Sunday, December 29, 2013

At Least 15 Are Killed in Explosion at Russian Rail Station - NYTimes.com | Australian Icebreaker To Attempt To Free Russian Ship In Antarctic

At Least 15 Are Killed in Explosion at Russian Rail Station - NYTimes.com 

▶ 'Suicide bomber' causes explosion at Russia train station - YouTube 

▶ Female suicide bomber hits Russia train station - YouTube 

At least 15 killed in suicide bombing at train station in Russia (VIDEO) | GlobalPost 

Volgograd train station rocked by apparent suicide bombing | World news | The Guardian 

After Latest Bombing, Assessing Security Threat To Sochi Winter Olympics 

At Least 16 Dead in Volgograd Suicide Blast (Video) | News | The Moscow Times 


» Australian Icebreaker To Attempt To Free Russian Ship In Antarctic
29/12/13 04:57 from Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty
Passengers and crew members aboard the "MV Akademik Shokalskiy," a Russian research ship that's been stuck in Antarctic ice for five days, are awaiting the arrival of an Australian icebreaker to make a third attempt to free it.
» Air rescue for passengers planned if final bid to free ship trapped in Antarctic ice fails
29/12/13 02:35 from Russian news, all the latest and breaking Russia news
Australian resupply ship mobilised to try and free Russian vessel marooned by heavy ice since Tuesday after two icebreaking ships fail in their attempts to reach it    

» Thick ice thwarts efforts to rescue ship trapped in Antarctic
28/12/13 05:40 from Russian news, all the latest and breaking Russia news
Chinese icebreaker unable to reach stranded Russian ship, leaving 74 passengers to wait for Australian vessel  


» World Briefing | Antarctica: First Attempts Fail to Free Ship Stranded by Heavy Ice
27/12/13 21:17 from NYT > Europe
Icebreakers sent to free a stranded Russian research ship, the Akademik Shokalskiy, off Antarctica were stopped by heavy ice within sight of the ship, officials said early Saturday.     

» New Law All but Bars Russian GPS Sites in U.S.
28/12/13 21:57 from NYT > Europe
A measure that was signed into law on Thursday virtually bars Moscow from building monitor stations on American soil that critics feared could be used for snooping or worse.  


» Choosing the Best Nutcracker
28/12/13 16:00 from The St. Petersburg Times
Just as nature has its seasons, so do the arts. In Russia, the wintry period spanning the Western and Orthodox Christmas is known as “Nutcracker Season” – and justly so.



Humorous Year in Review: Putin's 2013 Through the Eyes of Lyudmila | Business | The Moscow Times


Friday, December 27, 2013

Recent Russia News - December 2013: The Kremlin, the Press and the Protesters - A Case Study of Rule by Paranoia - NYTimes.com

Recent Russia News - December 2013

The Kremlin, the Press and the Protesters - A Case Study of Rule by Paranoia - NYTimes.com
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Gatsby Master Spy
Pussy Riot, Greenpeace Activists Could Go Free After Russia Passes Amnesty - WSJ.com
Russian Amnesty to Benefit Pussy Riot, Greenpeace 30
With Punishments or Pardons, Putin Shows He Is in Control - NYTimes.com
Khordorkovsky Says He Will Not Enter Politics
Mayor in Tbilisi suspended, opposition cry foul | Reuters
Vladimir Putin is outflanking the west at every turn | Nick Cohen | Comment is free | The Observer
Putin, Yanukovych Meet in Moscow
Russia's Putin pardons jailed tycoon Khodorkovsky | Reuters
Russian Amnesties - NYTimes.com
Statement From Khodorkovsky in Berlin Answers Some Questions, but Not All - NYTimes.com
Obama Backs Gays In U.S. Sochi Delegation
Russia Frees Oil Tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky - WSJ.com
Buoyed by a Deal With Russia, Ukraine’s Leader Tries to Reassert His Authority - NYTimes.com
I.M.F. Criticizes Ukraine Plan for Economy - NYTimes.com
Deployment of Missiles Is Confirmed by Russia - NYTimes.com
U.S. Raises Concerns Over Russia's Baltic Missiles - WSJ.com
New Pipeline To Loosen Russia's Grip On Energy
Khodorkovsky Flies to Germany After Release From Prison
EU Suspends Work With Kyiv
Baku Residents Protest Over Fuel, Food Costs
Turkmenistan Holds Elections Without Opposition
Chechen Deputy Minister Threatens Executions For Militant Suspects
Secure in Power, Putin Frees Rival, a Jailed Oil Tycoon - NYTimes.com
Pussy Riot Documentary Trailer: 'A Punk Prayer' Promo Premieres Ahead Of HBO Debut
Martin Rowson on Mikhail Khodorkovsky – cartoon | Comment is free | The Guardian
Does Putin's new Literary Assembly bode ill for Russian writers? | Books | theguardian.com
U.S. Ambassador To Russia Lays Out 2014 Bilateral Priorities
Russia Clears Most Activists in Oil Protest - NYTimes.com

