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Murder in Moscow

by Anthony Williamson Wed Nov 25th, 2009 at 08:57:52 AM EST

originally posted on Sunday November 22

Today's burial of a murdered Moscow priest crusading against other religions calls attention both to serious ethnic violence in Russia and a disturbing measure of intolerance in the Russian Orthodox community towards Islam, other religions and ethnic groups.

Parishioners said a man came into the Moscow Church of the Holy Apostle Thomas on Thursday shortly before 11 pm and asked in a loud voice, "Who's Sysoyev here?" The priest had just finished what Russian churchmen described as his "traditional Thursday talks" in keeping with his missionary work and was hearing parishioners' confessions. Father Daniil Sysoyev came out to see the cause of the loud noise, and the assailant shot him twice, in the head and neck. The 35-year-old priest was taken to a hospital where he died a little over an hour later. He leaves a wife and two children (Russian Orthodox priests are allowed to marry). Before escaping, the assailant also shot the choirmaster in the chest. He was hospitalized and is recovering.

promoted with minor edit - Nomad

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Anti-Semitism, Anybody?

by Anthony Williamson Mon Jun 16th, 2008 at 12:43:29 PM EST

A popular Moscow radio talk show host has given the uninitiated a startling look at anti-Semitism in Russia in a wild and wooly broadcast of an interview with a retired colonel who was charged with the much publicized attempted murder of Anatoly Chubais, the politician who was responsible in the 1990s for privatizing the Russian economy after the collapse of communism. Chubais escaped a roadside bombing and machine-gun fire from assailants who targeted his car in 2005. Colonel Vladimir Kvachkov was one of three men who were later arrested on charges of trying to kill him. Kvachkov spent a little over three years in jail, first while the incident was being investigated and then when two courts trying the case collapsed. After the two mistrials, a third jury handed down a verdict of not guilty on June 5. The very next day he appeared in Moscow on an hour-long radio talk show hosted by a Jewish journalist during which Russian anti-Semitism showed its ugly face in usually clear and nasty manner.

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Spotlight on Russian-US Relations

by Anthony Williamson Thu Apr 24th, 2008 at 12:43:19 PM EST

The Russian foreign minister did some plain talking in a wide-ranging interview with a Moscow radio station yesterday and he shed some new light on the difficulties of Russian-US relations by outlining points of agreement and disagreement between the two countries on a number of major issues. Sergei Lavrov's remarks on US plans for missile installations in the Czech Republic and Poland made some of the snags clearer than they had been. He also said point blank Russia would do everything in its power to prevent Ukraine and Georgia from being admitted to NATO, thus thwarting what he termed a "sharp deterioration" of Russia's relations with the alliance, its leading members and Russia's neighbors. All this was obvious to the White House from its contacts with Moscow long before the NATO summit in Romania. Therefore, it's all the more intriguing to try to figure out what motivated the US to take on Russia in public by forging ahead to push through membership for Ukraine and Georgia at the recent NATO summit in Romania.

Diary rescue by Migeru

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A Russian Idol and Cold War Memories

by Anthony Williamson Sun Jan 27th, 2008 at 08:24:09 AM EST

Public tributes in Russia for a folk idol who fell out of grace with the authorities conjure up specters of a Cold War past that hung over our lives not so long ago. Reminders of how the USSR tried to silence talented artists who didn't toe the official line bring back unpleasant memories of those threatening times. When an artist in a totalitarian State without access to the necessary official promotion of his talented work for most of his life becomes an idol of the largest nation on earth, solely through underground distribution, then one cannot help but ask who that artist was.

His name was Vladimir Vysotsky, the gifted bard, poet and actor, who, had he lived, would have been 70 years old on January 25, 2008. He was officially ignored in the Soviet Union for many years of his life because of his songs that dealt critically, among other things, with the hard life of the people. To Western ears, his voice sounds rough, even coarse, while his song texts in verse are difficult to translate in a manner to do them justice, but understanding the overwhelming popularity of Vysotsky in Russia is a challenge to Westerners who want to grasp what makes Russians tick. The story of his incredible underground fame among millions of people from one end of the USSR to the other is without doubt one of the most remarkable tales of the 20th century.

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Russia at the Crossroads

by Anthony Williamson Fri Jan 11th, 2008 at 12:23:12 PM EST

An article published in the January 10th issue of the Russian government newspaper Rossiiskaya gazeta says Russia is at the crossroads in its development, and the article outlines what is ahead. It says Russia faces this as a result of a threefold transition: from the authoritarian Soviet state to a democracy; from a planned economy to private ownership and a market economy; from a republic within the framework of a gigantic country to an independent state. The country, it says, has to continue the democratic development of society, bringing people's standard of the living up closer to the European level. The reorganization of the state has to be completed, lifting the effectiveness of its institutions in order to resolve problems at home and to improve the ability to compete on world markets. Today, Russia, it says, stands before a decision on a development strategy for the foreseeable future. There are four paths in front of Russia, including mobilization.

Promoted by Colman

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