Daily Archives: September 23, 2007

The Sunday Photos: Love, Russian Style

Viktor Zubkov, Neo-Soviet Man

Reuters reports:

Russia’s new Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov displayed a tough Soviet style of management at his first government meeting on Thursday, barking orders at underperforming ministers and calling one of them “comrade”. President Vladimir Putin surprised Russians last week by appointing the little-known Zubkov, a 66-year-old former collective farm boss, to lead the government in the run-up to parliamentary and presidential elections. Zubkov, who formerly headed an anti-money laundering watchdog, was tasked by the Kremlin leader with ensuring that the cabinet “ticks like Swiss watch”.

Looking confident at Thursday’s meeting, Zubkov made clear he would not tolerate any slacking in the government. “In some areas we have managed to move ahead, while in others the work has slowed down or halted completely,” the grim-looking premier told silent ministers.

“I want to remind you about your personal responsibility.”

Zubkov met Putin earlier this week to discuss changes to the cabinet. Newspapers have speculated that Economy Minister German Gref may be among the casualties but Zubkov gave no hint on Thursday of what changes he planned.

Boris Gryzlov, leader of the United Russia party patronised by Putin, said the party’s four members in government were “likely to keep their posts”. He told reporters during a visit to southern Russia that they were Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Zhukov, Agriculture Minister Alexei Gordeyev, Emergencies Minister Sergei Shoigu and Natural Resources Minister Yuri Trutnev.


Living up to his reputation for loyalty to Putin, the new premier made clear he would not tolerate any deviation from the Kremlin line. “Who dared make changes to the presidential orders?” he asked influential transport minister Yuri Levitin when discussing amendments made to draft laws on Russian sea ports. “Who is there from the financial department?” he barked after mentioning a failure to deliver timely aid to victims of a recent earthquake on the remote Sakhalin island.

Attempts by department head Anton Drozdov to explain himself were rejected. “I ask you to arrange a business trip to Sakhalin for comrade Drozdov and keep him there until people get their money,” Zubkov told Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Naryshkin. Analysts have interpreted Zubkov’s appointment as an attempt by Putin to keep a tight grip on power by picking a reliable, low-profile ally to run the government while keeping everyone guessing about who might succeed him as president. Putin has added to the riddle saying that Zubkov, who has strong personal links with him since they worked together in St. Petersburg City Hall in the 1990s, was among people he thought could run for president in March.

Another option analysts are mulling is that Zubkov could keep the prime minister’s job well after the March polls to make sure the next president does not deviate from Putin’s line.

Annals of Russian Technology: Nobody Milks a Moose Like a Russian

ITN reports:

Breeders have been trying to domesticate the moose for centuries especially in the former Soviet Union where they were needed for travelling across areas covered in snow.

Many attempts fail because moose kept in captivity often die due to the expense of providing them with all the nutrients they need.

Ekaterina Yegorskaya said: “In May when the female moose give birth we get close to them, then later on, when the baby moose are taken from them, we smell like the baby moose and she then sees me as her child, that’s why she lets me milk her.” Moose milk has more fat than cow’s milk and more protein and vitamins. It is used to treat many diseases and is in high demand.

The Sunday Funnies

More Russian funnies, courtesy of our South African reader:

The Sunday Quotation

More proof of how well Russian “President” Vladimir Putin is leading Russia into the future:

The French Revolution of 2007 has not seen heads roll but has involved the destruction of 10 taboos as President Nicolas Sarkozy assumes the role of Europe’s most dynamic leader.


Enthusiasm for the United States was unacceptable for a French political leader because it was always interpreted as an embrace of “Wild West” capitalism, “Anglo-Saxon” hegemony and vulgarity. De rigueur attitudes held sway: patronizing contempt in Paris met macho derision in Washington. Communication suffered. Sarko’s New Hampshire vacation, enthused American dreaming, iPod-accompanied jogging and in-your-face style cleared the air.


Moscow was France’s offsetting power to the United States. For many cold-war years, the French left struggled to decide what was worse: Soviet totalitarianism or American imperialism. Some of the French right was undecided, too. Later, Chirac suggested “neo-liberalism” — unfettered market forces — was as much a danger in the 21st century as totalitarianism in the 20th. Weak-kneed moral equivalency often placed Paris in a halfway house between Washington and Moscow. Sarkozy is clear: American democracy beats Russian authoritarianism, just as U.S. freedom beat Soviet enslavement.

New York Times columnist Roger Cohen, September 20th

Kuznetsova, Chakvetadze Slam Shamapova

The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:

Maria Sharapova went to Russia last week to angle for a chance to play in the Olympics. What she got was a different understanding of the term “cold war.”

“To be honest, I don’t know why she came. What’s the point of coming here all the way from America if you can’t play? She said she wanted to help our preparation and be our practice partner but, to me, if you can’t play how then can you practice? It just doesn’t make sense.” That was Svetlana Kuznetsova, talking to the Russian media, and looking at the glass half-empty. Had she even asked herself, “Hey, who’s going to pick up all these balls?”

Anna Chakvetadze was also not a huge fan of Sharapova’s last-minute trip. “If you haven’t played Fed Cup all year, it wouldn’t be fair just to show up for the final,” she said in a news conference. “It’s not fair to all the other girls who committed themselves to the team’s cause.”

If only they’d been reading La Russophobe, they could have saved themselves so much trouble. We’d say we hate to say we told you so, but we love to say we told you so. WE TOLD YOU SO!! Maybe now all those Russophile idiots who question our bashing of Shamapova can turn their attention to Russians Kuznetsova and Chakvetadze and question them for a while.