Tag Archives: Putin

Macron hosts Normandy Summit

The meeting in “Normandy format” concerning Donbass conflict will take place in Paris on December 9 in Élysée Palace, hosted by President Macron, and will include Russian President Putin, Ukrainian President Zelensky, and German Chancellor Merkel. The name of the event is a reference to 2014 peace talks, initiated by President Hollande on the margin of ceremonies to mark the anniversary of the D-Day landings.

Negotiations in Paris will focus on the implementation of the 2014-15 Minsk peace agreement, which provided for an immediate ceasefire in eastern Ukraine, the withdrawal of heavy weapons, and an effective truce, putting an end to casualties among military and civilians.

Since Zelensky’s election victory in April an exchange of 70 prisoners, the withdrawal of the troops from three small areas on the front line, and the return of Ukrainian warships seized by Russian coast guards.

Vladimir Putin had conceded “cautious optimism” on the issue of the break-away Russian-speaking regions of Lugansk and Donetsk, both proclaiming their independence in aftermath of the coup d’état in Kiev, when democratically elected Ukranian President Yanukouvych was overthrown and field the country.

Earlier in the week Zelensky indicated that he initially wanted the Paris talks to focus on three points: a new exchange of prisoners, the implementation of a durable ceasefire, and the dismantling of any armed group “illegally” in Ukrainian territory – implicitly referring to Russian-speaking militia in Donetsk and Lugansk.

Moscow’s priority, in contrast, is to create condition for the elections in the breakaway regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, moving to the point “8” of the Minsk Agreements, guaranteeing de-centralisation of power, and permanent Special status of Donetsk and Lugansk regions. People of Donbass been also insisting on their linguistic rights, peoples militia, and border trade with Russia.

Macron and Merkel share the goal of reviving peace process, which is the only active armed conflict in Europe, which has caused more than 13,000 deaths since it occurred in 2014. Tomorrow’s gathering will be the first meeting between Putin and Zelensky, who was elected upon promise to resolve the Donbass conflict, and establish lasting peace in East of Ukraine.

Putin approves crossbow hunting

This month Russians have received permission to hunt in an archaic way with crossbows and bows. The “licence to kill” was signed by President Vladimir Putin, who is a hunter himself, explaining it as a part of “national tradition“. The proponents of archery method of hunting underlined that it will allow many more people to join  two million strong ranks of Russian hunters. Among critics of the bow hunting are not only animal welfare defenders, veterinarians, ecologists, and humanists, who denounce it as barbarism, but also economists, who underline that the permission of archaic forms of hunting indicates profound malaise of government, unable to ensure modern urban lifestyle for majority of Russians, providing them with affordable, safe, sanitary controlled food, replacing it by game meats, representing health risks.

Allowing primitive methods of hunting, and engaging broader public into providing themselves with game meat,  is an indirect recognition of food shortage, especially in Siberia, where lately a problem of hungry children falling unconscious in schools occurred. “..And if you are not lucky in hunting with bows, you have to eat grass” Russian social networks react.

This year children’s ombudsman of Kuzbass said that pupils in schools in Kemerovo (West Siberia) region suffered hungry faints, because parents do not have means for breakfast at home, and even less so to give them 50 rubles (EUR 0,7) to pay for school meals.

Allowing hunting with crossbows and bows upon the licence and a permit and registration of weapons, the new law will  have “the most positive impact on the development of the entire hunting industry in Russia, as well as on the image of Russia as a great hunting power”, according to opinion of Russian  State Duma.

Earlier, Vladimir Lebedev, deputy chairman of the Committee of the Federation Council on Agriculture and Food Policy, said that Russians have tens of thousands of such weapons, so its legalization for hunting will be useful for amateur hunters. 

The number of hunters in Russia has almost doubled in recent years, but unfortunately the scale of action of the poachers has also multiplied. Local residents in Siberia complain, that poaching have reached a level of organised industry: some shoot, others transport, skin killed animals to deliver of skilled salesman of game meat. (Tweet below: ad of Siberian bear meat).

Siberian  veterinarians warn of the danger of infection of people from game meats that have not passed sanitary control: the consequences can be devastating for human health, even lethal if not timely diagnosed. A significant proportion of bear meat is unsuitable for consumption, since the animals are  vehicles of a number of diseases dangerous for humans, namely Trichinosisa parasitic disease caused by roundworms. Wild bore, moose, and especially reindeer are the most frequent vehicles of Cysticercosis, fatal to human brain as a frequent site of localization, among other consequences is liver failure.

