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Windows to Russia


I was walking the dog for the second time today. As the dog and I were walking we stopped and watched the grounds keepers. They were trying to fill the ice skating rink with water, by a fire hose!

Yes I said trying!!!!

Like everything in life, things always go wrong. The dog and I stood there watching the water get deeper and deeper, on the inside of the rink. Just as I was thinking to myself that they should let the water freeze first before they try to fill the whole rink. The doors on the rink blew open from the water pressure. (one side of the rink is at least 8 inches higher that the other)

Now Boza and I were on the end that the water came out of. We ran like crazy and got out of the way. The Ice Rink is now on the outside!

I took pictures from our flats balcony, To show you the new ice skating rink we have. The water on the outside is about a foot deep. It is frozen!!

The grounds keepers all said a few choice statements in Russian, waved their arms at each other, took their fire hose, said a few more pleasant things & stomped away! (They did not come back)

I am glad to see that life is the same everywhere. Something about Murphy’s Law……..

Murphy’s law: is an adage in Western culture that broadly states that things will go wrong in any given situation, if you give them a chance.


Comments always welcome.


I was drinking my second cup of coffee & thinking about how short the days are this time of the year.

Sunrise at 8:14 am
Sunset at 4:15 pm

They will get much shorter.( it is just half way through November)

Called the Winter Solstice (meaning) Sun set still in winter! (around the 22nd of December)

In Moscow we will see only about 6 hours of daylight at the Winter Solstice. Farther North the world will be dark 24 hours.

As I sit here at the computer & type this, the sun has gone and it is almost dark. The temperature is -2 degrees C. and wind chill of -6 degrees C. I can tell it is going to be a cold winter!

Bear is happy! :)


comments always welcome.

Russia has 30 months to prepare for Olympics Russia does not have that much time left to build Olympic facilities in Sochi. The games are more than four years away, but Russia has only 30 months to complete construction.

Jean-Claude Killy, President of the IOC Coordination Commission for the 2014 Winter Games, said slightly over 4 years remained before the beginning of testing procedures, which are a mandatory part of preparations for the Olympic Games. Excluding winter months, when construction in mountains is impossible, only 30 months remain, Killy said.

Addressing officials responsible for the preparations for the 2014 Olympic Games, he said this was not much time to build all Olympic facilities Russia was going to build in Sochi. At the same time, he noted that much had already been done, including passing of an Olympic bill and finding highly qualified personnel. Killy said Russia had laid the grounds for the project, and expressed hope that work would continue at the same pace until 2014. He said Russia had all the resources to ensure holding the Olympic Games in Sochi at the top level. Average levels of organization would be impermissible, Killy said, adding the 2014 event should be the greatest Olympic Games ever held.

Presenting Sochi’s bid in Guatemala, Russian President Vladimir Putin gave guarantees that the necessary tourist and sporting infrastructure would be in place by 2014, Killy said, adding that the International Olympic Committee did not doubt Russia’s ability to fulfill its obligations.

He expressed hope that Russian organizers would be able to pay attention to every detail, offering “ideal services.” In his opinion, Russian authorities offered the International Olympic Committee such elements as a strong political will and effective public/private partnership.

Over 2,500 sportsmen from all over the world will come to Sochi to take part in the games, as well as 200,000 volunteers, 34,000 security officers and 10,000 reporters. Some 1 million tickets are expected to be sold for the event, and over 3 billion people will watch the games on TV.


I can not wait, I am going to the Olympics! {I hope} :)


comments always welcome.


RBC, 20.11.2007, Moscow 12:10:14.An hour and a half into today’s special dollar trading session for tomorrow deals, the weighted average exchange rate stood at 24.43 RUR/USD. The official rate for November 21 can therefore be revised RUR0.07 lower. Combined with yesterday’s RUR0.02 drop, the dollar has lost RUR0.09, or almost 0.4 percent against the ruble in two days. The US currency’s noticeable decline on MICEX can be attributed to the euro’s steep increase against the dollar on international exchanges, where it is now trading at nearly USD1.4755, up at least 0.8 percent from around USD1.4630 at midday on Monday. As a result, trading activity was high at the UTS, with the trade volume at USD778m as of 11:30 a.m., and the average deal size at a considerable USD2.4m.

