Voices from Russia

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

RF Gosduma Passes Law Imposing Counter-Sanctions Against the USA and Unfriendly States

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The RF Gosduma passed the final third reading of a law on counter-sanctions against the USA and other unfriendly states. The law stipulates that the Russian President could provide the government with the right to impose restrictions, provided they don’t apply to vital supplies without analogues produced in Russia or other countries. The President could make decisions on sanctions based on proposals submitted by the Security Council. At the same time, the government could remove these restrictions in case the situation causing the introduction of sanctions should change. The document read:

The federal law aims to protect the interests and safety of Russia, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, as well as the rights and freedoms of Russian citizens, from unfriendly actions by the USA and other states, which may take the form of political and economic sanctions on Russia, Russian citizens, and legal entities, as well as from other actions posing a threat to Russia’s territorial integrity and aimed at destabilising the economic and political situation in the country.

A group of lawmakers led by RF Gosduma Chairman V V Volodin initiated the proposal.

The second reading of the bill omitted a reference to specific industries, goods, and services, and reduced the list of possible actions from 16 to six. Russia could impose counter-sanctions on unfriendly countries, organisations under their jurisdiction, whether directly or indirectly controlled by those countries or affiliated with them, as well as on those countries’ officials and citizens. Companies from the USA and other unfriendly states, and those controlled by or affiliated with them, couldn’t take part in contracts for government purchases or for the privatisation of state property. The Russian cabinet would have the right to halt cooperation with unfriendly states, and with organisations controlled by or affiliated with them. The government could also ban and limit the export of goods and raw materials from the USA and other unfriendly states. However, restrictions wouldn’t apply to goods that Russian and foreign citizens bring from abroad for personal use. The law would take effect on the day of its official publication.

22 May 2018

TASS

http://tass.com/politics/1005493

Archbishop Oscar Romero, Martyr, to Become Saint at Vatican Ceremony on 14 October

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After a 38-year-wait, it’s now official. Salvadoran Archbishop Oscar Romero, murdered in 1980 for speaking out against military oppression, will become a saint of the Roman Catholic Church at a Vatican ceremony on 14 October. On 19 May, Pope Francisco, the first pontiff from the Americas, announced the decision during a meeting with cardinals based in Rome. Romero, long considered a saint by Catholics across the Americas, will be elevated to universal veneration at the Vatican ceremony alongside Pope Paul VI, the pontiff who first appointed him a bishop and made the fateful decision in 1977 to make him archbishop of San Salvador. Four others… two Italian priests and German and Spanish founders of separate women’s religious orders… will also become saints at the ceremony.

The Salvadoran’s canonisation, while expected in recent months, nonetheless represents the culmination of one of the clearest turnabouts of Francisco’s nearly five-year papacy. The cause for Romero languished for decades under Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who expressed unease with his connection to liberation theology and his vocal denunciations of government killings and kidnappings. Less than two years after his election as pontiff, Francisco placed Romero firmly on the sainthood track, formally decreeing in February 2015 that the archbishop was assassinated as a martyr for the Catholic faith. He then authorised his beatification, the last step before sainthood, in May of that year. El Salvador’s ambassador to the UK, Elisabeth Hayek-Weinmann, told us:

Romero’s coming sainthood represents a unique opportunity for us to heal our historical wounds, restore our social fabric, and build a new sense of national identity based on common values, with social justice and respect for human dignity at its core. His teachings and legacy provide us, as a nation, a strong moral compass.

During the 19 May meeting with cardinals, known as a consistory, Francisco formally received the request to authorise the canonization of the six persons by Cardinal Angelo Amato, prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for Saints’ Causes. Amato gave Francisco a brief biographical sketch of each of the sainthood candidates. He said:

Romero was archbishop during a time of great political crisis in El Salvador and was outraged at seeing the violence against the weak and the killing of priests and catechists, he felt the need to assume an attitude of fortitude. On 24 March 1980, he was killed while celebrating Mass.

After hearing each candidate’s history, Francisco announced their canonisations as a group and set the date and place of the ceremony. As it became clear in recent weeks that Francis would announce Romero’s canonisation, discussions in Rome focused on whether the pontiff would decide to hold the ceremony at the Vatican or in El Salvador. Considerations included trying to make the event accessible to Salvadorans wishing to attend but wanting also to emphasise that, as a saint, Romero will be an example of Christian witness not just for El Salvador but the entire world. Carlos Colorado, a Salvadoran who runs the popular Super Martyrio blog that closely followed the process of Romero’s canonisation, said in an interview:

A ceremony in San Salvador would’ve been a blowout with people attending numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

In a recent blog, Colorado hypothesised that Francisco may still go to El Salvador soon in order to venerate the new saint’s tomb and bring a sense of celebration to the country. One opportunity would be for the pontiff to make a stopover there during his expected January 2019 visit to Panama for World Youth Day. Paulita Pike, an American who lived in El Salvador off-and-on since the early 1970s, knew Romero and now helps coordinate the popular Amigos de Romero/Cultura Romeriana Facebook page, said:

By canonising Romero in Rome, Francisco is holding him up as the model pastor, the model bishop, for the bishops gathered there. Wherever he’s canonised, he’s going to be our saint.

