Merkel doesn’t say goodbye to Putin

Merkel PutinLast Saturday Chancellor of Germany Angela Merkel visited Moscow. Her visit corresponded with International Woman Day which is celebrated on the 8th of March. More importantly, though, Merkel was the first foreign leader to meet not only the current President, but also with President-elect Dmitry Medvedev. Thus, her visit was divided into two parts – formal part and informal one.

Putin met Merkel in his residence in Novo-Ogarevo and reviewed the results of collaboration between Russia and Germany:

“I hope it is not the last meeting with Frau Chancellor, but it is our last meeting while I am President. Our cooperation has been very good. For last 6 years goods turnover has increased 3.5 times and reached 50 billion dollars”.

Frau Chancellor agreed with him and said that it was necessary to look in future for more intensive cooperation between Russia and Germany. Moreover Putin and Merkel also held two-way negotiations and discussed questions of economic cooperation and current world problems.

Russia & Germany: what awaits us?

Some of the results of these negotiations reported during a press-conference, which was organized for German and Russian journalists.

Russia’s President stated that Russia would provide energy for Europe, and to ensure a more reliable supply, Russia will begin construction of gas-pipe with collaboration of Germany. This pipe will run along the bottom of the Baltic Sea and will provide a permanent supply of gas for European consumers. Also Putin promised to continue cooperation with Berlin to settle the situation about Iran, Afganistan and Middle East.

Merkel agreed with Putin, but added that, when it comes to diplomatic problems, each country has its own point of vew. The difference between both leaders’ points of view became clear when the press began to ask questions. For example, Putin called NATO’s expansion as not efficient and even harmful. He said: “I have the impression that the NATO block wants to replace the UN. It forces Ukraine to enter, but people there don’t want it”. On the contrary, Merkel considered that NATO is open to everybody, and had only function was defence against terrorism and other global chanllenges.

The Russian President also called the proclamation of Kosovo’s independence a precedent which would have consequences not only in Europe, but in many regions of the world. Merkel replied that Kosovo was a unique case.

At end of the press-conference Merkel said that she would be glad to work with the new Russian President – Dmitry Medevev – and she hoped that cooperation between Russia and Germany would be as intensive as it was with Putin.

Putin resumed the press-conference with the provocative statement:

“I see that some people are waiting for me to leave the post. They think that with another person as the President, things will be much easier. Medvedev doesn’t have the label of KGB person, but he is the same Russian nationalist (in good sense) as me. He is real patriot of his country and will be active in defending Russians’ interest in world politics”

In my opinion Putin with his statement gave another opportunity for world society to discuss who is the boss in the duet – Putin or Medvedev? But one thing now is clear: other political leaders can’t be relaxed with Russia’s new president. Russia will continue to defend its interests in the international arena.

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99 Responses

  1. James says:

    Thanks for this post, Andy – I also was reading about the Merkel visit with great interest, given that she asked whether Khodorkovsky could be pardoned.

    I feel like Putin’s statement, which most headlines ran away with as “Don’t expect improvements”, came off as too carefully planned. Why is he so eager to convince everyone of continuity? Did anyone really believe otherwise? The answer to that one is pretty easy, given the difficult clan infighting we all know he has to manage – “continuity” is a powerful sedative for the restless bureaucracy worried about their jobs.

    But what is interesting is that from an outside perspective, it’s almost as though Putin thinks he has done too good of a job selling the organized elections as a genuine transfer of power, and has done too good of a job as marketing Medvedev as a liberal value inclined modern leader. Not even cutting down the gas to the Ukraine the day after the elections was impose order over the Medvedev euphoria.

    It’s actually a very rare occurrence – we can see how Putin wants everyone to see things, which may or may not explain much about how things actually are…

  2. Seeing how the concern for an individual is being brought up as something relative to East-West relations:

    http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=17524&IBLOCK_ID=35

    Some seem to prefer more of a one way street.

  3. Tanya says:

    I think Putin introduced Medvedev in international arena not like liberal values leader, but as a strong person, who is able to rule the country and take right political decisions without any boss .
    By the way – before Medvedev was curator of national projects (education, demography, health service, which has been put as priority in domestic politics) and succeeded in this area.
    That is one of the reason to believe in his capacity to defend interests of country.

  4. Andy says:

    James wrote: “Thanks for this post, Andy”

    Just to clarify, I didn’t write this post – Tanya did. She’ll hopefully be writing more posts in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for the author’s name, just under each post-title.

    I’ll try to make it bold, or something, so things are clearer!

    James also wrote: Why is he so eager to convince everyone of continuity?

    Maybe Putin’s worried that Medvedev will be the Russian Mouse that Roared, and will take his job… 😉

  5. “In my opinion Putin with his statement gave another opportunity for world society to discuss who is the boss in the duet – Putin or Medvedev? But one thing now is clear: other political leaders can’t be relaxed with Russia’s new president. Russia will continue to defend its interests in the international arena.”

    This statement strikes me as bizarre in the extreme (another way of putting that would be “very Russian indeed”). “Tanya” doesn’t seem to realize that, far from giving her own opinion, she’s just repeating verbatim the words of dictator Putin. Moreover, she’s perverting reality to an unsettling degree. The world isn’t ill at ease because Russia is merely “defending its interests” but because Russia is abrogating democracy, buzzing (without similar provocation) Westerners with nuclear bombers and in every imaginable way provoking a new cold war (including marching missiles and soldiers through Red Square). The cold war wasn’t about the USSR merely “defending its interests” it was about attempts at imperialism, which Russia is continuing today.

    Maybe “Tanya” agrees with Oleg Gazmanov that Ukraine and Estonia are part of “his country” but they may be surprised to learn this attitude isn’t shared in those countries. They may also be surprised to find out that the result of Cold War II will be the same as that of Cold War I.

  6. The Russian military is no match for the US and-or its NATO allies.

    Russia has a legitimate need for a relatively strong conventonal force. As long as the nuclear weapons genie is out of the bottle, Russia has a basis for involvement in that area.

    The overwhelming majority of Russians don’t feel that Estonia is a legitimate part of present day Russia. The Russian-Ukrainian relationship is close as shown by how much of the Russo-Ukraianian border remains relatively open and the good number of Ukrainian citizens favoring close ties with Russia. The majority of Ukrainians oppose Ukrainian membership in NATO. The majority of Ukrainians opposed the NATO bombing against Yugoslavia. It was American government funded NGOs which initiated the not so covert foreign attempt to influence Ukrainian politics. Upon seeing this, Russia clumsily followed suit. Since that experience in late 2004, Russia and other countries have taken a more hands off approach from Ukrainian politics.

    Post-Soviet era America has attacked two countries whereas the Russia of that period has attacked no other country.

    As for the stated “dictator”, how about the diktat which disrespects the territorial sovereignty of an independent nation and UN Security Council Resolution 1244?

