HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ALL MY WONDERFUL READERS & FOLLOWERS!
MAY THE YEAR 2017 BRING YOU JOY, HAPPINESS & PEACE!
Welcome to Live New Year on FuturisTrendcast!
The party runs from today, Dec. 31, 2016 till Jan. 2, 2017. During this virtual gathering, I’ll be posting the views of the fairytale New Year’s Moscow, my favorite Russian New Year movies, with English subs, as well as my personal international, cool, funny and bizarre New Year’s stories!
Everyone’s cordially invited to the party. In the comment section you are also invited to share your own New Year’s stories, New Year pics and celebration videos from your country and home!
LET THE PARTY BEGIN!!!
ENJOY THE NEW YEAR’S IN THE FAIRYTALE MOSCOW 2017!
More vids to be added later! Please come back!
MY OUTRAGEOUS & FUN NEW YEAR STORIES
In my life, I happened to greet the New Year in some fun, memorable and outrageous ways, and in many fascinating places.
In the old days, back in Odessa and Moscow, we usually celebrated in a company of good friends. Being fashionably late was a sport of sorts; in our intellectual circles it was considered all in good fun. Just like in the perennially favorite Russian New Year’s film, The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath, I remember frantically trying to get to the party before the first stroke of midnight. We would catch a taxi – with difficulty – and urge the driver to go as fast as he can through the snowed-in city. Then we would storm into our friends’ apartment building clutching the requisite bottle of the Soviet Champagne (yep, it’s a famous brand) – our responsibility to bring to the party – as others nervously awaited our arrival with empty champagne flutes on hand. Then, at 11:59 sharp, as on TV the Spasskaya Tower Clock began chiming midnight, we would shout, ‘Quick, the glasses!’ and pour it just in time! New Year saved by the bell!
Later, there were many other New Years…
Once, in the 1980s, I greeted the New Year at the Tropicana Club in Havana, Cuba. Incidentally, the night club, full of hot and almost naked Cuban dancers, booze and buzz had absolutely no age restrictions. There were people of all ages, including some suspiciously young ones. But they were all divine dancers. I was invited by the club’s leading musician and manager, for whom I once translated in Russia. As a total non-drinker, I had to do some fancy footwork to enjoy the party, while avoiding drinking throughout the night.
The millennial New Year 2000 I happened to greet in Haifa, Israel. The terrorist acts were widely predicted and expected. When I was leaving to Israel before the holidays, my various Smith Barney clients begged me not to go, saying, ‘We don’t want to lose you!’ I assured them all that I would be safe. I was right, as usual. Even then, when I didn’t do it for a living, my predictions were spot on. 😉
How do you think we greeted New Year’s 2000 in Haifa? You won’t believe it, but my nice Jewish-Russian friends decided it would be fun to invite me to the Russian mega-bash at a fashionable Russian night club, called… Hollywood. The all-night entertainment program and I don’t know how-many-course holiday meal were loudly lavish, never-ending and borderline risque. We have to forgive them: they still ran on the Russian mentality of the crazy ’90s.
To be honest, I preferred to either catch up with my friends’ entire family at home or go exploring authentically Jewish and Muslim entertainment. Of course, I also did all the usual: Dead Sea, Arabic settlements, Jerusalem, Bethlehem, Wailing Wall and the Holy Sepulchre.
The security on streets and airport was shocking. Let’s recall it was pre 9/11 and very bizarre to a Western eye. At the time it was very hard for an average person to understand how the entire country could constantly live under siege. The military with machine guns were everywhere you went in Jerusalem. Snipers were menacingly stationed on top of the Wailing Wall, full of Jewish worshippers in big black hats – they did expect an attack that night.
When I was leaving Israel, a young and unsmiling airport security girl in military uniform unapologetically and unemotionally squeezed every tube of the healing Dead Sea scrubs and rare creams a bought from the famous beauty company Ahava. The whole check-up procedure lasted 45 minutes. But that was nothing compared to what they’d done to a little boy’s shoe. The Arabic family in the next aisle was told to remove their little son’s shoe. The shoe was ripped apart and tossed out to the cries of the boy. Turned out it was bomb free.
