Monday, March 2, 2015

Russian Security Expert: Time, Place Of Nemtsov's Killing Had 'Symbolic Significance' | With the murder of Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Putin's attack dogs have slipped the leash by Mark Almond | 'Boris Nemtsov's murder marks a turning point for Putin and Russia' by Mark Galeotti

My working hypothesis is that Nemtsov was killed by some murderous mavericks – not government agents nor opposition fanatics. But the reason they felt obliged to go and gun down a frankly past-his-peak anti-government figure is highly likely to be precisely because of the increasingly toxic political climate that clearly is a product of Kremlin agency, in which people like Nemtsov are portrayed as Russophobic minions of the west, enemies of Russia’s people, culture, values and interests. 

'Boris Nemtsov's murder marks a turning point for Putin and Russia' 


Nemtsov was tragically aware that he might be killed as a Western scapegoat. He recognised that his call for Russia to abandon nostalgia not just for the recent Soviet past but for imperial Russia, too, put him on a collision course with a growing majority in the country.
Nationalist websites identified the opposition politician as a treacherous “Western agent”, while Nato expansion to Russia’s shrunken post-Communist borders fed the alienation of many Russians who had originally welcomed the collapse of Communism.

With the murder of Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Putin's attack dogs have slipped the leash 


It would have been much easier and would have required fewer people, Soldatov argues, simply to ambush Nemtsov near the entrance to his building. However, the killers instead selected "a very complex technical means demanding the participation of a large number of people with a high level of preparation."
"I want to emphasize this because it is very important," he says. "The ordinary basic training of the special forces of the GRU [Russian military intelligence] would not be enough for something like this -- it must have been a really professional team."

Soldatov adds that not only the place, but the timing of the killing seems to have been selected in order to "send a message." The killing occurred just two days before a planned opposition rally, and the authorities were certainly monitoring Nemtsov carefully. Transcripts of his private telephone calls had been repeatedly leaked to pro-Kremlin media in recent years, providing further evidence that he was under surveillance.

Russian Security Expert: Time, Place Of Nemtsov's Killing Had 'Symbolic Significance'



Nemtsov was casualty of a wider war

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The EU must develop a strategy of integrating the former USSR, writes Grigory Yavlinsky

Петербург. "Мы – не боимся!" 

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Трагическая гибель Бориса Немцова объединила две протестные акции в Санкт-Петербурге, антикризисный митин...
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'Boris Nemtsov's murder marks a turning point for Putin and Russia' 

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Analysis: president has taken a step too far along a dark and dangerous path to be able to step back,says Mark Galeotti
The shocking murder of opposition figure Boris Nemtsov, literally in sight of the Kremlin, clearly marks the beginning of a new era in Russian politics and Russia-watching alike. And it is unlikely to be pretty.
Who was responsible for his death? At this stage it’s absolutely unclear. The government? It’s hard to believe Putin would actually order Nemtsov killed, not because Putin is a pacifist but because there’s no real advantage to him.
We all interpret the facts based on our assumptions about Russia and Putin
Not to regard Putin as a murderous mafioso-fascist-tyrant-kleptocrat is to be an apologist
Related: Boris Nemtsov
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With the murder of Boris Nemtsov, Vladimir Putin's attack dogs have slipped the leash 

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The murder in Moscow of an opposition politician shows only too well that anti-Western sentiment is now running wild, writes Mark Almond








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Pro-NATO Prime Minister Claims Victory In Estonian Election

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The prime minister of Estonia has claimed victory in a parliamentary election overshadowed by fears fueled by Russia's annexation of Ukraine's Crimea region last year.

Белорусские эксперты: Лукашенко может использовать «фактор Бакиева» для шантажа Москвы и Бишкека - ИА REGNUM

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K-news

Белорусские эксперты: Лукашенко может использовать «фактор Бакиева» для шантажа Москвы и Бишкека
ИА REGNUM
Очередной дипломатический скандал между Минском и Бишкеком из-за укрывательства властями Белоруссии «семьи» киргизского экс-президента Курманбека Бакиева вновь актуализировал вопрос о прочности оснований Евразийского союза, в создание которого Россия вложила ... 
Как поссорились Алмазбек Шаршенович с Александром ГригорьевичемFLB.ru

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UN Says Death Toll In 'Merciless' Ukraine War Exceeds 6,000

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The UN human rights chief says more than 6,000 people have been killed in the conflict in eastern Ukraine since it erupted in April 2014.