In Siberia game meat is delivered, in particular, to cafes on the highways, where sanitary inspections are rare. In most places it is unclear if meat has passed sanitary control and the procedures required by food safety standard.

Among exotic meats wolf  flesh is among most expensive in Russia, amounting to 30 euro/kg (RUB2000). Next to bear consumption, it gains popularity under Chinese influences in Siberia, where lately more cases of dog consumption have been reported. There is also a rapidly growing black market of exporting parts of wild life to China for transitional medicine.

Across the European Union the crossbows for hunting is prohibited as barbarism. Having an impact of more than 40 kg, in case of a hunting accident, the damages to human body are incompatible with life, causing internal bleeding. Even in countries where bows are allowed for hunting, crossbows are strictly prohibited.

The bow hunting however is allowed locally in some countries as Denmark, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Hungary, Finland, Bulgaria and Slovenia practice restricted archery,  Estonia also allows bow hunting, but for a small game.

Bear with cub

Russian animal rights group VITA launched a champagne to veto the law, insisting that archery as hunting method is degrading to human beings, reversing the development of humankind, devastating to nature, and atrocious to animals.

 

 

Siberia fires: illegal timber trade with China

Among major causes of devastating Sibera fires Duma Ecology committee chair Vladimir Bourmatov points at the activities of illegal lumberjacks, or “black loggers”. At present upon the request of the State Duma, the government and the Investigative committee of the Russian Federation, have launched the investigation into the occurrence of 500 epicenters of forest blaze as cause of illegal human activities. (Image above: Russian social networks).

The entire forest industry in Russia is in the “shadow” sector. A temporary timber export embargo has been suggested earlier this year. The statement was made by the chairwoman of the Federation Council (upper house of Russian parliament) Valentina Matvienko, requesting an imposition of embargo on the export of timber from Russia until rules are in place. She suggested to Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev to take measures without delay in February this year.

Matvienko explained the ways of illegal logging and illegal export abroad. The entire trade is oriented toward China as the largest importer of round timber in the world. Thus, massive deforestation is conducted under the pretext of sanitary protection of removing the diseased and rotting trees, instead the companies which are supposed to take care of the forests, are cutting down the best of spruces, pines and oaks and transporting them to China. The lucrative illegal trade is masked by ecological activities across the entire Siberia.

The forest fires in Siberia began almost a week ago, but because of the negligence of Russian officials, who were unwilling to take an action, the area of ignition has been steadily and rapidly increasing reaching an epic scale: more than three million hectares in flames, and smoke stretches for 700 km. At present it has already reached the coast of the USA and Canada, cities touched Vancouver and Seattle.

However the smoke from the blaze continues to stretch further: is now visible in Alaska. In total, three million hectares of forest burn in Siberia. It roughly reaches the size of Belgium.

Meteorology professor from Moscow State University, Alexander Kislov said that the burning particles can fly around the entire planet from west to east, following the movement of Earth in space.

Under wave of international criticism Roscosmos Corporation revealed the gravity of the situation publishing the images of fires swiftly spreading along territories of Russian Federation in the Jewish Autonomous Region, the Republic of Sakha, Buryatia, the Irkutsk Region, the Krasnoyarsk and Khabarovsk Territories.

After the situation caused grave international concern, Russian authorities started to act under direct orders of President Putin, who sent army to resolve the ecological crisis.

At present more than 2.8 million hectares of forest are consumed by blaze, withe the largest area in fire is in Yakutia, where 1.1 million hectares of forest are in flames, in the Krasnoyarsk Territory the flames spread to more than one million hectares, and in the Irkutsk Region – 700 thousand hectares.

This week only 2.700 people, 390 units of ground equipment and 28 aircraft take part in extinguishing on the territory in flames equal to Belgium. The Siberians claim the response in not relevant to the scale of drama.

Among the other causes of Siberia fires Bourmatov names the inefficient and insufficient measures of prevention.

President Trump spoke with President Putin on July 31, and offered U.S. help in fighting according to a Kremlin account of the call.

Putin, in response, expressed his “sincere gratitude” to Trump and said that if necessary, he will accept the offer, the Kremlin said.

Putin, has called in the army to fight the forest fires, enveloping entire Siberian cities in black smoke for weeks. The local authorities has been explaining to population that measures against forest fires are not “economically viable“. They added that rains will stop the advancement of blaze, while meteo scientists clarified that hot air raising from fires prevents formation of clouds. There are no natural heavy rainfall expected until mid-September.

