Voices from Russia

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Russia: Beware of Foodie-Bears!

Barbara-Marie Drezhlo. Was it Your Turn to Lick the Spoon. 2012


T-shirts in souvenir shops in Moscow’s Arbat tourist district read, “I’ve been to Russia, there are no bears”. The print mocks the popular stereotype that Russia’s all about endless cold winters, vodka, and bears have rescued a couple after a bear broke into their countryside home, attracted by the smell of fresh borshch. A patrol turned up in the early hours after a neighbour raised the alarm and found the couple hiding in their sauna, where they temporarily lived as their home was under renovation. Meanwhile, the bear enjoyed hot borshch in their garden. A warning shot was enough to scare the intruder back into the woods. No one was hurt, although the bear damaged the building. The couple said that they’d left the homemade borshch to cool on the porch and went to bed. They woke to “loud banging” and saw a bear breaking the windows of their glassed-in porch. Then, it got inside and treated himself to all the borshch, which was still hot and delicious. Often, people spotted bears looking for food around dachas in the area before, but happily, no one reported any attacks.

Although the case may seem funny to some Americans, but he who laughs last laughs best, as encounters between bears and humans are actually not that rare in the USA and Canada, and may far exceed those reported in Russia. Thus, recently, hungry grizzlies in Yellowstone National Park were really determined to share a meal with people. Since the area is popular with tourists, officials had to issue a warning after they recorded several bear attacks on visitors in the park straddling Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho. Officials with the park and two national forests that border it said that numerous recent sightings of bears seeking berries and other foods near roadways and popular trails prompted them to issue the advisory, which called on campers to take precautions like carrying bear spray and hiking in groups. Some 600 federally-protected grizzly bears wander around Yellowstone and its border areas. Each year in the region there are about five encounters between bears and humans that result in injuries. Fatal attacks are rare.

In recent years, conservationists said that climate change caused a decline in whitebark pines, which produce the nuts that are a food source for grizzlies and black bears, forcing them to roam around, starving and frustrated. Late summer and early fall are typical times for encounters, as bears begin to seek out more food to pack on pounds before going into winter hibernation. At the same time, summer is the peak tourist season for national park visitors. In July 2010, a grizzly killed a camper and injured two others in a national forest in Montana near Yellowstone. The following year, in separate attacks, bears fatally wounded two hikers. On 15 August, a grizzly wounded two hikers at Yellowstone, but a second pair of hikers warded off the bear with bear spray. The same day, a grizzly bit two biologists collecting grizzly habitat data in Idaho near the park. The scientists drove off the bear with bear spray.

Meanwhile, Nevada wildlife officials pressed local governments near Lake Tahoe to penalise residents for not having bear-proof trashcans, saying that existing regulations to address trash-raiding black bears are insufficient. The Reno Gazette-Journal reported that Nevada Department of Wildlife Director Tony Wasley told trustees that they could address the vast majority of human-bear conflicts by decreasing the availability of human garbage. He said, “Ultimately, total removal of human food sources as an attractant for bears is the only way to avoid these types of human-bear conflicts”. Wasley also thought that it would help matters if the district enforced existing laws that penalise residents for being careless with their trash. Local jurisdictions already have rules on the books to address problems posed by trash-raiding bears, but many residents don’t think that they go far enough.

In the Canadian province of Ontario, the bear population dangerously grew to an alarming number. According to a recent census by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters, there are some 150,000 bears in Ontario; no one is entirely sure of really how many of them there are precisely. The bear population has increased every year since the cancellation of the spring bear hunt in 1999, and so has the number of incidents involving bears, including a vicious and unprovoked attack on a woman near Peterborough. Thus, some local activists favour an early season hunt.

In the northern part of the Canadian province of Manitoba, a polar bear chased and bit a man. Earlier this month, the bear chased Garett Kolsun whilst he was walking home after a night of celebrating with friends in Churchill. It cornered him on a porch, swiped at him with his paw, and sank its teeth into his hip until Kolsun said he managed to distract it with the light from his mobile, which allowed him to flee to safety. The Hudson Bay community has fame as the polar bear capital of the world, and it attracts tourists coming for at least one glimpse of the predator. Nevertheless, the animals pose a threat to residents, and when they’re captured, they’re kept in a holding facility that’s commonly referred to as the polar bear jail.

