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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, Sept. 3


Although the Peter and Paul Fortress sand sculptures are more central and therefore more visible to the throngs of tourists, the 300th Anniversary Park of St. Petersburgs own collection closes today. The World Collection of Sand Sculptures that have been on display at the park reaches its final day, so fans of the classic beach activity should get there while they can.



Thursday, Sept. 4


Vladimir I. Danchenkov, Head of Baltic Customs, will be in attendance during AmChams Customs and Transportation Committee Meeting convening this afternoon at the organizations office near St. Isaacs Square at 3 p.m.



Friday, Sept. 5


Scrabble lovers and chess masters get their chance to assert their intellectual dominance at the return of the British Book Centers Board Game Evenings tonight. Held weekly on Friday nights, the event gives both board game lovers and those hoping to improve their English the chance to meet, greet and compete. Check out the centers VK page for more details.



Saturday, Sept. 6


Athletes will relish the chance to get the latest gear and try out something new at I Choose Sport, an annual event at Lenexpo forum that plans to welcome more than 30,000 people this week to the international exhibition center. Not only will visitors get to try their hand at various athletic endeavors but they will also be able to peruse equipment that can fulfill their dreams of becoming a champion.


Local KHL team SKA St. Petersburg open their season this evening at home against Lokomotiv Yarovslavl at the Ice Palace arena next to the Prospekt Bolshevikov metro station. See their website for a full schedule and available tickets.



Sunday, Sept. 7


Check out retro and antique cars at Fort Konstantin on Kronstadt Island in the Gulf of Finland at FORTuna, a yearly car festival that highlights the eccentricities of the Soviet automobile industry. A car race, contests and a stunt show will give visitors a chance to rev their engines.



Monday, Sept. 8


This evening marks the opening of the two-week ballet festival High Season at the Mikhailovsky Theater. Check the theaters website for more details about performances and featured dancers.



Tuesday, Sept. 9


Discuss the latest news and issues at the AmCham Hazardous Waste Management Roundtable this morning in the Tango Conference Hall of the Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge on Birzhevoy Pereulok. Starting at 9 a.m., planned topics include the Krasny Bor landfill and waste transportation between Russia and Finland.


Learn more about the citys modern architectural trends at the SPIBA Real Estate and Construction Committees meeting on the topic Contemporary Petersburg Style: What is It? Participants will get the chance to discuss whats in-demand with RBI Holdings Irina Petrova and Lubava Pryanikova, and the current state of the local real estate market. Please confirm your attendance by Sept. 5 through SPIBAs website if you wish to attend.



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