пятница, 31 октября 2008 г.

Red Square could cave in at any moment warn underground explorers

MOSCOW, October 31 (RIA Novosti) - A group of Muscovite explorers have warned that Red Square and the Kremlin could sink into the earth due to large underground cracks, Russian media reported on Friday. (Red Square: different scenes - Image gallery)

"The soil has already begun to crumble," warned the leader of the Diggers group, Vadim Mikhailov, speaking to the Life.ru news website.

The Diggers are a private organization whose members explore the tunnels and underground world beneath Moscow.

"Just imagine, there are tens of massive historical buildings. They can't all stand on nothing. Emergency measures need to be taken," he said.

Red Square sees parades and thousands of tourists every day, but Mikhailov warned that, "We shouldn't even walk on it, let alone hold parades!"

He said high-rise construction was partly to blame for many of the worsening problems underneath Moscow.

The newsmsk.com site pointed out that this was not the first time the Diggers had warned of apocalyptic scenarios for the center of the Russian capital.

A number of areas around the capital have seen small-scale collapses in recent years, and Mikhailov said that these would continue until the Moscow administration ceased "ignoring" the problem.

Specialists have warned that underground parking is creating problems for Moscow's foundations, and that some old and historical buildings are in genuine danger of total collapse.
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четверг, 30 октября 2008 г.

What really happened in South Ossetia? (BBC Tim Whewell)

video reportage here

LETTERA APERTA AL MINISTRO DEGLI ESTERI FRANCO FRATTINI - 29/10/08

Signor Ministro,
Le scrivo dopo una visita in Ossetia del Sud, effettuata nei giorni 25 e 26 di questo mese.
Per segnalarle l'alto livello di pericolosità da me rilevato lungo la linea di demarcazione tra Ossetia del Sud e Georgia, risultante degli effetti prodotti dall'aggressione della Georgia contro l'Ossetia, scatenata nella notte tra il 7 e l'8 Agosto.

Il sopralluogo mi permette di rilevare:

• L'assenza (o non visibilità) degli osservatori europei in quel giorno, nel determinato punto di osservazione da me visitato, a sud est di Tzkhinval.
• Assenza delle forze russe nelle immediate vicinanze della linea di demarcazione.
• Come conseguenza le forze militari georgiane e sud-ossetine si trovano ora a diretto contatto, con possibilità, in ogni momento, della ripresa di scontri armati e di altre azioni di provocazione.

In effetti, secondo le testimonianze di fonte ossetina da me raccolte, duelli di arma da fuoco sono molto frequenti. Non solo: ho potuto raccogliere la documentazione di undici persone, tutti uomini, in gran parte giovani e giovanissimi, che risultano essere state rapite da gruppi armati non identificati e portati in territorio georgiano. Di questi undici sequestrati posso fornire, all'occorrenza, le generalità. Che comunque trasmetterò alle organizzazioni per la difesa dei diritti umani. E' da notare che tutto ciò sta avvenendo dopo il cessate il fuoco che ha fatto seguito al conflitto di Agosto e che è stato siglato a nome dell'Unione Europea dal presidente francese Sarkozy. Gli ultimi rapimenti risalgono alle ultime due settimane. Di queste persone non c'è più traccia. Il governo di Tzkhinval denuncia il ripetersi di azioni terroristiche sul suo territorio.

Sottolineo queste circostanze perché è evidente che l'Unione Europea ha ora la diretta responsabilità politica e morale di impedire che quella precaria frontiera sia penetrabile a piacimento da gruppi di provocatori, o semplicemente da criminali in cerca di ostaggi da vendere.

Rilevo che, nelle presenti circostanze, e nel formato attuale, l'Unione Europea non è in grado di garantire l'impenetrabilità di quella frontiera.

Rilevo che, dopo avere insistito per il ritiro delle forze russe all'interno dell'Ossetia del Sud (ed avendo la Russia rispettato i patti) , non sarà possibile riversare su di essa la responsabilità per ciò che è altamente probabile accada.

L'Italia ha inviato un gruppo di osservatori a far parte del contingente europeo e dunque condivide in toto questa responsabilità. Vorrei quindi sapere da lei qual è il mandato entro cui agiscono i nostri osservatori, quali le istruzioni impartite dal nostro governo, le modalità della loro selezione, e cosa intenda fare il governo italiano per fare fronte alla situazione sul campo. Situazione che, ripeto – anche alla luce delle gravi dichiarazioni del presidente Saakashvili, che annunciano la ripresa delle ostilità – minaccia un rapido peggioramento.

Distinti saluti
Giulietto Chiesa, parlamentare europeo.

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среда, 29 октября 2008 г.

TBILISI MOVES ARE OUT OF SYNC WITH MEDVEDEV-SARKOZY PLAN

The beginning of the week saw a new round of UN Security Council consultations to focus on the current situation in the buffer, or security, zones adjacent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia in a move that was initiated by the Russian delegation within the UNSC. Georgian forces sadly continue to launch an array of military provocations in the security zones in what he says is clearly out of sync with the Medvedev-Sarkozy settlement plan.

During the consultations, the Russian side lamented the fact that Tbilisi continues to build up its military presence near Abkhazia’a and South Ossetia’s borders by deploying armed vehicles and Special Forces units there. Similar saber-rattling, Russian officials stressed, will hardly help to create a positive political landscape for continuing to grapple with security and stability in the Caucasus during the upcoming relevant discussions in Geneva, slated for mid-November.

For his part, the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov, have repeatedly pointed the finger at EU observers, who he complained continue to turn a blind eye to Tbilsi-initiated incessant provocations against Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Regrettably, EU monitors have thus far failed to stick to the assumed obligations to act as guarantors of Georgia’s non-use of force toward the breakaway republics, the Russian top diplomat emphasized.

It was the European Union that moved to assume an obligation to act as a guarantor of the non-use of force toward Abkhazia and South Ossetia, Lavrov says. And turning a blind eye to what is now unfolding in the security zones is nothing but a dangerous play with fire, he warned. Now, we desperately need to establish a clear-cut demilitarized regime inside the zones that will be overseen by UN, EU and OSCE observers, Lavrov insisted, adding that otherwise, the destabilization might well be fraught with new hostilities.

Luckily, the EU itself seems to have started rethinking its stance toward the South Ossetian conflict with many EU members coming to realize that it was the Saakashvili regime, which unleashed the aggression. The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), in turn, reported this week that it obtained evidence suggesting that the Georgian military might have committed war crimes against South Ossetian civilians. BBC correspondent Tim Whewell said in a radio program that he had been the first Western news-hawk to arrive in the conflict zone and talk to the locals. They told him, among other things, that Georgian tanks cynically shelled apartment buildings, while the commandos targeted civilians trying to flee capital Tskhinvali. Even more, when visiting South Ossetia, members of the Human Rights Watch international investigative organization also found evidence of the disproportionate use of force by the Georgian military.
The UN Security Council discussions showed that the international community are now keen to create a regional stability-friendly international mechanism in the buffer zones, whose security are currently under threat in the wake of Russian peacekeepers’ withdrawal from there. And capitalizing on this, the Georgian side regrettably continues to launch provocations in the conflict area – something that exacerbates even further what is already a tense situation in the region.

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PM Putin suggests Russia, China ditch dollar in trade deals


MOSCOW, October 28 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin proposed on Tuesday that Russia and China gradually switch over to national currency payments in bilateral trade, expected to total $50 billion in 2008.

"We should consider improving the payment system for bilateral trade, including by gradually adopting a broader use of national currencies," Putin told a bilateral economic forum.

He admitted the task would be tough, but said it was necessary amid the current problems with the dollar-based global economy.

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao described strengthening bilateral relations as "strategic."

"Mutual investment by Russia and China has already exceeded $2 billion, this is a very good index," Jiabao said.

He praised the success of numerous projects, including additional construction of China's Tianwan nuclear power plant and the opening of a joint pharmaceuticals center in Moscow.

A number of large Russian companies, including state-run oil producer Rosneft and aluminum champion RusAl, are seeking to develop investment projects in China, Jiabao said.

The Chinese premier said bilateral cooperation in the helicopter industry, mechanical engineering, the energy sector, timber production and innovation sector was also showing signs of progress.

"China is a staunch supporter of Russia's accession to the WTO, but is categorically against politicizing the issue," Jiabao said.

The Russian premier invited Chinese investors to join Russian timber projects.

"We welcome both domestic and foreign investment in Russia's timber sector," Putin said. "As one of the largest consumers of our products, China could be a source of such investment."

He also offered Beijing Russia's assistance in developing a large passenger plane on the basis of Russia's experience with its wide-bodied Il-96 aircraft.

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Czech MPs consider ratification of U.S. shield deal


October 29 (RIA Novosti) - The lower house of the Czech parliament began on Wednesday discussions on the ratification of a Czech-U.S. missile defense treaty and status of foreign forces agreement.

