Voices from Russia

Friday, 7 March 2014

65,000 Show Up for Pro-Crimea Rally-Concert “We’re Together!” on Red Square (with vids from all performers present)

00 Rally in Moscow 01. 07.03.14

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Oleg Gazmanov’s Victory Day concert in Kharkov in 2012 (50 minutes)… this is real deal Kharkov… there’s no fascist Banderovtsy filth (it’s a unashamed Russian town)!

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More than 65,000 people in Moscow came to a rally on Red Square in support of the 16 March all-Crimea popular referendum. The rally-concert “We’re together!” attracted a huge crowd, including politicians, public figures, union groups, student associations, and just plain folks. RF Gosduma Deputies, along with the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea delegation led by its Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov, also showed up for the affair. This time, the Deputies moved amongst the crowd and not standing in a special fenced-in area, as usually happens. For example, United Russia Deputy Irina Yarova had a hard time explaining to the cops that she was a Gosduma Deputy with the right to go backstage.

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00 Rally in Moscow 02. 07.03.14

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Denis Maidanov

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Aleksandr Marshal

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Sergei Neverov, the Secretary General of United Russia told us, “People are here today because they believe that the Crimea is a part of Russia… it’s a reunion of our people. Wherever you look in Russia, you see people in all our cities holding rallies in support of the Crimea”. Vyacheslav Nikonov, the chairman of the RF Gosduma Committee on Education, said, “We must urge the Crimeans to make the right choice at the referendum, then, Russia will help them. Our standard of living here is four times better than it is in the Ukraine. These guys need to understand that Russia doesn’t abandon its people and it won’t forsake them”. Amongst the crowd, one could see flags of political parties and public bodies such as “United Russia”, “Motherland”, “Liberal Democratic Party”, “Pensioners’ Organisation”, “Officers of Russia”, “Georgievtsy”, “Young Guard”, “National Unity”, “Mother Russia”, as well as many schools. Many who came held banners, “For the fraternal people”, “Defend the Crimea from fascism”, “Crimea-Russian land”, “We won’t trade it for money”, “Putin, we’re with you!” etc.

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00 Rally in Moscow 03. 07.03.14

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Valeria

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Lyube

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A naval infantryman told us, “I have many friends in the Crimea… Russians, Jews, Tatars, I trained with them, we’re in a struggle now, we all hear the call, but I tell everybody… our guys, the naval infantry, won’t fail! I’m convinced that the people in the referendum will choose a path for Crimea to be closer to us”. Many young people said that although they couldn’t vote in the Crimea, they were sure that the people there would choose the proper path, “Russia will always be with the Crimea”. The older generation was more categorical in its statements, one older gent said, “Reuniting with the Crimea will be very hard. A variety of forces will try to crush it. They’ll throw at them what we experienced in the 1990s. Russia will be able to aid the Crimea without putting onerous demands on them”. Another pensioner said, “Let the Ukraine decide whatever it wants to, but Crimea must be Russian”.

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00 Rally in Moscow 04. 07.03.14

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Vika Tsyganova

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The concert opened with Denis Maidanov, then, Oleg Gazmanov, Aleksandr Marshal, Valeria, Lyube, and Vika Tsyganova. After that, they formally read the text of the resolution of the meeting onstage, asking the President of the Russian Federation to support the decision of the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea and to support the RF Gosduma and Federation Council in their work to reunite the Crimea to Russia. It read, “We, the participants of this rally, support the choice of the citizens of the Crimea. We support their commitment to free, legal, and democratic means to defend their right to choose the future of the Crimea and Sevastopol, and their desire to restore justice and to reunite with Russia. On behalf of the entire Russian people, we appeal to Russian President Vladimir Putin with the demand that he support the decision of the Crimean parliament to reunite with Russia”. Loud applause from the crowd supported the document. In addition, Chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Crimea Vladimir Konstantinov addressed the audience, thanking the Russian people for their support and urged them, “Don’t throw the Crimea to the wolves; don’t throw us to the Nazi gangs”.

