Translation: Nemtsov for Europe!

Opposotionist Boris Nemtsov arrested in Moscow for showing his support for Kiev mob actions, as reported by Moskovsky Komsomolets’ Natalia Rozhkova, December 2, 2013.

Nemtsov shamefacedly arrested in Moscow city centre at a demonstration in support of the Ukraine

Activists from the Republican Party of Russia “Parnas” taken to local police station for showing their support for European integration

On Monday evening co-chairmain of the RPR “Parnas”, Boris Nemtsov, was arrested close to the Ukrainian Embassy in central Moscow during an unsanctioned rally in support of the European integration of our East European neighbour. MK was told this by Nemtsov himself, who telephoned the newspaper from the “Presnensky” precinct police station, where he had been taken after his arrest. Nemtsov hopes that after the charges have been made he will have time to get the evening train to Yaroslavl, in order to attend the regional parliament, where, as a deputy there, he is going to be to discussing budgetary matters …

“There were 11 people there. We went peacefully, without weapons; quietly and in full compliance with Article 31 of the Constitution”, the politician said. “Holding a banner reading: ‘Ukraine- we are with you!’, we stood for 10 minutes, after which all of us were apprehended”.

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Translation: Riots and Vegetables

Anastasia Novikova at Komsomolskaya Pravda details the fallout following demonstrations on the streets of Moscow

After a pogrom in Biryulyov, police are checking passer-bys and a fruit and vegetable base with the help of APCs

Russian Policemen

Policemen are maintaining order after mass riots in the West Biryulyovo district of Moscow.   According to the police, around 300 OMON officers are on the streets, checking passersby’s documents, and detaining people of non-Slavic appearance.

Meanwhile, the main focus of these events is the vegetable base¹, whose closing was demanded by protestors.  It is already not in operation, as they are keeping order there.

According to some sources, the police are checking the premises with the help of APCs.  Operatives in the capital are also trying to find out who owns a vehicle that was found during the raid in the fruit and vegetable base in Biryulyovo.

The police specified that several million roubles lay inside the car, along with three non-lethal² pistols, two knives and a baseball bat, Interfax reports.

There are grounds to assume that unrest in Moscow can recommence.  On Tuesday, October 15th, Muslims will mark their Kurban-Bayram holiday.  It is possible that nationalists will try to spoil the holiday.

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Translation: Evgeniya Khasis on Tolokonnikova’s Prison Letter

A letter from Yevgenia Khasis, a nationalist and convicted accomplice to murder, and fellow colony inmate of Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, published in Komsomolskaya Pravda, 28 September 2013.

Evgeniya Khasis’ Letter: Tolokno’s Passions

I met Nadezhda about a year ago when she arrived at the colony to serve the sentence handed down to her by the court. Despite the differences between our ideological views, I wanted to become acquainted, and there were reasons for my doing so. Firstly, it is difficult to find a person here who is familiar with the socio-political conditions of our society, and even more so with its features in terms of “sovereign democracy”. I have long been isolated from this activity, and it was interesting to hear the news, to hear an opinion, including the opinion of someone with left-liberal views. Secondly, it was interesting to delve into the specifics and methods of the opposition struggle. It was interesting to hear the motives and the goals of the so-called punk prayer that had rocked the entire country. But not only did I have questions to put to her: I for my part was not against her satisfying her curiosity about me, believing that she and her sympathizers had every right to do so.

Living in different prison sections, we used to meet in the convict recreation areas – in the library or in the convicts’ “club”. I invited her into the temple with the rights of an assistant bell-ringer. I shan’t forget how our conversation followed the regular channel of intelligent small talk and debate. In those matters where we could not reach agreement, we agreed on our own default position, each remaining convinced of her point of view. Knowing of the women prisoners’ attitude towards her through the way they gossiped and gossiped about her, and after reading the news reports, where there were details of that moment that had moved her away from perverted pornographic “events” and had turned her into a “star” because of a “punk prayer” in the Christ the Saviour Cathedral, I asked Nadia in a comradely fashion whether she had had conflicts within her prison team. I was truly worried that the public hostility and condemnation of her would spill over into the prison colony and that there would be tension between her and the prisoners. However, Nadezhda assured me that she was doing well, that there was no conflict and that she felt that there were was nothing negative in the way she was being treated by any of the prisoners or by the administration.

