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Windows to Russia

This July 1st 2009, will mark an interesting day in Russia! Some say that nothing will happen. Some say that officials will just get more bribes. Some say that the casino business will just move out of Russia. Some say…

No matter what some say: The fact that the Kremlin is trying to close down gambling in Russia and steer all future gambling development to a specific area is good.

Under a 2007 law designed to curb gambling in major cities and boost economic growth in poorer regions, casinos and other gaming establishments are to be relocated from Moscow and other cities to four remote Russian regions – in the Baltic enclave of Kaliningrad, southern Siberia’s Altai territory, Primorye on the Pacific coast, and in southern Russia on the border of the Krasnodar territory and the Rostov region – by July 1 this year 2009.

I know that this is a good thing for Moscow and money is not an incentive to keep the casinos – (According to information from the Moscow city government, income revenue from gambling taxes contributes some 6 billion rubles ($193 million) to the capital’s budget per year. Moscow has around 30 casinos, with around 1 million visitors last year, and about 500 smaller gambling halls.) So this is a drop in the bucket compared to the issues that these casinos cause and rumor has it that many of these casinos have stopped paying taxes a year ago out of spite..

Svet and I have had the pleasure many times of having to walk around these neon monoliths in Moscow. Whole blocks are devoted sometimes to a Las Vegas style facade. The Mercedes, Audi’s, BMW, Hummers and Land Rovers are parked blocking the sidewalks, uncaring that pedestrians need to walk on these same paths.

I guess that we will watch and see what happens in the next week. As Svet and I travel Moscow we will looking at whether the casinos are closed…

Windows to Russia!
comments always welcome.

The war against corruption in Russia is not an easy task for Medvedev. He knew this walking into the fray and he is showing that he will not let go of his dream of a much more corrupt free Russia. Medvedev has proven that if persistence is implemented, that results will be obtained.

One area that is showing huge changes is the Road Police in Moscow. Svet and I travel a lot and we definitely travel Moscow from one end to another all the time. We know every Road Police setup around Moscow and how to get around those stations if so desired. At one time this was a necessity just to transverse the city in a timely fashion. This is not the case anymore we just whiz on through the Road Police Stations with no hindrance. Seems the cops are too busy filling out tickets to look up – now.

When I first came to Moscow, Russia three years ago, I was stunned at the vagrant boldness of asking for bribes after being pulled over by Road Police. This irritated me to no end at first, then like all things in life you adjust. You just expected to pay 500 rubles or more and you are on your way.

That has changed, Svet and I have been watching the Road Police as we are pulled over and as we see them pull others over. In the last five times we have been pulled over they have never asked for or implied that they need money. They have lets us go about our merry way without even a word of warning! Always they apologize for bothering us and tell us to have a nice day. One of the reasons we get pulled over is because we drive a old Volga. They seem to think that they will find someone up to know good behind the steering wheel. Instead they found an American. Then the first response from the Road Police is “What are you driving a Volga for?” We always smile and say something like, because it is the best car on the road.

You can now find Road Police handing out tickets everywhere. We drove by a Road Police station by our flats, a week ago – low and behold – all the cops had nice new clip boards to fill out traffic citations with. I said to Svet that they are looking so American that it scares me. :)

In fact when we are pulled over, I now do like I was taught in America and will not leave the car. They come to the window and I give them what ever papers they need. Svet also has become quite adapt at handling Road Cops psychology after she read a book on how to communicate to Road Cops and other Russian police departments.

This is just one example of the changes that we are seeing in the Militsiya system in Russia.

It is a far cry from the old days…

Windows to Russia!
comments always welcome.

PS: I realize that changes in areas like Siberia and such will be only won with a harder price to pay. I am talking about Moscow and the Moscow Region in this article. You have to start somewhere…

Russia’s Krasnodar Region has mysterious crop circles appearing in the wheat fields. A common term is to call them “wheat circles”. This video shows an aerial view of the new wheat circles that have just appeared in that region.

<--- Registered Crop Circle Photos From Archives:
Back in the 1980s there were about 500+ wheat circles registered on the wheat fields in England. In 1991, two unemployed artists from Southampton, took the wind out of wheat circle hysteria after they acknowledged that they falsified mysterious circles and proved it! But that does not stop me from loving the thinking’s behind the manifestations of these wheat circles. The simple fact that they can appear over one night and be so perfectly done makes them hard to accept as human made for me. lets watch the video…

Groups of experts always investigate the wheat circles in the fields where they appear. These experts will stay for weeks and try to catch a new sighting of who or what is causing the manifestation. These wheat circles have been found in 35 countries throughout the world. The UK, USA, Canada, Denmark, Spain, and Germany are some of the common countries to have sightings.

