Voices from Russia

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Maduro Tops Popularity Rankings Ahead of Venezuelan Presidential Election

00 Chavez. Lying in state. Venezuela. 07.03.13


Acting Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro Moros leads the other presidential candidates in terms of popularity ahead of the forthcoming presidential election in the Latin American country. According to a poll by the Datanalisis sociological service, slightly over 49 percent of the voters stated that they’d cast their ballot for Maduro. Some 35% of those polled say they’d vote for the opposition leader, Henrique Capriles Radonski. This presidential election was called following the death of Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías on 5 March. The election is due on 14 April.


Venezuela’s Acting President and top contender for the presidency, Nicolás Maduro Moros, pledged to stay the course of the Bolivarian Revolution if he wins next month’s election. Speaking on Monday, Maduro said that on April 14 his supporters were bound to score the biggest victory in the country’s entire history.


Two candidates registered to run for the presidency in Venezuela, Hugo Chávez’s successor Nicolás Maduro Moros, and opposition leader Henrique Capriles Radonski. Both have a bit more than a month to attract as many supporters on their side as possible. Snap presidential elections in Venezuela shall occur on 14 April. The previous presidential elections in Venezuela took place October 2012. Then, Sr Chávez, who was diagnosed with cancer, won with an 11 percent lead over his rival Capriles. This time around, the opposition Coalition for Democratic Unity again picked Capriles as its candidate.

Zbignev Ivanovsky, an expert at the Institute for Latin American Studies, said, “Capriles is 40 years old, and was brought up in a Catholic family. He graduated from Andrés Bello Catholic University in Caracas with a degree in law; he’s also a successful businessman… his family owns assets in the media and in the film industry”.

In the 2008 regional elections, he won election as Governor of Miranda state, defeating Chávez supporter and former Vice President Diosdado Cabello Rondón. One should mention that Capriles received this nomination after his party’s defeat in the presidential election. Now, Henrique Capriles is going to compete with interim president Nicolás Maduro Moros. Ivanovsky went on to say, “He’s a very energetic politician. He’s 50, and he’s had a meteoric political career…from bus-driver to Vice President. He was a member of the left-wing opposition party, was a trades union activist, and took part in writing the Venezuelan Constitution. For many years, he served as the country’s foreign minister. Therefore, he’s a very experienced politician. Although he didn’t receive higher education, he has impressive experience”.

Although Capriles enjoys wide support from middle-class Venezuelans, most analysts predict that Maduro would win the election. He’s of working-class background, and has support from ordinary people. Besides, he’s promised to retain Chávez’s policies, which is what many people hope for these days. Chávez’s critics will vote for Capriles.

 Aleksei Chernyaev, an expert in American and Latin American politics, said, “As far as Russia’s position is concerned, it’d like to see Maduro as president, as that would guarantee that Venezuela would fulfil previously-reached agreements. However, it would be quite likely that if Capriles becomes president, he would suspend arms deals with Russia”. The presidential campaign has just begun, but the candidates have already exchanged harsh remarks… Maduro called his rival “a fascist”, whilst Capriles promised Maduro a difficult path to the presidential post. The struggle is going to be tough.

Natalya Kovalenko

12/19 March 2013

Voice of Russia World Service





Thursday, 26 April 2012

Having It All For a Woman… Utopia or Reality?


Joanna Coles, Marie Claire USA editor-in-chief, in the magazine’s latest issue devoted entirely to career, wrote, “Of all CEOs among Fortune 500 companies, only 18 are women”. the unexpected thought that crossed my mind as I was reading this was, “Thank God there’re only 18 of them, not more, because being CEO is so freaking tough for a woman”, something hardcore or even moderate feminists would definitely want to kill me for. Then, of course, I immediately felt remorse for exercising such retrograde ideas. Of course, I’ve got tremendous, awe-like respect for over-achieving women who manage to combine a stellar career and family, and everything else a 21st century woman might dream of. In fact, I view the females who epitomise the celebrated concept of “having it all” as modern-day heroines, no less.

In my twenties, this notion lured me, too. Nevertheless, whilst I did succeed in becoming a rather productive multi-tasker and multi-projector in work and social life, it didn’t seem feasible to fit a family into that “living on the run” lifestyle. I was super-busy and restless, pursuing my professional passions and feeding on the adrenaline the achievements and new exciting experiences supplied. However, deep down, it didn’t totally fulfil me. Now, in my thirties, I’m trying to prioritise for good, and compromise certain things in my professional life to make room for other stuff which seems more meaningful to me now, I find myself pondering more and more about how unrealistic, if not merely utopian, the “have it all” pursuit has proved itself to be.

