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Archive for the ‘Putin’ Category

10 August 2012                20:01 ET

The trial of the female punk rock band Pussy Riot has sharply divided liberals and conservatives in Russian society.

Three members of Pussy Riot are awaiting a verdict on their highly controversial performance of a protest song against Vladimir Putin in Moscow’s main cathedral – Christ the Saviour – in March.

Many liberals who sided with the group feel the Orthodox Church’s leader, Patriarch Kirill, has overplayed its hand recently.

They point to his support for President Putin and refusal to publicly pardon the protesters.

But more traditional believers say the Patriarch needs to be given a chance to revive the Church’s flagging attendance rates in a mainly Orthodox society.

Sergei Rybko understands the difficulty the Patriarch is facing.

In the Soviet Union he was a hippy, later becoming a priest who struggled against the communists’ persecution of the Orthodox Church.

Father Sergei Rybko
Father Rybko sees Pussy Riot as part of an anti-Church campaign

He is to this day a lover of rock music. He strives to convince other clergymen of the value in 1970s rock bands like Slade and Deep Purple.

He also attends rock concerts, telling crowds that freedom without God is impossible.

I assumed, since he has liberal views, he would defend the likes of Pussy Riot.

I was wrong.

“They should be given forced labour,” he quipped. “That would be a suitable punishment.

“Anyway, they are not real punk musicians. They were paid to perform.”

As we go inside the small monastery attached to Father Sergei’s church in northern Moscow it becomes clear why he has such strong feelings.

“The Church needs time to equip itself with better PR skills. The previous Patriarch [Alexei II] had to revive the Orthodox Church from scratch. Now the Church is being attacked and that is not fair.”

Conspiracy theories

Younger Orthodox Russians I spoke to, many of whom support Pussy Riot, disagree. They feel that their Patriarch is not maintaining the neutrality expected of him and is in fact legitimising the activity of the state.

Patriarch Kirill, 3 July 09 - screen grab
Russian bloggers spotted the tell-tale reflection of the Patriarch’s gold watch

“The Church connects people to God but now these two bodies – the Church and the government – are linked and it should not be like this,” says Nikolai Polozov, a committed Orthodox Christian and the lawyer acting for Pussy Riot.

And yet the Church feels someone is out there to get them. As it struggles to boost its low attendances (fewer than 10% of Russians attend church regularly), it talks of a “smear campaign” being waged against the Patriarch.

It appeared to be referring to stories printed online in recent months alleging that its leader enjoyed luxuries that contravened the vow of poverty he took when he became a monk.

One concerned a lawsuit involving a large flat belonging to him in Moscow. It ended with damages of around $500,000 (£315,000) being awarded to a woman acting on behalf of the Patriarch.

But then there was the story about a $30,000 Swiss watch that the Patriarch was photographed wearing during a religious service in Ukraine in 2009.

In one photograph journalists noted that the watch had been airbrushed out, although its reflection could still be seen on the highly polished table where he was seated.

These episodes, while embarrassing for the Patriarch, may have been intentional, says Andrei Zolotov, a member of the Church and a journalist specialising in religion. He is the editor of Russia Profile magazine.

“I certainly don’t rule out that people in the Kremlin may have decided that the Patriarch has too much weight and may want to put him in his place,” he says.

Influencing politicians

I decided to put some of these points to senior bishops in the Church.

Metropolitan Hillarion heads the external relations department at the Moscow Patriarchate.

Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, a member of Pussy Riot, in detention
The authorities’ treatment of Pussy Riot has drawn international protests

He would not answer on the impact the trial is having, but did talk about the relationship between Church and state.

He said that far from being a tool of the Kremlin, the Church is actually there to hold the government to account.

“There have been quite a number of cases when the Church expressed its dissatisfaction with government policies and we try to change these policies,” he said.

“For example, if we know something is happening in the army and we are unhappy with that we engage in dialogue with the defence ministry and try to influence them. I see this way of collaboration as very fruitful.”

Andrei Zolotov believes the recent scandals have only deepened the mistrust in society and that they will have a lasting effect.

“For the past 20 years after the Soviet-era persecution the Church had a right to rebuild. Now things unfortunately get back to normal. And normal means a confrontation between some of the radical elements in society – the leftists, the radicals – and the traditionalists.”

You don’t have to travel far in Moscow to meet people from each of these different categories, all with opposing views.