  7. Tanya says:

    For La Russophobe…
    I don’t see any intentions at imperialism in russian politics.
    It doesnt make attempt to dominate somewhere, like USA for example, if you are interested in world politics too, you must know what happene between Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Guess, who’s fault was in this conflict. And who wants to dominate… And i think it is natural that Russia tries to create image of a strong country – just to resist threats from outside.
    And about democracy… Are you sure that it is necessary for all countries?
    Sometimes, especially when country lives in transit period, democracy is not useful. And Russia now is living exactly like this.
    I don;t like loud words and extreme points of view. That is why i am trying to be objective as it possible.

  8. Tim Newman says:

    It doesnt make attempt to dominate somewhere, like USA for example, if you are interested in world politics too, you must know what happene between Columbia, Ecuador and Venezuela. Guess, who’s fault was in this conflict.

    The only two plausible answers to this question are the Columbia government and the FARC guerillas. I’m not sure what this has to do with Russia needing to look strong, or indeed what it has to do with Russia at all.

  9. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”The world isn’t ill at ease because Russia is merely “defending its interests” but because Russia is abrogating democracy, buzzing (without similar provocation) Westerners with nuclear bombers..”

    LR seems to forget that at any one time the US has a Los Angeles-class submarine parked offshore at Vidyaevo, not to mention US aircraft missions near Russian airspace which have continued unabated since 1991. Quite how this keeps the world at ease either isnt exactly clear. But in any event all this is chest pounding anyway. Russia has a few roubles in the bank cos of the black stuff and wants to throw a few shapes. The minute nuclear fusion is sorted out, Russia will be back on the dole. Actually, Russia reminds me a bit of someone who suddenly got a load of compensation money and is now flush, but still hasnt got a job.

    ”And about democracy… Are you sure that it is necessary for all countries?”
    It is no coincidence that most wealthy and stable countries with happy citizens are democracies. The USA, Canada, Japan, Britain, even tiny Ireland, but lets not forget Norway, Finland, Denmark, Germany etc. That Russians perhaps feel this is not necessary I hazard to guess is their own loss. They prefer someone who gives the finger to the west continuously and acts like a superpower, rather than a leader interested in solving helathcare, education and corruption problems. Still, if Russians are happy, who am I to complain? I do appreciate that Russia in the 90s was hell, and Russians blame this on western democracy. But that wasnt the cause. The cause was Russia hadnt a rouble.

    ”Post-Soviet era America has attacked two countries whereas the Russia of that period has attacked no other country.”

    Yes, those Russians, bastions of good behaviour -they didnt attack anyone outside, only inside -Chechnya, and in the process murdered thousands of RUSSIANS as well as Chechens. Sounds pretty dumbass to me. Russia couldnt even handle its internal issues, never mind taking action abroad. [Minor edit by moderator] The US had full right to go to Afghanistan. I would have a thought a New Yorker would especially be cognisant of that fact. Maybe LI is far from NYC, I dont know.

  10. [Pointless and offensive section of comment removed by moderator]

    Chechnya is a part of Russia and a territory that endured lawlessness, which wasn’t Russian instigated.

    In the last decade, Russia TWICE showed a willingness for permitting considerable autonomy in Chechnya. Situations that were very much taken advantage of.

    There’s a more legitiomate basis for interveing in Afghanistan than what happened in Iraq (2003) and Yugoslavia (1999).

    Where one is situated doesn’t always relate to the accuracy of their analysis.

  11. That’s: intervening.

    [Remainder of post removed by moderator]

  12. Tim Newman says:

    Actually, Russia reminds me a bit of someone who suddenly got a load of compensation money and is now flush, but still hasnt got a job.

    Heh! That’s a great analogy!

  13. Not quite.

    Russia’s economy isn’t a Persian/Arab Gulf economy, in the form of fossil fuel only. It has other sectors getting developed.

  14. Tanya says:

    About Columbia conflict – it was fault of americans, they supported Columbia, providing them with special equipment (for example, how colombianos could control movings of FARC members). Columbia was so sure in support of USA that intervented in Ecuador to kill partisans (and by the way a lot of other people – mexican students,for examplr, who investigated in selva were killed too). I am living in Mexico and i can see all this sutiation more close…
    About democracy – i already have explained – to “repair” the country it is not needed, it is necessary strong hand. But with a time the country can come to democracy. Remember Chile.
    About Chechnya – we are solving the problems 🙂 But i really don’t understand, why so much reclamations. Look at Espana, the basks want independence too, and Espana doesnt want to allow separation… And as a result – terrorism and the endless fight for independence.And it is ok, because any country must keep its territory. But for some reason nobody notices what happens in Spain. Because it is in EU?

  15. Overall, the Basque separatist terrorism hasn’t been as profound when comparecd to that of the Chechen separatist terrorists.

    As previously noted, fighting a vile terror wave within civilian confines can be especially unruly when the nation in question has conventional forces that are lacking sufficient training and funding.

    Kudos to Spain for not going along with the vulgar recognition of Kosovo’s independence.

  16. Tanya makes a cogent point about the “democracy” issue. The situation in Russia remains ongoing in development.

    This is by no means limited to Russia. For the betterment of society, I desire the same for my country.

  17. Tim Newman says:

    About Columbia conflict – it was fault of americans, they supported Columbia, providing them with special equipment (for example, how colombianos could control movings of FARC members).

    So on this measure, it is the Russians’ fault because they provide Venezuela with special equipment!

    Note that the US did not encourage the actions by the Columbian government, and quickly moved to distance themselves from the Columbian government, urging all sides to resolve the matter peaceably and quickly. Yet somehow it is still all America’s fault.

    So when you say:

    That is why i am trying to be objective as it possible.

    How about you try a bit harder? Saying that Columbia’s actions against the FARC guerillas in Ecuador is all the fault of the Americans is no less stupid than saying that Putin is a dictator bent on imperialism.

  18. Tim Newman says:

    But for some reason nobody notices what happens in Spain. Because it is in EU?

    Speak for yourself. For those of us who follow current affairs, we very much notice what has happened in Spain as regards ETA and the Basque separatist movement. Similarly, us Brits were always well aware of what was going on in Northern Ireland given the terrorism which ensued from the troubles there. The reason the national governments’ handling of the Basque and Irish separatist movements didn’t gain the same worldwide press coverage as Russia’s handling of the Chechen terrorism is not becauee of the EU, but rather because neither Madrid or London ever reduced Bilbao or Belfast to rubble in their attempts to tackle the problem.

  19. That having do in good measure with not facing the same veracity of armed opposition, plus the issue of a not so well trained/funded military.

    Interesting how the NATO member Aremenian genocide denying Turks get off relatively free for their most brutal treatment of the Kurds from 1975-2000. At least the Russians can say that they did in fact permit for considerable cultural and political autonomy (in two different periods during the last decade) in Chechnya, which wasn’t the case for the Turkish inhabited Kurds during the mentioned period in question.