Later in the decade I understood why they did what they did.
Once in the US, for New Year’s I was stuck in our country home in the Berkshires, with only my darling kitty Lilechka for company (you see her on my pic in the top right corner of this blog). It was at the time that I began writing THE EARTH SHIFTER, while also finishing up STEPFORD, USA. Incidentally, the story of Stepford, as journalist Jade Snow gets stuck in the Berkshires alone, while her husband works in New York and abroad, is partially inspired by my own.
That New Year’s we had a totally crazy amount of snow. In town, the mountains of snow pushed from the road to the sidewalks reached second and even third floors of buildings. The sidewalks looked like narrow tunnels, dug between tall white walls. The snowfall began on the 29th and by the 30th our 1/4 mile-long driveway was covered in snow to my waist. Due to the holiday I simply could not get anyone to plow it. Meanwhile, some roads and bridges from New York were closed and my hubby was unable to drive back home. When they cleared the roads and he finally arrived on the night of Jan. 1, I saw his car’s dim lights on the other side of the massive white sheet. Thank god he brought a shovel. We dug simultaneously from both sides, illuminated only by the bright moon’s light, until we met in the middle. That night I fully understood how the WWII Russians and Western allies felt when they met on Elba in 1945.
At other times I greeted the New Year on Red Square, and on Times Square. My Times Square New Year has its own funny story, which I’ll tell another time. Those times I spent New Year on Red Square, and generally in Moscow, are some of my most treasured.
New Year’s on Red Square:
These are some of my New Year’s stories. And what are yours? Please share them in comments!
Enjoy Novogodnyaya – New Year’s Song from the Russian girl band Blestyaschie (Shining).
Watch BELOVED RUSSIAN NEW YEAR COMEDIES OF ALL TIME!
Genya, the main hero of the aforementioned The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath says: ‘We have a tradition. Every year, on December 31, my friends and I gather at the banya.’ (Banya is a traditional Russian wet sauna or steam room.) That fateful phrase began the incredible adventure, which became the beloved Russian film of all time.
Just like Genya and his friends, we also have a family tradition. For New Year’s we watch the nostalgic Russian movies. Today, I want to share with you the treasures of the golden era of Soviet/Russian cinematography, which we enjoy every year.
Of course, the staple: The Irony of Fate, or Enjoy Your Bath. You can find it on Amazon, or at certain Russian stores. The original made in the 1970s has the incredible magic and freshness that contemporary films are simply unable to reproduce. After all these years, it hasn’t lost its mega-popularity. There is a contemporary Irony of Fate part 2, which is also not at all bad.
Unfortunately, Irony of Fate is unavailable on YouTube. But the good news, I found several other all-time New Year favorites! And the best thing, they are posted on YouTube for FREE and they come with English subs! All highly recommended by me!
NEW RUSSIAN FILMS JUST ADDED!
Some have already celebrated the New Year. Still 12/31/16 on my side of the pond. As promised, FREE links to some of my fave Soviet/Russian New Year’s films. These are all 5 stars or above in my classification, in other words, world classics and eternal favorites (for more on my rating scale see Russian films page on FT – under RUSSIA tab above!)
NOTE! Most of these come with English subs. Because Mosfilm owns copyright, I cannot post them on FT. Please click on links below to watch on YouTube! These are unlisted, the links can only be obtained through watching a Russian version. This means Mosfilm frowns upon sharing. So, please be considerate – I am sharing only with my blog’s loyal readers, those who genuinely love Russia and are interested in her culture.