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pussy Riot Member Released But Defiant - NYT | Ukrainian Journalist Beaten, Left in Ditch - VOA

Pussy Riot singers are free, at last!

Freed Pussy Riot punk rockers reunite in Siberia - AFP
Published on Dec 24, 2013
Two members of anti-Kremlin punk band Pussy Riot embraced each other Tuesday as they reunited in the Siberian city of Krasnoyarsk, a day after they walked out of separate prisons under a Russian amnesty. Duration: 00:32



Pussy Riot Member Released But Defiant - NYT

Published on Dec 24, 2013

Subscribe on YouTube: http://bit.ly/U8Ys7n
Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of the punk band Pussy Riot, was pardoned and released from prison. She said the amnesty was a show and called for a boycott of the coming Olympics in Russia.

Read the story here: http://nyti.ms/1cvYIoJ

A protester holds a picture of journalist Tetyana Chornovil, who was beaten and left in a ditch just hours after publishing an article on the assets of top government officials, during a protest rally in front of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs Internal Affairs in Kyiv, Dec. 25, 2013.

Ukrainian Journalist Beaten, Left in Ditch

Ukrainian Journalist Beaten Up and Left in Ditch - NYTimes.com

Ukrainian journalist beaten up and left in ditch | Reuters

Russia drops charges against Greenpeace activists | Reuters

Atheists, work with us for peace, Pope says on Christmas | Reuters

Iraq: Christmas Bombers Target Christians

Snowden to Deliver 'Alternative Christmas Message' in UK

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Recent Russia News: Does Putin's new Literary Assembly bode ill for Russian writers? | Books | theguardian.com | Martin Rowson on Mikhail Khodorkovsky – cartoon | Comment is free | The Guardian

Martin Rowson 21.12.13

Martin Rowson on Mikhail Khodorkovsky – cartoon | Comment is free | The Guardian

Recent Russia News - 12.22.13

Does Putin's new Literary Assembly bode ill for Russian writers? | Books | theguardian.com
The Kremlin, the Press and the Protesters - A Case Study of Rule by Paranoia - NYTimes.com
putinism - Google Search
Prince Bandar bin Sultan, Saudi Arabia’s Gatsby Master Spy
Pussy Riot, Greenpeace Activists Could Go Free After Russia Passes Amnesty - WSJ.com
Russian Amnesty to Benefit Pussy Riot, Greenpeace 30
With Punishments or Pardons, Putin Shows He Is in Control - NYTimes.com
Khordorkovsky Says He Will Not Enter Politics
Mayor in Tbilisi suspended, opposition cry foul | Reuters
Vladimir Putin is outflanking the west at every turn | Nick Cohen | Comment is free | The Observer
Putin, Yanukovych Meet in Moscow
Russia's Putin pardons jailed tycoon Khodorkovsky | Reuters
Russian Amnesties - NYTimes.com
Statement From Khodorkovsky in Berlin Answers Some Questions, but Not All - NYTimes.com
Obama Backs Gays In U.S. Sochi Delegation
Russia Frees Oil Tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky - WSJ.com
Buoyed by a Deal With Russia, Ukraine’s Leader Tries to Reassert His Authority - NYTimes.com
I.M.F. Criticizes Ukraine Plan for Economy - NYTimes.com
Deployment of Missiles Is Confirmed by Russia - NYTimes.com
U.S. Raises Concerns Over Russia's Baltic Missiles - WSJ.com
New Pipeline To Loosen Russia's Grip On Energy
Khodorkovsky Flies to Germany After Release From Prison
EU Suspends Work With Kyiv
Baku Residents Protest Over Fuel, Food Costs
Turkmenistan Holds Elections Without Opposition
Chechen Deputy Minister Threatens Executions For Militant Suspects
Secure in Power, Putin Frees Rival, a Jailed Oil Tycoon - NYTimes.com
Pussy Riot Documentary Trailer: 'A Punk Prayer' Promo Premieres Ahead Of HBO Debut
Martin Rowson on Mikhail Khodorkovsky – cartoon | Comment is free | The Guardian