  20. Andy says:

    Tim said: The reason the national governments’ handling of the Basque and Irish separatist movements didn’t gain the same worldwide press coverage as Russia’s handling of the Chechen terrorism is not becauee of the EU, but rather because neither Madrid or London ever reduced Bilbao or Belfast to rubble in their attempts to tackle the problem.

    Then Mike said: That having do in good measure with not facing the same veracity of armed opposition, plus the issue of a not so well trained/funded military.

    True, Mike. When faced with more substantive guerilla opposition, and the opportunity to fight outside of the public eye, the British have quite happily in the past resorted to some quite brutal methods. The “Malayan Emergency” of 1948-60 is one such example.

    But that doesn’t make it appropriate in any way and, if we want to draw parallels with Russia, shouldn’t excuse its shameful behaviour in Chechnya.

  21. How about the “shameful” hypocrisy of arming and not condemining what the Armenian genocide denying Turks have done to the Kurds?

    There’s reason to fault Russia on Chechnya. It need not be so hypocritical, inclusive of not acknowledging the terrorist side to some of the separatists.

  22. On another point, raised by a *****: where I live has no real bearing on my views. Others living elsewhere think the same. Still yet, others in my area think differently from me.

    I will not tolerate any personal insults directed at me.

    Last week’s Russia Profile panel saw Vlad Sobell insulted in a way that I believe conforms with the kind of biases out there. http://www.russiaprofile.org (see the vodka reference at the very end of the panel)

    Had someone thinking like Sobell said the same, he/she would more likely come under rebuke.

    Years of incessant biases getting the upper hand make such venues inappropriate for lecturing to Russia.

  23. So that there’s no misunderstanding: I appropriately reply to offensive invective which was unfortunately not removed.

  24. That’s replied.

    Now, let’s try to stay on topic minus the you know what.

  25. Tim Newman says:

    When faced with more substantive guerilla opposition, and the opportunity to fight outside of the public eye, the British have quite happily in the past resorted to some quite brutal methods. The “Malayan Emergency” of 1948-60 is one such example.

    No doubt. The Brits have employed some pretty unpleasant tactics over thier long history, although being outside of the public eye was not necessarily a requirement before doing so. For just one example, the Boer War was covered extensively by the press back home, and debates would rage endlessly as to whether such behaviour was justified.

    My point was that in the case if ETA and the IRA, western civilisation had advanced to the point by the late 1970s where inflicting mass casualties on a civilian population – especially a domestic one – would not be tolerated by the electorate or the countries’ allies. They were forced to choose a different route, which for years meant enduring terrorist attacks. As such, the activities did not gain notoriety in the worldwide press. By contrast, in Chechnya the Russians did not feel restrained in resorting to the tactics which had become outlawed by European electorates and chattering classes, hence they were covered with revulsion by the world’s press.

    Our new arrival Tanya suggested that the difference in the press coverage between the Chechens and the Basques was something to do with the EU, which I don’t see as having any influence whatsoever in these areas.

  26. But NATO feels morally okay to arm and support Turkey, in a conflict that proceeds to kill 40,000 plus Kurds and create 2.5 million Kurdish refugees.

    I hope this link works:

    http://www.kevinmckiernan.com

    Where was Christian Amanpour?

    It costs a lot of money to fight a “clean war”.

    Cheers to a stronger and wisely implemented conventional Russian armed forces.

  27. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Chechnya is a part of Russia and a territory that endured lawlessness, which wasn’t Russian instigated.”

    Of course it was Russian instigated. The land south of the Terek river was never Russian until Alexander I invaded and brutalized the population to clear a road for Tiflis. Then the population was deported in its entirety to Kazakhstan in 1944. In 1991-1994 the majority of Chechens wanted independence from Russia. Russia responded like a drunk violent husband. If you claim that the likes of the PMR have valid seccesion claims, then by the same logic so to does Chechnya.

    ”In the last decade, Russia TWICE showed a willingness for permitting considerable autonomy in Chechnya”
    Actually that was just once, in 1996-1999, when Russia had been routed on the battlefield and had no choice. In 1991-1994 no such autonomy was granted and indeed no attempt was made to help Chechnya financially, which the government in Moscow was responsible for.

    ”But that doesn’t make it appropriate in any way and, if we want to draw parallels with Russia, shouldn’t excuse its shameful behaviour in Chechnya.”

    Well said. Spot on. The Russians are so brutal they killed their own people in Chechnya. That shouldnt be forgotten, and making excuses for it is frankly pathetic.

    ”Russia’s economy isn’t a Persian/Arab Gulf economy, in the form of fossil fuel only. It has other sectors getting developed.”

    Yes, it is, and your own phraseology betrays this. ‘Developing’ sectors are by definition not yet developed. Leaving aside oil, Russia’s economy is practically in the stone age and light years behind any of the old EU members.

    ”About democracy – i already have explained – to “repair” the country it is not needed, it is necessary strong hand”

    Yes, a strong hand is always needed in the absence of proper laws and in the presence of utterly corrupt government institutions. Perhaps if Russians didnt have to be watched every waking moment of their lives by the authorities there’d be no need for the likes of Putin.

    ”I will not tolerate any personal insults directed at me.”

    Dont make silly statements then. The US had full right to attack the terrorists residing in Afghanistan after 9/11. I believe that to be abundantly clear. Contrary to popular belief, the US is not responsible for every bad thing that happens across the world, and propping Russia as some sort of bastion of goodness I find hilarious. And apologies everyone for the invective earlier.

  28. Andy says:

    Mike said: ”I will not tolerate any personal insults directed at me.”

    Then Ger said: “Dont make silly statements then.”

    Just to make my views explicitly clear – if you think someone has made a “silly statement” by all means criticise the statement. Don’t directly insult the person who made the statement, however.

    (This goes for everyone, and is not directed specifically at Ger).

    I should warn you all, that I have just started a low-GI diet, and am told that I may be very cranky for the next few days as my body adjusts. Don’t get into silly arguments about who said what, and who is being mean to who!

  29. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”I should warn you all, that I have just started a low-GI diet,’

    I’ve heard that results in quite a lot of, well, pungent gases being released!:-) Point taken Andy.

  30. I don’t make “silly” statements. Nor do I initiate in the kind of manner Andy says he’d like to see elimnated. This explains my correctly implemented steadfast stance, which includes a continued call for decency.

    Russia did pretty much leave Chechnya alone in two different instances during the last decade. The sitaution worsened as a result.

    Chechnya has been part of Russia for well over a 100 years and was never an independent entity unto itself. Plenty of places were conquered under more horrid conditions. Just ask the Armenians about their Turkish experience.

    In any event, Chechen separatism has lost its appeal for the previously mentioned reasons.

    The appeal to join Russia is greater than leaving it (reference South ossetia and Pridnestrovie).