7 March 2014

Nakanune.ru

http://www.nakanune.ru/news/2014/3/7/22344227/

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Kharkov Blockaded… Shall There Be a Neo-Nazi Genocide of the Russian-Speaking Population?

00 Kharkov roadblock. 07.03.14

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Yesterday, neo-Nazis blockaded Kharkov; they have it under siege. They’re the usual sort of illegal armed bands that operate wherever the bandit Kiev junta operates. Back in the day, they told us that we couldn’t fight in Afghanistan and sustain a friendly state by force of arms. So, we left. We left… we left the people and the country in the lurch. Then, they told us that everyone has the right to decide their own destiny… and tens of millions were suddenly foreign residents. Today, they deny us the right to live in this state. They don’t just say, “Take your suitcase and leave, Russian”, they point a tommy gun at us and tell us where to go and what to do.

What happened in the Ukraine was an armed putsch fomented by foreign states and carried out with their aid. Some believe, “It’s a revolution of wretched men who can’t do anything against an élite that doesn’t want to do anything”. Let’s not delude ourselves with illusions. We saw dozens of politicians from the EU and the USA; they personally came to the armed mob on the Maidan and passed out goodies. The whole world saw and heard their words of encouragement after the Euromaidan mob beat police with chains and rammed a bulldozer against barricades. We all saw and heard the guarantees from the three Foreign Ministers of Poland, Germany, and France that the oppositionists wouldn’t use force if the police and MVD troops withdrew.

What else do you need to prove that foreigners interfered in Ukrainian affairs? Do you need to see an atomic bomb go off? Indeed, immediately after the ministers gained legitimacy for the oppositionist gunmen, they seized the government quarter and toppled the Ukrainian government. No matter what people think, this is a revolution… good God, at least acknowledge the obvious, that the Banderovtsy took over the country. These are upfront Ukrainian Nazis; they live according to the principle, “One country, one people, one leader”… they openly yell, “Knife the Muscovites!” Who’re the Muscovites? Why, it’s us. The millions who speak Russian… not just Russians living in the Ukraine (in principle, it’s hard to distinguish Ukrainian from Russian), but rather those who speak Russian.

You might not believe it, but they don’t even recognise that the Russian language exists as a separate entity; they argue that we all speak a “Russian language”. They try to crush it all out… our love of Russia and the Russian language. They hate our refusal to worship Banderist heroes and ideals. These Banderovtsy, with their “day of mourning” on Victory Day, their obsession with the so-called “Russian anti-Ukrainian Famine”, and, in general, their claims of “centuries of oppression” by Finno-Ugric Muscovy of Ukrainian Kievan Rus.

You think that it’s just nonsense? It’s nonsense, yet, the relatively peaceful and legal Yushchenko allowed it to grow. Today, after the seizure of power and the ouster of the hated, but legitimate, President Yanukovich, they try to physically destroy Russians. Russian citizens must realise that they’re trying to destroy their friends and relatives, people who’re actual members of the Russian ethnos, caught unwillingly outside Russia after the collapse of the USSR. The whole world watches the Crimea; they repeat the script given by the media puppeteers about illegal armed locals building roadblocks, inspecting vehicles, etc. However, the pictures from the Kharkov-Poltava motorway prove that Right Sector bandits already blockade Kharkov.

Again, they’re just the usual illegal armed groups that operate wherever the gangster junta controls. They burned buses from the Crimea; they rob and kill. Yet, they don’t show it on the TV or report it in the newspapers. Today, Banderovtsy from the Western Ukraine started genocide against the Russian population. If Russia won’t hear our cries for help (even though they’re in the Crimea, where the Banderovtsy didn’t penetrate) from Kharkov, Donetsk, Lugansk… well, then, we won’t be a friendly neighbour any more, we won’t be “family”, we won’t be a “fraternal nation”… we’d be Russian haters and Russian opportunists. To get another loan from the West, the Banderovtsy would give NATO bases to emplace missile defence systems 60 kilometres from Belgorod. The old saying is that Russia is slow to start, but fast when it does move. So, maybe… it’s already off the leash? It’s already late…

7 March 2014

Nakanune.ru

http://www.nakanune.ru/news/2014/3/7/22344156/

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Russia to Respect Democratic Choice in Crimea Referendum

together-forever-russia-and-ukraine

Together Forever!

