Apr 30, 2007

It just goes to show...

...drunken rioting is the answer.

RFE/RL: The Estonian govt has sped up plans to reerect a Soviet-era war memorial in a bid to defuse deadly tensions over its removal from central Tallinn. The Foreign Ministry said that preparatory work will start today at the Tallinn military cemetery to relocate the Bronze Soldier. The statue was removed April 17 from a site in central Tallinn where it had stood for decades. One man was killed and more than 150 people injured in the two nights of protests at the move.

Estonian PM Andrus Ansip has appealed for calm and tolerance in the country following 2 days of riots. In the nationally televised address on the evening of April 28, Ansip also denounced the rioters, saying pictures of what he called "drunk shoplifters" being shown around the world was insulting to the memory of those who fought in World War II.

German Scientists Deny 5 Centuries of Bulgaria's History

To be fair, Germans like to deny a lot of history...

The Sofia Weekly: German scientists from the Eastern Europe Institute with the University of Berlin have sparked controversy in Bulgaria, claiming that the 5-century long Ottoman reign over the country was a sham. They say that 1 of the most horrendous acts in Bulgaria's history - the slaughter at Batak, has been a myth. They are planning a science conference on May 18 to announce their theory while the citizens of Batak are ready to stop them at any cost.

Nearly 5,000 people of the town of Batak including women and children were slaughtered, beheaded or burned alive by Ottoman irregulars who left piles of dead bodies around the town square and church in 1876, giving start of the April Uprising. American journalist Januarius McGahan, who 1st described the Turkish atrocities in Bulgaria had exaggerated in his reports, the two Germans claimed. Batak's Mayor Petar Paunov is outraged at the new allegations and say that they are a sacrilege and an insult to the memory of the people from the town.

Apr 27, 2007

In Turkmenistan, the more things change...

...the more they stay the same. From RFE/RL...

RFE/RL's correspondents in Turkmenistan are facing increased threats and harassment from government authorities. At least 7 RFE/RL correspondents in the country have had their land-line and mobile telephones blocked in recent weeks - seriously curtailing their ability to gather and report information. RFE/RL reporters in the country say security officials are following them daily and interfering in their private lives. In the latest incident, on April 26, the son of an RFE/RL correspondent and his girlfriend were detained and questioned for 8 hrs in Ashgabat.
In Sept 2006, RFE/RL journalist Ogulsapar Muradova died while in custody in a Turkmen prison.

Estonia Removes Monumental Propaganda

Ballsy move, Estonia. Now you get no gas. From CNN...

Estonia removed the controversial statue of a Red Army Soviet soldier from the Centrex of the capital in the early hours on Friday after violent riots against its removal in which one man was killed. Russia reacted furiously to the move and its upper house of parliament voted to ask Putin to sever relations with the small Baltic state. The statue was taken away in the early hours after the worst violence seen in years in Estonia, including vandalism and looting by mainly Russian-speaking protesters.

Estonia has said the monument is a public order problem as it attracts Estonian and Russian nationalists.

Apr 26, 2007

What was that loud thud?

Oh, that was just the iron curtain slamming down again.

RFE/RL: NATO Sec.-Gen. Jaap de Hoop Scheffer wants clarification of Putin's call for a moratorium in Russia's compliance with the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty. De Hoop Scheffer said NATO remains committed to the CFE, which limits military deployments across Europe. Putin said Russia would freeze its compliance with the CFE Treaty because NATO members have not ratified the pact and are not abiding by its provisions.

The CFE was signed in 1990 by members of NATO and the Warsaw Pact. It was modified in 1999 after the breakup of the Warsaw Pact and expansion of NATO. Only 4 countries - Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Ukraine - have ratified the revised treaty. NATO members say they will ratify the new version of the treaty once Russia meets commitments it made in 1999 to withdraw its forces from Georgia and Ukraine.

Burning Bust of Pushkin

Not a bad name for a band or a drugged out biography....

