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Roza Otunbayeva was inaugurated as Kyrgyzstan’s president during an official ceremony on Saturday, becoming both the first female president in Central Asia and of a CIS state in the process, RIA Novosti reports. A graduate of the Moscow State University and former diplomat, Otunbayeva was officially declared the country's president for a transitional period until December 31, 2011 following a national referendum on a new Kyrgyz constitution held last weekend. The new constitution,...

05.07.2010 Subject: Religion

A 2009 agreement between Russia and Nicaragua on visa-free tourist travel came into effect on Saturday, July 3, RIA Novosti reports. The agreement between the two governments was signed on July 28, 2009. Under the agreement, Russian and Nicaraguan tourists are not required visas for entry, exit, transit or stay on the territory of another state for up to 90 days within each 180-day period from the first entry. However, those who travel to Russia and vice-versa to start a business, to seek an employment, or to stay for more than...

05.07.2010 Subject: Religion

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev heads on Thursday for the Far East, where he will visit Khabarovsk, Birobidzhan, Blagoveshchensk and Vladivostok, covering all in all the distance of about 20,000 kilometres, ITAR-TASS reports. As for Khabarovsk, Medvedev visited it three times (in 2006 and 2008 as First Deputy Prime Minister, and in 2009 as President), and as for the other three cities – it will be his first visit. Under the schedule, the president expects to chair in Khabarovsk a...

01.07.2010 Subject: Religion

Russia is technologically prepared to introduce a visa-free regime with European Union, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said on Wednesday, RIA Novosti reports. "We are ready for a visa-free regime with European countries. There is no unified opinion on the issue in united Europe. We are not in a hurry, we understand that the issue is complicated - 27 counties, many opinions," Putin said at the Engineering Technologies-2010 international forum. He emphasized that such decisions...

01.07.2010 Subject: Religion

Moldova’s acting President and Parliament Speaker Mihai Ghimpu, known for his sweeping pro-Romanian rhetoric and policies, said he would not annul his decree declaring June 28 Soviet Occupation Day, Russia Today reports. According to the decree, June 28 could now be known for Moldovans as Soviet Occupation Day – one that will be marked as a day of nationwide mourning. “We did not come to power to echo those who think June 28 was the day of liberation. It was the day of Soviet...

29.06.2010 Subject: Religion

Leaders of the Moldovan ruling coalition are to announce their decision Monday on a decree signed by Moldovan Acting President Mihail Ghimpu to mark June 28 as Day of Soviet Occupation of Moldova, journalists were told after an emergency meeting of the ruling coalition held behind closed doors on Saturday, ITAR-TASS reports. The leaders of the ruling coalition agreed not to convene a special session of the Moldovan parliament on Monday, as Ghimpu had instructed, that was to ban former Soviet symbols in Moldova. Instead, the...

29.06.2010 Subject: Religion

The President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev has described the G8 and G20 summits in Canada ‘successful’. “The talks were productive as we touched upon many pressing issues such as drug trafficking, environmental protection, nuclear security, finances...,” Mr. Medvedev wrote in his KremlinRussia Twitter account he launched while touring the United States last week. Mr. Medvedev has promised to submit to the parliament a draft bill on the protection of the marine environment from oil leaks, and urged the world...

28.06.2010 Subject: Religion

Russia has proposed hosting the G20 summit in 2013 and the decision will be made this fall, a top Russian presidential aide said, RIA Novosti reports. “We have proposed our candidacy for the G20 summit in 2013. The decision has not been made yet as Turkey also wants to host the summit,” Arkady Dvorkovich told journalists after the G20 summit in Canada's Toronto. He said that the next two summits will be held in South Korea and in Mexico. Leaders of the world's 19 biggest economies,...

28.06.2010 Subject: Religion

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday he would do his best to develop relations between Russia and the U.S, RIA Novosti reports. "I will work to ensure very warm relations between our countries, our universities," he said at a meeting with representatives of business, scientific and public circles in the Stanford University. He said he was inspired by what he saw in the Silicon Valley and in the Stanford University. "Seeing is believing... It is really...

24.06.2010 Subject: Religion

Russian Foreign Affairs spokesman Andrei Nesterenko respond to a question from Russian media concerning the Latvia’s proposed law on electronic mass media. The legislation, which President Valdis Zatlers of Latvia returned to the Saeima for more work, would require that the television channels registered in Latvia broadcast in Latvian at least 65% of airtime. “We’re witnessing an attempt of Latvian authorities to return the ‘language quotas’ that had been in force in Latvia in the 1990s and which...

