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Russian Society
Culture, Demographics, Politics
November, 2008

The following resource is meant to quickly introduce the reader to everyday life in Russia: how Russians live, study, relax, and worship. This news review is part of SRAS's monthly "obzor" publications. For more reviews, see the newsletter for this corresponding month.

To receive the free monthly newsletter and obzori by email, simply sign up.


Ecological & Historic Preservation

Red Square could cave in at any moment warn underground explorers
A group of Muscovite explorers have warned that Red Square and the Kremlin could sink into the earth due to large underground cracks.

Moscow's Trees Will Be Dead in 15 Yrs
The removal of fallen leaves will kill the trees in Moscow in 15-20 years, says Boris Samoilov, laboratory head at the All-Russia Research Institute for the Preservation of Nature, at a press conference today. Groundskeepers in the Russian capital remove leaves from the ground everyday, which has a disastrous effect on the soil.



Moscow Murder Mystery
The murder in Moscow of two Catholic priests raises unsettling questions amid tensions between the Vatican and the Russian Orthodox Church. Russian police suggest the priests were together when killed but their Jesuit order says that's impossible -- they died two days apart.

Russian Orthodoxy Resurgent: Faith and Power in the New Russia
"The Russian Orthodox Church has re-branded itself as the repository of Russian patriotism," said John Garrard, Professor of Russian Studies, University of Arizona, and former fellow, Woodrow Wilson Center, at a 20 October lecture at the Kennan Institute on the growing influence of Russian Orthodoxy in Russian society.


Art and Culture

Score Another One for Putin. The Russian Invasion of Professional Sports
Across the country, dozens of sleek stadiums, arenas and rinks are rising. The state and a host of petro-rich biznesmeny have invested billions into a new generation of pro clubs — and the results have stunned Europe.

Malevich Painting Fetches $60 Mill.
Kazimir Malevich's painting Suprematist Composition was sold at Sotheby's in New York for $60 million on Monday. The name of the buyer was not made public. The sale price is the most ever paid for a work by Malevich or any other Russian artist.

Conductor Defends Russia, to Strains of Prokofiev
Back in August, the conductor Valery Gergiev took the stage in Tskhinvali, the capital of the breakaway region of South Ossetia, and denounced its "monstrous bombardment" by Georgia.

Grymov's 'Strangers' Accused of Anti-Americanism
Americans "place themselves higher than all other peoples of the earth" said Grymov. "They forcibly attempt to inculcate their morality and their modes of behavior. And what is most frightening of all, they sincerely suggest that they are committing a charitable act."

Film about Litvinenko to Show in Russia
The documentary film Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case, also known as Poisoned by Polonium: The Litvinenko File, will be shown for the first time in Russia this evening, according to the website RIA Novosti reported that the film will be shown at the Sakharov Center in Moscow.

Russia to Pay a Billion for Eurovision 2009
The costs for preparing and holding Eurovision 2009 in Moscow will amount to 1 billion ruble, Russia's Vice Premier Alexander Zhukov told the reporters. Zhukov heads the Organization Committee on Eurovision Preparation.

Cultural Figures Abroad Awarded
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev gave state awards to figures active in Russian public and cultural affairs abroad at a ceremony in the Kremlin's Georgievsky Hall on November 4, the Day of National Unity in Russia.



Sizable Decrease Of Maternal, Infant Mortality Registered In Russia
A total of 1.2 million babies have been born in Russia as of January 1, and this is almost 100,000 babies more than in the same period a year ago, she said.

Rising Ambitions, Sinking Population
Russia is in the midst of a genuine demographic disaster from which its rulers have no obvious exit strategy. Russia's death rates from cardiovascular diseases (mainly heart attacks and strokes) are roughly four times as high as in the European Union. Mortality from "external causes" (homicide, suicide, injury) is more than five times as high.

Generation 21st Century: New Childhood in Russia
Articles such as: Childhood – Russia's Future; Growing Up in Moscow: Impressions from Detached Proximity; Russian Childhood in Transition: Children's Literature in Search of New Heroes; and Children's Organisations in Contemporary Russia and Their Soviet Roots

Ethnically motivated terrorist act in Vladikavkaz
Ten people were killed and 40 wounded in a terrorist act yesterday near Central Market in Vladikavkaz, capital of North Ossetia, when a female suicide bomber detonated the explosives attached to her body. Investigators are examining the possibility that the act was planned in neighboring Ingushetia.

