Crediamo di morire per la patria, ma moriamo per le Banche!
Ci sono eroi sconosciuti che hanno dato la vita, e sono ricordati nei cuore di poche persone. Poi ci sono eroi che sono ricordati solo per un mese, perche hanno combatuto guerre sbagliate con nemici sbagliati. Questi sono gli assassini dei nostri veri eroi. (Michele Altamura)
lunedì 30 novembre 2015
Kremlin Press ServiceCommenting on the incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it would affect relations between the two countries.
President Vladimir Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed Friday that Turkish President Recep Erdogan tried to contact Putin after a Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber was downed, state news agency RIA Novosti reported.
“It was 7-8 hours after the incident, not earlier. The president was informed of this request,” Peskov was cited by RIA Novosti as saying. He added that Putin was also informed that Erdogan requested a meeting with Putin in Paris on Nov. 30, where both of them would attend a summit on climate change.
On Thursday Erdogan claimed in an interview with the France 24 TV channel that he called Putin right after the incident, but the latter didn't respond.
On Tuesday, a Russian Su-24 fighter-bomber was downed by an air-to-air missile from a Turkish F-16 interceptor near the Turkish-Syrian border. Turkey said the jet had violated its airspace while Russia insisted that the plane was on Syrian territory.
Commenting on the incident, Russian President Vladimir Putin said it would affect relations between the two countries.
Tbit / PixabayAccording to Kommersant, Turkey was also one of the leading destinations for Russian overseas investment into authorized capital stock.
The Bahamas have emerged as the leader in foreign direct investment in the Russian economy for the first half of 2015, as wealthy Russians continued to move funds out of Western European accounts and into offshore tax havens, the Kommersant newspaper reported Friday, citing data compiled by the Bank of Russia.
With direct investment from the country reaching $2.33 billion, the Bahamas overtook another island nation, Cyprus ($1.15 billion in FDI over the six-month period), the paper wrote. The monarchy accounted for a half of overall investment into Russian authorized capital stock, as well as 18 per cent of reinvested earnings, the paper wrote.
According to the Bank of Russia, foreign direct investment inflows and outflows both plummeted — 88 and 64 percent respectively, adding up to $4.3 billion and $10.2 billion — as compared to the same period last year.
Despite rising investment in sectors linked to import substitution, the extraction and metallurgy industries continued to account for the bulk of direct overseas inflows, Kommersant said, attributing their preeminence to the need to compensate for falling commodity prices by increasing output.
The bank named Germany as the only Western European country to increase its investment in Russia compared with the first half of 2014. Turkish investment also rose, although it was mostly channeled into joint Russian-Turkish projects.
According to Kommersant, Turkey was also one of the leading destinations for Russian overseas investment into authorized capital stock.
Denis Grishkin / VedomostiStockmann said its department store business in Russia recorded a 26 million euro operating loss last year on revenues of 240 million euros.
Finnish department store Stockmann, one of the first European retailers to open in the perestroika-era Soviet Union in 1989, said Friday that it had sold its seven Russian shops.
“Our Russian department store business has been unprofitable for the past several years and the significant devaluation of the ruble has deepened our losses,” the company said in a statement.
Russia's economy has deteriorated since 2013, and last year declining oil prices and sanctions over the Ukraine crisis pushed the country into a full-fledged slump. Retail spending has fallen sharply, and Stockmann announced plans to scale back its Russian business earlier this year.
Stockmann's seven stores — five in Moscow, one in St. Petersburg and one in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg — were bought for 5 million euros ($5.3 million) by Reviva Holdings Limited, which owns the Russian franchisee of the international department store chain Debenhams.
The stores will transition to become Debenhams outlets within two years, Stockmann's statement said.
Stockmann has weathered several crises during its 26 years in Russia. "We have seen the Soviet Union dissolve, a couple of coup attempts, tanks on the streets, and still our stores have remained open and business has been running," former CEO Hannu Penttila told news agency Reuters last year.
In 2008, the landlord of Stockmann's flagship store cut the electricity supply during a rental dispute, forcing it to close.
Stockmann said its department store business in Russia recorded a 26 million euro operating loss last year on revenues of 240 million euros. The company will retain its property business in Russia, which includes the Nevsky shopping center in St. Petersburg.
Michael Samojeden / ReutersFirst Russian President Boris Yeltsin waving to a crowd surrounded by journalists.
The opening of the center devoted to the legacy of Boris Yeltsin, Russia's first president, on Nov. 25 in the Urals city of Yekaterinburg, came on the heels of speculations surfacing among politicians that the notorious presidential elections of 1996, when Yeltsin won in the second round of voting, were conducted with violations and cannot be considered fair.
