Dec 21, 2007
Officially, we were flagged by unnamed sources as being a "spam blog." This kicked in a Blogger.com protocol which blocked all access to the site -- effectively shutting us down. But as Ern pointed out, it could have been worse...at least they didn't try dioxin poisoning.
The reason for the block? Too much "irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text." I'm not kidding. This actually quite funny, as there are some in the field who would agree with the accusation. But that's a different issue.
Rather than forcing us on a hunger strike during Christmas, calmer heads prevailed and Blogger.com has since removed its draconian censorship.
Lucky we didn't miss anything important.
Dec 13, 2007
First we start with today's Kommersant:
"Kuchins has an entirely different vision. He predicted that Putin will be assassinated at the exit of the Cathedral of Christ the Savior after midnight mass on January 7, 2008 (Russian Orthodox Christmas). The killer will not be caught and Russia will be thrown into immediate chaos. The stock market will collapse, mass strikes and demonstration will begin and, on January 20, a state of emergency will be declared. The murder of Putin will prevent a peaceful transfer of presidential power to Sergey Naryshkin, with Dmitry Medvedev as prime minister, and the enforcement bloc in the Kremlin will gain power, that is, Igor Sechin, Sergey Ivanov and Nikolay Patrushev."
It gets even better:
"As it continues, Kuchin's scenario starts to sound more and more like a suspense novel. After the imposition of the state of emergency, he posits, Vladimir Yakunin, now head of Russian Railways, becomes president and orders the shooting of striking oil worker in Surgut. St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matvienko and Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov are sentenced to death for the embezzlement of billions of dollars. Nationalism will rise significantly along the way. But, after a series political and economic shakeups, there will be a happy ending in 2016, when Boris Nemtsov will become president with the help and funding of the again free Mikhail Khodorkovsky."
WOW. Apparently, all of this nonsense is in the new CSIS report called "Alternative Futures for Russia."
That's one hell of a future.
Obviously, as Lenta has already pointed out , this is clearly a fictional scenario (though one bordering on delusion, but this is Russia after all, so Kuchins just let loose his fevered mind).
Kommersant obviously prints this in all its anti-imperialist glory, of course. But a note to their editors: pssst, the American government does this all the time. Our beloved National Intelligence Council, in their Global Trends 2020 report, for instance, printed a letter from
Bin Laden's grandson to one of his relatives: "Oh, what confusion did we sow with the Crusaders. An almost forgotten word reentered the Western lexicon and histories of early Caliphs suddenly rose to be bestsellers on Amazon.com."
No, really, our tax dollars paid for that. Kommersant really missed out. Then again, Dmitry Sidorov never ceases to amaze me.
If you look at his smart, witty, and sharply critical essays in Ezhednevny Zhurnal, one is bound to be impressed that a Russian journalist (albeit, based in DC) can write so openly and freely. But then, when it comes to his own publication, the man becomes a walking National Inquirer.
Last year, the man did a James Bond on a Carnegie event with Voloshin (strangely enough, Kuchins was Carnegie's director of Russia program then) and outed Fiona Hill as a CIA agent (she was actually at the above-mentioned National Intelligence Council, perhaps penning that letter from Bin Laden's offspring).
"The Kommersant correspondent was able to see through the window of the first-floor hall that there were about 20 people present, including the former ambassadors to Russia and Ukraine Jim Collins and Steven Pifer. Fiona Hill, who was recently named CIA national intelligence officer for Russia, was also at that meeting."
I'm shocked he didn't notice Santa Claus in the corner, plotting Russia's downfall.
We did some checking. Our inside girl at CSIS swears that Kommersant is blowing this out of perspective. Here's the abstract.
Dec 12, 2007
It seems that airport security informed the man he'd either have to surrender the bottle or pay a check-in fee. The man opted for Secret Option 3. "He chugged the bottle down — and was quickly unable to stand or otherwise function," police said.
No word on where he was headed. But we suspect it was most definitely somewhere in E. Europe.
From JRL: "First Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, who has every chance of becoming Russia's next president - is a man of honor, a skilled professional and a modern type of person...Medvedev is a very up-to-date personality. He is keen for everything new - technologies, the Internet, high-tech things...The would-be president is fluent in English and is well familiar with youth slang that floods the world web...On the wall at the entrance to the antechamber of Medvedev' s office there is a portrait of the last Russian Emperor, Nicholas II. If one is to believe the daily Vedomosti, the best way of making Medvedev feel good is to say that he resembles the last Russian monarch."