Podrobnosti.ua: Минувшей ночью во Львове сожгли бюст поэта Александра Пушкина, установленный на фасаде Русского культурного центра. "Сожгли бюст Пушкина и разбили камнями все четыре окна", - сказала сотрудница центра. По ее словам, бюст был изготовлен из синтетического материала, его облили горючей смесью, и он сгорел полностью.

Apr 25, 2007

"We cannot afford a positive news gap!"

Stephen Colbert makes some suggestions regarding the increasingly restrictive laws on the Russian media...

Emomali Goes West, Sort of...

Tajik Foreign Minister Hamrokhon Zarifi recently set the record straight. "Russia was, is, and will remain our strategic partner and ally." So much for his street-rep as the “pro-Western foreign minister.”

Some analysts have termed these "conflicting signals," since the foreign ministry informed world governments that hereafter, President Emomali Rahmonov will be known as Emomali Rahmon. (Get it, he's "Western and hip.") What is more, all civilian registry offices "will now use Persian names, dropping the Slavic endings of -ev and -ov when registering births." (Jamestown)

If he really wants to impress us, Eternal Remonst suggests Emomali change his name to "Puff Rahmon," then "P-Ram," and lastly, the President formerly known as P-Ram. That'll at least ensure an MTV cribs special, and maybe even an appearance on TRL. (Dare to dream!)
But what do we know?

Apr 24, 2007

Orange Lung

I guess Ukraine hasn't developed DARE yet...

From podrobnosti.ua: Каждый пятый школьник в Украине в возрасте 11-12 лет курит, а каждый второй уже пробовал алкогольные напитки. Такие данные огласила глава наблюдательного совета международного благотворительного фонда "Украина 3000" Катерина Ющенко в ходе открытия второго международного форума "Возрождение. Обновление. Развитие человека", который проходит в международном детском центре "Артек" (Крым) с 24 по 28 апреля. По ее словам, результаты социальных исследований свидетельствуют о том, что в возрасте до 10 лет 40 % мальчиков и 20 % девочек уже пробовали алкоголь. В 12 лет алкогольные напитки пробовали уже 50% детей. Кроме того, к 11 годам 17% школьников начинают курить сигареты. Катерина Ющенко также отметила, что на сегодня каждый десятый студент или школьник употреблял наркотики хотя бы раз. А каждый ребенок в возрасте 14-15 лет живет постоянной половой жизнью.

Sour Grapes

From CNN: Croatia and Hungary will this week demand compensation from UEFA to cover the costs of their failed bid to host Euro 2012, the Croatian FA said on Tuesday. Local media reported that as much as two million euros ($2.71 million), which is roughly the sum Hungary and Croatia invested in the bid, could be sought. The 2012 European Championship was last week awarded to Poland and Ukraine instead of Italy or the joint Croatia-Hungary bid, which many observers saw as a major surprise. Croatian FA President Vlatko Markovic said he held a meeting with UEFA President Michel Platini on Monday and expressed his disappointment with the outcome of the bid.

"Money is important but what matters more is our reputation," Markovic said.

Croatia and Hungary's joint bid did not receive a single vote.

Apr 23, 2007

Some thoughts on Yeltsin

These are taken from emails sent into CNN today.

Victor, Bahamas
Boris Yeltsin was the man who -- more so than anybody else -- ended the cold war with his bravery. He had many fine moments, but few leaders in history have had one as magnificent as when he got up and stood on that tank, facing down decades of history with just his will. Boris Yeltsin was my personal hero.

Erik of Mansfield, Ohio
Boris Yeltsin is a modern Lenin. He was a leader after yet another change in the regime. He made many political advances and helped Russia "come out in the open" and ease fears of the Cold War. He will be remembered by many Russians and American-Russians.