The MPs are to decide whether to turn down the deal or continue the debate in issue-specific committees. If the discussion goes ahead, the treaties could be ratified in 2009.

The parliamentary opposition has so far failed to prevent discussion of the issue.

The agreement to station a U.S. radar in the Czech Republic was signed on July 8 by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg.

On September 19, Defense Minister Vlasta Parkanova and U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA). The pact governs the deployment of U.S. military personnel at the radar station.

A Czech MP previously said the ratification process would be "hard going," and the outcome was impossible to predict.

Miloslav Vlcek said the missile defense agreement could be "passed by a margin of one or two votes, if at all," adding that "two-thirds of the country's citizens object to the placement of a U.S. radar station on its soil."

The radar is part of a planned missile shield system that would also include the deployment of 10 interceptor missiles in Poland. The U.S. says it needs the Central European shield to protect against attacks by "rogue states" such as Iran.

Gen. Henry Obering, director of the Missile Defense Agency, said earlier on Wednesday that the United States expects its missile-defense base in Poland to become fully operational in late 2011 or early 2012. He added that Washington is ready to sink about $400 million into the base.

The plans are fiercely opposed by Russia, which sees the missile shield as a threat to its national security and the international system of nuclear deterrence.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has vowed to "respond appropriately" to the deployment of the missile shield.

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‘Alligators’ to take the sky by storm


Russia has launched mass production of the Ka-52 strike helicopter nicknamed ‘the Alligator’. Based on the Ka-50 ‘Black Shark”, the new version is designed as a commander’s vehicle and has several features for combat coordination.

Ka-52s will be manufactured at the Progress factory in the city of Arsenyevsk in Russia’s Far East. The producer hopes up to 30 Alligators will be completed by 2012 and says the aircraft has great export potential.

The series was launched 10 years behind the initial schedule. The Ka-52 made its maiden flight back in 1997, but lack of finance stopped it from production.

Commander’s Black Shark

The Ka-52 is a multi-purpose all-weather combat helicopter intended to be a commander’s vehicle. It is equipped with an enhanced targeting system that can detect targets by optical, RF (radio frequency) and thermal sensors, track them and distribute between helicopters in the unit.

Operating the system calls for adding a second pilot’s seat to the cockpit. Unlike traditional designs, the seats are side-by-side, which somewhat hampers the Ka-52’s aerodynamics, but allows better coordination between the two and makes the helicopter’s system more reliable. Both seats have controls so as a side benefit the Ka-52 can be used for pilot training.

The Alligator has kept most of the weapon systems of its predecessor. It has a built-in 2A42 30-mm automatic cannon and can be fitted with Vikhr supersonic anti-tank laser-guided missiles with two-stage warheads, Igla guided air-to-air missiles or S-8 rockets at its four hard points. It can also be used to deliver bombs. The wide array of weapons and modernised electronic warfare system make the Ka-52 a powerful and versatile strike helicopter.

The Ka-52 was developed by the Moscow-based Kamov design bureau. Its long-time specialty is its coaxial-rotor helicopters (with one rotor avove the other), which don’t need a tail rotor. The bureau is part of the OPK Oboronprom holding that brings together the majority of Russian helicopter producers.

Specification:

Weapons:

Vikhr anti-tank guided missile
- quantity –12
- two-stage warhead
- can target surface or aerial targets
- range – 8 km
- speed – supersonic
- armour penetration – 900 mm

2A42 automatic cannon
- calibre – 30 mm
- feed – selective type
- load – 460 rounds

Igla air-to-air missile
- quantity – 4
- range – 5 km
- speed – supersonic
- targeting system – infra-red homing

S-8 rockets
- calibre – 80mm
- load per block – 80

Weight:
Loaded – 10400 kg
Maximum – 11300 kg

Powerplant:

Producer – Klimov factory
Power:
- takeoff - 2x2400 hp
- cruise – 2x1750 hp
- 1 engine, 30 min – 2700 hp

Performance:

Service ceiling – 5300 m
Rate of climb, max – 15 m/s
Rate of climb, vertical – 13 m/s
Cruise speed – 270 kph
Max speed – 300 kph
Range – 500 km

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понедельник, 27 октября 2008 г.

Strategic Approval

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin traveled to Novosibirsk today to conduct a meeting on Russia’s transport system development strategy. The program, designed until 2030, will cost over 175 trillion rubles ($ 6.3 trillion), but the official was not frightened by the amount. Financial crisis will end in a year’s time, while roads take much longer to build, he believes


Vladimir Putin
Photo: AP

Putin, who arrived to Novosibirsk by plane from Krasnoyarsk, inspected the recently completed 4 km.-long road around the city that includes two large bridges. He criticized the quality of the asphalt, thanked the workers and said the new road would help improve Novosibirsk’s environment, as many transit cars that used to drive through the city will now be taken outside of it. “Economic development will speed up. Everywhere where new roads appear, it is developing”, Putin said.

He later repeated this statement when speaking to various officials whom he met at local university. The leader mentioned the federal transport development program and other national projects, such as preparations to the 2014 Games, that have an important “transport component”. “The current state of our transport system is far behind today’s needs of our economy, and furthermore, it deprives vast territories of development opportunities”, the PM stated. Thus, he said, Russia has no other option than large-scale i9mprovement of the transport system.

His speech was followed by a presentation by Igor Levitin, Russian Minister for Transport, who mentioned many esteems for the industry’s future until 2030, and completed his intervention by stating the 2030 development strategy will require an amount of $ 6.3 trillion. Levitin said 60 % of the sum would be covered from extra-budgetary resources, and asked Mr. Putin to approve the strategy. Unlike the rest of the meeting, the discussion that follow was not broadcast to journalists.

“We know about all these turbulence processes in world economy, Putin said in his final speech, but, according to all forecasts, they will only last for a few months or about a year, but we are considering a strategic plan that will work until 2030, and, with all the necessary corrections and changes to be made, we should treat this project and this work as one strategically important for Russia’s future. So, he summed up, the suggested transport development strategy is approved”.

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суббота, 25 октября 2008 г.

Millions of people “vanished” in U.S. - historian



While America lectures Russia on the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine, Russian historian Boris Borisov asks what became of over seven million American citizens who disappeared from US population records in the 1930s.

RT: What made you research the history of what you call ‘American Holodomor’?

B.B: It was very simple. As I was doing comparative research of the American Great Depression in the 1930s, and the Great Depression of the 1990s in Russia, I grew interested in the social dimension of the tragedy. It was logical that I looked up official American documents and found out that the discrepancies were so obvious that any independent researcher would not but have doubt about the official U.S. statistic data. All appears to be rather interesting. I will come to that later.

The U.S. Congress added fuel to the fire by adopting resolutions nearly every year blaming the Soviet government for alleged staged famine in the 1930s in Ukraine. The first resolution came in 1988, 50 years after the events described. The current members of Congress wonder about the following, and I quote, “people in the government were aware of what was going on, but did not do anything to help the starving”.

At that very period of 1930s, the wealthy city of New York saw kilometre-long lines of people for free soup. There were no queues on the city’s main streets though, but not because there were no hungry people but because most of the cities did not have any money – they were just bankrupt.

So, I became curious about that and carried out some research that brought about interesting results.

RT: You say that America of the early 1930s made over seven million people perish. It’s a horrifying figure and it needs an explanation. What do you base your research on and why do you say the population statistics of the U.S. government of 1932-33 was falsified?

B.B.: Seven and a half million people does not mean the number of particular victims of the famine, but a general demographic loss, or the difference between the supposed population on the date of the census that was due to be held in 1940 and the factual number of people. In reality, the total demographic loss is bigger. The fact is not contested by anyone. The figure is more than ten million people.


The front page of a 1940 statistical report
Borisov used in his study


However, when you start researching the subject, you find that there is a migration component – people were coming to the country and leaving. All can be calculated. It turns out then, that three million people can be subtracted at the cost of migration – in approximate figures, as it is not a scientific report.

What’s left is 7.5 million people still missing. The question is: where are they?



Voluntary defenders of U.S. values who venture to discuss the matter with me, normally begin with a statement that those people were simply not born. However, if we take the age pyramid and distribute the people according to their dates of birth, it becomes apparent that 5.5 million children and two million grown-ups are missing from the 7.5 million. So, those two million people could not have been non-existent – as they had been born. They could only die.

As a result, I consider the two million of grown-up victims as the limit proved from the bottom – for 10 years, let me emphasise this.

Could the remaining children out of those 5.5 not have been born? The U.S. statistics does not answer this question. If we use the method of international juxtapositions and see how demography reacted to similar disastrous events in other countries, we will see that the distribution of the demographic was divided between the children who had died and had not been born in the ratio of Ѕ to Ѕ. In other words, it’s from 2 to 4 million extra losses.

The overall loss in ten years could be estimated as being from four - or slightly fewer - to six - or slightly more - million.

