Azerbaijan still at war with Armenia

(From TodayAZ, official news service of Azerbaijan)

Azerbaijan Pres Ilham AliyevPresident of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev on Friday presided over a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers on the outcomes of socio-economic development for nine months of 2009. In his opening remarks, the President said Azerbaijan’s economy had developed successfully through nine months of the current year. Despite the global financial crisis and economic regression in many world countries, our national economy did not face the crisis seriously, on the contrary, we watch positive tendencies in rise of economy, the President noted.

The President pointed out gross domestic product (GDP) increased by 6, 1 percent, while industrial production grew 5 percent in the country through nine months of the year. He stressed the agricultural sector in the country saw 3 percent increase. The President also noted “this year for the first time three million tons of grain have been produced in Azerbaijan”, and described this figure as a record. The Head of State linked this to the ongoing reforms in the country`s agricultural sector.

President Ilham Aliyev said the population`s incomes have raised approximately by 10 percent while monthly wages increased by 15 percent. “We are completely sure that our policy serves the Azerbaijani people`s interest”. According to the President, 824 thousand work places have been created in the country since 2003. He underscored through the period, works on army building had been continued.

He said Azerbaijan`s army is the most powerful one in the region and has the greatest military potential. “Because our country has been under the war conditions, the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict still remains unresolved and the only reason for this is Armenia`s unconstructive position”.

The President said “now Armenia uses the tactics of extending time in the negotiation process,” adding “Azerbaijan does not intend to step back from its principal stance”. “The status-quo in the region must change in favor of Azerbaijan, otherwise the country will not reconcile with the situation. Because without Azerbaijan’s participation, no initiative can be realized in the region,” the President said. “Azerbaijan’s growing role in the region and world will never enable Armenia to withdraw from the isolated situation. The Armenian leadership is itself guilty for this. Azerbaijan will fight for its national interests till the end. Because this is a fight for justice,” he said.

United Russia wins regional elections

No surprises here in Moscow. United Russia won a landslide victory in just counted elections in Moscow and dozens of other regions. In what he had called “new democratic times,” Russian President Dmitry Medvedev seemed pleased and lost no time in letting regional governments know that United Russia would be playing an even greater role in both the legislative and executive branches of regional governments.

“United Russia’s victory in the regions proves its authority and right to form bodies of the executive branch in the regions,” Medvedev said at a meeting with senior United Russia officials.

United Russia’s stunning victory disappointed those who had hoped that Medvedev’s announcement in August that “new democratic times are beginning” would lead to some political competition. Medvedev also warned United Russia over the summer that its monopoly on power would not last forever.

But United Russia managed to not only keep its dominant position in the Moscow City Duma but expand it, according to the Central Elections Commission. The party, whose list was headed by Mayor Yury Luzhkov, got 66 percent of the vote, giving it 32 seats in the City Duma. The other three seats will go to the Communist Party, which garnered 13 percent and had four seats in the last Duma. The other four parties in the race, including Yabloko, which had two seats in the last Duma, failed to clear the 7 percent threshold.

Moscow mayor Yuri Luzhkov stated his regret that the Moscow City Duma, one of the most powerful in the country, would be represented by only two parties. 

Luzhkov has been pressured by the Kremlin to step aside as mayor and take a seat in the Duma instead. Refusing to be brushed aside, the mayor indicated that he had no plans to leave office until he decided it was time, saying “The time hasn’t come yet. When it comes, I will announce it myself without any reminders and questions from those who would like to see a less independent Moscow.”

Rival political party Yabloko reported numerous violations and said it would challenge the results.

“There aren’t any real election results for us to talk about,” said Lilia Shibanova, director of the independent election-monitoring group Golos, which also reported serious violations.

Putin loses government Limo service!

From time to time I’m asked if there is such as thing as taxi service in the FSU?

Well of course. But not as organized nor as convenient. The airports and large hotels have regular service but these are usually exceptionally expensive.

How do you catch a ride?

Well, if you don’t take the metro or bus, or trolley or train, there is always your thumb. Stick your hand and just wave. Some driver will get the idea and pull over so be ready to explain where you’re going.

Be sure to negotiate a price before accepting the ride and pay only upon arrival and only after all your things have been removed from the car. That one ole Mendeleyev had to learn by experience and experience can be a very expensive teacher.

NEWS FLASH…..Russian Prime Minister Vladimir “I’m shooting Lions while bare chested” Putin has lost his government limo! In the widening dispute as he and President Dmitry Medvedev jockey for position to decide who will run for President in 2012, PUTIN HAS LOST HIS LIMO PRIVILEGES!

God’s truth. I have it right here, on video. At night when finished working he has to flag down a ride just like any other working stiff. Just watch:

Watch how he does it and try it yourself. I don’t think you’ll get the blue light treatment however. That is reserved for the big shots.

Clinton urges Russia’s youth to open politics

Hillary Clinton addresses MGU (Moscow State University) students.
Hillary Clinton addresses MGU (Moscow State University) students.

(From the Moscow Times)

KAZAN — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday challenged Russians to open up their political system and embrace diversity and dissent, saying Cold War-era thinking would limit their prosperity in the 21st century.

