Windows to Russia

The 13th of March Sergey Mikhalkov celebrated his 95th Anniversary! Thank you Seesaw for reminding us this date.

That’s difficult to say what was Sergey Mikhalkov for us! Generations of Soviet kids grew up on his poems. That was poems of my Mom’s childhood and my childhood and I’ve read it to my son when he was little.

Vladimir Putin sent a birthday congratulations to Sergey Mikhalkov: Putin said, “You are known in Russia and outside it as a talented poet and writer, and you are rightly considered as a Patriarch of National Culture, a personality of a truly unique scale. Literature works of your pen are in the most different genres, but a special place in your creation have the poems, novellas and stories for children, on which more than one generation of the Russians have grown. Your unsurpassed skill and creative longevity, the multifaceted organizational and public activity draw delight and respect.”

Sergei Mikhalkov was born in 1913 into a family of a lawyer. Mikhalkov himself claimed that his family was ancient and noble. In 1928, at the age of 15, Mikhalkov published his first poem and in 1935 he published his most well-known book – Dyadya Styopa – a children’s book in verse about an exceptionally tall policeman.

Mikhalkov joined the Soviet Writers’ Union in 1937. Despite his noble descent and the fact that he joined the Communist Party only in 1950, he managed to survive the Stalinist purges and get into special favor with Communist leaders. In 1938, at the age of 26, Mikhalkov was awarded the Order of Lenin – the top state decoration – for his poems for children.

During the Great Patriotic War Mikhalkov worked as a military reporter. In 1943, together with another military correspondent, El-Registan, Mikhalkov wrote the lyrics of the national anthem of the Soviet Union, which was first played on New Year 1944. Mikhalkov re-wrote the lyrics in 1977 to remove Stalin’s name, and in 2001 wrote completely different lyrics for the same melody to create the current Russian national anthem…

Mikhalkov chaired the board of the Soviet Writers’ Union, and is now the honorary head of the body that has replaced it – the International Society of Writers’ Unions. At 95, the writer is still working and taking care of the society’s property and daily affairs.

Aside from his closeness and support from the government, Mikhal­kov’s stories have been staples for five generations of children, and literary critics say that influence is not about to end any time soon.

“I do my best to always tell the truth and not to envy anyone,” Mikhalkov said in an interview with Ros­siis­kaya Gazeta daily explaining the secret of his long life.

I think that is great advise!

Best wishes and long life for all of you,

Svet and Kyle
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comments always welcome.

This Is A Must Watch…..

U.S. has ‘neglected’ Russia: Dan Rather
Veteran U.S. newsman, Dan Rather, has told Russia Today that the United States has neglected its relationship with Russia, which has led to a fundamental misunderstanding of the country by America’s government and media.

Rather said Hillary Clinton’s recent stumble over the new Russian President’s name shows the growing lack of knowledge in America.

“I think it gives you an indication of how much lack of knowledge there is in the country as a whole because after all if a Senator Hillary Clinton did not know these things than what does it say about the rest of the population,” he said.

At the moment, Rather says, the situation between the U.S. and Russian governments is “one that every American should be concerned about”.

He doesn’t see it as a new Cold War, but a “whole new era, for which we need some new name”. However, this era is “dangerous because of misunderstanding”.

According to Rather, the biggest problem in terms of American foreign policy it that “it’s been neglectful of Russia”.

Rather told Russia Today that the best way of improving the relationship is more talk between both sides.

“The first thing is to talk, the second is to pay attention to what is happening inside the respective countries…I think there is more understanding within Russia and the Russian government about what is happening in the United States at the moment than there is with the American government and the American people,” he said.

He says that America has been focused squarely on terrorism since 9/11.

“One should never underestimate the impact of 9/11 on individual Americans and the country as a whole and perhaps we can be forgiven for this that it’s been our main focus and has been for seven years,” Rather said.

In a newspaper article before Russia’s election, Mr Rather said America must be a ‘smart opponent’.

“U.S.-Russian relations are currently as strained as they have been since the Cold War…If we’re to be in opposition with Russia, let’s be a smart opponent…Regardless of whatever power Putin may continue to wield from behind the scenes, a smart foreign policy sees opportunity in a new leader,” he wrote.

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I am very impressed, someone is finally speaking up! Someone with knowledge of world politics.

Uncle Sam & the Russian Bear!

Does Anyone in American Government Speak Good About Russia?

The Knowledge or the Lack of it in the USA is Scary!

Once Again American Media…..

Russia has Open Eyes to America!

Thank You Dan Rather.

We are Happy Bears!

Kyle & Svet

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RBC, 14.03.2008, Kiev 15:34:43.During today’s press conference in Kiev, Ukraine’s PM Yulia Timoshenko suggested signing a long-term gas agreement with Russia, RBC Ukraine reported. Commenting on the contract signed by Naftogaz of Ukraine and Gazprom on Thursday, Timoshenko said that the document was only valid until the end of 2008, while a strategic agreement for up to ten years was needed.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 15:03:36.The current situation on the Russian stock market is quite favorable for making investments, as Russian securities are lagging behind the global oil price dynamics, experts told RBC TV today. Oil companies are expected to show better financial performance in the first quarter of 2008, analysts note. Meanwhile, trading activity is rather low in second-tier stocks, although demand for certain securities is relatively high, experts say.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Kiev 13:40:33.Gazprom can sell 7.5bn cubic meters of gas directly to Ukrainian consumers only in 2008, Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko told a press conference today, commenting on an agreement reached between Naftogaz of Ukraine and Gazprom. She added that the document had been signed for one year, and that liabilities under the deal would end at the end of the year. Timoshenko also expressed hope that another long term agreement would be concluded with the Russian state gas company.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 13:27:35.Ukraine will return 1.4bn cubic meters of gas to Gazprom in the second and third quarters of 2008 as part of its debt payback for the supplies of Russian gas, Naftogaz of Ukraine chief Oleg Dubina told a press conference today. According to his statement, talks are still underway for returning a further 3.5bn cubic meters of gas for 2007.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 12:10:41.Evraz Group S.A. is poised to purchase Canadian divisions of the steel maker IPSCO specializing in steel sheet and pipe production for $4.03bn from Sweden’s SSAB, the Russian steel and mining group said in a statement today. Meanwhile, a number of seamless pipe facilities are expected to be sold to Russia’s pipe producer TMK for $1.7bn. Evraz intends to finance the deal by means of raising loans. Credit Suisse and Goldman Sachs are to act as financial advisors for the deal.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 11:22:20.According to the Russian IT and Communications Ministry’s estimates, investments in the country’s IT industry are expected to surge sevenfold from $80m in 2007 to $500m-$600m in 2010, the RBC Daily newspaper reported today. Such investment growth is achievable thanks to the government’s current policy directed towards raising the industry’s competitiveness and investment appeal.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Moscow 10:25:21.At the opening of today’s special dollar trading session for tomorrow deals, the weighted average exchange rate stood at 23.64 RUB/USD, which is RUB 0.05 lower than the official rate set by the Bank of Russia for March 14. Therefore, the ruble has extended its gains against the dollar into the third day in a row. The dollar slid RUB 0.17 against the ruble over the two previous sessions and has been sliding again at a slightly slower pace today. The current developments on MICEX can be attributed to the situation on international exchanges, where the dollar has been depreciating against the euro. The latter is now trading at USD 1.5616, up from USD 1.5558 at the same time on Thursday and USD 1.5364 on Wednesday. Consequently, the European currency has gained 0.4 percent against the dollar on the global market since yesterday and 1.6 percent since March 12.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Chisinau 09:54:49.Russia’s Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov is prepared to visit Moldova in April 2008, the Moldovan government’s press office told RBC, citing Russian Ambassador in Moldova Valery Kuzmin’s statement during a meeting with the republic’s PM Vasile Tarlev.