"...His hobbies and favorite things comprise music - Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple, books by Mikhail Bulgakov's that were banned under Joseph Stalin, and football club Zenit from his native St. Petersburg. In sports, its jogging and chess. Medvedev also swims 1,500 meters twice a day."
Dec 11, 2007
Dec 10, 2007
Dec 6, 2007
Now, Eternal Remont has never served as an election monitor, but we're pretty sure you're not supposed to pull extra ballots out from you backpack and run them through the scanner, like this. Even the army is doing it's part of overfulfill the election plan, like this.
Dec 5, 2007
Higher operating costs are the official reason for the $1 billion slide. We suspect Western-trained sabatours could also be to blame. They seem to be the reason for all of Russia's other ills these days.
Dec 4, 2007
"An Irishman broke into a furniture shop in Bulgaria's resort of Bansko on Sunday night just to have a nap on a sofa inside, Interior Ministry officials reported. The foreigner, who was quite drunk at the time of the accident, confessed he thought the shop was his room."
Our world is right again.
Nov 30, 2007
From kommersant.ru: Организация экономического сотрудничества и развития (ОЭСР) представила рейтинг уровня знаний школьников в возрасте 15 лет из 57 стран мира. Всего в рейтинге учитывались результаты тестов 400 тыс. учащихся. Россия попала в группу стран, где уровень знаний у школьников оценивается как “ниже среднего”. В группе с ней соседствуют США и Азербайджан.
Финские школьники получили в рейтинге 563 балла и заняли в нем первое место. В среднем ученики из Европы набирали примерно по 500 очков. Например британские учащиеся заработали 515 баллов, чешские - 513, швейцарские - 512. Всего рейтинг выше среднестатистической нормы получили ученики из 20 стран мира. Ученики из пяти стран находятся на среднем уровне, а еще из 22-х – на низком. В эту группу вошли США с 489 баллами и Россия с 479. Также в группе оказались Латвия, Литва и Азербайджан. Последнее место в рейтинге заняла Киргизия с набранными 322 баллами.
This follows years of sitting at different tables at the UN Cafeteria (a magical wonderland from which Eternal Remont was once politely evicted at the request of the Cuban government).
Neither country would confirm if they exchanged friendship bracelets, or even added each other to their MySpace pages. However, we can all rest easy now that the threat of a war between Kazakhstan and Barbuda has diminished.
"Our two countries can now begin the journey towards greater friendship and cooperation," said Ambassador Byrganym Aitimova at a signing ceremony to commemorate the event.
Nov 29, 2007
'My dear, my penis is a mountain'.
Now Henry could be one of the few Englishmen at the Euro 2008 finals in Austria and Switzerland as Croatian fans adopt him as a lucky omen.
Nov 27, 2007
Tired of the same old, drab news from Russia's parliamentary elections? Why not treat yourself to a little bit of nostalgia: the $600 USSR T-Shirt (available in Putin Hawaiian flavors too)...
NYTimes: “People in their 30s see these kinds of symbols as reminders of happy memories, like going to pioneer camp where they lived together, ate breakfast together and played sports,” said Mr. Simachev, 33, who wears his hair in a Samurai-style ponytail. He insists he is no Communist — for one thing, his overcoats sell for about $2,100 and his T-shirts for about $600. His boutique is sandwiched between Hermès and Burberry stores on a pedestrian lane, Stoleshnikov, that is one of the capital’s most expensive shopping streets."
Nov 19, 2007
Nov 16, 2007
“…the damage done is not yet irreparable, as there is no major conflict between fundamental U.S. and Russian relations.”
Nov 15, 2007
National Führer? Sweet lord. We could have picked something less tacky. Meanwhile, the BBC just can’t seem to figure this one out, writing: “It is not clear how Mr Putin can stay on as national leader when another man is sitting in the Kremlin as Russia's next president.”
No word if the "30 million signatures" are listed in alphabetical order.
Kyrgyzstan is set to hit the polls in less than a month, now with a new and improved electoral law. Straight party lists are in, along with a nifty electoral threshold which will snuff out most of the small regional parties.
The good? It'll keep things "stable." The bad and the ugly are just as attractive. So our beloved Kyrgyz Republic stumbles forward.