Let me quote some figures, if you don’t mind – demonstrating how other countries reacted to the similar situation. If you believe that four or six million people is a terrible number, let me quote this: male mortality rate in Russia: 810,000 in 1984; 1,226,000 in 1994 - whereas the population is the same. In other words, as compared with 1984, the year 1996 had an additional number of 416,000 dead males. You have to add females and children to that figure.

As of now the prevalence of the death rate over birth rate yet remains, although smaller. Some say it is horrible, others say it’s normal as the country is developing. So there are different takes about there being half a million dead. Nobody tears his or her hair out to discuss this.

Likewise, there were opposing viewpoints in the USA. Some said it was horrible – “We had millions of people deprived of their land!” – those who read Steinbeck well knew the situation from his documentary-authentic novels depicting starving children. Others say, “No, it’s all right. We’re fighting depression and all is as scheduled.” Like here today, I think.

RT: Imagine the so-called “hungry marches” in the times of President Hoover and quote memories of a child about those events. Did you actually find any survivors still alive to tell the story and confirm the fact of ‘American Holodomor’?

B.B.: Let me draw your attention to the fact that it was not me who called those marches “hunger marches”. They were called so by the participants. When someone goes marching in protest against war, they protest against war because people get killed there. When someone protests against hunger, it means they protest against dying of starvation, and the people are ready for social unrest. You may know that not only the police but also regular military troops were used to disperse those marches.

There is a huge amount of evidence. Let me quote some. For example. The thing is that in summer an article by Dmitriy Lyskov was published in the English translation, with some conclusions drawn from my research. That caused active discussion in English-language blogs, also in the USA, which is understandable.

What do Americans write in their stories? Just three quotes:

1) The ancient members of my family told me how people used to come to the door asking to do a day’s work for only a meal.

2) If this story is true and our federal government knew the enormity of the crisis during the 30s, then it might explain their silence about the famine in Ukraine during the same time.

3) It's a good argument... I heard lots of stories about the Depression from all my relatives, and especially from my mother and father. People were starving, I don’t dispute that. But I don’t think it would have been seven million.

We can see flat ideological statements about democracy and freedom in the USA then, therefore such things just could not have been there. However, we have authentic stories, so numerous that one could make volumes out of them and put them on a shelf.

RT: Such outstanding historical moments are usually reflected in literature, films, and, of course, journalist reports and research articles. The American depression is definitely one of those remarkable periods. Is there any proof of your theory in an article of a newspaper of that time?

B.B.: They did write about it, of course, but in a style similar to that used in our newspapers about the 1990s. They criticised the government, parties fought each other, someone criticised local authorities, someone insisted on their programmes, others on the opposite. As a whole, however, the bigger picture of the epoch will be seen only in a while. As for sources, they can be used for reference about those real events that were happening there.

Of course, journalists may be interested in a fact about a tractor that pulled down a farm. There are many facts of this kind – Steinbeck eloquently tells a lot about such things. But as to what happened to that farm later, the fact being that ten people left but only eight came back, is seldom told – both then and now. It’s not something of big interest to journalists.

For instance, who died in your family in the past two years?

You must bear in mind that those who died are in the lowest stratum of the American society – either had been poor, or became poor and failed to get out of this level. Try to find research details about the death rate among homeless people in Russia now – you will encounter big difficulties. You may find, but that may take a long time. And you will hardly find anything in newspapers, despite the fact that mortality among the homeless is there. And it’s about citizens of Russia and most likely the number of those dying is big. Perhaps the factor that not all of them volunteered to become homeless is the answer.

RT:In your article, you write about the agrarian business lobby you claim is guilty of destroying the state food resources. Can you please tell more about it and maybe compare it to any instance of more recent economic wars or lobbies, maybe?

B.B
.: The modern example is obvious – it’s a modern programme of producing fuel from food. It’s not by chance, that the Cuban leader Fidel Castro raised this question, thus dotting the ‘i’s’ and crossing the ‘t’s’. As a matter of fact, producing fuel from food is something to enrich someone, whereas impoverishing dozens of millions of others. The process is already there and the current increase of food prices is already causing political unrest and more deaths. Medical specialists don't do this in third-world countries nor in rich countries so far. The process is under way. Unless stopped, by the end of the 21st century, the programme of obtaining fuel from food will be studied in history books on pages next to Hitler and concentration camps. The scale of the consequences would be comparable, in terms of the number of victims.

This is what concerns the current situation.

RT: We had these discussions in the time of chaos and depression in the world’s financial markets. Hundreds of people are losing their jobs, credits are not paid back, the mortgage crisis is on. As an economist, do you see this as the beginning of a new great depression and, actually, a new Holodomor?

B.B.: Comparing the current crisis with the Great Depression has become commonplace in economic discussions. I would rather not over-load you with some economic terms but let me give you a simple example. The modern crisis radically differs from the one in the early 20th century. Whereas that crisis was of an industrial society, this one is of a post-industrial society and the economy of services.

What does that mean? Imagine yourself a highly-paid specialist in securities. You strike deals and earn a lot. You’re sure you’re worth it, because the deals yield good profits. Who do you need? A legal adviser. Many of them, with an office, secretaries, clerks – all of whom help you not to lose your money and do your business. Who do the legal advisers need? They need bank employees who take their lucrative salaries and deposit them at advantageous terms. This is what makes up the first financial circle.

The first circle is followed by another one, where people need property dealers, as they are very busy themselves and would not build homes on their own. They would need a tourist agent to quickly arrange that their bottoms could be warmed up in Hawaii. And they need transfer agents to arrange all the transportation.

Then follows the third circle of the services industry – including cafes where the guys from the first and second circles have coffee, restaurant where they dine, fitness centres to make them fit sometimes – an they're necessary in the centre of the city, because they cannot afford getting away from the money source spring as someone else can crawl up and scoop from it. Ninety per cent of the fee is taken by the rent of the premises in the prestigious locations.

All the rest is arranged likewise.

Now, imagine that the stock market has collapsed. You have no job and no revenue. So you pack to leave – Lehman Brothers all pack. You don’t need legal advisers anymore. If you do, however, you have no money to pay them with. No bank specialists are required. That is followed by no need for a property agent, and all the rest down the chain.

What have we got as a result? In an industrial economy, an enterprise has some safety factor – some reserves, long-term contracts, some property they can sell or mortgage at the end of the day. There is no such safety margin in the services industry. As soon as the money source stops, the services industry rumbles like a house of cards.

So, things may be developing now much faster than in the pre-WWII times. This is what we can see happening now during a very short period of time, much shorter than in the time of the Great Depression, major financial institutions collapsed, which set the alarm bells ringing, as French President Sarkozy put it, making the economy a little smarter. This is well understood by the leaders, but nobody says how to do this.

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Previous post dedicated to this theme- "Where did America's millions go? Holodomor lessons"

четверг, 23 октября 2008 г.

Rachmaninov - Rhapsody On A Theme Of Paganini (18th Var.)

Senior intelligence officer killed in Abkhazia

SUKHUMI, October 23 (RIA Novosti) - A senior Abkhazian counterintelligence officer was found dead early on Thursday in Abkhazia, a source in the separatist republic's state security service said.

The body of Eduard Emin-zade, chief of the counterintelligence department at the Abkhazian Defense Ministry, was discovered in a house in the Gali district of Abkhazia with a gunshot wound to the head.

A team of investigators later found the body of the owner of the house in a roadside ditch 500 meters from the nearby Ingur checkpoint.

Emin-Zade survived an assassination attempt in June when he and his driver were seriously injured in an attack on their vehicle near a railway station in the Abkhazian capital of Sukhumi. The assailants were never brought to justice.

Abkhazian President Sergei Bagapsh is currently holding an emergency meeting with the republic's senior security staff over Emin-zade's death, the source said.

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A tale of terror and tragedy



A tale of terror and tragedy

Terrorism is a word perpetually on the lips of politicians, journalists and the public. In spite of this endless attention to it, the real experience of terrorism, the terror itself, is hard to comprehend – such agony of fear, pain and confusion is far beyond the experience of the vast majority of people. After six years, the terror of the incident at the Moscow theatre has not disappeared. This is one attempt to describe what happened.

The attack


Photo: NTV(exlusive)

Around 900 people attended the performance of Nord-Ost on Wednesday, October 23, 2002. Their activity was ordinary enough. The play, an award-winning, Broadway-style treatment of a bestselling Soviet adventure novel, had been drawing sellout crowds to the grim industrial neighbourhood of Dubrovka, southeast of the city center, for just over a year. As the second act began, terrorists, armed with pistols, automatic weapons and explosives, entered the theatre, shooting up the lobby. The audience became aware of their presence when a single gunman burst onstage, fired his automatic rifle into the air and ordered the actors to the sidelines. He was followed by a small group who directed the sealing off of the theatre. Unless Russian forces ceased military operations and pulled out of Chechnya within one week, it was announced, the hostages would die.

