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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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Putin, Trump meet in Helsinki for first bilateral summit

The Helsinki summit is the first ever full-fledged meeting between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump. Their previous encounters were brief talks on the sidelines of the G20 and APEC summits in 2017.

Vladimir Rodzianko

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Russian President Vladimir Putin and US President Donald Trump are meeting in the Finnish capital of Helsinki for their first bilateral one-on-one meeting.

Trump arrived in the Finland capital a day early, while the jet of Putin, who wrapped up his nation’s hosting of the World Cup Sunday, touched down around 1 p.m. local time and the Russian president’s motorcade whisked him straight to the palace where the two world leaders are meeting.

Trump signed an August 2017 law imposing additional sanctions on Russia. The law bars Trump from easing many sanctions without Congress’ approval, but he can offer some relief without a nod from Congress.

Almost 700 Russian people and companies are under U.S. sanctions. Individuals face limits on their travel and freezes on at least some of their assets, while some top Russian state banks and companies, including oil and gas giants, are effectively barred from getting financing through U.S. banks and markets.

The agenda of the summit hasn’t been officially announced yet, though, the presidents are expected to discuss global crises, such as the Syrian conflict and Ukraine, as well as bilateral relations.

Stay tuned for updates…

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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