Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Guardian: It is ludicrous to compare modern Russia with the old Soviet Union

Guardian: It is ludicrous to compare modern Russia with the old Soviet Union

'We are a fully integrated part of the global economy, and we respect our neighbours' borders'

by Dmitry Peskov

A spokesman for prime minister Vladimir Putin responds to charges by a Guardian article.

On relations beyond our borders, we are accused on the one hand of expansionist ambitions and having designed a "blueprint to bring back the Soviet Union's geography", and on the other of "becoming increasingly isolationist". It seems we can't win. And it is wrong to state that "Russia's territory now includes Abkhazia and South Ossetia" - they have both made clear that they are determined to retain their hard-won independence, something we are committed to respect.

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Traditional Cossack Song

Monday, 8 December 2008

Russia Today: Orthodox leaders arrive for funeral of Aleksy II

Russia Today: Orthodox leaders arrive for funeral of Aleksy II

'The heads of Orthodox Churches from around the world have arrived in Moscow to pay their final respects to Aleksy II, the Russian Patriarch who died on Friday. Thousands of people are continuing to queue to see the body of the Russian Orthodox Church leader lying in state.'

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

BBC News: Nato to discuss ties with Russia

BBC News: Nato to discuss ties with Russia

'Foreign ministers from Nato countries are set to meet in Brussels to discuss resuming co-operation with Russia.'

Friday, 21 November 2008

ABKHAZIA, Land of the beauties

A lovely video celebrating the Republic of Abkhazia that recently declared her independence from Georgia.

Monday, 17 November 2008

Russia Today: Russia’s Buddhist republic sees the light

Russia Today: Russia’s Buddhist republic sees the light

Russia's republic of Kalmykia is the only region in Europe where Buddhism is the dominant religion. Temples were destroyed there during the Soviet era and Buddhism went into decline. But in a new age of tolerance, the steppe region is enjoying a religious renaissance.

Russia Today: Memorial erected to Hungarian invaders

Russia Today: Memorial erected to Hungarian invaders

During World War Two, central Russia was the scene of fierce battles between home troops and Nazi-led invaders. Among Germany’s allies were around 200,000 Hungarian soldiers - more than half of whom died in the fighting. In 2003, federal authorities in the Voronezh region decided to bury remains found over a 60-year period at one memorial.

Russia Today: Kremlin didn’t order murder – Politkovskaya’s son

Russia Today: Kremlin didn’t order murder – Politkovskaya’s son

A Moscow court has ruled the trial of three people charged over the murder of journalist Anna Politkovskaya will be open to the public. The decision will be welcomed by the murdered journalist's family –who say there is great interest in the case both at home and abroad.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Guardian: Breaking the cold war paradigm

Guardian: Breaking the cold war paradigm
If relations between Russia and the US are to improve, both sides must act on the president-elect's message of change

by James Marson

Wednesday, 29 October 2008

A Tribute to the Byzantine Legacy



A video showing the heritage of the Byzantine empire in several European flags. Set to some beautiful Byzantine chanting.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

ARKONA





Superb female-fronted folk/ black metal from Russia.

Russia Today: Gas exporters agree deal for OPEC-style alliance

Russia Today: Gas exporters agree deal for OPEC-style alliance

'Russia, Iran and Qatar have agreed to form a powerful OPEC-style group for exporting gas. The consortium would control over 60% of the global natural gas reserves - and spark fears in the West that it could lead to higher prices.'

Monday, 20 October 2008

Russia Today: Immigrants the scapegoats of economic woe

Russia Today: Immigrants the scapegoats of economic woe

'With the financial crisis raging, and the threat of recession looming, the British government says it can’t support immigration at its current level. Political analyst John Bourke looks into the implications of the move.'


A Russia Today feature on the United Kingdom- and one which I agree with.

Russia Today: Icelanders hope for Russian cash

Russia Today: Icelanders hope for Russian cash

'The past week has been a tough one for Iceland. The island of 300,000 people has so far been the most serious state victim of the global credit crunch. Its economy has nosedived after years of prosperity, with its banks virtually collapsed and currency devalued.'

Russia Today: Russia and India to strike nuclear deal

Russia Today: Russia and India to strike nuclear deal

'Top Russian and Indian diplomats are meeting in Delhi to discuss military ties and the construction of four nuclear reactors. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is heading the Moscow delegation. The talks will pave the way for President Dmitry Medvedev’s first visit to India as head of state in early December.'

Russia Today: Election would be ‘end of Ukraine’ - Timoshenko

Russia Today: Election would be ‘end of Ukraine’ - Timoshenko

'Ukraine's Prime Minister Yulia Timoshenko says her political bloc is pulling out of what she is calling the country's “political struggle for power”. In a TV address, the premier said a snap parliamentary election set by the president for December 7 would not take place, as it would be the “the end of Ukraine”.'