The audience, actors and theatre staff were the hostages of Movsar Baraev, the 22-year-old leader of the Chechen Special Purpose Islamic Regiment and nephew of warlord Arbi Baraev. Movsar Baraev inherited the leadership of the SPIR when his uncle was killed the previous year in what may have been Chechen blood revenge, or an FSB operation. Russian authorities had declared Mosvar Baraev dead, for the second time, less than two weeks before the attack. Among the 41 terrorists accompanying Baraev were 19 black-clad and veiled women, who were charged with managing the hostages. They wore explosives wrapped around their waists. Later, it became known that most of them were widows and many of them were educated and from fairly prosperous backgrounds. One was the widow of Arbi Baraev. Some of the others were a university student, an actress, pharmacist, accountant and school teacher. They frequently cried. Some of their explosives may have been dummies, if an anonymous letter sent to one Russian newspaper is to be believed.

The hostages were forced to remain in their seats at all times and to use the orchestra pit as a toilet. A large bomb was placed in the ninth row of the auditorium.

There was no reasonable expectation on anyone’s part that the terrorists’ demands could or would be met. “We have come here to die,” the terrorists admitted freely. They released over 150 children, Muslims and pregnant women. They promised to release the 75 foreigners from 14 countries as well, but did not, as Russians reportedly objected. There were several Chechen hostages.

Six hours into the ordeal, at 3:30 a.m., a young woman, a store clerk who lived in the neighbourhood, passed through the police cordon and entered the theatre, where she shoved Baraev and urged the hostages to revolt. “What are you afraid of? He’s a clown,” she is reported to have said. She was forced through a side door of the auditorium and shot.

Celebrity roll call

The hostages were allowed to keep and use their mobile telephones. One terrorist filmed their activities. It was part of their campaign for attention, which went into high gear the following day. State Duma member from Chechnya Aslambek Aslakhanov, liberal politicians Irina Khakamada, Boris Nemtsov and Grigory Yavlinsky, Chechen former chairman of the Supreme Council Ruslan Khasbulatov and entertainer-legislator Iosif Kobzon were involved in negotiations with the terrorists.

Two doctors were allowed into the theatre as well. Late that evening, a reporter from the British newspaper The Sunday Times called Baraev on his mobile telephone and was the first of several journalists and news teams to receive permission to enter the theatre. Baraev told the English reporter that they were not terrorists, but had simply come to get the Russians out of Chechnya. With him were a masked deputy and the single non-Chechen in the group, identified by the press as a “Gulf Arab,” who closed out the interview by stating in good Russian (he spoke Russian considerably better than Baraev) that the group wanted to die much more than their enemies wanted to live.

The terrorists requested that journalist Anna Politkovskaya act as mediator. She rushed back from the United States, arriving on Friday. Other journalists, former prime minister Evgeny Primakov, former president of Ingushetia Ruslan Aushev and Aslakhanov also took part in the second round of negotiations. At the same time, the FSB’s Alpha team rehearsed an assault at another theatre in Moscow. More doctors were allowed in and 19 hostages were released that day. It was reported that evening that the terrorists would begin killing hostages at midnight. The hostages heard those reports on the radio. Gen. Viktor Kazantsev, presidential envoy to the Russian Southern Federal District, called one of Baraev’s deputies and promised to fly to Moscow to meet with the terrorists the next morning. The hostages had a reprieve.

Half an hour later, a man entered the theatre saying he had come for his eight-year-old son. His son was not found among the hostages and he too was taken out and shot. Then a hostage panicked and made a dash for the big bomb. A gunman fired, but missed him, hitting two other hostages, one of whom was wounded, while the other was killed. An ambulance was called for them. That night, a Chechen may have fired off several rounds inside the theatre, saying the silence was having a bad effect on him. According to other reports, the shooting was a response to a false story planted in the press that the FSB was planning a raid on the theatre at that time. The purpose of that ploy, those reports say, was to lull the terrorists into a false sense of security after warding off the non-attack.

Gen. Kazantsev’s call had been a trick. At 5:30 a.m. on Saturday, hostages recounted, a gray mist with a sharp scent began to settle on the (mostly) sleeping group, causing a feeling of intoxication. The Chechen men shot out the windows in the theatre and some reportedly fled. They shot randomly on the street, but the Russian forces took no action, conscious of the fact that a single “black widow” in the theatre could put a catastrophic end to all their efforts. Soon the gas (it may have been an aerosol in reality) took effect. Twenty minutes after it was launched, however, a hostage staggered out of the building, causing concern over the number of people still conscious inside. That hostage was followed by four others. Their ordeal had lasted just over 56 hours.

Freeing the hostages

Then the special forces moved in. Baraev and his closest deputies had not fled or lost consciousness. They were killed in a storeroom in a shootout. Other Chechen gunmen held out for half an hour. Then Russian soldiers killed the unconscious black widows. By some reports, all the terrorists were killed, although not all of them have ever been accounted for. It is known for sure that 33 of the terrorists were killed. The BBC reported at one time that some terrorists were arrested at the scene. Anna Politkovskaya claimed to have met with one of the surviving terrorists in 2003. There were no losses to the Russian side, although there were several cases of poisoning from the gas used.

Initial accounts of the operation from official sources were misleading and contradictory. For several hours, it was maintained that no hostages had been killed. Then some deaths were acknowledged and blamed on the Chechens. It took two days for the real story to emerge. The spectacular triumph over the forces of terror had been marred by a tragic tactical error: the lack of medical aid for the hostages.
Soldiers rushing to empty the explosives-filled building left unconscious hostages face-up on the ground around the theatre, causing many of them to choke to death. There are claims that the antidote to the drug used was available at the scene, but there were too few medics to administer it. The medics had not been made aware of the plans and were prepared to treat gunshot and explosion casualties. There were few ambulances available. Finally, city buses were brought in for that purpose. Doctors at the hospitals the hostages were taken to were not informed of the nature of the drug used on them. Altogether, 129 hostages died, including ten foreigners and 17 cast members, two of whom were children; 114 of them died at the theatre.


Photo:NTV

On the following Monday, 646 of the former hostages remained hospitalised. Chaos reigned among their family members. They were not informed of their relatives’ whereabouts. A hotline for them was never answered. Once they found their relatives, they were not allowed to see them for a long time. Another 69 hostages were allegedly denied adequate treatment.

Like all terrorist crises, this one left an aftermath not only of grief, but of suspicion and recrimination. There are many details that have never been elucidated and a number of obvious unanswered questions left from the tragedy. The official inquiry into the act continued until June 2007. In the Moscow Prosecutor’s Office’s report, five deaths were blamed directly on the actions of the terrorists, and 125 deaths were acknowledged to have taken place in the course of the operation against the terrorists. The gas used was described as “of a nature that has not been established by the inquiry.” Nonetheless, the 125 deaths were attributed to “a combination of unfavourable circumstances,” and not the use of the gas. Russian officials all the way up to Vladimir Putin have insisted that the gas used in the theatre was safe for the hostages. Its exact identity remains a state secret to this day, but it is commonly thought to have been a compound containing fentanyl, an artificial opioid.

Derek Andersen, RT

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Georgia to walk out from CIS in August 2009


ASTANA, October 23 (Itar-Tass) -- Georgia will walk out from the Commonwealth of the Independent States (CIS) in August 2009, CIS deputy executive secretary Nauryz Aidarov said at the 15th conference of the CIS education ministers here on Thursday.

The Georgian Foreign Ministry filed a note about the country’s walkout from the CIS in the CIS Executive Committee on August 18 after the armed conflict in South Ossetia. Aidarov noted that the CIS Executive Committee launched the walkout procedure under Article 9 of the CIS Charter.

“Under this article a CIS member-country notifies in the written form a depositary about its intention to quit the Commonwealth 12 months before the walkout. August 18, 2009, will be thereby considered as a date of Georgia’s walkout from the Commonwealth,” Aidarov said.

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вторник, 21 октября 2008 г.

Russia to lend Belarus $2 bln in 2008-2009


MOSCOW, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will grant Belarus a $2 billion stabilization loan in 2008-2009, Russian Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said on Tuesday.

"Last week, Russia decided to issue a $2 billion loan to Belarus," the minister said, adding that $1 billion would be lent this year, and the other half in 2009.

Kudrin said the terms of the loan were currently being discussed and would be announced at a later date.

He also said proposals had been made to establish a single currency for Russia and Belarus and to review prospects for bilateral cooperation.

In late 2007, Russia and Belarus signed an intergovernmental agreement to grant Minsk a $1.5 billion stabilization loan for 15 years. Belarus requested the loan from Russia to pay for energy supplies.

Russia's energy giant Gazprom is planning to switch to market prices for Belarus, one of the leading transit countries for Russian natural gas supplies to Europe.

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Russia, Iran, Qatar to hold regular natural gas dialogue



TEHRAN, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the Persian Gulf states of Iran and Qatar will hold regular discussions on prospects of cooperation in the natural gas sphere, the chief executive of Russian energy giant Gazprom said on Tuesday.