But most agree on one thing: that the Pussy Riot protest will have a lasting impact on the way the Church is seen in Mr Putin’s Russia.

from:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-19207439

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Kirill was born on November 20th, 1946 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kirill_I_of_Moscow

November 20th, 1946

11 + 20 +1+9+4+6 = 51 = his life lesson = Authority.  Government.  President (Vladimir Putin).  Stern.  Harsh.

King of Swords Tarot card

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November 20th, 1946

November 20th

11 + 20 +2+0+1+1 = 35 = his personal year (from November 20th, 2011 to November 19th, 2012) = Getting caught off guard.

Nine of Wands Tarot card

35 year + 7 (July) = 42 = his personal month (from July 20th, 2012 to August 19th, 2012) = Misunderstandings.

Two of Cups Tarot card

42 month + 17 (17th of the month on Friday August 17th, 2012) = 59 = his personal day = Empty victory.

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mikhail-prokhorov-russian--olympics-new-jersey-nets-217.jpg

December 12, 2011

Amid a crescendo of complaints from Russians fed up with the country’s tightly controlled political system, two prominent figures — a billionaire industrialist and the recently ousted finance minister — sought to fill a void in the opposition leadership on Monday.

The billionaire, Mikhail D. Prokhorov, who owns shares in a major gold mining company and an array of other ventures in Russia as well as the New Jersey Nets basketball franchise in the United States, said he would run for president, challenging Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin.

“I made a decision, probably the most serious decision in my life: I am going to the presidential election,” Mr. Prohkorov said at a news conference. He has barely appeared in public since mid-September, when he was removed as the head of a pro-business party, Just Cause, after clashing with Kremlin political strategists.

“You may remember, the Kremlin removed me and my allies from Just Cause, and we were not allowed to do what we wanted,” he said. “It is not in my nature to stop halfway. So for the last two and a half months we sat and worked, very calmly and quietly, and we created all the infrastructure to collect two million signatures,” the number needed to get on the ballot as an independent candidate.

Meanwhile, the former finance minister, Aleksei L. Kudrin, said he would form a new political party to push for liberal reforms. Like Mr. Prokhorov, Mr. Kudrin was expelled from the Kremlin’s inner circle this fall, after disagreeing publicly with Mr. Putin’s decision to trade jobs with President Dmitri A. Medvedev.

Mr. Kudrin told the business newspaper Vedomosti that the governing party, United Russia, had not delivered on its promises to protect business, fight corruption and reform the court system, and would be hard-pressed to respond to the complaints emerging from society.

“While they are gathering their thoughts, they are losing time, which is very valuable right now,” he said. “In parallel, there will arise a new liberal party, which will talk about these problems. This party will include people with experience, people from business. The political picture will begin to gradually change.” He said he was “absolutely certain” that the party would be created, though he offered no details.

Their return to the political arena Monday posed the latest in a series of challenges in recent days to the political status quo after years of stasis.

Mr. Prokhorov said the events of the last week, including a huge rally on Saturday that drew tens of thousands of people in protest of parliamentary election results, have left the governing powers no choice but to loosen their grip.

“I think that our society is waking up, and that part of the government which is not capable of establishing a dialogue with society, those authorities will have to go,” he said. “The world is undergoing serious changes, a new kind of person has arisen as the result of the internet, and communication between the authorities and society will have a more honest character.”

Many changes seem likely to flow from Dec. 4 parliamentary elections, which were condemned as fraudulent by international and local monitors, and protested by a vehement swath of middle-class Russians.

United Russia, which is led by Mr. Putin, finished first in the elections, with a shade under 50 percent of the vote, but still lost 77 seats.

Critics say those losses would have been far steeper were it not for voting irregularities, including structural impediments that make it difficult for opposition parties to compete — like the use of official government resources on behalf of United Russia — and also outright fraud like ballot-box stuffing.

At least one nationwide exit poll suggested that United Russia most likely won only about 43 percent of the vote, or more than 6 percent less than the official tally.

Complaints began mounting during the campaign, when digitally-connected young citizens, taking matters into the own hands, circulated videos showing local and regional authorities threatening or cajoling their subordinates to get out the vote for United Russia, the governing party, which is led by Mr. Putin.

Similar videos of malfeasance at polling stations, some taken using cellphones, were posted on the Internet.

The outcry culminated on Saturday, when upward of 40,000 protesters gathered near the Kremlin for a rally that was permitted by city authorities. A huge deployment of riot police and heavy equipment stood by as the crowd chanted slogans against Mr. Putin and denounced the election results as invalid. Some speakers demanded that the elections be annulled and a new vote scheduled.