Datril of Owings Mills, Maryland
I remember Boris Yeltsin for laughing with Pres Clinton ... that was truly funny -- an American pres and Russian pres laughing together -- who would ever thought that would happen? And also when he had an interview with an American reporter. The reporter asked him a question, Yeltsin looked at the reporter and said, "either you are an idiot or the translator is" -- but his facial expression was to die for! RIP Yeltsin!

A Tribute: Rest in Peace Boris Yeltsin

Boris Yeltsin, the first president of an independent Russia, has died at the age of 76, reportedly of heart failure. Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin, son of Siberian peasants, began his career building machines and ended up reshaping a nation

Apr 20, 2007

Putin's Half Baked Plan Not Doing So Hot

Shocking, from RFE/RL: On June 22, 2006, Vladimir Putin issued a decree initiating an ambitious 6-year program designed to facilitate the voluntary repatriation of some of the estimated 30 million Russians living abroad. The program, meant to counter Russia's demographic crisis, officially entered its active phase on January 1, 2007. But Russia's regions still seem unwilling, or unprepared, to accept large numbers of newcomers. Additionally, it appears that only a few hundred people have applied for repatriation, despite promises of receiving Russian citizenship within 6 months of their return.

In conclusion, the Russian population is doomed. You can't have a state without people! Pretty soon Putin will be the proud leader of the largest reindeer reserve in the world.

Let's Drive to Russia!

From VOA: Russia is considering an ambitious plan that dates back to czarist times: building a tunnel under the Bering Sea to Alaska. While few Americans have heard of the project, it has the strong support of a former Alaskan governor. The idea to tunnel under the Bering Sea first emerged more than a century ago under the last Russian czar, Nicholas II. Tunnel proponents have revived the idea in recent years, most recently on Wednesday, when it was repeated in Moscow by Viktor Razbegin, the deputy head of industrial research at the Russian ministry of economic development and trade. The tunnel would carry a railway, highway, pipelines, fiber optic lines and power cables. Critics dismiss the project as a pipedream, citing the distant location, harsh environmental conditions and huge costs associated with a tunnel nearly 100 kilometers long. Governor Hickel, however, says it will not only be built, but that it will change the world.

Apr 19, 2007

Leading causes of death in Russia:

cirrosis of the liver, drug resistant TB, AIDS, and now airplane accidents. Frank was right: "Russia is not a viable state."

RFE/RL: If you're planning a plane trip in Russia this summer, you might want to think again. A study released this week by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) shows that Russia and other former Soviet countries are the world's most dangerous places for air travel. The Geneva-based organization estimates that the accident rate for these countries, grouped together in the study, was 8.6 per 1 million flights last year. This is twice the rate of Africa and 13 times the global average for 2006, which was the safest year on record worldwide.

Aren't resolutions supposed to resolve something?

RFE/RL: The Council of Europe's Parliamentary Assembly has passed a resolution criticizing Ukraine's leadership for failing to pass substantive political reforms in the years since the 2004 Orange Revolution. European lawmakers urged Ukraine's leadership to resolve its political crisis in "a quick, democratic, and legitimate manner." In a heated debate before the resolution's passage, lawmakers criticized both Yushchenko and Yanukovych.

But seriously, 1st problem, what is the point of passing a resolution that resolves nothing? They had a session to complain about a situation. Good work Council of Europe. Pat yourselves on the back, because no other political group had recognized that the crisis in Ukraine stems from weak institutions and weak leadership.

2nd problem, "quick, democratic, and legitimate manner." Anything that resolves this quickly will necessarily NOT be democratic. Democracy moves slowly, that's why 40% of Ukrainian are willing to give up their rights to resolve the situation. They know democracy will take a long time.

40% of Ukrainians are Terrorists

Prodrobnosti.ua: 40% украинцев готовы пожертвовать своими свободами ради порядка в стране. Более трети украинцев (39,8%) выступают за обеспечение в стране порядка, даже если это ограничит их права и свободы. 47,4% респондентов считают, что в настоящее время важнее всего - безусловное соблюдение прав и свобод человека, без чего в будущем невозможно обеспечение безопасности и порядка в стране. Затруднились с ответом 12,8%. При этом большинство опрошенных - 55,6% - убеждены, что украинская армия способна защитить права граждан случае силового противостояния ветвей государственной власти, из этого числа половина уверены, что армия не будет вмешиваться в конфликты.