Nov 13, 2007
RFE/RL reports: Acting on instructions from President Murat Zyazikov, Ingushetian Interior Minister Musa Medov has issued orders to two Ingushetian Internet providers to block access to the independent website ingushetiya.ru, that website reported on November 13, citing unnamed sources within the ministry. Anyone who seeks to access ingushetiya.ru from within Ingushetia is automatically routed to a site that features pornographic movies.
Eternal Remont is working on an Ingushetiya proxy.
-- 38% of Russians believe Saakashvili will prevail
Meanwhile, Anne Applebaum writes in the WashPost: “That George Bush has made no comment about Georgia at all this week is a disgrace.”
But President Bush has already determined that the Russian’s don’t have the DNA for democracy (below), so we don’t really understand all of the fuss over Georgia.
Nov 12, 2007
Gul's response: "The man has 1.5 trillion dollars. I'll bark like a dog while doing the crab-walk to get a piece of that."
Nov 11, 2007
Nov 8, 2007
We figured this was a good time to measure just how well we’ve done in shaping that balance. If mediocrity is a measure of success, we've done a ban-up job. Freedom House's aggragate ratings 2001 & 2007:
Nov 7, 2007
Prior to meeting with Turkish PM Erdogan, Bush made the statement: "I look forward to visiting with Prime Minister Erdogan on this important subject as to how we can work together to prevent people from coming out of mountain ranges to do harm to Turkish troops." In his usual manner, Bush avoided any flairs of speech and described the situation as best he understood it. However, given the past attempts of the Turkish government to squelch Kurdish nationalism, most notably the "Mountain Turk" idea (in the early days of the Turkish Republic, there were no Kurds, just mountain Turks sometimes called Kurds because the noise made by their feet in the snowy passes of the mountain ranges made the sound "kart, kurt"), referencing mountains and Kurds (even of the terrorist variety) is like describing a NAACP fundraising event as a "fried-chicken and grape soda" soul dinner. Already, several Kurdish national groups are ranting about the "racist" policies that have come from the Bush-Erdogan meeting. However, if the Kurdish nationalists don't want to be described as a wild mountain people who attack and prey upon their more civilized neighbors, perhaps they should stop endorsing their co-nationals who do indeed live in the mountains and attack their more civilized neighbors...
Nov 5, 2007
Last week the Turkish government (albeit in local form) once again demonstrated why the infamous article 301 of its criminal code must remain in effect. Clearly there is a mortal danger posed to the security of the state when a small dog expresses its national pride. Thank Allah for the vigilance of Abdullah Kalkan, an administrator in Bodrum, who promptly arrested the owner of the insulting animal. The Turkish nation can sleep easier knowing that article 301 is protecting them.
Nov 2, 2007
Nov 1, 2007
"I began touching them, and Volodin started to shout, 'Bakov is touching the balls!' Then other people tried to stop me." -- Anton Bakov from the Union of Right Forces (Thanks Chalmers!)
Meanwhile, Igor notes this recent survey by the Levada Center.
--55% want presidential term limits increased to 7 years
--53% want the constitution changed to let Putin stay for "three or four terms"
--BUT, only 17% want him to be "president for life," down (incredibly) from 35% in April
"I'm trying to straighten this out. If you increase the terms to 7 years, and give Putin two more of those (plus the three years that would be "left" in this term), the man will rule Russia for a total of 25 years. How is that not a "President for Life"?
Obviously, respondents weren't asked all those thing in combinations. But it still boggles the mind. P.S. The respondents also didn't like the "Putin as PM" ploy, only 23% in support, so I think Surkov and Co. missed on that one."
Oct 31, 2007
Quick, think of 10 things that are "destructive destructive for the minds and spiritual moral" of Russian students.... did you pick Halloween? Neither did we.
MOSCOW (Reuters) - Moscow schools have been ordered to ban students from celebrating the cult of the dead, better known as Halloween, despite the widespread popularity of the imported festival to Russia. "This is destructive for the minds and the spiritual and moral health of pupils," said Gavrilov, saying the ban had been recommended by psychiatrists.
"План" Путина - это не блеф, не подставаО нем поют песни и слагают былиныЗатянись… передавай направо"План" путина родом из Чуйской долины.
Listen to it here...