Alexei Miller took part in talks in Tehran on Tuesday with Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari and Qatari Energy and Industry Minister Abdallah bin Hamad al-Atiyah.

"At today's meeting, an agreement was signed on establishing a working commission, one goal of which is to study joint and three-party projects," Miller said.

Miller said dialogue between Russia and the two largest gas producers in the Mideast could be highly useful for the gas market as a whole, and provide a boost to gas exporting countries.

"We are united by the world's largest gas reserves and common strategic interests, and what is especially important, the strong potential of cooperation under three-party projects. All these factors laid the basis for accords of principle importance. We agreed on regular Gas Troika meetings three or four times a year to discuss the most important issues relating to the gas market that are of mutual interest," Miller said.

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воскресенье, 19 октября 2008 г.


MOSCOW, October 19 (Itar-Tass) - Gazprom received an invitation to start geological prospecting on Alaska shelf, said Gazprom board chairman Alexei Miller in an interview with the Rossiya TV networks, circulated by the Gazprom press service.

Executives of the Russian company and specialists from other countries participated in a scientific seminar in Alaska on development of oil and gas deposits.

According to Miller, Gazprom will hold “a new round of meetings and talks in the near future on which blocks (in Alaska) could be offered to us by our American colleagues”. “This will be also closely examined by us from the viewpoint of geological data,” Miller said, adding that he “will study proposals which were offered to Gazprom to work on the Alaska shelf, including blocks in the Chukchi Sea”.

Besides, Miller hopes “to turn in the near future from discussions to the next move: formalising relations concerning research work, Gazprom’s participation in explorations and development studies in Alaska”.

Gazprom head admitted “although there is much talk on plans of developing the Alaska shelf and concerning creation of new gas transport routes, there is no real progress in anything”. He claimed that “even according to the most optimistic plans, if we are to speak about gas transport projects, the ball will start rolling only in 2018”.

Miller emphasised the importance of the so-called pre-project stage when research studies are very important. “Incidentally, Gazprom’s experience in implementing such large-scale projects in the north could be very handy in this case,” he added.

In Miller’s opinion, “Gazprom’s arrival in Alaska is a logical outcome for the development of a gas market”, since “there is now need for developing new deposits and deliveries of new volumes of gas to markets”. He noted that the US is not only the biggest consumer, but also a big gas producer. It imports annually 130 billion cubic metres of gas.

This notwithstanding, it does not develop big deposits, including the Alaska shelf. “Licenses for those deposits were given long ago, in the 1970s, but no serious moves have been made to develop those deposits over the past 40 years,” Miller specified.

To Miller’s mind, the Gazprom experience looks alluring in this situation. Gazprom is a company, operating now in Russia’s North, the main country’s production potential (some 80 percent of gas output) concentrates in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Area.

“We have accumulated very rich experience both of production and construction of gas pipelines, creation of transport and social infrastructure over several decades of work under conditions of Russia’s North,” Miller said. He put his company in the first place in the world according to experience of work in the north.

“Alaska has very similar conditions with our work in the Russian North. Those are the same latitudes and climatic conditions, to which we are accustomed. Gazprom is interested in boosting its cooperation where we can be needed with our experience and our knowledge,” said Gazprom chief. He noted that the Russian side “sees interest of American colleagues in work in cooperation with Gazprom.

Gazprom carried out a presentation in Alaska of its own experience of work on Yamal Peninsula shelf and new technologies of gas transportation. “It is Gazprom in Russia that started implementing construction of gas pipelines of a new generation. This experience is unmatched anywhere in the world,” Miller underlined.

He added that these technologies fully take into account the most stringent ecological demands and show “how can be implemented in a sparing regime large-scale projects under conditions of very fragile ecological systems of the north”.

Miller noted that he shared the company’s experience at the seminar on resolving social questions. “In the Russian North, we implement large-scale social and humanitarian programmes of cooperation with indigenous population, programmes for professional schooling and training of indigenous ethnic groups, maintaining their every-day life and traditions. The Gazprom experience in this sphere can be applied here in Alaska,” Miller said with confidence.

The Gazprom leadership also advised their American colleagues to choose one of the two future projects of building a gas trunk pipeline via Alaska and via Canada to the US domestic market. “In our opinion, implementation of two projects of trunk pipelines is redundant, unsubstantiated and economically inexpedient.

Miller also said that liquefied gas could be an alternative to transportation of gas by pipelines. This alternative will meet requirements of Alaska indigenous population. Therefore, it is necessary to examine a possibility of building factories on liquefying gas in the north and transporting it to the US domestic market.

Miller is convinced that “the volume of gas consumption in the US will continue to rise”. “And there is no alternative to gas in the medium-term perspective,” Miller emphasised.

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суббота, 18 октября 2008 г.

Russia discloses at the United Nations the shocking details of Georgia’s Army action against children in South Ossetia

Russia has submitted to the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee (the one on social, humanitarian and cultural issues) the shocking details of crimes that the Georgian Army perpetrated in South Ossetia. The Russian diplomat who took the floor countered the Georgian delegation’s claims that any accusations of Tbilisi of mass-scale violations of international humanitarian law are unfounded by offering details of specific facts of murdering children, killing pregnant women, shooting at and killing unarmed civilians and gave the names of the victims and the circumstances they died in. Moscow urged the world community to strongly condemn and not let go unpunished the crimes that the Saakashvili regime perpetrated against South Ossetia, including against South Ossetian children.

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RT Expert View: Caucasian peace settlement



This week RT experts discuss the talks in Geneva that were meant to be the next step to negotiate a strong and lasting peace in South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Peter Lavelle, RT political analyst and anchor

This week the first round of the Geneva talks on the final settlement of South Ossetia and Abkhazia ended in failure – actually they never really started. Another meeting is scheduled for November.

Is it reasonable to expect all the sides involved will ever find common ground? The biggest problem facing all sides in these negotiations is expectations. Tbilisi wants to pretend the war never happened and the Russians, South Ossetians, and Abkhazians want international recognition of the war's outcome. And nowhere is there talk of compromise.

What happens next?

Sergey Roy, editor, www.guardian-psj.ru security website

The ostensible reason for the failure of the talks in Geneva on the post-conflict settlement was the refusal of the Abkhazian and South Ossetian representatives to be in the same room as representatives of the pro-Tbilisi “administrations” of Abkhazia and South Ossetia included by Saakashvili in the official Georgian delegation. Indeed, including these people in the delegation was a clear, and habitual, act of provocation on Saakashvili’s part, as these people represent no one but themselves and their Tbilisi bosses: in terms of numbers, their constituencies in Abkhazia and South Ossetia are zero, they have been so for the last fifteen years and will remain so forever.

At a deeper level, the conversations in Geneva were doomed to failure because of the nature of their intended purpose – a post-war settlement. The fact is that Russia has already achieved a post-war settlement. It has recognised Abkhazia and South Ossetia as sovereign states, and that is exactly the settlement that these three parties want and intend to stick to no matter what conversations are held in Geneva or anywhere else.

Georgians have long talked of South Ossetia as a “dagger aimed at the very heart of Georgia.” That is what it looks like on the maps, and that is what Russia intends it to be – just in case the current or any other Georgian regime ventures to make another bid at destabilising the situation in the Caucasus.

In terms of long-term strategy, Russia has carried off a decisive coup that will help it keep a firm hand on the Caucasus. No attempt to dislodge it from this position is ever likely to succeed as long as its rulers remain true to their duty of looking after Russia’s national interests (a state of things that is by no means to be taken for granted – cf. Gorbachev’s and Yeltsin’s policies).

Given all this, why does Russia agree to take part in discussions that are overtly so senseless and unpromising? First, it promised to do so in the Medvedev-Sarkozy plan. Second, it is a venue where the international status of Russia’s protégés can be asserted and solidified. And third, there is the humanitarian aspect, like the plight of the refugees and dealing with the destruction inflicted by the war, that can indeed be profitably discussed there. With all this in view, Russia is even prepared to talk to a regime that it has accused of war crimes and genocide – the more so that any international tribunal that might punish Georgia for such crimes is an unlikely prospect.

As for Georgia, it will continue to indulge in its trademark theatricals, hoping (very much against hope) that the West will gang up on Russia and make it budge from the positions it has won. Not very likely.

Patrick Armstrong retired in 2008 after 30 years as an analyst for the Canadian government, specialising in the USSR and then Russia.

I can’t see much hope for conferences to have any useful discussion, let alone produce an acceptable resolution of the problem, so long as Saakashvili remains in power. It seems inconceivable that he will ever admit that his decision to invade South Ossetia resulted in catastrophe for Georgia and ended any possibility of Abkhazia and South Ossetia ever being part of Georgia for the foreseeable future.

Should he be replaced by a leader prepared to recognise this reality, and act on it, there may be some hope. Likewise many Western countries – especially the US – have painted themselves into a corner by endlessly repeating the mantra of internationally-recognised borders (a principle that apparently did not apply in the Kosovo case).

