Court orders baby returned to Russian family in California!

Last week the California Child Protective Service, in true KGB style swept unannounced into the home of a young Russian couple to steal their baby. Why? Because the couple simply wanted a second opinion before a procedure was done on their sick infant.

When doctors told Anna and Alex Nikolaev they couldn’t leave a local Sacramento area hospital until agreeing to the procedure, the couple asked for a second opinion. According to reports the medical staff began yelling at the young couple who then gathered up their baby and drove to another hospital for a second opinion.


A day later CPS arrived with police at their home, searched the house, restrained the young father and took the baby into “protective custody.”  Never mind that other doctors attested to the well treatment of the child, a supervising police officer at the second hospital had assured the couple that all was okay, and CPS waited until a day later to make their raid of terror.

On Monday a California judge ordered CPS to return the child to the parents. With all the fuss about treatment of Russian orphans in the USA, this case made headlines over the weekend in Russia. The hearing was attended by Vice Consul Igor Shaktar-ool, of the Russian Federation Consulate in San Francisco as the case had attracted the attention of the highest levels of the Russian government.

Frankly, CPS refused to take into consideration other doctor’s written statements that the baby was safe with his parents. CPS also failed to conduct an interview and inspection of the family and baby, instead relying solely on the first doctor’s recommendation.

CPS should be punished. This kind of big brother overreach should be dealt with firmly and swiftly by the court system. We can only hope that the Nikolaev family will sue the pants off the already financially beleaguered People’s Republic of California and insist that those who signed the original orders be fired.


Mr. Putin’s longest media show

(The Moscow Times) President Vladimir Putin pledged to stay the course on a range of key issues, from macroeconomic policy to the battle with corruption and the composition of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev‘s Cabinet, during a record-breaking live call-in show broadcast on national television on Thursday.

The annual show, which lasted an unprecedented 4 hours and 47 minutes, saw a confident and apparently untiring Putin field 85 questions selected from about 3 million requests, another record, from Russians across the country and many walks of life.

Despite the Russian economy’s sluggish growth and continued reliance on natural resources, the government’s fundamental economic policies will not change, Putin said, adding that officials will continue to focus on macroeconomic indicators and push manufacturers to meet social demands.

The government will also concentrate on improving the business climate, which has gotten better recently, Putin said, citing international ratings without specifying them. Likewise, it has become easier to open a business and connect to the country’s infrastructure, he said.

The president says that despite sluggish growth and reliance on natural resources, basic economic policies will not change.

And while the Cabinet, especially Education Minister Dmitry Livanov, has recently faced intense criticism by the public and the ruling United Russia party, Putin argued that a reshuffle would do more harm than good and that the government, less than one-year-old, deserved more time.

A recently leaked video of Putin upbraiding a group that included ministers and governors for poor performance fueled speculation about the future of Medvedev’s Cabinet.

Foreign policy did not figure largely into the program, but Putin reserved some sharp words for the United States, saying that the U.S.-Russian relationship had suffered since the 2003 invasion of Iraq from Washington’s foreign policy and most recently from the Magnitsky Act.

Putin said the law, which calls for sanctions against Russians suspected of human rights abuses, was “imperialist.” He added that the Magnitsky Act represented a missed opportunity to “forget everything from the Cold War era” after the repeal of the Jackson-Vanik amendment, which restricted bilateral trade, paved the way for Russia’s accession to the World Trade Organization.

But he said the two sides must unite to combat terrorism in the wake of the Boston Marathon bombing, which U.S. investigators say was carried out by two ethnic Chechens with strong ties to Russia’s North Caucasus region, home to a long-simmering Islamist insurgency.

“I simply hope that this tragedy will push us closer together in the struggle against common threats. … If we truly join forces, we won’t suffer such strikes and losses,” Putin said.

He accused Western journalists of using a double standard by referring to terrorists that attack Russia as “rebels,” and chided Western countries for what he called “sometimes indirect and sometimes direct” informational, financial and political support to extremists in Russia.

English signs in Russia and Ukraine

Among the steps that officials in Russia and neighboring Ukraine are taking to enhance tourism is the Latinization of major street and attraction signs. From Moscow to Saint Petersburg to Kiev and the region of Crimea, more maps and street signs are being lettered to help foreign tourists get around more easily.

