Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Is VVP Signalling a Change in Russian Policy Towards LGBT?

00 Putin in Sochi w China TV reporter. 19.01.14

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Read this. Here’s the relevant quote:

President V V Putin called Russians to rid themselves of aggression toward sexual minorities, sparking discussion of a possible softening of the country’s official stance on homosexuality. In a film about the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi broadcast by Rossiya-24 TV in early February, Putin said, “It’s each person’s business” to choose what kind of sexual life to have, emphasising that there isn’t criminal prosecution of homosexuality in Russia. “Now about the law on sexual minorities […] Both straight people and non-traditionally-oriented people should rid themselves of aggression and treat each other in a more straightforward way”.

Take this for what its worth. It’s a good sign. By the way… VVP is simply echoing the Church’s stance. HH said, “We respect all human choices, including those of sexual orientation. We reserve the right to call a sin ‘sin'”. The Church does NOT condone homophobia or violence against gay people as an institution. That being said, there are individuals who ARE homophobic or who preach intolerance of gay people. We aren’t fundies… VVP simply reflects that. No, the Church does NOT “bless” homosexuality… but it doesn’t teach hatred of gays either. It’s nuanced…

BMD

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Golden Time for Silver Age Volunteers at the Olympic Games

00 Sochi Olympics. 18.02.14

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If you’re in Sochi for the Winter Olympics this month, you might notice elderly men and women telling foreign visitors where to see the sights in town, manning the areas where big screens show the Game’s events, or even filling empty seats at Olympic events if needed. They’re all part of Leonid Lyubimov’s Silver Age volunteers, which started up three years ago, and now has more than 500 members. The group, with members aged between 46 and 85, organises from 35 to 40 events a month, from helping to clear waterways of trash to cleaning local landmarks and fixing up badly planted trees. Lyubimov, an energetic, grey-haired 71-year-old, said in an interview in the small office where he sat with his two deputies in downtown Sochi, “People usually feel that the elderly need to be helped, but we decided to do the reverse. We help ourselves, organise ourselves”.

Now retired, Lyubimov spent most of his professional life at a scientific institute in Novosibirsk, in Siberia, but he always dreamed of moving somewhere warm. He had maps of Crimea on his wall, almost moved to Cyprus, but eventually plumped for Sochi. He said that when Sochi became the venue for the Winter Olympics it provided a push to start the volunteer movement, “It’s interesting for us to live in a city where the Olympic Games will take place”. He said that the Silver Age volunteers all remembered the 1980 Moscow Summer Olympics, adding, “To live through that was great, but to see another such event is super”.

He’s particularly proud that the group came up from the grassroots and not by government command, although Silver Age gets support from the city and local governments. With a structure that harks back to the Soviet Vladimir Lenin all-Union Pioneer Organisation, Lyubimov said that his group could drum up a few dozen volunteers in less than an hour. Many of them had English lessons in preparation for the Games “so at least we can explain how to get to the toilet”, as well as lessons in dealing with the public and with foreigners… skills not well honed in Soviet times.

Lyubimov said, “We love the city; although it’s no secret that many people in Sochi say, ‘Why do we need the Olympic Games?’ But we’ve built a new city”. Seventy of the volunteers shall take part as actors in a Chekhov-inspired part of the Paralympics opening ceremony slated for March. One member, a retired doctor, wrote an anthem for the group and the Silver Age has its own flag too. Lyubimov sees the group as for not only the Games, saying, “The Olympics will end, but we’ll continue to work. Our main aim is to wake up those who have become indifferent”.

7 February 2014

Kevin O’Flynn

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/analysis/20140207/187269738/Golden-Time-for-Silver-Age-Volunteers-at-the-Olympic-Games.html

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Thursday, 13 February 2014

Lipnitskaya Awarded Russia’s Highest Sports Honour

00 Yuliya Lipnitskaya. Olympics. 13.02.14

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On Wednesday, Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko told R-Sport that figure skating prodigy Yuliya Lipnitskaya won Russia’s highest sporting honour at the age of 15. On Sunday, Lipnitskaya became the youngest ever Winter Olympics gold medallist, making the biggest points contribution to Russia’s triumph in the team figure skating event with wins in the women’s short and free programmes. She became an Honoured Master of Sport in recognition of the feat, an award reserved for Olympic, Paralympic, and Deaflympic medallists, as well as world and European champions and World Cup winners. Mutko said, “We already had such cases in gymnastics, where young athletes became Masters of Sport. Yuliya has big competitions ahead, one of them here at the Olympics. We’re all looking forward to her performance; she will bring joy to all the fans”. Lipnitskaya will bid for a second Sochi gold in the singles competition on 19-20 February. Other athletes awarded the title at such a young age include London Olympic gymnastics champion Aliya Mustafina and three-time Olympic synchronised swimming gold medallist Svetlana Romashina.

