ANKARA, November 18 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian defense minister warned on Tuesday that Georgia’s military buildup and drive to join NATO could cause a conflict worse than the five-day war over South Ossetia in August. (Rest of Article: Link)
BERLIN, November 18 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has returned six fourteenth-century stained glass windows that were among objects seized by Soviet troops during WWII to a church in Germany.
In 2002, Russia returned 111 stained glass windows to St. Mary’s Church, Marienkirche, in Frankfurt-upon-Oder. They had earlier been stored in the Hermitage museum in Russia’s St. Petersburg. Authorities later discovered that Moscow’s Pushkin Museum of Fine Arts had a further six panes from the church in their storehouse. (Link)
The Buran spacecraft (Russian: Буран, “Snowstorm” or “Blizzard”), GRAU index 11F35 K1, was the only fully completed and operational space shuttle vehicle from the Soviet Buran program. With a design that borrowed heavily from the American Space Shuttle, the Buran completed one unmanned spaceflight in 1988 before cancellation of the Soviet shuttle program in 1993. The Buran was subsequently destroyed by a hangar collapse in 2002.
Like its American counterpart, the Buran, when in transit from its landing sites back to the launch complex, was transported on the back of a large jet aeroplane. It was piggy-backed on the Antonov An-225 Mriya aircraft, which was designed for this task and remains the largest aircraft in the world.
Several shuttles were produced, one of those, the OK-GLI was modified to fly with jet engines for aerodynamic testing. One painted mock shuttle (the former static test-article OK-TVA) is now a ride simulating space flight in Gorky Park, Moscow. The OK-GLI was sold by its owner NPO Energia, shipped to Sydney in Australia and subsequently displayed at the Sydney Olympics in 2000. Shortly after, the new owner went bankrupt and the OK-GLI shuttle then went to Bahrain for a number of years while legal ownership status was in dispute. The Sydney/Bahrain (OK-GLI) shuttle was acquired by the German Technikmuseum Speyer in 2004, and has been transported to the museum, where it is exhibited to the general public.
Pavel Sharov from Cosmonauts News Magazine explains the advantages the Soviets had over their rivals in the U.S.
“The USSR surpassed the Americans in technology – U.S. shuttles can only be landed by humans, while the Buran lands automatically,” Sharov said.
Magomet Talboev was one of the pilots who test-flew the shuttle without going into orbit. He said the Soviet authorities had high hopes for the multi-billion dollar spacecraft.
“The Energia-Buran programme was started to get the capability to attack the United States, just like the shuttle was able to attack the USSR. We also wanted to take the Skylab space station from orbit. Buran was supposed to put it in its cargo bay and deliver it back to Earth for studies,” Tolboev said.
On May 12, 2002, a hangar housing a Buran 1.01 orbiter (the actual Buran that flew in 1988) collapsed due to poor maintenance in Kazakhstan. The collapse killed eight workers and destroyed the orbiter as well as a mock-up of an Energia booster rocket.
Buran technologies may make an unexpected return to the space industry as well.
Because NASA will soon retire its ageing space shuttle fleet, some American and Russian scientists are beginning to think of ways to revive the Buran programme.
It may be more economical than developing an entirely new spacecraft from scratch.
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
Geography: Russia is the largest country in the world, covering 17.1 million square kilometer. Extending nearly halfway around the northern hemisphere and covering much of eastern and north-eastern Europe as well as the whole of northern Asia, Russia has a maximum east-west extent, along the Arctic Circle, of some 7,700 kilometers and a north-south width of 2,011 to 2,976 kilometers. Russia has an enormous variety of landforms and landscapes. Arctic deserts lie in the extreme north, giving way southward to the tundra and then to the forest zones, which cover about half of the country and give it much of its character. South of the forest zone lies the wooded steppe and steppe, beyond which are small sections of semi-desert along the northern shore of the Caspian Sea. Much of the federation lies in latitudes where the winter cold is intense and there are many rivers, lakes, and swamps, which are freeze in winter.
Climate: Owing to its vast size and the fact that most of Russian’s territory is far removed from any ocean, the climate throughout the country is extremely continental, with distinct periods of warm and cold weather. The continentality of Russia’s climate increases as one travels east, with average temperature differences between the warmest (July) and coldest (January) periods in Eastern Siberia, for example, varying as much as 65 degrees Celsius (117 degrees Fahrenheit). There is, however, much variation in climate based on latitude and physical geography. Temperatures for Moscow and St. Petersburg range from highs of 32 C in the summer to low – 25 C in winter
Population: Of a population of about 145.5 million, nearly 80% are concentrated in Western Russia. Moscow, the largest city in Europe, has a population of 11 million people, and St. Petersburg (former Leningrad) has 5 million inhabitants. Around two-thirds of the population now live in cities. The population size is currently on the decline. Pensioners constitute 23% of the population and the average family size is three people. The average life expectancy rate is much lower than that of other developed countries.
Language: Russian is the country’s official language. It uses the Cyrillic alphabet (rather than the Latin one used by most Western countries), and contains 33 letters. However, the 120 or so nationalities of the Commonwealth of Independent States speak about 48 other languages. Those of Slavic origin (i.e. Russians, Ukrainians and Belorussians) account for approximately 75% of the total population. In Moscow or St Petersburg it is not uncommon to find Russians who speak European languages, especially English.
Living Standards: The Soviet system provided accommodation with very low rents, free social services, subsidized vacations, assisted factory canteens, shops and sports facilities. Few of these remain. Prior to price liberalization, food, drink, cigarettes, public transport and utilities were also very cheap.
Today the recent reforms have forced a significant share of the population (especially pensioners) below the poverty line as inflation has outstripped increases in state benefits. There is a developing middle/commercial class involved in legitimate business. Only a very small proportion have become extremely wealthy, commonly known as ‘novye Russkie.’
Culture & Social Life: Theater, cinema, music and arts are important parts of Russian life; as with other countries funding has fallen for these, and private sponsorship is emerging. Features of Russian culture, which are at the highest of international standards, include the Bolshoi Theater, Pushkin Art Gallery in Moscow and Mariinsky (Kirov) Theater and the Hermitage in St. Petersburg. Russians also spend a considerable amount of their leisure time at the homes of friends and relatives – they place much importance on friendship and family. Consequently anniversaries and birthdays are celebrated with more gusto than expatriates may be used to at home.
Religion: Russian Orthodoxy is the main religion in Russian, followed to a lesser extent by Islam, Catholicism, Protestantism and Judaism. Religion has become more popular in Russia over the last few years as the Russian Orthodox Church has received official encouragement through the return of property confiscated during the Soviet period. The rebuilding of Christ the Saviour Cathedral (in Moscow) is symbolic of the restoration of the right to practice a religion in Russia, and this development has evoked much emotion amongst Russian (and foreign) people alike.