Just two months ago the former Kremlin official Oleg Morozov said in an interview with the Gazeta.ru news website that in the 1996 presidential elections — when Boris Yeltsin went neck and neck with the Communist candidate — were "solid evidence" that in the "wild '90s" the voting process could easily be manipulated.
He echoed the rumor that gripped public attention in 2012, when Russian opposition leaders claimed Dmitry Medvedev, then president, told them during a meeting that Yeltsin wasn't the actual winner of the 1996 elections. The statement was quickly refuted by President Medvedev's spokespeople.
"I categorically object to this point of view. The elections were absolutely fair," Naina Yeltsina, the first president's wife, said in an interview with the Gazeta.ru news website on Nov. 21. "It was impossible to falsify anything. We didn't know the results until the end. Anyone who has doubts can check with the elections protocols, it's all there," she said.
While doubts about the legitimacy of Yeltsin's win are yet to be settled, one thing is clear: In 1996 independent media during elections races were replaced with propaganda, said Ivan Kurilla, a historian and professor at the European University in St. Petersburg.
"It was then when we said good-bye to the independent journalism that turned into propaganda even on respectable television channels," he told The Moscow Times.
This is not the only controversial issue discussed nowadays in relation to Yeltsin's legacy.
Russian officialdom has continuously condemned Yeltsin's era, commonly called "the wild '90s," as a dark and unfortunate period of the country's history.
At the same time, Russian society doesn't have a univocal evaluation of the 1990s. For some, Yeltsin's years are associated with freedom — both political and economical — that Russia embraced after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and some remember this decade as the time when poverty thrived and criminality and corruption blossomed, blaming their forebears for everything that looks unfortunate today.
Nothing But the Facts
Founders of the Yeltsin Center, a historical and cultural institution, promise not to judge.
"[At the center] no one will impose any judgements or appraisals. Everything is designed in order to give visitors willing to reflect on the subject, especially those who doesn't know a lot about it, to see and feel how it was back then," Alexander Drozdov, director of the center, told The Moscow Times.
The center, 22,000 square meter large, includes a museum portion and several educational facilities for young visitors that will focus on different sciences. The museum portion is devoted to Russian history in general, from Novgorod princedom to the present day, though the history of the 1990s is exhibited in more detail, with, of course, Yeltsin as a focal point.
Part of the exhibition called "The Chechen Tragedy" is devoted to the Chechen wars of the late 1990s, one of the most controversial and harrowing episodes in Russian history. Representatives of the center said they were trying to make the exhibit honest and objective by including the Chechen wars in it. Another large part of it is devoted to the controversial elections of 1996.
The center was founded under a federal law that outlines creating legacy centers devoted to each Russian president at their places of birth and partially funded from the federal budget — according to Drozdov, the center was assigned 4.9 billion rubles ($75 million). Sergei Ivanov, head of the presidential administration, chairs its board, but Drozdov said no one from the Kremlin interfered with the center's work or content of the exhibitions.
The official position about Yeltsin's era is quite clear nowadays. "A lot of my colleagues, presidents and prime ministers, told me that [at the time] they had already made up their minds that Russia, the way it was [at the time,] is about to end its existence," President Vladimir Putin said in the documentary "President," made by the state-owned VGTRK television holding in April, commenting on the state of the country in the 1990s.
Yeltsin, elected in 1991, aimed at transforming Russia's socialist economy into a capitalist market economy. In order to do that, he implemented economic shock therapy, price liberalization and nationwide privatization, which led to skyrocketing inflation rates and almost collapsed the country's economy.
His years in office are also overshadowed by painful military conflicts, including a clash with parliament in 1993 and two Chechen wars.
"The first public opposition activist, with unique experience gained in the Soviet Communist party, Yeltsin was a child of the Soviet totalitarian Communist empire," Gennady Burbulis, state secretary in 1991-92 and one of Yeltsin's closest allies, told The Moscow Times.
The founders of the Yeltsin Center wanted the exhibition to be honest and objective.
"The Soviet system collapsed, and deciding what to build in its place was a tough decision. Not only was it important to feel the [nation's] pain and problems, but the situation required understanding of how to avoid the disaster of bloody redivision of the legacy … and how to create grounds for the new Russia instead of the burnt militarized Soviet empire," he said.
According to Burbulis, Russian officials embarked on falsifying and mythologizing Yeltsin's era in an attempt to restore their "imperial syndromes."