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

News Reviews and Opinions: News Updates: 2:11 PM 12/17/2013

News Reviews and Opinions: News Updates: 2:11 PM 12/17/2013: News Recent World News - 12.17.13 Judge Questions Legality of N.S.A. Phone Records - NYTimes.com NSA Phone Spying 'Almost Certain...

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Russian High Court Upholds Anti-Gay Law, Activists Fined Tuesday December 10th, 2013 at 3:09 PM

Russian High Court Upholds Anti-Gay Law, Activists Fined

1 Share
Russia's highest court ruled this week that the country's highly controversial "homosexual propaganda" law is constitutional, according to Russia & India Report.

По случаю Дня прав человека - вспоминая послание "Четыре свободы" Франклина Рузвельта Tuesday December 10th, 2013 at 3:00 PM - by Майкл Макфол

7048 stories
·
0 followers

По случаю Дня прав человека - вспоминая послание "Четыре свободы" Франклина Рузвельта

1 Share
Сегодня исполняется 65 лет со дня принятия Всеобщей декларации прав и свобод человека, одобренной Генеральной ассамблеей ООН 10 декабря 1948 года. Этот известный документ утверждает основные свободы всех людей, включая свободу слова, собраний, объединений и вероисповедания.
Недавно ушел из жизни бывший президент ЮАР Нельсон Мандела, и с его смертью мир потерял одного из величайших лидеров борьбы за права человека. Президент Барак Обама охарактиризовал Манделу как «... человека, взявшего историю в свои руки и склонившего стрелку морали всего мира в сторону справедливости».
Мандела и индийский лидер Махатма Ганди, погибший от пули убийцы в Индии в год принятия ООН Декларации прав и свобод человека, – два величайших борца за права человека XX века. В США тоже были свои борцы за права человека, которые внесли огромный вклад в эту борьбу.
В этот день в прошлом году я говорил о наследии Элеоноры Рузвельт, ставшей одной из основных участниц принятия Всеобщей декларации прав и свобод человека. Сегодня я остановлюсь на достижениях ее супруга – президента Франклина Рузвельта, который выступил с одним из важнейших посланий 6 января 1941 года.
В послании, ставшем известным под названием «Четыре свободы», президент Рузвельт заявил: «Мы хотим видеть мир, основанный на четырех основных свободах. Первая – это свобода слова и самовыражения... во всём мире. Вторая – это свобода вероисповедания для каждого человека... во всём мире. Третья – это свобода от нужды... во всём мире. Четвертая – это свобода от страха... во всём мире.»
Хотя в наши дни вряд ли кто не знает этих принципов, во времена Рузвельта они вызывали крайне ожесточенные споры. Перед вступлением США во вторую мировую войну на президента оказывалось огромное давление внутри страны, чтобы избежать участия в конфликтах в Европе, Азии и Африке. Рузвельт настаивал, что мир, безопасность и демократия в мире, где люди имели бы основные права человека, стал бы благом не только для американцев, но и для все людей, и что эти свободы стоят того, чтобы за них побороться. Несмотря на то что во время подписания Всеобщей декларации прав и свобод человека президента Рузвельта уже не было в живых, я не сомневаюсь, что, работая над Декларацией, Элеонора и другие люди вспоминали его и те принципы, которые он изложил в послании «Четыре свободы».
Мне выпала честь встречаться и беседовать с защитниками «четырех свобод» в разных странах. Это адвокаты, защищающие тех, кто оказался под следствием или в тюрьме по политическим мотивам. Речь идет о журналистах и блогерах, которые привлекают всеобщее внимание к случаям растрат и мошенничества властей. Речь идет о людях, не жалеющих своего времени, чтобы помочь подняться тем, кто испытывает боль или находится в нужде. Речь идет об активистах, которые защищают права всех граждан любить тех, кого они хотят любить, без страха возмездия. Речь идет о людях, которые защищают право всех граждан на свободу вероисповедания в обстановке, свободной от страха.
Я восхищаюсь мужеством тех людей в России, Америке и во всём мире, берущих на себя, зачастую не получая в ответ благодарности, ответственность за защиту прав и свобод, которые, как я искренне считаю, являются всеобщими и неотъемлемими. Сегодня я хочу поблагодарить тех, кто принимал и принимает участие в борьбе за права человека, а также тех, кто только принимает эту эстафету. Это совсем не просто, и я испытываю чувство уважения к тем, кто сделал эту борьбу частью своей жизни. Я уже говорил, что там, где дело касается прав человека, идеальных стран нет. Однако я думаю, что это не должно мешать ни старанм, ни людям стремиться к идеалам, которые провозгласил президент Рузвельт и которые Элеонора Рузвельт воплотила в Декларации: защищать основные права всех людей в каждом уголке мира.