Ethnic diversity: The territory of Russia is home to more than 100 different ethnic groups representing a multiplicity of national histories and cultures and many distinct language groups, including Indo-European Slavic, Turkic, Finno-Ugric and others. The vast majority of the population – over four fifths – consists of ethnic Russians with another four percent consisting of Ukrainians and Belarussians.
International time: Moscow and St. Petersburg are three hours ahead of London time and eight hours ahead of New York time. Vladivostok is seven hours ahead of Moscow. Travel time to Moscow is about 3 hours and 35 minutes by air from London or Paris, 9 hours from New York, and 10 hours and 25 minutes from Tokyo.
Now that was exciting?
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
I was just drinking my morning cup of coffee and trying to decide what to do. So I started to read the Moscow Times and realized that the ads in the paper were all about Christmas. Or better yet Russian Christmas with Father Frost and his Grand Daughter.Last year we ran several posts about the Russian Christmas time and Santa Clause. (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link) (Link)
Seems like I just read that Christmas (Western Version) is about 40 days away!
So we put this countdown to Christmas just so everyone can be reminded how soon Christmas is coming.
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 12:51:37.Russia is expected to see the creation of a new consultative body to unite the majority of Russia’s television market participants prior to the general transfer to digital broadcasts. The new alliance is most likely to be known as Digital Alliance of Russia and headed by Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Igor Shchegolev. Eduard Sagalaev, president of the National Association of TV and Radio Broadcasters (NAT), made a statement to this effect today. He pointed out that the alliance would become a place for its members to meet and discuss the development of digital television and radio in Russia. Cable operators, broadcasters, telecommunications operators, producers of television equipment and other market participants are all expected to join the alliance, Sagalaev noted.
RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 12:28:47.Russia and Belarus have agreed on switching to rubles in settlements for oil and gas, Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Andrei Kobyakov announced following the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the governments of Russia and Belarus on coordinating measures to increase their national economies’ competitiveness. According to Kobyakov, such a transition will be one of the key items in the joint action plan to be prepared by early February 2009. “This will be our contribution to giving the ruble the status of a regional reserve currency,” the official said.
RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 11:56:19.The net profit of GAZ Group under IFRS dropped 14.5 percent to RUB 2.821bn (approx. USD 102m) in the first half of 2008 compared to the same period a year earlier, the company’s unaudited financial statement reads.
RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 11:47:14.President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev will take part in the Russia-EU summit in Nice, France. The EU will be represented by President of France Nicolas Sarkozy, currently holding the EU’s rotating presidency and President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso as well as Javier Solana, secretary general of the Council of the European Union and high representative for the common foreign and security policy.
RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 10:38:57.The consolidated net profit of Razgulay Group under IFRS nearly doubled in the first half of 2008 and reached RUB 736m (approx. USD 26.60m), the Russian agricultural holding indicated in its financial statement today. Revenue surged 35 percent to RUB 11.476bn (approx. USD 415m) in January-June 2008 compared to the same period of the previous year. At the same time, gross profit stood at RUB 2.854bn (approx. USD 103m), having increased 85 percent. Pretax profit rose 2.6 times to RUB 1.439bn (approx. USD 52m).
RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 10:25:22.Russia and Belarus signed a memorandum on understanding in which they vowed to coordinate measures to raise the competitive edge of their respective national economies. Under the memorandum signed by Deputy Prime Ministers Alexei Kudrin of Russia and Andrei Kobyakov of Belarus, Russia will grant its partner a loan of $2bn in 2008-2009 for a period of 15 years at the interest rate of LIBOR plus 3 percent. In addition, the parties converged on the first tranche of the loan ($1bn) to be extended within a few days. A respective agreement on the second tranche will be signed as soon as the parties hammer out a joint action plan to improve their competitiveness – tentatively, by the beginning of February 2009. The payment itself is to be made before February 28, 2009.
RBC, 14.11.2008, Moscow 09:58:45.Russia’s full-year inflation is set to reach 13.5 percent in 2008. The estimate voiced yesterday by Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov suggests that the inflation growth rate has been slowing down. Zhukov believes the rate is likely to be below 14 percent.
RBC, 13.11.2008, Cannes 19:43:12.The global economy’s overall losses from the financial crisis amount to $1.5 trillion, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told the 10th round table meeting of Russia-EU industrialists in Cannes, France, on Thursday. Such serious consequences of the financial crisis call for giving serious consideration to the idea of reforming the global financial system, specifically its main institutions: the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, the Russian leader believes. He also indicated that Russia was set to pass a package of bills by the end of 2008 to establish an international financial hub in the country.
RBC, 13.11.2008, Moscow 13:53:04.Russia’s federal budget cash surplus stood at RUB 2.75 trillion (approx. USD 100.11bn) in January-October 2008, according to a preliminary budget performance estimate drafted by Russia’s Finance Ministry. Primary surplus ran up to RUB 2,885.5bn (approx. USD 105.04bn).
Belarus Finance Minister Andrei Kharkovets signed the so-called currency capitulation in Moscow yesterday. Belarus gets a new intergovernmental loan of $2 billion for 2008 and 2009 by agreeing to pay for Russia’s oil and gas supplies in rubles starting from 2009. From now on, stability of Belarus economy will depend on Russia’s ruble stability and the country will have to amass ruble reserves.
I was looking at everything that Russia was up to this week and some of it is pretty good. I will say that Russia is not bored…..
First thing that came to mind was that Robert Gates from the USA came in to have a chit chat about missiles. He was not asked to come in the first place and the Kremlin put out the word that Gates was there to undermine the new Administration of Obama’s. So he was given the cold treatment and told that communication with the new administration will be considered later. After Gates was done he had an attitude and did the “USA Administration Criticize Russia Routine.”
Then Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said in a televised interview with French journalists broadcast Thursday that Moscow was willing to reconsider deploying Iskander missiles in its westernmost region of Kaliningrad if Washington did not place 10 missile interceptors in Poland and a missile-tracking radar in the Czech Republic.
Of course U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates had already expressed his rejection of the Russian suggestion that both countries scrap plans to place missile systems in Eastern Europe.
Medvedev then went on record for the umpteenth time: “The decision to recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia is final and irrevocable, Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev made clear in the interview with French Le Figaro. Russia has recognized two new international entities and those entities exist in terms of the international laws, Medvedev said, specifying that one doesn’t joke about things of this kind.”
Then South Ossetia will inform the European Parliament of the failure by EU observers to properly perform their duties in the buffer zone in neighboring Georgia, South Ossetia’s envoy to Russia said on Thursday. South Ossetia is tired of the lack luster attitude that the observers have toward Georgia and allow Georgia to get away with murder and kidnapping.
