Mar 31, 2008

The Land of Eternal Remont (Thanks Jen!)

"The old gray mare, she ain't what she used to be,: Ain't what she used to be..."

Guard dog? (And yes, the poodle is chained to a hubcap.)

/sigh, summer.

The sign reads, "This is our favorite store!"

Mar 28, 2008

New Russian Military Technology: Socks

I have no idea how we missed this story from last December. But it's too good to pass over.

It seems Putin wasn't kidding when he promised that Russia would be able to compete with Western military technology. As of 2008, the Russian army will adopt the latest in 18th centuary military innovation: socks.

Since the Napolionic wars, Russia's armed forces have been going commando, sort of. Did anyone ever know they weren't wearing socks?

Ern will no doubt remind us that, it shouldn't be much of a surprise. After all, this is the country which invented a word for "the-grass-that-you-wrap-your-feet-in-when-socks-aren't-avaliable." Eternal Remont curses the heavens for ever forgetting such a nifty vocab word like that. But all non-critical brain cells were lost during a legendary bender in Ivanov.

Anyway, farewell to the beloved portyanki. Just think of the smell....

(Thanks A.!)

FREE Emanuel Zelster

Hi everyone! My coworker considers this man family and has started a blog for him. Emanuel Zeltser is currently unlawfully incarcerated in Belarus. An American citizen, he has been beaten in a KGB controlled jail and denied medication critical to his health. Please take a look. - Ern

Mar 27, 2008

Lavrov is Convinced

"We are convinced that the best way to assuage Russia's concerns ... will be to abandon such plans and turn to a truly collective project," Lavrov told reporters.

Gee, thanks Sergi. So the best way for the US and Russia to solve the impass over missile defence is for the US to just give up.

Mar 25, 2008

FT Asks, Is Russia's Economy Due for a "Cold Shower?"

Medvedev granted FT a high-profile interview. Since it was the FT, he kept himself primarly to economic issues.

The take-away message is that Medvedev remains bullish on energy prices and the Kremlin's cash on hand. He also -- oddly -- claims that Russia's stock market is an "island of stability" amid the global tourmoil. If so, this island has been listing under the waves of late, as the index has dropped -14.2% since Jan. 1, 2008.

Ture, most global markets have been taking a beating, but Russia has fared worse than S. Korea (-13.3%), Brazil (-7.7), Canada (-7.6), and the US (-6.8), during the same period. In Medvedev's defence, the Russian stock exchange has outpreformed the UK (-14.9) and Japan (-18.5). But a -14% bloodbath doesn't really invoke the same image as an "island of stability."

Here's the video highlights.

Mar 14, 2008

Macedonia Convicts Bear of Stealing Honey

SKOPJE (Reuters) - "A Macedonian court convicted a bear of theft and damage for stealing honey from a beekeeper who fought off the attacks with thumping 'turbo-folk' music." (Non-turbo folk pictured.)

And then it gets really wierd.

Mar 13, 2008

How it all Began...

It's officially gone viral. So what the hell.

Mar 12, 2008

"Clan Yanukovych"

Spring is here. That means fantasy baseball time.

Eternal Remont's has already picked its fantasy line-up from Clan Yanukovych.


Mar 7, 2008

Skimming from UkrGazEnergo

Carnegie had a lunch panel yesterday. For those who missed it, you know who you are. NATO, UkrGazEnergo, and the Party of Regions were all on the agenda. Today’s VoA has the highlight film, if you’re interested.

What is not included in the story, is the part where Aslund first hinted, then declined on follow-up, to name the “three main beneficiaries” in Ukraine who profit directly from skimming cash out of UkrGazEnergo.

The flirt.

Aslund did note that Medvedev most likely does not have a stake in the skimming. Instead, the real greed is localized in the Ukrainian side of the venture. While Tymoshenko’s desire to cut UkrGazEnergo out of the loop is a necessary attempt to combat corruption, there is still a substantial amount of cash that is disappearing into the Ukranian government in a “non-transparent manner.”

That's what George Washington Plunkitt calls "honest graft."