Oct 30, 2007
Apparently, "the state in every circumstance is leading the way in economic and social reform. Today, the state is regulating legal reforms to stay in step with the rules of global competition in the transition period." Oh, where to begin criticizing this nonsense? If by "rules of global competition" they mean state-sanctioned torture and terror, then yes, by it is indeed "staying in step."
But the best part is the author's "analysis" of the Andijan incident. Apparently, the protesters were not largely peaceful businessmen and their patronage clients, as nearly every major news source has reported, but rather "It is well known that the arrested protestors declared themselves members of Hizb-ut- Tahrir were supported [sic] by Western-based NGOs." Wow. That would be amazing. If it were true, that is. Western NGOs, who are barely able to function in the highly authoritarian state of Uzbekistan, most certainly are not supporting members of an organization on the State Dept's list of terrorist organizations! Either the editors over at Turkish Daily News are on leave and their less-than-competent aides are filtering the oped pieces, or else the Turkish perception of their Central Asian brethren is seen through a stout pair of beer goggles.
Oct 26, 2007
Oct 25, 2007
Setting a beast like Rogozin loose in Brussles is Putin's idea of payback. But this isn't the first time Rogozin has played his part.
IHT August 2007: "In large part, the Russian government's reluctance to make combating racism and racial violence a serious priority is due to the cynical way in which the country's leadership has used nationalism as a political weapon. The Russian government has long patronized extremist political parties, including Vladimir Zhirinovsky's Liberal Democrats and more recently the Rodina (Motherland) party formed before the 2003 parliamentary elections by Dmitry Rogozin, which many observers suspect was created and financed by the Kremlin itself as a way of drawing off votes from the Communists."
Oct 24, 2007
Oct 23, 2007
1) "In the late 1980's, it was far from inevitable that the Soviet Union or even the Eastern bloc would collapse." Are we back to this? Soviet planners had completely unplugged from reality by the mid 1980s. The Soviet economy was removing value from raw materials. The system was not so much on the verge of collapse, it was in free fall. Simes' assertion defies reality and explanation.
2) "It was Gorbachev, not Reagan who ended the Soviet Emprire." Yes, yes, this again. This statement is correct in form, but incorrect in fact. Gorbachev ended the Empire thru his failure to act (retreating in the face of political/institutional opposition on reform...could anyone have done it?) and his failure to properly address the nationalist centrifuge. Simes betrays his level of understanding of the period.
3) "Yeltsin's radical reformers often welcomed IMF and US pressure as justified for the harsh and hugely unpopular monetary policies they had advocated on their own." Utter nonsense. Yeltsin's reformers were far from radical. They followed the radical reform path for six months. After which, Yeltsin fostered a perfect storm of economic chaos, rapid privatization and continued Soviet subsidies. This created the endemic culture of rents which haunts Russia even today. They wholly ignored the IMF when pressured to stop. How is this welcoming IMF pressure?
4) The thesis (America's "neocolonial approach" is at fault) is unfounded and dangerously incendiary. Yeltisn's failure to properly implement reform perpetuated rents, rather than end them. In the end the West paid market prices for oil, minerals, and timber when the goods were sold to the highest bidder on the global exchange.
Yeltsin lost Russia and the Russians looted themselves into poverty.
Yet, it must be nice to be the President of the Nixon Center.
Oct 22, 2007
What a crazy monster!
RFE/RL: Lukashenka is known for his often unpredictable, and sometimes bizarre, outbursts. But perhaps until now, he hasn't been known internationally as an anti-Semite. Talking to a group of Russian journalists on Oct 12 about the past living conditions of the southeastern town of Babruysk, Lukashenka said, "It was scary to enter, it was a pigsty. That was mainly a Jewish town -- and you know how Jews treat the place where they are living...Look at Israel, I've been [there]. I really don't want to offend anyone -- but they don't care much about, say, grass being cut, like in Moscow," Lukashenka said. Lukashenka also called on Jews "with money" to return to Babruysk, once a thriving Jewish center.
Oct 20, 2007
Oct 19, 2007
"IT WAS DAMAGING enough when President Bush misread Russian President Vladimir Putin early in his administration and then for years refused to acknowledge Russia's downward spiral toward authoritarianism. Now, rather than admit error, Mr. Bush apparently has decided to blame the Russian people -- and in so doing he is undermining a central tenet of his presidency...
