Just wrapping up the coverage and getting you current, readers:
"Child’s death fans adoption debate in Russia; Country accuses Texas parents of abusing boy, 3" by Kathy Lally and Tara Bahrampour | Washington Post, February 20, 2013
MOSCOW — Reports that a 3-year-old adopted Russian child died in Texas last month set off a furor here Tuesday, with Russian officials declaring the boy had been abused, although US authorities say the death is still under investigation.
The child, Max Shatto, was born in northwestern Russia and lived in the same orphanage in the city of Pskov as Chase Harrison, who was adopted by a Virginia couple and died at the age of 21 months after his father left him in a hot car in July 2008.
The Russian law banning American adoptions, enacted in December, was named after him as the Dima Yakovlev law, the name Chase was given at birth.
Pavel Astakhov, Russia’s children’s ombudsman and fervent opponent of foreign adoptions, told reporters Monday evening that Max had been beaten and given heavy psychiatric drugs.
I wouldn't be surprised.
Konstantin Dolgov, the Foreign Ministry’s human rights officer, said he had died Jan. 21 ‘‘after being cruelly treated.’’
By Tuesday morning, Russia’s top investigatory agency was demanding a role in the inquiry, the governor of Pskov was insisting that the US family return Max’s 2-year-old brother to Russia, and a legislator was calling for a stop to the last few American adoptions underway.
‘‘US kills children’’ was the top trending hashtag on Twitter here.
The US Embassy responded Tuesday afternoon, tweeting that the ‘‘State Department and local authorities have been working closely with the Russian Consulate in Houston for weeks.’’
In other tweets, the embassy said, ‘‘We deeply regret death of a child in Texas. A child’s loss of life is always a tragedy,’’ and cautioned, ‘‘It is important to wait for results of law enforcement investigation before drawing conclusions.’’
Wait for some cock-and-bull story?
But conclusions have already been drawn....
Like in a "terrorist" case.
"Putin asks for calm over Texas death" by Nataliya Vasilyeva | Associated Press, February 23, 2013
MOSCOW — Moscow should ‘‘temper emotions’’ about the death of a Russian boy adopted by an American family, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said Friday after the US ambassador urged Russian authorities and the media to stop their ‘‘sensational exploitations’’ of the case.
The hypocrisy of the U.S. government knows no bounds, although this was before Boston.
Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said the harsh statements by Russian officials and lawmakers were driven by the ‘‘zero tolerance’’ of Russians to the deaths of children adopted by Americans....
‘‘I think it’s necessary to temper emotions a bit,’’ Peskov said on independent Rain TV. ‘‘One thing is obvious and undisputable: bruises were found on the child’s body. We hope that forensic experts will determine their origin.’’
The medical examiner’s office in West Texas has not officially pronounced the cause of death and presented only early results, but its report of bruises on 3-year-old Max Shatto’s body — although their origin has not been established — has prompted some Russians to jump to conclusions.
Another Nutty Nanny
Slow Saturday Special: Quincy Nanny Quarantined
"A trial date has been set for a nanny accused of fatally beating a 1-year-old in her care in January. Aisling McCarthy Brady, 34, an Irish native who was living in the country illegally, is slated to be tried in Middlesex Superior Court in Woburn on first-degree murder charges on April 7, 2014. Prosecutors say 1-year-old Rehma Sabir was in Brady’s sole care when she sustained blunt force injuries that were consistent with violent shaking. Brady’s lawyer has maintained her client’s innocence."
Who jumps to conclusions, pot-hollering kettle media?
Russian children’s rights ombudsman Pavel Astakhov branded the death as a ‘‘killing’’ by his adoptive American mother, Laura Shatto....
The Russian theory that the boy was killed has topped the news on state-controlled media, which have been using the case to justify Russia’s Dec. 28 ban all adoptions by Americans.
After a while you really just get tired of reading slop.
US Ambassador Michael McFaul said he was ‘‘troubled by how my people and my country are being portrayed by some in the Russian press.’’
Quit harboring CIA spies in your offices, will ya?
Texas authorities said that Max’s adoptive mother told them that Max and his half-brother were playing outside. She said she came out and found the boy unconscious.
