Day: December 21, 2006

The Plan Gets Tougher

Germany is to “toughen” a plan on European policy towards Russia that has been drafted by the SPD-controlled Foreign Ministry, the IHT reports (see also RFE/RL). The plan was to have been an important part of Germany’s forthcoming EU Presidency and chairmanship of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized countries, which begin on January 1, and it will still go ahead, but with major modifications, to

reflect the erosion of human rights, the murder of a prominent journalist and the use of energy as a political weapon under President Vladimir Putin, senior government officials said Wednesday… under pressure from Chancellor Angela Merkel and senior members of the Christian Democratic Union and Christian Social Union, which are part of her governing coalition, the Foreign Ministry is preparing to include references to human rights and the rule of law. The two issues have caused increasing unease in the West. Both were absent from the Foreign Ministry’s original paper.Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier, who arrived in Moscow on Wednesday for two days of talks that will include a meeting with Putin on Thursday, was asked by the chancellery to raise human rights issues, including the murder of Anna Politkovskaya, an investigative journalist who was shot outside her Moscow apartment in October.

“The Foreign Ministry knows exactly what our views are about its paper on Russia,” said Ruprecht Polenz, a Christian Democrat who is the chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the Bundestag. “As we prepare to take over the EU presidency, it is absolutely necessary that we make clear to Putin what we think about his policy toward human rights and the rule of law.”

Putin promised an investigation into the killing when he met Merkel in Dresden shortly after the shooting, but German officials said they had heard nothing since.

Moscow Targets Zakayev – II

In the Blogger comments, Jeremy Putley has contributed a note on the Zakayev/Berezovsky “extradition” case:

Yuri Chaika’s posturing is in anticipation of an impending announcement by HM government concerning the murder of a British citizen on British soil, with disclosures that will include a statement confirming that the murder was executed by Russian agents acting on the instructions of a highly-placed Kremlin official. Measures to be announced will include a large number of personnel at the Russian embassy being expelled from the country, and severe impairment of international relations until Putin goes.

Chaika’s “extradition” efforts are therefore anticipatory posturing and disinformation, essentially the type of hypocrisy we saw in the bad old cold war days. Chaika is well aware that his extradition case is bound to fail, the more so because it is well known in the West that the Russian judicial system is as corrupt as the Russian “security” services. No court will ever extradite suspects to Russia’s travesty of a system of justice.

Russian Winter Festival in London

Mayor of London

news release
Office hours: 020 7983 4070
Out of hours and weekends: 020 7983 4000


Wednesday 20 December 2006 FORWARD PLANNING – LIVE EVENTS

Plans announced for third Russian New Year celebrations in Trafalgar Square


Event Russian Winter Festival
Venue Trafalgar Square, London WC2
Date Saturday 13 January 2007
Time 11am-6:30pm
Entry FREE
Information 020 7983 4100; /,uk

The third Russian Winter Festival, organised by Eventica with the support of the Russian Economic Forum and the Mayor of London, will take place on Saturday 13 January 2007, the eve of the Russian ‘Old New Year’, which was originally celebrated before 1917.

The free event is open to all and will feature an eclectic mix of live performance, music and other attractions aimed at people of all ages.

Live performances will include young Russian Londoners performing classical Russian folk dance and songs, as well as professional musical ensembles. Music will range from the traditional – including balalaikas and accordions and dance moves such as the Cossack kazachok – to contemporary popular music from Russia itself.

There will be Russian crafts and other products available from specially constructed Russian kiosks, Russian children’s games and puppet performances, and traditional Russian food.

Further details about performers will be released in due course.

More information about the Russian Winter Festival is available by calling Lieran Stubbings at Eventica on 020 7183 2560, or Ben McKnight in the Mayor’s press office on 020 7983 4071.

Notes to editors

1. The Russian Winter Festival will take place in Trafalgar Square on Saturday 13 January 2007. It is being organised by the Russian Economic Forum, with the support of the Mayor of London. For more information: Or call the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100, or Lieran Stubbings at the Russian Economic Forum on 020 7183 2560.

2. The event celebrates the Russian Old New Year, which falls in mid-January and is based on the Julian calendar, which was in use before 1917.

3. Eventica, which organises annual business, social and investment events, (its flagship event being the Russian Economic Forum which is held in London in April), is hosting its annual ‘Old New Year’ gala dinner at the Guildhall on Friday 12 January, as a curtain raiser to the Russian Winter Festival. Further information on attending and sponsoring the event can be obtained by telephone 020 7183 2560, or by emailing Elena at

4. Proceeds raised during the Gala Dinner will support the construction fund for the Russian Orthodox Cathedral of the Adoration of the Virgin Mary in Chiswick, London.

5. The Russian Winter Festival seeks to innovate and add to its themes each year. Sporting elements have always proven popular and the Russian Winter Festival 2007 will seek to integrate sport with culture by profiling winter sports. Famous sporting personalities will appear at the event at strategic points throughout the whole day, information will be available on Sochi – Russia’s Candidate City for the Winter Olympics 2014 and competitions will be held with the best on simulated winter sports games!

MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Press information is available from Ben McKnight on 020 7983 4071 (number not for publication) or Lieran Stubbings on 020 7183 2560

GENERAL PUBLIC/NON-MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Call the Public Liaison Unit at the Greater London Authority on 020 7983 4100

DUTY PRESS OFFICER: For out-of-hours media enquiries, please call 020 7983 4000


Benjamin McKnight
Chief Communications Officer

Mayor’s Press Office
Greater London Authority
City Hall
The Queen’s Walk
London SE1 2AA

t: 020 7983 4071
m: 07881 501 920