Russia's Population Dn Jan-Aug
The RF population lowered to 141.9 million in January through August, RIA Novosti reported with reference to Russia's statistics authority, Rosstat.

Russia's Roads Are More Dangerous than the Roads of Europe
Russia's Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliev unveiled yesterday alarming statistics of deaths caused by the traffic accidents in the country. Of all European states, Russia has the highest rate of traffic accident mortality per each 100,000 residents.



Super league of 'federal' universities
A shake-up of Russia's university system will see the establishment of a network of new, high-status 'federal' institutions under Education Ministry plans being considered by lawmakers. The scheme will target resources on specialised research universities and encourage wider lifelong vocational learning.

Russian court supports UK Council
A Russian court has thrown out most of the tax claims made against the British Council, some of whose Russian offices were closed amid a diplomatic row.

White Paper on Technology in Education
A white paper from the Economist Intelligent Unit looking at how globalization and technology are changing the face of education.

Financial Crisis and Education Across the Globe
Russia had more fee-paying students this year than it had in 2007. But, because there were fewer sponsored scholarships from foundations, universities more or less recruited the same number of students although there was a definite increase in payments by individuals.

Universities Passed Entrance Exams
The RF Education and Science Ministry has finally decided on the list of universities to be rescued from the Uniform State Exam. The novelty is opposed by quite a number of rectors, saying that exam doesn't allow to reveal the truly talented graduates.

Moral education takes centre stage
The Australian Values Education Programme took centre stage at recent moral education conferences in Moscow and Kiev.


Science and Technology

Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists: The rebirth of Russia's closed cities
The closed cities have begun to see their federal funding return and their agendas fill with new civilian scientific missions--especially in support of Moscow's aggressive plans to become a major builder and exporter of nuclear energy-related technologies.

To Russia, with hope of a miracle cure
The Tribune's Alex Rodriguez explores unfettered stem cell treatments offered in Moscow that are attracting a growing number of Western patients.

Web Registration in .РФ Zone to Begin in July
Russia will become the first nation with the non-Latin domain. The registration of web-sites in Russia will begin in early July and roughly 350,000 sites will probably emerge in two years.

NASA Extended Contract with Roskosmos
Russia's Federal Space Agency Roskosmos and the U.S. NASA have inked a modification to the current International Space Station contract for the pre-flight training of the U.S. crew members and the transportation services in 2011 and 2012, according to official webs of Roskosmos and NASA.

Russia to Help India with Manned Spaceship Mission
Backed up by Russia, India will set to creating its manned spaceship, Interfax reported. Besides, an Indian will fly into space at Russia's Soyuz in 2013.

Russia Leads the World into Space
Since the beginning of the year, Russia has made 21 space launches of various types and from various space centers. According to the Roscosmos website, there were 57 spaces launches in the world all told this year through October 31.

Financial Crisis Threatens Space Station
The world financial crisis is threatening International Space Station research programs. Specialists say that, unless there is a change in conditions, construction of the Soyuz spacecraft may be stopped for lack of funds. Vitaly Lapota, president and chief designer of Energy Corp., expressed his concerns on radio station Mayak.



Starovoitova Killing 'Beginning Of End' In Russia
Most of all I remember the crowds. The angry and bewildered masses gathered on St. Petersburg's Palace Square the morning after the assassination. The throngs of grieving ordinary people lining up to view her open casket. The haunting scenes of shivering pensioners in shabby overcoats crashing the gates at Aleksandr Nevsky Monastery to watch the twilight burial.

U.S. repeats Soviet missteps in Afghanistan, envoy says
Like the Soviets, the Americans "underestimated the resistance," thinking that because they swept into Kabul easily, the occupation would be untroubled.

Six years on, victims of Moscow theater siege remembered
Six years after Chechen terrorists burst onto the stage during the Nord-Ost musical in Moscow's Dubrovka theater, the victims of the ensuing siege were honored in the Russian capital.