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Translation: Vadim Gorshenin – “McCain Looked for a Kremlin Mouthpiece”

In response to Putin’s (in)famous NYT op-ed, McCain told CNN he’d love to reciprocate on Pravda. He was probably surprised when they agreed to it – but he may not have gotten quite what he expected, according to Pravda.ru’s chief Vadim Gorshenin.

“McCain Looked for a Kremlin Mouthpiece, and was not Mistaken”

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Pravda.ru Internet-media holding Vadim Gorshenin on why the American Senator published his article on his site, and not in the “Soviet newspaper.”

On Thursday, the site Pravda.ru published an article by Senator John McCain, in which he replied to Russian President Putin’s publication in The New York Times. Initially, McCain promised to publish an article in Pravda, but he later changed his mind. The Chairman of the Board of Directors of Pravda.ru Vadim Gorshenin sat down with an Izvestia correspondent to tell us how it all happened.

Mikhail Rubin: Who suggested you publish McCain’s article, and when?

Vadim Gorshenin: It was a Foreign Policy journalist, he reads us and even writes lots of nasty things about us. When he heard McCain on CNN saying that he wanted to speak out at the Pravda newspaper, he wrote the following to the editor of our English-language version Dmitry Sudakov: “Could you refute the idea that you have no freedom of speech, and publish McCain’s text?” He replied that yes, of course he could. After this, the American journalist contacted McCain’s press secretary, who said that they’d follow through with all this. And it all ended up just as Mikhail Dvorkovich wrote on Twitter – the very fact of publication proves that everything that McCain wrote is a lie. If all the Russian media is controlled by the Kremlin, then how could such an article have appeared on what everyone calls a pro-Kremlin site?

MK: Did they understand, that Pravda.ru and the newspaper Pravda are two different publications?

VG: Yes, of course they understood. There have even been articles in the American MSM that analyzed the nature of the newspaper Pravda today. When this entire scandal flared up and Zyuganov got the impression that McCain was going to write something for his newspaper, McCain’s aides asked us whether we were somehow associated with the newspaper Pravda.

MK: Well, are you?

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Translation: Ukraine and Its Monsters

Regnum reports on statements made by Ukraine’s President, Victor Yanukovych, in which he visualizes Ukraine becoming a link between the East and the West as a result of an impending trade deal with the European Union.

Yanukovych: Russia and the EU are giant monsters “and we feel it every day”

Victor Yanukovych, the President of Ukraine, calls the European Union and Russia “monsters”, stating that Kiev will never compare the processes of integration in these areas.  The head of the government stated this during the tenth Yalta Annual Meeting today, September 20th, reports Regnum IA.

“I would say that Ukraine is located between two big monsters, the European Union and Russia. And we feel it every day.  We cannot ignore or take this situation lightly, therefore, I am very thankful to our partners from the EU and Russia for their understanding of this issue.  That is why we did not want, do not want, and never will compare processes of integration of the West to the East.  We want to unify them…and Ukraine is confidently going on this path through modernization, through the creation of conditions for the administration of business and the removal of those barriers that are present in questions of trade. So that this process more closely unites us all and so that we would actually create a common economic space from Vancouver to Vladivostok” said the head of government.

At the same time, in Yanukovych’s words, the effectiveness of Ukraine’s cooperation with the European Union depends on how much success there is in building filial relations.  “I would like to wish all of us together the assured construction of a Big Europe.  Ukraine will play its part.  However, a lot will depend on how well these filial relations will work.  We expect that they will be effective”, he said.

Translation: Putin Victorious

Expert explains how the recent developments regarding Russia’s proposed resolution to the Syrian Civil War represent major victories for Vladimir Putin and his nation.

Putin’s Five Victories

The plan for the resolution of the Syrian crisis, proposed by Russia, is swiftly becoming more concrete. Already this past Friday, when Russian-American consultations in Geneva were still ongoing, Syria began a full participant of the Convention on the Ban of Chemical Weapons, having signed the corresponding document. A government letter addressed to the General Secretary of the UN Ban Ki Moon states: “The Syrian Arabian Republic confirms that it pledges to follow the regulations of the Convention until they officially come into force on its territory.”