Shirley Standefer, of the Ector County Medical Examiner’s Office, said there were signs of bruising on Max’s lower abdominal area, but added that a full autopsy would be needed.
"The death of a 3-year-old adopted Russian boy has been ruled an accident by West Texas authorities, but officials said Friday they are still investigating a case that has become a flashpoint in the debate over international adoption."
(Blog editor is astounded by the continued absolution of crimes when authority is involved here in AmeriKa)
Related: The Kids Are All Right in Russia
Now that they are back in the U.S.S.R., they don't know how lucky they are....
"Teen back in Russia cites US mistreatment" by Nataliya Vasilyeva | Associated Press, March 27, 2013
MOSCOW — A teenager adopted by an American couple has returned to Russia, claiming that his adoptive family treated him badly and that he lived on the streets of Philadelphia and stole just to survive, Russian state media reported.
The allegations by Alexander Abnosov, who was adopted around five years ago and is now 18, will probably fuel outrage here over the fate of Russian children adopted by Americans. It is an anger that the Kremlin has carefully stoked in recent months to justify its controversial ban on US adoptions....
They wave Muslim terrorists at us over here.
Speak of the devils:
"Moscow bars entry to 18 Americans
MOSCOW — A day after the United States imposed sanctions on Russians accused of rights violations, Moscow published a list of 18 current and former US officials who will now be barred from entry to Russia. The list includes men Russia’s Foreign Ministry says are responsible for ‘‘the legalization of torture’’: David Addington, who served as chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney and provided legal support for interrogation policies; and Major General Geoffrey D. Miller and Rear Admiral Jeffrey Harbeson, who ran detention operations in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba (New York Times)."
As an American it is difficult to see the Russians as the voice of reason in the world today, but then again, they were always a bit more moderate after WWII and Stalin's death.
Police hold 3 in acid attack on Bolshoi Ballet director
Russian ballet star confesses he agreed to attack
Related: Russia Says Terrorism Means Tourism
Yes, it is a "crime that gripped Moscow and threatened to haunt one of Russia’s most revered institutions."
"Fire kills 38 in Russian psychiatric hospital" by Ellen Barry and Andrew E. Kramer | NY Times Syndication, April 27, 2013
MOSCOW — A fire raged through a wood-and-brick psychiatric hospital outside Moscow early Friday, killing 38 people, mostly patients who died in their beds as firefighters made the hourlong journey from the nearest station, safety officials said.
A nurse tried to extinguish the fire and evacuate patients, but it spread so quickly in the 73-year-old structure that she was able to lead only one patient to safety before the building was consumed, a Russian Emergency Situations Ministry official told the Interfax news agency. Of the 41 people in the building, three survived.
Fires in Russian nursing homes and medical facilities have repeatedly resulted in dozens of deaths, in some cases because their patients were locked in.
However, investigators said the patients in Psychiatric Hospital No. 14, in the village of Ramensky, could have left the building if they had woken up. More than two-thirds of the patients regularly took powerful antipsychotic medications before going to bed, Veronika Skvortsova, Russia’s health minister, told reporters. Most died of burns or carbon monoxide poisoning.
Investigators said the fire started in a sofa, and they suspect it was caused by careless disposal of smoking material.
That happens a lot, and is tragic.
Back to business:
"Russian investor backs Hub start-up" by Michael B. Farrell | Globe Staff, April 05, 2013
A Russian-backed venture capital firm that recently opened a local outpost led a $13 million deal to fund the Boston start-up Zerto, a data recovery company.
Ru-net Technology Partners Ventures, which is the US affiliate of ru-Net Holdings of Moscow, established a local office here last year and has invested in one other local start-up, a children’s activities company called BabbaCo.
Its latest investment is in the hot field of data management and recovery, which has been attracting a growing amount of venture capital funding to companies around Boston.
Zerto, which is based in Boston and Israel, will use some of the funding to double its workforce. The company currently has about 25 employees in Boston.
Zerto was founded in 2009 by brothers Ziv and Oded Kedem and has raised a total of $34 million from venture capitals, including firms Greylock Partners and Battery Ventures. EMC Corp. of Hopkinton bought their previous company, Kashya, for $150 million in 2006.
