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Russia charms its guests with music and football

Lovers of music and football got their money’s worth in Russia this summer, as concerts of classical music, jazz, pop and rock accompanied all events of the FIFA Football World Cup 2018.

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Victoria Lopyreva, model, Miss Russia, football expert, TV host, FIFA World Cup ambassador and Special Ambassador to UNAIDS.

There was a wonderful concert in Russia’s capital, on Moscow’s Red Square with international opera stars and the Mariinsky Orchestra for the opening ceremony, held on the 13th of June 2018.

Many more concerts followed in the 11 cities, where the football matches were held: Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Saransk, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Yekaterinburg, Samara, Sochi and Rostov-on-Don. The brilliant opening ceremony on Moscow’s Red Square was a sound and light show, attended by Russian President Vladimir Putin, FIFA head Gianni Infantino and thousands of people.

The location was well chosen, the symbolism of Red Square well understood. It is not only the heart of Moscow but also, in a way, the heart of Russia. Red Square separates the Kremlin from a historic merchant quarter known as Kitai-Gorod. Moscow’s major streets, which connect to Russia’s major highways, originate from the square.

In medieval times, the square served as Moscow’s main marketplace, and Russia’s tsars were coronated here. It was the site of public ceremonies and proclamations. Since 1945, it has been used for the Victory Parade, each 9th of May.

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In 1990, Red Square was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Russia’s Mariinsky Orchestra conducted by Maestro Valery Gergiev and famous opera stars were taking part in the opening concert, which was initiated by the renowned Russian classical pianist Denis Matsuev, who was the show’s host and participant. The event also involved Dmitry Bertman, Artistic Director of Moscow’s Helikon Opera Theatre.

The concert’s programme included interesting pieces of Russian music: the ouverture of Mikhail Glinka’s opera “Ruslan and Ludmila”, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s romance no. 6 “Does the day reign”, Pyotr Tchaikovsky’s piano concert no. 1 in B-flat minor, played by Denis Matsuev, Sergey Rachmaninov’s “Italian Polka” for four hands on piano in E-flat minor, played by Denis Matsuev and a seven year old Russian pianist; finally the popular Russian song “Kalinka” at the end of the concert, sung by the whole ensemble together.

In the world of Russian music, the name of Valery Abisalovich Gergiev, general director and artistic director of the Mariinsky Theatre in Saint Petersburg, is well known. He was born on the 2nd of May 1953 in Moscow to Ossetian parents and raised in his family’s native Vladikavkaz, North Ossetia, in the Caucasus. From 1972 to 1977, Valery Gergiev studied at the Saint Petersburg Rimsky-Korsakov Conservatory, where his conducting teacher was Professor Ilya Musin.

In 1978, he became assistant conductor at the Mariinsky Opera, giving his conducting debut with Sergey Prokofiev’s «War and Peace». In 1988, he became chief conductor of the Mariinsky Opera. Since 1996, Valery Gergiev has been working as the Mariinsky’s artistic director and manager. The Maestro has remained true to his mission, to transform the Mariinsky into the best opera and ballet company of the globe. In 1993, he created the famous White Nights Music Festival of Saint Petersburg.

Valery Gergiev has recorded the works of many notable Russian composers, such as Mikhail Glinka (1804-1857), Pyotr Tchaikovsky (1840-1893), Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov (1844-1908), Sergey Prokofiev (1901-1953), Dmitry Shostakovich (1906-1975) and Rodion Shchedrin, born in 1932. For his achievements Valery Gergiev earned the title People’s Artist of Russia in 1996. He also received the Order of Friendship in 2000 and the medal In Commemoration of the 300th Anniversary of Saint Petersburg in 2003. In addition Valery Gergiev was decorated with two Orders of Merit for the Fatherland, in 2003 and 2008.

He is an Honorary Doctor of the Saint Petersburg State University and Honorary Professor of the Moscow State University. An appraisal in the Scotsman of Edinburgh, where he is a well-known festival conductor, judged that “Valery Gergiev’s energy puts others in the shade. He is a caged whirlwind of energy. Valery Gergiev’s style of conducting is known for its intensity. He is one of the finest conductors in the world, with a staggering array of appointments. His work at the Mariinsky proves that he is not just a gifted conductor, but a genius administrator and fundraiser as well.”

On the 14th of June, Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium hosted the opening match between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Russia won 5-0, which brought a surge of joy and pride for all Russian football fans. On the 19th of June, the Russian team won again, this time 3-1 against Egypt, in the football stadium of Saint Petersburg. Both victories had been predicted by white-furred Achilles, a psychic cat of the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg. Anna Kondratyeva, the Hermitage Museum’s veterinarian, pointed out that the cat “loves his motherland and couldn’t vote otherwise”.