Apr 18, 2007

What's a Nuclear Missile Submarine Without Nuclear Missiles?

...Why the Yuri Dolgoruky of course, the latest addition to the Russian Navy. This week, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov trekked up to the White Sea for the launch of the new Borei class nuclear missile submarine. The only problem? The Russians don't have any missiles to install. Instead, Moscow is going to put the ship to sea and let the crew make laps around the ocean...all the while praying to Neptune the thing doesn't sink. (Kremlin watchers take note -- as Ivanov was given the nod to MC the event, looking oh-so-presidential in his duties.)

Apr 17, 2007

I hate to do this...

...but I disagree with Tymoshenko on this one. I do however still aspire to rock out Ukraine in a sweet head braid this July.

podrobnosti.ua: Юлия Тимошенко заявляет, что ее политическая сила не признает никакого решения Конституционного суда и считает, что КС не должен быть участником разрешения политического кризиса в Украине. По словам Тимошенко, разрешать политический кризис может "только народ на внеочередных выборах". "Я считаю, что никакого решения конституционного суда не нужно - ни в одну пользу, ни в другую", - сказала она, добавив, что любое решение КС только усилит политический кризис в стране.

Apr 16, 2007

I love Bulgaria....

Sofia Weekly: Bulgaria's famous illusionist Astor finally opened the safe that had been taunting Sofia citizens for 2 days only to find a bottle of beer inside. Sofia citizens had the chance to decode the secret number combination and to win what was hidden in the safe. More than 2,500 people tried hoping they would be in for a big prize. Astor and Carlsberg Bulgaria's head Alexander Grancharov revealed the mysterious prize - a special edition bottle of Shumensko beer, dedicated on the beverage's 125th anniversary. Those who didn't get to win the prize shouldn't despair for they will be able to buy the limited edition bottle for BGN 0.7 to BGN 0.8 at the stores, starting April 20th.

Rabbit Orgy in Hungary Ends Badly

"AP BUDAPEST, Hungary - Five thousand rabbits blocked a highway Monday, tying up traffic after the truck that was carrying them collided with another vehicle and overturned. Neither driver was hurt, but some 500 rabbits were killed, authorities said. By midday, 4,400 bunnies had been rounded up, but 100 were still roaming the fields surrounding the highway. 'Those 100 are free to go. We will not collect them," authoriteis said. "The ending wasn't so happy for the ones that were recaptured. They were expected to complete the trip to a slaughterhouse."

Cold War...Back on!

From Gazeta Wyborcza: На киевском Майдане, занятом сторонниками Виктора Януковича, праздновали День космонавтики, 46 годовщину "подвига советского парня, Юрия Гагарина, нашего земляка". Днем ранее Майдан слушал группу "СССР" из "братской Беларуси". Гости пели: "Я клятву дал Советскому Союзу, и никому другому ее не принесу". Потом говорили о восстановлении "общего славянского дома". Зрителям нравилось.

Каждый второй выступающий здесь уверяет "товарищей", что Виктор Ющенко плохой, потому что им руководят империалисты из США, которые хотят поработить славян. Майдан понимает, Майдан с этим согласен.

Apr 13, 2007

Cheburashka Worth $10 million

He has delighted generations of Russian children, but now Cheburashka, a cuddly cartoon character with oversize ears, is at the center of a multimillion-dollar bid to secure his rights. Alisher Usmanov, a metals mogul, says he wants to buy back the international rights to Cheburashka from the U.S. firm Films by Jove. Usmanov is ranked as Russia’s 25th richest man by "Forbes" magazine, with a fortune of $3.1 billion. The Moscow office of Usmanov’s Metalloinvest holding company told RFE/RL it would not comment on the deal until it had been completed. But Usmanov told Russian media this week the talks had been tough: he has offered $3 million for the cartoons, but Films by Jove want $10.