Pike kept vigil at Romero’s tomb in San Salvador’s cathedral overnight on 18 May with members of her group, awaiting news of the canonisation. She said:

He isn’t ours but he’s St Romero of the Americas. Now, he’s going to be St Romero of the world.

19 May 2018

Joshua McElwee

National Catholic Reporter

https://www.ncronline.org/news/vatican/archbishop-romero-martyr-be-made-saint-vatican-ceremony-oct-14

EU Slams Pompeo’s Iran Strategy: It Won’t Make Region Safer From Nuclear Threat

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US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s promise to slap the “strongest sanctions in history” on Tehran after Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal prompted an outcry from European officials. EU foreign policy Chief Federica Mogherini, commenting on the possible unprecedented sanctions against Iran pledged by Pompeo, warned:

There’s no alternative to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Secretary Pompeo’s speech hasn’t demonstrated how walking away from the JCPOA made or will make the region safer from the threat of nuclear proliferation or how it puts us in a better position to influence Iran’s conduct in areas outside the scope of JCPOA. The Iran nuclear deal is the result of more than a decade of complex and delicate negotiations; it’s the best possible outcome, striking the right balance. This deal belongs to the international community, endorsed by the UN Security Council. The international community expects all sides to keep the commitments they made more than two years ago. Iran’s adheres to the JCPOA; the International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed ten times that Iran delivered on all its nuclear-related commitments.

Just hours before Pompeo’s speech on Iran, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson declared:

Washington’s plan to tighten the screws against the Islamic Republic won’t work. If you try now to fold all those issues… the ballistic missiles, Iran’s misbehaviour, Iran’s disruptive activity in the region and the nuclear question… if you try to fold all those into a giant negotiation, I don’t see that being very easy to achieve, in anything like a reasonable timetable. After Washington’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal, the prospect of a new jumbo Iran treaty is going to be very, very difficult. I’m not totally pessimistic about the situation. In the end, there’s a deal to be done that gives Iran greater economic access to the West but also constrains it. I think, in the end, we’ll get back to the kind of additions to the JCPOA that we initially envisaged, but it may take a long time.

For his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said:

Berlin took into account the US position. It didn’t come as a surprise. During my visit to Washington later this week, I’ll meet with Pompeo to discuss the issue. The situation hasn’t changed for us. During its summit in Sofia, the EU gave a unified signal that we want to keep the Iran nuclear deal. Without this agreement, we could run the risk that Iran could restart a nuclear programme.

In turn, the Iranian Foreign Ministry used stern language to comment on Pompeo’s speech:

Iran rejects the allegations and lies in this so-called new strategy; it condemns the US Secretary of State’s open interference in its internal affairs and its unlawful threats against a UN member state. Pompeo’s remarks are a naïve attempt to divert the international community’s attention away from Washington’s violation of the JCPOA. The US government will be responsible for the consequences of any persecution as well as unlawful and violent actions against the Iranian nation. The insignificant, insulting, and secondary remarks of the new US Secretary of State and his unacceptable attitude to the great and civilised Iranian nation testify to the US government officials’ despair and helpless stance on the Iranians.

In his speech “After the Deal: A New Iran Strategy” at the Heritage Foundation in Washington, Pompeo pledged:

The USA will apply unprecedented financial pressure on Tehran via sanctions. The sting of sanctions won’t ease until Iran changes its course. The new sanctions will be the strongest in history and will make Tehran battle to keep its economy alive. The USA would hold any entity conducting business with Tehran to account; we hope that US allies beyond Europe will support the new anti-Iranian sanctions.

In early May, President Donald Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, in a move that sparked a cold snap in Washington’s ties with its European allies and co-signatories to the deal, including the EU, Germany, France, the UK, Iran, Russia, and China.

22 May 2018

Sputnik International

https://sputniknews.com/world/201805221064672753-pompeo-iran-sanctions-mogherini

Editor:

The USA is sounding desperate. It doesn’t have the ground forces to attack Iran… neither can it count on any from its allies, especially not from the KSA and Israel, which are its only local allies with any substantive ground forces (and they don’t match the Iranian ground forces in size). Naval force is irrelevant, as carriers couldn’t operate in the Persian Gulf and Iran could trade via land links to China and Russia. Air forces would face a robust air-defence system. Therefore, the only card left to the peevish Anglo toddlers is the nuclear option. With the adolescent Trump in charge, we’re in the deep kimchi, indeed. The only saving grace in this is that Hillary would’ve already used nukes on Iran… God alone knows what that would’ve led to.

The world holds its breath and waits…

BMD

22 May 2018. Another View of “Royals”, “Aristos”, and Their Milieu

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Let’s not forget the sordid side of “royalty” and “aristocracy”. There was a reason that there was a Revolution in Russia… the aristos went off the deep end and the royals didn’t stop them. Many monarchists are simply displaced aristos who want their old power, privileges, and money back; to be frank. outside of a small fringe element, there’s no mass movement for a monarchy. There’ll be no Romanov Restoration in Russia and the world is better for that.

BMD

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