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Guardian: Moscow's plan for a common future

Guardian: Moscow's plan for a common future

'Russia has come up with an idea that could resolve conflicts in the Caucasus and across Europe. So why won't the west listen?'

Article by Adrian Pabst

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Russia Today: Russian peacekeepers to leave Georgia in 72 hours

Russian peacekeepers to leave Georgia in 72 hours

All Russian peacekeepers are set to dismantle their checkpoints in the security zone around South Ossetia before October 10. They will be replaced with EU monitors, who are watching the Russian pullout.

Russia Today: Russian Government pumps $36 Billion more into banking system

Russia Today: Russian Government pumps $36 Billion more into banking system

Finance Minister Aleksey Kudrin has announced that the Russian Government will inject 950 Billion Rubles, $36 Billion, into the banking system in a bid to restart corporate lending.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Romanov heir hopeful about restoration of Russian monarchy

Grand Duchess Maria Vladimirovna, the head of the house of Romanov is optimistic about a restoration of the Russian monarchy, according to an article in Monarchy magazine

Personally, I am convinced the Russian people will one day welcome the return of their monarchy. They have already revived the double-headed eagle as their national coat of arms and the Russian Orthodox church plays a more prominent part in national life. The next step is restoration.

God save the Tsar!

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Russia Today: South Ossetian capital getting back on its feet

Russia Today: South Ossetian capital getting back on its feet

'More than five hundred people are confirmed dead after Georgia's attack in August, according to the South Ossetian prosecutor's office. Meanwhile the war-torn region is determined to get back to normality as quickly as possible.'

Russia Today: OSCE official: Everyone will draw own conclusions in South Ossetia

Russia Today: OSCE official: Everyone will draw own conclusions in South Ossetia

'OSCE parliamentarians are to discuss the situation in the Caucasus at a session in Toronto at the end of September. One hundred extra observers are being sent to Abkhazia and South Ossetia, the Secretary General of the Parliamentary Assembly R. Spencer Oliver told RT.'

Russia Today: U.S. officials split over Caucasus conflict

Russia Today: U.S. officials split over Caucasus conflict

'U.S. officials are divided over the recent violence in South Ossetia. The U.S. Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing has cast Moscow as an aggressor but members of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs have sided with Russia. And making a decision will require from them assessing the U.S. foreign policy objectives, including those that have to do with Iran and the global war on terror.'

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Russia Today: Washington Post: “Georgians question Saakashvili’s actions”

Russia Today: Washington Post: “Georgians question Saakashvili’s actions"

'According to The Washington Post, “Georgians inside and outside the government have begun to question the wisdom of the costly confrontation, and of the leaders who set it in motion”. One of the oldest and most respectable U.S. newspapers has published an article on the political situation in Georgia following the South Ossetian crisis.'

Russia Today: Media verdict - Medvedev-Sarkozy meeting a success

Russia Today: Media verdict - Medvedev-Sarkozy meeting a success

'Monday's meeting between Russian and French Presidents and the EU delegation in Moscow has attracted a lot of media attention. Online editions of world newspapers have given analysis of the summit’s outcome and its future consequences.'

Russia Today: Russian troops give way to EU observers

Russia Today: Russian troops give way to EU observers

'The presence of EU observers in buffer zones outside South Ossetia and Abkhazia will be enforced, allowing Russian troops to leave security zones by October 1. The agreement is the outcome of Monday’s meeting between the Russian and French Presidents and an EU delegation in Moscow.'

Russia Today: Russia establishes diplomatic ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia

Russia Today: Russia establishes diplomatic ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia

'Russia has established formal diplomatic ties with Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Russia’ s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov made the statement at a news conference on Tuesday. Addressing the media he said Russia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia will soon sign agreements for friendship, co-operation and mutual help.'

Saturday, 6 September 2008

Russia Today: Kazan Catholics blessed with new church

Russia Today: Kazan Catholics blessed with new church

Kazan on the Volga river is a multi-ethnic city known for its racial and religious tolerance. It is populated mainly of orthodox Christians and Muslims. However, the capital of Tatarstan is also home to a community of Roman Catholics, who are celebrating the opening of a new church.

Russia Today: Russian-Americans back McCain

Russia Today: Russian-Americans back McCain

'Hundreds of thousands of Russians live in the U.S. and their votes could influence the outcome of the presidential election. Republican candidate John McCain has been vocal in his criticism of the Kremlin. But Russians living in America appear to prefer him to Democrat Barack Obama.'

Good for them.

Russia Today: Joint declaration on South Ossetia signed in Moscow

Russia Today: Joint declaration on South Ossetia signed in Moscow

'The leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) have signed a joint declaration on recent developments in the Caucasus at a meeting in Moscow on Friday. The group also expressed its support of Russia's reaction to Georgian aggression against South Ossetia.'