The leaders of the women’s movement promoted this concept as one of the last century’s most progressive and empowering messages. Yet, in reality, as alluring as “having it all” might appear to a woman, does getting there, if ever, make us sane and happy? It doesn’t feel that way to me. With the incredible pressure to perform that the female liberation era imposed on us, we often lose focus and, sometimes, direction, and, even, eventually, drive. More frustratingly, if we vehemently go after what we “must have” or “should do”, we may lose touch with who we really are and what we really want.

In Russia, feminist ideas don’t have a significant influence, or so we like to believe. Still, I see women chasing this “having it all” pursuit even more rigorously here than in the West, perhaps without even realising it. Whilst a Western career woman might be quick to delegate a good portion of the home chores to her partner, most Russian women strive to be perfect in all areas, no matter what… professional, domestic, physical, etc. The mythical image of a super-potent Russian female capable of nearly-Herculean exploits prevails in our classical literature. In Soviet times, it pervaded daily life… women performed physically-demanding jobs alongside men in factories and at construction sites on a regular basis, with a second work shift waiting for them at home… kids and husbands to tend to.

Speaking about men, especially the more successful ones, most of them seem to be remarkably focused and consistent with their choices. If they choose to invest in their work, they don’t feel guilty if they drag behind on other fronts. As far as the “home dads”, guys who’ve chosen to take a long-term paternity leave or permanently stay home, these fellows also seemed to me more relaxed or at least way less perfectionist than many housewives. Moreover, truth be told, I’ve never met a guy who claimed he aspired to “have it all”. As for the female over-performers who’ve seemingly made it… I’ve met quite a few of them in Russia, too… a new generation of extraordinary businesswomen has emerged here lately. Some appear to be male-energy-dominated machines, overburdened by the stress of the responsibilities and decision-making they’ve taken up, like the high-profile partner in an American law firm in Moscow who complained in a recent Forbes/Russia interview that she saw her two kids mostly at night, when they were asleep. Others seem more elated, although still full of stress and dissatisfied as they’re constantly racing the clock, just like Sarah Jessica Parker’s frenzied character in the recent comedy about a woman juggling a career in finance and raising two small children in I Don’t Know How She Does It.

The happier women, I’ve noticed, are capable of making more unconventional choices, when necessary, like becoming self-employed, or going after a more flexible schedule and just succumbing to not managing to have it all… at least, all together. The happiest ones I’ve met don’t even try to engage in the “have it all” utopia whatsoever. They do everything their own unique way, following their gut preferences and talents. They don’t try to be like Angelina Jolie (a female apotheosis of perfect everything) and are at peace with the fact that they might never accomplish what they could have (or maybe not yet) with all the opportunities available. I myself, a perfectionist by nature, recently discovered a surprisingly joyful alternative to accomplishing things… letting them go.

25 April 2012

Svetlana Kolchik



Editor’s Note:

I don’t like “overachievers” at all. They strike me like Miranda in The Devil Wears Prada (Meryl Streep was smashing in the role, by the way). What they “sell” in order to “achieve” is mind-boggling. However, that’s what post-1981 Reaganomics America rewards… it rewards the unscrupulous, the inhumane, the cruel, the brutal, the cold, and the calculating. Full stop. That’s why I despise the Freddie M-Gs of this world. They’re saccharine, smarmy, and pietistic, yet, they’ve internalised “Miranda”… far more than Miranda did (I find them all incredibly and morbidly self-centred). Trust me, they’re more materialistic and anthropocentric than the “Mirandas” out there… I kid you not. That’s scary, kids. We’ve reached a nadir point as a society… not only are women rebelling against it, so are men. We’re at the logical end-point of “Greed is Good” Vulture Capitalism. Here’s a point to ponder… many of these overachievers call themselves “Christians” and cloak their greed, hubris, and nastiness in religious vesture. Our Lord Christ would disown such sorts… and so should we. Can we “have it all?” No, emphatically not… that was never meant to be… for both men and women.

Don’t vote for the Republicans this fall… they DO “wear Prada” (especially those who spout populist rhetoric, interestingly enough).


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