So now lets touch on the sad subject of the deaths aboard the Russian submarine: “The official report is that a crew member activated without permission a fire safety system on board the Russian nuclear submarine Nerpa, causing the deaths of 20 people, investigators said on Thursday.”
While we are in the open seas lets talk about the possibility that Russia is considering opening a base for its Black Sea Fleet in Abkhazia, a former fleet commander said on Thursday. This has been a idea floating around for the last few months and seems that it might be come a fact.
Then lets go locally and wonder why a 10 year old boy needs to put a cat in the washing machine: “A Muscovite couple called rescuers after hearing their pet inside the washing machine. They called the rescuers after discovering that the door would not open to release him, the spokesman said. The unfortunate cat was put in for a spin by the couple’s 10-year-old son. “
We step to the religious side for a minute: A mysterious man donned in all black and a mask left the Holy relics that were earlier stolen from the Donskoy Monastery in Moscow on the front enterence of the Monastery! Looks like God did some soul twisting on this one.
We end with a report from FBK Audit: World’s leading countries have already spent 9.2 trillion dollars on anti-crisis measures, FBK Audit and Consulting Company said. Great Britain takes the lead at this point as it spent 37 percent of its GDP on the crisis. The United States follows with 3.5 trillion dollars (25 percent of the GDP), Germany comes third with $893 billion (25 percent). The crisis has so far cost Russia $222 billion (13.9 percent of the GDP)
9.2 trillion dollars! Can you even imagine that much money?
That is what Russia has going on this week.
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
Evander Holyfield, at the age of 46, will seek to win back a major heavyweight title when he fights Russian giant Nikolai Valuev for the WBA crown next month.
The fight will take place Dec. 20 in the Hallenstadion in Zurich, Switzerland, arena management announced.
Holyfield has not fought since losing an unanimous decision to then-WBO champ Sultan Ibragimov a year ago. The fighter from Atlanta known as the “Real Deal” has a 49-9-2 career record and insists he wants to keep fighting until he regains the title again.
The 7-foot, 330-pound Valuev – once referred to as the ‘Beast from the East’ but now preferring ‘The Russian Giant’ – won a unanimous decision over Ruiz in August to claim the vacant WBA crown.
He told the Zurich tabloid Blick on Thursday that he was excited to face Holyfield.
“I’m taking this fight very seriously,” said the fighter with 49-1 record and 34 knockouts. “Holyfield is a strong opponent … Ten years ago I would not have dreamed of getting into the ring with this champion.”
The fight will be the biggest in Zurich since 1971, when Muhammad Ali knocked out Juergen Blin of Germany in the 7th round.
Link to Article:
I would like to go see this fight!
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
It said that up to 400,000 people receive Russian citizenship a year. It said From 2005 and up, Russian citizenship has been granted to some 400,000 people a year, and over 150,000 people annually receive temporary residence permits.
Also the same report states that since July 2008, approximately 7,000 Russians have returned to the country from former Soviet republics as part of a state-run resettlement program.
The report stated that sufficient funds for the relocation of 600,000 people will be allocated from the federal budget. As of now a total of 66,000 people have applied to relocate under this program and 36,000 of them have already submitted the necessary documents. Russians mainly return from Kazakhstan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Kyrgyzstan.
People who decide to return to Russia under the resettlement program can choose between 12 Russian regions. The regions are in the country’s Far East, Siberia, Central Russia and the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad.
Report is from the “Federal Migration Service of Russia!”
RBC, 11.11.2008, Moscow 10:45:52.VimpelCom is planning to sign a strategic partnership agreement with a united mobile phone retail holding, which will effectively incorporate Svyaznoy and Tsifrograd, two sources close to the retailers reported today. VTB will then become one of the holding’s shareholders, as it has already agreed to purchase 15 percent of shares for $100m, the RBC Daily newspaper reported today. The partnership agreement will allow VimpelCom to avoid the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service’s restrictions that resulted from the company’s deal with Euroset, analysts say.
RBC, 11.11.2008, Moscow 09:57:57.Russia’s Finance, Economy and Energy Ministries came up with a proposal yesterday to get the period by which oil export duties are calculated down to one month. The proposal was voiced yesterday by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin during his meeting with representatives of oil companies. According to the PM, the duties should reflect current prices. He stressed that the global financial crisis, instability on global markets and a fall in prices called for measures to ensure the sustained development of the oil industry. Since the current oil duty setting formula has been designed only for a predictable market situation, it naturally must be altered now that oil prices are swinging violently.
RBC, 10.11.2008, Kiev 18:56:51.Ukraine and Russia are not planning to use formulas for gas price calculations for 2009, chairman of the board of Naftogaz of Ukraine Oleg Dubina told a press conference today. He pointed out that the price of gas would be set on the basis of agreements between companies, adding that they would be economically feasible. The official noted that Ukraine had to ensure the payment of gas debts within the country, indicating that the company could not pay off its own debts because of consumers’ debts. Dubina also does not rule out the possibility of the company’s default, stressing that consumers owed a whopping $35m.
RBC, 10.11.2008, Moscow 16:09:17.The Federation Council’s related committees recommend that the Russian parliament’s upper house approve agreements on friendship, cooperation and mutual aid between Russia and Abkhazia and Russia and South Ossetia, member of the Federation Council’s legal and court issues committee Amir Gallyamov told journalists, noting that the upper house is set to consider the documents at a plenary session on Wednesday.
RBC, 10.11.2008, Moscow 15:05:50.There are no signs that European nations are going to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent countries, Vladimir Chizhov, Russia’s envoy to the EU, stated during a live TV link-up between Brussels and Moscow. He noted that despite a certain variance of opinions and assessments of the Caucasus conflict throughout European countries, the EU had adopted a single position regarding the independence of the two republics, and had so far given no signals that the position could be revised. Chizhov added that the stability in Georgia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia would be brought up at the upcoming Russia-EU summit in Nice on November 14, 2008. The matter, however, is more likely to become an issue for discussion than a “stumbling block,” Chizhov observed.
RBC, 10.11.2008, Moscow 13:05:58.The government has approved the placement of money from the Russian Reserve Fund in the International Monetary Fund’s debt instruments. The corresponding changes were made to the government’s decree on the management of the Reserve Fund. As a result, the funds can be placed in special drawing rights, which the IMF considers when forming and changing Russia’s reserve position with the funds. Meanwhile, the total sum transferred during such a transaction cannot be lower than that provided for by the IMF as a minimum sum required for setting an interest rate for using these funds.
RBC, 10.11.2008, Moscow 12:50:42.Russian stocks will be rising this week, Marina Samokhvalova, an analyst at Kapital Investment Group, told RBC TV. The positive trend can only be broken by U.S. retail data, which will be published in the middle of the week, as well as a number of retailers’ reports, which are expected to be below expectations. “Yet, the overall situation on the market became positive following the election of the new American president last week, and this sentiment is expected to remain for this week, too,” she said.
