April 20, 2014

Fort Ross: Russians to help?

The Chapel at Fort Ross

Writing on Oct. 2 for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, Nikola Krastev reported that in recent weeks Russian government officials -- including President Dimitry Medvedev -- showed strong interest in protecting Fort Ross from closure, a move that was feared when California went into another budget crisis. Fort Ross (the name is derived from "Rossiya") is a 19th-century settlement on the Pacific coast just north of San Francisco that was established by a group of hunters and traders from Russia. Krastev says that the fort has been "spared closure" but that some Russian officials are still eager to find benefactors who could "help maintain California's first Russian settlement." Speaking on the sidelines of last week's UN General Assembly, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called for Fort Ross to be preserved as a reminder that the United States and Russia enjoyed warm relations long before the start of the Cold War. "I would like to ask our business community to help save this … [Read more...]

Radio Free Europe: The Price Of Influence

Writing on the RadioFreeEurope/RadioLiberty Power Vertical blog, Brian Whitmore suggests that there may be a little too much symphonia in a recent move by Russian Patriarch Kirill to work closely with the United Russia political party. Whitmore: What motivated United Russia and Patriarch Kirill I to reach an agreement giving the Russian Orthodox Church an unprecedented voice in the legislative work of the State Duma? Aleksei Malashenko of the Moscow Carnegie Center tackles the issue in today's issue of "Nezavisimaya Gazeta." He begins by asking why the ruling party would want to enter into such an arrangement: Why? Because United Russia desperately lacks something despite its triumphs in elections throughout the country and the overwhelming majority in the lower house of the parliament. And what does it lack? It lacks society's respect. It lacks recognition as a genuine political party and not just an organization founded and coddled by the Kremlin. Because … [Read more...]