RBC, 20.11.2007, Moscow 11:49:04.The Russian stock market opened with a rise in most traded securities. On MICEX, almost all stocks edged up 0.5 percent on average, while Norilsk Nickel, Rostelecom, and MTS climbed 1 percent. On the RTS, MTS shares traded 1.8 percent above the level of Monday’s close against the backdrop of the upcoming release of the company’s Q3 financial statement under US GAAP. Analysts believe that the Russian market is likely to increase in morning trade against the background of higher US stock indices. Meanwhile, the RTS index is expected to reach a new resistance level of 2,175 points. Some experts note that the Russian market may slide in the next couple of days. However, it a rally is anticipated on the market before the year-end. Russian stocks have been in high demand by Russian and foreign investors, which resulted in higher liquidity.

RBC, 20.11.2007, Moscow 10:21:55.Foreign investment in Russia amounted to $87.9bn in January-September 2007, which is 2.5 times greater than in the same period a year earlier, the Russian Federal State Statistics Service (Rosstat) reported today. Direct investments in Russia’s economy stood at $19.644bn, having increased by 91.3 percent from the previous showing for the first nine months of 2006. Other investments surged by a factor of 2.7 to $66.745bn. Foreign capital accrued in Russia climbed 52.2 percent to $197.8bn. The Netherlands, the UK, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Ireland, France, Germany, and the US are Russia’s main investors, accounting for 85.5 percent of total foreign investments in the country.

RBC, 19.11.2007, Moscow 17:20:35.The Russian Central Election Commission (CEC) has once again invited OSCE’s Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) to observe the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country, Igor Borisov, a member of the CEC, told journalists today. He noted that Russia was willing to show ODIHR’s observers all polling stations in the country, regardless of the time and place they named. Borisov added that he had met with consultants from the Embassies of the EU countries and discussed the situation.

RBC, 20.11.2007, Moscow 13:08:02.Gazprom will step up direct natural gas supplies to end consumers on the European market, the Russian gas giant’s Deputy CEO Alexander Medvedev told the Russian Gas 2007 conference in Moscow today. He explained that such supplies made it possible to make a profit from sales of natural gas along the entire supply chain, from production to consumption. Medvedev reiterated that, as part of the European Union’s market liberalization requirements, major European companies were obligated to hand over part of their existing export contracts to other companies. As a result, when renewing a contract with Gaz de France in 2006, the French company reserved 1.5bn cubic meters of gas for Gazprom, which the Russian company later sold through its own network of sales agencies to European end consumers. A similar contract was also signed with Italy’s ENI, providing for a gradual increase in Gazprom’s direct sales to 3bn cubic meters by 2010. Similar contracts signed in 2006 and 2007, the Russian gas giant’s subsidiaries have also started direct gas deliveries to Austrian, Czech, and Bulgarian consumers.

That is the news for today, Real exciting isn’t it?


comments always welcome.

I was drinking my morning cup of coffee and thinking about an article that I read. I am going to share this article with you. The article is about the secret cities of Russia.

There are still cities in Russia that, (I) being an American can not get into. (Unless given permission.) So when we travel we just try to go to open areas.

This is no different than when I lived in America. I spent my life near, “The Lake City Arsenal”. Located near Kansas City, Mo. You could drive near the place but better not try to get in. This complex was just like a city all its own. They had everything within the comforts of its walls.

We (when kids) use to talk about: That if there was ever an Atomic War, we would be the first to go. (We lived near the largest armory in America)

Secret City…

“During the Great Patriotic War the Soviet military-industrial complex created a number of new other towns and cities for weapons development and manufacturing. The creation of such “town-forming enterprises” accelerated during the War, as such much of the Soviet military industrial infrastructure was relocated beyond the reach of Hitler’s advancing armies.