Carnival Night – Eng subs (Rus: Карнавальная ночь)
Blurb: The bureaucratic and nosy new director of the Cultural Club Ogurtsov annoyingly interferes with the preparations of the event of the year, the New Year Carnival, by demanding bizarre and non-sensical changes to the program. The party organizers are in despair, but their determination to make the concert and carnival a success help them outwit Ogurtsov.
Song ‘5 MINUTES’
Gentlemen of Fortune (Rus: Джентльмены удачи)
5+ STARS – WOULD GLADLY GIVE IT 10+! 1971. Sorry, no Eng subs. One of my fave movies of all time, a comedy with cute songs, great acting and immortal lines that became instant sayings. It is one of my New Year’s films as the action takes place mainly around New Year’s, part in Moscow and part in hot Central Asia.
This is the story of a kindly principal of a Moscow kindergarten, who also happens to be a WWII hero, and who is a spitting image of a dangerous criminal. Taking advantage of this incredible likeness, Soviet police decides to infiltrate him into the gang to find the missing archeological treasures. As the gang retraces their steps to try to find the treasures hidden by their ring leader, while experiencing various adventures along the way, our kindly kindergarten teacher subtly, and unbeknownst to him, manages to change the psyche of the gang members, who slowly develop consciousness.
The Prisoner of Caucasus, or the New Shurik’s Adventures – Eng subs (Rus: Кавказская пленница, или Новые приключения Шурика) Note, Mosfilm translates it as ‘The Caucasian Prisoner.’
5+ STARS. Awesome, cool, full of action Soviet comedy, peppered with satire and great lines that became instant classics and a part of Russian culture.
Blurb: An eccentric comedy about a student named Shurik, who goes to the Caucasus for work and meets local chief Saakhov, a man full of guile. Having been duped by conniving Saakhov, Shurik, with the assistance of three famous crooks, abducts the beautiful Nina. Now it’s up to Shurik to figure out where Nina is held prisoner and how to save her.
(This is for those who asked me about Putin’s reference to this film! You may recall Putin mentioned a line from this film in his recent annual Q&A – the one about who destroyed the 17th century chapel: ‘And the 17th century chapel we have also destroyed?’ In the comment section I’d explained what that line meant. Note, in the movie they are actually referring to the 14th century chapel. Please see full explanation in comments for Putin holds annual Q&A marathon (FULL VIDEO – Eng))
Operation Y and Shurik’s Other Adventures – Eng subs (Rus: Операция «Ы» и другие приключения Шурика
5+ STARS. The first film about the kindly and soft-hearted Shurik, who, when necessary, can show spunk and courage. The second film in the Shurik trilogy is The Prisoner of Caucasus. In this first instalment, Shurik is still a student; the film consists of 3 separate hilarious and educational episodes, describing his funny and inadvertently heroic adventures.
Blurb: A series of 3 short film comedies, where the protagonist, a student named Shurik: 1. reforms a malicious idler at a construction site; 2. frantically prepares for an exam, failing to notice his exam preparation buddy is actually a pretty girl; 3. with the help of a granny catches three burglars attempting to rob a warehouse.
And it’s 2017!
ADDED JAN. 1. 2017. These two Russian films are great to watch any time of year!
Ivan Vasilievich Changes Professions – with english subtitles (Rus: Иван Васильевич меняет профессию). In the US it was released as ‘Ivan Vasilievich Back to the Future.’
5+ STARS – deserves all 10!
Hilarious and charming comedy, with elements of social satire, based on M. Bulgakov’s play “Ivan Vasilievich” about a time machine, which inadvertently transports the smart czar Ivan the Terrible into the twentieth century. At the same time, tsar Ivan’s look-alike, not very bright bureaucrat Bunsha, together with a shrewd thief George Miloslavsky, by mistake get transported into the ancient Russia. The result is a cool and funny comedy of errors you’ll remember.
This is also the third installment of Shurik’s adventures, where Shurik is a researcher and inventor of the time machine.
5+ STARS – deserves all the stars it can get! Cool, sweet, action packed, comical and satirical, with great songs and soundtrack, with lines that became instant hits and a part of the Russian culture. Funny and fun – don’t miss!