However, this particular offender got a new home in a Winnipeg zoo. Margaret Redmond, president of the Assiniboine Park Conservancy, said that, within the next few weeks, the bear would be transported from Churchill to the International Polar Bear Conservation Centre. Redmond said that this would be the first polar bear from the wild to be housed at the facility, which the conservancy opened last year. On Saturday, Redmond said, “Otherwise, it was determined that he was going to be euthanised because he was such a danger”. His new home will eventually be part of a new four-hectare (10 acres) exhibit, due to open next June, that profiles northern Canada’s animals and its fragile environment. Redmond said that she hasn’t personally spoken with Kolsun about how he feels about the polar bear’s new home in Winnipeg, but she said that provincial officials talked with him before the decision was made. Kolsun suffered only a few superficial puncture wounds and scratches from the attack. Redmond said, “He feels very good about this option, he sees that this is an opportunity for the animal, rather than having to be euthanised, to serve as an ambassador to his species in what will ultimately be a very large and comfortable area for the bear”.

That was a lucky escape for the Canadian bear, but his black pal captured after it wandered through Athol MA wasn’t that lucky, as Massachusetts Environmental Police euthanised it. They caught the bear after it climbed a tree and police tranquilised it. A spokesman for the state environmental affairs office told the Athol Daily News that, after that, the bear couldn’t be released in New Hampshire or Vermont, as both states are holding black bear hunting season; they have an agreement with Massachusetts that any “chemically immobilized” animal can’t be released into the wild within 45 days of the season’s start. It’s not hunting season in Massachusetts until November. However, the spokesman said Environmental Police euthanised the bear, instead of releasing it, because the chemicals used to tranquilise it are potentially fatal to any hunter who might shoot the bear, then eat it.

Another black bear felt at home in Gatlinburg TN and was caught on camera walking the city’s streets, climbing up the steps of the local convention centre, and even following the crosswalk to cross the street. ABC News said that Tricia Alexander captured a video of the bear, then, posted it to her Facebook page. She was sitting in her car, but not everyone had the good sense to keep at a distance. As the bear made its way through the city’s streets, weaving in and out of restaurant-goers, people clamoured to come within just feet of it in order to get a good picture of with their mobile-phone cameras. Dr Marcy Souza of the University of Tennessee School of Veterinary Medicine told local ABC affiliate WATE, “Unfortunately, a lot of people in our society are getting more desensitised to wild animals, as we move more and more into this digital age, and we don’t actually get out into the woods, so, you don’t encounter these animals very frequently except for on TV. Although he looks cute and cuddly, they can actually be pretty fierce. That bear probably weighed somewhere in the range of 800 pounds (363 kilogrammes) would be my guess, and they can do some serious damage if he got cornered as he did in some of those situations”.

A commenter on Alexander’s Facebook post wrote that he works near where the video was shot and the bear “comes around all the time”. Alexander herself commented that she had another encounter with a bear on the streets of Gatlinburg in 1997 in a hotel parking lot. The abovementioned cases are just a few in a string of human-bear encounters registered in bear-inhabited communities, so their residents should better not banter about Russians and their hungry bears. The borshch-eating bear was at least decent and well-behaved… he finished his meal and left like an Englishman… with no goodbye.

5 October 2013

Voice of Russia World Service


Sunday, 14 April 2013

14 April 2013. Trib Reports on Moriak’s Smack-Down… Will Golitzin Become Midwest Honcho? … Why Does JP Need 25 Gs for “Moving Expenses?”

01 money down toilet

25 Grand for moving expenses… gimme a break!


One of the Cabinet piped up:

It’s occurred to me that Golitzin might as well be the Midwest hierarch, as well as the Bulgarian. It makes good sense, almost too much for the OCA. There’s precedence for this. The late Kirill Yonchev, bishop of Western PA, was also Golitzin’s predecessor as the Bulgarian Diocese’s ruling hierarch. Nikon Liolin, bishop of New England, is also the Albanian Diocese’s hierarch. The Bulgarian Diocese has the following locations:

Since Golitzin’s Bulgarian territory mostly overlaps with the Diocese of the Midwest… why not?  It’s ironic, though, that he’s now the locum tenens for the Midwest. He was one of the names put forth for the episcopal search committee’s consideration after Vladyki Job died, but he didn’t make the final cut. He supposedly was said to be a no-go for the episcopacy years ago by the Synod, but who knows what the reasons were, and why that changed. He’s a known quantity in the Midwest, having been in the diocese for a number of years, teaching university. He’s said to be a real down-to-earth sort. He knows the diocese, so I strongly doubt he’d rock the boat, as Moriak seemed to delight in doing.