Appreciating our “Four Freedoms” on Human Rights Day


Today is the 65th anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; approved by the UN General Assembly on December 10, 1948.  This remarkable document affirms the basic freedoms of all people, including speech, assembly, association, and worship.
Last year on this date I reflected on the legacy of Eleanor Roosevelt, who was one of the prime movers behind the creation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Today, I remember her husband, President Franklin D. Roosevelt, who gave one of the most significant speeches in U.S. history on January 6, 1941.  In what would become known as the “Four Freedoms” speech President Roosevelt asserted, “We look forward to a world founded upon four essential human freedoms.  The first is freedom of speech and of expression — everywhere in the world.  The second is freedom of every person to worship God in his own way — everywhere in the world.  The third is freedom from want ... everywhere in the world.  The fourth is freedom from fear ... anywhere in the world."
Though these concepts are hardly new in our day, they were extremely controversial in Roosevelt’s time as the U.S. had yet to enter World War II.  The president faced enormous domestic pressure to stay out of the conflict in Europe, Asia, and Africa.  Roosevelt maintained that a peaceful, secure, democratic world in which individuals would enjoy fundamental human rights would be a boon not only for Americans, but for all people, and that these freedoms were worth fighting for.  Though President Roosevelt was not alive when the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed, I have no doubt that Eleanor and others remembered him and the rights he laid out in the “Four Freedoms” speech while they crafted it.
I have been honored to meet and speak with defenders of the “Four Freedoms” around the world.  They are lawyers defending those on trial or jailed for political reasons.  They are journalists and bloggers drawing attention to government waste and fraud.  They are individuals who volunteer their time to lift up those who are hurting or in need.  They are activists who defend the rights of all citizens to love whomever they wish without fear of retribution.  They are those who defend the right of all citizens to choose their own religion and to worship in an environment free of fear.  I admire the courage of those in Russia, in America, and worldwide who take on the, often thankless, responsibility of defending the rights and freedoms I truly believe are universal and inalienable.
Today I thank those who have gone before, those currently involved in the struggle for human rights, and those just picking up the mantle.  It is not an easy thing to do, and I respect all who have made it part of their lives.  I have said before that no country has a perfect track record when it comes to human rights.  Yet I don’t think that should prevent any nation or individual from striving for the ideals that President Roosevelt envisioned and Eleanor Roosevelt put to paper; to uphold the fundamental rights of everyone – everywhere in the world.


Read the whole story
 
· · · · ·

In Search of Arctic Energy 

1 Share
As climate change renders the Arctic increasingly accessible, there has been a substantial uptick in industry interest in the region; it is believed an estimated $100 billion could be invested in the Arctic over the next decade.The Arctic contains vast oil and natural gas reserves - the U.S. Geological Survey estimates the Arctic could contain 1,670 trillion cubic feet (tcf) of natural gas and 90 billion barrels of oil, or 30 percent of the world’s undiscovered gas and 13 percent of oil.