Unknown Artist

1942-45

Great Patriotic War poster

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On Friday morning, delegates from the Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea (VS ARK) led by Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov met with RF Gosduma Deputies. RF Gosduma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin announced Russia’s readiness to respect any choice made by citizens of the Autonomous Republic of the Crimea (ARK) in the 16 March referendum. He said at the meeting with the VS ARK delegation, “We’ll treat this historic choice of the Crimean population with respect. We’ll support the free and democratic choice of the people of the Crimea and Sevastopol”. Konstantinov said, “No matter what happens to us, the referendum will go ahead; it’ll clarify things for Crimean citizens. It’s obvious that the country that the Crimea once loved no longer exists. We don’t understand this new entity. It’s illegitimate. We’re scared of it”. He pointed up that all the decisions taken by the VS ARK are licit, saying, “We’re heading in the right direction”. Konstantinov noted that the VS ARK decision that the Crimea should return to Russia again is historic, “There’s only one question… will Russia take us back?” At the same time, a rally near the Gosduma building, right before the arrival of the VS ARK delegation, supported Crimean-Russian friendship. Public groups People’s Militia and Officers of Russia organised the rally, whose participants chanted, “Russia and Crimea… Friends Forever”. According to police estimates, about 300 people met where Bolshaya Dmitrovka and Mokhovaya Streets intersect.

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A source told us that RF Federation Council Chairman Valentina Matviyenko would meet with a VS ARK delegation on Friday, saying, “A large delegation of our Crimean colleagues, led by VS ARK Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov is coming to Moscow. The delegation will meet with the chairmen of both houses of the RF Federal Assembly; the upcoming all-Crimea referendum will be high on the agenda of these negotiations”. Our source also said that the Federation Council would like the Crimean delegation to tell them about the situation in the ARK and in the Ukraine as a whole, to tell us about the progress on the preparations for the referendum, noting, “We’re ready to share our legislative expertise with the VS ARK People’s Deputies. We’ll also discuss the sending of an observation mission composed of Gosduma Deputies and Federation Council members. Another item is on the agenda… we’d like to discuss the prospective development of relations between Russian federal subjects and the Ukraine, the Crimea in particular. In short, we wish to discuss an entire range of political and socioeconomic issues”.

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SK Rossii spokesman Vladimir Markin said that authorities in Belgorod, Kursk, and Bryansk and Voronezh Oblasts opened criminal investigations after local governors received threats allegedly linked to the current situation in the Ukraine, saying, “We opened criminal cases under Article 318 Part 1 of the UK RF ‘Threats to Use Violence Against a Representative of the Authorities or His Family Member in Connection with the Fulfilment of His Professional Duties’”.

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On Friday, SK Rossii spokesman Vladimir Markin said that the SK opened a criminal inquiry against Aleksandr Muzichko, the coördinator of the Ukrainian Right Sector ultra-nationalist movement, for involvement in acts of banditry targeting RF forces in Chechnya in the 1990s.  It put Muzichko, nicknamed Sashko Bily, on an international wanted list on suspicion of killing Russian servicemen. Markin said, “Muzichko faces accusations of killing at least 20 soldiers of federal forces held in captivity. Today, we named Muzichko as a defendant and put him on an international wanted list. We filed a petition to put him in custody in Yessentuki City Court in Stavropol Krai. The Main Investigative Department (GSU) of the SK RF in the North Caucasian Federal District opened a criminal case against Ukrainian citizen Aleksandr Muzichko, nicknamed Sashko Bily, under Article 209 Part 1 of UK RF ‘For Formation of a Gang to Attack Russian Citizens and Heading It’. We opened this criminal case due to information obtained in our investigation of a clash between illegal armed units led by warlords Shamil Basaev and Khattab and servicemen of the Pskov Airborne Division near the village of Ulus-Kert in Chechnya in 2000”.