RBC, 14.03.2008, Kiev 09:28:19.Gas production fell 0.8 percent to 3.47bn cubic meters in Ukraine in the first two months of 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the government said in a statement. Ukraine’s natural gas production (excluding associated gas) shrank 0.5 percent to 3.303bn cubic meters, while output of oil with gas condensate dropped 4.7 percent to 715,600 tonnes in January-February 2008 from the same two months of the previous year.

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Hello,

This article, “Hits it on the nail head!”

Once again, “The Pot Calling the Kettle Black!”
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Russia Slams U.S. Report as ‘Foreign Policy Tool’

The Associated Press

MOSCOW — Year after year, the U.S. issues a troubling assessment of human rights in Russia.

Year after year, Russia lashes back, accusing the U.S. State Department’s annual report on human rights practices around the world of twisting reality and warning that Washington has no right to preach.

With relations at what could be a post-Cold War low, it is no different this time around.

In a sometimes bitter, sometimes sarcastic statement Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said the portrayal of Russia in the 2007 report was prejudiced, mistaken, poorly sourced and counterproductive.

The ministry said the report reflected the “double standards” of a country it claimed uses human rights as a “foreign policy tool” while balking at scrutiny of its own actions.

“How else can one explain that the United States — which has essentially legalized torture, applies capital punishment to minors, denies responsibility for war crimes and massive human rights violations in Iraq and Afghanistan, refuses to join a series of treaties in the sphere of human rights — distorted comments on the situation in other countries?” it said.

“Meanwhile, the U.S. uses the struggle to spread democracy and the defense of human rights as a cover, with no regard to systemic problems within its own country,” it said.

The U.S. report, released Tuesday, said that centralization of power in President Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin, corruption, selective law enforcement and onerous restrictions on aid groups and the media were among factors that “continued to erode the government’s accountability to its citizens” in Russia. It also noted human rights abuses in war-scarred Chechnya.

The Foreign Ministry said “the State Department’s latest opus” contained a “hackneyed collection of claims” about human rights in Russia.

“The document, unfortunately, abounds in groundless accusations, citations of unverified and deliberately biased sources, mistakes and juggling of facts,” the statement said. It did not offer specifics.

It said that “many passages were copied from previous reports: One gets the impression that the State Department just selected material to fit conclusions formed in advance.”

Russia took issue with the report’s reference to problematic elections and to a leading international observer group’s criticism of its December parliamentary elections. It accused the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s vote-monitoring body of “politicized approaches” and the U.S. of resisting reform.

Through eight years as president of an assertive country enjoying largely energy-fueled economic growth, Putin has made a point of shrugging off growing Western accusations of backtracking on democracy, and warned the U.S. against interfering in Russia’s affairs.

The Foreign Ministry criticized what it called the “mentorish tone” of the U.S. State Department report.

“We are convinced that politicizing the rights-protection issue and distorting the human rights situation in various countries will lead not to the resolution of existing problems, but to the devaluation of the principles and goals of international cooperation in this area,” it said.
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Looks like the Kettle is getting tired of being analyzed by the Pot……

One thing that I can say from experience in America, “The issue of Human Rights in my home country of the USA is an appalling dangerous situation, the Government level of conspiracies are at a all time high! Freedom & Rights, are becoming lost words in America! “

Kyle

comments always welcome.

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Hello,

Looks like Moscow is serious about protecting the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) members. I do not blame them, what with the USA pushing missile defense down Russia throats!

Kinda like: The next door neighbor has a shotgun pointed at your house & everytime you look out the window all you see is the neighbors face and a double barrel shotgun pointed at your head!
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Russia must use nuclear deterrent to protect allies.

12/03/2008 16:11 MOSCOW, March 12 (RIA Novosti) – Russia must reserve the right to use nuclear weapons to protect Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) members in case of an imminent threat, a Russian political analyst said on Wednesday.

The CSTO is a post-Soviet security group comprising Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

“It is necessary to extend part of Russia’s nuclear doctrine, which covers the use of tactical nuclear weapons, to all members of the CSTO treaty as a deterrence guarantee,” said Leonid Ivashov, the head of the Moscow-based Academy of Geopolitical Sciences.

He said the existing treaty was too vague about the assistance, including military, which each CSTO country must provide to an ally in case of a clear and imminent threat of military aggression.

“Article 4 of the treaty must be revised and contain a concrete definition of such assistance, clearly described in military-strategic terms,” Ivashov said during a round-table meeting in Moscow.

The Treaty on Collective Security was signed in Tashkent, Uzbekistan on 15 May 1992. The CSTO was established on 18 September 2003 in accordance with a decision of the heads of member states on transforming the treaty into an international regional organization.

Article 4 of the current treaty stipulates that: “If an act of aggression is committed against any of the member states, all other member states will render it necessary assistance, including military, and provide support with the means at their disposal by exercising the right to collective defense in line with Article 51 of the UN Charter”.

The Russian leadership has already reaffirmed its commitment to building and maintaining a strong nuclear deterrent, while strongly criticizing the proposed deployment of the U.S. missile shield in Central Europe, and further eastward expansion of NATO.
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As an American on this side of the World, I will tell the USA, quit the Missile Games! We (USA) had a fit when the Soviet Union wanted to put Missiles in Cuba…….

Maybe Russia needs Missiles in Cuba now! (sounds bad to me!)

Kyle

comments always welcome.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_Missile_Crisis

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Hello,

I have read nothing lately from Politicians in the USA, that does not say anything but talk down about Russia! McCain is a big issue, with his threats about Russia!

Sen. John McCain said Sunday the United States should respond harshly to Russia’s anti-democratic actions and suggested that President Bush is reconsidering his assessment of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

After meeting Putin for the first time in June 2001, Bush said he had been able to gain “a sense of his soul” and had found Putin to be “very straightforward and trustworthy.”

Recalling Bush’s assessment just months after taking office, McCain said: “Look, we all say things that are stupid. … I’m sure that the president has re-evaluated his position in light of Putin’s recent actions.”………………..
I was a Republican all my life, looks like McCain has changed that! McCain has serious issues…..

Now………………
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Senator Slams Putin Invitation
AP, Reuters

U.S. Senator Richard Lugar, who has worked with Russia on disposing of nuclear materials, questioned whether NATO was right to invite President Vladimir Putin to its summit meeting early next month.

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on NATO, Lugar on Tuesday pointed to a recent threat by Putin to target Ukraine with nuclear missiles if the former Soviet republic joins NATO and accepts the deployment of anti-missile defenses on its territory.

At its summit in Bucharest, the alliance will consider whether to invite Ukraine and Georgia to join a program preparing them for membership.

“To invite President Putin into this situation, I suspect, is to give him a meeting in which he intimidates them further,” Lugar said. “In this context, this seems to be very dubious.”

Lugar helped pass legislation, called the Nunn-Lugar Comprehensive Threat Reduction Act, which has helped former Soviet states destroy, dismantle and secure thousands of nuclear warheads and other weapons of mass destruction.

Assistant U.S. Secretary of State Daniel Fried, who testified at the hearing, called Putin’s attendance an opportunity to find new ways to cooperate with Russia.

“The challenge, however, is to make sure that NATO takes decisions on issues on their own merits — based on what is good for the alliance and good for the issues at hand — without undue pressure from any outside actors,” Fried said.

Meanwhile, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer was quoted Wednesday as saying NATO had not yet decided whether to allow Ukraine and Georgia to join the alliance.

Asked when NATO plans to offer Ukraine and Georgia a Membership Action Plan, the first step to membership, Scheffer said, “We are debating on this issue.”

“Remarks on this from the Moscow side have happened often,” he told the Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza. “We treat our Russian partners seriously. … We must engage them in the discussion.”
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So as Russia starts Slamming Back, America has no one to blame but themselves…

Kyle

comments always welcome.

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In the USA the horse shoe points up to keep good luck from draining out!