    It remains quite foolish to insist that Russia’s economy is Persian/Arab Gulf like in the form of a near exclusive reliance on fossil fuel. Besides that and arms sales, Russia is known to have a kind of developing Silicon Valley in the Far East. Other areas are developing as well.

  31. That’s: South Ossetia.

    Once agsin on the “democracy” bit, Tanya made the Chilean reference about how an authoriatarian period is credited (at least by some) for helping better straighten out the economy and pave the way for a more democratic society. Russia’s political situation isn’t yet etched in stone. De Gaulle has also been used as a kind of comparison to post-Yeltsin Russia.

    Who here believes that Russia is heading back to a Brezhnev or worse period?

  32. Andy says:

    Russia did pretty much leave Chechnya alone in two different instances during the last decade. The sitaution worsened as a result.

    Does anyone have statistics of the death/casualty rates during each of these periods?

    It would be interesting to compare the stats during periods of Russian occupation (lazy choice of word, I know – not meant to imply anything) and during periods of Chechen autonomy.

  33. In the leadup to the last Chechen war, there was the attempt of some separatists to carry out terrorist operations in Dagestan. At best, the Maskhadov regime either didn’t confront this or worse had elements supporting it.

    Under Dudayev, areas of Chechnya became lawless whether under his conrol or otherwise. The lawlessness included Sharia law practices.

    When a full blown war starts, the casualties typically increase. Just look at Iraq following the American attack of it. How much more well founded was that attack on a foreign nation? One with a casualty rate said to be in the tens of thousands.

  34. As per last paragraph: American led attack of Iraq in 2003.

  35. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ” Russia did pretty much leave Chechnya alone in two different instances during the last decade. The sitaution worsened as a result.”

    No, they didnt, this is factually incorrect. In 1996-1999 the FSB had a huge operation in Chechnya trying to undermine Maskhadov. This is old news for Chechnya watchers. Add in the fact that Russia starved Maskhadov of federal cash, and what do you get? Ineffective government, exactly what Moscow wanted.

    ”Chechnya has been part of Russia for well over a 100 years and was never an independent entity unto itself.”
    Again, factually incorrect. Chechen tribes operating as village and town councils governed Chechnya for hundreds of years before occupation. They didnt have a flag and ambassadors, but that doesnt make them a non-entity. It has been occupied by Russia for more than 100 years, but is not Russian.

    ”In any event, Chechen separatism has lost its appeal for the previously mentioned reasons”
    No, it lost its appeal because it was bombed into submission, by its own government in Moscow.

    ”It remains quite foolish to insist that Russia’s economy is Persian/Arab Gulf like in the form of a near exclusive reliance on fossil fuel. Besides that and arms sales, Russia is known to have a kind of developing Silicon Valley in the Far East. Other areas are developing as well.”
    Excluding arms, cos we dont make any, Ireland’s high-tech and pharmaceutical output is greater than that of Russia. Yes, Ireland, a tiny island of 4 million on the edge of Europe, vs enormous Russia. I have no doubt Russia has some high-tech industries, but they are a drop in the ocean of their GDP. And again you use the word development, which implies not yet developed. And the way things are going nobody is going to be buyng Russian arms anymore.

    ”Does anyone have statistics of the death/casualty rates during each of these periods?”
    I havent to hand, but it is reckoned in totality around 40,000 died through the whole thing. Compare that with around 9,000 in Northern Ireland over a 30 year period, and you get some idea of the carnage Russia unleashed in just one and a half years, 1994-1996.

    ”Who here believes that Russia is heading back to a Brezhnev or worse period?”
    Nobody I daresay. But I do believe when nuclear fusion is figured out, Russia is toast.

    ”When a full blown war starts, the casualties typically increase”
    Never let it be said that amazing knowledge cant be found on blogs. And by the way Russia never declared war on Chechnya – to use your own words, Chechnya is part of Russia.

    In short, its incredible how people with no knowledge of Chechnya can justify what happened there, especially from so far away. Never mind the suffering that some Russians endured there. I think some people need to visit Moscow and see some Chechen war veterans, with no legs, balls, and arms, and think again. And see how well Mother Russia helped them after their service.

  36. GER O'BRIEN says:

    By the way Andy big day tommorow. One of our rugby teams is gonna lose their coach tommorow, and I fear its us. We’re in decline now, and it looks like you’re finally going to beat us.

    Tim – i’m still quite raw after saturday, but ye deserved it. Best of luck against France tommorow -Wales are better, I just hope they believe it themselves now.

  37. Andy says:

    Yep – although I have a feeling both coaches are going to be looking for new employment on Monday morning.

    I’ve given up supporting England for the moment, and am behind Italy instead. At least with the Italians, things are looking up…

  38. Andy says:

    Mike – to clarify, when you talk of how Russia leaving Chechnya alone resulted in a ‘worse’ situation, what do you mean exactly?

    I assume you aren’t talking about an improvement in terms of a reduction in the number of actual casualties, as you’ve already noted that an increase happened and was only to be expected during a combat operation.

  39. Tim Newman says:

    Russia is known to have a kind of developing Silicon Valley in the Far East

    Of course, I know fuck all about the Russian Far East. I live only in Sakhalin, which might as well be the Falkland Islands, so disregard anything I say. But if any of you out there are daft enough to believe what I say, I have seen no kind of Silicon Valley developing out here. Probably I’m not looking hard enough, or am too infleunced by the parallel biases of the not-so-Russia-friendlies. So as I say, assume I know fuck all about the Silicon Valley of the Russian Far East. Maybe it’s hidden between the casinos of Khabarobsk!!

    And Ger….French blood will be spilled in Cardiff tomorrow. We’re gonna take that Grand Slam in style, just like in 2005!!

  40. GER O'BRIEN says:

    🙂 Cmon Wales:-)! I think they’ll do it. France shouldnt have beaten us, bad and all as we are, struggled against Italy and were beaten by England. Its all there for ye. Hopefully their laziness at the breakdown and unwillingness to stay onside will haunt them as usual in Cardiff.

    Tim, you must be wrong. I’m sure there’s a Silicon Valley in Dalnii Vostok, a Disneyland in Tambov, a Caltech in Murmansk and a Wall Street in Miniralnyie Vody. The fact that you live in Russia and havent noticed these things is down to your biases. Just accept it. I’m sure Russia has a brilliant industrial base outside of oil. Its just not, well, built materially yet. Its not on the NYSE, the RTS etc, but its there. You better believe it.

  41. In large measure Chechnya was left alone on those 2 mentioned occasions of the last decade. The learned Dmitri Simes among others noting this. Russia was overseeing the situation during those periods. Nothing wrong with that since Chechnya is part of Russia.

    How about those casualties since the start of the the second Iraq War?

    The Russian fareast is quite large even for a know it all foreignor on Sakhalin.