In response to the immense challenge of the unfolding East-West arms race, Stalin decided to create dozens of centers of research and development excellence in the USSR. Some of these so-called “Naukograds” [Science Towns] were “Akademgorodok” [Academic Cities} devoted to basic research. Others were secret cities which were to provide the technical foundation for Soviet military technology – sputniks, long-range missiles, thermonuclear warheads of extreme yield. Among the work performed in such places were chemical, biological and nuclear weapons research and manufacturing, enrichment of plutonium, space research, and military intelligence work.

Collectively, these secret cities are known as zakrytye administrativno-territorial’nye obrazovaniia (ZATO), many of which were built by slave labor from the Soviet GULAG. During the cold war many of Russia’s towns and cities, including some of its largest, were ‘closed cities’. Anyone with a foreign passport was forbidden to enter, and many were even out of bounds to Russian citizens. These closed cities provided the technical foundation for Soviet military technology including chemical, biological and nuclear weapons research and manufacturing, enrichment of plutonium, space research, and military intelligence work. This meant that large numbers of highly qualified scientists and researchers were concentrated in these geographical areas, developing new technologies but isolated from the global research community. With Glasnost and the fall of the Soviet Union, all of the major cities were opened for collaboration in civil research and the slow process of breaking down the barriers of secrecy began.

Such “secret cities” were known only by a postal code, identified with a name and a number. Originally, the number following the city was the distance in kilometers the facility was located from the city. In practice, the numbers were in some instances arbitrarily assigned, and changed from time to time, to obscure the actual location of the installation. Thus, the All-Russian Scientific and Research Institute of Experimental Physics (VNIIEF) was initially known as Arzamas-60, a postal code designation to show that it was 60 km from the city of Arzamas. But the “60” was considered too sensitive, and the number was changed to “16.” In 1947 the entire city of Sarov (Arzamas-16) disappeared from all official Russian maps and statistical documents. The facility has also been known Moscow-300, the town of Kremlev, and Arzamas-75. Zlatoust-20 is probably the same as Zlatoust-36, and Kurchatov-21, Moscow-21, Moscow-400 and Semipalatinsk-121 are almost certainly the same as Semipalatinsk-16.

The naukograds reflect the character of the Soviet system of organising the society to a high degree of purity. More generally, the secret cities were a natural expression of the Soviet emphasis on secrecy, and strict controls on the internal movement of the population. But they were not entirely unique to the Soviet system. For instance, in 1915, Britain built a massive new war factory on the Solway River. HM Factory Gretna employed 30,000 women and men manufacturing cordite for ammunition. The two new Townships of Eastriggs and Gretna were created to house many of the workers who built and worked in the factory. But the new communities did not officially exist because of the secrecy surrounding the operation. Gretna and Eastriggs were referred to by their codename “Moorside” in Government circles. Conan Doyle describes those townships as Miracle Towns, because the houses were not just thrown up without thought. They were designed by prominent architects of the day to modern Garden City principles. Cinemas, Dance Halls, Schools, Churches, State Controlled Public Houses and Leisure Facilities were provided for the needs of the munitions workers. The United States employed a similar philosophy with the Manhattan Project that built the first atomic bomb during World War II, building secret cities at Hanford, Washington, Los Alamos, New Mexico, and Oak Ridge, Tennessee.

Many Soviet era defense plant are, in some ways, a throw-back to a US factory-town. The defense plant is a mini-city in itself, with its own apartments, doctors, clinics, restaurants, and power plants. Outside of Moscow and St. Petersburg, defense plant employees usually live in company apartments, shop in company stores, and eat in company cafeterias. Up to 80 percent of a defense plant’s budget goes to maintaining these social services. The plant manager is often as concerned with making deals to bring in potatoes and bread to feed his people as with joint venture agreements, and these and other transactions are often conducted on a barter-basis.