Russia’s transition from a defensive position to a diplomatic offensive turned out to be unexpected and very effective. Arriving at the limits of its tactic of blockage of possible Western aggressive activities against Syria, and understanding that Barack Obama, contrary to his unwillingness, was deciding on a military operation, Moscow suggested a satisfying way-out for everyone (perhaps, except militants and their sponsors). During the course of a week a diplomatic victory was accomplished, which has no analogues in post-Soviet history.

In the first place, Russia conclusively demonstrated that its position regarding international questions is constructive. It also demonstrated that its traditional noncompliance in matters of the use of force in international affairs is not a desire to put a spoke in the wheel of the USA and its allies at any cost, but a fundamental desire to search for political solutions. The symbol of this constructiveness of Russian politics was an unprecedented letter from Pope Francis to President Vladimir Putin, written even before the initiative of Syrian renunciation of chemical weapons, in which the pontiff urged to focus on the search for a peaceful resolution of the Syrian conflict.

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Translation: Hurrah for the Bourgeois Candidate!

In Komsomolskaya Pravda, Andrei Ryabtsev notes a close correlation between average housing prices and Navalny’s vote share in Moscow’s districts – and tries to find out why that might be the case.

Why did they vote for Navalny in the centre, and for Sobyanin in the dormitory suburbs?

The election results for Moscow’s mayor have at the same time given rise to some inquiring social-research: Where were all the protest votes concentrated?

The Moscow Election Commission has some very significant figures. It turns out that Navalny was the candidate of the respectable centre, of the prestigious Leningrad District and not of the downmarket Southwest; Sobyanin was the choice of the dormitory areas. Take, for example, the Central Administrative District. In the Arbat Precinct: for Navalny – 35.63 %; for Sobyanin – 43.53 %. Or take Basmanny: 36.1 % – for Navalny , 41.56 % – for Sobyanin. And Zamoskvorech’e: 35.41 % – for Navalny; 42.13 % – for Sobyanin. It was almost the same thing at Meshchansky, Presnensky, Tversky, Yakimanka…

However, let’s just move a little in an easterly direction, to Lefortovo, and – oop-la! It’s 51.58 % for Sobyanin, and for Navalny – 26.9%. No mention of a second round taking place there. And then we have Sokolniki, where on the eve of the election Navalny attracted perhaps the biggest mass meeting of voters: for Sobyanin – 44.06 %; for Navalny – 30.68%. It was about the same in Kuntsevo, Krylatsky, and Dorogomilovo.

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Translation: The G20 and the Ghosts of Progress

In this op-ed piece posted on Lenta, Anton Klyuchkin analyzes the effects of recent Kremlin decisions, admonishing their results for pushing the country away from the West.  Looking past the rhetoric, however, a better picture of the retaliatory nature of Russian-American relations comes into view, one in which both sides seem determined to antagonize the other.

Ghosts of Progress

Russia used the G20 Summit for another quarrel with the USA

The G20 Summit in St. Petersburg, opening on the 5th of September, positions itself as a platform for the discussion of economic questions.  But world leaders are going to Russia to discuss, in the first place, the situation in Syria.  The Russian side, which organizes the summit, has already set the tone for the meeting, falling upon the United States with another portion of criticism and having refused itself, thus, the right to act simultaneously as peacekeeper and as an equitable partner in dialogue with Washington.

On the eve of the meetings with colleagues in Petersburg, Vladimir Putin, the host of the summit, gave an extensive interview to Russian Channel 1 and the American agency AP, having declared that Russia can support a military operation in Syria, the authorization on which Obama is seeking from the United States Congress.   The Russian leader, however, specified that Moscow can take such a step only if the UN Security Council receives proof that the forces of Bashar Assad employed chemical weapons against the civilian population, and sanctions intervention.  This step of the Russian leader towards his counterpart, who has already lost hope for constructive dialogue with Moscow, has turned out to be, however, a step back: Obama has repeatedly spoken about his decision to lead a military operation without regard to the UN Security Council.  Moscow is trying to prevent such a scenario at all costs.