    Wonder how many home grown chemists per capita wise and otherwise the Perisan/Arab gulf states each have in comparison to Russia?

    Andy, I recall an ITN Report noting the increased lawlessness in Chechnya under Dudayev. It wasn’t “Kremlin propaganda.” I made mention to you of the incursions of separatists from Chechhya into Dagestan. On your repeated casualty note, recall the one made relative to the second Iraq war.

    On another point, I recall your not being so concerned with a certain inconsistency. Others clearly don’t see it that way.

  42. For some, it seems okay for Anglo-Americans to be involved with the killing of many in Iraq, unlike Russia fighting a terrorist situation not of its choosing in Chechnya.

    No one wanted to touch the matter of what the NATO member Turks did to the Kurds from 1975-2000. A matter still not fully dissipated.

    Accuse Russia of gross substandards while holding it to comparatively higher standards. A perfectly acceptable attitude for some.

  43. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”In large measure Chechnya was left alone on those 2 mentioned occasions of the last decade. The learned Dmitri Simes among others noting this. Russia was overseeing the situation during those periods. Nothing wrong with that since Chechnya is part of Russia.

    How about those casualties since the start of the the second Iraq War?”

    I dont recall anyone talking about these things. I thought the heart of the matter here is Russia attacked one of its own regions with a conventional military assault, destroying the country and killing upwards of 40,000 people in one of the most vicious wars ever. You may gloss over this fact all you want and blame the Chechens all you want: doesnt change what Russia did. Murder is the word. Nobody was talking about Iraq war II, which in any event I disagree with myself and always have.

    ”Wonder how many home grown chemists per capita wise and otherwise the Perisan/Arab gulf states each have in comparison to Russia?”

    This is actually of no relevance whatsoever -you can produce as many academics as you want, but as long as there is no proper industrial base, they’ll be earning 1,000R per month. As a matter of fact first chance they get most Russian academics up and leave for the US, Britain and even Ireland -I know several of them here in Limerick. This is no indicative a of a strong industrial base.

    ”Andy, I recall an ITN Report noting the increased lawlessness in Chechnya under Dudayev. It wasn’t “Kremlin propaganda.” I made mention to you of the incursions of separatists from Chechhya into Dagestan. On your repeated casualty note, recall the one made relative to the second Iraq war.”

    There is no doubt Chechnya was out of control in 1994. What was required was federal money, police support and negotiations with Dudayev, who was elected and had a mandate, like it or not. What did Russia do? Level the place instead. Maladyets.

    The reason nobody is commenting on Turkey/Kurdistan is likely the same reason I’m not: it has no relevance whatsoever.

  44. Tim Newman says:

    Wonder how many home grown chemists per capita wise and otherwise the Perisan/Arab gulf states each have in comparison to Russia?

    Can the bar be set any lower?!!

  45. You did by cheering on an insultingly misleading comment about Russia not having a “job”.

    Russia’s economy is clearly more than just fossil fuel based for reasons previously communicated. Since the Yeltsin era, efforts seem to be in play to prevent a “brain drain” in the form of Russians leaving Russia to work abroad. Non-Russians have come to Russia to work there. Russia is an important player in the global economy. Its important seems to be increasing and not decreasing.

    On another front, the crux of the matter relates to the gross hypocrisy in trying to suggestively pass post-Soviet Russia off as somehow being more brutal than some others.

    The killings resulting from the 2003 Iraq war and NATO support for Turkish actions against Kurds between 1975-2000 highlight the gross hypocrisy. On Checenya, Russia didn’t actively seek the war route. Tatarstan has a good degree of autonomy and no other Russian republics are seeking secession. Though far from being perfect, the situation in Chechnya appears to have stabilized.

    Glad to have set the record straight again. People die in war and it’s child like to believe that when your side (in this instance, in the form of an Anglo-American power) does it, it’s somehow more legit.

  46. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Russia’s economy is clearly more than just fossil fuel based for reasons previously communicated.”

    There were no reasons communicated. Either clarify and explain why Russia doesnt have a fossil fuel economy, or concede the point. This is discussion at its most basic level that schoolkids can engage in. Give reasons, or do not. Vague statements about elusive silicon valleys in Dalnii Vostok(thats the Far East, to avoid confusion for those without rudimentary Russian) do not validate your argument: on the contrary, they devalue it.

    ”Non-Russians have come to Russia to work there. Russia is an important player in the global economy”
    This would be funny were it not so misleading. Kirgizh, Tadjiks, Uzbek and Chinese labourers cleaning the streets do not constitute reverse brain-drain immigration. Very few foreigners from wealthy countries actually deliberately move to Russia to do high end jobs e.g. in finance etc. The majority of expats in Moscow from the west are stationed there, they didnt choose to be put there. In the contrary, the US, Britain and Ireland are flooded with visa applications from highly educated foreigners, with Russians high on the list. How this shows Russia in a positive light I simply cant see.

    ”On another front, the crux of the matter relates to the gross hypocrisy in trying to suggestively pass post-Soviet Russia off as somehow being more brutal than some others.”
    Again, this is so wrong its almost funny. Nobody is advocating this position -unless I am mistaken we are talking about Russian brutality, against, in your own words, their own people. Nobody is being hypocritical here. Again, your problem is very basic -you’ve never seen or met anyone who has been in Chechnya, and, as a result, defend hopelessly the Russian position. I wonder how many Russian squadies in wheelchairs would agree with what you have to say, never mind the Chechens.

    ”Glad to have set the record straight again. People die in war and it’s child like to believe that when your side (in this instance, in the form of an Anglo-American power) does it, it’s somehow more legit.”

    You set no record straight that I can see – that judgement is in the eyes of the reader, not yours. Time and again you declare arguments won without a scrap of evidence. Its the kind of carry-on would expects from a 5 year old. You are also building straw men. Nobody here is defending Anglo-American ”power”, only questioning Russian (abuse of ) power.

    People die in war because stupid people like you exist. That is why.

  47. GER O'BRIEN says:

    I apologise about the word ‘stupid’ at the end, but not the rest of the sentiment.

  48. An idiot calling me stupid. Note the repeated apologizing on his part, which means NOTHING, since he constantly engages in such manner.

    On the other hand, I make repeated/earnest attemtps at decent dialogue.

    Time and time again I debunk the one sided nonsense said about Russia with facts and fact based opinions. I see that Dan Rather recently came out with similar sentiment. Too bad an active English language mass media news anchor doesn’t come out with the same perspective.

    There’s been a good deal written about Russia’s diverse economy. Vlad Sobell and Eric Kraus are two of several individuals with a knowledge in that area.

    I stand by the other point that the brain drain exodus has shown signs of appearing to curtail during Putin’s presidency.

    “Russian abuse of power”? Post-Soviet Russia hasn’t attacked any other countries and showed a willingness to pursue non-military options in Chechnya. Overall, Russia has acted responsible on the international stage.