Mar 6, 2008

Don't Count You Chips Yet, Nabucco Haters

From today's EDM: "South Stream can be halted in the Black Sea by Ukraine and Romania on a legal basis, at no risk to themselves and with appropriate Western support, until access can be opened to Central Asian gas for Nabucco."

Mar 5, 2008

Never Get Tired of These Photos....

Mar 4, 2008

Ruhnama, the Blog

Igor writes: Bet you never thought you'd hear those two words in the same sentence :)

Behold, the Ruhnama blog, run by "Steve in Wisconsin".

The mission statement:
"A blog examining the Ruhnama of the late President of Turkmenistan, Saparmyrat Turkmenbashy the Great, and the application of the book's principles in daily living."

For a dose of the clinically insane, go here:

My favorite quote: "I started this blog six months after Saparmyrat Turkmenbashy's death because I felt a need to preserve his memory, his teachings, and his vision for the Golden Age should Turkmenistan's new president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, move in the direction he is moving now - away from the guidelines set forth in Ruhnama, guidelines and advice for the future of Turkmenistan and her people."

Postcards from Ufa

Stumbled across a photo of the Ufa Cinema Center. Is it modern, or just poor construction?

Vladimir Churov is Unaware

The Council of Europe issued a negative report on the Russian presidential elections, citing lack of media freedom, denial of candidates, and ballot stuffing at the polls -- the usual suspects. CE delegation head Andreas Gross noted that the "democratic potential" of the Russian electorate "was unfortunately not tapped."

Remember kids, democracy is just like a beer keg. Dude, where's the tap?

Anyway, Russian Central Election Commission Head Vladimir Churov figured it was his job to respond to the nosey assesments of foreigners. "What should I do, should I make CEC members work naked?" Churov then went in for the kill, "I am unawar of any document which would outline a procedure for the use of democratic potential."

Eternal Remont might gratiously point Mr. Churov to Article 32 of the Russian Constitution. It provides a wonderful outline on the right to vote, the principles of representitve government, and even the process of free and open elections.

But that's missing the point, right Churov?

Mar 3, 2008

Banyas are a Good Substitute for Jack Daniels & Drugs

Daily Mail: Hollywood hellraiser Colin Farrell has admitted he is hooked on taking Russian-style steam baths while covered in honey. The star, who kicked a deadly drug habit, found his new addiction while filming in New York. He was a daily visitor to the 10th Street Russian and Turkish Baths where guests are smothered in honey before steaming.

He told GQ Magazine: "There's something very basic about rubbing honey on your skin and going steaming with a bunch of strange Russian men." Farrell admitted he went to rehab to get off ecstasy, cocaine, speed, Jack Daniels and wine.

Holy Crap, Medvedev Won?!?!

Russia’s nail-biting presidential election came down to the wire yesterday, as the world cautiously awaited the outcome of the vote. For it's part, Eternal Remont has stayed above the petty cynicism of western observers who gratutiously forcast the outcome of the event before all the votes were counted.

In the end, Dmitry Medvedev pulled a comfertible 70.23% of the electorate – 2,373,736 more votes than Putin won in his 2004 re-election (Jamestown).

This is not too shabby when your only opponents are, as Anne Applebaum writes,“a clapped out communist, a complete nonentity, and the ludicrous anti-Semite and vulgarian Vladimir Zhirinovsky.” (Here’s the lovable Zhirinovsky ordering his bodyguard to shoot Andrey Bogdanova during a national debate.)

Meanwhile, Richard Perle over at AEI is trying to calm everyone down over the threat of a new arms race with Russia.“We should greet Russian threats to race with amusement and a big yawn: They would be competing against themselves. If Putin wishes to pour petro-rubles into building more missiles, our response should be limited to sympathy for the ordinary Russians whose taxes will be squandered, much as they were with catastrophic consequences during the Cold War.”

So we all extend a big round of applause to President Medvedev. His hard-fought victory on the campaign trail is a testament to his character, including his one and only speech to outline an agenda and a single meet-the-voters-in-short-sleeves “town hall.”

The people have spoken.

Mar 2, 2008

Colbert Wants His Money, Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk!