44-110 Euros. 37-93 UK Pounds). The Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment does issue permits for “prey hunting resources in order to regulate herd numbers”. The police or hunters can do the shooting. Under federal law, you can only kill wolves with a gun… the law strictly forbids using traps and poisons. For these purposes, the government allots separate funds for the regions. For example, in Yakutia, the struggle with wolves will cost 32 million Roubles (976,000 USD. 1.034 million CAD. 1.078 million AUD. 708,000 Euros. 596,000 UK Pounds). Besides guns, local authorities want to use light aircraft to shoot wolves.

However, according to Nikolai Vyshegorodskih, the Head of Protection and Use of Wildlife, Aquatic Biological Resources, and Environmental Safety of Oryol Oblast, regulating wolf populations by violent means is necessary only in exceptional cases. He said, “Wild wolves attacking humans is extremely rare. Sixty percent of the diet of these animals is rats and other small animals. They’re afraid of people”. In his view, wolves play an important role in the food chain, saying, “Let’s take, for instance, Oryol Oblast. Once wolves come here, then, it sharply reduces the number of stray dogs, cats, and rabid foxes. Sometimes, they eat pet dogs. However, from the viewpoint of natural selection, it’s a normal process. Dogs are socially adapted to people and poorly adapted to life in nature, so, a stronger link in the food chain kills them… the wolf, and in the Far East, it’s the tiger”. Vyshegorodskih noted that as soon as a territory becomes free of wolves, rats, foxes, and wild dogs take their place, which assume the role of predator, and attack humans. He said, “In this situation, wolves are rather good”.

7 December 2013

Anastasia Maltseva

Russia Behind the Headlines

http://rbth.ru/society/2013/12/07/russian_bears_searching_remote_villages_for_food_32359.html

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Pussy Riot Prisoners Qualify for Amnesty… RF Supreme Court Sends Case Back to Lower Court

00 Pussy Riot. 17.08.12b

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Editor’s Note:

Rosbalt posted arrant shit (yet again) on the Pussy Riot case (Stetson picked it up, but labelled it unreliable). It’s like Portal-Credo.ru (here’s some info on Roman Lunkin, the nutter behind Portal-Credo) and Civil Georgia… many see them as Langley-financed running dogs (I agree with that assessment), who post mostly white propaganda (truthful as far as it goes, but it never goes far enough), along with some outrageous black propaganda. Nevertheless, these sites are a “must read”; they tell you the Langley “party line” of the moment. For instance, it’s why Orthodox people should attend to Potapov, Mattingly, Dreher, Reardon, Paffhausen, and Webster; they toe the Republican Party line blindly, thoughtlessly, and unswervingly (indeed, they’re modern analogues of “Stalinistcadres), so, they can tell you the latest about that lot… fancy that.  Some of the intel on these sites is legit, just “spun” in a pro-American direction. In any case, Rosbalt just lost its registration in October, so, it may not be long for this world… good riddance to bad rubbish…

BMD

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Jailed Pussy Riot members seem eligible for release under the terms of an amnesty that the RF Gosduma debated on Tuesday. The amnesty, to mark the 20th anniversary of the current Russian Constitution, applies to people serving sentences of up to five years for non-violent crimes, who haven’t previously served prison time. On Tuesday, Vladimir Lukin, RF Commissioner for Human Rights, said that the amnesty would apply to as many as 22,000 people. Mariya Alyokhina, 25, and Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, 23, are serving two-year terms for hooliganism motivated by religious hatred for taking part in Pussy Riot’s brief “punk prayer” protest against President Vladimir Putin at the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in 2012. Their conviction caused a stir amongst human rights groups both at home and abroad.

The text of the amnesty conditions published on the RF Gosduma official website specifically lists mothers of underage children as being eligible for amnesty. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova each have a child aged under seven. The text of the amnesty, presented to the RF Gosduma by Putin for consideration, excludes those who “deliberately violated the established terms of their punishment”, although it wasn’t immediately clear what would constitute such violations. Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova, who deny their guilt, both received reprimands whilst imprisoned that judges cited in repeated rejections of parole appeals. Both women have release dates of March 2014.

Dmitri Vyatkin, deputy chairman of the RF Gosduma constitutional legislation committee, said that the authorities would consider each case on an individual basis. Vyatkin told RIA-Novosti, “People might not agree to be amnestied, if, for example, they don’t consider themselves guilty”. The publication of the conditions for amnesty shed light on the fate of several other high-profile prisoners or people facing charges in Russia. The 30 people from 18 countries arrested by Russian authorities on board a Greenpeace ship after a protest against oil drilling in the Arctic in September are also eligible for pardon. They faced charges of hooliganism and now await trial in St Petersburg. Former Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov, charged with negligence amidst a scandal over the misuse of state funds, is also eligible for amnesty.

