On the evening of March 5, anchor Liz Wahl resigned from Russia Today-America at the end of her 5 p.m. broadcast. While it's not fair to speculate that Wahl made her dramatic exit in order to score a new, and potentially higher paying, job, it is certain that her patriotic exit will likely be rewarded by American media.
The West, and especially the English-speaking West, has wrongly taken sides in the present conflict in Ukraine. Instead of making empty promises or threats, our message should be clear and decisive: "What is happening in Ukraine is a matter that its population has to sort out for itself. But, if asked, we will work with all interested parties to mediate a speedy and peaceful resolution." No more, no less.
Take your time finding the right table at the right restaurant. You'll be there awhile -- might as well get comfortable. The bottle of vodka is to be served cold and of high quality. The person that picks up the first bottle is in charge of pouring and pacing shots for the entire night, even once you change venues...
With the Ex-Ukranian PM, Yulia Tymoshenko, announcing Monday that she will be leaving to Germany for medical treatment it is now clear that she will not be written into the new political narrative. The future appears to belong to younger, untarnished politicians such as former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko.
Russia is home to the biggest Ukrainian diaspora in the world, an estimated 20 million or so persons of Ukrainian descent live there. The Russian minority in Ukraine is estimated to be as high as 40 per cent of its 45 million population. Frankly, if a division along EU versus Russia lines exist the country as now constituted is untenable.
Ukraine's Orange Revolution 2.0 has been underway for months and crowds are now demanding that the President leave office. Ukraine's only hope is to join the European Union because its leaders have proven to be corrupt and undemocratic or ineffectual. The EU would, as it has with other former Soviet satellites, become steward and provide a template for modernization of Ukraine. Yanukovych and Putin alike have overplayed their hand by authorizing snipers to murder innocent people in the streets of Kiev.
Russia has real issues. But let's not distract ourselves from them and get bogged down by worrying about the accommodations of athletes who are doing exactly what they want to be doing for the month of February. Yeah, their facilities might blow, but they're accomplishing lifelong dreams in the process. The athletes, the fans, and the journalists are not the ones we have to worry about. We shouldn't fall for their tricks, like their need to take their frustration out on Russia by shaming them for the wrong things.
Thus, as the world prepares to gather in Russia in the Olympic spirit of unity and fellowship, those Russians who have been and still are victimized and persecuted by their own government must be front-of-mind. Indeed, their cause -- and that of Sergei Magnitksy -- must continue to burn brightly even after the extinguishing of Sochi's Olympic flame.
Maybe 25 days before Russia takes the world spotlight wasn't the best time for the Russian Orthodox Church to promote the idea of returning to a Stalin-era law prohibiting consenting adults from choosing their own partners. It's generally considered unseemly to initiate a human-rights disaster so close to hosting the games. However at least the Church has done the world a favour; it has reminded us that the reality of present-day Russia is a lot less like the palatable version Mr. Putin is trying to sell us and a lot more like the repressive and abusive version we suspect.
Whether we like it or not, we live in the shadow of Neville Chamberlain's Munich deal with Hitler. It must affect our perspective on any agreement of this nature. What we learned from Munich, though, was that deals do not finalize the results. What Hitler absolutely taught us was that what one says and even promises is not necessarily what one means.