Hello,

Customs & Superstitions are much alike and it could be an argument as to which are customs and which are superstitions! I will let you decide…..

Customs:

* Before leaving for a long journey the traveler(s), and all those who are seeing them off, must sit for a moment in silence before leaving the house. It is often conveniently written off as a time to sit and think of anything one may have forgotten.

* After someone has left the house on a long journey, their room and/or their things should not be cleaned up until they have arrived.

* Knocking on wood is practiced in Russia as in other countries.

* Breaking a mirror is not considered bad luck in Russia, but looking at one’s reflection in a broken mirror is.

* It is bad luck to use physical hand gestures to demonstrate something negative using oneself or someone else as the object. For example, when describing a scar you saw on someones face you should not gesture on your own face or someone else’s. If you must, you can demonstrate in mid-air.

* If one person accidentally steps on another person’s foot, it is common for the person who was stepped on to lightly step on the foot of the person who stepped first. It is said that they thus avoid a future conflict.

* Birthday parties should be celebrated on or after one’s birthday, not before. So when one’s birthday falls during the week, it’s best to celebrate the following weekend.

* Talking about future success, especially boasting about it, is considered bad luck. It’s better to be silent until the success has been achieved or to even sound pessimistic.

* Returning home for forgotten things is a bad omen. It is better to leave it behind, but if returning is necessary, one should look in the mirror before leaving the house again. Otherwise the journey will be bad.

* Many Russians consider giving sharp objects, like knives or scissors, as gifts, to be taboo.

* Birds that land on a windowsill should be chased away. If they tap on the window, or fly into it (open or closed) it is considered a very bad omen.

* Things bought for a new born baby (such as clothes, toys, furniture, etc.) should only be purchased after the baby is born.

* It is often considered taboo to step over people, or parts of their body, who are on the ground. It is often said that it will prevent the person from growing (if they are not fully grown already). It is better to politely ask the person to move or to find a way around them. If one accidentally steps over a person (or people), it is sometimes standard to step backwards over them.

* Unmarried people should not sit at the corner of the table. Otherwise they will not marry. This mostly applies to girls, and often only young girls. Sometimes it is said that you will not marry for 7 years, making it alright for young children to sit there.

* A purse as a gift requires a little money inside. Given empty it causes bad financial luck.

* A funeral procession brings good luck. But one should never cross its path or it is bad luck.

* A woman with empty water buckets coming towards you is considered a bad omen.

* A group of two or more people should not walk on either side of a tree. They should all keep to one side or the other.

* Bread should only be cut with a knife, not with your hands. Otherwise, it is said, that your life will be broken.

* It’s good luck to trip on your left foot.

* One should never hand a knife directly to another person, as it is said that the two will get into a fight. Instead a person should always place the knife down on a surface, and only then can the other person pick it up. In several cases you can give it directly, but only pointing the sharp end to yourself and making the knife’s handle accessible for the opposite person.

* If one feels that he or she may have been cursed by someone (had the “evil eye” put on them) or just has the feeling of a hostile presence, it is recommended to remove one’s coat and then put it back on starting with the hand opposing the usually used one.

* It is considered bad luck to put keys on the kitchen table.

Superstitions:

* If your ears or cheeks are hot, someone is thinking or talking about you.

* If your nose itches, you’ll be drinking soon.

* If your right eye itches, you’re going to be happy soon. If your left eye itches, you’ll be sad.

* If your lips itch, you’ll be kissing someone soon.

* If your right hand itches, you’re going to get money soon. It sometimes means you’re going to greet someone. If your left hand itches, you’re going to give someone money.

* If you have the hiccups, someone is remembering you at this moment.

* If an eyelash falls out you’ll receive a gift. If someone finds an eyelash on someone he or she will sometimes let the person blow it away and make a wish.

* If a fork or spoon falls on the ground, expect a female guest. If a knife falls, expect a male guest.

* If you eat from a knife, you’ll be “angry like a dog”.

* If a black cat crosses your path, it’s bad luck. People will often avoid crossing the place where it crossed, or will at least wait for someone else to cross it first.

* If you spill salt, it’s bad luck and is said to bring conflict.

* If it’s raining when you leave a place, it means you’ll return, and it is considered a generally good omen.

* If it rains on someones wedding, it means they’ll be wealthy.

* If someone sneezes while telling something, it means he or she is telling the truth.

* If you find a bay leaf in your soup (commonly Borshch) while eating, it means you’ll get mail from someone.

* In Russian superstition if a couple sets a wedding date and doesn’t end up getting married on that date they can not set another date and should not get married as their union will be cursed.
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I find it interesting that Russians do not consider an open umbrella in the house to be bad luck, nor do they consider walking under a ladder bad luck. When I grew up those two were bad things to do, along with “Step on a crack and break your mothers back!”

What things are the same for you and do you have any different “Customs & Superstitions?”

Kyle & Svet

Folk Medicine & Etiquette

comments always welcome.

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This is 4.2 meter tunnel shield, Russia will have a 19 meter shield! WOW!

2-level tunnel to be driven below Kolomenskoe

The city authorities of Moscow plan to purchase one more tunneling system to drive a tunnel below Kolomenskoe mansion, Alexander Zemelman, president of JSC Metrogiprotrans, declared at a press conference on December 18, RIA Novosti reported.

“The capital [of Russia] authorities intend to purchase a 19-metre-diameter(62.34 ft.) tunnel shield from a German company for performing this work,” Mr Zemelman said.

He noted that JSC Metrogiprotrans would design, besides the tunnel, the approaches to it as well as a bridge over the Moskva River.

“The tunnel will link Proletarsky Avenue to Pechatniki district,” the company president added.

Mr Zemelman emphasized it would be the two-level tunnel.

“A road tunnel of the fourth ring road will be overlapped with the metro tunnel. The vehicle lanes will be located on the upper level and the metro line – on the lower level, this line is set to link Kashirskaya station to Pechatniki station,” the official concluded.
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(Original Article)
В Москве построят гигантский тоннель
Краснобогатырскую улицу и проспект Буденного свяжет тоннель, длина которого составит 3 км 207 м. По информации Департамента транспорта и связи столицы, он станет участком Северной рокады.

Дорога уйдет под землю на Краснобогатырской улице, пройдет под Преображенской и Семеновской площадями и выйдет на проспект Буденного после Семеновской улицы.

Напомним, что одновременное строительство Северной и Южной рокад заложено в Генплан развития Москвы до 2025г. Эти трассы станут своеобразными хордами и соединят противоположные районы Москвы.

Северная рокада начнется от трассы Москва – Санкт-Петербург в районе Левобережное и выйдет вдоль Октябрьской железной дороги на проспект Королева в сторону Преображенской и Семеновской площадей. Затем трасса уйдет в район Кожухово через Перово.

Южная рокада пройдет через улицу Обручева до Балаклавского проспекта, далее под железнодорожными путями и выйдет на Варшавское шоссе. Естественно, и здесь не обойдется без “супертоннеля”, который пройдет под Борисовскими прудами. Его длина, согласно проекту, составит 4,5 километра.

Любопытно, что совсем недавно стало известно о намерении властей открыть еще один тоннель-гигант протяженностью 4,85 км. Он должен пройти под музеем-заповедником “Коломенское”, через район Нагатинский Затон к станции “Печатники”. Планируется, что благодаря такому строительству удастся облегчить передвижение по городу не только автомобилистам, но и пассажирам метрополитена (в плане заложено продление Каховской линии метро от станции “Каширская” до станции “Печатники”).

По нижнему ярусу тоннеля будут следовать поезда метро. Верхний уровень предполагается отвести для автомобильного транспорта. Тоннель будет построен по тому же принципу, что и на Звенигородском шоссе под Серебряным бором, однако для автотранспорта он будет не трех-, а четырехполосным. Ширина полос автомобильного движения составит 3,75 м.

