Month: June 2013

Putin oligarchs buy Hartwall Arena

Via Bloomberg:

Gennady Timchenko and two other billionaire acquaintances of President Vladimir Putin bought a stake in Jokerit ice hockey team, moving the club from Finland’s top league to Russia’s answer to the NHL.

Timchenko, Arkady Rotenberg and Boris Rotenberg will also buy Hartwall Areena in Helsinki, Jokerit’s home rink and Finland’s largest event venue, with a seating capacity of about 13,500, according to an e-mailed statement from the business partners’ Arena Events Oy venture. The price wasn’t disclosed.

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The Catastrophe

On June 22 – the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Russia in 1941 – the Russian “intellectual nationalist” website Sputnik  & Pogrom published an article with the title The Birthday of Hope that lamented the outcome of what is known in Russia as the Great Patriotic War. “In speaking of the ‘catastrophe’ of  June 22,” the article’s author wrote,

Soviet – and also post-Soviet – propaganda only partly tells a lie. A catastrophe did indeed take place. However, it took place not on the battlefields but in the minds of the human beings who made up the “new historical community” – the Soviet people. On June 22, 1941, in the minds of the millions of Stalin’s slaves was born a HOPE that gave rise to a military disaster which put the Stalinist tyranny on the edge of destruction.

On June 22 1941 it was suddenly discovered that there were forces in the world that could challenge the Stalinist cannibals. And the millions of slaves felt that the bloody communist rule, with all its party committees, collective farms and gulags – was not forever, that THINGS COULD BE DIFFERENT. For the first time in twenty years, people had the opportunity to choose, and there were very many who did.

The article makes no attempt to justify Nazism – the author says that “socialists always deceive, and the National Socialists were no exception.” But it does make a radical break with the received wisdom about 1941, a break viewed by some as amounting to blasphemy. There were calls for the author and his editor to be imprisoned. Some saw an irony in the fact that the loudest of these calls came from the pages of the newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda in an article by the shadowy WikiLeaks journalist Israel Shamir, with a photograph of Yegor Prosvirnin headed Why is he still not in jail? Shamir attacked Russia’s liberal and centre-right  intellectuals, claiming that their supposedly enlightened views are really a mask for Nazi sympathies.

In a reply published on the Sputnik & Pogrom website, Prosvirnin retorted:

I swore an oath to Russia and to the Russian people… You, collective deputy Yarovaya and collective publicist Shamir, are not Russia and are not the Russian people… Why are you still not in jail, deputy Yarovaya? Why are you still not in jail, Israel Shamir? Why are you still not in jail, Vladimir Putin? Why are you still not in jail, Treasonous Federation? Why?

See also: Intellectual Nationalism

Russians and Rossians

At WoE, Paul Goble has translated extracts from a recent interview with Eduard Popov, head of research at the Black Sea-Caspian Center of the Russian Institute for Strategic Studies, on the subject of Russian nationalism and its current move towards ethnic separatism. Today, Popov notes,

Moscow faces a rising tide of ‘ethnic Russian separatism based on nationalist attitudes’ precisely because the RSFSR of Soviet times has not become a Russian nation state.

To get away from this danger Popov believes that

the country must stop trying to use “the discredited definition” term for non-ethnic Russian (rossiyanin).  “This term is an anachronism which was adopted by liberal ‘Yeltsins’ as an ideological mechanism for suppressing Russian ethnic identity.”  Moreover, “there are no rossiyane; there is an [ethnic] Russian political nation.”

May 6 show trial begins

In the New Republic, Joshua Yaffa discusses the Moscow trial of the twelve May 6 defendants, which began today, and sets it in the historical and political context of Russia’s show trials of the Stalin era.

The May 6 defendants will be cast as the foot soldiers of a would-be putsch, with Udaltsov, in his scheming with foreigners, playing a role loosely modeled on Trotsky’s.

BBC Statement Regarding BBC Reporters in Turkey

Date: 24.06.2013Last updated: 24.06.2013 at 12.01

Category: Corporate

BBC Global News Director, Peter Horrocks, has issued the following statement.

The BBC is very concerned by the continued campaign of the Turkish authorities to discredit the BBC and intimidate its journalists.

A large number of threatening messages have been sent to one of our reporters, who was named and attacked on social media by the Mayor of Ankara for her coverage of the current protests.

The BBC and all its journalists are committed to providing impartial and independent journalism. It is unacceptable for our journalists to be directly targeted in this way. There are established procedures for making comments and complaints about BBC output and we call on the Turkish authorities to use these proper channels.

BBC Press Office