However, the amnesty won’t apply to all non-violent crimes. Opposition leader Aleksei Navalny, who got a suspended sentence this summer for large-scale theft in what critics said was a politically-motivated case, won’t see his conviction erased under the amnesty. Yevgeniya Vasilyeva, a former Defence Ministry property department head charged over the illegal sale of government property, faces trial for crimes including large-scale fraud and money laundering, which aren’t included under the terms of the amnesty.

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On Tuesday, the RF Supreme Court referred an appeal by three members of Pussy Riot against their prison sentence back to a Moscow court. On its website, the court said that it referred the case involving Maria Alyokhina, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, and Yekaterina Samutsevich to the Presidium of the Moscow City Court, a panel of judges tasked with reviewing sentences already in force. The women received two-year sentences to a general-level correctional colony in 2012 after being convicted of hooliganism motivated by religious hatred, for staging a “punk prayer” in Christ the Saviour Cathedral in Moscow’s, against Vladimir Putin’s return to the presidency. Their imprisonment caused an international stir. Later, Samutsevich left prison on probation after appeal, but Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova now serve out their sentences, due for release next March. The Moscow City Court rejected an appeal against their sentences on 29 May. The defence team then appealed that ruling to the RF Supreme Court. Alyokhina, 25, and Tolokonnikova, 23, could be eligible for release under a proposed amnesty that the RF Gosduma began to consider Tuesday. The amnesty is to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the current Russian Constitution. The amnesty includes a provision for mothers of young children. Both Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova have children under the age of seven.

10/11 December 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131210/185428310/Pussy-Riot-Prisoners-Qualify-for-Russian-Amnesty-.html

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131211/185436305/Pussy-Riot-Appeal-Sent-Back-to-Moscow-Court.html

The Night Wolves MC: Russia’s Answer to the Hell’s Angels

00 Putin w Night Wolves. RUSSIA. 11.12.13

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The Night Wolves are a phenomenon… bigger than a motorcycle club, something that makes presidents come to us, and the Patriarch give us his blessing.

A S Zaldostanov (“The Surgeon”)

President, Night Wolves MC

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Windblown faces, the smell of leather and tobacco, and the screech of tyres are the trademarks of the Night Wolves, a motorcycle gang that dominates the streets of Moscow by night. Founded in May 1989, the Night Wolves… mostly heavily bearded beer-bellied men in blue jeans and leather vests… grew out of the anti-Soviet rock culture of the 1980s, a time when they regarded themselves as freedom fighters. For many years, the Night Wolves was the only motorcycle club in the country. Today, it’s Russia’s largest club, with more than 5,000 members. The Night Wolves’ manifesto rejects all laws and instead puts its trust in the power of the Brotherhood. The founders modelled the club on the Hell’s Angels. However, one of the major differences between the Night Wolves and their American brethren is that the club is ideologically close to the authorities and is close to President V V Putin. Putin first visited the Night Wolves at their centre in western Moscow in 2009… sceptics viewed it as just another of his macho media stunts. The images of Putin in a leather jacket surrounded by burly bikers made the rounds in the press several times. However, the president’s support for the club seems sincere. Last July, Putin even kept Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich waiting for four hours whilst he had met with Aleksandr “The Surgeon” Zaldostanov, the tattooed leader of the Night Wolves. Earlier this year, Putin awarded Zaldostanov the prestigious Order of Merit for his “active work in patriotic upbringing of the young”, and for helping search for the remains of missing World War II soldiers. In addition, Zaldostanov organised a biker festival in Volgograd as part of a wider ceremony commemorating the Nazi bombing of the city, then known as Stalingrad, on 23 August 1942.

For his part, Zaldostanov makes no secret of his warm relations with Putin and praises the president for his patriotic attempts to “return Russia’s greatness. I want us to remain a patriotic club, to be an example for the young, to do something for our Fatherland… which we basically lost by buying jeans and chewing gum, selling out for McDonald’s. The Night Wolves are a phenomenon… bigger than a motorcycle club, something that makes presidents come to us, and the Patriarch give us his blessing”. Last year, the Night Wolves supported the Orthodox Church during the Pussy Riot controversy. After the feminist group performed their “punk prayer” in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in February 2012, the club publicly expressed outrage and then promised to help guard Orthodox cathedrals from any further “hooliganism”. Not everyone finds the Night Wolves lifestyle congenial. Some of their nationalist statements, as well as their anti-feminist and anti-homosexual attitudes, put off middle-class men who can afford upmarket bikes. Even those who want to join the group aren’t immediately accepted. One club member known as Feliks says that a Wolf-to be needs to spend five years riding with the club and participating in its activities to become a member. The relationship between the Wolves and the Kremlin may also have become a problem for other biker clubs. Last year, the Wolves had a shootout with a rival gang, the Three Roads, which resulted in the death of a biker. Allegedly, the fight began over the Wolves’ support for the Kremlin. Later, Yevgeni Vorobyov, the leader of the Three Roads, said that his gang angered the Night Wolves by ending its alliance with them and instead establishing ties with an American motorcycle club, the Bandidos, which recently edged onto Russian soil, but keeps a low profile. He said, “We just didn’t like the public activity of the Wolves… all that official stuff. Our ideals are music, bikes, free time, and girls, after all. The Wolves have become too politicised”.