Blurb: An awkward and kind-hearted family man, Semyon Semyonovich, by mistake gets entangled in a major smuggling operation during his tour abroad. Being confused with the crook he travels with, he becomes the unwilling and unwitting courier, carrying precious jewels in his fake arm cast. Throughout the dangerous and elaborate cat a mouse game, which turns into a comedy of errors, Semyon Semyonovich manages to outsmart the international criminals.
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IN TIME FOR THE HOLIDAYS!
This is the follow-up to my previous posts:
- Ukraine Events Heating up and Accelerating
- Beautiful Russian-Soviet Song Flash Mobs Unite Russians and Ukrainians Against Kiev Junta Hatred
In Beautiful Russian-Soviet Song Flash Mobs, I showed you how people in Zaporozhie, Kharkov, Odessa and Moscow countered the vicious hatred emanating from Kiev junta, and how they said no to repressions against Russian language in Ukraine.
The new additional data coming in on the repressions against Russian language: Kiev Rada will be voting on the new law, which is supposed to limit Russian language programming on TV and radio to 5%. Already, most Russian films, all Russian-languge TV/radio stations and publications are banned in Ukraine, except the openly anti-Putin and anti-Russian ones.
There is another radical ukro-nazi proposal awaiting a vote in the Rada. It calls for the Russian speakers who always resided in Ukraine to be denied citizenship and the right to education. Ukraine is following in the footsteps of Latvia and Estonia, the euro-fascist members of the EU, where millions of Russian-speakers are denied citizenship and given a label of ‘non-citizens.’ Who needs Hitler…
This last one was proposed by an infamous deputy from Western Ukraine, Irina Farion, who during Soviet times used to be a member of the Communist Party, but when it became profitable, she promptly switched to the ukro-nazi side of the most vicious kind. She reminds me of the Lithuanian ‘president’ installed by the US, Dalia Gribauskayte, also once a Communist Party member and daughter of a KGB (NKVD) officer, who turned the moment US/EU promised her those proverbial 30 pieces of silver.
Another law being passed mandates that no signs in Russian language can appear in airports and train stations, despite the fact that 70% of Ukraine prefers to speak Russian. The mandated languages for public announcements and signs in Ukraine airports and train stations will be Ukrainian and English.
There are many more acts of repression towards Russian language and culture in Ukraine.
After all this, is it any wonder that normal people are leaving Ukraine by millions? The problem with that is: if everyone normal leaves, who will be left? Only imbeciles, sheeple and low-lives? This, unfortunately, is a very worrying ongoing trend in Ukraine. For more read: Mass Migration: What Happens if a Country Gains or Loses its Life Force? (US, EU, Russia, China, Ukraine).
Many leave, but some choose to stay and hold the fort, no matter how hard it is, until a meaningful change can occur.
To say NO to all the repressions, the new Flash mob “The Russian World” was born in Zaporozhye, Eastern Ukraine. The industrial city of Zaporozhye, located on the banks of the River Dnepr, next to Donbass and not far from Donetsk, was the seat of the Soviet 1930s industrialization. Read more about it in the articles linked at the bottom.
After the Russian-Soviet song flash mobs in Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Odessa and Moscow, Dnepropetrovsk has joined in. Dnepropetrovsk is a large city and an oblast located between Zaporozhye and Donetsk oblasts in Eastern Ukraine.
The Dnepropetrovsk Train Station flash mob sang the famous Russian song Katyusha. Here’s the first amateur video of the Katyusha flash mob:
Better quality full version of the Dnepropetrovsk Katyusha flash mob has posted on YT:
You can find some original versions of Katyusha in Legendary Soviet Music Hits.
