Tag Archives: Russia

Putin to Revive Stalin-Era Soviet-Style Fitness Program, American Media to Put Western Propagandist Spin on Everything

 Putin Fitness Program

Russian President Vladimir Putin is using his leftover Sochi Olympics cash to kick-start a new nationwide fitness plan. But because anti-Russian sentiment is super popular these days, it’s being touted by Western media as an evil Stalinist, Soviet era plot to… improve the health of Russians?

On Monday, Putin launched a program to improve the physical fitness of Russians using funds from the Winter Olympics. The new plan pays homage to the one first introduced by Joseph Stalin in the 1930s called “Ready for Labor and Defense”. Ok, that name doesn’t exactly help their case… Russia doesn’t really need to advertise that it’s ready for defense. But the program itself is not as sinister as it sounds. While the modern version hasn’t been totally hashed out yet, the original version, known by the Russian initials GTO, required citizens to enter competitions in sports like running, jumping, skiing, swimming, and… grenade throwing. Ok, that doesn’t help either. But I’m sure the new version will leave out the grenade throwing competition.

Putin simply wants the unused Sochi money to go towards supporting sports venues and promoting healthy lifestyles among Russians. Speaking at a meeting with officials in the Kremlin on March 24, Putin said that reinstating the plan would “pay homage to our national historical traditions.”

While lots of countries have health and fitness promotion programs, Western media is choosing to focus on the Soviet style aspects of the Russian plan and link it to the era of brutal dictator Joseph Stalin. Headlines include: “Putin Is Reviving a Stalinist Fitness Program to Whip Russians Into Shape” and “Russian Olympic Cash To Restart Soviet-Style Fitness Program”

Apparently getting in shape is a communist ideal. Which I guess explains why Americans are so fat and lazy. Sorry – can’t exercise, not a communist!

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Russia Gets Booted Out of the G8… And Other News

G8 Turns to G7

The G7, formerly known as the G8, is meeting in the Netherlands on Monday to discuss how they can further shun Russia for annexing the formerly Ukrainian region of Crimea.

President Obama and rest of the leaders all agreed that Vladimir Putin should be excluded from the G8, effectively ending Russia’s 15-year participation in the diplomatic forum. Obviously this means that the planned summer G8 summit in Sochi will no longer take place in Russia. Instead, the G7 will be headed to Brussels in June to try and ward off Russia’s attempt to reunite the old Soviet gang under Kremlin rule. In retaliation for being kicked out of the G8 Club, Russia announced travel bans on 13 Canadian politicians, including Prime Minister Stephen Harper. There go Harper’s vacation plans to wintry Russia… now it’s back to the never ending Canadian winter. New York Times

Ebola Virus GuineaThe plot to the 1995 film Outbreak has hit the West African country of Guinea. An outbreak of the Ebola virus has so far left 59 people dead (out of 80 infected) in Guinea and is suspected to have spread to neighbouring Liberia. Health workers in Guinea are trying to contain the spread of the disease, which causes severe internal bleeding, diarrhea, vomiting, and severe hemorrhagic fever. “In Guinea, a country with a weak medical infrastructure, an outbreak like this can be devastating,” UNICEF said. There’s only one way to stop it: rewatch the movie Outbreak and copy whatever they did to stop the virus from spreading. I’m going to need a VCR and some bananas to lure monkeys. CBC News

Mudslide FloodsA mudslide (and not the good kind) has left 8 people dead in Washington State and 108 unaccounted for. After a month of heavy rains, a wall of mud and debris came sliding down, wiping out neighborhoods and a highway about 55 miles north of Seattle. Authorities in Oso, a remote community of about 180, and Darrington, a town of about 1,350, have been working tirelessly to find survivors. “Total devastation. I mean, it’s just unbelievable. It reminds me of what a tornado looks like when it’s touched the ground,” Snohomish County Sheriff Ty Trenary said. Maybe if they ask nicely they can trade their rain for some of California’s drought. CNN