This has happened before in the Krasnodar region. In 1998 they had a set of crop circles also…

Windows to Russia!
comments always welcome.

Russia News Source – RT: June 29th, 2009!

Medvedev–Obama talks prospects “look good, but the devil is in the details”: from RT
Russia and the US share a mutual understanding on the majority of strategic issues. The disagreements are only in the details, believes Konstantin Kosachev, Chairman of the Duma’s International Affairs Committee.

Bugs found in Georgian Opposition Party’s office: from RT
In the office of Georgian opposition party “Way of Georgia” eavesdropping bugs were discovered to have been installed in the office’s electrical sockets.

Out of Africa: Medvedev’s video blog on recent trip: from RT
During Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s trip to Africa business and pleasure went hand in hand, seeing the pyramids as well as meeting the countries’ leaders, which he recounts in his video blog.

Russia to hold military exercise before Obama arrival: from RT
“Kavkaz-2009” – a military exercise of a scale comparable to those in the Soviet era begins on Monday in Southern Russia. It will run until July 6, when US President Barack Obama arrives in Moscow.

US to “review the whole question of missile defense”: from RT
The Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs at the US House of Representatives Howard Berman is in Moscow to lay the groundwork for Barack Obama’s upcoming trip. He gave an insider’s view on the talks.

Chechen gang claims responsibility for Ingush president assassination attempt: from RT
A militant group operating in the Caucasus has claimed responsibility for the assassination attempt on the president of the southern Russian Republic of Ingushetia, Yunus-bek Yevkurov.

Field hockey event hopes to promote the sport in Russia: from RT
Russia has finished third in a field hockey four nations tournament held just outside Moscow. The home side beat Bangladesh to seal the bronze, while first place went to South Africa, who thrashed Canada in the final.

“Being able to make nuclear arms doesn’t mean having them”: from RT
Russia and the US have about 27,000 nuclear warheads – enough to destroy the planet several times over. Nuclear disarmament specialist Gareth Evans says reducing stockpiles should be the main priority of global powers.

Commission works out Obama’s schedule in Moscow: from RT
Ahead of Barack Obama’s visit to Moscow in a week, the US House of Representatives has sent its commission to do the groundwork for the visit.

Gas and border issues for Medvedev in Baku: from RT
Russian energy giant Gazprom has clinched a deal with Azerbaijan to secure further gas supplies from the Central Asian country. The document was signed in the presence of Presidents Medvedev and Aliev.

Shell looks to LNG boost from Russia: from RT
Russia has invited Royal Dutch Shell to take part in the Sakhalin-3 and Sakhalin-4 oil and gas projects in Russia’s Far East.

Russia’s rich turn to cash during difficult times: from RT
Russia’s capital has hosted yet another celebration of the country’s rich – the Millionaire Fair. That’s just days after a report from Merrill Lynch, said the net worth of the world’s top earners has fallen by a fifth.

The Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs at the US House of Representatives Howard Berman is in Moscow to prepare for Barack Obama’s upcoming trip. He gave an insider’s view on the meetings that have been conducted so far. He gives a good interview that will give people a better point of view of what is happening on this side of the world instead of all the Russia evil articles that the Western press is putting out right now instead of the truth.

I used this particular video because it is from a very important official from America. Many people always down trodden Russia Today interviews and try to lay on the conspiracy theory game.

Well tell me that: The Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs at the US House of Representatives Howard Berman is a conspiracy of lies as he talks positive about Russia and Americas future…

Sadly last week was a hay day for Western press articles about Dark Evil Russia:

On June 21, Time – “Russia Cracks Down on Political Art.”

The Washington Post – “Russia, Again Evading History” on June 20.

The Washington Post – “Far Eastern City Sees Kremlin as Cause of Its Troubles.”

Bloomberg News Agency – “Russia’s Anti-Crisis Plan Won’t Boost Growth.”

The New York Times -“Ikea Plans to Halt Investment in Russia.”

and so on and so on and so on – All of a sudden there has been a slew of articles that paint a bad picture of Russia. (Every article only gives some of the information and that is only the information that supports Western ideas about bad Russia.) I can tell you that things are not what the Western press tells you they are. In fact I see a tremendous inaccuracy of facts issue getting bigger as Western press closes down their foreign offices due to lack of money in the States…

Lets watch the interview:

The dark black picture that America paints with their press about Russia left out a important issue: “The sun is shinning in Russia!”

Windows to Russia!
comments always welcome.

One of my favorite pictures of our car – enlarge and you will see Boza in the backseat…

As you know yesterday our car was stolen and as you should do, as quick as possible after finding out that someone has stolen your car. Is start calling important phone numbers. (Of course this is after saying a few important words under your breath that can not be repeated here.)

