Archive for July, 2009

21
Jul
09

Unmasking a myth : freedom of religion in Russia

I’ve gladly read an AP article today about Russia. Rare enough to be mentioned.

President Medvedev has announced a project of religious teaching at school which will include of course Russian orthodox, but also jews, muslims and even atheist.

Not that bad for a country often depicted as a totalitarian dictatorship…

Of course, no mention of catholicism classes!!! Medvedev’s OK to teach different religions at school, but he does not want too launch a war against the Orthodox church.

Below, an excerpt of the article:

BARVIKHA, Russia — Russia’s president has announced a pilot project in which schoolchildren will have to take classes in religion or secular ethics.

Tuesday’s proposal is part of a Kremlin effort to teach young Russians morals in the wake of a turbulent period of uncertainty following the collapse of the officially atheist Soviet Union.

President Dmitry Medvedev said preteen students at about 12,000 schools nationwide would take the classes. They will be offered the choice of studying the dominant Russian Orthodox religion, Islam, Buddhism or Judaism; or an overview covering various faiths; or secular ethics.

The offer of a choice appeared aimed to ease concerns that Russian Orthodoxy will be forced on schoolchildren as the church gains influence and tightens ties with the state.

04
Jul
09

Putin asks Russian banks to help the economy to recover

Vladimir Putin made a very important speech on monday about the global crisis. As usual, western media -which go crazy whenever Obama talks about his new puppy- barely mentioned it. It seems to me that Putin is of interest only when he slaughters civilians or scares the hell out of US government.

So on Monday, Putin talked to the country’s top bankers to ask them to inject in the coming weeks more than $16 billion into Russian economy.

Why is it so interesting? For two reasons. First it shows to thhe usual doubters that Putin’s invisible hand over every single thing in Russia is a myth. If he could had forced bankers to pay, why would he have bothered to call a press conference?

Second point. And unfortunately the most important and scary. Russian economy’s situation is not doing well at all. After almost a decade of constant growth, Putin is experimenting his first recession.

Russian economy had very few chances to be doing well in this economy. The country’s growth has been fueled for years by its basic elements production. With today’s prices (even if oil seems to be up again), the situation could get worst for Russia.

We’ll now see if Putin’s wishes turn out to be fulfilled…