Hawaii HookersHawaii cops want their hookers! Police officers in Honolulu are asking state lawmakers not to repeal a statute that allows them to have sex with prostitutes during the course of legitimate investigations. Police say they “need” to be able to have sex with hookers during investigations so that they can be caught in the act. Opponents say cops can do their investigations with their pants on and human trafficking experts say allowing cops full access to prostitutes can further traumatize sex workers, some of whom have reported being forced into sex with police officers to avoid arrest. Raw Story

sad-dogSpring is in the air in Detroit and so is the scent of rotting dog carcasses. Melting snow has revealed masses of dead dogs—at least 28 so far, according to the Detroit Animal Welfare Group (DAWG) and they say that is just the “tip of the iceberg.” “Because of the heavy snowfall in the month of January, a lot of these deceased bodies were discarded there because it was easier to cover them up. Also, it was an unusually cold month where a lot of dogs froze outside or were left to starve to death,” a DAWG board member said. Detroit BodyA number of dead dogs, mostly pit bulls and Mastiff mixes, were found at River Rouge Park, an apparently popular dumping ground for dogs killed in fights. But because it’s Detroit, the piles of melting snow have also revealed human bodiesCBS Local

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Who Knew That Tupac Shakur Was Alive And Well In Russia?

Tupac Shakur Sanctions

As the United States and the European Union pile sanctions on Putin for annexing Crimea, Russian politicians are laughing them off – apparently while listening to Tupac Shakur.

In Moscow, sanctioned Russian officials mocked the White House’s announcement that the U.S. was going to impose costs on Russia for making military moves in Ukrainian territory. Turns out freezing assets and banning travel visas don’t do much to discourage Putin’s top aides.

Vladislav Surkov, a top Putin advisor and one of the eleven Russian and Ukrainian officials slapped with White House sanctions, declared that he’s “proud” to have made the sanctions list, equating it to a “political Oscar from America for a best supporting actor”.

“The only things that interest me in the U.S. are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg and Jackson Pollock,” Surkov told a Russian newspaper. “I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing.”

Allen Ginsberg the gay, peace loving hippy poet? And Tupac Shakur? Did 90s music just hit Russia? Maybe next year they’ll get the Notorious B.I.G.

Putin, Putin, Putin, can’t you see, sometimes your Cold War tactics just hypnotize me…

Yuri Ushakov, Putin’s chief foreign policy aide, also dismissed the sanctions, saying they “are already a bore.”

“They truly cause a sense of irony and even sarcasm,” he told Interfax on Tuesday.

Dmitry Rogozin, the deputy prime minister of Russia in charge of defense (and friend of Steven Seagal!), took to Twitter to ridicule the U.S. sanctions.

“I think some prankster prepared the draft of this Act of the US President,” he wrote.

“Comrade @BarackObama, what should do those who have neither accounts nor property abroad? Or U didn’t think about it?”

Screenshot 2014-03-18 21.38.19

It remains to be seen whether the sanctions will have any impact on Russia’s plan for Crimea – but from the looks of it the answer is no. President Obama may have to resort to much more drastic measures than freezing assets and restricting visas to convince Putin to hand Crimea back to Ukraine – perhaps freezing Putin’s Facebook account?

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Crimea Gets Annexed

Current Event Cat - Annex Crimea

Hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a treaty adding Crimea to the Russian map, Russia celebrated by killing a Ukrainian soldier. Did they run out of celebratory vodka?

With a historic sweep of his pen, Putin signed a treaty annexing Crimea, two days after the soon-to-be Russian region’s hastily put together referendum to leave Ukraine. Putin described the move a correction of a “historical injustice” and a necessary response to what he referred to as Western encroachment upon Russia’s vital interests.

Crimea has always been an integral part of Russia in the hearts and minds of people,” Putin said in an overly patriotic speech at the Grand Kremlin Palace.

Putin declared before the Russian parliament that Moscow is undeterred in its plan to annex Crimea, and dismissed the West’s criticism of Sunday’s Crimean referendum as a manifestation of the West’s double standards.

Putin’s treaty still must be ratified by Russia’s Constitutional Court and both houses of parliament, but given the quick pace of the whole “annexing Crimea plan”, the deal will probably be complete by the end of this week.

Shortly after Putin and his Crimean pals signed the bill to absorb the peninsula into Russia, a Ukrainian officer was killed in an attack on a base in Crimea. Armed men stormed the base in Simferopol, firing automatic weapons, killing one serviceman and injuring several others. Ukrainian military spokesman Vladislav Seleznyov said it was unclear who had staged the assault, but the Ukrainian prime minister has accused Russia of committing a “war crime” and has authorized its troops to fire in self defense.

The West’s response? MORE SANCTIONS! And a G7 meeting couldn’t hurt.

White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday that the United States planned to increase sanctions in response to Russia’s move to annex Crimea and President Obama has called a G7 meeting next week to discuss the annexation.

I guess it’s a good thing this all happened after the Olympics… otherwise it would make for a very awkward closing ceremonies.

