Voices from Russia

Friday, 14 March 2014

Crimean Big Sez That Transition to RF Norms Might Take 3-12 Months

00 Crimea referendum sign. 11.03.14

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Rustam Temirgaliyev, First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of the Crimea (RK), said that transitioning RK state institutions to Russian Federation standards might take up to twelve months after the moment the RK chooses to rejoin the RF, saying, “If the referendum gives such a decision, it’d take from three to twelve months to reform the authorities, to reconfigure the judiciary, to coach judges and jurists to act according to RF law, and to exchange documents, including passports”. He pointed up that residents would exchange Ukrainian for Russian passports using a simplified procedure, which would be gratis for all residents. Temirgaliyev also outlined the procedure of how the RK would rejoin Russia, noting, “When we know the results of the referendum, the Supreme Soviet of the RK (VS RK) would appeal to its Russian colleagues. Then, we’d need a decision by the Russian body. Subsequently, most probably, the RK and Russia would conclude a treaty. We’d have to adopt a constitution and choose a regional head. Most probably, we’d have an acting head at first. The VS RK would choose him, but the Russian President would have a veto on the choice”.

14 March 2014

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_14/Unification-with-Russia-may-take-12-months-Crimean-authorities-5453/

Editor’s Note:

Do note how the RK authorities do everything in a calm and professional way, following the rule of law. Do note how the Timoshenko junta tramples the rule of law into the mud, having seized power in an extralegal coup, “amending” the Constitution when it suits Queen Yuliya’s whim, and repressing all those it considers opponents. You can see who’s naughty and who’s nice. In the RK, civilised respect for the rule of law reigns. In all lands under the heel of the criminal Timoshenko junta, the law of the jungle reigns… “woe to the vanquished”, “might makes right”, and “money makes the world go around”. One of these things is NOT like the other.

I hope that Langley and the White House gave Yatsenyuk a big fat cheque… you see, the junta boodlers will steal most of it. It’ll decrease Washington’s ability to cause more mischief in the long-term… they’ll get fucked by their own allies! Ain’t God’s justice grand… any road, “Yats” needs the money for a new commode… I didn’t say anything about anybody being full of shit, did I?

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Sunday, 26 January 2014

Myths about Russia: Can One Believe Western Media “Translations” of Putin?

00 USA Russia flags. Putin quote. 27.09.12

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The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates, when arguing with Sophists, the PR managers of his time, tried to persuade them that BEING is more important than SEEMING. Why? Because, Socrates believed, the fallacious nature of “seeming wise whilst not being wise” would sooner or later show itself. His opponents, the Sophists, retorted by saying that words were always subject to interpretation, so, someone controlling interpretation would sooner or later control reality. In our times, Sophists would probably find their golden age, as people twist words and images in unimaginable ways. However, two stories do stand out. One is the story of the Western media’s interpretation of Putin’s comments on gays in Russia. The second one is the same media’s interpretation of the events in Kiev (instead of a neo-Nazi pogrom, we get “a government crackdown on peaceful demonstrators”).

Here is the Moscow Times former editor-in-chief Lynn Berry charging on Putin’s answer to the question on the law against gay propaganda among minors. As one may see from this recording of Putin’s speech, President Putin went out of his way to show the most open attitude possible:

We have no prohibition of non-traditional forms of sexual interaction between people, we only prohibit propaganda of homosexuality and paedophilia, I’d stress it, among minors. These are two absolutely different things. Absolutely different things… prohibition of certain relationships, and prohibition of propaganda of these relationships. We don’t prohibit anything, we don’t arrest anyone, you can’t be made responsible for these relationships. This makes us different from many countries in the world, including the USA, where some states still list non-traditional sexual orientation formally as a crime. We don’t have anything like that, that’s why everyone can feel himself or herself free and unrestrained, just leave the children in peace, please.

So, what does Berry write for the AP, for lots of newspapers which consider this agency’s information objective? Right, she makes the headline “Russian President Putin Links Gays to Paedophiles“. Then, just two lines down the text, Berry heaps one more lie on top of the first one… “He defended Russia’s anti-gay law by equating gays with paedophiles and said Russia needs to ‘cleanse’ itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate”. This is a classical case of sophistical manipulation, even if a very crude one. The two verbs “to link” and “to equate”… are they synonyms? No. If you link one thing to another one, that doesn’t mean you equate these two things. If some twisted mind could still see a “linkage” between paedophilia and homosexuality in what Putin said, then, that same twisted mind shouldn’t see an “equation” here, unless that mind is completely dishonest… even with itself. Of course, seeing an “anti-gay law” in a law that speaks about a fine for “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relations to minors”… this is a manipulation, a dishonest and arbitrary interpretation of a text. However, this manipulation is already so “mainstream”, so ingrained in the reader’s conscience, that Berry doesn’t even bother to give any proof for it, besides citing some “international outcry”, obviously provoked by articles with an equally neoliberal attitude to their subject.

