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I’ve just met one friend of mine who works in FSB. He told me about your problems with FSB, when you were in
. I’m sorry that you could remember my country by this accident. Ryazan
The “problems” my friend refers to was when I was visited by three men in the reading room of the Ryazan Party Archive. It’s a long story, but here is a short retelling from an email I sent to some friends at the time:
So I’m sitting in the archive today and around noon three guys walk into the reading room. They ask for me by name. Two show me identification from, I think, OVIR, the third doesn’t identify himself. They ask to see my passport, visa, and registration for Riazan. I don’t have the latter. I told them that I was registered in
and they informed me that I had to be registered in every city I stay in. They then filled out a form and fine me 1500 rubles, which I have to pay at a Sperbank. The two leave and the third (unidentified guy) begins asking me all sorts of questions: When did I arrive in Russia, where did I live in Moscow, who gave me my invitation, what I was doing in Russia and in Riazan, how long was I going to be here, etc etc. He said that according to the law I had to register and if I didn’t they would deport me and prevent reentry for 5 years. Moscow
What they didn’t say was the nightmare it is to register. I knew it was a pain in the ass in
. Here seems similar. My host family, god bless them, have just spent the last two hours calling everyone they know who is in the know about how to register. Moscow
It seems one of the old bitches who work in the archive ratted on me.
Oh, what I forgot to tell you both was that four days before I left
, two MVD officers came to my apartment to check my registration. They didn’t have my name and simply asked if there was an American living there. Everything was okay. Moscow
At the time I figured that they do random checks on registration. Now I’m starting to believe that a neighbor ratted me out. This place can make you paranoid.
With the help of my host family, the Uskovs, I got registered the next day. After that there were no problems.
turned out to be a wonderful town. But, oh the memories! To think I’m going back there in three weeks. . . RyazanPost Views: 244
Here is a summary of interesting news stories coming out of Russia this week.
—The U.S. military will abandon its airbases in Uzbekistan. Uzbek President Islam Karimov’s administration asked the U.S. to leave after it suggested an international probe into the massacre of over 800 people in town of Andijan. I’m surprised. Given the Bush Administration’s “commitment” to human rights, I figured that they would make the standard public condemnations, while assuring Karimov behind the scenes that their call for a probe was far from serious. Perhaps Karimov accidentally took them seriously. This news comes as the Andijan 15 are being tried in Uzbek courts for orchestrating an uprising. It seems that the EU is taking some “harsher” measures by placing an arms embargo on Uzbekistan.
—The drama around the Beslan Mothers and cult leader Grigorii Grabovoi heats up. Several of the mothers have filed a request to the Russian General Prosecutor Vladimir Ustinov to investigate Grabovoi’s dealings. The appeal stated: “This cultist’s cynical promise to resurrect those killed in the terrorist act is blasphemous to all those who suffered in this dreadful tragedy. We … ask you to investigate the legality of Grigory Grabovoi’s actions and to bring him to justice under Russian law.”
—Amnesty International released a report this week condemning abductions, secret detentions, and torture carried out by Russian authorities in Ingushetia and Chechnya. The report charges that “Russia’s “war on terror” is being used as an excuse for systematic human rights abuses.” Unfortunately, Russia is not alone it the use of Bush’s “war on terror” to commit such acts without concern for national or international law, not to mention, human rights. According to the press release, Amnesty International
“detected a new trend in the human rights abuses in the North Caucasus. People are reportedly being arbitrarily detained and held in incommunicado detention, where they are subjected to torture and ill-treatment, in order to force them to confess to crimes that they have not committed. Once they have signed a “confession” they are reportedly transferred to another detention facility where they have access to a lawyer of their choice and relatives; but the confession seems to be enough “evidence” to secure their conviction.”
Such measures are a disturbing reminder of Soviet practices. Then it was “enemies of the people.” Now its “terrorists.”
—In a sign of some progress and recognition of the problem of HIV/AIDS in the military, Russian soldiers will now be given condoms before they go on leave. Official statistics put detected HIV/AIDS cases in the Russian military since 1989 has number 2000. One can assume that this number is very, very low.
—Already in anticipation to the 2008 elections, the Federal Registration Service is going to begin a “proverka,” or check, of registered Russian political parties. According to legislation passed last December, registered electoral parties must have a national membership of 100,000, and at least 500 members in each of the county’s 89 regions.
—Kommersant is reporting that the bones of General Anton Denikin, the commander of the White Army during the Russian Civil War (1918-1920, are being flown from New York for burial in the Donskoi cemetery in Moscow. The transfer comes with a special Presidential envoy.
—In another sign of progress, a St. Petersburg Court ruled that Oktyabrskaya Railroad broke the law when it rejected a man’s application because he was a homosexual. In addition, a Yaroslav court upheld the rights of a lesbian woman who was fired from teaching because of “health problems,” i.e. she’s gay. Many Russians still believe in the Soviet view that homosexuality is a mental disease.
—I don’t think that I need to dwell to long on the biggest story coming out of Russia this week: Gazprom’s $13 billion purchase of SibNeft. The purchase further consolidates Gazprom’s dominance of Russian energy and oil markets as well as shows its intention to become a global player in oil and natural gas.
—And finally, Vitaly Matyukhin, a resident of Archangelsk has spent the last 15 years in a living his summer days in a refrigerator. Matyukhin apparently suffers from a rare heat exchange disorder where he can’t be in temperatures over 5 C. So during the warm weather of September he spends most of his time in a self built refrigerator, only to come out at night. Born in Krasnodar, he moved to Archangelsk to escape the southern heat. Only in Russia . . .Post Views: 564
Wondering how war in the Middle East impacts Russia? I highly recommend Charlie Ganske’s post “The Long War in the Middle East and Russian Oil” on Russia Blog for an answer. Here is the opening paragraph:
The Russian business newspaper Kommersant has an article up on their website today, candidly titled Thanks to the War Machine. The article provides some historic perspective on how the USSR profited from the oil shocks after the 1973 Arab-Israeli War and the 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran. The article also notes that Russia has been the single largest beneficiary of higher global oil prices fueled by Mideast turmoil. However, Kommersant contributor Sergey Minaev’s argument intersects with a view we have presented here at Russia Blog for some time: the West (not just the U.S.) has a strategic interest in developing Russian oil and gas, with the goal to expand global energy supplies from outside the Middle East.
I also suggest taking a look at Yuri Mamchur’s deconstruction of the new extremism law signed by Putin.Post Views: 284