Mr. Medvedev has ordered inquiries into alleged fraud but there is widespread skepticism that such an investigation would alter the outcome. And on Monday, Mr. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said as much, telling Agence France-Presse, “even if you take into account the so-called evidence” of fraud, “this accounts for just over 0.5 percent of all the votes.”

The wave of dissent has included complaints from the three minority parties represented in the Parliament, all of which picked up additional seats in the balloting. But the parties have been at odds over how to respond, and in some cases there has been internal dissent within their own ranks.

At least one member of Parliament, Gennadi Gudkov, of Just Russia, a liberal socialist party, has urged that his group reach an agreement with the Communist Party, which finished second in the balloting, and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party, which finished fourth, to refuse their seats in the new Parliament and force a new vote.

The Communist Party has declared the election results “illegitimate both from the moral and political points of view” and said that they showed a “heavy defeat of the ruling regime.” The party has also called for the ouster of Russia’s top elections official, Vladimir Churov, who is a strong supporter of Mr. Putin.

But so far the Communists have said they will not decline their seats unless United Russia first gives up theirs. Meanwhile, the nationalists have distanced themselves from the other opposition parties, even declining to attend Saturday’s big rally, which they said was instigated by foreign agents.

Even the leader of Just Russia, Sergei Mironov, who is also running for president, said he opposed declining the parliamentary seats out of concern that under Russian election law they would simply be awarded to United Russia, which fielded enough candidates to fill all 450 seats in the Duma, the lower house.

Other opposition organizers have argued against tossing out the election results in favor of forcing a recount in districts where there was evidence of fraud, which they said would most likely result in United Russia losing more seats, perhaps enough for it to fall short of the simple majority needed to pass legislation.

It was into this swirl of dissenting voices and lack of coherent leadership that the announcements came on Monday from Mr. Kudrin and Mr. Prokhorov.

For Mr. Prokhorov, whose business interests include a stake in the Atlantic Yardsdevelopment in downtown Brooklyn, his leap into presidential politics could be risky. He is the first wealthy businessman to pursue a political goal in Russia against the governing authorities since the 2003 arrest of Mikhail B. Khodorkovsky, the former chairman of the Yukos Oil Company, who was jailed after he began financing an opposition party. He remains in prison.

The Kremlin is clearly considering blessing a liberal party, after the backlash that has emerged in recent days.

In an interview posted Tuesday on the Web site of Ekho Moskvy radio station, Kremlin strategist Vladislav Y. Surkov said he supported the creation of “a mass liberal party or, more precisely, a party for the annoyed urban communities,” and that in order for Russia’s political system to survive, it needed to open up to “new players.”

from:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/world/europe/billionaire-to-oppose-putin-in-russian-presidential-election.html

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mikhail-prokhorov-russian--olympics-new-jersey-nets-217.jpg

Mikhail Prokhorov was born on May 3rd, 1965 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mikhail_Prokhorov

May 3rd, 1965

May 3rd

5 + 3 +2+0+1+1 = 12 = his personal year (from May 3rd, 2011 to May 2nd, 2012) = Different.  Having faith.  Wait and see.  Reversals.

12 year + 12 (December) = 24 = his personal month (from December 3rd, 2011 to January 2nd, 2012) = Russia.  Taking charge.

24 month + 12 (12th of the month on Monday December  12th, 2011) = 36 = his personal day = Having his work cut out for him.  Herculean task.

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The 2012 Russian presidential elections are to be held on Sunday March 4th, 2012 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_presidential_election,_2012

Sunday March 4th, 2012

May 3rd, 1965

May 3rd

5 + 3 +2+0+1+1 = 12 = his personal year (from May 3rd, 2011 to May 2nd, 2012) = Different.  Having faith.  Wait and see.  Reversals.

12 year + 3 (March) = 15 = his personal month (from March 3rd, 2012 to April 2nd, 2012) = Taxes.  Spending.

15 month + 4 (4th of the month on Sunday March 4th, 2012) = 19 = his personal day = Proud of his hard earned success.  Sunshine is the best disinfectant.

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Aleksei Kudrin was born on October 12th, 1960 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksey_Kudrin

October 12th, 1960

October 12th

10 + 12 +2+0+1+1 = 26 = his personal year (from October 12th, 2011 to October 11th, 2012) = Popular.  Speeches.  Television.  In the news.  Making headlines.

