On a freezing winter day last month, a tall man with blond hair walked up to a microphone in northern Moscow and began speaking to 80,000 people. This was not a rock concert or a football match. It was a demonstration against the government – the biggest in Russia since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991.
The figure marching across the stage was Alexei Navalny, a 35-year-old lawyer. Virtually unknown two years ago, in the past six weeks Navalny has become the talisman of a growing movement for change that has put the Kremlin and Russia’s prime minister, Vladimir Putin, on the back foot.
Russians of all backgrounds joined the rally on Sakharov Avenue on 24 December, in protest at the Kremlin “stealing” a parliamentary election for Putin’s United Russia party earlier that month. Some waved placards ridiculing Putin’s comment that ribbons worn by people at a previous protest looked like condoms. They clapped the speakers, including a former MP in a flat cap like an English country gent – but when Navalny stepped up, a frisson of excitement passed through the crowd.
“I’ve been reading this little book,” cried Navalny, who wore jeans, a black coat and a knotted grey scarf. “It’s called the Russian constitution. And it says that the only source of power in Russia is the people. So I don’t want to hear those who say we’re appealing to the authorities. Who’s the power here?” “We are!” the crowd shouted in delight. “Who’s the power?” Navalny repeated. “We are!” (via guardian.co.uk)
A Kremlin ally set to run in Russia’s forthcoming presidential election has been forced to deny underhand tactics after democracy activists filmed a group of people allegedly falsifying his registration documents.
Activists from an NGO called Democratic Choice said they had caught scores of unidentified people in a room at at a university in Moscow in the process of compiling false lists of Russian citizens supposedly endorsing Mezentsev’s candidacy. The NGO posted videos of their activities as evidence online.
In a radio interview, Mezentsev rejected accusations of foul play, claiming that members of a railway workers union organising his bid had arranged a training session at the university for volunteers who would collect signatures. “The other facts are conjectures and inventions,” he said.
Putin is expected to win the election but analysts say Mezentsev will serve as an “insurance candidate” who will stay in the race in the event of a boycott by opposition candidates, meaning the vote could still go ahead. (via guardian.co.uk)
If you look closely, though — and we’ve looked closely — you’ll notice some remarkable similarities between still photos of Kim Jong-un taken from the video, and photos of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.
Gathering information through the work of an agent posing as an interpreter for Ludmilla Putina, Mr Putin’s wife, the BND heard that the then youthful 33-year-old spy chief was a “wife beater and a philanderer” during his stint in the German city from 1985 to 1990.
The information surfaced in a story run by the newspaper Berliner Zeitung based on documents found by Erich Schmidt-Eenboom, a respected BND expert who has published books and papers on the agency.
I am not surprised.
Uploaded by 80sCommercialVault on Oct 3, 2011
Part 2 of a presidential address delivered by Ronald Reagan on November 14th, 1985 detailing the upcoming Geneva Summit where he would meet and have discussions with Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev for the first time.
Apologies for the occasional skipping…Thanks to MrPitt for recording this.
Russian finance minister ousted in bitter, public conflict
Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin was ousted on Monday in an unusually bitter and public conflict with President Dmitry Medvedev that has exposed deep cracks in unity over Vladimir Putin’s plan to return to the Kremlin.
Western investors regard Kudrin as a guarantor of financial stability and have said his departure would be a deep blow to Russia’s economy, setting back prospects for reforms.
“I have resigned. My resignation was accepted,” Kudrin told Reuters.
Kudrin was left with little option. Medvedev surprised and humiliated him by demanding he quit at a meeting with local officials after the long-serving minister, long a Putin ally, said he would not work under Medvedev if he swaps places with Putin to become prime minister next year.
Photo: Russia’s Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin attends the Reuters Russia Investment Summit, with a photo of President Dmitry Medvedev seen in the background. (Denis Sinyakov/Reuters)
I’m I surprised? No I am not. Politics is a universal law and a constant.
Uploaded by RussiaToday on Sep 24, 2011
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Our breaking news … Prime Minister Putin will run for president in the 2012 Russian elections. The announcement was made at the ruling United Russia party’s annual convention. RT’s Anissa Naouai is following the conference in Moscow.
His appearance at the festival in Novorossiysk, which helps to commemorate the city’s resistance to German invaders during the Second World War, came as current Russian president Dmitriy Medvedev called parliamentary elections in the country for December. The vote will precede a Presidential poll in March 2012.
The motorcycle festival is the latest in a series of macho appearances that have earned Mr Putin the nickname “alpha-dog” in US diplomatic cables, only last week he was filmed stripping to the waist for a medical check-up on a shoulder he reportedly injured whilst working out. (via The Telegraph)
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev ordered his government to shut down unreliable airlines on Sunday after 43 people were killed in a chartered plane crash that wiped out a top hockey team.
A Kremlin spokeswoman said Medvedev instructed his government to draft measures by November 15 that would let the authorities “discontinue the operations of air carriers incapable of ensuring flight safety”.
A separate set of proposals to be submitted for parliamentary approval in December would raise penalties for air safety violations and allow inspectors to ground dangerous planes without court orders.
Medvedev also told his government to subsidise charter carriers that pass certification and provide additional financial assistance to regional carriers as the number of airlines shrinks.
The Kremlin said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has been put in charge of the airline overhaul – an operation whose most important elements are designed to be completed by the next presidential election in March. (via The Telegraph)
You forgot the first rule of a fanatic. When you become obsessed with the enemy, you become the enemy.
Sinclair - Babylon 5
Russia: Mikhail Gorbachev accuses Vladimir Putin of having lust for power
Mikhail Gorbachev has launched a fresh attack on Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, accusing him of a lust for power and Soviet-style autocracy.
In an interview timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the failed August 1991 putsch that sped the end of the USSR, Mr Gorbachev said he was worried by the direction modern Russia was going in.
“I am worried by what the (United Russia) party led by Putin is doing and by what the government is doing,” he told German publication Der Spiegel, likening Mr Putin’s party to the Soviet Communist party. (via The Telegraph)