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RFE/RL: From Byzantium To Grozny -- Russia's U-Turn Toward Zakayev

posted by eagle on August, 2009 as ANALYSIS / OPINION

From Byzantium To Grozny -- Russia's U-Turn Toward Zakayev

Akhmed Zakayev at a press conference with representative of the Russian government in London on August 12.

August 17, 2009
By Aslan Doukaev
It is not for nothing that Russia considers itself to be the successor and spiritual heir to the Byzantine Empire. Just like the long-vanished realm on the shores of the Bosporus, Russia straddles Europe and Asia, and its culture, political tradition, and way of life reflect both influences. 

Ordered in mysterious ways, both Byzantium and then Russia engaged in politics that were viewed by others as opaque, duplicitous, and hypocritical. In their heyday, they exerted real influence on the world stage, but their disastrous decline was precipitated not so much by external pressures or infighting among the ruling class as by their excessive fondness for dogma, and their inability to evolve and embrace change. 

For all their reputation for somnolence, corruption, intrigue, and occasional descent into paranoia, however, Russian rulers, courtiers and bureaucrats, just like their Byzantine predecessors, have been ...

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MinnPost: The Politics Of Putin's Torso: Marketing A Tough Guy

posted by eagle on as ANALYSIS / OPINION

The politics of Putin's torso: marketing a tough guy

This August I found myself paying more attention than I should to the world leaders on vacation file.

British Prime Minister Gordon Brown self-righteously refused vacation time and instead put in a week of community service work in Scotland. The British press scoffed at the gesture.  French President Nicholas Sarkozy posed on Mediterranean beaches in his swimming trunks.  Because he posed side by side with his bikini-clad wife, Carla Bruni, few noticed that the French press had air-brushed his love-handles out of the photo.

But the prize for poor judgment in vacation photography goes to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose August vacation set a new standard for tackiness by a national leader.  

There was a precedent. Two summers ago there were photos of Putin fishing in the Yenisei River near the Mongolian border.  He posed standing before the camera with his khakis deep into the water, a knife in his belt, and a bare-chested torso worthy of a pictorial ...

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KC: Russians Drown In Vodka

posted by eagle on as ANALYSIS / OPINION

Russians drown in vodka

Publication time: 16 August 2009, 10:55 

Russia is grappling with a major public health crisis in which residents are essentially drinking and smoking themselves to death, according to the country's public health officials.


About a million Russians die each year from alcohol- and smoking-related causes -- between 600,000 and 700,000 of those deaths are attributed to drinking alone, Andrei Demin, of Russia's Public Health Association, told Fox News.


"It's threatening the future of the country," he said.


The problem? Unlike other countries, Russia has refused to levy hefty taxes on cigarettes and alcohol to discourage drinking and smoking.


The resulting statistics are staggering:


- The average Russian drinks 50 bottles of vodka a year.


- A bottle of beer can be purchased on the street for less than the cost of a bottle of water.


- Twelve million of Russia's 141 million residents have died over the past 15 years due to alcohol-and smoking-related causes.


- A pack of cigarettes can be purchased for about 30 cents.


- The average Russian male ...

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Window On Eurasia: Future Moscow Revolutionaries Seen Using Nationalism The Way Lenin Used Marxism, Recent Russian Novels Suggest

posted by eagle on as ANALYSIS / OPINION


Window on Eurasia: Future Moscow Revolutionaries Seen Using Nationalism the Way Lenin Used Marxism, Recent Russian Novels Suggest

Paul Goble

Vienna, August 14 – A close reading of serious contemporary Russian fiction, a Moscow novelist and critic says, suggests that “the main force which will contend for power in Russia” in the future will be “an organization of technocrats” who will use nationalism as a means to come power but not be guided by it any more than Lenin was by Marxism.
In an essay published in “Novaya gazeta,” Dmitry Bykov argues that serious fiction provides a better guide to where a society is headed than do the newspapers, which seldom provide a better perspective than one can gain about someone’s family life by investigating the content of its trash (
And in support of his contention, he carefully examines the following authors and their works: Denis Gutsko and his “The Little House in Armageddon,” Aleksandr Kabakov and his “The Deserter,” and Vyacheslav Rybakov and both ...

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Prague Watchdog: Some Remarks On A Strange Article...

posted by eagle on as ANALYSIS / OPINION

August 14th 2009 · Prague Watchdog / Tomáš Vršovský. ALSO AVAILABLE IN: RUSSIAN 

Some remarks on a strange article...

By Tomáš Vršovský, coordinator of Prague Watchdog

For some time now we have been considering whether to reply to theaccusations which have been raised against our editors by the Kavkaz-Center website. In reality, the absurd assumptions that have been made by this site could be left unanswered, were it not for one thing. We realize that some of our readers would like to have a proper understanding of what has been going on. Bearing this in mind, we deem it necessary to provide some clarification.

Our refusal to post the audio file of the interview with Dokka Umarov we published earlier on our site was prompted by our agreement with a major media corporation whose name we are not at liberty to reveal. Journalists from this corporation conducted the interview, and by agreement with the company’s management they gave us the transcript for publication on our site, with which they also cooperate. We felt obliged to fulfil ...

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