26 year + 12 (December) = 38 = his personal month (from December 12th, 2011 to January 11th, 2012) = I care.  Take care of yourself.

38 month + 12 (12th of the month on Monday December 12th, 2011) = 50 = his personal day = Society.  Population.  Everybody.

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The 2012 Russian presidential elections are to be held on Sunday March 4th, 2012 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_presidential_election,_2012

Sunday March 4th, 2012

October 12th, 1960

October 12th

10 + 12 +2+0+1+1 = 26 = his personal year (from October 12th, 2011 to October 11th, 2012) = Popular.  Speeches.  Television.  In the news.  Making headlines.

26 year + 2 (February) = 28 = his personal month (from February 12th, 2012 to March 11th, 2012) = Bold.  Daring.

28 month + 4 (4th of the month on Sunday March 4th, 2012) = 32 = his personal day = Freedom.  Liberty.  Democracy.  Mainstream.  Victory.

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The 2012 Russian presidential elections are to be held on Sunday March 4th, 2012 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_presidential_election,_2012

Vladimir Putin was born on October 7th, 1952 at 9:30 a.m. in St. Petersburg, Russia according to http://www.astro.com/astro-databank/Putin,_Vladimir

October 7th, 1952

October 7th

10 + 7 +2+0+1+1 = 21 = his personal year (from October 7th, 2011 to October 6th, 2012) = On the world stage.  For all the world to see.  Seeing the big picture.

21 year + 2 (February) = 23 = his personal month (from February 7th, 2012 to March 6th, 2012) = Leadership.  Taking action.

23 month + 4 (4th of the month on Sunday March 4th, 2012) = 27 = his personal day = First.  Uncharacteristic.  Acting out of character.

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find out your own numerology at:

http://www.learnthenumbers.com/

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December 10, 2011

Tens of thousands of Russians gathered peacefully in central Moscow on Saturday to shout “Putin is a thief” and “Russiawithout Putin,” forcing the Kremlin to confront a level of public discontent that has not been seen here since Vladimir V. Putin first became president 12 years ago.

The crowd overflowed the square where it was held, forcing stragglers to climb trees or watch from the opposite riverbank, and organizers repeatedly cleared a footbridge out of fear it would collapse. It was the largest anti-Kremlin protest since the early 1990s.

The crowd united liberals, nationalists and Communists, a group best described as the urban middle class, so digitally connected that some were broadcasting the rally live using iPads held over their heads. The police estimated the crowd at 25,000 while organizers put the figure much higher, at 40,000 or more.

The rally was a significant moment in Russia’s political life, suggesting that the authorities have lost the power to control the national agenda. The event was too large to be edited out of the evening news, which does not report criticism of Mr. Putin, and was accompanied by smaller demonstrations dozens of other cities, including St. Petersburg.

The government calculated that it had no choice but to allow the events unfold. There was a large police presence, including rows of troop carriers, dump trucks and bulldozers, but remarkably when the crowd dispersed four hours later, no detentions had been reported.

On Saturday many in the crowd said the event was a watershed moment.

“People are just tired, they have already crossed all the boundaries,” said Yana Larionova, 26, a real estate agent. “You see all these people who are well dressed and earn a good salary, going out onto the streets on Saturday and saying, ‘No more.’ That’s when you know you need a change.”

Calls for protest have been mounting since parliamentary elections last Sunday, which domestic and international observers said were tainted by ballot-stuffing and fraud on behalf of Mr. Putin’s party, United Russia. But an equally crucial event, many said, was Mr. Putin’s announcement in September that he would run for the presidency in March. He is almost certain to win a six-year term, meaning he will have been Russia’s paramount leader for 18 years.

Yevgeniya Albats, editor of the New Times magazine, said that the gathering was the most striking display of grassroots democracy that she had seen in Russia, and that the involvement of young people was a game-changer. When Mr. Putin revealed his decision to return to the presidency, a full six months before presidential elections, she said, “this really, really humiliated the country.”

“Today we just proved that civil society does exist, that the middle class does exist and that this country is not lost,” Ms. Albats said.

The authorities had been trying to discourage attendance, saying that widespread protests could culminate in a disaster on the scale of the Soviet collapse, which occurred 20 years ago this month. Officials have portrayed the demonstrators as revolutionaries dedicated to a violent, Libya-style overthrow. Mr. Putin last week said that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had set off the wave of activism by publicly criticizing the conduct of the parliamentary elections.

“She set the tone for some actors in our country and gave them a signal,” Mr. Putin said. “They heard the signal and with the support of the U.S. State Department began active work.”