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On Friday, the leaders of all four factions represented in the RF Gosduma, the lower chamber of the RF Federal Assembly, declared their support for the VS ARK decision to hold an all-Crimea popular referendum on 16 March on the ARK’s future status. At a meeting with VS ARK Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov and his delegation presided over by RF Gosduma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin, KPRF First Secretary Gennady Zyuganov said, “The will of the people is sacred for me, as a human being and as a political figure. We’ll support it as strongly as possible”. Gosduma Deputy Chairman and United Russia faction leader Vladimir Vasilyev said that the Gosduma resolutely supports the Crimean population in this difficult time, after the Euromaidan putsch in Kiev. Gosduma Deputy Chairman and United Russia Deputy Sergei Zheleznyak said, “Most Russian citizens rejoiced and were proud to learn of the decisions adopted by the VS ARK”.

LDPR leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky, who also attended the meeting with the Crimean delegation, said that the news of the VS ARK decision pleased millions of Russian citizens, saying, “It was the most joyous piece of news since 1945”. Zhirinovsky called on Crimean citizens not to be afraid of anything because Russia would certainly support the results of this referendum, noting, “I’d like to assure you that everything will happen just the way the people of Crimea want it to happen. You should stand firm. You shouldn’t have any doubts. People will carry you on their shoulders. Your names will create a new chapter in the history of the Crimea”. A Just Russia faction First Deputy Chairman Mikhail Yemelynov also assured the Crimean delegation that Gosduma Deputies would support any decision democratically made at the all-Crimea referendum, saying, “Russia is able to extend financial support to Crimea, and we’ll prepare amendments to the budget in the near future”. Gosduma SNG Affairs Committee Chairman Leonid Slutsky said, “A few days after the [all-Crimea] referendum, the Gosduma will ratify the decision made by the people of the Crimea in that referendum”. Naryshkin told the VS ARK delegation at the end of the meeting, “[Gosduma] Deputies support you in the most resolute way”.

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On Friday, VOR correspondent Lada Korotun reported that the RF Federation Council would back the VS ARK’s decision to join Russia after an all-Crimea referendum scheduled for mid-March. Federation Council Chairman Valentina Matviyenko told VS ARK Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov, “The Federation Council will support the VS ARK decision about the referendum, and this decision will be legitimate”. She emphasised that the decision to hold the referendum is consistent with contemporary international practise, going on to say, “It’d suffice to remember the referendum in Scotland. Besides, the VS ARK chose the most democratic form… a referendum is the final expression of the people’s will”. She called the VS ARK decision historic. The Crimean delegation repeatedly elicited applause during the meeting.

Matviyenko said that it was a symbol that they recognised the courage of her Crimean colleagues, saying, “We admire your fortitude and courage. Many made threats against you; there were threats of attacks, in particular, against the Black Sea Fleet base, but you endured that and protected your people. This applause is for you”. She said that she was confident that there’d never be war between Russia and the Ukraine, noting, “Claims that the people of the Ukraine will wage a war against Russia are absolutely absurd. There’ll never be war between our fraternal peoples”. She repeated that the Kiev junta is unlawful, noting, “They plunged the Ukraine into the chaos of the Orange Revolution. Russia unwaveringly supported a return to constitutional order, to restore the rule of law in the Ukraine”. Matviyenko added that Russian lawmakers are ready to send an observation mission to the all-Crimea referendum so that the voting process and its results “make no one doubt their legality”.