Achilles is deaf, as many white cats are. However, he compensates by great psychic qualities. According to the museum officials Achilles demonstrates “capabilites of choice, analysis and unusual behaviour”. In order to forecast the football results, Achilles had to choose between two
identical food bowls marked with flags from competing nations. This performance was a joint tourism project between the city of Saint Petersburg and the Hermitage Museum, which had been visited by more than four million visitors in 2017.

On the 25th of June, Russia’s football team played against Uruguay in Samara. Unfortunately, Achilles’ prediction for this match proved to be wrong. The Russians lost 0-3 to the players from Uruguay. In Samara, the spectacular Cosmos Arena with a capacity of 45.000 spectators was especially built for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Its main architectural feature is the metal dome inspired by space exploration, with the overall silhouette resembling a star or a spacecraft. The elliptical foundation of the stadium supports two levels of spectator seats. The seats are completely covered by the roof, the stands in the stadium can be heated.

The stadium is a reference to Samara’s involvement in space industry. The city on the Volga is known for its production of aerospace launch vehicles, satellites and various space services. In 1960, Samara became the missile shield centre of the Soviet Union. The launch vehicle Vostok, which delivered the first manned spaceship to orbit, was built at the Samara Progress Plant. Yury Gagarin, the first man to travel in space, took a rest in Samara after returning to Earth in 1961. Samara’s enterprises played a leading role in the development of Soviet domestic aviation and the implementation of the Soviet space programme.

On the 1st of July, the teams of Russia and Spain met in Moscow’s Luzhniki stadium. Russia eliminated Spain on penalty kicks, 4-3, after a 1-1 tie. The Russian team advanced to the quarterfinals and continued in Sochi, where it played against the Croatian team in the Fisht
Stadium, on the 7th of July. However, here the Russian World Cup dream vanished because the Russian players lost to Croatia. The regular and the 30-minute overtime periods ended in a 2-2 draw. The Croats won in a 4-3 penalty shootout.

The Fisht Stadium is located in Sochi Olympic Park. It is named after Mount Fisht, a peak of the western Caucasus, in the Russian Republic of Adygea. The 40,000-capacity stadium was constructed for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games, where it served as the venue for their opening and closing ceremonies. It was re-opened in 2016 as an open-air football stadium, to host matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Its roof was designed to give the appearance of snowy peaks.

The bowl opens to the north, allowing a direct view of the Krasnaya Polyana Mountains in the Caucasus, while the upper deck is open to the south, allowing a view of the Black Sea. On the 8th of July, more than 24,000 Russian football fans gathered in the World Cup Fan Zone in Moscow to meet the Russian players returning from Sochi to cheer them for their great performance at the FIFA 2018 World Cup. Chief coach Stanislav Cherchesov thanked all those who had supported them. He promised that the Russian football team would demonstrate better results at the next World Cup in Qatar.

Since the World Cup has started, the streets of Moscow and the ten other host cities have filled up with partying football fans. The entire country seems to focus on the major sports event. Of course, it is also an excellent time for Russian business. With FIFA set to earn $6.1 billion from the World Cup 2018, local businesses want a slice of the pie, too. So they have dressed up for the party. Shops, bars, restaurants and hotels are decorated with football items to attract international FIFA tourists.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup raised President Putin’s nimbus in Russia because he brought the country back to the big international stage of sports. According to a survey by the polling institute FOM, 74 percent of the Russian population were in favour of the major event. The
interviewees mentioned improvement of infrastructure and further success in sports as two of the reasons for their approval. The World Cup stadiums and modern training facilities did not only impress the 32 participating teams but will also provide a solid foundation for the further development of football after the World Cup in Russia. In addition to the World Cup arenas, around 100 stadiums with smaller capacities were built, now there are 1.900 in the country.

The number of football fields increased from 18.000 to 26.000 in recent years. President Vladimir Putin, whose favourite sports are judo and ice hockey, made his homage to football, when he said at the opening ceremony: “Russians love football, it is what we call love at first sight, ever since the first official match was held in the country in 1897.” And FIFA President Gianni Infantino added:”Football will conquer Russia, and from Russia, football will conquer the world.”

A peaceful conquest – with love from Russia.

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Correction and or addition :Russia charms it’s guests with music,football and it’s beautiful women .

Vera Gottlieb
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Vera Gottlieb

I am happy to see that, so far, the event has gone without any major incidents. I am also happy to see so many Russophobes with egg on their face.