Kyrgyz Intelligence Claims IS Penetrating South Of Country

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Radical organizations like the Islamic State (IS) group have started to penetrate into southern Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan's Andijon region in the east of the Ferghana valley, Kyrgyzstan's State Committee for National Security (GKNB) has claimed.

Russian Security Expert: Time, Place Of Nemtsov's Killing Had 'Symbolic Significance'

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The investigation into the February 27 killing in Moscow of opposition politician Boris Nemtsov is under way, being overseen at the highest levels of Russian law enforcement. Yet security analyst Andrei Soldatov feels confident the killers will never be brought to justice.

Boris Nemtsov murder: chief witness 'prevented' from leaving Russia - The Guardian

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The Guardian

Boris Nemtsov murder: chief witness 'prevented' from leaving Russia
The Guardian
The chief witness to the murder of Russian protest leader Boris Nemtsov has complained of being kept under guard in Moscow. Anna Duritskaya, a Ukrainian model who was with Nemtsov when he was shot dead, said she had given all the information she ...
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Генсек НАТО Столтенберг: Мы призываем к беспристрастному расследованию убийства Немцова - GORDONUA.COM

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GORDONUA.COM

Генсек НАТО Столтенберг: Мы призываем к беспристрастному расследованию убийства Немцова
GORDONUA.COM
По словам генерального секретаря НАТО Йенса Столтенберга, убитый российский оппозиционер Борис Немцов был сильным гослосом демократии. Рекомендую. Twitter. Вконтакте. G+. ОK. Сегодня 20:12 | комментариев: Столтенберг назвал убийство Немцова ужасным преступлением

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Russia Can’t Become Geopolitical ‘Heartland’ of Eurasianist Fantasies and Loses If It Tries, Inozemtsev Says

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Paul Goble
 
            Staunton, March 2 – Aleksandr Dugin has promoted the Eurasianist idea that Russia is at the center of “the world heartland” and that it is thus in a position to dominate the world as a result, notions that Vladimir Putin has accepted. But according to Vladislav Inozemtsev, neither Russia nor the heartland as the Eurasianists understand it is in a position to play that role.
 
            In an article in the current issue of “Politiya,” the economist argues that “Russia as a result of objective circumstances is no longer capable of being the Heartland or to hold on to its imperial past” and that the concept of the Heartland itself is no longer relevant given the rise of sea-based trade as compared to the railroad (http://ttolk.ru/?p=23092).
 
            The idea of the world Heartland arose in Britain in the nineteenth century when a scholar there was impressed by the importance of transcontinental railways in linking countries together, Inozemtsev says; and it was expanded upon by writers in Germany who viewed it as a justification for an alliance between Germany, Russia and Japan.
 
            Some in Russia continue to be impressed by these arguments, but the basis for them has disappeared. Railway construction and the importance of transcontinental lines have declined relative to the rise of ocean-based shipping. And consequently, at present, the economist says, those countries with access to the sea have much greater advantages now than they did.
 
            Indeed, Inozemtsev says, “territories distant from the ocean shore became the accursed ones of the second half of the 20th century,” and “countries closed inside continents were and remain the poorest in their parts of the world” and not the richest and most powerful as the Eurasianists imagine.
 
            This is true within countries as well as between them, the economist says, noting that a century ago, the industrial might of the United States was concentrated in the Middle West, but now that area, as the situation of Detroit has shown, is in economic decline, and states on the Pacific coast like California and Alaska are the powerhouses.
 
                Another set of changes over the last century which have undercut the arguments of those who urge that the Heartland can be at the center of geopolitics concerns the size of armies needed to prosecute a war.  Under very recently, the amount of territory a country had determined its ability to raise a force. In short “size mattered.”
 