Want something to make you go Hummmmm?
GM to open $300 million assembly plant in Russia this week:
* GM pushes ahead with flexible assembly plant in Shushary near St. Petersburg
* Capacity for 70,000 Opel and Chevrolet cars and SUVs
* GM Number One foreign car-maker in Russia with 11% market share
Zurich. This week General Motors (GM) will open a $300 million, flexible assembly plant in St. Petersburg, Russia. The plant will add 70,000 units of capacity to more than 100,000 already available to GM at joint venture and partner facilities in the country. It will build the Opel Antara and Chevrolet Captiva SUVs and, as of late 2009, the all-new Chevrolet Cruze compact sedan. The plant features a flexible, modern design that can accommodate a variety of different models.
“We are fully committed to our Russia growth strategy,” said Carl-Peter Forster, President of General Motors Europe. “Russia is poised to become Europe’s Number One car market for GM as early as 2009. With five strong brands on the market, we are the leading non-Russian manufacturer. That’s a position we aim to keep.”
GM grew sales in Russia by 44% in Jan-Sept 2008, outpacing industry growth of 23% and reaching a record total of 256,765. GM’s market share has reached a new high of 10.9% in Russia from 6.5% as recently as 2006. In the first nine months of the year, Chevrolet maintained its position as Russia’s favorite non-domestic brand with sales up 33.5% (or 44,000 cars and SUVs) to a total of 175,800. In the same period, Opel was the fastest growing brand in the country with sales up 73% to over 78,000.
“Our St. Petersburg plant will work to the same high standards that have recently resulted in major quality awards for our cars,” said Carl-Peter Forster. The new plant, located in Shushary on the outskirts of St. Petersburg, will employ 1700 people. GM’s new employees have undergone intensive training in the company’s global manufacturing system which focuses on top quality in all processes, continuous improvement and involvement of the workforce.
General Motors Corp. (NYSE: GM), the world’s largest automaker, has been the annual global industry sales leader for 77 years. Founded in 1908, GM today employs about 266,000 people around the world. With global headquarters in Detroit, GM manufactures its cars and trucks in 35 countries. In 2007, nearly 9.37 million GM cars and trucks were sold globally under the following brands: Buick, Cadillac, Chevrolet, GMC, GM Daewoo, Holden, Hummer, Opel, Pontiac, Saab, Saturn, Vauxhall and Wuling. In Europe, GM sells its vehicles in over 40 markets. It operates 10 vehicle-production and assembly facilities in seven countries and employs around 55,500 people. More information on GM can be found at and . GM Europe executive blog at http://drivingconversations.com.
The USA needs to bail GM out so that they can build more plants all over the world.
Things that make you go Hummmmm…..
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
Svet and I like to travel and we only travel to countries that have no visa issues with Russians. Russia is one of those countries that does a visa in accordance to how you do a visa! If you require a visa for Russians than Russia requires a visa for you. (At least in most cases.)
The document was approved on September 11, during a visit by a delegation of the Russian foreign ministry to Hong Kong. The agreement is expected to be signed once all state agencies have approved the document.
Hong Kong has seen a significant increase in imports and tourism from Russia. Imports in the first nine months grew 47.3% year-on-year, while the number of Russian tourists to Hong Kong rose by more than 10,000 visitors.
This would be a good place for Svet and I to go next year…
The Agreement between the Government of the Russian Federation and the Government of the Hong Kong SAR of the PRC on Mutual Exemption of Visa Requirements for Nationals of the Russian Federation and Permanent Residents of the Hong Kong SAR of the PRC came into force on 1 July 2009. The Agreement provides for a mutual visa-free access to the nationals of the Russian Federation and permanent residents of the Hong Kong SAR (holders of the Hong Kong SAR passport) for a stay of up to 14 days in the area of the Hong Kong SAR and the territory of the Russian Federation respectively.
Cool and thanks to Jim Wong who gave me an update over the e-mail…
Windows to Russia!
- Hats Off to Hong Kong – Hong Kong, China (travelpod.com)
- Made in Canada? – Hong Kong, China (travelpod.com)
- The Asia Chronicles: Hong Kong / China Openings; Hiring Boom In First Quarter ’11? (abovethelaw.com)
- Hong Kong in 18 Hours – Hong Kong, China (travelpod.com)
- Hong Kong, Hong Kong (alexeysmirnov.name)
It has been an historic week for President-elect Barack Obama, but even the future leader of the free world isn’t immune to the rigors of Russian airport security. When he was a Senator, Mr Obama had first hand experience of Russian hospitality in European continent’s most eastern city, Perm.
If you show Barack Obama pictures of an airport in the city of Perm and you may see a look of horror. Although, he will tell you his time in detention here was far more pleasant than a turn in a Soviet gulag. (Link)
He’s cool, charismatic and sexy! Americans seem to be collectively swooning over Barack Obama. And, while it’s his policies that have primarily attracted them, some haven’t been shy about admitting they find America’s President-elect fetching. (Link)
Just two days after the outcome of the U.S. presidential election, issues of American newspapers detailing Barack Obama’s victory have become bibliographical rarities. They are now being sold on eBay for record prices. (Link)
In his congratulation letter to president-elect Barack Obama, Victor Yushchenko used an archaic title reserved for top generals and their civil counterparts in tsarist Russia.
The Ukrainian President wished good health and success to “His High Excellency” Barack Obama. (Link)
Lego toys and Barbie dolls are on their way to the White House, as the newly-elected U.S. President Barack Obama makes plans to move his family to Washington DC. (Link)
U.S. stock markets are continuing to plummet, and two days after the United States elected Barack Obama as its new leader, the economic crisis in the country is deepening. How to revive the struggling economy is one of the toughest issues America’s 44th president has to tackle. (Link)
While the world suffers from the financial crisis, U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has faced criticism for spending more than $US 3 million on a 30-minute campaign commercial, which was broadcast through the whole country. (Link)
Two white supremacists have been charged with plotting to assassinate U.S. presidential candidate Barack Obama. A court in Tennessee was told the plan was uncovered by federal agents who believed the pair also planned a murder spree. They are said to have also plotted to kill over a hundred African-American people. (Link)
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
As I was drinking my morning cup of coffee today: The issues and facts of the Georgian – Russian 5 day war, is starting to switch directions. More and more articles by CNN, Time and Reuters are starting to show up on the front page questioning the validity of Georgia’s claims about the war. This is nothing new as far as this blog is concerned, Windows to Russia has kept the stance the whole time that Georgia started the war….
LONDON, November 9 (The Sunday Times) -
Two former British military officers are expected to give crucial evidence against Georgia when an international inquiry is convened to establish who started the country’s bloody five-day war with Russia in August.