Clinton spoke to Moscow State University students and then traveled east to Kazan, the capital of Tatarstan. The informal meetings, which wrapped up a five-day tour of Europe, were aimed at helping redefine U.S.-Russia relations.

Clinton stressed to the students that Russia’s prosperity was dependent on its willingness to cultivate core freedoms, including the freedom to participate in the political process.

“Citizens must be empowered to help formulate the laws under which they live,” she told about 2,000 students at the university. “They need to know that their investments of time, money and intellectual property will be safeguarded by the institutions of government.”

Her message appeared aimed in part at countering the fears of Russia’s beleaguered liberal democrats that the United States would no longer seek to hold the Kremlin accountable for violations of democratic norms and human rights in exchange for Russia’s cooperation on Iran and Afghanistan.

“In an innovative society, people must be free to take unpopular positions, disagree with conventional wisdom, know they are safe to challenge abuses of authority,” Clinton said.

“That’s why attacks on journalists and human rights defenders here in Russia is such a great concern: because it is a threat to progress,” she said, standing in front of a monumental Soviet mosaic topped by a red hammer and sickle, the showcase of the university auditorium.

Clinton told the students that one of the books that most affected her life was “The Brothers Karamazov” by Fyodor Dostoevsky, in particular the parable of the Grand Inquisitor, which she saw as “an object lesson against servitude.”

“I believe one of the greatest responsibilities we have as human beings is to open ourselves up to the possibility that we could be wrong,” she said. “One of the greatest threats we face is from people who believe they are absolutely, certainly right about everything and they have the only truth and it was passed onto them by God.”

Secretary Clinton’s unveiling of Walt Whitman statue on Moscow campus.
Secretary Clinton’s unveiling of Walt Whitman statue on Moscow campus.


Secretary Clinton’s two day Russian tour began with a speech at Moscow State University on human rights, and included the unveiling of a Walt Whitman statue on campus.

According to the Madame Secretary, “Just as Pushkin and Whitman reset poetry we are resetting our relations for the 21st century.”

New Kremlin Speechwriter confirmed

As the Moscow Times newspaper had reported last week, President Dmitry Medvedev appointed a new speechwriter Tuesday amid reports that he wants to distance himself from his predecessor, Vladimir Putin.

The new speechwriter is Eve Vasilevskaya and she will replace Dzhakhan Pollyeva, who served as Putin’s main speechwriter during his presidency.

Vasilevskaya was an aide to Mr. Medvedev when he was first deputy prime minister. She had previously worked in the press office of Gazprom, the Russian Gas and Oil giant where Medvedev was chairman before becoming president.

Media reports had increased  hinting that Medvedev was dissatisfied with Pollyeva’s work and wanted someone who more closely matched his style. This comes as the Medvedev team in the Kremlin is preparing for the President’s early November annual state of the nation address.

Home again for Stalin?

In Russian Orthodox theology a soul may have departed the body but that doesn’t exactly mean that a person’s soul isn’t hanging around a while longer. Usually its thought of in terms of 40 days or one year, giving the soul time to reflect on certain events, actions, places and behaviours before heading off to the pearly gates to face the music.

Joseph Stalin had so many sins for which to atone that he still isn’t gone. Hell may have forgotten about him by now! Speaking of hell, he certainly brought a lot of it into the lives of his people. Now he is recognized by experts as having been a sick and mentally ill terror in every sense of the word.

That is not the opinion however of the Russian Education Ministry which just published new textbooks in which the writers justify Stalin’s terror as an “instrument of development”.

Tell that to the millions of innocents and children who died at his hands.

Emphasing that those in power want to rehabilitate Stalin’s image, the Kurskaya Metro station, newly re-opened after a year of renovation, has restored Stalin’s presence in the Metro. The entrance hall of the station once again bears a verse from the 1944 version of the Soviet anthem: “Stalin raised us to be loyal to the nation; He inspired us to work and be heroic.” 

Such references had been removed in the 1950’s during the period of de-Stalinazation. The mentally ill dictator had ordered mass executions during his “Great Purge” of the 1930’s and sent millions more to gulag labor projects in Siberia. Even so, still the debate is heated about how to protray his place in Russian history.

This is not a healthy sign for Russia’s future. Russians need to face the truth about Stalin. It could start if leadership would work up the balls to come out of denial and send this wandering soul packing. He needs to start “doing time.”

Eternity in hell isn’t long enough for his crimes, so why prolong the wait?

Number 57 for the Prime Minister

Its number 57 for Prime Minister Vladimir Putinand the Russian celebration was done amid well-wishers and protesters.

Putin photo

Writers, in a repeat of showcasing literary luminaries just as in the days of Joseph Stalin, were joined by businessmen and the Russian Orthodox Church in announcing their great gratitude for the Russian Prime Minister.

Reaching back to the Soviet period of which Vladimir is so proud, Nezavisimaya Gazeta published an “Ode to Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin” written in just the same style that was so typical of poems devoted to Soviet dictator Josef Stalin.

Quoting the Moscow Times, “The country is again at a crossroads wondering whether it might perish or not,” the ditty reads. “We congratulate you comrade Putin and ask God to give you another 120 years.”

As allies and supporters gathered for the event, some writers said they were boycotting the meeting with the prime minister.