The first number to call is the police station. (Militsiya in Russia)

Svet called the police, after the shock of looking at the spot that we had parked our car in last night and finding that spot empty. I remember thinking that they can’t “repo it” – We own it! :)

I figured that the police would take two hours to get here and I told Svet as much. My experience comes from America and the last time I called about a stolen car, I saw an officer the next day almost 16 hours later.

Well they made a liar out of me – within 10 minutes we had a police van sitting at the front door and two officers waiting to hear the situation. :) – (Surprise surprise – to me!) Being that Svet speaks the best Russian and is Russia, she went to the police station and dealt with the paperwork. (They always look at me like “What is he doing driving a old Volga!” Everyone thinks that an American should be driving a fancy car.)

That took about 1 hour and she was home.

They also sent a photography team and several other people to look at the place where the car was stolen from. They took pictures of an empty parking space and got closeup pictures of the tire tread marks, that were still very clear on the asphalt. :)

The police were very professional and nice and as always cared about what happened!

Will all this help? Probably not…

Windows to Russia!
comments always welcome.

Today – Sunday 06-28-2009 our old Volga Model 2410 was stolen…

I had three cars stolen in America over the years. Seems that I always have a car that someone else wants. Never got any of the ones in America back. Now I get the pleasure of having an old Volga stolen in Russia. Lets see if they find our “Nelly” The Volga…

What a Bummer!

Windows to Russia!
comments always welcome.

Took me a long time to post this because I had to come to grips with the news of what happened!

A strange and sometimes twisted life comes to an end! At the young age of 50: Michael Jackson,
the King of Pop Music has died!
May he finally rest in peace now….

I remember this song in the video that the Jackson Five did and was shocked because Michael was my age. You could see then that he was in a class of his own, above his family. I say that the time of crucifying Jackson should have ended many many moons ago.

Michael Jackson was the substance of my generation, he was the extreme ends of the scale that outlined that generation. In Michael Jackson you will find the make up of my generation, that never found the middle ground and stability that it provides….. Kyle

Goodbye Michael Jackson may you end up in your Neverland!

Windows to Russia!
comments always welcome.

Russia’s Prime Minister interrupted his Cabinet meeting this Wednesday to make an unexpected jaunt to one of Moscow’s local supermarkets. Putin got the urge to check on prices for certain types of grocery items during the meeting.

Now, when Putin says go they “Go!” (Watch video below.)

After causing allot of Russian’s to go “Huh – what is Putin up too!” They returning to the White House where they had started their meeting and then Putin laid his thoughts on the table.

Putin Said: “The economic slowdown has slashed people’s incomes. At the same time, we see that prices, and especially food prices do not go down, and in some food categories even go up. That’s social injustice, and we can’t allow it to happen.” (Link)

So Putin challenged the producers, retailers and legislators, to make a joint effort to control food prices or maybe things will have to change…

Windows to Russia!
comments always welcome.

Russia News Source – RIA: June 25th, 2009!

Russian military expert plays down fears of N.Korea nuclear war:
A Russian disarmament expert has played down North Korea’s threats to carry out nuclear strikes if attacked, calling them “political rhetoric”.

Putin congratulates Croatia, Slovenia on independence anniversary:
Russia’s prime minister sent messages to his counterparts in Slovenia and Croatia on Thursday congratulating them on the 18th anniversary of independence from Yugoslavia, the government press service said.

Strasbourg court orders Russia to pay $59,370 to prisoner:
The European Court of Human Rights ordered Russia on Thursday to pay 42,600 euros ($59,370) to a prisoner as compensation for inhumane treatment. Alexander Bakhmutskiy, who is serving a 13-year prison term for fraud, kidnapping, extortion, theft, burglary and other offences, appealed to the Strasbourg Court over “the appalling conditions, unlawfulness and excessive length of his detention.”

Ukraine’s premier says president has no chance of re-election:
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko said on Thursday that Viktor Yushchenko will not be re-elected as president even if she and her party supports him. Ukraine’s parliament has scheduled a presidential election for January 17. Yushchenko has announced plans to run for a second term despite single-figure ratings (currently 1.9%).

U.S. transit center in Kyrgyzstan to help fight terror – Medvedev:
The creation of a U.S. transit center in Kyrgyzstan will contribute to the fight against international terrorism, the Russian president said on Thursday.

Top U.S. military commander to visit Russia on June 25-28:
The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, will arrive on Thursday on a three-day working visit to Russia, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

Russia, U.S. continue dialogue on strategic arms, missile defense:
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday that dialogue was continuing with Washington on linking strategic arms reductions with U.S. plans to deploy missile defenses in central Europe.

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