The “secret cities” share these characteristics, but they were separated from other urban areas, self-contained, and protected by fences and guard forces. The secret cities require a special permit for entrance, and are usually surrounded by a concrete wall. Personnel working in the Soviet nuclear complex were under heavy surveillance by the KGB, and underwent an intensive screening process, and their activities were closely monitored. Soviet-era control systems relied heavily on keeping personnel and materiel in secret cities and facilities, closely monitoring nuclear industry personnel, and severely punishing control violations.

The facilities could grow to considerable size, with tens of thousands of employees and dependents. With schools, stores, and recreational facilities, these secret cities contained everything a normal city might have. The selection of goods was often much better than a normal Soviet city, a reward for the difficult lifestyle and secrecy required by the job. Many of these cities are now “open,” but remain engaged in military-industrial work. In present Russia, 3 million people live in such naukograds. The problem is what to do with these cities after the end of the militarized East-West contest.

Sources and Resources

  • Secret and Closed Cities in the Russian Federation by the Center for Post Soviet Studies.This list of known secret or closed cities was originally compiled by Dr. Murray Feshbach and his research staff: Doug Goudie, Janel Lardizabel, Cathy Schaidler and Niki Gallozzi. The data was taken from a wide variety of Russian-language sources, including newspapers, journals and books. It appears as Appendix A in Dr. Murray Feshbach’s Ecological Disaster: Cleaning up the Hidden Legacy of the Soviet Regime (New York: Twentieth Century Fund, 1995, pp. 110-111).
  • Russian Administrative Districts The Ethnic Territories of Russia GIS Project, Dr. Robert J. Kaiser also includes an interesting discussion of Rayon-Level Population Data Limitations and Considerations
  • Don’t Play With Nuclear Fire. The Open `Wounds’ of the Closed Cities, Anatoliy Pokrovskiy, PRAVDA, 12/2/1995 — Discussion of Russia’s closed cities in the post-Cold War era.
  • From Nuclear War to the War of the Markets, Pilar Bonet, EL PAIS, 11/7/1995 — Report on the transition of Russia’s secret defense research laboratories to the post-Cold War environment.”

This article explains to me what I talked about in a more previous article.

I have come to discover that there are Secret Cities all over the world!!


comments always welcome.

Russia’s Army to Be “Leaner but Meaner” – Chief of Staff

MOSCOW (RIA Novosti, Russia Today) – Yuri Baluyevsky, the chief of Russia’s general staff said a moratorium on Russia’s Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) Treaty obligations will take effect on December 12.

“There will be no changes to Russia’s position: The law will come into force as it should, on December 12,” Baluyevsky said Wednesday in Brussels, following a meeting with NATO chiefs of staff.

Baluyevsky said last Thursday that Russia would no longer be bound by current weapons and equipment limitations after its moratorium on the CFE Treaty comes into force.

The State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, voted on November 7 in favor of President Putin’s bill to impose a moratorium on the CFE Treaty.

The moratorium is set to come into effect on December 12, after final approval by the upper house of parliament, expected to vote on the issue on November 16, and President Vladimir Putin.

In an interview with the Russia Today TV channel on Tuesday the chief of general staff said that the CFE Treaty put Russia at a disadvantage.

“It was an onerous treaty for Russia. It was a treaty that Russia alone honored,” he said.

Asked why Russia had signed the document in the first place, Baluyevsky said that at the time, in 1990, the goal was to avert a war, and the treaty effectively served its purpose.

He also said Russia’s Armed Forces, like all militaries in the world, would be putting an emphasis on quality, not quantity.

“It will be a leaner but meaner, well trained and equipped, and professional force,” the general said.

Earlier in the interview he said that the Russian Armed Forces were under no obligation to protect the world from the United States.

Answering a question as to whether or not the world could count on Russia to defend it from “insidious American plans,” Baluyevsky replied, “Today, there is no need to be afraid of the Russian Armed Forces. However, I do not believe that the Russian military is obliged to defend the world from the evil Americans”.