Metro tourist bus b

Moscow has added double decked red tourist buses based on their success and popularity among tourists in the Saint Petersburg area. This summer Moscow will add street kiosks with English speaking guides near major attractions to answer questions and hand out English language street maps.

Yalta road sign English

Above: this sign indicates the number of kilometers to the Crimean peninsula cities of Yalta and Alushta, Ukraine.

Happy anniversary to our readers! поздравляю!

The idea for the Mendeleyev Journal was hatched in 2007 and five years ago to this date in 2008 the Mendeleyev Journal appeared on the Russian blog scene. Happy Anniversary!

Most importantly, thank you dear reader for the part you play in making the MJ what it has been able to do by our feeble efforts and what it will accomplish in the years ahead. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

In those early days we were thrilled to have a hundred readers in a month. Then we got used to greeting a hundred per week. In January of last year we told readers that our goal was 300,000 annual readers by the end of 2012. Well we hit that number by August of 2012 and this year we’ll pass a half-million long before this coming August 2013. Our initial goal was to be at a million readers by 2015 and at this rate we’ll make it; by God’s grace perhaps with room to spare.

Again, thank you.

congratulations a

Moscow Metro safety

According to the Metro management around 150 persons die annually by falling onto the tracks. Granted, a certain number of these are suicides but most seem to be accidents and with unprotected platforms, it is easy to make a misstep or in a crowd in rush hour be pushed to the edge of a platform.

Platform at "China Town" Metro station, Moscow.
Platform at “China Town” Metro station, Moscow.

In an effort to reduce accidents the Metro has released a helpful guide on what to do should you fall from the platform onto the tracks. This safety card contains several great tips on what to do to avoid injury or death and will be available around English speaking tour guide kiosks.

Metro safety card

As we reported to you recently, new stations will be built with glass enclosures on the platforms with automatic doors that will open only when the train is stopped for entry/exit. It will take some time however to refit 183+ existing stations with the glass safety enclosures.

The new station "Forest Park" will be the first with glass enclosures on platforms.
The new station “Forest Park” will be the first with glass enclosures on platforms.

Belgorod shooting leaves six dead

Belgorod mapRussia has some of the strictest gun laws of any country in the world. Handguns are banned except for police and military. A hunting rifle takes a 5+ year permit process, which includes a mental health screening but there are plenty of guns in Russia–just not the legal kind.

Today at 2pm local time in Belgorod, a city in southern Russia near the border with Ukraine, a lone gunman strode into the Okhota hunting store and began firing, killing 3 salespersons. He then shot several people outside including two young teenaged girls, 16 and 14 years of age, who died at the scene. Another woman was shot outside and died while being treated at the local hospital.

Police say they have identified the gunman as Sergei Pomazun, a 32 yearl old resident of Belgorod who had been released from prison in 2012 on a prior theft conviction. Unconfirmed reports say that the weapon used may have been a Kalashnikov-based semi-automatic 7.62 caliber Saiga carbine.The assailant fled in a BMW which he abandoned at an Auto Mall. Last reports say the police have the area surrounded by the gunman has not been captured. Authorities believe the shooting started as an attempted robbery.

(Image: Twitter user @cityofgood31)
(Photo: Twitter user @cityofgood31)

This little angel, Anastasia Petrik, has talent!

Victoria & Anastasia Petryk (Вікторія та Анастасія Петрик) are singing sisters, proud daughters of Ukraine and for good reason. Anastasia (Ah-nah-stah-si ya) burst on the scene two years ago while singing backup for her 14 year old sister. There she was, a mere 6 year old singing angel with an incredible alto voice. Today at the age of 8, Anastasia continues to steal the hearts of not only her native Ukrainians, but foreign fans as well.

Here she sings “Аллилуйя” (Alleluia) at the Taras Shevchenko Ukrainian National Opera House in Kyiv (Kiev).

In this video she sings “Снег” (snow) with popular Russian singing star Philip Kirkorov (Филипп Киркоров).

Finally, this wonderful version of “Скрипаль Осінній” (Autumn Violin) in a duo with Нина Матвиенко (Nina Matvienko).

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