The demonstration’s organizers have put forward several demands: the immediate release of prisoners arrested last week in connection with the protests; the scheduling of new parliamentary elections; the ouster of Vladimir Y. Churov, who runs the Central Election Commission; investigation of election violations; the registration of so-called nonsystem opposition parties, ones that have been unable to win seats in Parliament or put forward presidential candidates.

Speakers said they would give the Kremlin two weeks to satisfy the demands, and hold another large protest on Dec. 24.

Aleksei Navalny, a popular blogger who has helped mobilize young Russians over the last year, sent an address from the prison where he is serving a 15-day sentence for resisting the police. Mr. Navalny was arrested Monday night after the first of three demonstrations.

“Everyone has the single most powerful weapon that we need — dignity, the feeling of self-respect,” read the address, which was delivered by a veteran opposition leader, Boris Y. Nemtsov. “It’s impossible to beat and arrest hundreds of thousands, millions. We have not even been intimidated. For some time, we were simply convinced that the life of toads and rats, the life of mute cattle, was the only way to win the reward of stability and economic growth.”

“We are not cattle or slaves,” he said. “We have voices and votes and we have the power to uphold them.”

The blogosphere has played a central role in mobilizing young Russians this fall. During the parliamentary campaign, Russians using smartphones filmed authority figures cajoling, bribing or offering money to their subordinates to get out the vote for United Russia. More video went online after Election Day, when many Russians in their 20s camped out in polling stations as amateur observers.

“The Putin system, over many years, repeats the same mistakes and ignores public opinion,” said Leonid Gigen, 26. “We have a lot of evidence. A lot was shot on video. And then Medvedev says these videos are fake,” a reference to President Dmitri A. Medvedev. “But people saw it themselves, because they voted.”

The ruling party, United Russia, lost ground in last Sunday’s election, securing 238 seats in the next Duma, compared with the 315, or 70 percent, that it holds now. The Communist Party won 92 seats; Just Russia won 64 seats; and the nationalist Liberal Democratic Party won 56 seats.

The vote had come to be seen as a referendum not only on United Russia but also on Mr. Putin and his plans to stay on as Russia’s paramount leader. Mr. Putin remains by far the country’s most popular political figure — the independent Levada Center reports his approval ratings at above 60 percent — but that approval has been diminishing gradually despite the authorities’ efforts to shore it up.

It seems unlikely that the authorities will accede to the protesters’ demands. A deputy chairman of Russia’s Central Election Commission told the Interfax news service that the final report on the election results was signed Friday, and that he saw no reason to annul them.

“The elections are declared valid, and there is no reason for any other assessment,” the official, Stanisav Vavilov, said. “There is no reason to revise the results of the elections.”

One of the few official remarks on the gathering on Saturday came from Andrei Isayev, the deputy secretary of the presidium of the general council of United Russia, who told demonstrators that they risked becoming “cannon fodder.”

“Do not allow yourself to become a pawn in the hands of those who want to destroy our country,” he said.

from:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/world/europe/thousands-protest-in-moscow-russia-in-defiance-of-putin.html

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Monday December 5th, 2011

December 5th, 2011

12 + 5 +2+0+1+1 = 21 = the life lesson and personal year for the protests in Russia = On the world stage.  For all the world to see.  Seeing the big picture.  Connecting the dots.

21 year + 12 (December) = 33 = the protests in Russia’s personal month (from December 5th, 2011 to January 4th, 2012) = Courage.  Bravery.  Backbone.  Taking a stand.  Not backing down.  Not caving in.

33 month + 5 (5th of the month on Monday December 5th, 2011) = 38 = the protest in Russia’s personal day = We’re not gonna take it anymore.

33 month + 10 (10th of the month on Saturday December 10th, 2011) = 43 = the protest in Russia’s personal day = Crowds.  Gathering together.

33 month + 24 (24th of the month on Saturday December 24th, 2011) = 57 = the protest in Russia’s personal day = Feel our pain.  Hillary Clinton.

Numerologically, a person’s life lesson number stands for themself.  Hillary Clinton was born on October 26th, 1947.

October 26th, 1947

10 + 26 +1+9+4+7 = 57 = her life lesson number

So perhaps Hillary Clinton (whose life lesson number is 57) will be of significance to the Russian protest situation on it’s 57 day (Saturday December 24th, 2011).

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find out your own numerology at:

http://www.learnthenumbers.com/

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