The very term "wild '90s" was invented by Putin, said Yuly Nisnevich, a professor of political science for the Higher School of Economics and former State Duma deputy from 1993-95. The term was first uttered at one of the pre-election congresses of the United Russia party, he told The Moscow Times.
"It's the leading idea that was voiced for propaganda reasons. … Because there must be an 'enemy' to fight," he said.
But it was just the historical period that was deemed an enemy, not Yeltsin himself, Nisnevich added. "The division is very simple: on one hand there are these '90s, a faceless [phenomenon,] and on other hand there's the president of the country. [He represents] authority, and authority is sacred in Russia," he said.
Putin has often expressed deep respect for his predecessor, at the same time pointing out the toughness of the decade during which Yeltsin had to rule, with his statements sometimes contradicting one another.
"Yeltsin, together with the new Russia, took on the path of tough, but necessary reforms. [He] led the process of drastic changes that drove Russia out of a cul-de-sac," Putin said in 2011, when Yeltsin's posthumous 80th birthday was celebrated all over the country.
Another event this year about the '90s that gripped public attention was a large festival called "The Island of the '90s," launched in September by the Colta.ru culture news website and supported by the founders of the Yeltsin Center. The festival took place at the central Muzeon park and was devoted to one of the most controversial periods of Russia's modern history.
Hundreds of Muscovites, nostalgic about the decade, attended lectures, round tables, movie screenings and concerts. The nostalgia was sparked several days before the festival, when Colta.ru launched a flash mob on social networks and called on users to post photos of themselves during the 1990s.
The practice quickly went viral — Russians of all ages started posting pictures and stories about their experiences. "We launched the festival to try and take a look at this terra incognita that the '90s suddenly turned into 15 years later," Maria Stepanova, editor-in-chief on Colta.ru, told the Kommersant FM radio station. "It was a time of huge trauma, huge shock," she said.
Although the flash mob itself didn't imply that "the wild '90s" were inarguably a good time, users who didn't share the nostalgia engaged in heated online fights with participants of the flash mob, trying to prove that 1990s were "wild" in the worst sense of the word.
"The goal [of the flash mob] is obvious: to play on the nostalgia and bring back … everything: devastation, decay, illegality, war, hunger," Ulyana Skoibeda, a pro-Kremlin columnist for the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper, wrote in her column at the time.
Surveys show that a lot of people hold a negative opinion about the beginning of the '90s, and their negativity is mostly related to way the country was governed, said Yelena Shestopal, head of the department of sociology and psychology of politics at Moscow State University's faculty of political science.
"As for the nostalgia that has been seen recently, it can be easily explained. We always consider that in our younger years everything was better: the sun was brighter and the grass was greener," she told The Moscow Times.
In addition to that, people always look for something to believe in, and, recalling the 1990s, they probably imagine some perfect model of life, she added.
Yeltsin himself rarely criticized Russia and its leaders after he retired. He only did so twice, according to his son-in-law Valentin Yumashev — for bringing back the Soviet national anthem in 2000 and for canceling gubernatorial elections in 2004.
As Yumashev said in an interview with the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper, Yeltsin would likely not have been pleased with the current state of the country. "He [Yeltsin] would have thought that with the resources and opportunities that Russia has, with a favorable economic situation in the 2000s, Russia could have done more than it did," Yumashev said.
That was in January 2011, with Dmitry Medvedev in office as the third Russian president and Putin's successor, a few months before it became clear that Putin was coming back to the Kremlin. Since then, Yeltsin's relatives have avoided elaborating on what Yeltsin would have thought of any further developments in Russia.
Kremlin Press ServiceRussian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev
Russia plans to impose sanctions and freeze investment projects in Turkey in response to its downing of a Russian warplane on the Turkish-Syrian border, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was quoted as saying Thursday.
Medvedev said the government had been instructed by President Vladimir Putin to adopt retaliatory economic measures against Turkey and was empowered to place restrictions on financial operations, trade deals, the tourism industry, transport links and to impose new customs tariffs, according to the Interfax news agency.
He also said at the government meeting that “agreements and investment projects could be frozen or simply scrapped,” and proposed canceling talks on a preferential investment framework with Turkey, Interfax reported.
Specific proposals will be drawn up within two days, Medvedev said. He did not say which projects could be affected, but Russia had plans to build a gas pipeline to Turkey and construct a nuclear power plant in the country worth $20 billion.
A pilot was killed when a Turkish F-16 interceptor shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Turkish-Syrian border on Tuesday. Putin branded the move a “stab in the back,” and said it would have serious consequences for Turkish-Russian relations.