            “Russia was always ‘a champion’ concerning the successful relocation of its potential and its ability to withdraw for the sake of final victory over an opponent,” Inozemtsev says. But with nuclear and even modern conventional weapons, “territory is no longer a means of defense” because control over it “requires no less effort than in the past” but gives fewer advantages.
 
            “Today,” he writes, “the success of a country is defined not by its independence from others but by its irreplaceability; successful strategies thus are not about defense but about attack. In such conditions, possibilities for export” by sea and “openness to trading partners” are “critically important factors for a breakthrough.”
 
            According to Inozemtsev, “present-day Russia is a unique country, unique in that it is consciously trying to restore its dominance over the Eurasian Heartland” at a time when this will bring it many burdens but few advantages.  Most of its neighbors want to escape as far from it as possible. Who wants to be part of this project even minimally?
 
            The answer is those which are large but which do not have a coastline or well-developed port infrastructure: Kazakhstan, Belarus, “continental Armenia and Kyrgyzstan,” and “no doubt” eventually “continental Tajikistan as well.” When other countries are seeking partners via the sea, Russia is going against the flow and linking its fate with “practically hopeless countries.”
 
            Moreover, Inozemtsev says, Moscow continues to talk about railroads and developing the center of the country rather than building ports and a maritime fleet. “Such a strategy,” whatever its advocates think on the basis of 19th century theories, “does not have a future in the 21st century.”
 
            Russia, of course, has an alternative to Eurasianist fantasies, the economist says. It needs to “rethink its historical role having cleansed itself of vulgar myths.” Russia began as a European country which opposed challenges from Asia. Its proper future role is not to become Asian but to become a European country in Asia.
 
            Moreover, Russia needs to recognize that building pipelines may bring profits in the short-term but it ties Moscow into a particular set of arrangements that the Russian state may want to escape. Instead, it should be re-industrializing and developing its coastal regions and ports and promoting trade via the oceans, steps that give it far more flexibility.
 
            The Eurasianist idea is flaws and dangerous, Inozemtsev argues, “because it creates the illusion of the utility of control over large land areas.” In many cases those are a burden rather than an asset under modern conditions. And “Russian cannot and must not become a transit country” just as it must not become drawn into “Central Asian geopolitics.”
 
            Instead, he argues, Russia more logically should “repeat the experience of the US, which being a great continental power is developing largely as an oceanic country.” Russia can do so in two directions, toward the Pacific and toward the Atlantic. And it should not be afraid but should welcome the shift of economic activity from the center to the two coasts.
 
            At the present time, Inozemtsev concludes, Russia needs to stop fighting two enemies: distance and cold. Those are conflicts, he says, in which it is “almost certain to suffer defeat.” It needs to look beyond the fantasies of 19thcentury geopolitics and accept the realities of 21st century geo-economics. And it must expand its ties by sea than seek to control more territory.
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With Visit to Aden, US Envoy Supports Yemen's Hadi

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The United States threw its support behind Yemen's Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi on Monday, with an American envoy referring to the contested president as the country's "legitimate" leader. A visit by U.S. Ambassador Matthew Tueller to the southern Yemeni city of Aden, where Hadi set up base after Houthi rebels held him under house arrest in the capital and forced his resignation, was their first public meeting since Washington closed its embassy last month in Sana'a. A militia takeover in the capital that brewed for months culminated with a claim to power by Houthi leadership in January. U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the United States will "continue engaging Yemenis and the international community to support Yemen’s political transition," which is guided by several internationally-brokered agreements. Hadi came to power in 2012, the result of a hand-over of power from long-time leader Ali Abdullah Saleh under the Gulf Cooperation Council Initiative. The United Nations Security Council has also backed Hadi as Yemen's legitimate president since the attempted Houthi ouster that has politically crippled the country. Multiple UN-mediated peace talks have failed to reconcile the rebel militia's political ambitions with the recognized government. The Houthis again raised long-standing questions this week about the extent of their relationship with Iran, as group leaders signed off on an agreement to establish regular flights between Tehran and rebel-controlled Sana'a. Yemen experts have told VOA that despite the characterization of the Houthis as a Shi'ite group in a majority Sunni country, the militia's agenda is a political one, not religious. VOA correspondent Pamela Dockins contributed to this report.