Related: April Fool: Tillmann Touts Israel
"Aeroflot plans New York stock trading" by Ekaterina Shatalova | Bloomberg News, April 25, 2013
MOSCOW — The Russian government may sell Aeroflot shares this year as part of a plan to raise $13.5 billion through state asset sales to help balance the budget and reduce its role in the economy....
Russia may offer investors about 1.5 percent of Aeroflot as early as this year and will discuss the sale of a bigger stake, state property agency head Olga Dergunova said last week.
‘‘Market conditions should be taken into account before privatization,’’ Savelyev said. ‘‘Unfortunately, the trend now is negative. Share prices, including our stock, are falling as a result of the global and European crises.’’
Sometimes it does seem the the whole of world leadership is in on the NWO, it's all just how large is their share of the spoils going to be.
The company’s shares are as much as 40 percent undervalued, the CEO said, citing analyst estimates. Aeroflot has fallen 50 percent from a peak in February 2008.
The fact Aeroflot operates across a territory as large and populous as Russia means the government probably won’t sell out even if its share price gains, the CEO said. ‘‘If market conditions are good, the state may sell a blocking stake,’’ he said, suggesting that a holding of 25 percent plus one share could be retained. ‘‘The picture will become clearer by 2016.’’
That's a ways away.
Third time a charm:
"MIT, Russia team up to open a graduate school; Government’s role in funding has some uneasy" by Oliver Staley | Bloomberg News, May 06, 2013
The centerpiece of a $2.7 billion innovation hub. Russian officials say they aim to create tech start-ups and lure corporate research laboratories with tax breaks and relaxed visas and customs regulations. IBM Corp., Microsoft Corp., and Siemens AG have already agreed to locate there....
MIT, which already has programs in Abu Dhabi, China, Portugal, and Singapore, sees advantages as well. Skolkovo will give it access to the most promising scientists in a country where it has had little contact, said Leo Rafael Reif, MIT’s president.
‘‘There is a tremendous amount of talent there,’’ Reif said. ‘‘It is really an incubator.’’
MIT is one of scores of US schools expanding around the globe....
Then can we please have an end to all the war talk because it is either constant spewing of nothing but hot air to keep us all on a war footing while walking on eggshells, or the ravings of psychopaths that must be removed from power.
The result may be a higher-education bubble — with too few qualified or interested students — in regions such as the Middle East and China, said Philip G. Altbach, director of the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College....
They really think you kids are stupid. This is all about elites who are always more comfortable working together than with the rabble.
‘‘The US universities involved have come out with significant egg on their face,’’ he said.
There can also be pitfalls in countries that have different concepts of political and academic freedom. Yale University’s joint venture with the National University of Singapore, where classes are scheduled to start in August, led angry Yale faculty to pass a resolution urging the school to respect civil liberties.
Singapore’s government censors the media and uses the courts to silence criticism of the regime, according to Human Rights Watch. Yale-NUS has adopted policies of non-discrimination consistent with Yale’s and will protect freedom of expression, the college said in an e-mailed statement.
Why aren't they protesting about here then? Mouthpiece media self-censoring?
At Johns Hopkins University’s 27-year-old venture with Nanjing University, police monitor Internet use, said Jan Kiely, a former co-director of the campus.
Yeah, and your point being.... ??
Under President Vladimir Putin, Russia’s government has cracked down on critics, ranging from newspaper owner Alexander Lebedev to the punk rock group Pussy Riot.
Putin Changes Russian Politics
Pussy Riot Propaganda
And I am tired of it!
Professors are also in jeopardy. Since 1998, more than a dozen Russian scientists have been arrested, most of them engaged in collaborations with foreign academics, said Igor Sutyagin, a London-based defense analyst and former researcher at Moscow’s Institute for the USA and Canada Studies who himself was jailed for 11 years. That should give MIT pause, he said.
‘‘They should know they risk their own people and they put in danger the Russians who work with them,’’ said Sutyagin, who said he was arrested for passing material about the Russian military that was in the public domain to a British firm that was accused of being a cover for US intelligence services.