Apr 12, 2007

YES! Tajikistan is becoming the new Turkmenistan!

God bless you Rahmon for keeping me entertained!

RFE/RL: Just days after Tajikistan's president ordered a ban on students' use of cell phones and private cars, and on lavish parties, Education Minister A. Rahmonov has signaled bans on both headscarves and miniskirts for university students. Pres. Emomali Rahmon ordered the ban on phones, cars, and parties in late March. "Teacher and student sit in a restaurant together and drink alcohol. What kind of behavior is that? You must prohibit it," Rahmon said. Shortly after the pres.'s announcement, traffic police appeared outside university buildings in the capital, Dushanbe, to punish students who drove to school.

Shokirjon Hakimov, a politician and the head of the Faculty of Law and International Relations at Tajik International University in Dushanbe, says recent presidential decrees like the de-Russification of surnames, as well as bans on gold caps on teachers' teeth and lavish parties, remind him of the late Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov.

Apr 11, 2007

I knew her braid had supernatural powers!

Бродский: Тимошенко с помощью гипноза держала меня при себе

Лидер Партии свободных демократов М. Бродский заявил, что Ю. Тимошенко практикует непрозрачное формирование партийных списков и продажу мест в них. Бродский также рассказал, как семь раз пытался покинуть БЮТ. В то же время Бродский утверждает, что работа в штабе Тимошенко лично для него постоянно была связана со страданиями, и не только моральными. "Я считаю, что Юлия Владимировна обладает даром гипноза и влияет на людей, которые не в состоянии ей жестко противостоять. И чем более интеллигентный человек, тем более велика магия ее колдовства, - сказал Бродский. - Я сам несколько раз был как зомби, и еле выходил из этого состояния".

Could there be a connexion?

RFE/RL but these items back to back. Is it possible the increase in imprisoned Russians, could be a result of a drunker Russian population?

PRISON POPULATION GROWS. Yury Kalinin, who heads the Federal Corrections Service, said on April 6 that "the total number of prison inmates in Russia increased by almost 50,000 in 2006." He added "there was a further increase of 12,000 in January and February 2007." He acknowledged that "pretrial detention centers are overcrowded. That's because arrests are a broadly used measure, even for minor offenses." He stressed that "we are doing all we can to make prisons as transparent as possible." He added, however, that rights activists, if allowed to visit prisons, "start inventing things." (Start inventing things like murder, rape, hunger, and a 100 percent drug resistant TB infection rate)

ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION RISES 3FOLD IN 15 YEARS. The consumer rights watchdog Rospotrebnadzor said on April 9 that "annual per capita alcohol consumption in Russia has almost tripled since the 1990s and amounts to around 15 liters." The agency noted that increased consumption of alcoholic substances such as cleaning fluids and perfumes has greatly contributed to the rise. Low-alcohol beverages, including beer, have become more popular in recent years, but vodka sales have not been affected. The authorities are particularly concerned about rising alcohol consumption by teens and women.

Apr 10, 2007

Colbert on Hungarians

Apr 9, 2007

Russia's Internet Gets Soviet Makeover

"April 10 (Bloomberg) -- President Vladimir Putin has already brought Russian newspapers and television to heel. Now he's turning his attention to the Internet. As the Kremlin gears up for the election of Putin's successor next March, Soviet-style controls are being extended to online news after a presidential decree last month set up a new agency to supervise both mass media and the Web.

"....In December, a court in the Siberian region of Khakassia shut down the Internet news site Novy Fokus for not registering as a media outlet."

Eternal Remont's servers are located in an hardened bunker in the bikini atoll, viva la revolution!

Baku wants the 2016 Olympics

Do you think Taleh will be president of Azerbaijan by then?