And this is Katyusha by the Red Army Choir:
I also found this, with Eng subs:
- Sister post: Beautiful Russian-Soviet Song Flash Mobs Unite Russians and Ukrainians Against Kiev Junta Hatred
- Sister post: Ukraine Events Heating up and Accelerating
- Insane Asylum Overload: Ukraine Bans Communism – Goodbye Chinese Investments (there is more about Zaporozhye and Odessa here, incl. pics)
- Don’t miss! Raising Chi Against Hatred: The Suppressed Story of Russian Songs that Unite World Cultures
- More Russian/Soviet song links
Since 2014 Kiev junta banned Russian language during school classes. Now every teacher is mandated to speak only Ukrainian in class, and so are students. In 2014 and 2015 the historic symbolism uniting Russia and Ukraine was banned. Many historic monuments were destroyed throughout Ukraine as well. Ukro-nazi thugs from the ‘right sector’ Svoboda and various nazi battalions brutally beat up and even killed those who tried to resist. Among things banned in Ukraine have been the Victory Banner (symbol of the WWII Victory), names of cities and streets. They succeeded in renaming one of the largest cities in Ukraine from Dnepropetrovsk to Dnepr. They tried to rename Odessa to Kotsyubeevsk (if you can believe it), but met with staunch resistance from Odessans, which made them back off.
The newest thing the Kiev junta is doing is banning Russian language during school breaks. Teachers caught speaking Russian will be fired.
In the atmosphere of the oppression, the people are finding ways to resist in a beautiful and inspiring way, by performing Russian-Soviet songs at train stations.
It began on November 13 in Zaporozhye, the large industrial city in Eastern Ukraine, located next to Donbass. The city of Zaporozhye is located in the very center of the ancestral Zaporozhskie Cossack territories. Zaporozhye means basically ‘beyond the white waters.’ It is located on the banks of the river Dnepr and it is the white waters of the river that gave it its name. The city was founded by the Russian tsars; in 1930s it became the center of the Soviet industrialization. It is the sight of the famous symbol of the Soviet industrialization DneproGes (Dnepr Hydroelectric Station). It is also the home to the metallurgical giant Zaporozhstal’ (Zaporozhye Metal Plant). Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is also built here. I again want to stress that everything that has been built in Zaporozhye was built by either the Russian Empire or the USSR. During its 25 years of ‘independence’ Ukraine built nothing of significance. On the contrary, much was ruined and stolen. More here: Insane Asylum Overload: Ukraine Bans Communism – Goodbye Chinese Investments.
The first flash mob at the Zaporozhye Train Station sang the song from the hit Soviet film, The Spring on River Street, 1956. The Spring on River Street is a romantic comedy about a worker from Zaporozhstal’ and a young teacher, fresh out of college. The song is called, My Native Street. This song is sort of unofficial anthem of Zaporozhye.
I have to say that after I heard this flash mob several days ago I can’t stop humming this song, which I’ve always loved.
Flash mob at Zaporozhye Train Station, November 2016. Russian-Soviet song: My Native Street:
And this is the original from 1956, with the clip from the film The Spring on River Street. Улица родная – Весна на Заречной улице. You can find this film and this song featured on my RUSSIAN FILMS page. Incidentally, the film was made by the Odessa Movie Studio.
Kharkov, the 2nd largest city in Ukraine and the former capital, was next. At the Kharkov Train Station the flash mob performed another hit from the same era, The Old Maple, from film Devchata (Girls), a romantic comedy by Mosfilm (Moscow Film Studio).
This is the original with the clip from Devchata:
Odessa Train Station flash mob was the largest and it performed the hit Russian-Soviet song Smuglyanka (Darkie, the Moldavian Girl) from the famous 1973 film Only Old Men Go into Battle. I believe this masterpiece of a film was made at the Kiev Movie Studio. It was during Soviet times, of course, before Kiev sold out and destroyed everything previous generations stood for. It is action/drama about the multi-ethnic unit of the Soviet pilots during WWII, who loved to sing. This film is also featured on my RUSSIAN FILMS page.