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Crisis in the Ukraine: Crimea Votes to Join Russia

Crimea Referendum

Crimea’s parliament declared the region an independent state and formally asked to become part of Russia, following its residents’ overwhelming vote Sunday to break away from Ukraine.

According to Crimean officials, 97% of Crimea voted to join Russia. While 97% isn’t as high as Kim Jong Un’s 100% of the votes, it’s still pretty high. Despite the fact that Russian military officials heavily guarded the voting process and residents were only given two options on the ballots (join Russia or seek greater autonomy within Ukraine), it seems pretty safe to say that the majority of Crimea is pro-Putin. It’s also pretty safe to say that the West only supports democracy when people vote the way they want.

The U.S. and European Union do not consider the vote legitimate, angrily claiming it violates Ukraine’s constitution and took place under pressure from the Russian military. As a result, the western powers have announced travel bans and asset freezes against a number of officials from Russia and Ukraine who are seen as having played a key role in the referendum.

But amid all the Western hatred against Russia, one U.S. politician is breaking away from the pack and siding with Putin: Ron Paul. The former congressman said on Saturday that Crimea should be able to break away and join Russia, arguing that this “is our how our country was started. It was the right of self-determination, and voting, and asking and even fighting for it, and seceding.” Paul went on to say the U.S. had engineered a coup in Kiev against the Yanukovych government and U.S. sanctions against Moscow are an “act of war.” 

Meanwhile, his son Rand Paul, who’s got a 2016 White House bid to worry about, has called for stiff penalties against Russia and declared: “If I were president, I wouldn’t let Vladimir Putin get away with it!”

But Putin has said he will respect the will of the people in Crimea.

“The results of the referendum in Crimea clearly showed that residents of Crimea see their future only as part of Russia,” the deputy speaker of the State Duma, Sergei Neverov said.

The parliament in Moscow intends to pass legislation allowing Crimea to join Russia “in the very near future”, sanctions or no sanctions, Rand Paul or Ron Paul.

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John Kerry Tells Crimea to Crimea River… And Other News

Crimea John Kerry

Crimea river – is Secretary of State John Kerry’s message to the Ukrainian-owned, Russia-loving region.

After a tense meeting with  Russia’s foreign minister, the U.S. has declared that it will not recognize the results of Sunday’s “illegitimate” referendum in Crimea on joining Russia. Meanwhile, foreign minister Sergey Lavrov said Russia has “no plans for military intrusion in Eastern Ukraine,” despite the fact that Putin has lined up tens of thousands of Russian troops along the border. As for the “illegitimate” referendum, Lavrov said Moscow is “committed to respect the will of the people of Crimea.” While Lavrov said his six-hour meeting with Kerry was “constructive”, I think what he really meant is they disagreed on everything and left it at that. BBC News

Child Marriage IraqWhile the U.S is slowly legalizing gay marriage state by state, Iraq has gone one step further (or very far backwards?) by considering legalizing child-marriage. The draft measure, which was first introduced by Iraq’s Justice Ministry at the end of 2013, would open the door to girls as young as nine getting married and would allow a husband to have sex with his wife regardless of consent.  The measure, based on a school of religious law found by the Shiite imam Jaafar al-Sadiq, would only apply to Iraq’s majority Shiite population. While the measure still has to be ratified by parliament before it becomes law, rights activists are doing everything they can to make sure that doesn’t happen. “That law represents a crime against humanity and childhood,” prominent Iraqi human rights activist Hana Adwar said. “Married underage girls are subjected to physical and psychological suffering.” I guess America’s plan to bring freedom and democracy to Iraq didn’t exactly go as planned… Huffington Post

Boehner Invites PopeHouse Speaker and apparent Catholic John Boehner has extended a formal and open invitation to the Pope to pay a visit Congress and share his message of “protection of the most vulnerable among us-the ailing, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, the impoverished, [and] the unborn.” There’s at least one Republican congressman (Paul Ryan…) who could use a lecture on helping the poor – or inner city men as he calls them. No pope or religious leader that serves as a head of state has ever addressed Congress before, so if Pope Francis accepts, it would be a big pope-ing deal. The Pope is reportedly considering a trip to the U.S. next year so I’m sure he’s thrilled to already have something on his itinerary. USA Today

Taliban prisonersAre we sure we want to pull out of Afghanistan and leave everything in the capable hands of their security forces…? The Taliban was up to their old tricks again when they tricked prison officials in Afghanistan’s southern city of Kandahar into releasing 12 Taliban fighters. How did this trickery occur? The Taliban sent a fake letter to the prison requesting the release of 30 prisoners. Eighteen inmates on the list were supposed to be freed anyways, but the other 12 were not. The prison didn’t realize their mistake until the prisoners had already been released. Oops. Two have since been recaptured but the search for the others continues. BBC News

