Voices from Russia

Friday, 27 December 2013

Famed AK-47 Inventor Kalashnikov Buried in New Military Cemetery Outside Moscow

00 Kalashnikov. funeral. 27.12.13

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00 Kalashnikov. funeral 01. 27.12.13

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00 Kalashnikov. Putin. 27.12.13

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Editor’s Note:

Mikhail Timofeyevich was an Orthodox Christian. Light a candle in his memory at Liturgy, ask your priest to mention his name in the Proskomidi, and have Pannikhida said for him. That’s what real Christians do, and that’s what our duty is. That’s what God asks of us… not waving signs or condemning this one or that one. “Save your own soul and thousands will be saved about you“… that’s the ticket.

BMD

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The burial of Russia’s most famous small-arms designer, Mikhail Kalashnikov took place Friday at a new military cemetery outside Moscow. Mikhail Timofeyevich died Monday at the age of 94. President Vladimir Putin, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, and a host of other high-ranking officials came to pay their respects at the funeral, held with full state honours at the Federal Military Memorial Complex in Mytishchi Raion. Putin laid red roses on the coffin and offered condolences to Kalashnikov’s family members. The military paid a fitting last tribute to Kalashnikov with salvoes fired from the AK-47, the iconic assault rifle that he designed, and which brought him lasting fame. At the funeral, Yelena Kalashnikova, daughter of the famed weapons designer, said that her father dedicated his whole life to the service of the Motherland and “never thought of anything else”. Initial plans called for Kalashnikov’s burial to take place in his hometown of Izhevsk, the capital of the Udmurt Republic. However, the Russian leadership decided that the burial of a man who made such a significant contribution to the country’s defence and who held the title of Hero of Russia, amongst other honours, should be in a more prominent place. Over 60,000 people paid their last respects to Kalashnikov in two days of mourning in Izhevsk before the taking of his coffin to Moscow by plane on Thursday.

The Kalashnikov Group, the newly-formed small-arms holding that still manufactures derivatives of the AK-47, said that it plans to turn Kalashnikov’s office into a small museum and to set up an award bearing his name to honour its best branches and employees. Already, Izhevsk has a dedicated Kalashnikov museum, opened in 2004, that includes a range where visitors can fire air gun copies of AK series weapons on a range. An estimated 100 million AK-47s were built worldwide since it went into mass production in February 1947. In at least 55 countries, armed forces, guerilla groups, terrorists, and even common thugs still favour the reliable and easy-to-use assault rifle. Thirty countries, including Bulgaria, China, Egypt, Finland, India, Israel, the Netherlands, Sweden, and South Africa, make derivatives of the AK-47, which has a vodka and even a rap song named after it.

27 December 2013

RIA-Novosti

http://en.ria.ru/russia/20131227/185984477/Russia-Buries-Famed-AK-47-Inventor-Kalashnikov.html

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, 4 November 2012

4 November 2012. RIA-Novosti Infographics. The Five Steps One Needs to Do to Become the President of the USA

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On 6 November, the USA will hold its 57th presidential election, to determine who’ll be at the helm of the country for the next four years. The main contenders are Republican candidate Mitt Romney and current American President Barack Obama, a Democrat. According to recent polls, most Americans believe that Barack Obama will win the election, to be re-elected for a second term. About 54 percent of Americans think that the Democratic candidate will win, whilst only 34 percent expressed confidence in a Republican victory. Meanwhile, a survey conducted among residents of the UK, Germany, France, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, and Norway, showed that 90 percent of Europeans wish to see an Obama victory. None of the seven countries, Republican Mitt Romney didn’t get even 10 percent support in any of these seven European countries. Joe Twyman, the head of the political and social research organisation YouGov said, “Without a doubt, many Americans don’t particularly care what Europeans think about their candidates, but on the other hand, history shows that if the president isn’t popular in Europe, it has far-reaching consequences for European attitudes to the USA as a whole”.