The choice of a song was good for Odessa, a very international city, as well as it being a close neighbor to Moldova. It also was a gutsy choice, since Soviet symbolism, including Russian WWII symbols, is banned in Ukraine.
This is the original Smuglyanka by the Red Army Choir
In response, Russians organized their own flash mob in Moscow, at the Kiev Train Station. Yep, there is a train station in Moscow that is called ‘Kiev Train Station’ where trains from Kiev terminate. It was always there, and it doesn’t occur to anyone to rename that station, unlike the war on everything Russian in Ukraine. In reality the most popular train in Ukraine is Lvov-Kiev-Moscow, despite all the bans of the Kiev junta.
The song at the Kiev Train Station is called Rozpriagaite Hloptsi Koney (Boys, Unsaddle Your Horses). It is a Cossack song, sung in Ukrainian, or more precisely, southern Russian dialect. My mom loved that song.
In the end of the clip the lead of the group Yarilov Znoy (Ra’s Heat) says that they organized the flash mob to show that, despite all the hateful rhetoric, Russians and Ukrainians are one people, sharing one history.
- Ukraine Events Heating up and Accelerating
- Insane Asylum Overload: Ukraine Bans Communism – Goodbye Chinese Investments (there is more about Zaporozhye and Odessa here, incl. pics)
- Don’t miss! Raising Chi Against Hatred: The Suppressed Story of Russian Songs that Unite World Cultures
- More Russian/Soviet song links
NEW YEAR’S TREAT FOR MY READERS!
New Year is the year’s biggest holiday in Russia. There are lots of very good movies, cartoons, concerts and various songs/performances that are dedicated to it.
One of the eternal classics is the old Russian fairytale made into a film in 1964, MOROZKO, for some reason translated to English as Jack Frost, but better translated as Father Frost.
Watch MOROZKO here with English subs! (TIP: if your Eng subs don’t work, click on CC button on the bottom right of your Youtube screen.)
This is an equally lovely Soviet classic (1956, film length animation). Nowadys they say, with a nostalgic sigh, about such films: ‘They don’t make them like this any more!’
Fairytale TWELVE MONTHS (watch with Eng subs):
Another old classic (1952, film length animation): SNEGUROCHKA (The Snow Maiden). Snegurochka is considered the granddaughter of Ded Moroz (Grandfather Frost). As all Russian films and fairytales, it carries important life’s lessons and wise revelations.
A couple of uplifting New Year’s songs from the fantasy film CHARODEI (Wizards) produced at the Odessa Movie Studio in 1984. These songs are also classics with huge following throughout the world.
‘Three White Horses’ (the three white horses in this case mean December, January and February – reflecting the symbolism of the legendary Russian Troika):
‘Snezhinka’ (snow flake), or ‘While the clock strikes Midnight’
There are lots of other great movies and cartoons. I’ll share them in the future – stay tuned!
C Новым Годом 2016!
S NOVIM GODOM! HAPPY NEW YEAR!
War on All Fronts: McDonalds May Be Booted out of Russia; Latvia Bans Russian Superstars; Why did Yatsenyuk Resign; Repatriation of Russian Capital
McDonald’s to be Booted out of Russia?
The announcement I just saw says that Russia may ban some of the McDonald’s burgers sold in Russia due to the fact that nutritional values of the burger ingredients advertised do not correspond with actual nutritional value in the final product. The Public Health Control of the Novgorod Region initiated a lawsuit against McDonald’s in the Moscow court. Cheeseburger, the most popular burger sold by McDonald’s, may be the subject of this ban. There is a strong anti-McDonald’s movements in Russia. As profit margins plunge as a result of the network’s inability to sell its flagship burger, the Russian court sanctions may result in McDonald’s being squeezed entirely out of the Russian market.
Some of the McDonald’s drinks also fall into this category.
I say, about time! Get rid of this #GMO infested, full of plasticisers and artificial colors/flavors poison!
