The Kremlin has finally posted a full English translation of Putin’s February 1 press conference. It has also provided audio and video. The video also contains simultaneous English translation. I hope to have some commentary on it sometime this week. In the meantime, I would like to get people’s impressions in the comments section.
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By Sean — 12 years ago
My Moscow friend, fellow dissertator, and all around potty-mouth, Brigid has started a blog, Laughter in the Dark, all about her research travels. Her first post about her train ride from St. Petersburg to Smolensk is a must read. Here is an excerpt:
Over the next five hours, I would learn that the old man was 85 years old, a WWII veteran who had fought in the battle of Stalingrad, a man who still pined for Lenin (though not for Stalin), a devout atheist, and a living repository of Soviet history. None of us ever learned his name; the other men just referred to him as “grandfather.” Volodia, from Nizhnii Novgorod, was quiet in the face of his conversational competitors, and proved (for now) the least uppity in our bunch. He was traveling to Smolensk to meet a colleague and loved to watch birds from his country home on the Volga. That – and practice his English in a random chance encounter with an American. The third, Alexsei, was a true character who regaled us all with stories of his times in Israel, New York, Germany, and of course, Russia. For five and a half hours, Aleksei and “grandfather” argued tax reform, food preservatives, the holocaust, America, and the Bible (“Who wrote it?” grandfather asked. “I was twenty-five years old before I ever saw an icon, and I can’t say that I’ve ever read a line of the Bible. I don’t understand it. In our house, we had a portrait of Lenin.”) I was dragged into conversation on a number of accounts, and at one point, “grandfather” declared that he was converting to vegetarianism on account of the testimony of my “pretty face.” I was also dragged into drinking cognac and into answering on behalf of my country for what they referred to as all the “revolutions” that George Bush is trying to buy with American money in former Soviet space. In the usual turn of events, none of my comrades could begin to understand how my husband would “allow” me to travel in Russia (or anywhere, presumably) alone. In the usual turn of events, my dissertation topic provoked shock, awe, confusion, and serious doubts (although Volodia was thoroughly supportive of it). In an unusual turn of events, I returned from the restroom at one point only to hear from Aleksei that in my absence they had decided I was a spy. Grandfather quickly informed me: “I don’t think you’re a spy, and told these two just that, so don’t look at me.” Aleksei had an extra sprinkle of mischief in his eyes, and Volodia was looking sheepish and extra shy. I laughed and joked along, “yes, yes, of course I am a spy.” Volodia shifted uncomfortably in his seat.Post Views: 367
By Sean — 11 years ago
The New York Times continues to follow the windy road of the murder investigation. Including the notion that Litvinenko or one of the people he met shortly before his illness was trafficking polonium. So far, who exactly possessed said polonium remains unclear. Was it Dmitry Kovtun, Andrei Lugovoi, or Litvinenko himself?
German police have summoned Kovtun to discuss this question. But according to the NY Times, Kovtun calims “It wannit me.” In fact,
Mr. Kovtun says they have it backward, maintaining that Oct. 16 was the day that Mr. Litvinenko exposed him to the poison, polonium 210. “I am far from thinking that something was premeditated,” Mr. Kovtun said. “I think things that were not premeditated were happening.”
That said, Kovtun and Lugovoi also have no idea how he was exposed or whether Litvinenko had the polonium on him. Quotes the Times, “I want you to understand one thing,” Mr. Lugovoi said. “Myself and Dmitri Kovtun, we consider ourselves an injured party.”
And the band played on . . .Post Views: 402
By Sean — 12 years ago