Azerbaijan's capital, Baku, is bidding to host the 2016 Summer Olympics. Pres Ilham Aliyev made the announcement today during the opening of a sports complex in the town of Masalli, south of Baku. The gathering was attended by European Olympic Committee Pres Patrick Hickey. Bid cities have until Sept 15 to submit a letter of interest to the International Olympic Committee (IOC), which will announce its selection for the host city in 2009. Tokyo, Rio de Janeiro, and Prague have already announced plans to bid for the 2016 games.

Apr 7, 2007

Коммунисты утверждают, что во Львове готовят военный батальон

From podrobnosti.ua: Пресс-служба Коммунистической партии Украина сообщает о том, что во Львове готовят военный батальон для подавления акций в Киеве. "Как сообщают источники, приближенные к руководству Национального университета "Львовская политехника", батальон обеспечения учебного процесса Института сухопутных войск находится в состоянии повышенной готовности и получил боевой комплект в соответствии с требованиями военного времени", - говорится в сообщении пресс-службы КПУ, распространенном в субботу, 7 апреля.

Apr 5, 2007

Kyrgyzstan is Predictable

It's that time of year again. After a long, cold winter, the People of Kyrgyzstan are making ready for their annual springtime ritual: deposing the government.

"With only one week left until Kyrgyzstan’s two main opposition blocs, “United Front” and “For Reforms,” plan to stage a large-scale demonstration to remove Kyrgyz President Kurmanbek Bakiyev from office, neither the president nor the opposition are willing to start negotiations. Meanwhile, Kyrgyz experts and media warn of the possibility of violent clashes between the opposition and the government."

Bandannas are optional.

Rakmon wants his treasure back...

...all that gold and silver could make a nice rotating statue. Just a thought...

RFE/RL: Pres. Emomali Rahmon announced on April 4 that Britain should return a collection of ancient gold and silver, known as the Oxus treasure, to Tajikistan. Rahmon (formerly referred to as Imomali Rakhmonov) issued instructions to his diplomatic representatives to actively seek the return of the objects, which are currently held at the British Museum. First discovered near Tajikistan's Amudarya River in 1877, the Oxus treasure includes a collection of roughly 170 pieces dating from the 4th and 5th centuries BC -- comprising vessels, armlets, seals, finger rings, and coins. The most impressive pieces in the collection include the image of Alexander the Great as Hercules, a sheath bearing the image of a lion holding a fallow deer, and chest facings of ivory and decorated with carved drawings, and the biggest collection of arrow tips in Central Asia (more than 5,000).

Apr 4, 2007

Come Visit Beautiful Chernobyl:

Some British guy claims the radiation is about the same as in Kyiv...

From UNIAN: The risk of survivors of the Chernobyl accident dying early is far less than supposed, ranking about the same as exposure to air pollution or passive smoking, according to new research published. Jim Smith has been a regular visitor to the contaminated 30-km "exclusion zone" around Chernobyl and has found wildlife to be thriving there. Some people are also living in the area and surviving well into their 70s. "Populations still living unofficially in the abandoned lands around Chernobyl may actually have a lower health risk from radiation than they would have if they were exposed to the air pollution health risk in a large city such as nearby Kyiv," Smith wrote in the journal BioMedCentral Public Health.

"The mis-perception of radiation risks has caused serious economic, social and psychological problems for the population," he said. The World Health Organisation puts at 9000 the number of people expected to die of radiation exposure from Chernobyl, while environmental group Greenpeace has predicted an eventual death toll of 93,000. Smith's research was funded by Britain's government-backed Natural Environment Research Council.

Georgia is taking Russia to court

I didn't even know you could do that...

RFE/RL: The Georgian Justice Ministry has announced that it has filed a lawsuit against Moscow at the European Court of Human Rights over Russia's mass deportations of Georgians in fall 2006. The suit is the first involving any of the former Soviet states and could set a precedent for other CIS governments seeking redress from Moscow, or from each other. The suit refers to the 100s of Georgians in Russia who were rounded up, accused of immigration offenses, and loaded onto planes bound for Georgia. The deportations were part of a series of punitive measures taken by Moscow after the arrest in Tbilisi of four Russian intelligence officers on spying charges.