Here’s some input about JP’s “moving expenses”:

25,000 bucks (779,000 Roubles. 19,100 Euros. 16,300 UK Pounds) for moving expenses for a monk is beyond arrogance and stupidity. It’s greedy. I wonder, though, if moving expenses for his parents (whom he apparently helps support) are included in that? Didn’t they move to DC to be near him? If the 25 thou is just for JP’s moving expenses, well, he can stuff it. He needs to hook up a little U-Haul trailer to move his stuff. Most clergymen seem to accumulate a lot of books, so books, clothing/vestments, and a few household items, are my guesses. If he wants the OCA to pay for his parents’ moving expenses, no damn way!  It wasn’t our decision for his parents to move to DC.

Oh… Moriak’s smash-up made the Chicago Trib (click here for the full story… it smells like a konvert talked to the paper). I wonder if Moriak served at Holy Trinity Cathedral to talk to his drooling konvertsy claque one last time… perspirin’ minds wanna know…



Sunday, 28 October 2012

Police Investigating Blaze at Coptic Church in Brampton


Peel Regional Police are investigating after an incendiary device was thrown through a window of a newly-built Brampton church at around 04.00 EDT Friday, causing a fire that damaged its furniture, walls, and floors. The Brampton Fire Department arrived on scene at the Coptic Orthodox Christian Church of Archangel Michael and St Tekla and determined that a Molotov cocktail thrown through a basement window caused the fire. The two-storey church, which cost around 7 million CDN (221 million Roubles. 7.016 million USD. 5.42 million Euros. 4.36 million UK Pounds) to build, opened to the public on 17 October. Damage is estimated at around 100,000 CDN (3.16 million Roubles. 100,200 USD. 77,500 Euros. 66,200 UK Pounds). Alber Hanna, a member of the church’s board of directors, said, “The physical damage wasn’t that much, but the smoke damage was pretty severe. The smoke permeated throughout the whole church, including the ground floor, second floor and the sanctuary”. Father Morcos Hanna said, “We exceedingly thank God for his love and mercy that he saved His church from such a terrible deed. This was a careless and cowardly act of vandalism. We pray that the police may find those who caused or are behind this so that we get proper closure”. The Peel Police Explosive Disposal Unit assessed the scene and investigations are currently underway. Police are also reviewing security camera footage.

 27 October 2012

Erica Rae Chong

Toronto Star


Editor’s Note:

Why not send these guys a fin or two? That’s Orthodox Solidarity, kids… if only 2 percent of us (Eastern and Oriental Orthodox) were to do so, why, that’d pay for the damage, and then some, too. Let’s not wait for some fatcat donor… remember the foundation of the first Orthodox parishes in America and Canada… they were built using the nickels n’ dimes of people who busted their arse for a living and only got beans in return. Let’s get that spirit back. Send the Brampton bunch a fin or two… God will bless you for it.


An Observation on Exchange Rates:

Before the time of GWB, the USD was worth about 1.30 CDN. Bush’s reckless and lunatic economic policies drove the USD to a level slightly below that of the CDN. Romney wants to reinstate those nutty squirrel policies… that’s something that you need to know before Election Day



Friday, 19 October 2012

19 October 2012. THIS is Why Canada Will NEVER Be Part of the USA

The Coming of the Loyalists

Henry Sandham



Americans are blinded by their Radical (in the French sense) ideology. They truly believe that Canadians wish to be “just like them”. They don’t even know that the main impetus behind English-speaking Canada were the Loyal Americans who refused to abandon their allegiance to their King and Country. That’s why Ontario’s motto is Ut incepit fidelis sic permanet (As it began faithful, so it remains). In fact, most “conservatives” in the USA don’t realise that their ideology is considered Liberal and Radical in Europe… and they don’t care, for nothing outside of the borders of the USA interests them (save for cartoonish distortions of foreign countries and peoples). THIS is why Fox News isn’t welcome in Canada… Fox is the bearer of a Radical ideology noxious to most Canadians deep down. Jack Layton was more of a real conservative than Rush Limbaugh or Willard Romney is… fancy that.

Oh, yes… after two centuries, the USA refuses to compensate the descendants of the Loyal Americans for their property seized by the revolutionists… ponder that when you hear hubristical and arrogant statements from Inside the Beltway. If it’s true for other people… hmm… methinks that the “doctor” has a worse form of the “disease” than the patient does!


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