Ryan Grist, a former British Army captain, and Stephen Young, a former RAF wing commander, are said to have concluded that, before the Russian bombardment began, Georgian rockets and artillery were hitting civilian areas in the breakaway region of South Ossetia every 15 or 20 seconds.
Their accounts seem likely to undermine the American-backed claims of President Mikhail Saakashvili of Georgia that his little country was the innocent victim of Russian aggression and acted solely in self-defence.
During the war both Grist and Young were senior figures in the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The organisation had deployed teams of unarmed monitors to try to reduce tension over South Ossetia, which had split from Georgia in a separatist struggle in the early 1990s with Russia’s support.
It has been a hard issue for Moscow to try to comprehend the Worlds backing of Georgia (Saakashvili) and the negative hate toward Moscow over this war.
It showed Moscow that the West can not be trusted…….
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
The Iskander Factor
The Russian President’s pledge to deploy short-range Iskander-M missiles to the Kaliningrad Region has been no surprise to specialists. First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov mentioned it back last July. In fact it is a matter of rearming the 152nd missile brigade in Chernyakhovsk area, the Kaliningrad Region (the brigade is currently equipped with 18 launch systems of the Tochka-U (Point-U) complex, with their range reaching 120 kilometers).
Rearmament will significantly improve this unit’s firepower. Iskander-M, which has been supplied to the Russian Army since 2005, is equipped with short-range ballistic missiles with the range of 500 kilometers. It will enable the brigade to hit targets in Poland, East Germany and Northern Czech Republic, taking aim at the U.S. AMD elements to be deployed to Poland and the Czech Republic. Although Iskander-M missiles’ accuracy is kept in secret, it is considered that their circular error probable (CEP) is only a few meters, which allows them to hit well-protected targets, including U.S. Ground-Based Interceptors’ (GBI) launchers. It need be added that Russia has never denied the possibility to equip Iskander-M missiles with nuclear warheads.
After 2009 Iskander-M missiles’ firepower may be even improved by means of equipping them with high-accuracy subsonic cruise missiles R-500, which are now tested. The range of these missiles, which are analogue of the U.S. Tomahawk, can amount to 1,000 kilometers. A standard Iskander-M launcher can have six missiles of this type, instead of two ballistic missiles (such a complex will be then called Iskander-K).
The 152nd brigade is unlikely to be reamed before 2010-2011. Probably its rearmament will be timed to the U.S. GBI deployment in Poland so that Russia’s measure would not appear too aggressive.
In military terms, deploying Iskander-M missiles to the Kaliningrad Region will mean boosting the Russian western group’s capabilities – it will be able to hit almost any target in North-Eastern Europe. At the same time, it is very difficult to intercept Iskander-M ballistic missiles with the West’s aircraft defense systems; and mobile launchers are hard to detect too.
Thus it is no surprise that Russia’s plan have caused Europe’s concern. Iskander may become quite an argument when Europeans consider whether their security is worth the U.S. global military and political ambitions. Iskanders in Kaliningrad are much more palpable than hypothetical Iranian missiles. (Link)
RBC, 07.11.2008, Moscow 17:54:51.The government has scheduled to issue infrastructure bonds in the first quarter of 2009 to finance infrastructure projects based on private-public partnerships. The issue will be part of the government’s effort to shore up Russia’s financial sector and certain economic areas approved by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin today.
RBC, 07.11.2008, Moscow 17:32:13.By the end of the month, the Russian government is expected to draft recommendations for commercial banks (including those partly owned by the state) on providing priority loans to a number of economy sectors. This information is contained in an action plan aimed at recovering the financial sector and certain economy sectors. The plan was prepared in accordance with the president’s commission and approved by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. The automobile industry, agricultural engineering, aviation and real estate construction are cited as Russia’s priority industries.
RBC, 07.11.2008, Vladikavkaz 16:18:03.Investigators have found parts of a device, which contained a bomb and was worn by the female suicide bomber at the site of the explosion in Vladikavkaz. According to a source in North Ossetia’s law enforcement authorities, the device is most likely an explosive belt.
RBC, 07.11.2008, Moscow 16:02:19.The real effective ruble rate added 5.7 percent from January to October, 2008, the Bank of Russia reported. This value includes a 0.1 percent rise against the dollar, and a 10.2 percent rise against the euro.
RBC, 07.11.2008, Moscow 15:56:05.In 2009, production of unique nanomaterials for the aviation industry will be launched in Moscow, said Alexander Yuzvik, general director of the Moscow-based state-owned company Stroyexprom. The decision to set up the operations on the territory of the now closed AZLK car factory was made by the city’s authorities and the Russian Corporation of Nanotechnology.
RBC, 07.11.2008, Moscow 14:15:29.Russia’s Foreign Ministry has received new missile defense proposals from the United States, Igor Lyakin-Frolov, deputy head of the ministry’s press and information department, told RBC. “We are studying them now, and as soon as these proposals are considered we will discuss the timing of the bilateral meeting,” he said.
RBC, 07.11.2008, Moscow 13:19:48.The Russian State Duma has approved a series of amendments to Russia’s legislative anti-corruption acts. The changes specify the status of judges, members of legislative (representative) bodies of all levels, election commissions, as well as that of chairman, deputy chairman and auditors of the Audit Chamber of Russia and employees of the Central Bank.
Today we have more pictures of Israel.
We may post one more round of pictures. We have lots and it is hard to decide what to post. We decided not to post the pictures of the normal attraction but to post pictures that you do not see on the internet all the time.
We hope that you enjoy!
Kyle & Svet
November 7, 2008
Georgia Claims on Russia War Called Into Question
By C. J. CHIVERS and ELLEN BARRY
TBILISI, Georgia — Newly available accounts by independent military observers of the beginning of the war between Georgia and Russia this summer call into question the longstanding Georgian assertion that it was acting defensively against separatist and Russian aggression.
Instead, the accounts suggest that Georgia’s inexperienced military attacked the isolated separatist capital of Tskhinvali on Aug. 7 with indiscriminate artillery and rocket fire, exposing civilians, Russian peacekeepers and unarmed monitors to harm.
The accounts are neither fully conclusive nor broad enough to settle the many lingering disputes over blame in a war that hardened relations between the Kremlin and the West. But they raise questions about the accuracy and honesty of Georgia’s insistence that its shelling of Tskhinvali, the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, was a precise operation. Georgia has variously defended the shelling as necessary to stop heavy Ossetian shelling of Georgian villages, bring order to the region or counter a Russian invasion.
President Mikheil Saakashvili of Georgia has characterized the attack as a precise and defensive act. But according to observations of the monitors, documented Aug. 7 and Aug. 8, Georgian artillery rounds and rockets were falling throughout the city at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between explosions, and within the first hour of the bombardment at least 48 rounds landed in a civilian area. The monitors have also said they were unable to verify that ethnic Georgian villages were under heavy bombardment that evening, calling to question one of Mr. Saakashvili’s main justifications for the attack.