Таким образом, столичные власти замахнулись на весьма амбициозный проект: если замысел будет реализован, то этот подземный путь станет самым длинным городским тоннелем в Европе (сейчас это звание закреплено за тоннелем в Дублине, протянувшемся на 4,5 км).

Пока же самым длинным тоннелем в Москве считается Лефортовский. Его протяженность составляет 2150 м. Кроме того, он является самым широким в Европе: диаметр тоннеля составляет 14 метров.
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(Machine translation)
In Moscow: They will build The gigantic Tunnel!

Krasnobogatyrskuyu street and the prospectus of Budenniy will connect the tunnel, whose length will be 3 km of 207 m. according to the information of the department of transport and connection of the capital, it will become the section of northern belt road.

Road will leave go under the earth on The krasnobogatyrskoy street, it will pass under Preobrazhenskiy and By semenovskoy by areas and will leave the earth to the prospectus of Budenniy after Semenovskoy street.

Let us recall that the simultaneous building of northern and southern belt roads into the general plan of the development of Moscow to 202shchg. these routes will placed become unique chords and will connect the opposite regions of Moscow.

Northern belt road will begin from the route Moscow – Saint Petersburg in the region left-bank and will leave along the October railroad to Korolev’s prospectus to Preobrazhenskiy’s side and Semenovskoy of areas. Then route will leave into Kozhukhovo region through pointed. Southern belt road will traverse Obruchev’s street to The balaklavskogo prospectus, further under the railway lines and will leave to the Warsaw highway.

Naturally, and here it will not manage without the “super-tunnel”, which will pass under the Borisov ponds. Its length, according to project, will be 4,5 kilometers. It is interesting that very recently became known about the intention of authorities to open one additional tunnel- giant the length of 4,85 km it it must pass near the museum- preserve “Kolomna”, through the region Nagatinskiy creek to the station “printers”. It is planned, which because of this building will be succeeded in facilitating movement by the city not only for motorists, but also the passengers of the metro (in the plan placed the prolongation of Kakhovka subway line from “Kashira station” to the station “printers”).

The subway trains will follow on the lower tier of tunnel. Upper level is intended to lead for the truck transport. Tunnel will be built on the same principle as on the Zvenigorod highway under silver boron; however, for the motor transport it will be not three -, but four-strip. Width of zones of automobile motion will be 3,75 m. Thus, capital authorities were swung back to the very project: if concept is realized, then this underground way will become the longest urban tunnel in Europe (now this title allotted for tunnel in Dublin, which was lengthened on 4,5 km). As the for the present longest tunnel in Moscow is considered Lefort. Its extent is 2150 m. furthermore, it is the widest in Europe: the diameter of tunnel composes 14 meters.
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Now this is cool!
Bear likes tunnels.

Kyle & Svet

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We apologize for the TEMPORARY lack of alcohol in our store!

Уважаемые покупатели!
Приносим свои извинения за ВРЕМЕННОЕ отсутствие алкогольных напитков в нашем магазине.

In Russia beer is not considered alcohol, So of course you do not get drunk drinking beer? (sounds like a bunch of people I knew in America!)

So the sign points out the fact that they do not have hard liquor at the store, (whiskey & Vodka)!

The beer is the same as Coke & Pepsi, just that beer is better for you :) ……wrong :(

My wife and I do not drink so we always find things like this strange.

Kyle & Svet

comments always welcome.

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Hello,

I love pancakes but I think that I would never eat as many as this guy did:

Last Week:

A St. Petersburger man has set a new Guinness Book Of World Record for eating pancakes.

Andrei Smirnov at age 33, ate 73 pancakes in 60 minutes, at the village of Lakhta, 20 kilometers west of St. Petersburg during traditional Maslenitsa or Shrovetide festivities.

The competition was open to everyone, Igor Kirsanov, one of the organizers of the event, told Metro daily, but all the participants were men.

The total weight of the pancakes Andrei consumed was more than 5 lbs or 2 kilos.

The senior judge of the Russian committee for the registration of world records witnessed the record-breaking Pancake consumption.

The majority of pancake records in the Guinness Book of Records today don’t belong to Russia, in the U.S. they lift pancakes like weights, In India set a record with the biggest pancake & In England they run a race with as many pancakes that they can carry! The organizers said,”It was about time Russia, the home of blini, had a pancake record of its own.” The organizer also said, “A Russian saying, says that the number of pancakes one eats during Shrovetide will equal the number of happy days one will have during the year.”

The competition, held in a local restaurant, lasted for an hour. Organizers cooked 1,000 pancakes weighing 20 kilograms in all.

Participants were allowed to wash down the pancakes with tea or mors, a traditional berry drink.

Maslenitsa ended Sunday with Orthodox lent beginning on Monday.

Pancake time is over now Lent is here!

Kyle & Svet

comments always welcome.

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RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 15:25:08.Open Investments has placed CLNs worth $99.9m, the investment and development company said in a statement today. The coupon rate has been set at 10.45 percent, and the maturity period is 5 years. The offering was made as part of the global loan program of ING Bank N.V., London.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 15:01:20.Vnukovo International Airport’s passenger traffic surged 43.6 percent to 960,000 people in January-February 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the company’s press office reported today. International passenger traffic (to countries outside the CIS and the CIS) amounted to 310,000 people, having climbed 23 percent from the first two months of 2007. The airport’s passenger traffic stood at 486,000 people in February 2008, including international and domestic passenger traffic of 144,000 people (up 59 percent) and 342,000 people (up 54.4 percent), respectively.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 14:33:03.Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan are poised to start selling natural gas at the price equal to that in Europe in 2009, Gazprom’s press office reported today. The announcement was made by the chiefs of KazMunaiGas, Uzbekneftegaz, and Turkmengaz during a meeting with the Russian giant’s President Alexei Miller. The executives of these companies explained that their decision was based on national interests and incorporated the countries’ obligations regarding energy supplies.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Cannes 14:05:57.Russia’s Economy Ministry is not planning to change its forecast regarding capital inflow into the country from $40bn-$50bn, Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina told journalists at the property market MIPIM-2008 in Cannes today. According to the Bank of Russia, capital outflow stood at RUB 9bn (approx. USD 377.52m) in January 2008. Nabiullina pointed out that it was too early to make conclusions, adding that the ministry did not expect negative trends. She also stated that oil prices were projected to be high in 2008, and therefore, there were no reasons to change the forecast.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 13:39:10.Slightly over three hours into today’s special dollar trading session for tomorrow deals, the low on deals stood at 23.78 RUB/USD, which is RUB 0.08, or more than 0.3 percent, below the official rate set by the Bank of Russia for March 12. As a result of the dollar’s considerable decline against the ruble, the spread on deals reached RUB 0.08. The current developments on the domestic market can be attributed to the euro’s noticeable appreciation against the dollar on international exchanges. The European currency is now buying nearly USD 1.5430, up form around USD 1.5410 as of 1:10 p.m. Consequently, the dollar has edged down almost 0.15 percent against the euro on the global market over a short period. As a result, commercial bank activity has been consistently high, and the trade volume has already significantly exceeded USD 1.2bn.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Cannes 13:21:50.Russia’s housing market is expected to demonstrate a rapid growth in 2008, Russian Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina said at the opening of Russia’s exhibit at the world’s property market MIPIM-2008 in Cannes today. She pointed out that the construction, real etate, and infrastructure sectors showed the highest increase in 2007 in Russia, noting that the added value of this sector rose 16.4 percent.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 12:58:27.Rostelecom’s Board of Directors has approved the acquisition of a blocking stake in the federal internet provider RTComm.RU from Synterra, the Russian telecommunication service provider’s press office reported today. As a result of the potential deal, Rostelecom’s stake in RTComm.RU is expected to increase from 31.59 to 99.5 percent. The decision was made as part of the company’s business diversification strategy, Chairman of Rostelecom’s Board of Directors Alexander Kiselyov stated.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 12:29:39.Russian President Vladimir Putin and President-elect Dmitry Medvedev will meet with State Duma officials in the Kremlin today, State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov told journalists following this morning’s session. During the meeting, Gryzlov, his deputies, and the leaders of political parties intend to discuss the goals set by Putin during the Federation Council session, such as better state governance, economic innovations, and higher quality of life of Russians, Gryzlov said. He pointed out that heads of State Duma committees had already received a step-by-step plan to attain the goals.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Tbilisi 11:51:24.Georgia’s parliament is poised to make a statement regarding Russia’s unilateral lift of trade, economic, financial, and transportation sanctions against Abkhazia, a source close to the parliament told RBC today. Parliamentary deputies are now discussing the document, which was drafted by the ruling party deputies and the experts of Georgia’s Foreign Ministry. The parliament insists that Russia’s move is unacceptable, and that Georgia regards it as an attempt to annex its territory and destabilize the situation in the region. The matter is to be considered by the OSCE, and Georgia hopes to receive political support from the organization, as well as from the international community, the country’s Foreign Minister David Bakradze told journalists today.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 11:24:08.There was no defined trend at the opening on the Russian stock market today. Within the first few miniutes of trade on MICEX, there was some demand for Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel, LUKoil, and Gazprom Neft, while selling activity was seen in Sberbank, RAO UES, and VTB. The RTS index was down at 2,009 points in early trade.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 10:50:34.CTC Media has signed an agreement on the purchase of DTV Group for $395m from Modern Times Group, Russia’s leading independent television broadcaster said in a statement today. The deal is expected to be completed at the end of the second quarter of 2008 upon the receipt of a number of regulatory approvals, including those from anti-monopoly agencies.

