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Going From Georgian Wine to U.S. Adoptions

Published: January 16, 2013 (Issue # 1742)




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TheKremlin is conducting its current anti-U.S. campaign according tothe same scenario it used inall previous campaigns against countries that irritated President Vladimir Putin andwere labeled as enemies. Similar campaigns were waged against Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania andPoland.

TheKremlins approach tothese propaganda campaigns follows thesame basic standard. First, every campaign is reactive innature andnever theresult ofa deliberate strategy. Instead, thecampaigns are spontaneous andoften reckless, knee-jerk reactions tospecific events theKremlin finds annoying. Forexample, thelarge-scale campaign against Georgia inthe fall of2006 was launched after Tbilisi detained five officers ofRussias Main Intelligence Directorate oncharges ofespionage. Similarly, acampaign was unleashed against Estonia in2007 after that country moved amonument tofallen Soviet soldiers out ofthe Tallinn city center. TheKremlin initiated thecurrent anti-U.S. campaign as aspontaneous retaliation forpassage ofthe Magnitsky Act.

Second, thedecision toinitiate adefamation campaign against adesignated country is almost always made byPutin andusually confirmed ina special meeting with members ofthe Security Council. As arule, thecampaigns are emotional reactions without any somber or thorough analysis ofits predictable consequences. Forexample, aspecial session ofthe Security Council was called immediately after theRussian intelligence officers were detained inGeorgia, andthe series ofmeasures totake inresponse was hurriedly worked out during that meeting.

Third, themeasures used are always selected so as tocause maximum damage or discomfort forthe enemy andwithout any regard formoral or legal considerations. Forexample, theanti-Georgia campaign in2006 incorporated ano-holds-barred strategy. Air andautomobile traffic between thecountries was halted, as were mail andmoney transfers. House-to-house searches were conducted forpeople with Georgian surnames under thepretext ofthe struggle against illegal immigration. Detainees were subjected toabuse, andmore than 800 people were quickly deported, two ofwhom died. Anumber ofGeorgian children even those with Russian citizenship were evicted fromschools. Georgian restaurants andcafes were subjected topunitive inspections, some ofwhich were forced toshut down.

Thesame fate befell major Georgian-owned casinos andentertainment complexes such as Kristall, Golden Palace andBakkara, while casinos owned byother nationalities were left untouched. Publishers putting out books byrenowned Georgian author Grigory Chkhartishvili, better known as Boris Akunin, were subjected totax inspections. TheKremlin enlisted chief sanitary doctor Gennady Onishchenko, who has served thesame function insimilar campaigns, toban Georgian food products andwine. Most ofthose sanctions against Georgia remain inforce tothis day, andeven more were added following theRussia-Georgia war in2008.

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ALL ABOUT TOWN

Wednesday, Oct. 22


English teachers can expect to receive a few useful pointers today from Evgeny Kalashnikov, the British Council regional teacher, during the EFL Seminar this afternoon hosted by the British Book Center. The topic of todays seminar is Grammar Practice.


Young Petersburgers will get the chance to jumpstart their careers at Professional Growth, a job fair and forum featuring more than 40 major Russian and international companies vying for potential candidates for future positions. The forum not only is a chance to network but also to learn more about the modern business world and to understand what it takes to get the job you want.



Thursday, Oct. 23


AmChams Public Relations Committee meeting is scheduled to meet this morning at 9 a.m. in their office in the New St. Isaac Office Center.


Sportsmen get their chance to stock up on all kinds of gear at the Hunting and Fishing 2014 exhibition starting today at Lenexpo. Everything from rods and reels to boats, motorcycles and equipment for underwater hunting will be on sale so that any avid outdoorsman can always be prepared.



Friday, Oct. 24


SPIBAs ongoing Breakfast with the Director series continues today, featuring Tomas Hajek, Managing Director of the Northwest Division at Danone Russia. Hajek will be discussing collaborations between businesses from different cultures. The meeting is at 9 a.m. at the Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel and all who wish to attend must confirm their participation by Oct. 23.


Get your gong on at Sounds of the Universe, a concert at the city planetarium this evening incorporating six different gongs to create relaxing songs that will transport you upwards into the stratosphere. Tickets are 700 rubles ($17).



Saturday, Oct. 25


AVA Expo, the eighth edition of the event revolving around all things pop culture, returns to Lenexpo this weekend. Geeks, nerds, dweebs and dorks will have their chance to talk science fiction and explore a variety of international pop culture. Tickets for the event can be purchased on their website at avaexpo.ru.



Sunday, Oct. 26


Zenit St. Petersburg returns home for the first time in nearly a month as they host Mordovia Saransk in a Russian Premier League game. Currently at the top of the league thanks to their undefeated start to the season, the northern club hopes to extend the gap between them and second-place CSKA Moscow and win the title for the first time in three years. Tickets are available at the stadium box office or on the clubs website.



Monday, Oct. 27


Today marks the end of the art exhibit Neophobia at the Erarta Museum. Artists Alexey Semichov and Andrei Kuzmin took a neo-modernist approach to represent the array of fears that are ever-present throughout our lives. Tickets are 200 rubles ($4.90).



Tuesday, Oct. 28


The Domina Prestige St. Petersburg hotel plays host to SPIBAs Marketing and Communications Committees round table discussion on Government Relations Practices in Russia this morning. The discussion starts at 9:30 a.m. and participation must be confirmed by Oct. 24.



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