Russia’s alpha dog: vintage Putin holds forth in chat with academics

Yesteryear Bollywood icon Raj Kapoor is a hot favourite in Russia but ‘disco dancer’ Mithun Chakraborty is not far behind, as the countrys love affair with Indian movies is still very much alive. Bollywood continues to inspire and entertain many Russians and Raj Kapoor remains one of the biggest overseas names in Russia till date. A group of visiting Indian journalists experienced this in Tatarstan, a state under the Russian Federation. We love Indian films as they are mostly about love, relationships and emotions. When they fight, they fight, when they love, they love, said Ayder Khasanov, Tatarstans ministry of youth, sports and tourism official. In a surprise, apart from Raj Kapoors movies like Awara and Shree 420, the films that are most popular in Russia are Hema Malini-starrer Sita aur Gita and Mithuns hit movie made in 1982 Disco Dancer. When I was young my mother did not let me watch Indian movies as they were so emotional I would start crying, Khasanov said. I loved Sita aur Gita, Disco Dancer and recently saw Shah Rukh Khans My Name is Khan which was fantastic, he said. Russians have always loved Indian cinema and with the appearance of a satellite channel India TV, broadcasting Indian films and programmes dubbed in Russian language, the young people in the country have taken to movies big time. I love Indian films, Raj Kapoor was a fine actor. I have also seen Disco Dancer, the hero of that film is also good, Julia Karavaev, expert in the committee for tourism and foreign relations said. In places like Kazan and the surrounding tourist areas in Tatarstan such as Bolgar, Elabuga and Sviyazhsk, the knowledge and enthusiasm of the Tatar and Russian people about Indian movies is surprising. In Elabuga, Svetlana Andarzyanova, a tourist centre official, said I am crazy about Indian movies, Raj Kapoor is my favourite, though I also like Disco Dancer Mithun. All the Kapoors are wonderful actors and Ranbir is amazing, she said, adding that her favourite movies are Awara, Shree 420, Sita aur Gita and Disco Dancer. In Sviyazhsk, an elderly man named Renat surprised the journalists by saying that the 1952 classic Baiju Bawra was his favourite film. I love Raj Kapoor, he was a natural, and I also like Amitabh Bachchan, he is cool, he said.

19, 2013. Maxim Shipenkov/AP The Christian Science Monitor Weekly Digital Edition For that matter, you might as well apply that characterization to the world stage, where a former mid-ranking KGB officer, black-belt judo master, and newly eligible bachelor is showing himself capable of performing diplomatic jujitsu on the West one day and the next, waxing philosophical on everything from gays and Syria to chemical weapons and political opponents. Make no mistake: Vladimir Putin is at the top of his game these days, a veritable oracle offering counsel and scoldings about the right and wrong way to do things in the world. RECOMMENDED: Vladimir Putin 101: A quiz about Russia’s president Give him a platform and hell run with it. Last week, it was the opinion pages of The New York Times . On Thursday, it was a forum called the Valdai International Discussion Club , a formerly closed-door affair in a provincial town that in the past featured scholars typically from the West sitting down for off-the-record banter with Russias leaders. This year, the Kremlin has pulled back the curtain on Valdai, giving President Putin yet another platform from which to opine, for example, Europe s demographic crisis: Europeans are dying out. Don’t you understand that? And same-sex marriages don’t produce children. Do you want to survive by drawing migrants? But society cannot adapt so many migrants. Your choice in many countries is the way it is: recognition of same-sex marriage, adoption, etc.

Initially, the 54-kilometer (33-mile) line will transport Russian coal to markets in the Asia-Pacific region, OAO Russian Railways Chief Executive Officer Vladimir Yakunin said at the ceremony in Rajin. The second phase of the project will involve the construction of a container-handling facility and potentially an oil terminal at the North Korean site, he said. Our common objective is for this link and port to be a pilot scheme for the restoration of a single transport system in North and South Korea that would link the peninsula to countries that gravitate to this region, to Europe via Russia, Yakunin said. The CEO said he hopes the plan will help promote peace between the two Koreas, which remain technically at war following the conflict 1950-53 that divided the countries. The route is part of a larger project, dubbed the Iron Silk Road, that would connect Russia s Trans-Siberian Railway to South Korea via the North for an overland route cutting transportation costs to Europe. Success depends on improved ties between South Korea and its isolated Communist neighbor. Reunions Scrapped North Korea canceled plans today for reunions this week of families separated by the division of the peninsula, and accused South Korean leaders of throwing obstacles in the way of reconciliation. The North also put off talks on resuming tours by South Koreans to its Mount Geumgang resort after recent weeks of improved relations between the two sides. Kim Jong Uns regime accused the South of seeking confrontation, and threatened strong and decisive retaliation against any military provocation. The Khasan-Rajin rail link will carry 100,000 freight containers a year, the Norths official Korean Central News Agency reported in April 2012. The freight terminal at Rajin will be able to handle 4 million tons a year of coal, Yakunin said today, including shipments for OAO Mechel , Russias biggest supplier of the material for steelmakers.