What are Russians' thoughts about Obama and McCain?
Russia scraps right to jury trial
Russia has scrapped the right to trial by jury for people accused of organising violent crime, terrorism and civil unrest.
12 Dec 2008
The country's parliament voted to back a bill backed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's dominant United Russia party giving three judges the right to rule on cases involving terrorism, hostage-taking, armed insurrection, sabotage and civil disturbances.
The bill will go before Russia's upper house, the Federation Council where approval is expected to be a formality, before it becomes law.
The move came 15 years to the day since the adoption of Russia's first post-Soviet Constitution which reintroduced jury trials abolished by the Bolsheviks in 1917.
Critics said the move raised the spectre of a return to Soviet-style trials ..
Does Putin, Like Lenin, See Film As 'Most Important Of The Arts'?
December 20, 2008
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has announced that he will head a government panel on the film industry, leading many to worry about a return to communist-style state command over this crucial art form.
Although many in the film community are pleased to have the government's attention, others -- like film critic Yury Bogomolov -- worry that it is ideologically driven, following the Soviet-era practice of harnessing the influential medium to boost patriotism and support for the state. [..]
During the hard economic times of the 1990s, the Russian film industry ground to a halt, unable to compete with a flood of foreign films freely available for the first time. Under Vladimir Putin, though, the sector made a remarkable comeback. With generous funding from state agencies -- including the military and the security agencies, all of which have budgets to support media projects that depict them positively -- Russian filmmaking has returned in a big way.
With some 250 films in production in 2007, more than 100 of them fully or partially funded by government agencies, Russia is now Europe's second-largest filmmaker after France. The Defense Ministry and the Orthodox Church have launched their own channels with considerable airtime to fill. Three Russian films were nominated for Academy Awards this year.
Putin has made no secret of his belief that state media, including film, and the schools should actively promote patriotism and national values. [..] Producer Sergei Chliyants told RFE/RL that the council could take either of two directions. [..] “It will be bad if the Putin council begins to read scripts, or dictates what are the socially significant themes, or follows a path of vertical integration and forcing the consolidation of the industry under certain well-known structures.”
On the other hand, Chliyants said, “if this organization combats [intellectual] piracy, helps improve relations between cinema and television or between domestic filmmakers and foreign ones, helps get past some shortcomings in the policies of advancing and promoting our films abroad, then it is good. Because it is true that in our country you can only get something done with the support of the senior leaders." [..]
Putin's right-hand man in reviving Russian film over the last decade has been Nikita Mikhalkov, one of Russia's best-known directors and a former Unified Russia Duma deputy. His moody 1994 film "Burnt By The Sun" captured the grinding daily tension of the height of Stalin's purges and won the Oscar for best foreign-language film. Mikhalkov has headed the Russian Cinematographers Union since 1997.
Mikhalkov is a strong supporter of Putin. Last year, he produced a glowing television biography of Putin to mark the then-president's 55th birthday, and he provoked controversy by issuing an open letter in the name of the union urging Putin to remain as president for a third term, despite a constitutional ban on his doing so.
This week in Moscow, the Cinematographers Union held a disputed congress that Mikhalkov denounced as illegitimate. The union membership is sharply divided over Mikhalkov's authoritarian style and concerned that his close relationship with Putin could result in less independence for filmmakers.
Rossiya TV launched a show to elect the greatest Russian of history, and in the course of a year, millions of votes were cast. Now the final tally is in, and Stalin's in third place, mere thousands of votes removed from the top spot.
The organisers were long embarrassed, but his showing fits right in with efforts by Putin's state to rehabilitate Stalin.
When police last month seized the digital archives of Memorial, with hundreds of thousands of records and stories of Stalin's victims, it felt like someone hammered the very last nail in the coffin of the Perestroika era.
Should I view them as the Bullies of neighborhood?
Also, I get the feeling that some of the nations who wish to be associated with the EU are using the USA/EU as a wedge to take on Russia.
Didn't Georgia precipitate the recent conflict with Russia?
Russia’s biggest yes-men do their utmost to flatter Putin
Russia’s Kommersant Vlast Journal made an unofficial list of Russia’s biggest yes-people in 2008. The list includes most flattering remarks, which Russian politicians made about Prime Minister Putin and President Medvedev. The journal already published such a list before, in 2007 " the chairman of the Russian Central electoral Committee, Vladimir Churov was named the biggest yes-man with his rhetoric question " “Can Putin be ever not right?” This year’s list mostly includes flattering remarks about Vladimir Putin, but was slightly extended with appraisals of Dmitry Medvedev. Politicians, human rights activists, culture activists and journalists " they all flatter Putin, the Prime Minister and Medvedev, the President.
Ten best yes-people in 2008
1. “Your democratism has no limits!” " St. Petersburg Governor Valentina Matviyenko said October 7 during the celebration of Putin’s birthday.
2. “I thank God for Putin and I respect Yeltsin for two things which he did in his life. The first one of them is the moment when he placed his Communist Party card on the table. The second one is the fact that he brought Putin to power,” Russian film director Nikita Mikhalkov said November 25 at his press conference in Kiev.
3. “Vladimir Vladimirovich, it’s very good that you were born!” writer Daniil Granin said October 7 at Putin’s birthday.
4. “After the victory of the Russian national team at the World Hockey Championship, Russian officials have a right to ask their Western colleagues: “Don’t you understand that Putin was doing everything right?” State Duma deputy Sergei Markov said May 19 in an interview with Rosbalt news agency.
5. “If one asks our opposition what they don’t like about Putin and Medvedev they will say something like this: “They are both made of gold, it is true, but this gold is not enough,” a senior official spokesman for United Russia party, Oleg Morozov said June 30 in an interview with Itogi magazine.
6. “We were listening to Vladimir Putin’s suggestions with a lot of attention and respect,” Ekaterinburg Mayor Arkady Chernetsky said February 3 at a local meeting to support Medvedev as a presidential candidate.
7. “We see you as a person who represents a strategic phenomenon per se,” the head of the St. Petersburg Humanitarian University of Trade Unions, Alexander Zapesotsky said October 7 when celebrating Putin’s birthday.
8. “Putin is a giant!” the chairman of board of directors of Financial Corporation Sistema, Vladimir Yevtushenkov said October 2 in an interview with the Vedomosti newspaper.
9. “The life and deeds of Vladimir Putin make an expressive proof of the saying " “It’s not a place that adorns a person. It’s a person that adorns a place.” No matter where he worked, whether it would be a public position or not, his talent, energy and determination have always resulted in success,” the Federation Council chairman Sergei Mironov said October 7 during his official visit to the Irkutsk region.
10. “President Putin has always commanded respect and admiration with me. The people have become kinder " this is an attribute of Putin’s policies,” legal expert of the Lipetsk region, Svetlana Semenova said May 7 in an interview with the Lipetsk Newspaper.
Other flattering remarks about Putin that did not make it in the top ten list.
“To achieve Putin’s level, Medvedev, at least, will need to make all the heroic deeds that Putin has done during eight years of his presidency,” deputy Sergei Markov said in an interview with Gazeta.ru website.
“Every party of the world would like to have a leader like Putin, intelligent, educated and effective,” the chairman of the State Duma Committee for Physical Culture and Sports, Vladislav Tretyak said April 15 prior to the beginning of the United Russia congress.