They probably were.
He eventually signed a confession in order to be included in an exchange of spies and was released in 2010.
Not another stupid spy story?
As for the forced confessions, FBI gets those all the time.
Vladimir Kara-Murza, a member of the Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition and a Putin critic, said Skoltech merely serves as propaganda.
They have a school newspaper?
‘‘MIT is lending legitimacy and a cloud of respectability to an undemocratic regime,’’ Kara-Murza said. ‘‘They should fully understand what they are supporting and what they are doing.’’
While Russia still produces skilled graduates in math and science, its reputation for world-class research is poor. Until recently, faculty were rewarded for publishing in journals sponsored by their universities instead of international peer-reviewed publications, said Harley Balzer, a Georgetown University professor.
MIT’s involvement helped convince Yuri Shprits, a Russian-born geophysics researcher, to leave UCLA for a job at Skoltech.
‘‘The fact that MIT was behind this, that I found MIT faculty actively involved, is what gave me confidence,’’ said Shprits, a naturalized US citizen who studies the effects of the earth’s radiation belts on satellites. ‘‘It’s clear that it will be a top-ranked graduate school in Russia and we will be able to select the best graduates from Russian universities.’’
Since its founding in 1861, MIT faculty, staff, and alumni have won 78 Nobel Prizes. It’s one of the world’s richest universities, with an endowment worth more than $10 billion as of June 30....
Harvard's is three times that, but it is still a lot of loot.
Back to the Cold War:
"Suspect in Russian spy murder pulls out of inquest" by Max Seddon | Associated Press, March 13, 2013
MOSCOW — The main suspect in the grisly poisoning of Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko in London withdrew Tuesday from the British inquest into the murder, saying that political pressure and state secrecy were preventing him from clearing his name.
Litvinenko, a former Russian intelligence officer turned fierce Kremlin critic, died in 2006 after drinking tea poisoned with the radioactive isotope polonium-210 at a London hotel. His family says he was working for Britain’s intelligence services, and believes the Russian state was behind his death.
Maybe, maybe not.
Britain has named Andrei Lugovoi, a former KGB officer and Russian lawmaker, and businessman Dmitry Kovtun, who met Litvinenko hours before he fell ill, as the main suspects. Both deny their involvement and have refused to attend the inquest, though they have sent legal representatives. Russia has turned down British requests to extradite the two men.
Parts of the inquest have been held in secret after the British government cited security reasons, over the objections of Litvinenko’s family and media.
Almost makes you wonder which western intelligence agency was involved.
"Putin urged to free jailed protesters" Associated Press, May 07, 2013
MOSCOW — Around 20,000 Russian opposition supporters held an anti-Kremlin rally Monday and demanded the release of political prisoners.
Exactly a year ago, a protest on the same square the day before President Vladimir Putin’s third presidential inauguration ended in violent clashes between demonstrators and police.
Participants in Monday’s rally, which went peacefully amid heavy police cordons, urged the authorities to free more than two dozen people facing criminal charges over their involvement in last year’s protest.
Related: Sunday Globe Specials: Russian Protests Are Fun
Since Putin returned to the presidency, authorities have initiated criminal proceedings against opposition activists and the Kremlin-controlled Parliament has quickly approved a series of repressive bills that sharply increase fines for participation in unauthorized rallies and imposed new tough restrictions on civil society activists.
Alexei Navalny, an opposition leader who is facing a trial on embezzlement charges he said were fabricated on Putin’s orders, urged the demonstrators Monday to ‘‘throw [Putin] out of the Kremlin.’’
He ended his speech with a chant ‘‘Russia will be free!’’ that was repeated by the crowd.
Putin was in the Kremlin during the protest and aware of it, his spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on the independent Dozhd TV.
As a result of last year’s protest, 27 people face charges that could send them to prison for up to 10 years.
Some are battle-hardened opposition activists, but just as many are ordinary Russians who had joined the anti-Putin protests for the first time.
When the agenda-pushing intelligence operation known as the newspaper is positive about a protest that is a controlled-opposition tell.
Gorbachev a Western Agent?