"But at a White House news conference Wednesday, Mr. Bush questioned "whether or not it's possible to reprogram the kind of basic Russian DNA, which is a centralized authority." In so doing, he echoed the laziest thinking of cultural determinists -- those who said that South Korea could never be democratic because of its Confucian culture, and were proved wrong; who said that Indonesia could never be democratic because of its Muslim faith, and were proved wrong; and who say today that Russia will never escape its czar-serf history."
Oct 18, 2007
From Telegeography Update:
MTS Ukraine serves up first home grown BlackBerry
MTS Ukraine (formerly UMC) has launched BlackBerry mobile secure e-mail devices for its corporate customers, in partnership with Canadian developer Research in Motion (RIM) and Alcatel-Lucent. Service activation for up to 20 users costs around USD8,300 with monthly fees of USD60 per user. Ukrainian businesses already use BlackBerry devices, but only in roaming mode via subscriptions to foreign mobile operators. Russian parent company MTS planned to launch the BlackBerry in Russia in 2005, but the service is still not available there because it failed to reach an agreement with RIM on security issues. According to Russian legislation, state agencies must be able to monitor all communication services.
And proof that iPhone fans are as whiny in Russia as in the US…even if they are using illegally obtained iphones…
Oct 17, 2007
Oct 16, 2007
Oct 15, 2007
Oct 15th 2007
THE distribution of computing skills across Europe shows a clear pattern according to a recent report from the European Union. The inhabitants of southern and eastern Europe are the least adept at using computers and the internet. Computer whizzes are more likely to be found in a edge running from Germany up to the Nordic countries. Bulgarians seem a little baffled by the online revolution. But IT skills correlate closely with long-standing access to computers, broadband penetration and the like. As these improve, countries that now lag may encourage a new wave of nerds to emerge. The index was compiled looking both at users' abilities and at their use of theinternet to interact with government and business.
(The Moscow Times) "When legendary Soviet actor Vladimir Etush heard thieves had paid a visit to his home for the second time in two months, he likely feared the worst. Instead, when he got home, he found an apology note and that half of the jewelry that was stolen on the first visit had been returned."We will return the rest later," the note concluded. Etush was robbed at the end of July.
Ironically, one of Entush's most popular roles was as adentist whose apartment is robbed in a 1970s Soviet film. When the thieves returned last week to slip a cellophane bag with half of the stolen items under Etush's front door, the actor was at the Amur Autumn film festival in the Far East city of Blagoveshchensk with his wife, Yelena.
"Excuse us, we had to do it," the note began. "We are returning some. We will return the rest later."
"I don't believe that there will be a time when Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians stop drinking."
President Lukashenka also told Russian journalists that he is skeptical about any official efforts to curb the hard-drinking culture deeply rooted in Belarus, Belapan reported. "I don't believe that there will be a time when Russians, Ukrainians, and Belarusians stop drinking. This is our national tradition," the Belarusian president asserted. "We say that it's better to drink low-alcohol beverages, but we will drink anyway. It's inevitable," he added. Lukashenka revealed that he is not an alcohol lover. "I don't like beer at all. It has a bitter, nasty taste for me," he said. But Lukashenka also confessed that he has to drink in his role as president. "I'm not saying that I don't drink; how can a president not drink? Just imagine that there are presidents sitting around a table -- they are not just drinking, but drinking well, especially those from ex-Soviet countries." Lukashenka recalled his drinking sessions with former Russian President Yeltsin, recalling that it took him days to recover afterward.
You can add Poles to the list too, considering former President Kwasniewski's performance in Kyiv earlier this fall.
Did the Kremlin leak the story? Is it a real story at all? Nobody knows. But we're anticipating all of the priceless pictures and razor sharp insights into our beloved mono-polar world expected at the meeting. [Picture from a previous visit, just to get you in the mood.]
"When asked about criticism that it could harm relations with Turkey -- a key ally in the war in Iraq and a fellow member of NATO -- Pelosi said, 'There's never been a good time," adding that it is important to pass the resolution now "because many of the survivors are very old.'"
Meanwhile, the Administration appears to be pleading with Ankara not to plow across the border into Iraqi Kurdistan . Reuters reports that “Kurdish rebels shot dead 13 Turkish soldiers last Sunday, the worst such incident in years and likely to put more pressure on the government to authorize a cross-border military strike against Kurdish bases in Iraq.” This story has all the fun and potential of a Ziguli stuffed with anxious cobras.