 

Russia-Georgia flights cancelled

President Vladimir Putin has signed a decree, which imposes a temporary ban on passenger flights between Russia and Georgia from July 8, the Kremlin press service announced. (Image above: illustration).

From July 8, 2019, Russian airlines are temporarily prohibited from carrying out air transportation (including commercial flights) of citizens from the territory of the Russian Federation to the territory of Georgia,” the ukaz reads.

In addition, tour operators and travel agents are recommended “for the duration of the ban … to refrain from selling a tourist product that includes transportation of citizens from the territory of the Russian Federation to the territory of Georgia”.

Putin instructed the government to take measures to repatriate Russian citizens temporarily staying in Georgia.

The decree was signed “in order to ensure the national security of the Russian Federation, to protect citizens of the Russian Federation from criminal and other unlawful actions and in accordance with federal law on Security dated December 28, 2010,” the document says.

The ban will stay in place until that country’s authorities can guarantee security of Russian nationals, president’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov said.

On June 20, several thousand protesters demanded resignation of the interior minister and the parliament’s speaker, and tried to storm the building of Parliament in the capital Tbilisi.. In response, police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannons to disperse the demonstrators. According to Georgian media, dozens were detained, 240 people suffered injuries.

The protests infuriated by Russian State Duma delegation’s participation in the 26th session of the Inter-parliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO). On Thursday morning, IAO President Gavrilov opened the session in the Georgian parliament building. Opposition lawmakers were outraged by the fact that Gavrilov addressed the event from the parliament speaker’s seat. In protest, they did not allow the IAO session to continue.

Later, a decision was taken to wrap up the session and for the Russian delegation to leave the country. Members of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia’ party said that they did not know that Gavrilov had been scheduled to open the event, claiming that the protocol office had made a mistake.

Secretary General of the ruling ‘Georgian Dream – Democratic Georgia’ party and Tbilisi Mayor Kakha Kaladze announced on Friday that Parliament Speaker Irakli Kobakhidze decided to step down.

Putin expects to turn page of Skipals incident

President Putin said he would like to see Prime Minister Theresa May’s successor respect of the interests of cooperation between the UK and Russia. (Image: Sergey Skripal’s daughter Yulia).

Putin, talking  to journalists on the margins of an economic forum in St.Petersburg, Russia, underlined that he hoped whoever succeeded Theresa May as Britain’s Prime minister would see what he described as the “broader view” and move on from the Skripal incident.

Russia considers facilitation of Ukrainians naturalisation

Russia is considering the possibility of facilitating the naturalisation rules for all Ukrainian nationals, President Vladimir Putin said at a press conference concluding his visit to China.

We are thinking about providing the right to obtain Russian passports under a simplified procedure to all Ukrainian nationals,” he said.

Putin emphasized that the decision to ease Russian citizenship for self-proclaimed Donbass Lugansk and Donetsk Republics residents “was not spontaneous, it was not made at the spur of the moment.”

Before the decree was singed, we had made all the calculations concerning the number of people that may apply for citizenship, including the number of retired persons – they account for about 30% of the possible applicants,” Putin underlined.

On April 24, in Moscow (pictured) the Russian President signed a decree, which eases Russian citizenship rules for residents of certain regions of southeastern Ukraine.

Individuals permanently residing in certain areas of Donetsk and Lugansk regions have the right to apply for Russian citizenship under a simplified procedure,” the decree reads. According to the document, the decision has been made “in order to protect human rights and freedoms” based on generally accepted international laws.

 

Russians dream to immigrate

Russian Federation is dangerously close to a large-scale demographic crisis, with its population declining for the first time in a decade in 2018, one in five Russians (20%) now say that they would like to leave Russia if they could, according to Gallup research.

Typically young people are more likely to migrate — as they are the most mobile group within a population — the 44% of the youngest Russians who want to move is unprecedented number in within the past decade.

Paradoxically  Moscovites, who have higher living standards that the rest of the country,  are in first ranks of those who are willing to leave. Since 2014, the percentage of working-age Russians who say they would like to move has at least tripled, jumping from 14% to 44% among 15- to 29-year-old, from 7% to 22% among those between the ages of 30 and 45 and from 3% to 9% among those aged 46 to 60.

Russians who wish to migrate prefer countries within the European Union (40%), followed by North America (16%). Russians are most likely to name Germany (15%) and the U.S. (12%) specifically.

Larger potential migration numbers could accelerate the population decline, and losses could potentially exceed the 8% of the population that the United Nations currently projects Russia to lose by 2050.

 

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