Russia Expels CIA Spy
Breaking News: Russian Military Goes on Red Alert
Russian space capsule lands with animals
What other junk did they bring back with them?
Meteor fragments found on frozen lake
Remembering the blast that rattled Mass. in 1954
Related: Sunday Globe Wake-Up Call
These guys won't be waking up:
"Boris Berezovsky; self-exiled tycoon ran afoul of Putin" by Cassandra Vinograd | Associated Press, March 24, 2013
LONDON — Boris Berezovsky, a self-exiled and outspoken Russian tycoon who had a bitter falling out with Russian President Vladimir Putin, has been found dead in southeast England. He was 67.
In recent years, the one-time Kremlin powerbroker-turned-thorn in Putin’s side fended off attacks on his character and on his fortune — sometimes successfully, sometimes not — in cases that often bore political undertones.
Thames Valley police said Saturday that Mr. Berezovsky’s death was being treated as unexplained....
BORIS BEREZOVSKY, LITVINENKO, SERGEI SERYKH, RUSSIAN ISRAELI MAFIAS
Godfather Oligarch Berezovsky
What secrets did he know?
A mathematician-turned-Mercedes dealer, Mr. Berezovsky amassed his wealth during Russia’s chaotic privatization of state assets in the early 1990s. In return for backing former Russian President Boris Yeltsin, he gained political clout and opportunities to buy state assets at knockdown prices, making a fortune in oil and automobiles.
He also played a key role in the rise of Yeltsin’s successor, Putin, but later fell out of favor with the new leader and fled to Britain to seek political asylum in the early 2000s.
When Putin decided to clear out the elements of the Jewish mafia.
Mr. Berezovsky was one of several so-called Russian ‘‘oligarchs’’ to butt heads with Putin.
After coming into power, the Russian president effectively made a pact: the oligarchs could keep their money if they did not challenge him politically.
Those who refused found themselves in dire circumstances. Some were imprisoned — such as former Yukos Oil chief Mikhail Khodorkovsky — while others, like Mr. Berezovsky, fled.
Related: Rumblings Around Russia
Assets of these pariah businessmen, meanwhile, were acquired by state corporations or cooperative tycoons, often at bargain prices.
In the UK, Mr. Berezovsky allied himself with an array of prominent Kremlin critics. Among them was ex-KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, who fled Russia with Mr. Berezovsky’s help after accusing officials there of plotting to assassinate political opponents.
Litvinenko died Nov. 26, 2006, after drinking tea laced with a lethal dose of the rare radioactive isotope polonium-210 in a London hotel. From his deathbed, Litvinenko accused the Kremlin of orchestrating his poisoning, and British police named former KGB agent Andrei Lugovoi as the prime suspect.
Both Lugovoi and the Kremlin denied the accusations, with the former instead claiming that Mr. Berezovsky — whom Russia consistently sought to extradite on a wide variety of criminal charges — engineered his friend’s death as a way of embarrassing the Kremlin and buttressing his refugee status.
Mr. Berezovsky, who considered Litvinenko a close friend, consistently denied the allegations.
In 2010, he won a libel case against Kremlin-owned broadcaster All-Russian State Television and Radio Broadcasting, which aired a show in which it was suggested he was behind the former agent’s poisoning.
Mr. Berezovsky recently has made headlines for costly legal battles, which have dealt serious blows to his finances....
"Autopsy determines Russian tycoon died from hanging; No indication of struggle; further tests expected" by Sylvia Hui | Associated Press, March 26, 2013
LONDON — A post-mortem examination found that self-exiled Russian tycoon Boris Berezovsky died by hanging, and there was nothing pointing to a violent struggle, British police said.
People can be incapacitated through drugs.
Thames Valley police said Monday that further tests, including toxicology examinations, will be carried out. The force did not specify whether the 67-year-old businessman hanged himself.
Once one of Russia’s richest men and a Kremlin power broker, Berezovsky fled to Britain in 2001 and claimed political asylum after a bitter falling out with President Vladimir Putin of Russia. He became a vocal critic of the Kremlin.
Berezovsky had survived several assassination attempts in Britain and Russia, including a car bomb in 1994 that killed his driver.