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Foreign Russia Investors Warn Over Nemtsov Killing

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Businessmen and investors said Monday that the killing of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov by the walls of the Kremlin last week will further worsen Russia's battered investment climate.

Завещание Бориса Немцова 

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Правозащитник Сергей Ковалев и политик Илья Яшин о последних идеях Бориса Немцова.
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Time: 54:36More in News & Politics

Ten Disturbing Developments In And Around Russia

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Staunton, February 27 – Disturbing events are happening with such dizzying speed that it is impossible to keep up with all of them. Indeed, this flood seems to be part of the Kremlin’s strategy to overload everyone’s cognitive system so that no adequate assessment or response can be developed or employed.
The last few days have been especially full of such developments both large and apparently small that are at risk of being ignored as new events push them out of the news cycle. Although it is far from complete, here is a list of ten such reports that must not be ignored or forgotten:
1. Moscow has Put Nuclear-Capable Rockets in Crimea, Cemilev Says. Mustafa Cemilev, the leader of the Crimean Tatar national movement, says that Moscow has now concentrated more than 40,000 troops in the Russian-occupied peninsula and equipped them with nuclear-capable rockets.
2. Russia Annexed Crimea Three Weeks Before the Referendum, Russian Court Actions Show.Russian courts are treating the annexation of Crimea as having occurred three weeks before the referendum Vladimir Putin has said ratified the action, yet another way in which what the Kremlin has said and what are the facts on the ground are quite far apart.
3. Bashkirs Urged to Put Aside Six Months of Their Incomes to Prepare for Massive Layoffs. Rustem Mardanov, the vice prime minister of Bashkortostan, has told citizens of his republic that they should begin putting aside six months of their income in savings in order to cope with what he suggested would be massive and long-lasting layoffs in the future, a comment that has done nothing to reassure people in the Middle Volga.
4. Even System Opposition Parties Not Safe from Police Raids. Police in Makhachkala dispersed an official meeting of the Dagestan regional organization of Just Russia, an indication that the Putin regime is now prepared to go after members of the system opposition in much the same way it has pursued the non-system groups.
5. FSB Wants Study of Russian-Language Skills of Baltic Nations and Ukrainians. The FSB haspublished a tender offer for a study of how well ethnic Estonians, Latvians, Lithuanians and Ukrainians speak Russian. The Russian security agency wants it completed by September 2017. Such a study by itself is disturbing: the FSB isn’t supposed to be involved in that kind of foreign affairs activity. But it is even more frightening because of Moscow’s aggressive stance toward the four groups and their countries.
6. Duma Considers Renaming Simferopil Putinoslavl to Honor Current Russian President. In yet another example of the growing cult of personality of Vladimir Putin, the Russian legislature is considering renaming the Crimean city of Simferopil after him. It has already approved monuments to him in various places.
7. Pro-Moscow Party Formed in Poland. A new pro-Russian political party, “Zmiana” or “Change” has been organized in Poland. Its leaders have backed the Russian Anschluss of Crimea and the actions of the LNR and DNR militants).
8. Hit by Hard Economic Times, Russians are Buying Fewer Pets and Pet Stores are Closing. One of the signs of improved lives in post-Soviet times was the acquisition of pets by many in Russia and elsewhere, but now that times are tough, Russians are purchasing 30 to 70 percent fewer dogs, cats and other pets and pet stores are closing throughout the country.
9. Imprisoned Ukrainian Flier Now Near Death. Supporters of Nadezdha Savchenko, the Ukrainian pilot held in a Moscow jail and on hunger strike, say that she is now near death and could pass away any time. They have called on the Presidential Council for the Development of Civil Society to take action to save her.
10. UN Should Go the Way of the League of Nations, Moscow Commentator Says. As if the Kremlin had not given the world enough reasons to compare what is happening now with what happened in Europe in the 1930s, Anna Shafran, a Moscow commentator, argues that the United Nations has become so politically biased against Russia that it should go the way of the League of Nations, close shop and allow a new and better organization to take its place.
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The Guardian view on Russian propaganda: the truth is out there | Editorial 