Latvia Blacklists Russian Showbiz Superstars
Those who read my articles know that I call Latvia one of the “Trojan Horses of the US in Europe.” And it strikes again. Latvia announced that it blacklisted three of the most famous Russian singers, whose songs are mega-popular not only in Russia and the entire Russian world, but in Latvia as well. These are Oleg Gazmanov, Valeriya, and Iosif Kobzon.
Valeriya is a pop-singer known for her angelic looks and strong voice, who’s popular internationally. Iosif Kobzon is a legend of the Russian stage. I remember him singing when I was just a child. Seems like he’d been there forever. Being Jewish, Kobzon is a huge patriot of Russia. Oleg Gazmanov appeared on Russian stage in the 1990s. I only discovered him a few years ago on YouTube, and loved this raspy voice, energetic presentation, and the power projected by his songs.
MOSKVA – (Moscow) by Oleg Gazmanov and the Alexandrov Red Army Choir (posted by a German fan):
The Sailor-girl by young Oleg Gazmanov, early 1990s. Check out his athletic somersaults! Олег Газманов – Морячка
Иосиф Кобзон – Я люблю тебя, жизнь – I Love You, Life – by Yosif Kobzon and the Alexandrov Red Army choir. This song is one of the beloved unofficial anthems of Russia.
This particular performance was probably recorded in the very beginning of the 2000s, when Russia just started recovering after Putin came to power. In the beginning, Kobzon says, “Thank you, all, for keeping the faith and for coming out of it with flying colors (out of the catastrophic 1990s – LR). Always love life!” In the audience you can see the singer Alexander Gradsky, whose song I mentioned in Russia’s NEW Ambitious Anti-Dollar Move: $150 bln Investment in Baikal-Amur Railroad. Also, singing along in the audience is the famous (infamous?) ex-mayor of Moscow, Yury Luzhkov.
Иосиф Кобзон, Журавли – CRANES (original recording 1971). One of the most beautiful and legendary Soviet songs about the soldiers who perished in the Great War (WWII), turning into white cranes.
Valeriya – ВАЛЕРИЯ: Otpusti menya – Let Me Go
I love Russian songs & Russian movies, and so I try to share them with my readers whenever I get the chance. You can find much more beloved Soviet music hits here; best contemporary Russian songs here; I started posting Russian movies here; my articles, beautiful imagery, history, and lots of other cool stuff about Russia here.
Latvia is tiny and unimportant in the grand scheme of things. However, the problem with being blacklisted and banned from entry into Latvia for a Russian singer is this: the Baltic resort of Yurmala, near Riga, Latvia, traditionally hosts the international Russian song festival, The New Wave – Novaya Volna. The event attracts the best singers, as well as many Russian tourists. It is said that Latvia would have been bankrupt a long time ago, if not for the influx of cash left there by the Russian tourists and Russian festivals. It is well-known that Latvia has been teetering on the brink of an economic collapse for years, ever since it joined the EU. Fully 1/3, or more, of the country’s population works as guest workers abroad, while the industry built there by Russians during Soviet times has been destroyed after Latvia became independent. Latvian agriculture, which used to be pretty good, was destroyed so it couldn’t compete with Western European agriculture.
It appears the three singers irritated Latvian authorities by their patriotic stance. The problem is, all three are long-term fixtures at the Novaya Volna festival.
It is abundantly clear that this move by Latvian authorities is masterminded by the US and is part of the anti-Russian sanctions. Why? This is a signal and intimidation tactic for the sake of all other Russian artists. Don’t dare be patriotic, don’t dare support Donbass and Novorossia against the Kiev junta, don’t dare support Putin. Otherwise, you’ll be stonewalled. Of course it is clear that many Russian artists also have financial assets in the West. It could be bank accounts, villas on the French Riviera and more. This is a hint: you assets are next. This is yet another way to scare the Russian elites, be it political, business or artistic, into toeing the line prescribed by the US.