The central fact of the situation, to which very little attention has been paid, is that the Ossetians and Abkhazians simply do not want to be in Georgia: they both feel that they have strong historical cases that they never were a part of Georgia until Stalin put them there; they can each point to referendums and other actions to support this. Quite apart from having fought, and won, wars to drive Georgians out of the territory on more than one occasion.

It is futile to try and force people into a country they don’t want to be part of and it is otiose to pretend that this fact can be ignored.

But a lot has to happen before this reality is absorbed either in Tbilisi or in many Western capitals.


William Dunkerley, Russian media business analyst and consultant

Parties ostensibly met to settle details regarding the aftermath of the Georgian/Russian war. For most observers, those details involve the international status of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, and the positioning of Russian troops within those territories. That’s one dimension of this issue.

Another dimension is the international PR war that was waged in the media during and after the war. It is worthwhile to contemplate which dimension was the operant factor in the failure of the Geneva talks, and, indeed, in a greater geopolitical context.

In the international PR conflict that surrounded the Georgian/Russian war, Russia was the clear loser. The leading headline of the coverage was, “Russia invades Georgia.” That was the simple assertion to which a very complex matter was reduced. What’s more, it was fitted into an overarching theme. It is that the military action was part of a scheme having an ultimate goal of re-establishing a Russian empire.

Actually, there has been a long series of such PR wars that have been waged against Russia. And Russia has usually lost. Here are a few examples: Russia is using energy as a weapon against democracy … Political opponents are being silenced… Antagonistic journalists are being killed.

The Litvinenko case is a good example of one of these thematic PR wars. In this case, the organisers of the International Federation of Journalists World Congress commissioned me to study the media coverage and report on my findings. The bottom line of what I found was that the news reports presented in the West were not factually based. They were fabrications of one outlaw oligarch who then deployed a prominent PR firm to shape and propagate the mythology. (A copy of my report can be found at: http://www.russiaprofile.org/page.php?pageid=Politics&articleid=a1180613251)

The PR assaults all seem to involve a general theme or allegation that has no clear factual basis. Indeed, in each instance the facts seem to have been on Russia’s side, but the perceptions were not.

Here’s the takeaway point: If Russia is to have better luck in international situations like the recently-failed Geneva talks, it will need to start winning the PR wars. To accomplish that, it would be good to start with an assessment of the tactics and strategies that have contributed to the past losses, and to make the changes needed for bringing about a better result.

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Opening Day


Photo: Ria-Novosti

Alyona Sedlak

Europe's largest mosque, named after late leader Akhmat Kadyrov, opens in Grozny. The building's other name is " The Heart of Chechnya"

Opening of the new mosque took place today as part of the second conference "Islam: a religion of peace and creation", which is currently going on in Grozny. The opening ceremony, in which representatives of 28 nations participated, was broadcast live on Chechen television.

Photo:Itar-Tass

Years ago, then-leader of Chechnya Akhmat Kadyrov, visited Turkey and was impressed by one of its historical mosques. His dream was to build a similar one in his native Chechnya, and his son Ramzan Kadyrov, current President of Chechnya, has fulfilled his late father's dream. The Heart of Chechnya, or Akhmat Kadyrov memorial mosque, is the biggest in Europe, having enough room for 10,000 people. Its minarets are 62 meters tall. The mosque is a part of a larger islamic complex, which covers 14 hectares of land and includes a mufti administration complex Islamic studies institute, gardens and other facilities.

Photo:AP

Vladimir Putin, who visited the site yesterday, said Akhmat Kadyrov mosque was a "gift for the muslims of the whole world". Ramzan Kadyrov, in his tun, described Mr. Putin as "the hope and support" of the islamic world.

In fact, the Prime Minister visited Chechnya not to take part in festivities, but to inspect works being done in the Republic which was hit by an earthquake on 11 October.

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пятница, 17 октября 2008 г.

Armenian minority fear isolation and poverty in Georgia



Tens of thousands of Armenians living in Georgia's Javakh province say their economic problems are being ignored by the country’s government. They warn that bringing about change could be difficult, as many have stopped speaking out, fearing recrimination.

100,000 Armenians are living in the southern Georgian province, where jobs are scarce and poverty rates are high.

“Most Armenians living there do not speak Georgian. They are Georgian citizens, they live on the Georgian territory. This is the first obstacle to integration in Georgia,” explains Suren Manukyan from the Museum of the Armenian Genocide in the Armenian capital Yerevan.

But during Soviet times and in the years that followed, the problem of language did not exist. Many people worked at the Russian military base on the outskirts of town.

The money they earned there fed their families. But when the Russians left a few years ago, their salaries went with them and the region became one of the poorest in Georgia.

The economic problems of the Armenians in Georgia are not exactly the highest priority of the government right now. The authorities continue to pump money into showcase projects, such as a presidential palace in Tbilisi.

Because of the fear of prosecution, many Armenians in Javakh are afraid to speak their minds. Those brave enough to raise their voices in the past have felt the strong arm of the law.

Dr Sergey Minasyan from the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute explains why.

“There were some young people who decided to fight against the situation. They didn’t have enough political experience and money, but as young people they had enough spirit and guts to resist,” he says.

“Because they were so young and inexperienced, their activities finished how they finished: most of them have been arrested. This is why the political structure of this movement has been completely destroyed”.

Jailing people is only adding to local feelings of resentment and concerns for the future.

Dr Minasyan is not optimistic about the future of these people. He believes there is no strong interest in the political powers of Georgia to deal with this problem. “So their situation will probably remain the same for a long time,” he said.

But for the Armenians in Javakh time is running out. They say they are fed up with being ignored and just want the president to listen to what they've got to say.

Russia Today

четверг, 16 октября 2008 г.

Ural landscapes

Полярный Урал долина реки Лагорта
«Полярный Урал долина реки Лагорта» на Яндекс.Фотках
Polar Ural the valley of river Lagorta

Озеро Сугомак
«Озеро Сугомак» на Яндекс.Фотках
Lake Sugomak


Посмотреть на Яндекс.Фотках
Taganai
about Taganai

Чусовая
«Чусовая» на Яндекс.Фотках
River Chusovaya
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Кунгурская ледяная пещера. Пермский край
«Кунгурская ледяная пещера. Пермский край» на Яндекс.Фотках
Kungur Ice Cave

The Kungur Ice Cave is located in the vicinity of Kungur, on the right bank of the Sylva River. Ramified passages stretch under the ground for over 6,000 metres, and only a small part has already been explored. To this day old slides and crumblings do not allow to determine the total length of the passages. In the explored part of the cave there are several dozens of grottoes; the largest one, which is called the Druzhba (Friendship) Grotto, was given its name in honour of the participants of the International Geological Congress who visited the cave in 1937. Inside this grotto there is a lake with the area of 750 m². The grottoes are "adorned" with columns of stalagmites and icicles of stalactites up to two metres in height. Over millennia, limestone bearing water has created an infinite variety of forms in the cave, like snowflakes which change in size during the year and reach the size of a maple leaf during late winter. The cave is filled with water from the Sylva River twice a year, in spring and in fall, when it is not accessible to tourists

The point of view:american holodomor 32/33



Where did America’s missing millions go? Holodomor Lessons

U.S. history contains a serious crime against its own people – the Great American Holodomor of 1932/33, which cost the lives of millions. Historian Boris Borisov suggests the U.S. should not lecture Russia on Holodomor in Ukraine, but take a closer look at the lessons from its own past.

"Golodomor ad usum externum"*

The United States of America constantly try to teach us the “Holodomor lessons”.

"A special commission, created by the US Congress in 1988, came to the conclusion that during the Holodomor period 25 per cent of the Ukrainian population – millions of people - were intentionally annihilated by the Soviet government through genocide, and did not just die as a result of famine."

"On October 20, 2003 the House of Representative of the US Congress accepted a resolution on the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine, stating that this was an act of terror and mass murder, aimed at the Ukrainian people."

"In November 2005 the House of Representatives of the US Congress accepted a resolution which allowed the Ukrainian authorities to build a monument commemorating Holodomor victims and recognised it."

"This year (2008) the US Congress may consider a new resolution on the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine"


These news lines make headlines. They are repeated by the press before making their way on to TV and into legal structures. In this way they are forced on millions of people around the world.

But a question comes up when we hear such news – why does the US Congress pay so much attention to things that happened 75 years ago in a far-away country? Why didn’t well-informed Americans protest back then, in 1932-33?
Is it just a political interest in Russia’s influence on the post-Soviet territory, or an attempt to split Russians and Ukrainians forever, that tempts Americans again and again to repeat the fascist propaganda of Goebbels in the 30s: that “millions of Ukrainians were intentionally annihilated by the Soviet government”?