China Market Knife AttackIs China short on guns? Another stabbing rampage broke out in China on Friday morning when a dispute between food stall owners turned ugly. The fight between the two peddlers ended when one decided to hack the other to death and “in the process of fleeing,” fatally stabbed four pedestrians before police arrived on the scene to shoot him. The knifing comes just weeks after another stabbing incident left 29 people dead and 130 injured. Police are attributing that attack to separatist forces/terrorists from the predominantly Muslim Uighur region, who I hope had a better reason than a food stall dispute. The Guardian

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Current Event Cat of the Day: Death by Vodka

Current Event Cat - Russian Vodka Death

Shocking new research reveals that binge drinking alcohol, particularly vodka, is NOT great for you. In fact, it’s killing Russians.

The research suggests that the high number of early deaths in Russia is mainly due to people drinking too much alcohol, particularly vodka. Russians’ love of vodka is largely to blame for a quarter of all Russian men dying before they reach the age of 55. Death by vodka can come in many forms: liver disease, alcohol poisoning, throat cancer, suicide, and getting into drunken fights.

The study tracked the drinking patterns of 150,000 adults in three Russian cities over 10 years, some of whom reported drinking three or more bottles of vodka a week. Over the 10 year period 8,000 of them died.

While in other countries, death rates for people ages 15 to 54 have fallen steadily since 1980, Russian death rates seem to have fluctuated sharply – and often in line with alcohol consumption.

Russian death rates have fluctuated wildly over the last 30 years as alcohol restrictions and social stability varied under Presidents Gorbachev, Yeltsin, and Putin, and the main thing driving these wild fluctuations in death was vodka,” study co-author Prof Richard Peto, from the University of Oxford, said.

Death by vodka seemed to fall when Gorbachev cut vodka production and put restrictions on sales – but then Yeltsin came into the picture and communicsm collapsed.

Death by Vodka - Russia

“When President Yeltsin took over from President Gorbachev, the overall death rates in young men more than doubled. This was as society collapsed and vodka became much more freely available.” Peto said.

“There was a huge increase in drinking and they were drinking in a destructive way. They were getting drunk on spirits and then buying and drinking more, producing a big risk of death.”

On a positive note, death by vodka in Russia seems to be on the decline. Alcohol restrictions put into place in 2006 appear to have curbed consumption by a third and the  proportion of men dying before they reach 55 years old has fallen from 37% to 25%.  But despite the drop, the relationship between vodka and deaths is still a major health crisis for Russia.

“They binge drink. That’s the main problem. It’s the pattern of drinking not the per-capita amount they are drinking,” David Zaridze from the Russian Cancer Research Centre in Moscow explained.

“Russians have always drunk a lot. They sometimes say it’s because of the cold weather but this is just an excuse. This is the nation’s lifestyle that needs to change.

“Since the average life expectancy from birth for men in Russia is still only 64 years, ranking among the lowest 50 countries in the world, more effective alcohol and tobacco policy measures are urgently needed.”

But if vodka is killing the Russians, why aren’t the South Koreans dropping like flies too? Apparently South Koreans are the biggest hard alcohol drinkers in the world, averaging 13.7 shots of liquor a week – compared to a measly 6.3 among Russians.

liquor-consumption2

There’s only one way to settle this: a vodka off.

Via: Al Jazeera

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Russian Hackers Go After Hunters (AKA Russian Grindr)

Russian Hunters Grindr

The biggest threat to the Sochi Olympic Games is not Dagestani terrorists hell bent on blowing up athletes or the piles of rotting dog carcasses lining the streets of Sochi. No, the biggest threat to the Winter Olympics is obviously gay dating apps – which is why Russian hackers have attacked Hunters, the Russian equivalent to Grindr.

The gay dating app was attacked by hackers who programmed it to send an anonymous threat to all users on Feb. 1 at 11:52 that read “You will be arrested and jailed for gay propaganda in Sochi according to Russian Federationa Law #135 Sektion 6.” Referring, of course, to Russia’s infamous anti-gay law that bans anyone from publicly advocating being homosexual, or distributing pro-homosexual “propaganda” to minors.