8 December 2013

Yaroslava Kiryukhina

Russia Behind the Headlines

http://rbth.ru/society/2013/12/08/night_wolves_russias_answer_to_hells_angels_32369.html

Think The Whole World Is Honouring Mandela? Not These American Conservatives

00 What Would Jesus Do. Terry Jones. Political Cartoon. 9.12
Let’s do what Christ would do… now, that’s RELIGION… and that’s a PLAN!

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On Tuesday, world leaders and public figures from across the globe gathered in Johannesburg to pay tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, South Africa’s first black president and revered anti-apartheid crusader. For what seemed like the first time in years, Democrats and Republicans united… in their tributes to Mandela. At the memorial service, the climate of respect for Madiba was so deep that US President Barack Obama even shook hands with Cuban President Raúl Castro Ruz. So, of course, Mandela’s death has inspired similar feelings among Americans themselves. Or, has it? Sadly, no. As conservative politicians like Newt Gingrich, Ted Cruz, and Marco Rubio took to Facebook and Twitter to honour Mandela, some of their constituents did the opposite. Such posts were flooded with highly-rated comments calling Mandela a Communist, killer, and liar, accusing these same conservative politicians of getting into bed with the supposed secret Communist terrorist menace symbolised by the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Mandela.

Soon after Mandela’s death on Thursday night, Gingrich wrote a short, deeply felt tribute to Mandela, calling him “one of the greatest leaders of our lifetime” and “the father of an integrated democratic South Africa”. Alarmingly, Gingrich’s support for Mandela enraged many of his supporters. Many of their attacks on Gingrich and Mandela were racial:

  • He hated America, Newt. Quit pandering to the blacks”.
  • “Come on Newt. He was a communist and a murder similar to our currant [sic] president. Are you too being baffled by the main stream media”.

Backlash against Gingrich from his supporters was so great that the former Speaker of the House and Republican presidential candidate felt compelled to write an even longer separate post, praising Mandela, and asking his commenters what they would’ve done in his place. Gingrich even went on to discuss his horror at the comments on CNN, saying, “If you’d been imprisoned for 27 years, 18 of them in a cell eight foot by seven foot, how do you think you would’ve emerged? Would you have been angry? Would you have been bitter? Nelson Mandela emerged from 27 years in prison as an astonishingly wise, patient, and compassionate person… before you criticise him, ask yourself, what would you have done in his circumstances?”

Still, Gingrich’s most hardcore supporters refused to listen. One commenter… who clearly has no idea what apartheid entailed, or of what South Africa has become… wrote:

  • “[Mandela] didn’t turn S. Africa into a place of equality. He flipped the roles and has now made it racist toward all white people… So I am sorry Mr. Gingrich, but I will never honor a butchering communist”.
  • “Mandella and Fidel Castro were best friends. That’s all I need to know. That and Obama woshiped [sic] him. ’nuff said”.

Gingrich was far from the only Republican to suffer a major backlash over supporting Mandela. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) wrote, “Mandela will live in history as an inspiration for defenders of liberty around the globe”, and it wasn’t long before his supporters, too, let loose racially-charged, supposedly anti-Communist, nonsense:

  • “Why don’t all you Mandela lovers head on over to South Africa and see what’s going on now that ‘Mandela’s people’ have control of the nation. … Get out and go mix with the people, experience what life is really like. Especially if you’re white”.
  • “He was also a huge supporter of abortion! Don’t put him too high up! Careful Mr Cruz”
  • Another replied, using some of the most obvious racist code words: “It’s the one thing Mandela got right. Abortion among his supporters improves humanity as a whole”.

Even House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) received similar hate after praising Mandela’s “perseverance in fighting the apartheid system”. A concise poster wrote:

  • “glad he’s dead”.
  • “John, from your comments does it mean you support communism and the killing of white people?”

10 December 2013

Eric Brown

International Business Times

http://www.ibtimes.com/think-whole-world-honoring-mandela-not-these-us-conservatives-1503886

Editor’s Note:

The comments speak for themselves. It’s not for nothing that the GOP is the “Stupid Party”. Remember… it defends the greed of the unfettered Free Market. “The love of money is the root of all evil”… that says it all, and it says why NO Christian can support the godless agenda of the Republican Party. No… being anti-abortion doesn’t cancel out indiscriminate drone strikes, unlimited extrajudicial detention, the promiscuous use of capital punishment, coddling of the Affluent Effluent, and attacks against social programmes. It’s EVIL… that’s all that I can say. I oppose all who support such demonic rubbish… especially, the “clergy” who do so. I’ll see you on the other side of the barricades… now, that’s “’nuff said”.

Nevertheless, the Republicans who spoke well of Mandela DID stick out their necks, the contemporary GOP being what it’s become. I bow to them in that. Courage is courage, and, sometimes, your foe shows it. Acknowledge it or be found a pig. That’s that…

BMD

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