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mikhail-khmelko-unity-of-the-russian-people

The Unity of the Russian People

Mikhail Khmelko

1948

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Presidential Press Secretary Dmitri Peskov urged people not to look for “the hand of Moscow” in protest actions in the eastern Ukraine and in the Crimea. In an interview on Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyov, shown on Rossiya-24, he said, “What’s happening in the [eastern Ukraine] and the Crimea has nothing to do with the Russian Federation. These aren’t manipulated events, let alone the consequences of actions by Russia. On the contrary, parties called for Russian help, and, as Putin rightly said, Russia can’t ignore this situation. However, these events in the Ukraine have purely domestic sources”.

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On Friday, in comments to reporters on events in the Ukraine, PRC Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said that China opposes threats of sanctions in international relations. Speaking of the VS ARK vote to join the Russian Federation as a federal subject, Qin said, “In the current situation, we hope that the parties would manage to avoid further deterioration and join efforts to search for a political solution. This is the only way out. We urge all parties in the Ukraine to settle issues by peaceful means, to protect the interests of all people in the Ukraine within the framework of law and order through dialogue and consultations”. Qin expressed a hope for a quick restoration of peace and order in the Ukraine.

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VS ARK Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov said that he pledged to do everything possible for the Ukraine to reunite with Russia. He said at a meeting with RF Gosduma Chairman Sergei Naryshkin and leaders of the Gosduma’s factions, “I hope that you’d be able to bring up a new leader in the Ukraine. We talked about it several times. We said that we need a new Bogdan Khmelnitsky (leader of a popular rebellion against Polish rule in the Ukraine that ultimately led to the Ukrainian lands east of the Dnepr rejoining Russia) to emerge and unite these two great states, which can’t exist separately. Yesterday, I received many calls from the eastern regions of Ukraine and from Odessa. People congratulated me. They all said it was great. Sadly, we have big problems, but the Ukraine is part of a united Russian world. After we solve the Crimea’s problem (I’m sure that we’ll solve it), we must exert the maximum effort to protect not only ethnic Russians. In general, we should protect all Ukrainian citizens… both ethnic Russians and Ukrainians… from Nazism and from the Western pressure to impose a foreign ideology. I believe that the present Ukrainian junta will collapse. The junta will face serious tension within the year. Today, instead of trying to unite the Ukraine, it refuses to hear the interests of the southern and eastern Ukraine”.

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In an interview on Sunday Night with Vladimir Solovyov on Rossiya-24, Presidential Press Secretary Dmitri Peskov called the actions of Western countries towards the Ukraine “a triumph of double standards”. He said, “Overall, what we see now happening in and around the Ukraine is a triumph of lawlessness, a triumph of cynicism, and a triumph of the collapse of international law; it’s a triumph of double standards. Our Western partners recognised the legitimacy of those who now refer to themselves as the leaders of the Ukraine, despite the fact that these people came to power with the support of those who led a coup. They rushed to recognise them as legitimate, they insist on their legitimacy, whilst completely denying the right of anyone else in the Ukraine to take action at their discretion. The west and the east are all people of a united Ukraine, but the leadership denied parts of this people the right to self-determination, the right to a legitimate choice, the right to action to defend their dignity and personal safety. Regretfully, the West ignores this. To our great regret, despite all the attempts by our president, and his readiness to explain the Russian position effectively on a daily basis, we still face a wall of misunderstanding. This is quite sad, and more importantly, it’s very bad from the viewpoint of further possible consequences”.

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On Friday, VS ARK Chairman Vladimir Konstantinov told reporters that the upcoming all-Crimea referendum would restore historical justice and reunite the peninsula with Russia, noting, “We were given away as a gift in 1954 for unclear reasons, like a sack of potatoes, in disregard of the rights of Crimean residents”. He said that people accepted it 50 years ago because it wasn’t a transfer to another country. Konstantinov emphasised, “It came to no good, the gift turned into something given”. In his opinion, the label “separatist” is unfairly stuck to the ARK, saying, “They labelled us as ‘separatists’, no matter what we said, even though we did everything to preserve the country and warned that [the Kiev events] would end badly”. Konstantinov said, that Crimean citizens can restore historical justice and decide “where to live and with whom” at the referendum. Jokingly, Konstantinov said that they had only one condition… “Please… don’t give us away as a gift again”.

