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Saturday, May 20, 2006

Neo-Soviet Kremlin Hypocrisy & Stupidity Knows No Bounds

So much for the patriotism of Vladimir Putin. Seems like he loves the truth in wine more than the truth in Mother Russia. Britain's Telegraph reports that although the Kremlin will not allow Russians to drink Georgian wine, the rule does not apply inside the Kremlin itself. How Neo-Soviet can you get?

Russians often complain that their politicians seem far removed from ordinary people but it was not widely thought they might have different digestive systems too until yesterday. It emerged that Georgian wine, widely unavailable after being banned by the Kremlin for health reasons in March, is still being served in one place: the Kremlin itself.Tens of thousands of bottles of Saperavis and Mukuzanis - respectively fruity and dry reds - have been destroyed by health and safety officials.Moscow's most senior environmental officer, Gennady Onishchenko, said he was forced to impose a blanket ban after traces of pesticide were discovered in wines from Georgia and Moldova. But critics maintain that the ban was motivated by Russia's desire to punish wayward former satellites who have turned away from Moscow.Admitting that Georgian wines were still being served in both Kremlin and parliamentary dining rooms, government officials seemed confident that politicians ran little risk of being poisoned."In our supplies no harmful substances or violations of sanitary norms have ever been discovered," said Viktor Khrechov, a spokesman for the Presidential Property department.After weeks of acrimony that set back attempts to resolve the crisis, the Georgian government has so far chosen not to capitalise on the embarrassing revelations. "It shows what very good taste they have," said Nadia Turnava, Georgia's deputy economics minister.Anger has grown since the ban was extended earlier this month to a Georgian sparkling mineral water, Borjomi, which many Russians believe alleviates the after-effects of too much vodka.In a rare public protest Russian students gathered outside Mr Onishchenko's office last week and drank several bottles of Borjomi. Police detained 10 people.

Meanwhile, RIA Novosti reports that the Kremlin is up in arms about the abuse of Russian minorities in the Baltics. But where is this outrage where Russian abuse of minorities is concerned? Nowhere to be seen. Apparently, Russians still think they can get away with this kind of ridiculous double standard. How Neo-Soviet can you get? If you can read statements like "Russia, which Friday takes over presidency of the Council of Europe, would not stand aside when human rights are violated" after looking at images like these and not barf your guts out from the hypocrisy, you might just be Russophile.

MOSCOW, May 19 (RIA Novosti) - Russia will continue to press at an official level for human rights, particularly those of ethnic minorities, to be observed in Latvia and Estonia, a senior Russian diplomat said Friday. Many in the two Baltic states' large ethnically Russian population have been given "non-citizen" status, which denies them an automatic passport and other rights. Russia has repeatedly called for ethnic Russians to be given the same rights as others. "It is a matter of principle that Russia develops its relations with other countries depending on whether they are ready to take into account Russia's interests, including the rights and legitimate interests of Russians living in these countries," Deputy Foreign Minister Grigory Karasin said at a conference in the Lithuanian capital, Vilnius.Karasin said that there could not be two opinions on the matter, and that Russia, which Friday takes over presidency of the Council of Europe, would not stand aside when human rights are violated."We abide by the internationally acknowledged principle of universal human rights, which establishes that observance of human rights, including those of ethnic minorities, is not just the internal matter of a country," he said.

And to round things out, did anyone order a side of Venezuelan Missile Crisis? Interfax has one.

19 May. Venezuelan Ambassador to Russia Alexis Navarro Rojas in an interview with Interfax expressed the intentions of his country to negotiate Russian arms deliveries to Venezuela. "Venezuela needs to renew its arms systems. Several years ago we decided that we won't buy weapons from the United States and that the bulk of new orders will be placed with Russia. Our military experts have studied the parameters of the arms that Russia is offering and concluded that they are the best in the world," the ambassador said. Rojas said there are several reasons why Venezuela is switching from importing U.S.-made weapons to Russian-made products, including the "aggressive foreign policy of Washington" and "irresponsibility in the fulfillment of contracts." "The weapons we are getting from Russia come with guarantees of further maintenance services and personnel training," he said.

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