The People Speak: Poll #1 Results, US Presidential Candidates

These are the results of our first poll (running from January 11 to March 19). I am pleased to see that the number of people thinking it’s brilliant decisively outnumber those who think it should be deleted. (So I’ll remain on the blogosphere.) Otherwise, don’t bother with digressions, aesthetics or more features, but concentrate more […]

News 19 Mar: It Takes 2 (or 3) to Tango in Human Rights

The US State Department has released its latest human rights report – as usual, a veritable list of America’s bugbears (North Korea, Myanmar, Iran, Syria, Zimbabwe, Cuba, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Eritrea and Sudan are the ‘top ten’). It is true that the majority of the above are pretty odious regimes, with the partial exception of Belarus […]

Flotsam and Jetsam: Election Entertainment

Some 47% of Russians watched the pre-election debates between Zyuganov (Communists), Zhirinovsky (Liberal Democrats, i.e. nationalists) and Bogdanov (Democratic). (Medvedev decided against participating). Here’s a scene from when they thought they were off-camera, in which the ever colorful Zhirinovsky shows us how to debate properly.

News 2 Mar

The most important development has been Medvedev’s election to the Presidency with 70.2% of the vote. While it has not been squeaky clean (and as such, no different from any other Russian election under either Yeltsin or Putin), the more hystryonic claims of voter intimidation are to be treated with a pinch of salt – […]

News 8 Feb

Bertelsmann Stiftung has released Who Rules the World?, a very interesting survey where people from different countries are asked: what are the Great Powers today?, what makes a country a Great Power? and which countries will be Great Powers in 2020? Now the title of Great Power is something that is given to a country, […]

News 31 Jan

The Western media has begun to whine about the Russian presidential elections five weeks in advance. Their beef is that Kasyanov was barred from running, ostensibly because above 5% of his required signatures were rigged, but actually to undercut the last independent candidate – Russia’s last and only hope of salvation from the ‘slippery slope […]

News 25 Jan

The conventional wisdom seems to be that Russia, due to its strong macroeconomic fundamentals and relative isolation from the world economy, will weather the oncoming credit crisis well. In fact, Kudrin (the Finance Minister) suggested ‘Russia and other countries with large gold and currency reserves can…can support the global economy by flexing the financial might […]

News 16 Jan

Freedom House publishes its 2008 report on Freedom in the World. Russia scored a 6 for Political Rights and and 5 for Civil Rights (1 is best, 7 is worst). According to their figures, Russia is no different from Algeria, Azerbaijan, Bhutan, Brunei, Egypt, Kazakhstan, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar and the UAE, and less free than […]

Core Article: What We Believe

In the first 5 days of its existence, this blog has been priveleged to receive more than more than 200 page views from more than 100 visitors from 18 different countries. We have also been linked to by the Winthrop88 blog and Marginalia (probably the leading English-language blog about Latvia) – of those that we’re […]

News 14 Jan

President Putin’s visit to Bulgaria to bring pipeline deal, NPP contract A new company is being created, in which Russia will own a 51% stake, to build a pipeline to carry Russian oil via the Bulgarian Black Sea port of Burgas and Greece’s Alexandroupolis on the Aegean, so as to bypass the congested Bosporus. It […]

News 11 Jan

Net capital inflow into Russia hit $82.3 bln in 2007 MOSCOW, January 11 (RIA Novosti) – Net capital inflow into Russia reached a record $82.3 billion in 2007, almost double the previous year’s figure, the Central Bank announced on Friday. In 2006 the figure was $42 billion. In the last three months of 2007, net […]

News 10 Jan

Russian moves to ban tobacco advertising MOSCOW, January 10 (RIA Novosti) – The Russian government has decided to completely ban tobacco advertizing, by signing up to a World Health Organization anti-smoking convention. In its first session of the year, the government approved a draft law on joining the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC), […]

Annals of Western Hypocrisy – Georgia Presidential Elections 2008

Saakashvili wins Georgian elections in first round (January 6th) TBILISI, Georgia: Georgia’s American-allied president won re-election over the weekend and avoided a runoff election in this small former Soviet state by a margin of 1 percent of the vote, according to official results released Sunday. … The main opposition candidate, Levan Gachechiladze, did not concede […]

Reading Russia Right

At present, all we see is chaos, struggle, economic collapse, ethnic disintegration – just as the observers of 1918 did. How could they have foreseen then that a decade or so later the USSR would have begun to produce chemicals, aircraft, trucks, tanks, and machine tools and be growing faster than any other industrialized society? […]