During the interview, Putin expressed his desire to meet with the American president at the G20 Summit.  However, it is hard to say whether the leaders of Russia and America will be able to discuss their divisions regarding the situation in Syria (as well as other irregularities in bilateral relations) during the summit in Petersburg.  The fact of the matter is that a bilateral meeting was not officially planned out, as both sides were preparing negotiations between Obama and Putin in Moscow.   At the beginning of August however, soon after Russia granted provisional asylum to the former American intelligence employee Eduard Snowden, Washington cancelled the meeting, citing insufficient progress in the relations of both countries.

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Translation: The Caucasus Situation

In this article by Alexey Stepanov from Komsomolskaya Pravda, recent events and continued concern over the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi demonstrate that terrorism still afflicts Russian territory

Putin: Several Countries Are Deliberately Destabilizing the Situation in the Northern Caucasus

The President of the Russian Federation urged to “more roughly stop such attempts and to always give an appropriate response.”

At an enlarged meeting of Russia’s Security Council, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin stated that several countries and international organizations are still interested in the destabilization of the situation in the Northern Caucuses.

“We are facing the destructive, anti-Russian activity of a number of foreign countries and non-governmental and international organizations under their control, who still consider the Northern Caucasus as a base for the destabilization of Russia as a whole” said Putin, as quoted by the BBC.

In connection with this, Putin considers it necessary to “more roughly stop such attempts and to always give an appropriate response.”The head of the government also emphasized that the terrorist threat in the Northern Caucuses is holding out (still remains), now as before.

“In spite of the obvious positive progress, the state of affairs in the Northern Caucuses improves much too slowly.  The terrorist threat and challenges to security have not been removed once and for all”, Vladimir Putin declared, recalling, “the suppression and neutralization of terrorist and criminal threats are especially important in connection with the holding of the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.”

We remind you that on Monday, September 9th, at around 8 in the morning, a Russian diplomat in Abkhazia was shot and killed.

In Moscow on Sunday, September 8th, the 25 year old militant Sherali Kuratov, of the extremist organization “Mujahideen Jamaat al-Tawheed Val-Jihad”, was arrested with a grenade in his pocket.

On the eve of the holiday¹ in the capital, several attacks against members of Moscow’s police force occurred, which led to (ended up with) mass arrests of immigrants and members of criminal ethnic groups.  Moscow’s Central Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs stressed that these raids in the struggle against illegal immigrants were not demonstrative and will be conducted regularly.

Translator notes

1.  The holiday in question is “Election Day”

Moscow Exit Polls: Sobyanin ~50%, Navalny ~30%

According to a roundup of all the major exit polls by Kommersant, it appears that although Navalny’s performance was massively better than expected, Acting Mayor Sobyanin still managed to avoid a second tour.

Exit Polls are Pubished  for the Moscow Elections

In Moscow, voting has finished for the new Mayor. According to exit polls carried out at the doors of the election stations by Alexei Navalny’s supporters, the oppositionist candidate got 35.6% of those queried. “According to the exit polls, there will be a SECOND TOUR of mayoral elections. Alexei Navalny – 35.6%, Sergey Sobyanin – 46%,” according to their Twitter. According to the Foundation of Public Opinion, the majority of Muscovites extended their sympathies towards Sergey Sobyanin – he got 52.5% of the votes, Alexei Navalny – 29.1%. The Center of Political Technologies provides the following data: 56% to the Acting Mayor of Moscow Sergey Sobyanin 56%, Alexei Navalny – 29%.

Sergey Sobyanin is leading in the Moscow elections with 53% of the votes, according to data from VCIOM’s exit polls. Alexei Navalny, according to the exit polls carried out by the organization’s workers, got 32%. “According to the results of the exit poll, the Mayor of Moscow, chosen in the first round, is Sergey Sobyanin (53% of the vote). His closest adversary, Alexei Navalny, got 32% of the vote. The other candidates’ results were far more most modest: Ivan Melnikov – 8%, Sergey Mitrokhin – 3%, Nikolai Levichev – 1%, Mikhail Degtyaryov – 1%. Some 1% of the ballots were spoiled. 27% of the respondents refused to answer,” according to VCIOM’s communique.