Of course, Putin never suggested “cleansing” the country of homosexuality… but hey, this is Russia; you can say whatever you want about it with complete impunity. Berry seized the opportunity, writing that Putin suggested that gays were more likely to abuse children (there are no quotation marks… for the simple reason that Putin never made such a suggestion). This isn’t the first case when the Western media get the wrong end of the stick on Putin’s words (or those of Slobodan Milošević or Vladimír Mečiar, for instance), for it ascribes to itself the right to be the “translator” of things the leaders of other countries say. These “translators” follow a principle… if reality doesn’t correspond to Western stereotypes (which we, the media, formed)… then, so much worse for the reality.

From dishonest media handling there is just one small step to crude political mistakes. Everyone must have forgotten how columnists from the Washington Post or the New York Times were discussing the amounts of weapons of mass destruction at Saddam Hussein’s disposal before the USA invaded Iraq in 2003. Similarly respected publications were counting the months (if not days) which were left to Assad’s power just before the Syrian Civil War started in 2011. Now, the war has been on for almost three years; none of these so-called “experts” resigned or got the boot for these miscalculations.

A reader can look at video of Ukrainian policemen being burnt alive by people the Western media calls “peaceful protesters”, who happened to have a strange peaceful taste for Molotov cocktails. However, in the mainstream Western media, you’ll only read about the “draconian laws” of the Ukrainian government, which doesn’t allow arsonists and other “protesters” to wear masks at their rallies. Worse, the Washington Post calls these pogrom-makers “opposition militants bolstered by government-sponsored provocateurs” and bemoaned the fact that these over-emotional youngsters “tarnished the previously peaceful character of the protest movement” (for those interested in the “previously peaceful” beatings of policemen and destruction of statues, it’s enough to watch video of the Euromaidan activities in December 2013… especially, the shots of the storming of the presidential administration).

Hence, the US State Department’s grotesque reaction to events in Kiev, blaming the violence on the government’s failure to “acknowledge legitimate grievances of the people” and praising the opposition. Of course, the Washington Post knows everything about other countries; it describes Belarus as “an autocratic Kremlin colony” (the problem with Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko is that he seems to be no one’s viceroy). The WP is never too shy to draw conclusions from its omniscience; calling for sanctions against Yanukovich if he “uses violence against the protesters” (I wonder if people burning policemen in Washington DC would get bouquets of flowers) {BTW… Molotov cocktails are ILLEGAL in the USA, which makes the Kiev rioters mere CRIMINALS… just sayin’: editor}. A long time ago, the Founding Fathers called on America to lead other countries by example. It’s a pity that this example is getting more and more “lost in translation”… translation that we get from the likes of Lynn Berry. This translation of reality looks more and more like manipulation.

23 January 2014

Dmitri Babich

Voice of Russia World Service

http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_01_23/Myths-About-Russia-Can-One-Believe-Western-Media-s-Translations-of-Putin-6575/

Editor’s Note:

What more need I add? Both sides of the American political spectrum engage in the same sort of lies… both the Washington Post and Washington Examiner lie about the Ukrainian situation, as do Fox News and MSNBC/CNN. You’d think that the country’s in flames. The rioting remains limited, it’s in a small area in central Kiev and in certain perpetually gnarly areas in the Western Ukraine. The only area to have unrest outside of the Far West was something in Sumy, and that’s all. That is, most of the country (and Kiev) is going about its normal business. The Supreme Soviet of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea resolved:

We propose halting government outlays in regions that waive the rule of law, until we restore constitutional order there. The very basis of a constitutional state and the system of state power is under threat. The rioters claim that they’re “taking power into their own hands”. They obey the decisions of a self-proclaimed “People’s Rada”; they’ve already started forming illegitimate bodies of public authority.