23.06.2010 Subject: Religion

The European Parliament Head Jerzy Buzek is optimistic about a visa free travel between Russia and the EU. He told a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday that EU’s 27 members might soon agree on that. A draft agreement to cancel the visa regime was handed over to EU delegates during the Russian-EU summit in Rostov-on-Don on May 31 – June 1. President Medvedev said Russia was prepared to introduce visa free travel as soon as possible....

23.06.2010 Subject: Religion

Some 100 religious leaders have gathered in Winnipeg, Canada, to push their political counterparts – who will be meeting at the upcoming G8 and G20 summits in Huntsville, Ont. and Toronto – to seriously address poverty, climate change and armed conflict, the Anglican Journal reports. “The current economic and political crises in the world weighs heavily on the poor,” said The Rev. James Christie, a minister with the United Church of Canada and one of the organizers of the 2010 World Religions Summit...

23.06.2010 Subject: Religion

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has supported the creation of a Russia-US high-tech business agency. He was speaking in San Francisco, the first stopover on the agenda of his state visit to the United States, Voice of Russia reports. California is one of a better economically developed US states, Medvedev said when responding to a speech of welcome by the California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In California Medvedev is due to visit the famous Silicon Valley, of which a replica is planned to be built in Skolkovo, near...

23.06.2010 Subject: Religion

Russia and the United States will sign several agreements and adopt a number of joint declarations during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev's visit to the United States, a Kremlin aide Sergei Prikhodko said, RIA Novosti reports. President Medvedev will begin a three-day visit Tuesday in the San Francisco Bay area, home to Silicon Valley, and then fly to Washington for talks with U.S. President Barack Obama about international security issues and Russia's entrance into the World Trade Organization. ...

22.06.2010 Subject: Religion

President Dmitry Medvedev will begin on Wednesday his trip to the United States with visits to Silicon Valley and Stanford University, the centers of hi-tech research the Russian leader wants to implant in Russia, RIA Novosti reports. “San-Francisco will be the first point of the visit,” Medvedev's top economic aide Arkady Dvorkovich told a news conference. “The choice was not accidental and is linked to the priorities Medvedev set as early as last year,” he added. ...

22.06.2010 Subject: Religion

The speaker of Russia’s State Duma, Boris Gryzlov, confirms that the question of ratifying the new START is not on the agenda of the spring session, ITAR-TASS reports. “We continue the procedures, and as far as the ratification is concerned, we shall try to make it synchronically,” he said. “First of all, over the spring session this matter will not be on the agenda of a plenary session.” “I do not think we shall have to organise an additional plenary...

17.06.2010 Subject: Religion

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will meet with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, a presidential aide said on Tuesday, RIA Novosti reports. Arkady Dvorkovich said the Russian and French leaders would participate in the plenary session of the forum and later attend a roundtable to discuss joint innovation and investment projects. "We expect that the French president will announce who will coordinate the participation of...

16.06.2010 Subject: Religion

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New Publications

The Youth Talks debate club at the Center for the Benelux Languages and Cultures has launched its new session on July 17th. The Center director Maria Pushkova and students Anna Balashova and Daniil Volkov talk about their projects, for the most part associated with commemoration of World War 2 and the Belgian Resistance.
The World Chess Day is celebrated annually on July 20. Today it brings together amateurs and professionals of the ancient game, even if over a virtual board only. This day has been marked by series of international online-tournaments opened in Russia and abroad. Russian compatriots are going to launch the Chess Friendship Cup today.
Holding a contest in the midst of the pandemic is rather challenging, but it is the kind of thing you do for children who have bilingual schooling and live in bilingual environment. Tatiana Henderson-Stewart, the principal of Cherry Orchard Russian School in London, told us about Once I Dreamt contest. They even had to make additional categories of prizes because children wrote very interesting works about their dreams and imaginings, and all the writings were so unique.
The Hollywood has seen a lot of celebrities with Russian names – Kirk Douglas, a Hollywood legend and star of Spartacus, was born as Issur Danielovitch, and Oscar-winning Helen Mirren is delighted to be called Elena Vasilievna. The one might think that Yul Brynner, a star of The King and I, spent his whole life trying to forget that he had been born in Vladivostok as Yuliy Borisovich Briner, though, according to the eyewitnesses, he spoke fluent Russian until his dying day.