RBC, 11.03.2008, Moscow 09:31:14.A seventh Russian-French security cooperation council meeting will be held in Paris today with the participation of the heads the two countries’ Foreign and Defense Ministries. The participants will discuss cooperation between Russia and France within the UN and the Security Council, ensuring security in Europe, cooperation in counteracting international terrorism, and strengthening the regimes of non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction. Also on the agenda are matters of resolving regional crises.

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Hello,

Today I want to tell you about Paul Robeson(April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976). And we will celebrate his 110 birthday anniversary exactly in a month. When we look for information about Paul Robeson in Internet we can find out that he was an exceptional athlete, actor, singer, cultural scholar, author, and political activist. I want to start my story about him with my favorite video:

Some people knows him just as a great singer, but he was unique man. He had a very strong opinion about fairness and he fought for his beliefs. He toured Republican Spain during the Spanish Civil War and was photographed with members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade, including its black commander, Oliver Law. His repertoire included Peat Bog Soldiers, which was popular with International Brigades volunteers and veterans alike. Robeson was among the first performers to sing in concert on behalf of the U.S. troops during World War II.

But today I want to tell you just about Paul Robeson and Soviet Union.

After traveling to Europe for several years in the early 1930s, Robeson was extended and accepted an offer to visit the Soviet Union. While there, Robeson was given the red carpet treatment, according to biographer Martin Duberman, including trips to the theater, banquets, and other attractions. Robeson became captivated with this new society and its leadership, declaring “that the country was entirely free of racial prejudice and that Afro-American spiritual music resonated to Russian folk traditions. “Here, for the first time in my life … I walk in full human dignity.”

Through his writings and speeches, Robeson went on to defend the foreign and domestic policies of the Soviet Union and Joseph Stalin. During the Soviet purges, Robeson allegedly told a Daily Worker reporter that “from what I have already seen of the workings of the Soviet Government, I can only say that anybody who lifts his hand against it ought to be shot!” After the formation of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Robeson proclaimed during a speech at the Paris World Peace Congress in 1949 that “It is unthinkable that American Negroes will go to war on behalf of those who have oppressed us for generations… against a country [the Soviet Union] which in one generation has raised our people to the full dignity of mankind.” Sugar Ray Robinson responded to this by saying that although he did not know Robeson he would “punch him in the mouth” if he met him Even while many former left wing supporters of the Soviet Union learned of the atrocities being committed there and began publicly denouncing their former affiliations, Robeson held firm.

In March of 1950, NBC canceled Robeson’s scheduled appearance on former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt’s television program, Today with Mrs. Roosevelt. A spokesman for NBC declared that Robeson would never appear on NBC. Press releases of the Civil Rights Congress objected that “censorship of Mr. Robeson’s appearance on TV is a crude attempt to silence the outstanding spokesman for the Negro people in their fight for civil and human rights” and that our “basic democratic rights are under attack under the smoke-screen of anti-Communism.” Protesters picketed NBC offices and protests arrived from numerous public figures, organizations and others.

However, because of the controversy surrounding him, all of Paul Robeson’s recordings and films were withdrawn from circulation. From then until the late 1970s, it became increasingly difficult in the United States, if not impossible, to hear Robeson sing on records or on the radio, or to see any of his films, including the highly acclaimed and successful 1936 film version of Show Boat. As far as audiences of the late 1950s (and all of the 1960s) knew, there was only one film version of the show, the MGM Technicolor version of 1951, in which bass-baritone William Warfield played the role that Robeson had played in the 1936 film version.

In 1952, Robeson was awarded the Stalin Peace Prize. In April, 1953 shortly after Joseph Stalin’s death he wrote a eulogy entitled To You Beloved Comrade, in which he praised Stalin’s “deep humanity,” “wise understanding,” and dedication to peaceful co-existence with all the peoples of the world calling him “wise and good”.

I asked my Mom about Paul Robeson and she told me that, yes she knows and remembers him: She told that he was incredible person and that’s mean a lot. Not just Paul Robeson loved Soviet Union, Soviet Union (people and leaders) loved him! Here is a Soviet video of his 60th anniversary movie what was made in 1958 when he was repressed and banned in his own country.

Dear Paul Robeson, Soviet people sends you regard from mountains and ocean!… – that was the end of this movie.

And I just can add: “Dear Paul Robeson people of ex-Soviet Union still remember and love you!”

Svet

comments always welcome
——————————
PS. This story started when Kyle publish an old Soviet Anthem on our Video site. This Anthem was sung by Paul Robeson, it was an English, a good translation and a voice of the singer was gorgeous! An Anonymous (DP) asked if the singer is the same Paul Robeson – an American black opera singer and what deal he had with Soviet Anthem back in 1943.

Thank you Anonymous for your good question
PPS Don’t miss a very good documentary movie about Paul Robeson!

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RBC, 07.03.2008, Moscow 10:58:35.Itera seeks to increase the number of its investment projects it Turkmenistan. A delegation of the Russian natural gas producer’s top managers is due to arrive in Ashgabat on March 9 to hold talks with the country’s officials over Itera’s participation in new and existing oil and gas projects. For instance, the company intends to sign a production sharing agreement (PSA) for three blocks of the Caspian Sea Shelf and receive a license for the survey and development of a new block. If Itera gets the license, it is likely to engage Zarubezhneft and Rosneft as partners, the RBC Daily newspaper reports.

RBC, 07.03.2008, Moscow 10:51:39.Half an hour into today’s special dollar trading session for tomorrow deals, the weighted average exchange rate stood at 23.83 RUB/USD, having gained RUB 0.02 since the opening. The current developments on MICEX can be attributed to the euro’s slight decline against the dollar on international exchanges. The European currency is now trading at USD 1.54, down 0.025 percent from USD 1.5404 at the opening.

RBC, 07.03.2008, Moscow 09:56:33.Russia’s Central Election Commission is expected to officially disclose today the final presidential election results. According to a statement the commission’s head Vladimir Churov made earlier, the results were to be summed up towards the end of March 7.