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Comment is free but facts are sacred. The fact is that opposition leader Boris Nemtsov was murdered in Putin’s Moscow
Nietzsche said it first: “There are no facts, only interpretations.” But Vladimir Putin has perfected it into a political strategy. Within hours of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov’s murder on Friday, multiple explanations of what had gone on had been supplied to media organisations. It was because Nemtsov had forced his girlfriend to have an abortion. It was connected to Ukrainian nationalism. It was something to do with his business interests or his take on Charlie Hebdo.
Like so much electronic chaff dropped out of the back of a Tupolev bomber to confuse an incoming heat-seeking missile, the idea that there are multiple interpretations of the truth has become the founding philosophy of state disinformation in Putin’s Russia, designed to confuse those who would seek out the truth with multiple expressions of distracting PR chaff. The tactic is to create as many competing narratives as possible. And, amid all the resultant hermeneutic chaos, to quietly slip away undetected.
The idea that there are multiple interpretations of the truth has become the founding philosophy of state disinformation
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Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Kremlin security cameras failed to pick up killing of Putin opponent

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Dozens of security cameras monitor the streets that surround the Kremlin. None, it emerged today, were looking in the right place when four bullets were fired at Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov. And the only witness to the murder, his Ukrainian girlfriend Anna Duritskaya, saw nothing.
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Why we will never know who killed Boris Nemtsov

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Critics of Vladimir Putin have an uncanny habit of ending up dead. Russian opposition leader Boris Nemtsov is the latest to be gunned down in mysterious circumstances – and the Kremlin is already blurring the details
In the 72 hours since Boris Nemtsov was murdered, the Kremlin has floated numerous explanations for his death. Vladimir Putin has called his killing a “provocation”. It’s a strange word. What Putin means is that whoever murdered Nemtsov did so to discredit the state. Since the state is the primary victim here, the state can’t be responsible, this logic runs.
Others have blamed Islamist extremists. Or Ukrainian fascists. Putin’s ally Ramzan Kadyrov, Chechnya’s thuggish president, has accused “western spy agencies”, an old favourite. The muck-raking website Lifenews.ru, which has close links to the FSB, Putin’s former spy agency, has pointed the finger at Nemtsov’s colourful love life. At the time of his murder, he was walking past the Kremlin with a Ukrainian model, it noted.
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Kerry, Russia's Lavrov meet in Geneva - Washington Post

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FRANCE 24

Kerry, Russia's Lavrov meet in Geneva
Washington Post
GENEVA — Secretary of State John F. Kerry met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Monday in Switzerland to discuss a range of issues, primarily the status of the Iran nuclear talks, the war in Ukraine and the murder of a prominent political ...
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Russian Strategic Bombers To Continue Patrolling Missions

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Russia says its long-range bombers will continue patrolling various parts of the world in the future and may extend the flights into additional regions.

The Daily Vertical: Nemtsov Killing -- Same Movie, Same Plot

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The Daily Vertical is a video primer for Russia-watchers that will appear Monday through Friday. Viewers can submit suggested topics to address on Twitter @PowerVertical or on the Power Vertical Facebook page.

Russia Today faces inquiry over anti-western comments in Ukraine debate - The Guardian

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The Guardian

Russia Today faces inquiry over anti-western comments in Ukraine debate
The Guardian
The regulator, which threatened Russia Today, or RT, with statutory sanctions after repeated breaches of broadcasting regulations on impartiality last year, faces a new investigation over its Crosstalk programme broadcast on 23 December last year.

Nemtsov Considered Fleeing Russia, Lithuanian Ex-PM Says

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Boris Nemtsov, the Russian opposition politician who was shot dead Friday in front of the Kremlin, once considered seeking political asylum in Lithuania, former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius has said.
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China and Russia vs. the United States? - The Diplomat

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The Diplomat

China and Russia vs. the United States?
The Diplomat
The rising tensions between Russia and the West, especially the United States, over Ukraine provide a constant reminder of the Cold War, when the two superpowers fought proxy conflicts for spheres of influence. A key question in the current game of ...
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European Leadership Network
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Is the Russian Orthodox Church Out to Provoke Russia’s Buddhists? 