This is the old, known the world over, tactic by the West and the US. However, it doesn’t seem to be working any more. US power is waning and cracks in the lopsided US-centric system are starting to show everywhere, as I predicted since the beginning of the Ukraine crisis.
Russians are now talking about moving the massive Novaya Volna musical festival to a Russian city. Several cities expressed desire to host it. To me, #Sochi, or #Yalta in the #Crimea, would be a natural fit. Or it could be conducted in different cities every year. Just a thought.
There is another famous Russian festival that is conducted every summer in Latvia’s Yurmala. It’s called Muzikalny Kivin – the Musical Kivin – and it’s part of the KVN, which is the longest-running Russian humor/music/wit/young talent competition. KVN is older than me, and I watched it since I was a child. At one point, I even participated in it a little, when I studied at the Odessa University. At that time, the team of the Odessa University, called The Odessa Gentlemen, was the undisputed KVN winner for years. Muzikalny Kivin, the musical humor and wit competition just took place in Yurmala, Latvia. But I wouldn’t be too surprised if it were to be transferred somewhere else as well. I would certainly recommend it.
Further consolidation of the Russian society is the likely result of this affront. And Latvia? Well, it’ll eventually lose the life-saving income from the Russian festivals and summer tourists. When the US-dollar-denominated 30 pieces of silver dry up, what will they do?
On another, related note: I predicted previously that Russia will only benefit long-term from Western sanctions
Four biggest benefits are:
1. Consolidation of the Russian society.
2. A more realistic assessment of who is a friend and who isn’t.
3. Re-orientation of the Russian economy from the West to Asia and inwards, with more attention paid to inner infrastructure, domestic industry, development and financing (instead of dollar or euro denominated loans/financing predominant now).
4. Last but not least – the repatriation of the Russian capital located abroad, which will be accelerating as Russians stop trusting the Western banking and business climate. This eventually will turn into a huge exodus, resulting in a loss, if not a catastrophe, for the European banking/real estate and business.
Why Did Yatsenyuk Resign?
A quick remark on the resignation of the Ukraine PM, #Yatsenyuk. It is well known, and it was caught on tape, that Yatsenyuk was literally appointed as Ukraine Prime Minister personally by Victoria Nuland, the Asst US State Dept Secretary; the same Victoria Nuland who bragged publicly to the Washington Press Club in December 2013 that US spent $5bln to subvert Ukraine.
So, Yatsenyuk fulfilled the task entrusted to him by his Washington handlers: he successfully destroyed Ukraine. Ukraine industrial base is in a shambles after bombings of eastern Ukraine and mass exodus out of the country; Ukraine agriculture is in bad shape as a result of war; Ukraine will run out of gas by fall – and the entire country runs on natural gas; pensions and social benefits have been halved.
As a result of a crisis, war and economic collapse, in the spring, Ukrainian currency, grivna, started tanking mercilessly, resulting in hyper-inflation. I heard interviews in which people from different areas of Ukraine complained that inflation was 50-70% monthly, and the elderly couldn’t afford medicine and utilities. But Kiev’s friends and bosses from across the Atlantic promptly tweaked something in the fake financial markets they operate out of Wall Street, and oh miracle! – the worthless grivna of the bankrupt country suddenly became stable!
But if you can pretend collapse isn’t happening in the fake, computer-generated currency market, you can’t pretend in real life. The country is collapsing on all fronts and disintegrating at the seams. The new #maidan revolution is expected again by next spring. As a result of the Boeing 777 downing by the Ukraine military, all countries banned their planes from flying over Ukraine. Ukraine is an important international flight corridor; it gets $200mln annually in fees for the usage of its airspace. Add this loss to all other accomplishments of the Kiev junta.
Yatsenyuk, as Ukraine unelected PM, presided over the collapse of the country. He knows that retribution is coming. He doesn’t want to stick around when the collapse becomes visible to all. The biggest rat of all is leaving the sinking ship. He was there to destroy – someone else will have to clean up his mess.
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