Senior Georgian officials contest these accounts, and have urged Western governments to discount them. “That information, I don’t know what it is and how it is confirmed,” said Giga Bokeria, Georgia’s deputy foreign minister. “There is such an amount of evidence of continuous attacks on Georgian-controlled villages and so much evidence of Russian military buildup, it doesn’t change in any case the general picture of events.”
He added: “Who was counting those explosions? It sounds a bit peculiar.”
The Kremlin has embraced the monitors’ observations, which, according to a written statement from Grigory Karasin, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, reflect “the actual course of events prior to Georgia’s aggression.” He added that the accounts “refute” allegations by Tbilisi of bombardments that he called mythical.
The monitors were members of an international team working under the mandate of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, or O.S.C.E. A multilateral organization with 56 member states, the group has monitored the conflict since a previous cease-fire agreement in the 1990s.
The observations by the monitors, including a Finnish major, a Belorussian airborne captain and a Polish civilian, have been the subject of two confidential briefings to diplomats in Tbilisi, the Georgian capital, one in August and the other in October. Summaries were shared with The New York Times by people in attendance at both.
Details were then confirmed by three Western diplomats and a Russian, and were not disputed by the O.S.C.E.’s mission in Tbilisi, which was provided with a written summary of the observations.
Mr. Saakashvili, who has compared Russia’s incursion into Georgia to the Nazi annexations in Europe in 1938 and the Soviet suppression of Prague in 1968, faces domestic unease with his leadership and skepticism about his judgment from Western governments.
The brief war was a disaster for Georgia. The attack backfired. Georgia’s army was humiliated as Russian forces overwhelmed its brigades, seized and looted their bases, captured their equipment and roamed the country’s roads at will. Villages that Georgia vowed to save were ransacked and cleared of their populations by irregular Ossetian, Chechen and Cossack forces, and several were burned to the ground.
Massing of Weapons
According to the monitors, an O.S.C.E. patrol at 3 p.m. on Aug. 7 saw large numbers of Georgian artillery and grad rocket launchers massing on roads north of Gori, just south of the enclave.
At 6:10 p.m., the monitors were told by Russian peacekeepers of suspected Georgian artillery fire on Khetagurovo, an Ossetian village; this report was not independently confirmed, and Georgia declared a unilateral cease-fire shortly thereafter, about 7 p.m.
During a news broadcast that began at 11 p.m., Georgia announced that Georgian villages were being shelled, and declared an operation “to restore constitutional order” in South Ossetia. The bombardment of Tskhinvali started soon after the broadcast.
According to the monitors, however, no shelling of Georgian villages could be heard in the hours before the Georgian bombardment. At least two of the four villages that Georgia has since said were under fire were near the observers’ office in Tskhinvali, and the monitors there likely would have heard artillery fire nearby.
Moreover, the observers made a record of the rounds exploding after Georgia’s bombardment began at 11:35 p.m. At 11:45 p.m., rounds were exploding at intervals of 15 to 20 seconds between impacts, they noted.
At 12:15 a.m. on Aug. 8, Gen. Maj. Marat M. Kulakhmetov, commander of Russian peacekeepers in the enclave, reported to the monitors that his unit had casualties, indicating that Russian soldiers had come under fire.
By 12:35 a.m. the observers had recorded at least 100 heavy rounds exploding across Tskhinvali, including 48 close to the observers’ office, which is in a civilian area and was damaged.
Col. Gen. Anatoly Nogovitsyn, a spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry, said that by morning on Aug. 8 two Russian soldiers had been killed and five wounded. Two senior Western military officers stationed in Georgia, speaking on condition of anonymity because they work with Georgia’s military, said that whatever Russia’s behavior in or intentions for the enclave, once Georgia’s artillery or rockets struck Russian positions, conflict with Russia was all but inevitable. This clear risk, they said, made Georgia’s attack dangerous and unwise.
Senior Georgia officials, a group with scant military experience and personal loyalties to Mr. Saakashvili, have said that much of the damage to Tskhinvali was caused in combat between its soldiers and separatists, or by Russian airstrikes and bombardments in its counterattack the next day. As for its broader shelling of the city, Georgia has told Western diplomats that Ossetians hid weapons in civilian buildings, making them legitimate targets.
“The Georgians have been quite clear that they were shelling targets — the mayor’s office, police headquarters — that had been used for military purposes,” said Matthew J. Bryza, a deputy assistant secretary of state and one of Mr. Saakashvili’s vocal supporters in Washington.
Those claims have not been independently verified, and Georgia’s account was disputed by Ryan Grist, a former British Army captain who was the senior O.S.C.E. representative in Georgia when the war broke out. Mr. Grist said that he was in constant contact that night with all sides, with the office in Tskhinvali and with Wing Commander Stephen Young, the retired British military officer who leads the monitoring team.
“It was clear to me that the attack was completely indiscriminate and disproportionate to any, if indeed there had been any, provocation,” Mr. Grist said. “The attack was clearly, in my mind, an indiscriminate attack on the town, as a town.”
Mr. Grist has served as a military officer or diplomat in Northern Ireland, Cyprus, Kosovo and Yugoslavia. In August, after the Georgian foreign minister, Eka Tkeshelashvili, who has no military experience, assured diplomats in Tbilisi that the attack was measured and discriminate, Mr. Grist gave a briefing to diplomats from the European Union that drew from the monitors’ observations and included his assessments. He then soon resigned under unclear circumstances.
A second briefing was led by Commander Young in October for military attachés visiting Georgia. At the meeting, according to a person in attendance, Commander Young stood by the monitors’ assessment that Georgian villages had not been extensively shelled on the evening or night of Aug. 7. “If there had been heavy shelling in areas that Georgia claimed were shelled, then our people would have heard it, and they didn’t,” Commander Young said, according to the person who attended. “They heard only occasional small-arms fire.”
The O.S.C.E turned down a request by The Times to interview Commander Young and the monitors, saying they worked in sensitive jobs and would not be publicly engaged in this disagreement.
Grievances and Exaggeration
Disentangling the Russian and Georgian accounts has been complicated. The violence along the enclave’s boundaries that had occurred in recent summers was more widespread this year, and in the days before Aug. 7 there had been shelling of Georgian villages. Tensions had been soaring.
Each side has fresh lists of grievances about the other, which they insist are decisive. But both sides also have a record of misstatement and exaggeration, which includes circulating casualty estimates that have not withstood independent examination. With the international standing of both Russia and Georgia damaged, the public relations battle has been intensive.
Russian military units have been implicated in destruction of civilian property and accused by Georgia of participating with Ossetian militias in a campaign of ethnic cleansing. Russia and South Ossetia have accused Georgia of attacking Ossetian civilians.