RBC, 07.03.2008, Moscow 09:35:27.Russia’s Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov will chair a meeting of the presidential council for the development of physical culture and sports, sport excellence and the preparations and the holding of the Sochi Olympics in 2014 today. The meeting’s participants will discuss financial support for the program of constructing Olympic facilities in Sochi, as well as see whether the previous meeting’s instruction had been duly fulfilled, including with regard to the city’s transport infrastructure. The meeting will also address the creation of the unified information center Sochi-2014 for contacts with the mass media and a hotline to answer the questions of the public. Regional Development Minister Dmitry Kozak and Transportation Minister Igor Levitin are expected to deliver their reports today.

RBC, 06.03.2008, Moscow 19:55:14.Open-ended mutual funds specializing in investment in the metallurgy sector demonstrated the biggest earnings in Russia in the first two months of 2008, according to a rating of the most profitable mutual funds for the year to date published by the RBC.Rating agency today. According to the study, seven out of ten funds with the highest earnings rate were metallurgy sector oriented.

RBC, 06.03.2008, Moscow 19:49:49.Russia exported 19.015m tons of oil in January 2008, 0.69 percent less than during the same month a year earlier, the Federal Customs Service (FCS) reported. In value terms, oil exports increased 1.7 times to nearly $11.657bn, with 17.839m tonnes (a 1.16 percent rise year-on-year) worth $11.359bn (up 70 percent) supplied to countries outside the CIS. Meanwhile, Russia delivered 1.177m tonnes of oil (down 26 percent) worth $597.9m (up 15.65 percent) to the CIS.

RBC, 06.03.2008, Moscow 19:28:11.Magnitogorsk Iron and Steel Works’s (MMK) revenue under RAS grew 17.87 percent to RUB 190.287bn (approx. USD 7.91bn) in 2007 compared to a year earlier, the company said in a statement. MMK’s gross profit increased 4.42 percent to RUB 61.282bn (approx. USD 2.55bn), while sales profit rose 2.67 percent to RUB 51.447bn (approx. USD 2.14bn).

RBC, 06.03.2008, Moscow 18:42:46.The Russian stock market finished with no defined trend today. The MICEX index was down 0.22 percent at 1,652.01 points and the RTS index up 0.42 percent at 2,050.9 points. On MICEX, Transneft soared 3.43 percent, Norilsk Nickel rose 0.71 percent, and LUKoil increased 0.81 percent. Meanwhile, Sberbank lost 1.56 percent, VTB fell 2.2 percent, and RAO UES slid 1.51 percent. Among the RTS’s gainers were Transneft (up 5.38 percent), LUKoil (up 1.12 percent), and Norilsk Nickel (up 1.81 percent). However, Sberbank declined 1.23 percent.

RBC, 06.03.2008, Kiev 17:58:26.The Ukrainian parliament has resumed work in the session hall, which had been blocked for about a month after the country’s government sent a letter to NATO, declaring Ukraine’s readiness to join the organization’s Membership Action Plan (MAP). After the opening of the session, the majority of Ukrainian deputies, except for the communists, voted in favor of joining MAP. The country will now seek to enter the organization if Ukrainians approve the move in a national referendum.

RBC, 06.03.2008, Moscow 16:10:24.Russia’s foreign trade surplus surged 73 percent to $19.9bn in January 2008, compared to $11.5bn in the same period a year earlier, the Federal Customs Service said. In the same period, Russia’s foreign trade increased 51.9 percent to $47.5bn, including $40.8bn with the CIS (up 54.9 percent) and $6.7bn with countries outside the CIS (up 36.2 percent). Russia’s imports climbed 39.5 percent to $13.7bn, including imports from countries outside the CIS worth $11.6bn (up 44.5 percent) and $2.1bn from the CIS (17.6 percent). Exports rose 57.7 percent to $33.7bn, including $ 29.2bn worth of exports to countries outside the CIS (up 59.4 percent) and $4.5bn to the CIS (up 47.3 percent).

RBC, 06.03.2008, Moscow 13:25:12.The Bank of Russia’s assets stood at some RUB 12.604 trillion (approx. USD 524bn) as of February 1, 2008, having risen 3.14 percent from December 1, 2007 and 45.54 percent from a year earlier, the Central Bank stated in a balance sheet today. According to the document, the bank’s precious metals account increased 15.9 percent to roughly RUB 383bn (approx. USD 15.9bn) compared to December 1, 2007. Funds placed with non-residents and securities issued by non-residents rose 4.8 percent to nearly RUB 11.697 trillion (approx. USD 486.4bn), while credits and deposits amounted to RUB 46.610bn (approx. USD 1.94bn), securities equaled RUB 373.654bn (approx. USD 15.54bn), and other assets totaled RUB 104.56bn (approx. USD 4.35bn).The bank’s capital stood at RUB 462.028bn (approx. USD 19.21bn) as of February 1.

RBC, 06.03.2008, Moscow 12:37:31.During today’s cabinet meeting, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov strongly criticized natural monopolies for creating barriers for small businesses in Russia. He blamed state-owned monopolies for hiking water and electricity prices and accused officials of bribery, adding that no simplified procedures for small businesses had been introduced so far. Zubkov urged Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov to take specific and active steps to eliminate bureaucratic barriers for small businesses.

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Russia’s gold and forex reserves up $6.8bn

Russia’s gold and foreign currency reserves stood at $490.7 billion as of February 29, $6.8 billion up from $483.9 billion a week before.

The reserves rose for the second week in a row. From February 15 to 29, they increased by $9.7 billion, or 2 percent.

The significant rise in such a short time could be due both to the dollar’s depreciation against the euro and the Central Bank’s increased acquisition of foreign currency on Russia’s forex market, bringing the reserves to their highest level ever recorded.

As a result, Russia has slightly reduced its gap from China and Japan, which have the largest gold and foreign currency reserves in the world. China’s reserves top $1.5 trillion, up 43 percent last year alone, due to foreign investment and strong export revenues. Japan has over $973 billion.

Gold and foreign currency reserves are highly liquid financial assets controlled by the Central Bank and the Finance Ministry. They consist of monetary gold, special drawing rights, the reserve position in the International Monetary Fund, and foreign currency.

======================================

Hello,

I was drinking my wonderful morning cup of coffee & thinking that I am aware of what Russia is capable of, but our beloved leaders in the west appear to be a little slow to digest it all. Maybe its because they have never lived or worked overseas.

When the Soviet Empire crashed, out of its smoldering ruins emerged Russia….

Since then, Russia has grown at a real terms average of 7 per cent a year. In 2007, growth hit 8.1 per cent – higher than the year before, despite the US-originated sub-prime crisis that has hobbled much of the world.

Russia’s reserves have ballooned from practically zero in 1998 to $480bn (£242bn) today – the third largest haul on earth. The country is now almost debt-free – with a budget surplus of 6 per cent of GDP, and a trade surplus almost twice as much again.” (How often has the USA in recent times had a budget surplus?)

Compare the statistics above with what little the U.S. has accomplished over the last 7 to 8 years. The S&P 500 Index, a reflection of the U.S. economy, ended 1999 at 1,469.25 and 2007 at 1,468.36. In other words, no change. The federal government’s budget surplus of $236 billion in fiscal 2000 was a budget deficit of $412 billion in fiscal 2004, that’s a swing of $650 billion in just 4 years. During the 8 years of the Clinton administration, “private-sector” payroll jobs increased by 21,140,000. During the first 7 years of the Bush administration that fell to 4,132,000. Nonfarm productivity growth has gone down every year since 2002, reaching just 1.0% in 2006. Finally, U.S. national debt was $9.13 trillion in December 2007. It was expanding by about $1.4 billion a day or nearly $1 million a minute. (Scary Huh!)

Russia’s prosperity is built on nine successive years of expansion, a sixfold increase in average incomes and almost $500 billion of currency reserves.

