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28 Feb 2012 09:35


World: Vladimir Putin will take your virginity. Vote for him!

  • Creepy Russian political ad of the day: Wherein a scared virgin is relieved to learn from a fortune teller that she’ll lose it, as they say, to former KGB agent and Russian Prime Minsiter Vladimir Putin, who’s running for president this year. Putin already served two terms as Russian president from 2000-2008; he couldn’t run again in 2008 due to term limit laws, so he chilled as Prime Minister for four years while Dmitry Medvedev warmed the seat, and now he’s seeking his old office again. If elected, he could conceivably serve until 2024. Anyway, it’s noteworthy that an ad like this flies in Russia; a similar commercial by, say, Mitt Romney’s campaign in the US probably wouldn’t cut it (imagine Rick Santorum’s response) It’s also noteworthy that there are two more ads with the same pro-“lose your virginity to Vlad Putin” message on the guy’s website. source

21 Feb 2012 21:00


World: Video: What the massive mortars hitting Syrian rebels look like

  • The largest mortars used by the U.S. military are 160mm. The bad boys shown in this video of a torn-apart building in Homs are a much-larger 240mm (according to Human Rights Watch), and can be fired from as far as 20 kilometers away. Where did they get these heavy mortar rounds from? Most likely Russia, which produces the “Tulip” weapons system that fires weapons of this nature. (The towed M240 might also be used in these attacks.) So, to put it simply, Syria is lobbing giant weapons in its fight against the rebel movement. source

04 Feb 2012 13:29


World: Syria: Hillary Clinton says Russia was unwilling to budge on UN resolution

“I thought that there might be some ways to bridge, even at this last moment, a few of the concerns that the Russians had,” she told the Munich Security Conference. “I offered to work in a constructive manner to do so. That has not been possible.” source

01 Feb 2012 20:12


World: Sec. of State Clinton makes case to UN on Syria

  • Every member of the Council has to make a decision: Whose side are you on? Are you on the side of the Syrian people? Are you on the side of the Arab League? Are you on the side of the people of the Middle East and North Africa who have during this past year spoken out courageously and often for their rights? Or are you on the side of a brutal, dictatorial regime?
  • U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton • Stating her case to the UN Security Council, on the matter of the violent turmoil that continues in Syria. Clinton is clearly arguing on somewhat simplistic moral grounds, trying to put more pressure on Russia, which has said they’ll veto a resolution if it mandates that Bashar al-Assad step down from power. In particular, memory of the NATO mission in Libya is likely in play — Russia approved a resolution to protect Libyan civilians, only to see it broaden into a mission to depose dictator Muammar Gaddafi, which they opposed. Consequently, they’re now unwilling to agree to a resolution that carries either the overt or implied goal of regime change. source

31 Jan 2012 10:33


World: Syria: Russia again favors Assad, bucks against United Nations resolution

  • The Western draft Security Council resolution on Syria does not lead to a search for compromise. Pushing this resolution is a path to civil war.
  • Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov • Criticizing a draft United Nations resolution which would ask Bashar al-Assad to step aside in Syria. Gatilov suggests the resolution would lead to military conflict in Syria — much like a similar resolution did in Libya. Russia, Syria’s largest ally in the current climate, has been the sticking point for the United Nations in handling the situation in Syria: Previously, they vetoed a UN Security Council attempt to condemn the crackdown in October, and they’ll likely veto the latest resolution. source

17 Jan 2012 23:05


Tech: Russian “Koobface” cyber-hackers gave themselves away

  • “Koobface” sounds like the cyberbully cousin of Scooby Doo. You might have been a victim of the Koobface gang. This Russian cybergang is responsible for viruses that spread through Facebook and other social network sites. Technically, none of the members are under investigation by law enforcement; it’s hard to prosecture people that you can’t find. Recently, the group has been “checking in” on Foursquare, completing their location with coordinates and pictures. With more and more information being leaked about the group, perhaps citizens, companies and governments will band together to help shut this group down — but even if they finally do, don’t click on anything you don’t trust. source

27 Dec 2011 10:15


World: Russia: After protests, Putin suggests opposition opponents disorganized

  • The problem is they lack a consolidated program, as well as clear and comprensible ways of achieving their goals, which aren’t clear either. They also lack people who are capable of doing something concrete.
  • Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin • Dismissing his opponents as disorganized and leaderless in comments made days after large-scale Christmas weekend protests in Moscow. Putin, who is running for president in March (after skipping a term due to term limits), says those elections should be transparent and fair, but outright dismissed protester desires for a recount in the Russian parliamentary elections earlier this month. “As a candidate, I don’t need any vote-rigging,” he said. “I want the election to be maximally transparent. I want to rely on people’s will, on people’s trust, and it makes no sense to work if it’s missing.” source

12 Dec 2011 09:45


World: Billionaire rich guy plans to give Vladimir Putin a run for his money

Mikhail Prokhorov, a gold-mining magnate who owns the New Jersey Nets, is one of two men who just announced plans to run against Vladimir Putin in 2012. He’s been stewing since he got kicked out his party for fighting with the Kremlin. source

11 Dec 2011 20:32


World: Russia’s Medvedev promises investigation on Facebook, gets heckled

  • I do not agree with any slogans or statements made at the rallies. Nevertheless, instructions have been given by me to check all information from polling stations regarding compliance with the legislation on elections.
  • Russian President Dmitry Medvedev • Ordering an investigation into last week’s parliamentary elections in a Facebook post, one day after wide protests increased the pressure on the Russian government to do something about the issue at hand. Medvedev’s comments led to many negative and downright ugly responses on Facebook, many of them expressing disbelief at his words. source

11 Dec 2011 09:57


World: Surprise: State-owned Russian TV covers protests straightforwardly

  • They showed me on Channel 1 and said I was an opposition leader, which is already a breakthrough. They’re already calling me from Washington and asking what’s going on.
  • Former Russian Deputy Prime Minister Boris Y. Nemtsov • Discussing how, in a fairly abrupt about-face on Saturday, Russian television started straightforwardly covering the protests against the recent Russian parliamentary elections — including showing Nemtsov (who has since become a major opposition figure and a noted critic of Vladimir Putin) in a relatively neutral light, something which hasn’t happened in roughly a decade. Here’s how one TV anchor, Rossia 1’s Andrei Medvedev, put the events: “Today’s protest was a lesson for everyone. It turns out that, to express your dissatisfaction with the authorities, it is possible to gather on a square after getting permission from those same authorities. And to keep order, all you really have to do is give a polite admonition.” Is it possible that the protests were hard for state-funded Russian television to avoid, since they were so heavily covered on the Internet? A fascinating twist. source