But a critical and as yet unanswered question has been what changed for Georgia between 7 p.m. on Aug 7, when Mr. Saakashvili declared a cease-fire, and 11:30 p.m., when he says he ordered the attack. The Russian and Ossetian governments have said the cease-fire was a ruse used to position rockets and artillery for the assault.
That view is widely held by Ossetians. Civilians repeatedly reported resting at home after the cease-fire broadcast by Mr. Saakashvili. Emeliya B. Dzhoyeva, 68, was home with her husband, Felix, 70, when the bombardment began. He lost his left arm below the elbow and suffered burns to his right arm and torso. “Saakashvili told us that nothing would happen,” she said. “So we all just went to bed.”
Neither Georgia nor its Western allies have as yet provided conclusive evidence that Russia was invading the country or that the situation for Georgians in the Ossetian zone was so dire that a large-scale military attack was necessary, as Mr. Saakashvili insists.
Georgia has released telephone intercepts indicating that a Russian armored column apparently entered the enclave from Russia early on the Aug. 7, which would be a violation of the peacekeeping rules. Georgia said the column marked the beginning of an invasion. But the intercepts did not show the column’s size, composition or mission, and there has not been evidence that it was engaged with Georgian forces until many hours after the Georgian bombardment; Russia insists it was simply a routine logistics train or troop rotation.
Unclear Accounts of Shelling
Interviews by The Times have found a mixed picture on the question of whether Georgian villages were shelled after Mr. Saakashvili declared the cease-fire. Residents of the village of Zemo Nigozi, one of the villages that Georgia has said was under heavy fire, said they were shelled from 6 p.m. on, supporting Georgian statements.
In two other villages, interviews did not support Georgian claims. In Avnevi, several residents said the shelling stopped before the cease-fire and did not resume until roughly the same time as the Georgian bombardment. In Tamarasheni, some residents said they were lightly shelled on the evening of Aug. 7, but felt safe enough not to retreat to their basements. Others said they were not shelled until Aug 9.
With a paucity of reliable and unbiased information available, the O.S.C.E. observations put the United States in a potentially difficult position. The United States, Mr. Saakashvili’s principal source of international support, has for years accepted the organization’s conclusions and praised its professionalism. Mr. Bryza refrained from passing judgment on the conflicting accounts.
“I wasn’t there,” he said, referring to the battle. “We didn’t have people there. But the O.S.C.E. really has been our benchmark on many things over the years.”
The O.S.C.E. itself, while refusing to discuss its internal findings, stood by the accuracy of its work but urged caution in interpreting it too broadly. “We are confident that all O.S.C.E. observations are expert, accurate and unbiased,” Martha Freeman, a spokeswoman, said in an e-mail message. “However, monitoring activities in certain areas at certain times cannot be taken in isolation to provide a comprehensive account.”
C.J. Chivers reported from Tbilisi, Georgia, and Ellen Barry from Moscow. Olesya Vartanyan contributed reporting from Tbilisi, and Matt Siegel from Tskhinvali, Georgia.
I have had a good laugh today. The Western World has gone bonkers! The Western press and Governments in the USA and Europe have once again made it look like Russia is a bad, lowlife and despicable Empire of Evil.
All President Medvedev had to do was threaten to put Missiles in Kaliningrad as a response to the USA putting Missiles in Europe and you would have thought that Medvedev was a demon from Hades!
It is OK for the Western world to put missiles knocking on Russia’s borders.
It is OK for NATO to expand to the Russian borders.
In fact it is OK for the West to do anything it wants and do not question it or else.
But let Russia counter move anything that the West does and let the games begin….
Weapon of Mass Irritation
Europe is enraged at Dmitry Medvedev’s address
The West is enraged at the statement in Dmitry Medvedev’s address that Moscow is ready to deploy short-range Iskander missiles in Kaliningrad in response to the U.S. deploying AMD elements in Europe. The EU calls the Russian government’s plans “unpleasant surprise” and “blackmailing”. Even Russia’s traditional partners condemned it this time: German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier called Mr Medvedev’s words “the wrong message at the wrong moment”. Moreover, the EU and NATO are preparing for responding to Moscow’s “aggressive” actions.
Yesterday Russian President Dmitry Medvedev became one of the key newsmakers in the West. Abstracts from his first state of the nation address were cited by many European papers. Their attention was mainly drawn by the part concerning Russia’s possible reaction to the U.S. deploying AMD elements in Europe. “Moscow playing muscles”, “Russia threats”, “Russia and Obama: Welcome to cold war” – these are the headlines of yesterday’s newspapers in Germany, Belgium, Austria and Britain.
Warsaw negatively reacted to the prospect of Iskander missiles’ appearing in Kaliningrad. Poland will be its main target because it is there that Washington plans to deploy its ten AMD elements. According to Polish Foreign Office Chief Radoslav Sikorski, “Dmitry Medvedev’s statement is no friendly act.” “What worries us the most is that earlier we heard such rhetoric from generals, and now we hear it from the President when he delivers his keynote speech,” the Minister said. Chairman of the Polish Parliament Bronislav Komorovski was not that diplomatic, “Now that a new administration has come to power in the U.S., such statements only aggravate the situation. They resemble blackmailing, which no one approves of.”Read More of Original article:
Yesterday I said that this was a Chess move. Right now it is just a check in Chess. But it could become a Checkmate!
Why should any one be surprised by Medvedev’s remarks? Many NATO members and the EU itself have doubts why the US needs to deploy an anti-missile in Europe. If Iran and North Korea are a threat – Washington’s so-called “rogue states” – then place the anti-missile system in a place that could counter these so-called threats. The fact is Iran and North Korea are not a threat to Europe. But such a system is a very real threat to Russia.
When Medvedev brought up the issue of countering Washington’s plan for anti-missile defense, media reaction was largely negative. Medvedev was deemed as rude, insensible, aggressive, and speaking out of turn. The commentate consensus tells us to be nice and respectful of America’s president-elect. Sure. Why not? But the commentary is not made up of leaders. The commentary is rarely, if ever, held accountable for what it says and writes. Medvedev doesn’t have this luxury.
I thought Medvedev’s speech was brilliant. It hit all the right buttons. No leader today can afford to take national security lightly, particularly the Russian president. The West has repeatedly lied to and taken advantage of Russia since the end of the Cold War. Medvedev reminded Obama that just because there will be a new occupant in the American White House doesn’t mean Russia will change or sacrifice its security interests. Medvedev did Obama a favor: the new American president should have no illusions about where Russia stands. Read More Of Original Article:
Peter Lavelle’s writings above get to the point. The point is the West does not like reality and Russia keeps having to slap the Western worlds face with reality!
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
PS: I do not think that with the state of financial affairs in America that my, yours or anyones tax money needs to go into Europe and build missile defense systems.