Not all is roses though: Inability to contain consumer-price growth, which overshot its target in every one of Putin’s eight years as president except 2003. Russia must find ways of containing inflation that accelerated to 11.9 percent in 2007. Failure to do so may trigger unsustainable wage demands, squeeze consumer spending and dent company profits.

Monetary policy isn’t effective because, 17 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia hasn’t developed a fully fledged consumer-credit market. Mortgages are few and credit-card use is in its infancy outside the biggest cities.

Cash Is King

Cash dominates transactions, with almost 90 percent of Bank Cards used only to withdraw rubles from bank accounts! This is a good sign to me, Russians have not fallen into the credit trap like most of America has!

My wife says, “If you don’t have the money to buy it you do not need it!”

She is very correct!

Kyle & Svet

Now you have more knowledge of Russia!

comments always welcome.

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601109&refer=home&sid=a52mcF2m1U6k

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(all these countries were there)

Hello,

This last Saturday, 03-01-2008 my wife and I got to go to a fantastic Artistic Gymnastic Competition! I had a blast & from the look on my wifes face she had wonderful time also!

We set near a group of young ladies about 10 to 12 years old and they never let it be a dull moment. They cheered all contenders from any country! The USA was there as was 29 other countries!

The girls from the USA did not perform as well as I would like to have seen but the Russians gave the USA girls a very warm reception! That was nice.

Here is a video that my wife made of one of the contenders……..


It was a wonderful competition & the girls gave their best!

Kyle & Svet

comments always welcome.

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Hello,

I was drinking my morning cup of coffee & reading an article about the Future of Russia! This article is from a man who has dealt with Russia for many years & knows what he is talking about.
=================================================

Russia is emerging as a global economic giant

By Liam Halligan

In the run-up to today’s Russian vote, the Western press has been full of insinuation, slur and downright disinformation about a nation which has risen from the ashes and is now emerging as a global economic giant.

I lived in Moscow for several years during the mid-90s – the roughest period of Russia’s “transition” from state-planning to capitalism. I’ve paid regular visits ever since. I now work for a company that manages foreign investments in emerging markets – including Russia.

So, feel free to sniff at my motives. But please don’t sniff at the facts, which show that Russia, over the last ten years, has achieved possibly the most incredible economic turnaround in human history……

When the Soviet Union imploded in the late 1980s and the planned economy collapsed, Russian growth sunk deep into negative territory. For the next decade, the country lurched from crisis to crisis.

Then, amid signs of recovery in 1998, Russia’s fragile post-Communist economy collapsed again – caught in a financial melt-down affecting all emerging markets. Trying to defend its currency, the country defaulted on its sovereign debt.

Since then, Russia has grown at a real terms average of 7 per cent a year. In 2007, growth hit 8.1 per cent – higher than the year before, despite the US-originated sub-prime crisis that has hobbled much of the world.

Russia’s reserves have ballooned from practically zero in 1998 to $480bn (£242bn) today – the third largest haul on earth. The country is now almost debt-free – with a budget surplus of 6 per cent of GDP, and a trade surplus almost twice as much again.

Goldman Sachs describes Russia’s economic performance as “remarkable”. UBS calls it “awesome”. Russia, India, China and the other large emerging markets are upending the world economic order. Their resurgence has created hundreds of billions of dollars of wealth and lifted tens of millions from poverty.

Western politicians struggle to adjust to these new realities – particularly when it comes to the old “Cold War” enemy. But Russia is now the world’s ninth largest economy – and rising fast. And, in my view, much of the scorn aimed its way is nothing but a small-minded reaction to this rapidly shifting balance of global power.

Three years ago, Russia overtook Saudi Arabia to become the world’s largest crude exporter. And the country’s post-Soviet recovery was initially built on a 50 per cent rise in annual crude production.

Had that increase not happened (had Russia chosen to join OPEC, for example), oil would now be way above $150 a barrel, rather than close to $100. Imagine how much that would now be hurting oil importers like America and the UK.

But Russia is now far more than “just an oil and gas economy”. Retail sales are growing at around 13 per cent a year in real terms – one reason why leading multi-nationals are now piling into Russia. Construction is expanding by 16 per cent a year, and domestic investment by 20 per cent – as Russia rebuilds its shattered post-Soviet infrastructure. Again, this trend is now attracting massive – and welcome – foreign investment.

The big blot on Russia’s economic landscape is inflation – almost 12 per cent last year. Like many fast-growing emerging markets, the country suffers from high food prices. But Russian policy-makers are now allowing the ruble to appreciate more quickly – bearing down on expensive food imports. And, while the rest of the world has been cutting interest rates, Russia’s Central Bank just raised them – as part of its bid to tackle inflation.

This is a country, of course, with many problems. As in any nascent capitalist society (think England in the 1780s, or America in the 1870s), there is corruption and the legal system is fragile.

But, in recent years, despite factional in-fighting, the direction of economic policy has been clear. Russia now has a 13 per cent basic rate of income tax. Foreign banks can set up at will. Moscow, St. Petersburg and, increasingly, Russia’s regions are rippling with stores bearing Western names and products. Despite his “hard-man” image, these developments have all happened since President Putin took office in 1999.

And today’s likely winner – Dmitri Medvedev – will encourage further liberalisation. The 42-year-old has made a series of speeches calling for “reduced taxes” and “decentralisation of power”. A trained lawyer, Medvedev will put effort into “improving the legal system”.

Dismiss this as a wish-list if you like. But, again, the direction of travel is clear. Russia wants to be a fully-developed market economy and part of the global system – but on equal terms.

Will it be pushed around by the West? No. Will it allow the West to pull its historic trick of annexing countries with large natural resources, or treating them as supine? No.

Above all, Russia wants to trade with the West. But the West keeps blocking its membership of the World Trade Organization – despite admitting China.

Since the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia has made huge strides – economically, but also in terms of freedom. Today’s election, while imperfect, is a testament to that.

Western businesses are engaging with Russia as quickly as they can, desperate to gain a foothold in what will soon be one of the world’s very biggest economies.

Western politicians, meanwhile, cling to their cold war clichés – replacing the “iron curtain” with an “iron curtain of the mind”.

• Liam Halligan is Chief Economist at Prosperity Capital Management
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I have been making it clear in this Blog that Russia is not what it seems to the American & Europe Brain Washed Media Biased Individual!

Russia is the next World Power Economy!

Ruble as world currency?

Kyle & Svet

comments always welcome.

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Hello,

Like we reported the Russian elections were given a clean bill of health and even though they may not have been too exciting! They cost much less than the 3/4 of a Billion Dollars that the American elections have spent so far! The people are happy, government is happy & Putin is happy! (Not sure if Medvedev is happy yet)

Russia’s presidential elections were held in line with international standards, Bolat Nurgaliyev, Secretary General of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the leader of its observer mission, told a press conference in Moscow today, adding that the election had been free and fair. Nurgaliyev noted that 19 observers from the mission had monitored the elections from February 21 until March 2. The observers visited 96 polling stations of Moscow and the Moscow region on Sunday. They also visited seven polling stations during the vote counting and did not register any violations.

No observer mission has questioned the results of the Russian presidential vote, Russia’s election chief Vladimir Churov told a press conference today. He noted that, “according to the assessment by reputable legal scholars,” the Russian election law is one of the most progressive in Europe. Churov said that the Central Election Commission of Russia had received several comments and recommendations from monitors, and added that his agency would pay particular attention to these, but would probably not be able to follow all the recommendations, as some of them related to the organization of debates, and a number of observers had proposed changes to legislation in this aspect.

Paul Marie Couteaux, head of the European Parliament’s observer mission in Russia, believes that foreign media sources have a rather biased opinion about presidential election in Russia. He made this statement in Moscow today, adding that most foreign correspondents are trying to promote the idea of mistrust for the election. Couteaux also noted that most foreign media companies in Western Europe are owned by large financial corporations and act in their interests. However, he indicated that the general public understood that Russia and Western European countries were partners and disregarded those statements by media companies trying to compromise Russia.