Russia Today: EU wants truth about war in South Ossetia

Russia Today: EU wants truth about war in South Ossetia

'Foreign ministers of the European Union have called for an independent investigation to establish who was to blame for the war in South Ossetia. They also plan to discuss the EU mission in the region as 700 observers prepare to go there.'

Friday, 5 September 2008

You Tube: Davaï - Russian Folk Music

You Tube: Davaï - Russian Folk Music

Guardian: Can an independent Ukraine survive?

Guardian: Can an independent Ukraine survive?

'A snap election would only increase tensions, and in a country of divided allegiances, this is not the time to alienate Russia'

by Kamil Tchorek

A very reasonable article.

Russia Today: "Cultural Terrorism" in South Ossetia

Russia Today: "Cultural Terrorism" in South Ossetia

'The Commission of the Russian Federation on UNESCO affairs has called for the international community to strongly condemn Georgia for the "cultural terrorism" it inflicted upon South Ossetia.'

Russia Today: Joint declaration on South Ossetia to be signed in Moscow

Russia Today: Joint declaration on South Ossetia to be signed in Moscow

'The situation in the Caucasus continues to be at the forefront of the global politics. On Friday Russia hosts a meeting of the leaders of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation in Moscow. Yesterday the countries’ foreign ministers expressed their support to Russia on its handling of Georgian aggression against South Ossetia.'

Russia Today: Beating the booze in Siberia

Russia Today: Beating the booze in Siberia

'Alcohol abuse is a major problem that many families facing in the Russian countryside. So, in Siberia, 19 local women have organised a Women's Council that they say is taking on each and every vodka-drinker in their village and beyond.'

Thursday, 4 September 2008

Double Standards

Russia has been condemned by western diplomats for recognising South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Yet how is this any different from the USA and the UK recognising Kosovo?

Russia was condemned for sending its troops into Georgia. Yet the United States has a long history of invading other countries, often justifiably. Are they the only country in the world that is allowed to take military action on foreign soil?

The United States took military action against Serbia to prevent human rights abuses being perpetrated against the people of Kosovo. Likewise Russia took military action againist Georgia to prevent human rights abuses against the South Ossetian people.

Russia Today: Nicaragua recognises new Caucasus states

Russia Today: Nicaragua recognises new Caucasus states

'Nicaragua has become the first country outside Russia to recognise the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. The Central American state’s President, Daniel Ortega, said he backs Russia in its efforts to end tension in the Caucasus.'

Russia Today: Allegations of war crimes begin to surface

Russia Today: Allegations of war crimes begin to surface

As the last of the refugees returned to the war-scarred city of Tskhinval, the horrors they’d experienced while waiting for evacuation are gradually coming to light. A video filmed on a mobile phone, which appears to show Georgian troops firing on civilian buildings, has surfaced on the Internet.

Russia Today: Crisis in Ukraine: Coalition on the rocks again

Russia Today: Crisis in Ukraine: Coalition on the rocks again

'Ukraine is in the grip of a fresh crisis, with another face-off between former Orange Bloc allies President Viktor Yushchenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko underway. The president has accused Tymoshenko of 'high treason' and 'working with Russia' as she refused to condemn South Ossetia’s and Abkhazia's declarations of independence.'

I find it very interesting that Yulia Tymoshenko has refused to condemn Russian recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Is she then a woman of integrity?

Russia Today: Russia & security partners to take stance on South Ossetia

Russia Today: Russia & security partners to take stance on South Ossetia

'The situation in South Ossetia and Russia's response to Georgia's actions are to be discussed at a meeting of the foreign ministers of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) member states in Moscow on Thursday.'

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Guardian: Europe's hypocrisy

Guardian: Europe's hypocrisy

by David Cronin

'There may be much to deplore in Russia's foreign policy, but Europe and Nato are being needlessly provocative'

Russia Today: Common sense prevailed in Brussels - Medvedev

Russia Today: Common sense prevailed in Brussels - Medvedev

'In an interview with the Euronews TV channel, Dmitry Medvedev said he regretted Europe’s lack of understanding about why Russia acted in South Ossetia. However, Russia's President said common sense prevailed at the emergency EU summit in Brussels.'

Russia Today: Beslan four years on – the grief remains

Russia Today: Beslan four years on – the grief remains

'Four years after the tragedy in School Number One, which left more than 300 people dead, Beslan remains a small town filled with immense grief. Its cemetery contains the graves of 186 children. On September 3, 2004, Russian forces attempted to release hostages in the school building where terrorists were holding more than 1,000 people.'

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Russia Today: South Ossetia wants Russian troops on its territory

Russia Today: South Ossetia wants Russian troops on its territory

'Russia and South Ossetia plan to set up military co-operation. This would include the deployment of a military base in the republic. Georgia strongly opposes such moves, accusing Russia of attempts to annex Georgian territories.'