Update: The United States is “frustrated” at Moscow’s refusal again to cooperate on missile defense in Europe, U.S. State Department spokesman Robert Wood has stated. “It seems that every time we put forward a proposal, they reject it,” Wood said on Monday. However, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated on Saturday that Russia would negotiate with the new U.S. administration on the missile program.
Today in Moscow, Russia the snow was falling as I walked the dog. It swirled all around and the dog chased the snow bunnies! The temperature has hovered around 0 degrees C. all day and the last of the leaves blew off the trees. Brrrrr….
Looks like Old Man Winter has arrived!
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome
Russia to Loan Money to Cuba
The RF government sanctioned yesterday the loan to Cuba. The money will go for buying Russia’s goods and services, RIA Novosti reported with reference to November 1 ruling. The maximum amount is $335 million.
Then maybe if Obama is smart he will ….
Obama, Medvedev Might Meet This Month
Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev may meet with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama already this month, RF Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.
Russia Sends Helicopters to Central Africa
The Russian Federation and the European Union inked in Brussels an agreement on Russia’s participation in the EU military mission in Chad and the Central African Republic (EUFOR Tchad/CAR), the RF Foreign Ministry announced.
Of course Russia has to stir up the European area….
Poland hits out at Medvedev’s missile plans
The Russian president’s remarks concerning the possible deployment of tactical missiles near Poland are an “unfriendly act,” the Polish foreign minister said on Thursday.
Seems to always be a bus blown up somewhere. Why kill innocent people…
11 killed in public minibus explosion in North Ossetia’s capital
Eleven people were killed in a public minibus explosion in the center of the capital of Russia’s North Caucasus republic of North Ossetia, investigators said Thursday.
Ukraine keeps playing games with USA warships….
U.S. warship sails near Ukrainian port but skips planned visit
The USS Mount Whitney maneuvered for some three hours in the Black Sea near the Ukrainian port of Sevastopol on Thursday, but did not dock at the port as previously planned.
Bond, James Bond…..
Latest James Bond smash opens in Russia
The much-anticipated James Bond film Quantum of Solace, featuring Britain’s Daniel Craig as the world’s most famous spy, opened in movie theaters across Russia on Thursday.
Medvedev means what he says….
Medvedev: Change for America, change for Russia
In the meantime, Western media perceived the political part of Medvedev’s address as hostile criticism. Many newspapers wrote that Medvedev attempted to warn US President-elect Barack Obama against the deployment of the missile defense system in Europe. Foreign journalists were surprised with Medvedev’s suggestion to extend the presidential term in Russia from four to six years. It is worthy of note that Putin was strongly against making any constitutional changes at this point.
Yup, just another day in Moscow!
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
Today we promised to show the real Israel! So for today and tomorrow, we are going to show pictures that you would see just driving around Israel…..
Tomorrow more pictures of Israel….
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
The US has described as “disappointing” Russia’s plans to deploy new missiles in the Baltic region to counter a US defence shield in central Europe.
The message from the Kremlin is also clear: if the US wants good relations with Moscow then the new administration had better start by junking George Bush’s foreign policy.
A growing number of European politicians are voicing fears over the U.S. deployment of a missile shield all across the continent. More than 50 British MPs have called for a public debate into an issue which many fear could result in a new global arms race.
Kremlin plans to deploy missiles in the western Russian territory of Kaliningrad have sparked criticism in the West and led to fear of a new arms race. President Dmitry Medvedev said the move was a response to the proposed U.S. missile shield in eastern Europe.
Just hours after U.S. President-elect Barack Obama delivered his victory speech, Russia’s leader delivered a scathing rebuke of U.S. policy and reminded Obama of some of the major foreign policy challenges he will face in office.
Looks like Medvedev just made a move and Checked the missile issue: Is he bluffing or not?
Iskander (NATO reporting name SS-26 Stone) is a short range, solid fuel propelled, theater quasi-ballistic missile system produced in Russia.
I myself think he is very serious and the world should take Russia seriously and quit looking down their noses at Russia……..
Kyle & Svet
comments always welcome.
PS: Update on the Russian Missile issue! Looks like they are serious…
// In Kaliningrad and Kozelsk
A simple response to American missile defense
Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of Russia Dmitry Medvedev yesterday declared his weightiest response yet to the U.S. missile defense system in Europe. Iskander-M tactical ballistic missiles will be placed in Kaliningrad Region. In addition, the president canceled the reformation of three regiments of the 28th (Kozelsk) Guard Missile Division of the Strategic Missile Forces.
The placement of Iskanders in a special district of Kaliningrad Region was announced in July of last year by First Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov. The missiles will be able to reach practically any point in Poland, where ten American antimissile missiles will be placed. At the beginning of this year, the 152nd missile brigade was scheduled to be refitted with Iskanders and relocated outside Chernyakhovsk, Kaliningrad Region. The press service of the infantry forces told Kommersant that the time of the relocation and the number of Iskanders is not public information.
The mobile Iskander-M (NATO classification SS-26Stone) is intended to hit objects on land deep within the opponent’s battle order. Two missiles are mounted on a single 9P78 launcher. They have a range of 50-280 km. and a payload mass of 480 kg. They can bear cassette, penetrating and blast-fragmentation warheads.
It was announced in 2007 that five missile brigades would be equipped with Iskander-M complexes by 2015. Only one division is known to have Iskanders in its arsenal (two squadrons with two Iskander complexes each). Alexander Khramchikhin, head of the analytical department of the Institute for Political and Military Analysis, said “the Iskanders in Kaliningrad Region will be the first target for a potential opponent and so their relocation will certain entail the strengthening of all groups of forces in the area.” The forces in the Kaliningrad special district (including Air Force, Air Defense and Navy forces) number around 100,000 people.
Reformation of the 28th Missile Division (Kozelsk, Kaluga Region) began last year. It has five missile regiments with a total of 46 silo launchers for RS-18 intercontinental ballistic missiles (NATO classification SS-19Stiletto). They have a range of over 10,000 km., a starting mass of 105.6 kg., length 24 m., diameter 2.5 m., two phases, separable warhead, and up to six nuclear charges.
Gen. Col. Leonid Ivashov, president of the Academy of Geopolitical Sciences, said “The RS-18 are obsolete complexes that have exceeded their operational life. They were produced and were in service at the end of the 1970s and beginning of the 1980s. Soon they will become a danger not to the opponent, but to us.” One circumstance seems to have led to the president’s decision to preserve the 28th Missile Division. Thirty RS-18 missiles were bought by Russia from Ukraine in 2003, where they had been stored disassembled. Therefore, at present they can be considered “new” and placed in service until 2030. Editor-in-chief of the Moscow Defense Brief Mikhail Barabanov said that “assembly work and fine tuning of the missiles has been going on for a long time. The president simply indicated where to put them.”
by Ivan Konovalov