Russian handbook insults immigrants

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What was intended to be a friendly guide for labour migrants to Russia, has instead been taken as an insult. The brochure gives practical advice on dealing with authorities, such as guards and police, but workers have taken exception to the fact that the booklet represents them as work tools.

The book was published by an NGO and distributed in the Russian, Uzbek, Kyrgyz and Tajik languages.

Alexander Shishlov the Human Rights Ombudsman in St. Petersburg said: “When migrant workers who come here from Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and other countries are portrayed as spatulas, brushes and other tools, while all the other characters in the brochure are portrayed as people, this clearly sets people who live here against those who are visitors. And this comparison is insulting to a large degree.”

Outrage

The government of Tajikistan has formally asked Russian authorities to withdraw the handbook, but despite the book having been promoted on a Russian government website, authorities have denied any connection with its publication.

Gleb Panfilov, deputy head of the Look into the Future group that published the guide in St Petersburg said he could not understand the sudden public outrage, many months after its release. He claims to have consulted workers from Tajikistan and Uzbekistan while putting the book together aiming “to help labour migrants learn about their rights and avoid getting into trouble in this city”.

Hate crime

Activists say the book is another example of discrimination against the impoverished, mostly Muslim migrants who move to Russia and take on low-skilled work. The immigrants, many of whom have dark skins, have been the targets of hate crime in recent years.

This reached a peak in 2008 when 115 immigrants were killed and nearly 500 wounded, according to an independent watchdog. A police crackdown on neo-Nazi groups has helped to reduce racially motivated crimes, but numbers are said to be still high.

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Russia: Navalny to lead protest movement

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Anti-Putin blogger Alexai Navalny has been selected to lead the opposition movement and will now be tasked with turning mass street protests into more structured attack on the Russian President.

More than 81,000 people voted online to chose 45 new leaders, who it is hoped will unify protesters and give them direction.

Professional chess player Garry Kasparov and writer Dmitry Bykov were also popular choices and will join the opposition’s coordination council. Navalny was the outright winner with 43.723 votes.

It is reported the election had to be extended by a day due to cyber-attacks on the platform.

Putin has been the subject of spirited protests since returning to the presidency for a third time in May but the opposition candidates gained no ground in Russia’s regional elections on October 14.

Russian opposition leader detained

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Russian opposition leader Sergei Udaltsov has was led away by police on Wednesday morning, as authorities began criminal proceedings against him, and other associates, for planning “mass disorder” in protests against President Vladimir Putin.

The charges focus on allegations, made in a pro-Kremlin documentary, which claims Udaltsov received money and orders to cause mass unrest in Russia, from an ally of Georgian President Mikeil Saakashcili. The charges carry a jail sentence of up to 10 years.

The head of the investigation committee, Vladimir Markin, gave a warning to protest leaders:

“I would like to warn all of those who think that one can organise without consequences, massive disorders and terror attacks that threaten the life and health of civilians in our country. You don’t imagine how professional our special services are,and you don’t know our laws and our penal code.”

Udaltsov who has led a series of protests sanctioned by Moscow denies the allegations against him.

His supporters say the Kremlin is conducting a politically motivated crackdown on protest leaders.

Ukraine risks increasing isolation

 

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While Ukraine hosted the Yalta European strategy conference, it is feared that the former Soviet republic could be moving further away from the European Union.

Ukrainian Prime Minister, Mykola Azarov, spoke of EU criticism such as politically motivated judgements, corruption and the violation of the rule of law:

“We should get rid of these stereotypes,” he said, “The sooner we do this, the better we can develop our relationship on a brand new basis.”

Meanwhile Swedish foreign Minister, Carl Bildt warned that the country was at risk of being stuck in the middle of no-where and failing to form closer ties with either East or West:

“My fear is not that they are going in one direction or another, but that they are going no-where. And in a fast changing global economic environment I think that is even more dangerous, that they are standing still when everything is changing, neither going to the EU nor to the custom union, but standing still with the risk of stagnation.”

A senior US official also warned Ukraine that if it didn’t make some changes ahead of next month’s general election it could fall short of democratic standards, and distance itself on all sides.

euronews perspectives: London Olympics

As the British capital geared up to host the Olympics, European TV channels gave their views. Working for euronews I took a look at RAI 2 from Italy, France 2, TVE from Spain and Russian RTR, to see how they’ve been covering the games. Take a look and let me know what you think.

Reporter gets pwned by Dutch fans

Just a few hours away England will take on Ukraine to try for their place in the final eight in Euro 2012. At work today I think I can see defeat on the faces of my Ukrainian colleagues already, as they have resigned to the fact they’re going out.

Or actually despite my bluff it’s far from sure, especially following the last games from group A where Greece got through knocking out Russia, after seeing that anything is possible. Although as we finally have Rooney in our line up I’m quietly (or not so quietly) confident.

However it’s not all fun and games at Euro 2012, and I’d like to use this post to highlight the plight of less fortunate… Ukrainian reporters. All this poor girl is trying to do is make a piece to camera for the local news, but surrounded by Dutch fans – who at the time still think they’re in with a chance – it’s just not happening. Truly awful… Truly funny.

Shock finale in Group A: How it happened

My analysis of the last two group A games of Euro 2012 on June 16. A truly amazing turn of events. You can watch the video analysis for these games on the euronews website here, or read below.

In the match between Poland and Czech Republic neither side seemed to dominate or be likely to score, the game remaining goalless until 20 minutes from full time. In the 72nd minute the Czech Republic caught Poland on the break and found them extremely exposed at the back. Milan Baros dribbled the ball forward before passing across to Petr Jiracek just outside the box. With a quick turn he hit it past Polish keeper Przemyslaw Tyton, shattering Polish dreams and securing his team’s place in the final eight.

But the huge shock of the competition so far came from the other Group A match. Despite dominating possession, passing more accurately and having the vast majority of attempts on goal Russia simply failed to score. Greece were happy to soak up the pressure and try to catch Russia on the counter attack.

In the end the goal came following a throw-in in first half injury time. Veteran Greek Captain Giorgos Karagounis exploited a hole in the Russian defence sending a thundering strike to the back of the net, knocking out one of the favourites for the competition and sending Greece through.