Russia’s Putin: No gay marriage ‘as long as I’m President’

Marje Pelayo   •   February 14, 2020   •   355

Russian President Vladimir Putin answers questions during his annual life-broadcasted news conference with Russian and foreign media at the World Trade Center in Moscow, Russia, 19 December 2019. EFE/EPA/YURI KOCHETKOV

RUSSIA – President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (February 13) the country would not legalize gay marriage as long as he was in the Kremlin.

He made clear he would not allow the traditional notion of mother and father to be subverted by what he called “parent number 1” and “parent number 2.”

“We need to clarify some things. A marriage is a union between a man and a woman. A family is a different thing, but the idea itself (to add a line in the constitution defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman) is good and must be supported, as it is,” he Russian President said.

“We only need to think how to phrase it and where to do this. As far as ‘parent number 1’ and ‘parent number 2’ goes, I’ve already spoken publicly about this and I’ll repeat it again: as long as I’m president this will not happen. There will be dad and mum,” he stressed.

During his two decades in power, Putin has closely aligned himself with the Orthodox Church and sought to distance Russia from liberal Western values, including attitudes towards homosexuality and gender fluidity.

He made the comments as he met a state commission to discuss changes to Russia’s constitution.

The commission was set up last month after Putin announced sweeping changes to Russia’s political system that are widely seen as being designed to help him extend his grip on power after his scheduled departure from office in 2024.

In separate comments during the meeting, Putin said he backed an idea to make it unconstitutional for Russia to give away any part of its territory, a move likely to irritate Japan and Ukraine that have land disputes with Moscow.

Russia annexed the peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 and has been in a decades-long dispute with Tokyo over ownership of a chain of islands in the Pacific that Moscow seized from Japan at the end of World War Two.

Russia and Japan have been holding talks on the latter dispute which has prevented the countries formally signing a peace treaty after World War Two. REUTERS (Anastasia Adasheva)

Russian granny turns tonnes of plastic bottle caps into art

UNTV News   •   February 17, 2020

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, is the motto of one Russian pensioner who has used around two tonnes of used bottle caps to turn her village house into an open-air art gallery.

Since 2013 Nina Krinitsina has been creating her mosaic masterpieces, some including over 1,000 caps, decorating her house in the village of Makarye around 850 kilometers east of Moscow.

The initial idea belonged to her nephew, who now helps the village artist to search for grid designs on the internet.

Krinitsina says she started her designs using peas but quickly switched over to a new material, which was easy to find and work with.

“If I walk and see a bottle lying around and it is with a cap on it – then I unscrew the cap,” says Krinitsina laughing.

The amateur artist collects materials at a nearby landfill and used daily donations from neighbors to support her hobby.

The pensioner has over thirty works, mostly inspired by Russian fairy tales and classic Soviet cartoons, nailed to the walls of her house and all over her garden, with some of the larger designs taking up to three months to complete.

“It calms me down. Settles my nerves,” Krinitsina says, adding that she spends any spare minute on the pastime which has already made her a local tourist attraction, with families bringing young children to marvel at her creations. (Reuters)

(Production: Tatiana Gomozova, Vladislav Krysov, Anton Derbenev)

Russia sets new rules for visitors in regulated territories

Robie de Guzman   •   January 30, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Russian government has implemented new rules for visits by foreigners to regulated territories, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said.

In a statement issued Wednesday, the DFA said that Filipinos who wish to travel to Russia should observe the new regulations with regard to the list of territories regulated for visits.

The department cited a report from the Philippine Embassy in Moscow which noted the resolution of the government of the Russian Federation No. 1730 stating that as of December 20, 2019, visits to the following territories would need prior permission:

In Kamchatka Region:
– Ivashka, Voyampolka
– Klyuchevskaya Sopka volcano, Syvuchiy cape (except for the south slopes of the volcano, named inhabited areas and east coast of the peninsula of 20 kilometers width)

In Kalgyr cape, Koryaki:
– Automobile road Koryaki-Elizovo-Termalniy-Mutnovskaya Sopka volcano
– Russkaya Entrance bay (except for Petropavlovsk-Kamchatky City, Elizovo, inhabited areas – Paratunka, Termalniy, and automobile roads connecting them

The DFA added that “Mutnovskaya Sopka volcavo – Russkaya Entrance bay” in the list of territories will be replaced with “Barkhatnaya sopka – Saranniy cope”.

The department advised Filipinos traveling to Russia to ensure that proper permits are secured prior to visiting these territories to avoid inconvenience.

Putin’s candidate for PM says he is ‘ready’ to work

UNTV News   •   January 16, 2020

Russia’s Prime Minister nominee Mikhail Mishustin at State Duma epa08133005 Russian Prime Minister nominee Mikhail Mishustin speaks during a plenary session at the State Duma in Moscow, Russia, 16 January 2020. Russian President Vladimir Putin submitted the candidacy of Russian Federal Taxation Service Head Mikhail Mishustin for the post of Russian Prime Minister after the Russian government resigned on 15 January 2020 following Putin’s address to the federal Assembly. The Russian State Duma is to consider the president’s nomination on 16 January 2020. EPA-EFE/YURI KOCHETKOV

Moscow – Russian prime ministerial candidate Mikhail Mishustin said Thursday he is “ready” to lead the new government as he met with different factions of the Duma (Parliament) that will assess his suitability for the position.

“Yes, I am ready,” the economist and politician, who until now had been the head of the Federal Tax Service of Russia, told reporters, as cited by the Interfax news agency.

Mishustin, 53, was put forward as a candidate to lead the government on Wednesday by President Vladimir Putin after PM Dmitri Medvedev announced the resignation of the entire government following Putin’s announcement of constitutional reforms in his annual state of the nation speech.

The minister of science and higher education, Mikhail Kotjukov, said Thursday at the Gaidar Forum that he had not expected the resignation of the entire government, according to the news official agency TASS.

In a meeting held with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Mishustin said he would organize the government “in close collaboration with Parliament,” according to party sources, who decided to support the appointment of this Muscovite technocrat, its leader Vladimir Zhirinovsky said.

Mishustin already has the support of the official United Russia party, whose head in the Duma, Sergey Neverov, said Thursday that the candidate announced “changes” in the composition of the government, though he did not reveal which ones.

During the meeting with the Kremlin party, the candidate spoke about national projects and the digital economy among his priorities, as well as institutional and management reforms, in addition to the implementation of modern information technologies within state structures.

Mishustin, who modernized the Federal Tax Service with new technologies, believes that the state “should be a digital platform created for people,” according to Anastasia Kashevarov, an aide to the speaker of the Duma.

The candidate also said national investment projects in different sectors are a tool for boosting growth in the Russian economy and if he is appointed PM he will start by removing barriers to business.

In his talks with the Communist Party of Russia, which will abstain in Thursday’s vote on Putin’s candidate according to party leader Gennady Zyuganov, Mishustin said he would do everything he could to solve poverty issues.

Putin announced Wednesday in his state of the nation speech social support initiatives, such as increasing aid to families with incomes below the existential minimum, a program to modernize the health care system and more scholarships for university students.

The president is on Thursday expected to meet with the members of a working group created to prepare changes to the Russian constitution.

Mishustin, who will have the backing of A Just Russia in the session, heard criticism from some factions of the Duma regarding four ministries: labor, health, education and culture, according to Kashevarov. EFE-EPA



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