12 February 2014

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/sochi2014/20140212/187465469/Lipnitskaia-Awarded-Russias-Highest-Sports-Honor.html

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Monday, 10 February 2014

A Multimedia Presentation. RIA Novosti Presents… The Brightest Moments of the Opening Ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi (Part Two)

00 Sochi Olympics 01. 10.02.14

The second part of the show introduced viewers to Russian history and culture. This tableau is from the time of Tsar Pyotr Veliki.

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00 Sochi Olympics 02. 10.02.14

The main character in the presentation, the girl Lyubov (“Love”), participated in a folk performance with onion domes, amongst which were the stylised colourful domes of St Basil Cathedral. In one of the highlights of the show, the domes soared into the air and almost lined up in the order, along with the world-famous church on Red Square, which is one of the best-known symbols of Moscow. 

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00 Sochi Olympics 03. 10.02.14

Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev watched the ceremony in the company of figure skating coach Tatiana Tarasova.

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00 Sochi Olympics 04. 10.02.14

A ballet production based on the novel War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy was one of the most spectacular scenes.The dancers portrayed the first ball of Natasha Rostova to the music of Yevgeni Doga from the movie Мой ласковый и нежный зверь (My Affectionate and Tender Beast). Featured were prima ballerina Svetlana Zakharova of the Bolshoi Theatre and the famous choreographer Vladimir Vasiliev. 

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00 Sochi Olympics 05. 10.02.14

The ceremony needed 3,000 performers and 2,000 volunteers, who used 6,000 costumes. The total number of people involved in the ceremony was more than 9,200.

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00 Sochi Olympics 06. 10.02.14

The historical presentation continued; the romantic sublimity of the 19th century segued into the uncompromising 20th century… red tones heralded the revolutionary era and symbolised the epoch of constructivism. The model of a giant locomotive appeared under the dome of the stadium to the music of Sviridov‘s theme for Время, вперёд! (Time, Forward!).

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00 Sochi Olympics 07. 10.02.14

A scene portrayed the USSR‘s reconstruction after the VOV, with workers, slogans, and appeals of the Stalinist skyscaper era, accompanied by the Muslim Magomaev song Москва (Moscow).

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00 Sochi Olympics 08. 10.02.14

Young couples with prams and toddlers symbolised the Soviet baby boom, which occurred during 1981-83, that is, immediately after the 1980 Olympics.

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00 Sochi Olympics 09. 10.02.14

Famous ballerina Diana Vishnyova danced to the music of the ballet Swan Lake.

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00 Sochi Olympics 10. 10.02.14

World-renowned opera singer Anna Netrebko sang the Olympic hymn.

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00 Sochi Olympics 11. 10.02.14

Dancers during the pageant at the opening ceremony of 22nd Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.

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00 Sochi Olympics 12. 10.02.14

Famous tennis star Mariya Sharapova brought the Olympic flame into the stadium.

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00 Sochi Olympics 13. 10.02.14

Sharapova gave the torch to Yelena Isinbayeva, who passed it to Aleksandr Karelin, who gave it to Alina Kabaeva, who then handed over the torch to Irina Rodnina. Vladislav Tretyak solemnly took the torch from the hands of the famous figure skater. 

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00 Sochi Olympics 14. 10.02.14

Vladislav Tretiak and Irina Rodnina jointly lit the Olympic flame with a torch that had been in the International Space Station.

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00 Sochi Olympics 15. 10.02.14

Fireworks from 3,500 volleys capped the opening ceremony.

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8 February 2014

RIA-Novosti

http://ria.ru/sochi2014_news/20140208/993754184_993749410.html

 

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