7 March 2014

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Russia-will-support-democratic-choice-of-Crimean-population-State-Duma-speaker-3080/

http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_03_07/Crimean-parliament-delegation-to-meet-with-Matviyenko-3168/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Threats-received-by-Russian-governors-about-Ukraine-probed-investigators-2727/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Russia-launches-criminal-case-against-Ukraine-nationalist-over-links-with-terrorist-Basaev-9536/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Russias-State-Duma-faction-leaders-back-Crimean-legislatures-decisions-March-16-referendum-8020/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Federation-Council-to-support-Crimean-accession-to-Russia-after-referendum-2937/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Events-in-east-Ukraine-Crimea-have-nothing-to-do-with-Russia-Peskov-5755/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/China-opposes-sanction-threats-in-intl-relations-in-comments-on-Ukraine-0719/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Crimean-parliament-to-do-everything-possible-for-Ukraine-reunion-with-Russia-speaker-2641/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Western-double-standards-over-Ukraine-leads-to-collapse-of-intl-law-Moscow-4255/

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_07/Crimean-Supreme-Council-speaker-asks-Russia-not-to-give-Crimea-away-as-gift-again-4913/

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Putin Sez “Paralympians are People of Extraordinary Character”

00 Order of Honour. Russia. Paralympics recipients. 09.12

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00.00i Paralympics 2012. 01.09.12

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Editor’s Foreword:

I checked this against some Russian sources and made minor changes. I wanted you to have the full impact of President Putin’s “take” on this.

BMD

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Interviewer:

From the point of view of the public and media, the London Paralympics was a breakthrough. According to the audience ratings, its popularity was no less than of the Olympic Games. Will Sochi 2014 be able to open a new chapter in history?

Putin: 

Let’s start with the fact that UK is the birthplace of the Paralympic Games. We should thank Ludwig Guttmann, a talented neurosurgeon from the English town of Stoke Mandeville, who held the first sporting event for disabled people. He worked in rehabilitating patients with spinal cord injuries, mostly veterans of the Second World War; he proved that sport and physical activity help patients to recover, to believe in themselves and in their strength, and to return to normal life. In 1948, Guttmann organised the Stoke-Mandeville Barrier Games that became the prototype of the Paralympics. Our country took part in the Paralympic Games since the 1980s, and it has good and strong traditions, especially in cross-country skiing and ice sledge hockey. We’ve also showed good results in curling and downhill skiing.

In general, Paralympic sport and its remarkable athletes are attracting more and more attention. The athletes themselves have done much to draw attention to and popularise the Paralympic Games; their success is remarkable. We have no doubt that the Paralympic Winter Games in Sochi will find an audience. In addition, we’ll intensively broadcast these events. The Russian company “Panorama”, specifically created for the Games in Sochi, will offer international television coverage of the Paralympic Games. Taking into consideration its outstanding work broadcasting the Olympics, I’m sure that it’ll show the Paralympics  in all its intensity, in all its competition, in no less bright and full colours. The TV audience of London Games exceeded 3.5 billion people. It’s important to strive for similar results, but not for the sake of statistics. Paralympic competition can have a most powerful positive impact on society, on people’s minds. Determined Paralympic athletes literally share their energy; they show each of us what it means to be purposeful, to have a winning personality, what it actually means to be honest and have a dynamic view on life. In brief, I urge everyone to visit and watch the Paralympics in Sochi and to follow it in the media.

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00 Paralympics. 10.09.12. Gold Medal

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00.0e Paralympics. Putin. 11.09.12

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Interviewer:

In many countries, Paralympians complain about the lack of support from the public and businesses. In Russia, the state actively supports sport for disabled people. Could we strengthen it further, for instance, through promoting it in business circles?

