Monday, December 15, 2014

Today's Headlines from Russian and English Language Media

  • Russian military aircraft nearly collides with civilian passenger jet over Sweden on December 12th, 2014
  • Captured Ukrainian military pilot Nadezhda Savchenko announces a hunger strike against her unjust imprisonment
    • Nadiya Savchenko, who until earlier this year was a decorated Ukrainian soldier and pilot, fell into rebel hands while fighting in the volunteer Azov Battalion in Eastern Ukraine, one of the ad-hoc military units that have helped the Ukrainian army stand its ground in the East. Following her capture she was transferred into the hands of the Russian Federation during the last week of June 2014 under dubious circumstances, eventually showing up (after disappearing from Donetsk) in Voronezh, in custody of the FSB. They attempted to charge her with complicity in the murder of two Russian journalists in Ukraine, which they were unable to prove in any meaningful way. The president of Ukraine has called for her release, but Russia does not appear eager to submit to even this humble request. So then, in response to her indefinite and unjustifiable detention, Nadiya has today announced a hunger strike for justice; let's hope that she finds it.
  • Russia announces inquiry into possibility of building Russia-only space station
    • Oleg Ostapenko, head of RosCosmos (Russia's NASA), today confirmed speculation that Russia is considering embarking on the project of creating a space station to rival the ISS, that will be controlled and operated exclusively by Russia. In conjunction with this, Russia is considering ending its support for the ISS starting in 2020 or 2024, and refocusing the efforts of RosCosmos entirely on this new project. Ostapenko also hinted at this project being a prerequisite for achieving further Russian ambitions in space, such as extensive moon exploitation and colonization and other deep space research missions.
  • The Russian Ministry of Culture discusses the possibility of banning US films in Russia
  • And finally today, the Ruble continues its disastrous slide versus major world currencies
    • The Russian Ruble continues to tumble versus the Dollar and Euro, reaching a record 63 Rubles to 1 USD today (now 65 to 1 as of 3PM, CST), all while the price of crude oil hovers just barely above $60 per barrel. This news, as would be expected, is causing great concern among economists and politicians invested in Russia's future. But you need not panic: simply pick your favorite, relaxing jam and watch the numbers move on my new favorite site,