Voices from Russia

Friday, 12 December 2014

Authorities to Move Polar Bear Hanging Around Oil Wells to Arctic island

Polar bears in Russia


On Tuesday, a local official said a local official said that they’d tranquilise and airlift to an Arctic island a polar bear who hung around an oil well in the Nenets Autonomous Okrug. The three-year old bear kept oil well workers on their toes for six days, and even attempted to sneak into their canteen, but it wasn’t aggressive. On 20 November, they scared away the beast with a helicopter and moved it to an oil field 50 kilometres (31 miles) away from the oil workers’ compound. The official said, “There’s no link between Dolgy Island (where the airlift will leave the bear) and the continent, therefore, we hope that the bear will adapt there and will find food in his natural habitat”. However, Viktor Nikiforov, the chief of the Bear Patrol programme of the World Wildlife Fund Russia, said that the bear’s move was a temporary solution, “The bear won’t understand that humans were a threat”, adding that the beast could approach settlements again. The polar bear is on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. The estimated worldwide polar bear population is 20,000-25,000, with 5,000-7,000 living along Russia’s Arctic coast. Since 1957, polar bear hunting has been illegal in Russia.

25 November 2014




Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Man Stomped to Death in Russia for Performing Rap



Sometimes knowing your audience can be truly vital. A hip-hop aficionado in the Russian Far North proved this with his life when he was stomped to death this weekend for rapping at a sports bar. On Monday, the Arkhangelsk Oblast SKP said on its website Monday that the incident took place in the city of Arkhangelsk. Aleksei Gorlishchev, 25, was rapping at the local Bookmaker Pub, sparking the ire of some patrons, Lifenews.ru reported. One of the critics, Artyom Furzikov, 21, told the rapper to “take it outside”… where he threw the artist on the ground and jumped on him, the tabloid said. The SKP said that the victim died of internal bleeding shortly after hospitalisation; it didn’t release any names, but confirmed rapping to be the cause of the brief fight. The irate listener faces 15 years in prison if charged and convicted of intentional infliction of grave bodily harm that resulted in death.

Hip-hop has had a hard time in Russia, with the 1990s seeing street wars between rap and heavy metal fans complete with beatings and stabbings. It remains unpopular among many sports fans, especially, those who tend towards nationalist views, who prefer punk, rock, and related genres such as “oi”, favoured by skinheads worldwide. Russian music fans in Russia have killed before. In December, police in Astrakhan Oblast reported that a taxi driver murdered by his two passengers over a music-related argument. They didn’t release any specifics on what caused it. Last July, in Nizhny Novgorod, a drinking companion stabbed a Deep Purple fan to death. They’d asked in vain to hear some “shanson”, a specific Russian genre of music combining folk and cabaret influences with sappy lyrics about criminal life.

18 February 2013



Sunday, 26 August 2012

Vandals Take Chainsaws to Orthodox Crosses

A vandalised cross in Arkhangelsk Oblast in Northern Russia


The Russian Orthodox Church is calling for the punishment of vandals who used chainsaws to topple at least four wooden crosses in two regions over the weekend, prompting widespread outrage that some fear might lead to religious unrest. Unknown vandals cut down three wooden crosses in Chelyabinsk Oblast and one in Arkhangelsk Oblast. The motive was unclear, but the actions occurred two weeks after Ukrainian feminists sawed down a memorial cross in Kiev to denounce the harsh two-year prison sentences handed down to Pussy Riot musicians for singing an anti-Putin song in Moscow’s Cathedral of Christ the Saviour.

Anna Shevchenko, a member of FEMEN, the Ukrainian feminist group behind the Kiev incident, endorsed the chainsaw attacks in Russia and called for them to continue. However, Shevchenko, speaking during an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio on Sunday, didn’t claim responsibility on behalf of Femen for carrying them out. Fr Vsevolod Chaplin, who oversees Church/state relations in the MP called for the police to find those responsible and punish them, telling Interfax, “These actions speak clearly about the moral values of those who encroach on the church. By these symbolic actions, they’re trying to impose their will over the majority of the people”. Police said that they were looking into the incidents as acts of vandalism. They hadn’t opened any criminal cases as of late Sunday afternoon. Vandalism charges can carry up to three years in prison. The church found an unlikely ally in Pyotr Verzilov, the husband of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, one of the three jailed members of Pussy Riot. He condemned the vandalism and said the female punk group had nothing to do with it.

The church’s image was tarnished by a series of leadership scandals, including the Pussy Riot trial, which cast the spotlight on the close ties between the church and state; Patriarch Kirill’s ownership of an expensive Swiss Breguet watch and luxury residences; and a recent car crash involving a priest. Nevertheless, some observers see the sawing down of crosses as an attack on ordinary believers. Andrei Zolotov Jr, a RIA-Novosti journalist who closely follows the Orthodox church, wrote on his Facebook page, “There’s something meaningful in the fact that destructive power is turned, not on gold-plated houses or Mercedes cars believed to be driven by priests… but on a simple wooden cross… a very primary, very central, very indubitable Christian symbol. Is it because this symbol is the most defenceless?”

On Sunday, Fr Vasili, the top clergyman in Vnukovo Raion in Moscow’s Western Administrative Okrug, described the cross vandalism as, “Incivility in the worst sense of the word. All of our churchgoers are educated people, and whilst they look at the Pussy Riot action with a bit of humour, they observe these actions against the crosses with a deep sense of sadness”. A priest in Ryazan was more circumspect. Speaking on condition of anonymity to avoid reprimand from his superiors, he said, “We’re the ones provoking this situation. People dislike the authorities, and, in their eyes, the church is closely connected to the state. Even the muscle that we flex is state muscle”.

Human rights ombudsman Vladimir Lukin criticised the vandals as “cowards” and demanded that they offer a public explanation of their actions. He said the vandals should borrow a page from Narodnaya Volya, or the People’s Will, a leftist terrorist group in the 19th century that assassinated Tsar Aleksandr II Nikolayevich, saying in an interview with Russian News Service radio, “They often stayed at the crime scene because they saw their outrageous crimes in the context of their ideas and they were ready to take responsibility for them”.

26 August 2012

Aleksandr Bratersky

Moscow Times


Editor’s Note:

I don’t think that these vandalisms are politically-inspired. Only Moscow-based zapadnik pseudo-intellectuals and their Western backers think that. Rather, as they occurred over the weekend, it leads reasonable people to conclude that they’re vodka-fuelled impulsive acts of juvenile hooligans. Reasonable oppositionists wouldn’t do this… not even the FEMEN people. The opposition isn’t all that powerful, nor, even well-organised. Trust me, it wasn’t the work of such organised groups as the KPRF or Left Front. They’d track down the perps and give them “rough justice” with the belt to inspire them to follow the straight-and-narrow in future.

It DOES take all kinds…


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