3 November 2012

RIA-Novosti

http://en.rian.ru/infographics/20121103/177148084.html

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Sweden Won the Eurovision Song Contest 2012… Buranovskiye Babushki Came in Second… Good on the Grannies

Loreen (Lorine Zineb Noka Talhaoui) (1983- ), the winner of the 20012 ESC, although Loreen was born in Sweden, both of Loreen’s parents are from Morocco, and Loreen is of Berber descent

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At the end of voting, from 42 countries, Sweden’s Loreen (Lorine Zineb Noka Talhaoui) won the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 in BakuRussia’s Buranovskiye Babushki came in second place. Loreen garnered 372 points, only 15 points off the absolute record established by Alexander Rybak in the 2009 ESC of 387 points. Eighteen countries gave Loreen twelve points, the highest score possible:

Austria
Belgium
Denmark
Estonia
Finland
France
Germany
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Israel
Latvia
the Netherlands
Norway
Russia
Slovakia
Spain
UK

The following countries gave Loreen ten points:

Cyprus
Lithuania
Romania
Serbia
Slovenia
Sweden

The following countries gave Loreen eight points:

Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bulgaria
Georgia

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Russia placed second in a bitter struggle for the most points with a singer from Serbia. The Buranovskiye Babushki scored 259 points. The only European country not to give them a single point was Switzerland. The other countries scored them as follows:

COUNTRY POINTS SCORED
Belarus 12
Azerbaijan 10
Italy 10
Latvia 10
San Marino 10
Belgium 8
Denmark 8
Estonia 8
Finland 8
Norway 8
Portugal 8
Slovenia 8
Spain 8
the Ukraine 8
Germany 7
Iceland 7
Serbia 7
Sweden 7
Turkey 7
Bulgaria 6
Croatia 6
Lithuania 6
Moldova 6
Austria 5
Cyprus 5
Georgia 5
France 4
Greece 4
Macedonia 4
Montenegro 4
the Netherlands 4
Romania 4
Albania 3
Bosnia and Herzegovina 3
Malta 3
Slovakia 3
UK

The following 26 countries ended in the finals of the competition after the two semi-finals:

Albania
Azerbaijan
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Cyprus
Denmark
Estonia
Macedonia
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Ireland
Italy
Lithuania
Malta
Moldova
Norway
Romania
Russia
Serbia
Spain
Sweden
Turkey
the Ukraine
United Kingdom

The Buranovskiye Babushki took the stage sixth, after the participants from the UK, Hungary, Albania, Lithuania, and Bosnia-Herzegovina. The audience greeted their performance with applause and cheers, which didn’t abate as they sung their song. People got up and danced due to the influence of the Babushki’s song. During their performance, the Babushki had a Russian-style stove in which they baked Udmurt pies. The Baba’s singing captivated the ESC audience. After the semi-finals, the bookies laid odds that the Babushki would “place” (take second place), and, in fact, that’s what happened, as most pundits predicted that the Swedish singer would be the most likely winner long before the semi-finals.

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Željko Joksimović from Serbia also performed according to the bookies’ predictions; he took the “show” position (third place). Russians were mildly optimistic about our entry in the contest. According to VTsIOM, more than half of Russians didn’t doubt that the Buranovskiye Babushki would be amongst the “top ten”, 14 percent thought that they’d be amongst the “top three”, and 13 percent though that they would win. The Babas won the right to represent Russia at the ESC by winning a national selection. They performed their song Party For Everybody and outran 24 other competitors. The votes of a jury comprising eminent pop music figures and the votes of television viewers, each taken in equal proportion, were the basis of choosing the winner. Baku hosted the ESC 2012 after Azerbaijani duet Ell and Nikki (Eldar Gasimov and Nigyar Dzhamal) won the 2011 contest in Düsseldorf performing the song Running Scared, by winning 221 points.

This was the second time that the Babas took part in the national final. In 2010, they were among the leaders, but could not overcome the internet votes for Pyotr Nalich. This year, they finally met with success; the audience in the national selection gave the performance of the “golden age” artists a hearty and joyful reception. Their artistic director, Olga Tuktaryova, remembered the audience’s reaction to their performance, saying, “There was such a roar that we were moved to tears… we couldn’t sing, we could only cry. That was true for me, at least, it seemed, because I felt such energy from the audience. Moreover, these are youngsters, and we’re grandmas. The intensity was just so very strong. Was this for the Babushki… oh, yes, it was!”

NB:

Click here for the official Eurovision 2012 site

 26 May 2012

Svetlana Maksimenko

Voice of Russia World Service

http://rus.ruvr.ru/2012_05_26/75973231/

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