In addition to the ominous message, the Hunters app is now blocked for all users in Sochi and approximately 72,000 user profiles were deleted throughout Russia. Users were told their passwords were incorrect and that they were banned from accessing the site for the next “55,260 minutes” – which is oddly specific…

Hunters’ CEO, Dimitry T, who withheld his last name because he’d rather not spend the rest of his life in a Russian Gulag, responded to the hacking with this:

“I urge the entire gay community and all of those who consider the Internet to be a free zone to boycott not only Russian vodka but also everything that is linked to the Olympics and not to buy any Olympic souvenirs.

This attack should be looked at as an attack on the worldwide gay community with the goal of blocking any gay interactions during the Winter Games in Sochi, including those between athletes and locals.”

Dimitry also said the team at Hunters was only able to restore 24% of the dating profiles after “12 long hours” of work. Hopefully  these dating profile pics were among the ones that were destroyed forever.

Via: Towleroad

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Sochi Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov: There Are NO Homosexuals In Sochi

anatoly-pakhomov

Despite there being several gay bars in Sochi, Mayor Anatoly Pakhomov insists that Sochi is 100% homosexual-free.

In an interview with the BBC’s program Panorama, Pakhomov reiterated Putin’s Olympic stance, saying gays were welcome to visit Sochi during the 2014 Winter Olympics as long as they “respect Russian law” and “don’t impose their habits on others.” Especially the children!

But will gay people have to hide their sexuality in Sochi, Mr. Pakhomov?

“No, we just say that it is your business, it’s your life. But it’s not accepted here in the Caucasus where we live. We do not have them in our city,” Pakhomov said.

None??? But what about the gay bars? Surely there must be some kind of LGBT community to keep them profitable?

“I am not sure, but I don’t bloody know them,” the mayor said when challenged.

Ok, so there might be some, but the mayor is far too straight to know who they are. Got it.

Interestingly enough, BBC Panorama reporter John Sweeney visited a gay bar in Sochi the night before he interviewed Pakhomov. While most people were too terrified of being shipped off to Siberia to be filmed, Sweeney did meet a drag queen named Madame Zhu-Zha.

“There are very many clubs for gay people in Moscow – in Sochi we have two gay clubs as well. In some places there’s serious prejudice against gay people. In other places it’s not as bad,” Madame Zhu-Zha said.

No word yet on whether Mayor Pakhomov is a regular customer of the Sochi drag scene, but if Republicans in America have taught us anything, it’s that the more often you spout off homophobic nonsense, the more likely you are to have a gay scandal blow up in your face.

Via: BBC News 

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Russia’s Ban on Gay Propaganda is Totally Fine Because Putin Has A Gay Friend

Putin Propaganda

President Vladimir Putin insists he’s not a homophobe, despite defending Russia’s law on gay propaganda by equating gays with pedophiles and suggesting Russia needs to “cleanse” itself of homosexuality if it wants to increase its birth rate.

Last year, there was international outcry when Russia passed a law banning “propaganda of nontraditional sexual relations” among minors. As the controversy continues ahead of the Sochi Olympics, Putin has made an effort to reassure gay athletes and fans that they will not be discriminated against and that he himself is not prejudiced against homosexuals.

“I myself know some people who are gay,” he said. “We’re on friendly terms. I’m not prejudiced in any way.”

Ahhh, the old “gay friend” trick.

“If you want my personal attitude, I would tell you that I don’t care about a person’s sexual orientation,” Putin continued. “I’ve honoured several members of the gay community in this country but for their personal achievements, regardless of their sexual orientation.”

Putin was also quick to point out that while many other countries banned homosexual relations, Russia was a gay haven that only prohibited “gay propaganda”.

“There’s no danger for individuals of this non-traditional sexual orientation who are planning to come to the games as visitors or participants,” he said.

As long as they stay away from the children that is.

But not everyone is outraged by Russia’s laws against homosexuality. During a panel discussion on ABC’s This Week, Republican strategist Mary Matalin asserted the Russia’s ban on homosexual and pedophilia propaganda were irrelevant because “all of my gay friends” think Russian President Vladimir Putin is “so buff in his shirtless photos.” Interesting. All of MY gay friends think that the drugs from Mary Matalin’s latest facelift have clearly not worn off yet and she should probably refrain from speaking on television until they do.

Meanwhile, the Sochi Olympics organizers have bigger problems on their hands. A new video has been posted on a Chechen extremist site showing two militant Islamists vowing to wreak havoc during the 2014 Olympic Games.

“We’ll have a surprise package for you,” they say. “And those tourist that will come to you, for them, too, we have a surprise. This will be our revenge.”

Well I certainly hope the surprise package isn’t a gay dick in a box. Otherwise that could cause some serious problems.

Via: BBC News 

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