Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Rosaviation Calls on German Intelligence to Publish Information on MH17 Crash

MOSCOW, October 20 (RIA Novosti) - Rosaviation has called on the intelligence of Germany to publish the information that reportedly shows the involvement of either of the parties in the crash of the MH17 flight, Rosaviation Head Aleksander Neradko said Monday.

Human Rights Watch Publishes Damning Video of Cluster Bomb Use by Kiev

Human Rights Watch, which together with Amnesty International are the two most authoritative human rights group in the world, published a video yesterday on their youtube channel detailing their accusation against Kiev that it used cluster bombs, banned in 114 countries because of their indiscriminate destructive nature.  
The video charges that cluster bombs were used against civilians in East Ukraine by Kiev, saying that this "violates the laws of war, and may amount to war crimes.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Belgrade freed from Nazi occupation 70 years ago

BELGRADE -- Belgrade was liberated from Nazi occupation on October 20 70 years ago, after four years of occupation that resulted in the death of around 40,000 people.

The operation to free the city was conducted jointly by the Yugoslav Partisans and the Soviet Red Army. They fought for each street and building from October 11 to 20.
However, the Belgrade operation, as one of the biggest and most important battles in the Balkans in World War Two, ended on October 22, with the liberation of the municipality of Zemun, which was at the time part of the Nazi puppet state dubbed the Independent State of Croatia (NDH).

Around 80,000 Yugoslav and Russian troops fought hard for 11 days against some 55,000 German troops of the Army Group Šumadija, commanded by General Hans Felber.

A total of 20,000 people died in the battle for Belgrade, 16,799 of which were German troops, while 8,739 were taken prisoner. The Partisan forces' 1st Army Group suffered 2,944 dead and around 4,000 wounded, while the Red Army's 4th Corps lost 961 troops.

Big Mac Attack

The New Cold War seems to be playing out in the fast food industry, as the Russian government seems determined to shut down McDonalds, one of the most recognizable images of the West.  Russian officials are citing health regulations, but like Mickie D's or not, they keep a pretty clean ship, offering tours to children on birthdays.

Russia has long used "food wars" as a way to send a message, and it is clear that this is the case in these closures.  The odd part is that Russia is only hurting itself, as McDonalds employs Russians and apparently gets 85 per cent of its supplies from local suppliers.  Given there are nearly 500 Mickie D's spread throughout Russia, that's a pretty big hit to the food industry in the country.

Enterprising Russians have tried to cash in on the burger appeal with burger joints of their own, but people go to Mickie D's because of its brand appeal.  At one time the Moscow McDonalds was the busiest in the world, but now is closed.

Friday, October 17, 2014

(Washington Post)  “Don’t be a fool, America,” goes one campy hit from just after the Soviet Union broke up. “Give us back the land of Alaska! Give us back our dear land!”

But since the annexation of Crimea this year, the idea of Russia pulling together old territories it once willingly sold or gifted away no longer seems so farfetched – which is giving the Alaska reclamation trope new life in social media, statements and song.

“From Alaska to the Kremlin!” an accordion player and well-known Russian singer belts in a song describing “My Homeland” that has gained well over a million views since being posted on YouTube in late September. (This version, with less hits, has English subtitles.)

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Putin receives Serbia's top state decoration

BELGRADE -- Serbian President Tomislav Nikolić has presented his visiting Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin with the Order of the Republic of Serbia of the First DEGREE.

Addressing him in Russian, Nikolić said: 

"Dear brother Vladimir, the Serb people are proud that you wear the highest Serbian order."

Putin expressed his gratitude, and added that he did not think he deserved the recognition with any great deeds: 

"I accept this decoration as a sign of respect and love that Serbia has for Russia and for the Russian people." 

Putin then said he wished to assure Serbia that relations between the two countries would develop in the future: 

"I wish to assure you that Russia, as it did in the past, will accept Serbia as a greatest ally and will do everything to further develop relations."

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Ukraine far right battles police at parliament in Kiev

(BBC)  Ukrainian nationalists have hurled smoke canisters and stones at riot police during clashes outside the parliament in Kiev.

Violence erupted when the protesters demanded that MPs pass a law to recognise a World War Two nationalist group which opposed Soviet forces.

Fifteen policemen were injured and at least 50 protesters had been arrested, the Ukrainian interior ministry said.
At least one petrol bomb was thrown at the parliament building in the unrest and there are unconfirmed reports that some bullets were fired.
Among the many Ukrainian flags in the crowd there were also flags of the far-right Svoboda and Right Sector groups. Both groups later denied that their supporters had been involved in the violence.

UPA members fought for Ukrainian independence in the war, but recognising their role is highly controversial, the BBC's David Stern reports from Kiev.

At times they were allied with the Nazis and are said to have carried out atrocities against civilians.
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