Russia Today: EU to delay Russian partnership talks

Russia Today: EU to delay Russian partnership talks

'EU leaders have decided to delay talks with Russia on a new agreement about strategic co-operation. At an extraordinary summit in Brussels, the leaders condemned Russia’s actions in the Caucasus, but promised to maintain contacts with Moscow and continue existing ties.'

Times: A return to 1815 is the way forward for Europe

Times: A return to 1815 is the way forward for Europe

'The Congress of Vienna divided the continent into spheres of influence. Similar rules are needed for the 21st century'

Article by Christopher Meyer

We need a more realistic diplomacy.

Monday, 1 September 2008

You Tube: Concert of Authentic Ukrainian and Russian Folk Songs

You Tube: Concert of Authentic Ukrainian and Russian Folk Songs

Some wonderful music.

You Tube: The truth about South Ossetia War

You Tube: The truth about South Ossetia War

A Russian in America gives his opinion on Russian military action in Georgia.

Warning: uses some strong language.

Russia Today: Russia won`t accept unipolar world - Medvedev

Russia Today: Russia won`t accept unipolar world - Medvedev

'Russia’s President Dmitry Medvedev has outlined five principles guiding his foreign policy in the wake of the recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent states. He said Russia recognises international law but won’t accept decisions ‘made by one country solely’.'

Talk about a 'new cold war' is utterly misleading. This is Great Power politics. Russia is a great power, and as such will behave as befits this status. She will naturally seek to strengthen her sphere of influence, just as the United States does in her sphere.

Russia Today: Can Europe find consensus on Russia?

Russia Today: Can Europe find consensus on Russia?

Those who want to impose sanctions on Russia are seeking something that is neither desirable nor feasible.

Times: President Medvedev of Russia offers to help train the Afghan police

Times: President Medvedev of Russia offers to help train the Afghan police

Very generous of Medvedev, given the sabre-rattling of western diplomats.

Ultimately Russia has the same strategic interests as the west. We want to see stability in central asia and an end to Islamic terrorism.

Learn about Russia

Wikipedia: Russia

Naturally, this is Wikipedia and not everything in that article is going to be reliable.

A very oversimplified history of the tsars of Russia


Ivan IV the Terrible (1547-1584)- bad and bonkers. But still great.
Feodor I (1584-1598)- weak. Boris Godunov ran the show. Last of Rurik dynasty.
(Beginning of the Time of the troubles)
Boris Godunov (1598-1605)- A pretender. Impressive chap
Feodor II (1605)- Murdered
False Dmitriy I (1605-1606)- an impostor and a Polish puppet
Vasili IV (1606-1610) - Another pretender to the throne
Vladislav IV (1610-1612)- A Polish tsar? Surely not? Didn't reign long enough to make a difference.
(end of the Time of the Troubles)
Michael I (1613-1645)- Weak but good. First of the Romanov dynasty.
Alexis I (1645-1676)- Good
Feodor III (1676-1682)- A simpleton.
Ivan V jointly with Peter I (1682-1696)- An odd situation. Their sister, Sophia was acting as regent. She was an impressive lady.
Peter I the Great (1682-1725)- bad but very impressive. Changed Russia completely
Catherine I (1725-1727)- weak
Peter II (1727-1730)- Didn't reign long enough to do anything.
Anna (1730-1740)- bad. Twisted sense of humour.
Ivan VI (1740-1741)- ruled and deposed while still a baby
Elizabeth (1741- 1762) - good
Peter III (1762)- a silly young man. Deposed by his wife, Catherine.
Catherine II the Great (1762-1796)- very good.
Paul I (1796- 1801)- bad. Murdered.
Alexander I (1801-1825)- good
Nicholas I (1825-1855)- Not so impressive.
Alexander II (1855-1881)- very good. Serfdom abolished.
Alexander III (1881-1894)- Bad. Turned Russia into a police state.
Nicholas II (1894-1917)- Tragically, a bad tsar. End of Russian monarchy

Why this blog?

I am not Russian. I have never been to Russia. I do not speak Russian. Yet I love Russia and her history. Russia has enriched the world with many great things- architecture, music, folk traditions and literature. In the days of Napoleon, Britain and the Russian empire were allies.

I was disgusted by coverage of the conflict in Georgia in the British media. There was so much anti-Russian distortion in the presenation of the conflict. Now western diplomats are rattling their sabres seeking a conflict with Russia that the world does not need.

Russia is a democracy. She is not a perfect democracy, but she holds free and multi-party elections. Russia is no longer Communist. The Russian model of captitalism is not necessarilly one that we would admire or encourage, but it is not Communism. There is no fundamental ideological conflict with Russia as there was in the Cold War era. Russia can be friends with the west. We just have to stop acting like Russia is this great alien menace. She is not. Russia is a great nation that should be treated with respect.