Putin: 

In most places, Paralympic sport developed largely due to government support. we implemented a range of measures that really contributed to the success of our Paralympians, starting from improving their health and logistics, up to an increase in state payments based on performance at international competitions. Let me remind you, before 2008, state payments for Paralympians and Deaflympians were less than those for Olympians. That wasn’t fair… today, athletes that represent Russia at the Olympics, Paralympics, and Deaflympics receive the same awards… for a gold medal, they get 4 million roubles (110,000 USD. 122,000 CAD. 122,000 AUD. 80,000 Euros. 66,000 UK Pounds), for a silver, they get 2.5 million roubles (69,000 USD. 76,000 CAD. 76,000 AUD. 50,000 Euros. 42,000 UK Pounds), and for a bronze, they get 1.7 million roubles (47,000 USD. 52,000 CAD. 52,000 AUD. 34,000 Euros. 28,000 UK Pounds). Since 2012, we’ve increased payments based on results gained in performance at World and European championships.

In addition, we’ve increased the number of monthly Presidential grants from 500 to 700, which we award for special achievement to athletes, coaches, and other specialists on our Paralympic and Deaflympics teams. At the same time, we’ve increased the amount of such grants from 15,000 to 32,000 roubles (414 to 883 USD. 456 to 970 CAD. 456 to 970 AUD. 300 to 637 Euros. 247 to 527 UK Pounds) a month. If we were to talk about the support of our Paralympic teams by business and community organisations, I’m sure that’ll increase with each passing year. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a dramatic change in the attitude towards disabled people. By the way, the success of our Paralympians contributed greatly to the growing popularity of the Paralympic Movement.

Interviewer:

Do you think that the Paralympic Games will attract more disabled people to take up sport? If so, how will the state support their growing needs?

Putin: 

I’d like to remind that a key mission of the Paralympic Movement is to increase an interest in sport and to help disabled people integrate fully in the life of society. I’m sure that Paralympics in Sochi will contribute to carry out these tasks further, will involve more disabled people in sport, and bring more to train. In general, we want to help them build confidence in themselves, in their own strength and abilities. The most striking achievement of our Paralympians is their will to win; they set a heroic standard… that disabled people can have active, full, and successful lives. Of course, there’s still a lot that we must do in Russia to ensure that sport infrastructure is available for such citizens and we’ll continue to create multi-use sports facilities, improve training of teachers in adaptive physical education, so that disabled people have equal opportunities for sport and self-realisation.

Special programmes like “Development of Physical Culture and Sports” and “Accessible Environment” do a lot of work in this direction. Largely due to implementing these programs, in the last three years, the number of disabled people engaged in sport doubled in Russia, it now exceeds 500,000 people. We’ve set a goal to create conditions so that by 2020 2.5 million disabled people will be able to exercise regularly. To promote physical education and sport among young disabled people, we’ll hold nation-wide contests in the various sports in the Paralympic and Deaflympics programmes. During the summer Spartakiad in 2011, 1,257 athletes from 56 federal subjects took part, in the winter Spartakiad of 2013, 475 athletes from 38 federal subjects competed. The next Spartakiad is due in 2015, and the necessary preparations for it are already underway.

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00.00e 04.09.12 Paralympics 2012. Aleksei Ashapatov

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00.0a Paralympics. Putin. 11.09.12

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Interviewer:

Sochi will be the first city with a fully accessible environment for the disabled; there are plans in the near future to ensure full accessibility in Moscow. What should we do to ensure this accessibility across Russia?