This is truth. The rioters are criminal elements intent on overthrowing the legitimate government. That is, the USA WANTS chaos and bloodshed, if it results in more profits for American crapitalists. When you tune into the Fox News/CNN duopoly, when you listen to the rubbish spouted by ignorant, ridiculous, and self-serving ranters such as Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin (“Rush stuck in his thumb, pulled out 400 million plums, ‘Gee, what a good boy am I'”), that’s what you advocate, too. There’s no getting away from it. The sheer stupidity and evil of it all reeks to high heaven (do note that it doesn’t deter the American Hard Right from embracing it though… it speaks volumes as to their intelligence and character, doesn’t it?).

What’s sad is that’s no real spectrum amongst the media in the USA. It’s all either Hard Right neoliberalism (“conservatism”) or Centrist neoliberalism (“liberalism”). There’s no Conservatism (in the legitimist Burkean/Bismarckian sense); there’s no Leftism (in the socialist Marxist/Fabian sense). That is, neither the “Right” or the “Left” of this supposed dichotomy are really in opposition… both are in favour of a neoliberal society, the only disagreement is over how much of a role Multinational Corporations will play in decision-making. That’s why “Progressivism” fails on all counts… it’s a non-answer to made-up “problems”. For instance, look at the inane proposals for “income redistribution” from upper-middle class “Progressives”… all they do is to take from the middle to give to the lower. They don’t touch the rich or upper-middles… “Why, that’d be unfair! We EARNED it”. Of course, most decent folk reject such nonsense (as do I and most Leftists). We need a REAL Left solution… which would target the REAL exploiters, not poor sods making a living. However, with the media the way it is, it leaves people uninformed, ergo, they’re unarmed and helpless.

Much the same is occurring with the Seraphim Storheim  affair. The OCA apparat lies by omission and by lawyerly parsing. Indeed, notice what the judge said about Storheim:

I don’t believe the testimony of the accused. The accused wasn’t credible about his behaviour. He … provided nonsensical answers and wasn’t consistent in his version of events. … He loves to parse words and concepts. Other times, he’d provide nonsensical answers. I reject his evidence entirely.

This wasn’t a journalist writing an article. This was a judge, in a court of law, speaking on the record. In short, Mr Justice Mainella called Seraphim Storheim a liar… and by extension, he also implied that it meant those who supported him in the OCA apparat. We all know how the First Families denied many the Mysteries under suspicious circumstances (quite often, the pious explanation is that the person involved wasn’t “repentant”, they wouldn’t “take responsibility” for their actions). Do note how that’s flipped on its head for the First Families and those they favour. “Ignore the court! Ignore the judge! Ignore the verdict! You must love the sinner, forgive them, and accept the fact that they’ll suffer no consequence at all for their actions”. I’ll be frank… such a construct is evil and beyond the pale… I’m NOT alone in thinking that way. There’ll be “interesting times” ahead…

BMD

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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Hopes for the New Pope

00 Pope Francisco Bergoglio. T-shirt. 23.03.13

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As I stood on St Peter’s Square awaiting the famous smoke from the Sistine Chapel chimney, I felt an immense sense of satisfaction. Daily, journalists, political analysts, and the public bemoan a lack of leadership in the world. On the other hand, here, here was a definitive opportunity to see a new leader in the making. After all, irrespective of who occupies the Holy See, the papacy has a potential for leadership that’s probably only rivalled by the potential of the office of the US President.

Already, Pope Francisco shows that he’s keen to give the Catholic Church a new sense of itself. His gestures (like shunning an armoured limousine with a bodyguard and going to pray at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore on short notice) demonstrate that “leading by example” isn’t just an empty concept for the new pontiff. I have a feeling that he’ll be a respected global figure, both as a spiritual leader and statesman. Actually, if one looks around the world, there are plenty of leaders. Although I didn’t approve of his policies, the late Venezuelan President Hugo Rafael Chávez Frías was one. Aung San Suu Kyi in Burma is yet another example of charisma, ideas, and perseverance fusing to create a real leader. Vladimir Putin and Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, despite their bitter hatred of each other and no matter what one thinks of their policies, have already left their mark on history.

Curiously enough, the emergence of major political personalities in the EU is an increasingly-rare occasion. European leaders aren’t almost universally dull and uncharismatic, but they’re also mostly mediocre intellectually. A few bright exceptions, like the clever and ironic Toomas Hendrik Ilves, the President of Estonia, Polish Minister of Foreign Affairs Radosław Tomasz Sikorski, and Sweden’s long-serving Minister of Foreign Affairs (and former Premier) Nils Daniel Carl Bildt are the only exceptions I could find. They combine sharp intellect, willingness to challenge dated truisms, and a public presence. The EU is the only area of the world where these characteristics frequently disqualify a person from achieving major public office. What started as a European post-war yearning to avoid future conflict morphed into complacency and a fear of healthy debate. Don’t mention religion (except if it’s the infamous “religion of peace” of 9/11 fame), don’t mention national history, don’t mention values… unless it’s the prescribed medley of secularist dogmas on permanent offer from Brussels… and you can count on great advancement as a political leader in the EU’s councils of the holy … er, sorry, just councils.