The Geopolitics of Russia: Permanent Struggle
Russian history is a chronicle of the agony of surviving invasion after invasion.

Russia Remembers Victims Of Stalinism, But Tyrant Still Popular
Human rights activists find it very worrisome that half a century after the mass reprisals and purges the figure of the Soviet leader Joseph Stalin remains to be eyed with a sort of sympathy by many in Russian society.

Russia's president honors liberators on Unity Day
"The volunteer corps was led by Dmitry Pozharsky and Kuzma Minin - these were true patriots, and their manliness, ability to rally the people, and loyalty to the fatherland defined the destiny of our country as an independent, self-reliant, and strong state".

The Soviet Union: Internal and External Perspectives on Soviet Society
The Soviet Union: Internal and External Perspectives on Soviet Society analyzes Soviet society as a "hard reality" with many objective traits such as the omnipresent state, political repression, and the state monopoly on the economy, education, and culture.

The other Afghan war
The U.S. is repeating mistakes that the former Soviet Union made there, says a retired general.



Kremlin Attempts To Co-Opt Prominent Bloggers
Despite the fact that Russia boasts a lively and growing online community, the Kremlin has been careful not to let the democratizing potential of the participatory formats such as blogs and forums go unchecked.

Surprisingly Liberal Amendments To The Law On The Media
By spring of 2009, Russia may have a new edition of the law on the media. The Duma is working on this new legislation already.

Cuts to BBC Russian Service
Once again it will become apparent that the BBC has played into the hands of the Russian authorities. Instead of putting all their eggs in one basket, the BBC should explore as great a variety of options as possible: e.g. broadcasting from neighbouring countries or from satellites.

Anti-Americanism and current Russian policy
Under Putin, influential Russian mass media began to inculcate a negative image of America in the minds of viewers, readers and listeners. However, these propaganda efforts, in our opinion, would not have found such a strong response in Russian hearts had it not been for certain questionable actions by the USA on the international stage.

Reporters Without Borders ranks Russia 141st for media freedom
Russia has been ranked 141 out of 173 countries in the 2008 press freedom index published on Wednesday by the international organization Reporters Without Borders. The report's authors say the Russian media "continues to be subject to violence and harassment."

Jurors Didn't Request to Bar Media from Politkovskaya's Case
It emerged yesterday that the Moscow District Military Court Judge Yevgeny Zubov, who had closed Anna Politkovskaya trial from media on the jury's refusal to enter the courtroom in presence of journalists, had had no reasons for it. One of the jurors said yesterday that, in reality, they had insisted on openness of the trial.

Medvedev Gets Most News Coverage
The System of Complex New Analysis (SCAN) has shown that Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is the most mention politician in the Russian media, Interfax reports. In the week of November 10-16, Medvedev was mentioned 1311 times by various political and financial news ...

The Court to Hear Case of Politkovskaya Murder Behind Closed Doors
The jury will try the case related to murder of Novaya Gazeta investigating journalist Anna Politkovskaya behind closed doors, RIA Novosti reported November 19.

Prosecutors Warned Newsweek Russia
Moscow prosecutors have warned Newsweek Russia due to publication of articles that could inflame the interethnic and inter-religious strife, Interfax reported.

The Voice of Russia Speaks Kurdish
The Voice of Russia radio station began broadcasting in Kurdish in Iraqi Kurdistan yesterday. Station spokesmen say the new project is nonpolitical and its goal is to bring the Russian and Kurdish people closer together.

Interfax Quoted More Than Any Other News Agency
Interfax has retained leadership amid the news agencies operating in Russia, showed the survey that was compiled based on the data of SCAN (System of Complex Analysis of News) and LexisNexis database to cover nine months of this year.

Russia's Media Won the U.S. Elections
When covering presidential election in the United States, the U.S. media favored Barack Obama as the future president, while the coverage by Russia's media was neutral, signaled the monitoring of Russia's Center for Election Technology Training that operates under the auspices of the RF Central Election Commission.

In Russia, crusade at your own risk
Today he lies in a Moscow hospital in a coma. Whoever attacked him beat him so severely that his right leg had to be amputated.

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