Not a good time indeed.
Oct 10, 2007
It's just not as catchy...lighten up, bloggers.
Foreign Policy: For the past several years, visitors to Google search page have smiled at the scribbles of Dennis Hwang, the graphic designer who makes the creative sketches that are incorporated into the Google logo on special occasions. For the most part, Hwang's doodles have been viewed as a public expression of Google whimsy, a way to have a little fun and inject some levity into what would otherwise be a dull, minimalist home page. But last week, this seemingly harmless logo offended some people. The doodle was intended to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the launch of Sputnik. But some conservative bloggers are angry that Google honored an achievement of the United States' totalitarian archenemy during the Cold War.
Oct 9, 2007
Oct 5, 2007
The Iran-Libya Sanctions Act 0f 1996, and Bill Clinton's follow-on Executive Order 13059 (Prohibiting Certain Transactions With Respect to Iran), are very clear. It is illegal for:
"d) any transaction or dealing by a United States person, wherever located, including purchasing, selling, transporting, swapping, brokering, approving, financing, facilitating, or guaranteeing, in or related to...(i) goods or services of Iranian origin or owned or controlled by the Government of Iran."
Soooo....if Turkey ships Iranian gas to OMV's distribution network in Central-East Europe, then every US embassy and every US company, and every US citizen, "subsidiary, or successor" in any Central-East European country, will be in violation of US law for flipping on a light switch, plugging in an ipod, or heating their buildings, because this act requires that they pay their gas or electric bill. By doing so, they are "financing, facilitating...goods of Iranian origin," since Iranian gas generates the electricity they're using.
The language of current US law is so sweeping that, any US company, subsidiary, successor, or individual, anywhere in the world, could technically be forbidden from doing any business. One reading of the law could already apply to US companies like Ford, GE, and Cisco Systems, which are in Turkey, and therefore, using Turkish electricity, which is using Iranian gas.
If a US company, subsidiary, or individual, anywhere in the world, buys electricity made from Iranian gas, or even co-mingled with Iranian gas, then that person or group is effectively "financing and facilitating" Iranian gas exports. And that poor US tourist who rented a car and filled up his tank at an OMV gas station, they too are "aiding terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction" by purchasing energy which was co-mingled with energy exports from Iran. And they don't even know it.
If that same tourist did know, then it would make for one wild time at US customs on the return home.
--"What was the purpose of your trip?"
--"Oh, we took a leisure drive through Southeast Europe to aid terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction."
Now, none of this can possibly be enforced. And that presents all sorts of problems for any current or future US administration that pretends to be "tough on Iran" but then lets everyone openly violate the sanctions regime.
If we really meant what we said about Iran, we'd enforce our laws to the letter, and do more to destroy the global economy than any Iranian nuke ever could.
Oct 4, 2007
Jen: I completely fell out of my chair on this one. The contest looks like a great place for Borat to find a new wife...the funniest part is how the article tries to cover a serious topic (land restitution and property rights) but the contest is so...damn...funny! And 50.000 people is like 2% of the population!
Happy Birthday. Now blow out your candle.
Oct 3, 2007
However, one side-note is telling. Reuters reports, "Amid concerns about a possible re-run of a gas cut-off last year that caused knock-on disruption in EU countries, Gazprom's chairman, Dmitry Medvedev, said there was no need for concern. 'European consumers won't suffer,' he told Russian news agencies. 'For European consumers the situation will be absolutely comfortable.'
Hold the phone. Along with solving Europe's energy needs, it would seem that Gazprom has also untied the Gordian knot of the "What is Europe" question. If Ukraine isn't Europe, that must mean Russia isn't in Europe either, right Dmitry?
Oct 2, 2007
Oct 1, 2007
"I gratefully accept your proposal to head the United Russia list," Putin said at a congress of the party, which is expected to maintain its dominance of parliament in the Dec. 2 election.
Putin called a proposal that he become prime minister "entirely realistic" but added that it was still "too early to think about it." Reports IHT.
RFE/RL: "Tymoshenko's bloc so far holds 33.5 percent of the vote with just over half the votes counted. Yanukovych's pro-Russia party is close behind with 30.5 percent, while the Our Ukraine-People's Self-Defense party of President Viktor Yushchenko is trailing in third with just 15.7 percent."
Always quoteworthy, Yanukovych opined, "We are the winners of these elections."