  49. The last post should more accurately read as Russia’s increasingly diverse economy.

    – has “acted responsibly” on the international stage.

  50. Tim Newman says:

    In the contrary, the US, Britain and Ireland are flooded with visa applications from highly educated foreigners, with Russians high on the list. How this shows Russia in a positive light I simply cant see.

    This is very true. As I type, I am talking online with a young, educated, (and pretty damned cute) female Russian engineer who is currently working for Exxon in Sakhalin. She’s miles smarter than most of the locals I’ve seen working here, and with a better education and work ethic. We are currently engaged in a conversation about what the best way is for her to leave Russia to work in Canada or the US, permanently.

    Incidentally, she’s just managed to renew her passport after 7 weeks of trying (they are legally obliged to renew it in 4 weeks, but since when did the Russian authorities care about the law). Because of the delay, she’s missed out on going to an Exxon workshop in Houston which would have advanced her career massively. So today she gets her passport, and finds they’ve spelled her name wrongly. Time to correct the mistake? 7-8 weeks. No wonder she wants to leave.

  51. Yeah right!

    Russia is screaming with people looking to get out of there.

    A number of mainstream thinking Russians are perfectly aware of the sterotypes being attempted here.

    Quite easy to do with other instances.

    Spoke with an American college coordinator of MBA and other exchange programs with Russian students. He/she confirmed to me how of late a number of Russians do go back to Russia.

  52. Second attempt.Pardon if duplicated.

    Yeah right!

    Russia is screaming with people looking to get out of there.

    A number of mainstream thinking Russians and others are perfectly aware of the sterotypes being attempted here.

    Quite easy to do with other instances.

    Spoke with an American college coordinator of MBA and other exchange programs with Russian students. He/she confirmed to me how of late, a number of Russians do go back to Russia.

  53. Tim Newman says:

    Spoke with an American college coordinator of MBA and other exchange programs with Russian students. He/she confirmed to me how of late a number of Russians do go back to Russia.

    Russian exchange students in return to home country shock!!

  54. Wasn’t always such a given.

    Also recall that between 2002-05, the number of folks migrating from Israel to Russia was around 50,000, whereas the reverse on that particular was at 10,000 for the period in question. I’m not sure of the post-2005 stats on such matter.

    The top Russian ice hockey and basketball leagues are doing an excellent job at signing top talent (players and coaches) from abroad besides Russians.

    Now, it’s a mistake to say that either of two leagues serve as legitimate challenges to their top North American counterparts. However, they’ve good reason to be proud of their generally accepted standing of being number two (though there’s some legitimate debate when it comes to basketball).

    The bottom line is that Russia is clearly not the shithole that some seem to caricature it as.

  55. Needless to say (perhaps), there’re several other pertinent factors to consider when evaluating the overall socio-economic situation in Russia.

    The place is on the rebound and it’s quite off base to say that it acts like someone without a “job”.

  56. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Yeah right!

    Russia is screaming with people looking to get out of there.”

    Nobody said that, and you know it, you’re trying to distort me and Tims argument cos you know you’re wrong. The fact is a majority of educated Russians will still end up in relatively low-paid jobs and would jump at the opportunity to leave and many do. This is indicative of a very poor industrial base for them to work in. Its called brain drain. Without oil, Russia is far behind many EU countries – around the Portugal mark I would think. And your statement about sport is ridiculously innapropriate to this discussion. Most Russian sports clubs importing players are heavily backed by energy giants; trying to suggest that Russia is a country noted for immigration simply cos of hockey/basketball/football clubs importing a few stars(usually has-beens, or never-beens, in the case of football) is totally mad. Tim’s story about the engineer was frankly typical and as depressing as ever -another piece of evidence, if any was even needed, that the sole purpose of the Russian government is to make life as fucking miserable as possible as often as possible for its citizens, and skin them for cash in the process. And as a foreigner who frequently goes to Russia, I know myself my only involvement with the Russian state is made as beauracratic as it can be, that of the Russian visa. Just to give an example of who smart the powers that be are in Russia, they still have not managed, inspite of years of threats to do so, to introduce a pay-at-the-border visa system. The result? Prague, Budapest and Riga make a fortune from foreigner visitors who’d rather have seen Moscow but couldnt be arsed standing on their head to get a visa. Talk about cutting off your nose to spite your face. And before anyone remarks that its the same in reverse for Russians coming west, it just doesnt wash. Brit or US visitors to Russia are 99.9% likely to actually go home after the holiday is up; the same cannot be said of Russians going the other way.

    ”Time and time again I debunk the one sided nonsense said about Russia with facts and fact based opinions.”

    Where has this happened on this thread, exactly?

    ”The bottom line is that Russia is clearly not the shithole that some seem to caricature it as.”

    Nobody is saying it is, quite the contrary, Moscow and Petes are very beautiful places and peoples lives are defintely improving there and in select provinces. But the same people, offered a US or Brit or Irish work permit, would be on the next plane out. Mike, you think we’re sneering at Russia, we are not, we are simply calling it as it is -Russia is not a developed nation, its a second world country with some first world clothing and knickers. Only today I was at our village Paddies Day parade and was talking to a Latvian woman whose husband, a Muscovite, is a post doctoral researcher in Univerity of Limerick. They have a nice house, a big car, she looks fabulous…this kind of life is not possible for the vast majority of academics or skilled people in Russia, and thats why they are here.

    Tim and Andy, well done today! We got spanked by England, deservedly so, and Wales were just great. France put their best team out and Wales still beat them, fantastic.

  57. Tim Newman says:

    Prague, Budapest and Riga make a fortune from foreigner visitors who’d rather have seen Moscow but couldnt be arsed standing on their head to get a visa.

    This is bang on. My father, who is ridiculously well travelled and knows his history inside out, asked me what he’d need to get a visa to St. Petersburg. Halfway through my lengthy explanation he said fuck that, and ended up going to Budapest. Your comments on the Russian visa system are absolutely spot on. The Russians are doing themselves out of millions upon millions of dollars per year by making it so difficult to visit places like St. Petes. If they’ve not matured by 2014, the Sochi winter olympics are going to be a farce.

    Finally: Yeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeees!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! C’mon Wales!!!!!!!! Second Grand Slam in 4 years!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yeeeeeee-heeee-eesssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!

  58. GER O'BRIEN says:

    It was a great win for Wales, it really was. After France had messed around with selection for four games, they sent out their best team today and still got spanked. Charlotte Church was looking hotter than usual even by her standards sitting in the stands. It all went right and am delighted. Pity our bunch of tools couldnt do it over the last few years, groan!