Report Highlights Forced Labor, Violations of Workers' Rights In Belarus 

1 Share
In a new report, the International Federation for Human Rights and the Belarusian human rights center Vyasna say forced labor and violations of workers' rights are widespread in Belarus.

Russia Puts Uralkali Chief Under House Arrest

1 Share
Vladislav Baumgertner, the CEO of Russian potash producer Uralkali, has been put under house arrest in Moscow.

One Charge Against Panova Dropped, 3 More Remain

1 Share
A Yekaterinburg court on Tuesday dismissed one of the four charges facing Aksana Panova, the former editor-in-chief of the Ura.ru news agency, after investigators failed to prove that a crime had taken place.

Ukraine will be democratic, as will Russia

1 Share
A renewed sense of national identity and a yearning for the prosperity enjoyed in the west have combined in an irresistible force
Next Page of Stories
Loading...
Page 2

RFE/RL Suffers DDoS Attacks

1 Share
RFE/RL has been experiencing a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack intermittently since December 8.

If Ukraine Disintegrates Will it Be a Divorce or an Explosion?

1 Share
Dan Kaszeta is a chemical weapons expert, but he has also spent many years of his life studying Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Bloc. He raises many good points about the deep internal divisions within Ukrainian society. As Ukraine is now in the midst of its second period of major popular unrest in less than 10 years, his warning that a civil war is not out of the realm of possibility should be seriously considered. — Ed.

Recent dramatic demonstrations in Kiev have highlighted Ukraine’s tenuous position on the exact fault line between Russia and the European Union (EU). The current political situation has developed from the Ukrainian’s decision not to sign an association agreement with the EU. But today’s troubles are only a hint of much deep-seated angst.
The questions of Ukraine’s place in the world and its place in Europe are actually resting on an unsure foundation – the nature of Ukraine itself. What the world considers the borders of Ukraine to be today date only from 1954. What is and isn’t included in Ukraine, and where it begins and ends, has been a matter for debate and conflict for centuries. Measured along every important axis – ethnicity, language, religion, history and (even more importantly) perceptions of history and economics – modern Ukraine is a seriously divided place. Christian Orthodoxy in Ukraine is split into factions that have excommunicated each other. The view of the last century or so of history is particularly telling. Ask Ukrainians the following questions: Is Stepan Bandera (an anti-communist rebel) a hero or a villain? What caused the terrible famine in the 1930s? Was the end of World War II a liberation or a prison sentence? What church do you belong to and what does it think of the other Ukrainian churches? The scope and variety of answers that you will get will show you a country that disagrees on many things.
Ukraine could be easily considered five countries in one. Eastern Ukraine is heavily Russianized and looks as much to Moscow as to Kiev. Western Ukraine, including the historic region of Galicia, was part of central European empires, like the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, the Hapsburg Empire, and the interwar Polish Republic. Its churches look to Rome at least as much as to the multiple and divided Orthodox patriarchs further east. Uzhhorod, in Western Ukraine, lies further west than 7 of the EU’s capital cities. Central Ukraine, the area around the capital Kiev, is an uneasy mix of both. Crimea has a distinct identity unto itself, and has only been part of Ukraine since a Soviet-era administrative decision in 1954. Crimea even voted for independence from Ukraine in 1992. Odessa is a polyglot multicultural city state like medieval Venice that is really its own thing entirely. The forces holding Ukraine together may not be up to the long-term task of keeping a viable state within the current boundaries.
Countries with such diversity can stay together. But they often don’t. What will happen? The best case outcome is a western-oriented peaceful democratic Ukraine, integrated into the European mainstream. The more likely outcome is decades of continuing muddle between east and west, much as in the last twenty years. But I am most worried about the worst-case scenario, a situation that few want to talk about. Civil war. Some observers felt the risk during the ‘Orange Revolution’ in 2004. The fault-lines that run through Ukraine are easily as serious as those in the former Yugoslavia, and we all know how that ended. It would only take one serious provocation for things to go badly wrong in Ukraine. Civil war in Ukraine would be terrible in its own right, but would be even worse because of the potential for dragging Russia into it. The 2008 Russia-Georgia conflict shows that Russia is not afraid of using armed force to carve regions off of its neighbours, such as Abkhazia, even ones nominally aligned with the west.
Perhaps the best thing Ukraine and the world could do to avert such a disaster is to manage a split pre-emptively, before anyone gets hurt. Perhaps we should acknowledge that the collapse and breakup of the historic Russian/Soviet empires is not yet over, and that the breaking-up process needs to continue a little longer to achieve a workable equilibrium for the people who live there. Both the philosophy and the mechanics of dividing Ukraine without warfare will be troublesome. A Western Ukraine, possibly even resurrecting the old names like Ruthenia and Galicia, will naturally seek its home among the West. At a minimum, we could hope for a “velvet divorce” of Western Ukraine, like the amicable breakup between the Czech Republic and Slovakia. This alone might solve some problems and reduce the pressure considerably. The procedural mechanics are daunting; how does one hold a referendum like this? A national referendum will end up with the present muddle. Regional plebiscites are the answer. Scotland’s example shows that a regional referendum as opposed to a national one isn’t just a notion – it is happening next year in an EU state.
Eastern Ukraine is saddled with industrial infrastructure that mainly sells to Russia, and its population is much more Russian in outlook than anything else. I suspect that Putin’s Russia really wants this land, and it probably is not worth a war to prevent that. Such realignments are not completely out of consideration in modern times; the Moldova-Romania situation proved that. Crimea has never had strong ties either to Ukraine or Kiev. One could argue that Odessa would be too small to survive on its own, but we should remember that the Odessa region actually has a population larger than Slovenia, Estonia, Kosovo, Malta, or Montenegro.
But all of this salami-slicing is around the edges. War, if it comes, will be over the middle. Kiev figures prominently in both Ukrainian and Russian psyches. Russians often consider Kiev the cradle of Russian civilization, and certainly the birthplace of Russian Christianity. But Ukrainian and Russian identities have diverged in the last millennium; can Ukrainians accept a national identity without Kiev? For most of history, the Tsarist period and the Soviet period, a Russo-centric view prevailed. Is Kiev another Jerusalem, destined to be the cause of angst and division for centuries? It will take the wisdom of Solomon to figure out how to reconcile the two viewpoints. Perhaps the least bad option is to reduce the current muddle to the middle, with a reduced central Ukraine bridging the gap between East and West.
It is not the cleanest solution, but one better than a war. I’ve been worried about this potential crisis for nearly twenty years now. If I figure it out a better solution, I’ll write another column.
Read the whole story
 