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Paul Goble

 

            Staunton, March 2 – The Russian Orthodox Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, having offended many Russian liberals by its obscurantism and slavish subordination to the Kremlin and having angered many of Russia’s Muslims by its backing for missionary work among them, now appears set to offend a group it had hitherto largely ignored: Russia’s Buddhists.

 

            This is no trivial matter: On the one hand, there are more than almost a million members of traditionally Muslim nationalities inside the Russian Federation – the Kalmyks, the Tuvans, and the Buryats – all of which have close ties to the Dalai Lama and the larger Buddhist world.

 

            And on the other, Buddhists despite their reputation for pacifism can when under pressure engage in violence in defense of their faith and their populations, as events in Sri Lanka, Myanmar and most recently Thailand have shown. Even within Russia, there have been cases of extreme Buddhist militancy as under the leadership of Baron Ungern during the civil war.

 

            For these reasons, the Russian Orthodox Church has generally shied away from doing anything that might provoke the Buddhists and the Buddhist nationalities, carefully treating Buddhism as one of the country’s “four traditional faiths’ and holding itself aloof from the Russian government’s opposition to the Dalai Lama.

 

            But now that appears to be changing, and the consequences of this change could be far more serious than their authors appreciate.

 

            Last week, Russian Orthodox Archbishop Justinian of Elista and Kalmykia proposed making the Kalmyk Republic “one of the centers for the study of the missionary activity … of Kirill and Methodius,” even though the traditionally Buddhist Kalmyks form 57 percent of its population and ethnic Russians 30 percent (foma.ru/kalmyikiya-stanet-tsentrom-izucheniya-naslediya-svyatyih-kirilla-mefodiya.html).

 

            The archbishop made his proposal at conference about the missionary work of Kirill and Methodius in the ninth century, a meeting that was held in the Kalmyk capital and timed to coincide with the 20th anniversary of the Elista bishopric.

 

            He said that the Khazar kaganate had had its capital in what is now Kalmykia and thus it is entirely appropriate to speak “about the special responsibility … of the region for preserving memory about the works of Sts. Kirill and Methodius among peoples populating these lands in those times.”

 

            Following the churchman’s speech, the conference adopted a resolution which declared that “recognition of the links of contemporary Kalmykia with Sts. Kirill and Methodius will serve as a powerful stimulus for the spiritual and moral rebirth of the Elista bishopric, make possible the strengthening of cooperation between the traditional religions of the region … and promote inter-regional cooperation in the southern borderlands of the country.”

 

            But it is likely that Justinian’s proposal will have exactly the opposite effect, exacerbating relations between the republic’s Buddhist majority and its Orthodox minority especially given Moscow’s continuing opposition to the links of Russia’s Buddhists to the Dalai Lama and increasing Buddhist activism not only in Kalmykia but in Tuva and Buryatia as well.

 

           
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Blood near the Kremlin: Russia's media fight back - Reuters

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CNBC

Blood near the Kremlin: Russia's media fight back
Reuters
The world is outraged and indignant. And then - sanctions, credit downgrades and the further demonization of Russia and its leader," Dmitry Kiselyov, a TV anchor reputed to be one of Putin favorite journalists, told his prime-time audience on Sunday ...
Boris Nemtsov murder: girlfriend 'prevented' from leaving RussiaThe Guardian 
Putin critic Boris Nemtsov killed: Mother of witness speaks outCNN

Russia protests: What they could mean for PutinCNBC 
ABC News-EurActiv-Yahoo News
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Kasparov: 'Putin Is Accountable For This Bloodshed'

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Former chess champion and Russian pro-democracy activist Garry Kasparov talks to RFE/RL about his friendship with slain opposition leader Boris Nemtsov -- and what his killing means for President Vladimir Putin and the country's embattled opposition.

Ukrainian Model Duritskaya Speaks Out on Nemtsov Murder

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Anna Duritskaya, who was walking with opposition leader Nemtsov when he was shot dead on Friday evening, told media Monday that investigators are forcing her to stay in Moscow.



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