    The Russain tourism potential is absolutely enormous -how many people have said to us ”I’d love to visit Russia” after we’ve told them we’ve been there? In the 1950s, when Ireland had nothing, the state quickly realised we had endless stuff to see here -castles, countryside, beaches, pubs etc -and quickly set about dragging as many tourists into the country as possible. And we made a fortune and still do it from it. The Russians? No. Make it fucking HARDER to get in each year. The reason they havent went after the tourist buck is, I suspect, that unlike oil or arms, its not an industry the state could readily control or make huge sums itself from -the money instead would be made by hoteliers and small business and ordinary workers – hence no interest by the authorities in developing this. It would benefit ordinary people, the low paid especially, and of course we all know how high up the priority list they are in the Kremlin.

  59. Michael Averko says:

    I’m not “distorting” anything. This and other threads serve as proof. No need to rehash again and again the facts and facts based opinions.

    And yeah, Russia can considerably help itself on the mentioned travel arrangement side.

  60. Tim Newman says:

    The reason they havent went after the tourist buck is, I suspect, that unlike oil or arms, its not an industry the state could readily control or make huge sums itself from

    This is definitely one reason, another is that they are paranoid control freaks by design. What other reason can there be for making Russian citizens use an internal passport to travel around the country, and forcing everyone to be registered at a property they own if they want to be somewhere for more than a couple of weeks? No wonder they won’t let foreigners in easily if they treat their own like this.

  61. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”I’m not “distorting” anything. This and other threads serve as proof. No need to rehash again and again the facts and facts based opinions.”

    Nobody said you were distorting. We made the point that Russia has a poor industrial base and suffers barin-drain; you presented no evidence to counter this, inpsite of disagreeing with us.

    ”And yeah, Russia can considerably help itself on the mentioned travel arrangement side.”

    Something we agree on. The sad thing is the only people the Russians are hurting with this nonsense is themselves. Its very sad.

    ”No wonder they won’t let foreigners in easily if they treat their own like this.”

    Exactly. But what I find most bizarre is the Russians still have not realised the counterproductivity of this, especially with regard to foreigners entering. I suspect that Russians -who put pointless nationalist ego and pride before logic and commonsense – believe that because Russians have red-tape to endure going to the west, the same must be true in reverse. But the fact is this is necessary -a lot of Russians would not go home if given visas with ease, I actually know one or two here who ”forgot” to go home when their visa was up. Rich western holiday makers, however, of course would go home. But Russians cannot swallow their pride for a greater good, they’d rather a greater evil. In the mid-80s, when Ireland was on its knees and the IMF nearly took over the country, the US-very wisely and well within their rights-clamped down very heavily on Irish immigration. Did Ireland change our rules to make it hard for Americans in reverse? Not a chance. The Irish stepped up efforts to get US tourists in. Just to give an example of what this stuff is worth, Irish gets around 8 million foreign tourists a year, netting around 4 BILLION euro in the process. Thats tiny Ireland. Can you imagine what the Russians could make? But no. Trying to look good and imagining they are the equal of the west is much more important.
    Tim the story about your Dad is sadly depressing and familiar. I’d have had far more relatives at my own wedding in Moscow were it not for this nonsense, and several friends who promised to visit – like your Dad, well travelled -just gave up. And I wouldnt mind but the Russian embassy in Ireland are actually very nice and polite, clearly being in Ireland is rubbing off. Mike, whats the story with when you came to Russia? Did you have to get one of those stupid ‘priglasheniye’ -invitations -like the rest of us in the British Isles, or is it any easier for Americans? Or did a travel agent just do it for you?

  62. Michael Averko says:

    I did in fact present evidence to the contrary. I’m sure that many of those folks arriving from Israel to Russia are in the skilled category. There’s plenty of other such evidence as well.

    Bureaucracy isn’t an exclusively Russian problem. Several Russians have complained to me about the lengthy paperwork regarding American citizenship and maintaining a proper standing of non-American citizenship status while residing in the US.

    Post 911 America has become rather tight assed. There’ve been several news features of how big brother like cameras exist in the UK.

  63. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”I did in fact present evidence to the contrary”

    where? Returning emigrants who cant get a decent job in Israel does not constitute a good industrial base at home.

    ”Bureaucracy isn’t an exclusively Russian problem. Several Russians have complained to me about the lengthy paperwork regarding American citizenship and maintaining a proper standing of non-American citizenship status while residing in the US.”

    Thats true, but we are talking about holidays, not citizenship, which quite rightly is complex- people should not get citizenship with ease, and I’m quite happy actually that Ireland makes it as hard as possible. People have to earn the right to citizenship, and be very determined to get it, its not something to be just given out.

    ”Post 911 America has become rather tight assed. There’ve been several news features of how big brother like cameras exist in the UK.”

    Yes, but control of internal and external movement and right of abode/work internally does not happen in these countries. This, far more than video cameras catching people drunk or getting laid, is a far more serious and insidious method of dominating the population.

  64. Michael Averko says:

    It’s also inaccurate to depict the non-Russian former USSR migration to Russia as exclusively unskilled.

    Ditto the Chinese, who have come to Russia’s fareast. Contrary to the sensationalists, I don’t see their presence as a definite future threat – but something more akin to the Chinese presence in California.

  65. Michael Averko says:

    You apparently missed the earlier but not so distant Israeli reference.

  66. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”It’s also inaccurate to depict the non-Russian former USSR migration to Russia as exclusively unskilled.”

    Nobody said FSU immigration to Russia was totally unskilled. Its just very badly paid, and there isnt a hope Russia could attract skilled work from the west in large numbers there. Mike, I dont know why you feel the need to defend Russia endlessly -nobody here is going out of their way to attack Russia, we’re simply calling it as we see it. Russia is 2nd world. Its just a fact.

  67. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Mike, I hate to say it, but Russians in many cases do not have a great life in Israel and choose to come home. It is because of this they go home, not because Russia is so great. Using this as an example of skilled immigration to Russia is total bunkum.

  68. Michael Averko says:

    That retort is “bunkum”. Israel is considered an advanced country.

    It’s mind boggling how some seem to get their rocks off by incessantly highlighting real and exaggerated faults in Russia.

    One of the English language blogs is authored by a Westerner in Russia, who is there for its money making potential. Those are his words.

  69. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”That retort is “bunkum”. Israel is considered an advanced country.”

    Unless I am mistaken, I though we were talking about Russia’s lack of industrial base, not Israel’s. Israel is indeed an advanced nation -nobody said otherwise. Russia is not.

    ”It’s mind boggling how some seem to get their rocks off by incessantly highlighting real and exaggerated faults in Russia.”

    Its also mind boggling how people who have never actually been to Russia and speak no Russian defend it to the last!:-) Including murdering their own citizens in Chechnya!

  70. Michael Averko says:

    LIAR! Ive been to Russia. Numerous individuals the world over prove that knowledge of a foreign language doesn’t often realte to knowing a good deal about the politics and history of the country in q

  71. Michael Averko says:

    LIAR! I’ve been to Russia. Numerous individuals the world over prove that knowledge of a foreign language doesn’t often relate to knowing a good deal about the politics and history of the country in question.