“We need to pool our efforts together with our American counterparts to fight existing common threats. I’d say that we are doing a pretty good job here.

“As for the modern Russian Army, it is not the Army that we have inherited from the collapsed Soviet Union in the early 90’s,” Baluyevsky added. “Today it’s a totally new Army. As for the number of men, in the Soviet times the Army had more than 4 million servicemen and now it is a bit over 1 million. As you may notice, it has shrunk by 3 million.”



comments always welcome.


We want to post the translation of a very good poem. (from Russian to English) A reader of ours translated the poem for us. We think that she did a good job!

Thank you very much Ludmila.

Kyle & Svet

Here is the comment that she left….

Ludmila said…

Hi, Sevtlana snd Kyle!
I’ll post my translation of the poem. But I’m not sure it’s so good as it sounds in Russian. But maybe you can correct it if you don’t like it. You know English is not my mother tongue and it’s not so perfect and there is no rhyme. I’m wondering if I could translate it into Bulgarian with rhyme and with the same sense.

Думают иные

Other people think – those, who hear sounds
Those, who see the sun, the moon and stars
How can she, the blind, describe the beauty?
How can she, the deaf, hear sounds and the spring!?

I will feel the odour and the fresh of dew
Slight murmur of the leaves I‘ll catch with my fingers,
Swimming in the darkness I will walk in the garden
Being ready to dream and say “I love you”.

And I will not see his shining eyes,
I will not hear his caressing and cheery voice,
But words without sound – tremour of the feelings
I‘ll catch and hear with my flying hand

And I am ready to love for his mind and heart
As people love odour of the tender flowers
people love their friends’ precious words
As the gripped hand likes the its thrilling

I will see with my mind and feeling
And with the chainless dream I will fly all over the world
Does the sighted can describe the beauty
And will he smile at a bright sunbeam?

I am deaf and blind,
But I have more than that – I have a freedom of brisk feelings
I weave the life’s gorgeous figures
With versatile, obedient and ardent inspiration

If you are fascinated by the beauty and the sounds
Don’t boast of this happiness to me
And better offer your hand with your best feelings
So that I can be with you and not alone

Ольга Скороходова (Olga Skorohodova)


Думают иные

Думают иные – те, кто звуки слышат,
Те, кто видят солнце, звёзды и луну: -
Как она без зренья красоту опишет?
Как поймёт без слуха звуки и весну!?

Я услышу запах и росы прохладу,
Лёгкий шелест листьев пальцами ловлю.
Утопая в сумрак, я пройду по саду,
И мечтать готова, и сказать люблю…

Пусть я не увижу глаз его сиянье,
Не услышу голос, ласковый,живой,
Но слова без звука – чувства трепетанье -
Я ловлю и слышу быстрою рукой.

И за ум, за сердце я любить готова,
Так, как любят запах нежного цветка.
Так, как любят в дружбе дорогое слово,
Так, как любит трепит сжатая рука.

Я умом увижу, чувствами услышу,
А мечтой привольной мир я облечу…
Каждый ли из зрячих красоту опишет,
Улыбнётся ль ясно яркому лучу?

Не имею слуха, не имею зренья,
Но имею больше – чувств живых простор:
Гибким и послушным, жгучим вдохновеньем
Я соткала жизни красочный узор.

Если вас чарует красота и звуки, -
Не гордитесь этим счастьем предо мной!
Лучше протяните с добрым чувством руку,
Что б была я с вами, а не за стеной.

Ольга Скороходова (Olga Skorohodova)

original article:

Once again thank you Ludmila, she spent a lot of time and effort. The results are fantastic.


comments always welcome.

Friday, 16th of November:

Things have gotten worse for the US dollar on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX). The Dollar currently stands at 24.48 RUR/USD, RUR 0.04 below the official exchange rate set by the Central Bank for November 17-19. (weekend numbers)

The ruble’s appreciation against the dollar is due to the Euro’s renewed rise against the American currency on international markets. The euro is currently trading at about $1.4650, up from $1.4595 as of 15:00 Moscow time. This means that the euro has strengthened by 0.4 percent against the dollar during this short period. (means the Euro is kicking the Dollars butt!)