Berezovsky’s body was found by an employee on the bathroom floor at his upscale England home on Saturday. The employee called an ambulance after he forced open the bathroom door, which was locked from the inside.
Police said the employee was the only person in the house when Berezovsky’s body was discovered. They have said the autopsy found no sign of a violent struggle, and there was no other evidence to suggest anyone else was involved in the death.
A forensic examination of Berezovsky’s home will continue for several days, police said Monday.
Berezovsky’s lawyer said after news of the death that the oligarch recently had been in ‘‘a horrible, terrible’’ emotional state.
A mathematician-turned-Mercedes dealer, Berezovsky built his wealth during Russia’s chaotic privatization of state assets in the 1990s after the breakup of the Soviet Union. In return for backing President Boris Yeltsin, he gained political clout and opportunities to buy such state assets as oil and gas at knockdown prices.
Berezovsky helped build Putin’s power base but fell out of favor when the new president moved to curb the ambitions of the oligarchs. The tycoon was charged in Russia with fraud and embezzlement.
Berezovsky later associated himself with former KGB agent Alexander Litvinenko, another Kremlin critic. Litvinenko died after ingesting polonium in his tea at a London hotel in 2006.
In recent years, Berezovsky’s fortunes declined with numerous expensive court cases.
Last year, Berezovsky lost a legal battle against former business partner and fellow Russian tycoon Roman Abramovich, which left him with legal bills of at least $53.3 million.
Berezovsky had said that Abramovich, the billionaire owner of Chelsea Football Club, cheated him out of his stakes in the oil group Sibneft, arguing that he blackmailed him into selling the stakes vastly beneath their true worth after he fell out of Putin’s favor.
But a judge threw out the case in August, ruling that Berezovsky was a dishonest and unreliable witness, and rejected Berezovsky’s claims that he was threatened by Putin and Alexander Voloshin, a Putin ally, to coerce him to sell his Sibneft stake.
In 2010 Berezovsky also took a hit with his divorce from Galina Besharova, paying a settlement estimated to be as high as 100 million pounds.
Related: Foul play not ruled out in Russian tycoon’s death
"Mikhail Beketov, journalist brutally beaten in Russia" by Ellen Barry | New York Times, April 15, 2013
MOSCOW — The Russian journalist Mikhail Beketov, who became a symbol of Russia’s culture of impunity after he was left permanently disabled by a brutal beating in 2008, died of heart failure April 8, his lawyer announced. He was 55, the BBC reported.
After Mr. Beketov had called for the resignation of the municipal government in the city of Khimki, where he lived, his car was blown up. He later wrote about that in his newspaper, as well, and then was beaten so severely that he spent the rest of his life using a wheelchair, unable to form sentences. Three of his fingers and one of his legs had to be amputated.
The police barely investigated the crime, ignoring witnesses who came forward offering information and surveillance videos that could have identified Mr. Beketov’s assailants.
Does that ever sound familiar.
By then, Mr. Beketov had become a hero to many and the recipient of several journalism prizes, including one bestowed by the state....
"Aleksei Balabanov; director focused on fraying seams of society" by Douglas Martin | New York Times, May 24, 2013
NEW YORK — Aleksei Balabanov, a Russian director whose films fused grisly violence, sardonic humor, and rock music to convey a darkly compelling vision of his chaotic society after Communism’s collapse, died Saturday near St. Petersburg. He was 54.
Lenfilm Studios said the cause was a heart attack, the Interfax news agency reported.
In 16 films, Mr. Balabanov offered a world of hit men, shamelessly corrupt officials, and corpses upon corpses in a cinematic pastiche reminiscent of the work of Quentin Tarantino in artistic achievement and exuberantly brash taste....
“The films of Aleksei Balabanov are a collective portrait of our country at its most dramatic time in history,’’ Prime Minister Dmitri A. Medvedev wrote on Facebook after the director’s death.
Mr. Balabanov’s movies developed a robust cult following in Russia and won prizes there....
Revolution Come - There are logistical concerns, when one is engaged in drafting the architecture of wider war in The Middle East. As the parrots squawk and the chipmunks ...
4 hours ago