The ultimate compassion and justice felt by American congressmen is hardly believable – just try to find at least one Congress resolution (one, not three), where genocide of Native Americans would honestly be called genocide, or at least “mass annihilation”. Even though most of the peoples inhabiting the territory of the USA were wiped out completely and their total number was radically reduced.

American history records another crime against its own people – the Great American Holodomor, also in 1932-33, when the USA lost millions of citizens.

You will not find any critical resolutions on that, just like you won’t find anything on the genocide of the indigenous people. American politicians don’t give passionate speeches on the subject, no “memorials” are built to mark the anniversary of mass annihilation. The memory of this is hidden in fake statistical reports, in archives, cleared of all evidence of the crime, attributed to the “invisible hand of the market”, glossed over by songs of praise to the genius of President Roosevelt, and the joy of community work, organised by him – not that different in essence from the GULAGs or the construction of the Baltic Sea Canal.

Of course, according to the American version of history “millions of men, women and children became the victims the criminal and cruel totalitarian regime in the Soviet Union”. American history cannot be described in these terms.

Let’s disprove this myth, using American sources.

Where are seven million people?

An attempt to get access to demographic statistics is followed by many surprises right away: statistics from 1932 were destroyed – or hidden very well.

This is a fragment of a screenshot showing a US government statistics site.

They just don’t exist. No explanation is given. Yes, they appear later, in statistical reports as retrospective charts. A diligent researcher will also be surprised studying these charts.
Farm Security Administration

First, if you believe American statistics, in the 10 years from 1931 to 1940, 8,553,000 people were lost. And what is interesting is that the numbers of increase in population change at one point by 2 times - exactly at the border betwee 1930/31. They fall and freeze at this level for 10 years. And just as suddenly, a decade later, they climb back up. No explanation for this is found in the extensive report of the US Department of commerce’s “Statistical Abstract of the United States”. Even thought it is full of comments on other less significant issues.

The issue is just avoided. There is no issue.

Any responsible demographer not dependent on the US State Department or Mossad will tell you that an immediate double change in the population dynamics in a country with a population of one hundred million people is only possible in case of mass mortality.

It’s possible that people moved, migrated, escaped from the awful conditions of the Great Depression. Let’s use accurate and detailed data on immigration to/from the USA and population migration – which can be easily checked by cross-comparison with the data of other countries, and thus is worth trusting. Unfortunately, the immigration statistics cannot prove this version. In the height of the Great Depression, more people left the country than entered it – probably, for the first time in the history of the USA. In the 1930s, 93,309 more people left the country than entered it; while 10 years previously the number of people entering the country exceeded the number leaving by 2,960,782. After correction, the demographic loss in the USA during the 1930s is 3,054,000***.

However, if we consider all the reasons, including migration, we should add a further 11.3% to the decline of population in the 1930s because of the population increase in the 1920s and the demographic base growth.

According to the calculations, in 1940, the US population should have amounted to at least 141,856,000 people, given that the previous demographic tendency was preserved. But in reality in 1940 the population was 131,409,00, 3,054,000 of which can be explained by the change in the migration dynamics.

Thus, 7,394,000 persons as of the year 1940 are actually absent. There is no official explanation of this fact. And I suppose that it will never be given. But even if they appear, the situation with the destruction of the statistical data for 1932 and visible traces of forgery of the latest reports for that period do not give the government of the USA the right to comment of the issue.

However Americans are not alone in their desire to systematically destroy the damaging information and hide the population losses of hunger. This is a hereditary quality of the Anglo-Saxon policy which proceeds from the British empire. In 1943 British government did not prevent starvation in Bengal, as a result of which over 3.5 million people died, and before that they quite successfully starved Ireland.

The organization of mass starvation in India was the response of the British government to the 1942 riot and the population’s support of the “Indian National Army”. But you won’t find such information in British sources for those years. Only after India gained independence did it become possible to collect and publish these materials. Otherwise the monstrous British holodomor of 1943 would have never come to light. All the facts and proofs would have been hidden or destroyed, as happened to the materials on the victims of the Great Depression. Actually all colonial powers have similar skeletons in the cupboard.

Only when the USA collapses will we be able to learn many interesting facts about the crimes of the US government against its own people, including the genocide of the continent’s local population. And it is possible that the well-informed reader will be surprised at how the wise Roosevelt is compared with evil Stalin – just as we are surprised now at how one governor from cruel and ancient times is praised at the expense of another, when we know all of them had blood on their hands.

But we live today, when the monstrous Stalin who starved whole nations is faced by a glorious and shining Angel of Good with the label ‘Made in the USA’, which is desperately crying out about the millions of deliberately starved in Ukraine. How does the Congress count the number of the holodomor victims? It’s not an easy matter. The holodomor researchers often complain about the lack of statistic data, its being incomplete, and that the number of the starved should be calculated using the system we have applied here. **** Based on these calculations, the US Congress and its followers regularly accept new resolutions blaming the USSR, Russia and communism for creating millions of victims.

The essence of the calculations stated above provides a challenge for the USA to apply the same principles to its own history. And the citadel of democracy and human rights fails to take it up.

So, ladies and gentlemen:

Where are the 7,394,000 people who disappeared from the statistics reports of the 1930s?

Anyway, we know the answer.

The background of the Great Holodomor

The beginning of the 1930s was a real humanitarian catastrophe in the USA. In 1932, the number of unemployed reached 12.5 million people. The total population of the USA including children and the old was 125 million. The peak of unemployment came in 1933 when the number of jobless reached 17 million; when you add that figure to the family members of those without work, it rivaled the number of unemployed in Britain and France together!

When in the 1930s a Soviet company ‘Amtorg’ advertised vacancies in the USSR with a small soviet salary, more than 100,000 (!) applications from America were received. It looks like every second American citizen (among those who read the ‘Amtorg’ notice) submitted an application.

During the peak of the economic crisis every third person was fired. Partial unemployment became a real disaster. According to the American Federation of Labor, in 1932 only 10% of the workers were fully employed. The law on old age and unemployment insurance was accepted only in 1935, five years after the beginning of the crisis, when the major part of those who ‘did not fit the market’ had already starved.

However the insurance did not protect the interests of farmers or other categories of employment.

Looking back there was no insurance system in the country in the height of the crisis – which means that people could only rely on themselves. Help for the unemployed started in the middle of 1933. The administration had had no federal program against unemployment and the problems of the unemployed were left for state authorities and city municipalities to solve. However almost all the cities had become bankrupts by then.

The tramps, the poor, including homeless children, became the symbol of the period. Deserted cities and ghost towns appeared as people left in search of food and work. About 2.5 million people lost their homes and were thrown onto the streets.

The famine started in the cities. Even in the prosperous and the richest part of the country, New York, there was mass starvation. City authorities began giving out free soup to the homeless.

Here are a child’s memories from those times:


‘We changed our habitual favorite food to more available … instead of cabbage we used bushes’ leaves, we ate frogs… within a month’s time both my mother and elder sister died.’ (Jack Griffin)

However not all the states could afford free soup for everybody.

It’s strange to see the photographs of those long lines for the field kitchens: respectable faces, decent clothes, not shabby yet – typically middle class. It looked as if they’d lost their job only yesterday and got onto the sidewalk. I have nothing to compare it with, except maybe photographs from the Berlin freed by the Red army, where ‘Russian occupants’ fed the peaceful citizens who survived. But the eyes in these pictures are different: in them there is hope that the worst is over. ‘Ravaged Germany’ – this is something.

Mechanism of Deceit

Infant mortality stands out in the demographic loss. Because there was no internal passport system or residential registration, it was easy to conceal infant mortality simply by not registering it. Even nowadays not all is good with the USA infant mortality rates (for example it’s higher than in Cuba), and in the prosperous year of 1960, 26 out of every 1,000 babies died during the first year of life. Furthermore, the death rate of Afro-American children reached 60 in every 1,000 in the most prosperous time.

It’s interesting to note that the official American statistical data (mind you, in retrospect) does not show the increase, but decrease (!) in population in 1932-1933. This is made clear in the background of more than 5 million refugees, 2.5 million who lost their homes, and 17 million unemployed – which definitely proves the fake character of official USA statistics for the period. Those who falsified American statistics in the period overdid it to such an extent that in the peak crisis years of 1932-1933, they showed mortality rates lower than in the prosperous year of 1928.

The mortality records in the states are more impressive: Washington D.C. shows 15.1 deaths for every 1,000 people in 1932, confirming that mortality had grown. The calculation was done for the capital and that’s why the data looks authentic.

But mortality in North Dakota in the crisis year of 1932 is allegedly 7.5 persons out of 1,000 – twice as low as in the capital, and lower than in North Dakota in the prosperous year of 1925! South Carolina undoubtedly becomes the deceit champion: for the three years of 1929-1932 it made up figures of the death rate changed from 14.1 to 11.1 for every 1,000 persons.

According to the report the infant mortality situation in the country at the height of the depression had improved sufficiently in comparison with the prosperous years. From these reports we gather the impression that infant mortality rates in 1932-1933 proved to be the lowest in the whole history of statistics in the USA from 1880-1934.