Putin: 

The setup of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi actually set new standards for modern urban planning based on creating accessible spaces for disabled people. Both residents and many visitors appreciated it. I’d point up that Russia ratified the Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in 2008. We’re trying to set up a so-called barrier-free environment, aimed to give a full and equal access to disabled people and people with limited mobility to engineering, transport, and social infrastructure, to means of communication is now developing all over the country as part of the state programme “Accessible Environment”. We started its implementation in 2011, providing it significant resources, more than 180 billion roubles (4.97 billion USD. 5.46 billion CAD. 5.46 billion AUD. 3.58 billion Euros. 2.97 billion UK Pounds).Of course, we have to do a lot of work here, because, essentially, we’re only at the beginning, but we can already see the first results. For example, we see it in our making sports facilities accessible, in developing adaptive physical education and sports. Currently, this kind of institution is present in 40 federal subjects, and by the end of 2015, they’ll appear in 13 more. Youth sports schools opened profile departments in 26 federal subjects. In addition, by the end of 2015, we plan to prepare more than 1,400 professionals capable of providing professional training services.

Interviewer:

How might the Paralympic Games influence people’s attitude towards the disabled, to make a change towards more acceptance? Shall it give disabled people a shot at real equality? Do you think that the Paralympics will become a symbol of the growth of acceptance?

Putin: 

The very appearance of the Paralympics radically changed the public’s perception of disabled people. They broke down existing stereotypes; they maintain that a person’s real power lies within them, in their ability to overcome any difficulty. Guttmann started competitions between disabled people for medical and rehabilitation purposes, but they turned into a sporting event of international level. In emotions and level of struggle, they’re in no way inferior to any other competition. Therefore, I’m sure, the popularity and interest in the Paralympics will grow. Moreover, this is very important. The example of the Paralympians, their courage and dignity, inspire us, give us hope, and change our lives for the better. The immense humanistic potential of the Paralympic movement has no equal in the moral education of society and of our youth, in establishing principles of equal opportunities, in creating conditions so that everyone can fulfil their personal, creative, and professional capabilities, and for a secure and decent life for all citizens without exception.

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00.01a Russian Paralympians. 08.12. Putin. Moscow

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00 Patriarch Kirill with Russian athletes. 11.10.12

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Interviewer:

The Russian Paralympic team always performs very well. What do you expect from the Russian athletes in Sochi?

Putin: 

It’s not good to think too far ahead, especially, in sport, where there’s a chance of accidents, and other things beyond the control of the athletes. However, Russia, of course, has reason to believe in the victory of our Paralympic team. In the past qualifying season, they won first place in the unofficial team standings and did it with a very good margin over the nearest competitors. Our Russian Paralympic team has always pleased the fans. Let’s remember the last Winter Paralympics in Turin in 2008. We took first place in the team standings, as well as in Vancouver in 2010, where we were second in the number of gold medals won, but we were first in the total number of medals. I want to note that the Russian Paralympic team in Vancouver participated in only three out of five types of sports, where 31 athlete performed. For Sochi, we’ve prepared a team of 64 people; we’ll compete for six types out of 72 sets of medals. Amongst them are biathlon, skiing, wheelchair curling, ice sledge hockey, and para-snowboard, which is a new programme for the Paralympic Winter Games. Therefore, there’s much hope for another victory. Our athletes are ready. The main thing left is good luck and support from our fans.

Interviewer:

Do you personally know any Paralympians? What do you consider the most impressive thing about them?

Putin: 

What’s most impressive in people that’re able to overcome the most difficult, sometimes tragic, conditions, not merely to learn to live in a new environment, within new physical limitations, but also to achieve success? Of course, it’s their personal courage, dedication, and tremendous strength of spirit and will. There are enough examples of quite healthy successful people, who come across not so significant everyday problems, but they just go limp and give up. In contrast, the story of each Paralympian is a story of victory over oneself, over illness, over difficult circumstances. It really can’t leave anyone apathetic. I’ve met Paralympians many times, and I can confirm that Paralympians are people of extraordinary character, with a special toughness. We can all learn from their attitude towards life, towards themselves, and towards the outside world.

6 March 2014

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_06/Paralympians-are-people-of-special-nature-toughness-Putin-8166/

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