This week has been uneven for the US dollar. Having risen by RUR 0.08 against the ruble on Monday and Tuesday, the dollar dropped RUR 0.04 to 24.49 RUR/USD on Wednesday, in line with developments on international markets, where the dollar fell 0.5 percent against the European currency. On Thursday, it dropped by a further RUR 0.03 against the ruble, but recouped the loss on Friday, rising by RUR 0.06 to 24.52 RUR/USD. Having recovered against the euro on Thursday, the dollar was expected to end the week in a positive mode.

But… The Dollar decided to go the other way. (Down)

The Dollar is starting to become unstable. The World markets will not be able to support it forever.

I say it will stay above water until Christmas is over! Then sink like a rock.

Sad but true!


comments always welcome.


Remember that Russia and China are in support of Iran. That is why this article is in this Blog!
From what I am reading Russia and China both are getting more than a little bit fed up with the USA treatment of Iran.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the US and its allies should apologise for their treatment of Iran over its nuclear programme.

Mr Ahmadinejad said the latest report by the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) showed Iran had been truthful about its nuclear activities.

The IAEA found Iran had clarified some of its nuclear history but questions remained over present activities.

The US has vowed to push for further UN sanctions in the light of the report.

The IAEA report praised Tehran for making progress in responding to questions about past activities but warned that the agency’s knowledge about Tehran’s current nuclear programme was diminishing.

It said that Iran was continuing to enrich uranium in defiance of demands by the UN Security Council.

“Selective co-operation” was “not good enough”, the White House said after the report’s release on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a meeting scheduled for next week to discuss further sanctions against Iran has been cancelled because China has pulled out, diplomats say.

‘Political victory’

Iran has portrayed the IAEA’s latest findings as a political victory.

“Since the first days, we have declared that Iran’s nuclear activities are lawful and in the framework of its legal rights, but the Western countries’ propagation networks and political pressures did not allow the Iranians’ voice be heard in the world,” Mr Ahmadinejad is quoted by state media as saying.

“Now the whole world has seen that the news was not true and Iran’s activities have been clean and peaceful and all the main questions of the IAEA have received their appropriate answers.”

Mr Ahmadinejad said the time had come for the US and its allies to change their behaviour. “Upon wrong and incorrect information you issued two resolutions,” he said, referring to two earlier rounds of UN sanctions.

“Now that you have found out that this information was wrong, you have to be brave and come forward and tell the Iranian nation ‘We made a mistake’ and apologise.”(RBC)


The USA just says that the report is wrong.

I keep saying: America get your own ducks in order. Stay on that side of the world. Let the Super Powers on this side of the world deal with their fellow neighbors!

Oh I forgot…. Oil, That is the Name of the Game!!!!


comments always welcom.


Just a thought today………………………

One way that Russia can explain to the USA about missile games, could be the deployment of new Russian Iscander short-range missiles in the neighbouring Belarus. Belarus, a close ally of Russia, has made the statement that it would re-equip its forces with short-range missiles.

Mikhail Puzikov, commander of Belarus’ missile and artillery troops, announced Belarus’ plans to buy Russia’s Iskander-E conventional missile system by 2020. He said,”Any action must have a counter-action, including with the US anti-missile elements in the Czech Republic and Poland,” (RBC)

Moscow is working on the deployment of new missiles in the Kaliningrad region and in Belarus in response to the US plans to place 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic as part of a shield of protection. (To protect Europe)

Russia sees this as a threat. I understand this thinking from Russia.

Now I ask the question: Why does the USA think it has to protect Europe? Is Europe that weak? Is Europe that Scared? Is Europe………?

Let Europe put their own missile defense in! Let Europe tell Russia what they want to do!

(America, needs to stay home & fix its problems.)


comments always welcome.

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