· · · ·

Pressure Mounts On Belarusian LGBT Community

1 Share
Amnesty International has singled out Belarusian gay-rights activist Ihar Tsikhanyuk, who was seized in hospital and beaten up by police earlier this year, for its annual international letter-writing event Write for Rights. And as the world marks Human Rights Day on December 10, campaigners condemn what they describe as the ruthless repression of gays and lesbians in Belarus.

New Report Highlights Lack Of Transparency In Azerbaijan's Oil Industry 

1 Share
It's no secret that oil wealth plus autocracy often equals secrecy and corruption, despite international efforts to fight the problem through greater business transparency. A new report on Azerbaijan's oil industry underlines the challenge.

Gazprom to Offer Settlement in EU Investigation of Business Practices 

1 Share
EU Competition Commissioner Joaquin Almunia has said that Gazprom has promised to present proposals this week to end a year-long investigation into its business practices and avert a possible fine of as much as $14.3 billion. The EU competition watchdog earlier this year threatened to send formal charges to Gazprom, which supplies a quarter of Europe’s gas consumption needs. Bowing to EU pressure, Gazprom’s Deputy Chairman Alexander Medvedev told Almunia last week that the company was willing to settle the case.

World Marks Human Rights Day

1 Share
Countries around the world are marking International Human Rights Day. U.N. Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay said the fundamentals for protecting and promoting human rights are largely in place, but the key now is in implementing these standards when the political will and financial resources often are lacking on the ground. She also noted the past 20 years have seen a number of failures to prevent atrocities and safeguard human rights. The United Nations honors five rights defenders...