A perfect storm has struck Gazprom: falling gas prices, increasing competition and a transformation in the way gas is sold internationally have coincided with fallout from Russia's damaged political relations with Europe and are putting the world's biggest gas producer under increasing pressure.
Up until 2009 when Russia cut gas supplies to Ukraine, gas exports were Russia's most powerful source of influence in its relations with Europe. Gazprom was supplying around one third of the EU's gas needs and its customers seemed happy to continue to import increasing volumes of Russian gas on a business model that had not changed for decades.
Those times are over and Gazprom is scrambling to re-cast its export strategy faced by new political and commercial constraints in Europe. At the same, its move to the Asian markets has run into difficulties
Last year's breakdown of relations with the EU over Ukraine has led European countries to accelerate efforts to diversify supply sources and reduce dependence on Russian gas.
At the same time, Gazprom is reluctantly adjusting to new EU rules designed to increase competition in the energy sector that challenge its practice of selling gas on long-term contracts. Despite strong resistance to the idea over many years, it recently held its first auctions for spot gas supplies to Europe.
Several other surprising developments have occurred in recent months and suggest that Gazprom is rushing to overhaul its export strategy but is finding its room for maneuver limited.
In June, Gazprom together with a set of European partners including Shell unveiled a project to double the capacity of the Nord Stream pipeline under the Baltic Sea. At a time of uncertainty about future gas demand in Europe as well as potential financing challenges for Gazprom, the commercial case does not appear compelling.
Politically, the timing was also strange. With relations with Europe strained over Ukraine, this was also hardly the time to start a project requiring the consent of European regulators to access EU markets given its potentially damaging consequences for Ukraine's energy security. Currently, around half of Russia's gas exports to Europe pass through Ukraine. Expanded Nord Stream capacity could deprive Ukraine of transit revenues and weaken Ukraine's hand in its negotiations to buy Russian gas.
Gazprom then announced said it would halve the planned capacity of its planned Turkish Stream pipeline under the Black Sea. Turkish Stream had been Gazprom's hasty response to its cancellation last year of the South Stream pipeline to bring Russian gas to its southern European markets. It had openly described South Stream as part of its efforts to reduce transit dependence on Ukraine to zero.
Unexpectedly, however, the Russian position on Ukrainian transit also seems to have shifted. President Vladimir Putin recently indicated that Russia would continue to supplying gas to Europe through Ukraine after 2019 when it had been due to end. This possibly reflects an understanding in the Kremlin that to receive a green light from the EU to operate an expanded Nord Stream pipeline is going to require changing perceptions of Russia's strategy if not the strategy itself.
Cross-border energy infrastructure projects work successfully when there is alignment of political and commercial interests on both sides. The current Nord Stream pipeline is not fully loaded because of a 50 percent restriction on Gazprom's use of the pipeline that transports gas from its landing point in Germany to the Czech Republic. Efforts to resolve the issue with Brussels stalled after Russia's annexation of Crimea.
Gazprom is facing difficulties in Turkey too. Moscow's relations with Ankara have gone into a rapid downward spiral over Russian actions in Syria coinciding with a legal dispute over a price discount for Russian gas sold to Turkey. This is a challenging context for pursuing cooperation on a new pipeline project.
Finally, Gazprom's pivot to Asia has also hit problems. China's preferred export route based on building the Power of Siberia pipeline is looking far less attractive for Gazprom after the more than 50 percent fall in the oil price since the deal was negotiated. Implementation is advancing at a snail's pace with no prospect of completion by the target date of 2019 and financing hard to obtain. Efforts to develop liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports in the Russian Far East have also suffered serious setbacks because of the low oil price and Western sanctions.
Gazprom is not just under pressure from a rapidly changing external environment. Its dominant position in the Russian market is also under assault. Rosneft, its main domestic competitor, is likely to try to capitalize on the disarray in Gazprom's export strategy by increasing its efforts to break Gazprom's traditional monopoly on pipeline gas exports.
Diversity of supply from Russian sources would contribute to European energy security and help protect Russia's share of the European market. Gazprom's woes could yet lead to a healthier gas relationship between Russia and Europe.
Russia has suspended visa-free travel for Turkish citizens from Jan. 1, 2016, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday.
The move comes as the Russian government announces a series of economic measures against Turkey after a Turkish F-16 interceptor shot down a Russian Su-24 bomber on the Turkish-Syrian border on Tuesday, resulting in the death of two servicemen.
Lavrov did not say how long the suspension would last, but said Turkey was the source of a “very real threat” of terrorism, according to the Interfax news agency.