Hence, the result… if you’re looking for fresh thinking in Europe, you’re left with either the Front National and its imitators, the “New Left”, or clowns like Beppe Grillo (but then, who said they’re actually thinking anything?) Actually, Grillo’s astonishingly-high standing is sharp and dark testimony to European disillusionment with traditional politics and their inability to cope with it. It’s no wonder the EU can’t find its way out of the current crisis… the politics of consensus evolved into a politics of paralysis. I don’t think highly of Barack Obama’s policies and I don’t find him a very effective leader, but those European politicians who pledge their love to him look small compared to the US President. In contrast, here comes Pope Francisco, who may well try to shake up Europe’s lethargic Catholics into remembering that they are Christians… and Catholics… after all. I wish him success, but I’m not very certain that he’ll succeed in the Old World. For leadership and vision these days, it’s more logical to look to Brazil, rather than to Brussels.

18 March 2013

Konstantin von Eggert

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/columnists/20130318/180088088/Due-West-Hopes-for-the-New-Pope.html

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Russian Orthodox Church Forgives Pussy Riot

Archimandrite Tikhon Shevkunov (1958- ), Superior of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow and the confessor to the Putin family

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The original image was ruined by being overly dark, having a glarey light in the corner, and two anonymous “busy” figures (an el crapo image in all respects)… so, I “cut” Fr Tikhon out from that and mounted his image on a nice Carpatho-Russian scene… that’s a legit use of PhotoShop.

BMD

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On Saturday, two top clerics in the Russian Orthodox Church said that it has forgiven the members of feminist punk band Pussy Riot, convicted by a Moscow court of hooliganism and sentenced to prison, for briefly taking over a cathedral and performing a raucous prayer for deliverance from Vladimir Putin. Fr Tikhon Shevkunov, the superior of the Sretensky Monastery in Moscow, who’s widely believed to be the Russian president’s spiritual counsellor, said on state television that his church forgave the singers right after their “punk prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow in February. The bespectacled cleric said, “The church has been sometimes accused of not forgiving them. We did forgive them from the very start, but such actions should be cut short by society and authorities”.

Archpriest Maksim Kozlov agreed, but he also said on state TV that his church hopes the young women and their supporters change their ways, saying, “We’re simply praying and hoping that these young women and all these people shouting in front of the court building, committing sacrilegious acts not only in Russia but in other countries, realise that their acts are awful. Despite this, the church is asking for mercy within the limits of law”.

Both clerics supported the court’s decision to prosecute Pussy Riot, despite an international outcry that labelled the action unfair. Governments, including those in the United States, Britain, France, and Germany, denounced the sentences as disproportionate. The Pussy Riot case has emphasised the vast influence of the Russian Orthodox Church. Although church and state are formally separate, the church identifies itself as the heart of Russian national identity and critics say its strength effectively makes it a quasi-state entity. Some Orthodox groups and many believers had urged strong punishment for an action they consider blasphemous.

The head of the church, Patriarch Kirill Gundyaev, made no secret of his strong support for Putin, praising his leadership as “God’s miracle”, and he described the punk performance as part of an assault by “enemy forces” on the church. The Orthodox Church said in a statement after Friday’s verdict that the band’s stunt was a “sacrilege” and a “reflection of rude animosity toward millions of people and their feelings”. It also asked the authorities to “show clemency toward the convicted in the hope that they will refrain from new sacrilegious actions”.

18 August 2012

Mansur Mirovalev

Associated Press

http://www.centredaily.com/2012/08/17/3302917/pussy-riot-members-sentenced-to.html

Editor’s Note:

Do note the smug, smarmy, and sanctimonious tone of the above post. The West has no moral high ground… not after the Easter bombing of Belgrade in ’99… not after the selling of organs from murdered Serbs in Kosovo… not after the repeated use of “black sites” for torture. I simply say that all groups have multiple sins on their plates… and that the West has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to teach those of us whose spiritual or physical home is in the Orthosphere.

I find the schoolmarmish condescension of Western institutions and people noxious and hypocritical in the extreme. I’d say that they have their own disordered house to put in order. Let them do that before they lecture the rest of us…

BMD

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