Lets see anyone in America get 70% of the popular vote….

Kyle & Svet

comments always welcome.
USA Presidential Election cost in 2004!
Election Costs are going skyhigh in 2008!

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RBC, 04.03.2008, Moscow 12:58:39.Gazprom invited independent observers from a specialized company SGS to control natural gas supplies in Ukraine, official spokesman for the Russian energy holding Sergei Kupriyanov told journalists today. However, he pointed out that the country’s authorities did not allow the observers to monitor gas supplies at Ukraine’s gas metering stations.

RBC, 04.03.2008, Moscow 12:24:12.Russian President Vladimir Putin is to remain the leader of the United Russia party after the new President’s inauguration ceremony, State Duma Speaker and United Russia’s Chairman Boris Gryzlov told journalists today. He reiterated that Putin had topped United Russia’s candidate list during the previous State Duma elections. Gryzlov noted that the party was currently reviewing step-by-step plans to carry out the development strategy until 2020 outlined by Putin.

RBC, 04.03.2008, Moscow 11:19:01.Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov is to head the government council for small business development, Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov said during today’s meeting with the country’s leading economists. He reiterated that the decision on the creation of the council was made following Friday’s meeting with representatives of small and medium size businesses. Efficient working groups for the elimination of barriers for businesses in various economic sectors need to be formed within the council, Zubkov noted. The PM urged Zhukov to begin council meetings within a week and make them monthly.

RBC, 04.03.2008, Moscow 11:15:14.Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (NCSP) majority shareholders affiliated with Russian businessman Alexander Ponomarenko are poised to acquire a 50-percent stake in a container terminal that is currently under construction near St. Petersburg, the RBC Daily newspaper reported today. Until now, the project worth EUR 300m fully belonged to one of the world’s largest container operators MSC. Meanwhile, the shareholders of Russia’s largest commercial sea port operator decided to increase the terminal’s projected annual capacity from 2.5m tonnes to 8m tonnes. NCSP’s participation in the project is likely to give it a boost, experts say.

RBC, 04.03.2008, Moscow 10:46:11.At today’s special dollar trading session for tomorrow deals, the low and the high on deals stood at 24.04 and 24.05 RUB/USD respectively, making the spread on deals just RUB 0.01. The narrow spread does not suggest any speculative play at the session. In addition, trading activity has been fairly low as well possibly due to inconsiderable fluctuations of the euro-to-dollar rate abroad, with the trading volume below USD 100m at the UTS.

RBC, 04.03.2008, Chisinau 09:57:54.Fixed investment in Moldova surged 43.3 percent to $300m in 2007 compared to a year earlier, the National Bureau of Statistics told RBC. Foreign fixed investment accounted for 22.1 percent of the total. Investment growth was largely due to the activities of the non-government sector, which received around 72.7 percent of the total input.

RBC, 04.03.2008, Moscow 09:36:10.Russia’s Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov is scheduled to meet today with the nation’s top economists to address the role of the scientific community in drafting Russia’s development strategy until 2020. Scientists will explain the measures they view as necessary to diversify the economy and foster innovation. The meeting is to be attended by President of the Russian Academy of Sciences Yury Osipov, Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences Abel Aganbegian, Rector of the New Economic School Sergei Guriyev, Director of the Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences Alexander Dynkin, Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Sergei Naryshkin, Economy Minister Elvira Nabiullina, Education and Science Minister Andrei Fursenko and heads of other ministries, agencies and research organizations.

RBC, 03.03.2008, Moscow 19:55:37.Russian President Vladimir Putin has signed a bill approving amendments to the 2008 federal budget and estimates for 2009 and 2010, passed by the State Duma on February 15 and endorsed by the Federation Council on February 20, the leader’s press office reported.

RBC, 03.03.2008, Kiev 19:24:40.Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has called on the national government to ensure there is no ‘gas war’ with Russia. The leader made this statement at a meeting with Supreme Rada Speaker Arseny Yatsenyuk and Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko today, the President’s press office reported.

RBC, 03.03.2008, Moscow 18:30:56.Russia’s National Welfare Fund amounted to RUB 777.03bn, or USD 32.22bn in dollar terms, including USD 14.31bn, EUR 9.74bn, and GBP 1.62bn as of March 1, the Finance Ministry reported today. Meanwhile, earnings from investing the fund’s reserves from January 30 until February 29, 2008 have been estimated at USD 240m.

RBC, 03.03.2008, Kiev 17:45:55.Gazprom has cut its natural gas exports to Ukraine by 35 percent, or 46m cubic meters per day, spokesman for Naftogaz of Ukraine Valentin Zemlyansky told journalists today. He said that the Russian energy holding had sent the republic’s state-owned oil and gas company two telegrams announcing a 25-percent and a 10-percent cut, respectively.

RBC, 03.03.2008, Moscow 15:34:25.The Russian stock market is likely to reach a new record low in the next two weeks, experts told RBC TV today. The preliminary results of Russia’s presidential elections were expected and already factored into share prices before today, experts say. Meanwhile, poor financial performance of a number of US suppliers caused investor concerns over the possibility of Russian stocks’ decline. However, analysts note that, if the US economy stabilizes, the Russian market can look better than foreign trading floors thanks to positive election results and macroeconomic conditions.

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(Pic 1: getting vote slip, Pic 2: Buffet, Pic 3: Foreign observer! )
Hello,

I am just from election. I looked at the voting slip and no Putin anymore there… I don’t know yet who will win this elections but I know that it will not be Vladimir Putin. So it’s time to say Good bye, Mr. Putin.

I think there were good things and bad things during his Presidential term just like in all of life! And I want to tell you that he is very charismatic person. Yes, Naomi, you are absolutely right when you told that Putin is very photogenic! We will see how photogenic in this very good video: “Good bye, Mr Putin!”. I love this video, hope you like it too:


And what to tell you about this Presidential election: I voted in the school what became a place for election for my district. It was a very friendly atmosphere with nice music, a nice woman gave me a slip to vote. I voted and asked could I take some pictures for our blog yes, of course was the answer. I took some. I know that people in Russia often get embarrassed when they notice that someone takes a pictures of them. I really don’t like to embarrass people so I made just a few shots to show you a what an election looked like in Russia :).

Best wishes for everybody,

Svet

PS: Yes that is a food buffet at the Election, old Soviet Tradition! Now you know something new about Russia! ;)

comments always welcome.

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“Windows to Russia: News!”

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Over ten years ago I met the most wonderful Russian woman in the world! What started as friends on the Internet per e-mails and text messages, became a dream come true for this American...

I moved to Russia nine years ago and have never, one time, in all those years, regretted that move to Russia. In fact, I have realized over the years that Russia is safe, incredibly fantastic and a wonderfully explicit country to live and travel in...

I have been lucky in many ways and meeting a normal Russian woman whose main goal is not to leave Russia, that was a blessing in disguise, as I was the one who had to make the hard decision to leave my country. It was a decision that I have never ever regretted and it also opened my eyes to a whole new world of ideas and thinking's...

So welcome to Windows to Russia and stay a spell, sip a cup of coffee...

(Svetlana and Kyle)

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The US led "War on Terror" is an open ended vehicle by which any people on the face of the planet who do not agree with America may be targeted by covert Western forces using methods like drone strikes, social media instigated color revolutions, assassinations, death squads, 'humanitarian' bombing, sanctions and blockades. America forgets that during their much lauded 'War of Independence', THEY were the saboteurs
and terrorists...

The current activities and narratives of the USA are solely based on their egregious efforts to expand their hegemony, no matter who is 'right' and who is 'wrong'...

The Kiev regime using the word 'Terrorist' to describe 4 million of your own citizens who don't accept a government installed by a foreign power is a prime example. While the world debates semantics, thousands of men women and children die and millions are chased away from their homes and nobody cares...

kKEETON

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