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Tape recorded evidence of Clinton-Ukraine meddling in US election surfaces (Video)

The Duran Quick Take: Episode 114.

Alex Christoforou

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RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou take a look at new evidence to surface from Ukraine that exposes a plot by the US Embassy in Kiev and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) to leak Paul Manafort’s corrupt dealings in the country, all for the benefit of Hillary Clinton during the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

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Via Zerohedge


Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko has launched an investigation into the head of the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau for allegedly attempting to help Hillary Clinton defeat Donald Trump during the 2016 US election by releasing damaging information about a “black ledger” of illegal business dealings by former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort.

The Hill’s John Solomon, Ukrainian Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko

“Today we will launch a criminal investigation about this and we will give legal assessment of this information,” Lutsenko said last week, according to The Hill

Lutsenko is probing a claim from a member of the Ukrainian parliament that the director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), Artem Sytnyk, attempted to the benefit of the 2016 U.S. presidential election on behalf of Hillary Clinton.

A State Department spokesman told Hill.TV that officials aware of news reports regarding Sytnyk. –The Hill

“According to the member of parliament of Ukraine, he got the court decision that the NABU official conducted an illegal intrusion into the American election campaign,” said Lutsenko, speaking with The Hill’s John Solomon about the anti-corruption bureau chief, Artem Sytnyk.

“It means that we think Mr. Sytnyk, the NABU director, officially talked about criminal investigation with Mr. [Paul] Manafort, and at the same time, Mr. Sytnyk stressed that in such a way, he wanted to assist the campaign of Ms. Clinton,” Lutsenko continued.

Solomon asked Lutsenko about reports that a member of Ukraine’s parliament obtained a tape of the current head of the NABU saying that he was attempting to help Clinton win the 2016 presidential election, as well as connections that helped release the black-ledger files that exposed Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort‘s wrongdoing in Ukraine.

“This member of parliament even attached the audio tape where several men, one of which had a voice similar to the voice of Mr. Sytnyk, discussed the matter.” –The Hill

What The Hill doesn’t mention is that Sytnyk released Manafort’s Black Book with Ukrainian lawmaker Serhiy Leshchenko – discussed in great length by former Breitbart investigator Lee Stranahan, who has been closely monitoring this case.

Serhiy Leshchenko

T]he main spokesman for these accusations was Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian politician and journalist who works closely with both top Hillary Clinton donors George Soros and Victor Pinchuk, as well as to the US Embassy in Kyiv.

James Comey should be asked about this source that Leshchenko would not identify. Was the source someone connected to US government, either the State Department or the Department of Justice?

The New York Times should also explain why they didn’t mention that Leshchenko had direct connections to two of Hillary Clinton biggest financial backers. Victor Pinchuk, the largest donor to the Clinton Foundation at a staggering $8.6 million also happened to have paid for Leshchenko’s expenses to go to international conferences. George Soros, whose also founded the International Renaissance Foundationthat worked closely with Hillary Clinton’s State Department in Ukraine, also contributed at least $8 million to Hillary affiliated super PACs in the 2016 campaign cycle. –Lee Stranahan via Medium

Meanwhile, according to former Fusion GPS contractor Nellie Ohr, Leshchenko was a source for opposition research firm Fusion GPS, which commissioned the infamous Trump-Russia dossier.

Nellie Ohr, a former contractor for the Washington, D.C.-based Fusion GPS, testified on Oct. 19 that Serhiy Leshchenko, a former investigative journalist turned Ukrainian lawmaker, was a source for Fusion GPS during the 2016 campaign.

“I recall … they were mentioning someone named Serhiy Leshchenko, a Ukrainian,” Ohr said when asked who Fusion GPS’s sources were, according to portions of Ohr’s testimony confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation. –Daily Caller

Also absent from The Hill report is the fact that Leshchenko was convicted in December by a Kiev court of interfering in the 2016 US election.

A Kyiv court said that a Ukrainian lawmaker and a top anticorruption official’s decision in 2016 to publish documents linked to President Donald Trump’s then-campaign chairman amounted to interference in the U.S. presidential election.

The December 11 finding came in response to a complaint filed by another Ukrainian lawmaker, who alleged that Serhiy Leshchenko and Artem Sytnyk illegally released the documents in August 2016, showing payments by a Ukrainian political party to Trump’s then-campaign chairman, Paul Manafort.

The documents, excerpts from a secret ledger of payments by the Party of Regions, led to Manafort being fired by Trump’s election campaign.