Do you still believe in these figures?

How many children have died?

Where are the 5,570,000 thousand people?

American statistics for 1940 contain data on the age distribution of the surviving children. And, if in 1940 the number of people born in the 1920s was 24,080,000, the same demographic trend should have continued in the 1930s and reached at least 26,800,000 children. But in the 30s there’s a glaring lack of 5,573,000, no less! Maybe there was a drop in the birth rate. But even in the 1940s, during WW2, in spite of all the losses and the millions drafted, the birth rate got back to almost the same level. The giant population losses of the 1930s cannot be explained by any ‘birth rate decrease’. It was the result of many additional deaths, the scars left by the millions of lost lives, the black mark of the Great American Holodomor.

We can also use these figures to estimate the overall effect which hunger had on the American population as the difference between the decrease in the number of people born in the 1930s and the overall population reduction. The adult population surely couldn’t just ‘fail to be born’! We can definitely say that there were at least 2 million dead people over 10 years of age, and about half of the 2.5 million child deaths can be divided between mortality and a natural drop in the birth rate. *****

Thus, we can surely say there were around 5 million victims of the Holodomor of 1932/33 in the United States.

An extremely high mortality rate was registered among the US ethnic minorities. They have never received much care in the States, but what happened during the Great Depression borders on genocide. Whereas after the first genocide of the native population, which had lasted almost until the early 20th century, in the 1920s the population of ethnic minorities and natives increased by 40 per cent. It then dropped drastically from 1930 to 1940. This can mean only one thing: in the early 1930s the ethnic minorities lost a considerable proportion of their original population.

If that’s not genocide, then what is?

Dispossession American-style: From ‘kulaks’ to the claws of the American Beriya

Almost everyone in Russia, thanks to TV anchor and political commentator, Nikolay Svanidze, knows about the two million ‘kulaks’ - rich Russian farmers dispossessed and displaced by the communists (who called them ‘special migrants’). In fact, the ‘kulaks’ got either land or work in the areas where they were sent. But few people know about the five million American farmers (around one million families), who at the same time were driven from their land by banks reclaiming debts. They did not get anything from the US government – no land, no work, no social benefits, no pensions – nothing.

This is dispossession American-style – even if ‘justified by the necessity to strengthen agriculture’ – and it can truly be compared to the banishments which happened in the USSR at exactly the same time, on the same scale and even to counter the same economic challenges, like the need to develop and mechanise agriculture, and increase its productivity during the pre-war period. One in every six American farmers became a victim of the Holodomor steamroller. People were going nowhere, robbed of their land, money, their homes and property. All that lay ahead was an uncertainty plagued by mass unemployment, hunger and crime.

This vast, redundant population became a catalyst for Roosevelt’s New Deal policy. During 1933-1939, at any one given time more than 3.3 million people were taking part in public works, such as the construction of canals, roads and bridges in uninhabited and swampy areas. They were organized by the Public Works Administration (PWA) and the Civil Works Administration (CWA). All in all, more than 8.5 million people – apart from convicts – took part in the American GULAG.

The work conditions and mortality figures are yet to be studied carefully.

Praising the wisdom of Mr. Roosevelt, who started the public works, is roughly the same as praising the wisdom of Mr. Stalin, who launched the construction of the Moscow channel and other grand projects of the communist era. In fact, the systematic similarity between the two leaders was noted by the Republicans back in the 1940s: then they criticized Roosevelt for his ‘communist’ approach.
Farm Security Administration

There is another thing which explains the almost demonic likeness between PWA and GULAG. The administration was headed by none other than the ‘American Beriya’, Secretary of Interior Affairs Harold Ickes ******, who, starting from 1932, sent more than two million people (!) to youth unemployment camps. Their monthly salary was $30, out of which they were obliged to pay $25 to the state.

Five dollars for a month of back-breaking labour in a malaria-infested swamp. A worthy reward for the free citizens of a free country.

State destroys food: benefit for the market, more slave labour for the hungry



The US government has also been accused of systematically destroying large amounts of state food supplies to suit the interests of the agricultural business lobby, and all that was happening against the background of mass hunger and deaths of an ‘excessive’ population. Of course, the government only used ‘market methods’. Food was destroyed in a number of ways and on a grand scale: the grain was burned and dumped into the ocean. For instance, 6.5 million pig heads were destroyed, and 10 million hectares of ripe crops were ploughed in.
The goal was not kept a secret. It was to double the food prices, in the interests of the agricultural capital. Of course, it fully suited the interests of the major capitalists in agriculture and stock holders, but it wasn’t very popular with the hungry masses. The ‘hunger marches’ during Hoover’s term in office became a part of everyday life even in America’s largest cities. But what Roosevelt’s New Deal brought about was more profit for the capitalists, and GULAG public works for the hungry. To each his own.

Still, the US government was never really worried about its population dying from starvation – unlike the victims of other ‘holodomors’, or famines, which could be used to attain political goals.

‘I have no fears for the future of our country. It is bright with hope’, said President Hoover on the eve of the Great Depression. And we have no fears for the past of the United States – according to the US-made version – just as Caesar’s wife, it’s always above suspicion.
Farm Security Administration

It’s important to note that until 1988, when a committee for investigating the ‘Ukrainian holodomor’ was created in the US Congress, America did not try to create much publicity around this issue, just as other issues from the ‘Goebbels golden collection’, such as Katyn or ‘war-ravaged Germany’. The States knew that they have their own starved-to-death skeleton in the closet, and the ideological counterstrike from the Soviet Union would be quick and precise, and this would be a battle America will never win. The depth of the 1930s demographic pit in the USSR and the USA was perfectly comparable. Their mutual silence on this slippery issue was a part of the tacit Cold War code. Washington only started making the Ukrainian holodomor story public in 1988, after it got itself a group of high-ranking agents in the Kremlin led by Mikhail Gorbachev, with a liberal-minded Yakovlev who replaced the ‘iron man’ Suslov as the ideological counterpart, and knowing that the Soviets would not strike back. That was perfect timing.

We cannot expect that the U.S. will reveal all the facts about their own holodomor, and publish archive documents and confessions, like those initiated – and, probably, fabricated – in the 1980s by Gorbachev’s team under the slogan of ‘restoring the historical truth’. There is no hope that justice will be restored before the Western Evil Empire collapses. Hiding the truth about the Great American Holodomor is a policy of the American political elite, both the Democrats and the Republicans. Both the Hoover and the Roosevelt administrations share equal blame for the mass deaths of the 1930s. Each is responsible for millions of deaths caused by their merciless policy. That’s why the US political system is unified in its denial of the American Holodomor and the many millions of deaths which it brought about. The fifth column of human rights activists will also deny it furiously, the activists which are in the payroll of the US Department of State and are part of the system. But the historical truth will out – sooner our later.

In fact, the U.S. should stop barking at Russia, which they usually do, and sniff their own butt instead.

Boris Borisov, April 4, 2008.

OPINIONS EXPRESSED ARE THOSE OF THE AUTHOR AND NOT NECESSARILY OF RT.____

* «Holodomor, applied externally» (latin)

*** In fact, I have yet to come across research of the holodomor which makes a serious account for the migration (mass departure) of population from the hunger-hit areas. All the population losses are written off as ‘victims of communism’. But we know it for a fact that 700,000 of these 2.5 million ‘special migrants’ just left their villages quietly, without encountering any resistance.

**** Here is an example of how death-rate changes under conditions similar to the Great Depression, the economic crisis of 1991-1994 in Russia (here, there’s no doubt in the reliability of these figures). The number of deaths among men in Russia: 1991 – 894,000 people, 1994 – 1,226,400 people (this is a 37% increase). (Figures according to Anatoly Vishnevsky and Vladimir Shkolnikov, ‘MORTALITY IN RUSSIA’, Moscow, 1997)

***** I can envisage a question about the proportion of dividing the proven population loss between mortality and the lower birth rate. Owing to the fact that the U.S. information is not reliable, we are forced to resort to the method of analogy (international comparisons). Population loss in other countries under the conditions similar to the Great Depression (including Russia in the 1990s) divides equally (with a large gap of the ratio from one to two to two to one) between the population decrease and mortality increase. It is this proportion – halving is accepted as basic, to which necessary reasonable adjustments can be made. Anyway, with any adjustments we get a number of several million people dead.

****** Yes, it really is Ickes, Harold LeClair, 1874–1952, the counterpart of the ill-famous Soviet head of the GULAT, Lavrentiy Beriya (He can be called the head of the US GULAT, so to speak), Secretary of the Interior (1933-1946) with the Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman administrations. He’s the person who later, bravely and quickly, with the help of the US Army, interned US ethnic Japanese in concentration camps (1941/42). The first stage of the operation took a mere 72 hours. A real professional, worthy of his Soviet counterparts Yezhov, Beriya and Abakumov.

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