    YOU don’t set the grond rules of what is to be discussed here. Like your talking about something not having to do with the thread’s topic at all.

    You still doesn’t grasp how people die in war.

    You doesn’t go after Newman on the numbers killed since the 2003 Iraq war. A war that Newman supports.

    You continue to carry on like a troll.

  72. Andy says:

    You know, perhaps a better way to respond would be:

    “Sorry old chap, I do believe you’ve misunderstood me. I’ve been to Russia (jolly nice place), but don’t speak the local lingo.

    Would you like a cup of tea?”

    We might be talking about Russia, but this is an English blog, after all. Some decorum and rules must be observed – not least, the English obsession with politeness!

  73. Andy says:

    Oh – and tea. Did I mention the importance of tea?

  74. Michael Averko says:

    That should extend first and foremost to the person constantly introducing rudeness.

    After awhile one can be justifiably aghast at such cranking.

    As for “industrial base”, Russia seems to be getting its share of new factories.

  75. Tim Newman says:

    Some decorum and rules must be observed – not least, the English obsession with politeness!

    The English lost that obsession years ago. We now seem to excel at, and even pride ourselves on, pig-ignorant boorishness.

    Of the people who I work around in Sakhalin, the most polite by far are the Americans from the southern states, especially Texans. When discussing business with them, they refer to me as “sir” throughout, which is quaintly unusual.

    Something I always admired about Dubya Bush was that he is always unfailingly polite, something his detractors are generally incapable of, and something that some of his fellow presidents (Putin and Chavez spring to mind) would do well to learn. I have read an account of Bush when he ran for governor of Texas against the incumbent Anne Richards, who marred her campaign with barrages of personal abuse against Bush and his family. Bush, by contrast, simply referred to his opponent as “Governor Richards” throughout his own campaign, and won easily.

    Politeness is a very effective instrument, and a desirable one to wield. Would be nice to see more of it online.

  76. Michael Averko says:

    That’s for O’Brien.

    As a comparison, it doesn’t apply anywhere near as much to me.

    If someone constantly sticks it, it’s not unreasonable for that person to get it right nack.

  77. Politeness is a very effective instrument, and a desirable one to wield. Would be nice to see more of it online.

    Indeed old chap, I do believe I’ve understood you. I’ve been to several blogs (jolly nice places), and understood the lingo there. And I also recognize the importance of tea.

    So, dear Mr. Newman, Sir, would you like a cup of tea?

  78. Eugene Soukharnikov says:

    [Comment deleted by moderator]

  79. Eugene Soukharnikov says:

    [Comment deleted by moderator]

  80. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Indeed old chap, I do believe I’ve understood you. I’ve been to several blogs (jolly nice places), and understood the lingo there. And I also recognize the importance of tea.”

    This is great, but unfortunately the vast majority of Englishmen do not speak like that! But I’m sure Andy does. No doubt he’s Eton educated and worn out from debutant balls in Chelsea:-)

    At any rate, Happy Paddies day everyone!:-)

  81. Andy says:

    No – Zummerzet all the way.

    Oim a prahper yokel, oi am.

  82. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Ah Andy! No! In my mind’s eye my picture of you was this fopish, Richard E Grant-style charmer hosting chattering soirees, charming the ladies:-)

  83. In my mind’s eye my picture of you was this fopish, Richard E Grant-style charmer hosting chattering soirees, charming the ladies

    Someone like “Phileas Fogg” ?

  84. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Someone like “Phileas Fogg” ?”

    Yes, Heribert, someone like that!:-) Everything jolly good!

  85. Tim Newman says:

    Politeness is a very effective instrument, and a desirable one to wield. Would be nice to see more of it online.

    Indeed.

  86. Andy says:

    Ah, the English veiled insult is making a comeback, I see.

    Gentlemen, you would make top class Englishmen!

  87. Gentlemen, you would make top class Englishmen!

    By George ! Indeed, old chap ! Tea anybody ?

    But it isn’t teatime yet, I suppose.

    Anyway … may God save the Viceroy of Sakhalin, the civilized world’s hope and glory ! 😛

  88. Andy says:

    Time for Breakfast Tea, of course…!

  89. Breakfast Tea at this time of the day ? According to the Bavarian-Orthodox Calender we are rapidly approaching the “Weisswurst & Bier -2nd-Breakfast” which has to be eaten before 11 AM Central-Bavarian-Daylight-Saving-Time (CBDST)

  90. GER O'BRIEN says:

    ”Breakfast Tea at this time of the day ? According to the Bavarian-Orthodox Calender we are rapidly approaching the “Weisswurst & Bier -2nd-Breakfast” which has to be eaten before 11 AM Central-Bavarian-Daylight-Saving-Time (CBDST)”

    2nd breakfast? Well for some! In old Ireland years ago you’d be lucky to get one breakfast, never mind two:-)

  91. I had to get used to this 2nd-breakfast tradition in Bavaria as well. I’ve spent quite some time in Bavaria in 1987 and 1989, some 30 km from Munich.

    The Bavarian lads I worked with got up at about 6 am and had a huge breakfast. From 9.30 to 10.00 AM they had their first “Brotzeit” which included a pair of “Weisswuerstl” with sweet mustard and a “Mass” (a 1 ltr mug of beer). At noon they went to lunch, had another “Brotzeit” at 4 PM and went to supper at 6 PM. With each meal they had beer, only the 6 AM breakfast came with coffee.

    In Bavaria beer isn’t considered being alcohol … its “basic food”.

  92. http://www.russiablog.org/2008/02/russia_sees_baby_boom_in_2007.php#comments

    Excerpt:

    Yes it is great to see this faith in the country. I am a transplanted Canadian who with my Russian wife helped to contribute to this baby boom when my daughter was born here in SPB last Oct. I am using my skills to help Russians improve their English in the State University and I am very happy that these students plan on staying in Russia because they are confident in their country.

    Posted by: Frank Godon | February 9, 2008 11:46 PM

  93. GER O'BRIEN says:

    Mike, credit to you. You never give up:-)

  94. Why “give up”, when I submit valid points?

  95. One of many reasons why I shouldn’t “give up”.

    http://www.russiatoday.ru/sports/news/22122

    As currently posted, the above linked commentary is substandard. Non-nations Palestine, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong and the British Virgin Islands are full fledged members in the IOC.

    While not supporting Kosovo’s independence, I do support the idea of it having full IOC and UN representation as an irrevocably autonomus part of Serbia. In addition to the mentioned non-nations in the IOC, Soviet era Ukraine and Belarus had such in the UN.

    I stated all this on my own. No rehashing of what someone else said. This is indicative of an originally well thought out overview.

    Forgive me for not being so impressed with some of the regularly propped experts. I’m not the only one feeling this way.

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