The Kyiv court said that the documents published by Leshchenko and Sytnyk were part of an ongoing pretrial investigation in Ukraine into the operations of the pro-Russian Party of Regions. The party’s head had been President Viktor Yanukovych until he fled the country amid mass protests two years earlier.

-RadioFreeEurope/Radio Liberty (funded by the US govt.).

So while Lutsenko – Solomon’s guest and Ukrainian Prosecutor is currently going after Artem Sytnyk, it should be noted that Leshchenko was already found to have meddled in the 2016 US election.

Watch:

Meanwhile, you can also check out Stranahan’s take on Leshchenko being left out of the loop.

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‘I will take over as Brexit Party leader’: Nigel Farage back on the frontline

Nigel Farage says that if the UK takes part in European elections, he will lead his new Brexit Party.

RT

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Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage has announced that he will lead his new Brexit Party into the European elections if UK MPs decide to delay Brexit beyond May 22.

Farage, who has ostensibly appointed himself leader, told various media, including the BBC and Sky News on Friday morning: “I will take over as leader of the Brexit Party and lead it into the European Elections.”

It comes after the Brexit Party’s leader, Catherine Blaiklock, quit over a series of alleged Islamophobic statements and retweets of far-right figures on social media.

It is not yet thought that Farage has officially been elected as leader, as the party does not, as yet, have a formal infrastructure to conduct such a vote.

The right-wing MEP vowed to put out a whole host of Brexit Party candidates if the UK participates in the upcoming EU elections in May, adding: “If we fight those elections, we will fight them on trust.”

On Thursday night, the EU agreed to PM May’s request for a delaying to Brexit beyond the March 29 deadline. Brussels announced two new exit dates depending on what happens next week in the UK parliament.

The UK will have to leave the bloc on April 12 unless British MPs agree to May’s Brexit deal. If the withdrawal agreement is passed by next week, EU leaders have agreed to grant an extension until May 22.

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Baltics cannot rely on Germany any more

The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it is supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership blunders.

The Duran

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Submitted by Adomas Abromaitis…

On March 29 Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia will celebrate 15 years of becoming NATO member states. The way to the alliance membership was not simple for newly born independent countries. They have reached great success in fulfilling many of NATO demands: they have considerably increased their defence expenditures, renewed armaments and increased the number of military personnel.

In turn, they get used to rely on more powerful member states, their advice, help and even decision making. All these 15 years they felt more or less safe because of proclaimed European NATO allies’ capabilities.

Unfortunately, now it is high time to doubt. The matter is NATO today is not as strong as it supposed to be. And it is not only because of leadership’s blunders. Every member state does a bit. As for the Baltic states, they are particularly vulnerable, because they fully depend on other NATO member states in their defence. Thus, Germany, Canada and Britain are leading nations of the NATO battle group stationed in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia respectively.

But the state of national armed forces in Germany, for example, raises doubts and makes it impossible not only defend the Baltics against Russia, but Germany itself.

It turned out, that Germany itself remains dissatisfied with its combat readiness and minister of defence’s ability to perform her duties. Things are so bad, that the military’s annual readiness report would be kept classified for the first time for “security reasons.”

“Apparently the readiness of the Bundeswehr is so bad that the public should not be allowed to know about it,” said Tobias Lindner, a Greens member who serves on the budget and defense committees.

Inspector General Eberhard Zorn said (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-germany-arms/germany-not-satisfied-with-readiness-of-submarines-some-aircraft-idUSKBN1QS1G7) the average readiness of the country’s nearly 10,000 weapons systems stood at about 70 percent in 2018, which meant Germany was able to fulfill its military obligations despite increasing responsibilities.

No overall comparison figure was available for 2017, but last year’s report revealed readiness rates of under 50 percent for specific weapons such as the aging CH-53 heavy-lift helicopters and the Tornado fighter jets.

Zorn said this year’s report was more comprehensive and included details on five main weapons systems used by the cyber command, and eight arms critical for NATO’s high readiness task force, which Germany heads this year.

“The overall view allows such concrete conclusions about the current readiness of the Bundeswehr that knowledge by unauthorized individuals would harm the security interests of the Federal Republic of Germany,” he wrote.

Critics are sure of incompetence of the Federal Minister of Defence, Ursula von der Leyen. Though she has occupied the upper echelons of German politics for 14 years now — and shows no sign of success. This mother of seven, gynecologist by profession, by some miracle for a long time has been remaining in power, though has no trust even among German military elites. Despite numerous scandals she tries to manage the Armed Forces as a housewife does and, of course, the results are devastating for German military capabilities. The same statement could be easily apply for the Baltic States, which highly dependent on Germany in military sphere.

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