It remains to be seen whether the Strasbourg court will accept the Georgian lawsuit as having sufficient evidence to merit a ruling. If the court agrees to hear the case, it may be three years or more before Tbilisi can expect a verdict.

So there are as many as 10,000 Belarusian millionaires...

...keeping their millions in coffee cans behind the refrigerator?

RFE/RL: Pavel Kalaur, 1st deputy head of the National Bank of Belarus, told journalists in Minsk on Apr. 3 that there are currently no methods to determine the number of millionaires in the country. Last week, Syarhey Kastsyuchenka, head of the private Priorbank, asserted that the number of dollar millionaires in Belarus is between 7,000 & 10,000. "It is the task of the government to think how to get this money in bank accounts. If we manage to draw at least 1,000 of these millionaires into banks, this will mean $1 billion for the banking sector," Kastsyuchenka added. Kalaur noted that Kastsyuchenka's estimate of the number of millionaires in Belarus is dubious.

Craziest f-ing thing I have ever seen

A Russian girl and a Mongolian girl battle for a flexibility title on what appears to be a Japanese game show.

Real Full Lengh Of SUPER FLEX - Click here for more free videos

Apr 3, 2007

Who needs the OSCE?

Tajikistan and the OSCE just finished up a meeting on security in Central Asia, prompting the Russian ambassador to shift uncomfortably in his chair and state that, since Russia has no “imperial intentions” in Central Asia, the Tajiks need look no further than Russia for their security.

"Referring to the positive input Russia has offered Tajikistan since its independence, he pointed to the development of a strategic partnership between the two countries but stressed that Russia is not striving for “leadership in the region.'" (Jamestown)


Ukrainians take to the streets again...

...don't these people ever work?

RFE/RL: Here we go again. The streets of Kyiv are filling up with opposing demonstrators clad in orange and blue. Just another crisis in the new democratic Ukraine. Pres. Yushchenko has disbanded parliament in the name of the constitution. PM Yanukovych -- citing the very same constitution -- has declared the move illegal and vowed to resist. But why exactly do political disputes in the former Soviet Union tend to spill out on to the streets? Alexander Rahr of the German Council on Foreign Relations says the problem lies in the lack of democratic traditions. Part of the problem lies in the neighborhood these countries are forced to live in -- one dominated by an increasingly authoritarian Russia with strong interests in its neighbors' affairs.

Apr 2, 2007

And so he deserved to be poisoned with polonium?

Is that what the Russians are trying to say?

RFE/RL: Russian state television launched an attack on Aleksandr Litvinenko. RTR reported that 4 years ago, Litvinenko offered an acquaintance millions of dollars in exchange for false testimony against Russian security services. The acquaintance, identified as Pyotr, claims that Litvinenko offered him money to falsely testify that security agents were plotting to kill exiled tycoon and Kremlin critic Boris Berezovsky. Pyotr says he refused but was forced to record the accusations after being drugged at a meeting with Litvinenko and another Berezovsky associate. Berezovsky has rejected the allegations. The report said the tape was a key element in a British court's decision to reject a Russian request to extradite Berezovsky.

Apr 1, 2007

How do I get on this TV show?! I love Klichko!

Известный украинский боксер, чемпион мира по версии IBF Владимир Кличко дал согласие на участие в новом реалити-шоу на немецком канале ZDF, говорится в сообщении телекомпании. Шоу заключается в том, что Владимиру будет дана возможность в течение 24 часов выбрать себе невесту из 12 претенденток. Перед этой финальной частью будет показан сам процесс отбора 12 кандидаток на роль невесты боксера. Девушки должны будут пройти несколько испытаний, которые пока держатся в секрете.