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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Russia Update: February 6, 2015

Publication: Russia Update
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The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Volvo Halting Truck Production in Kaluga, Firing 30% of Workers
Volvo Group, the Swedish vehicle manufacturer, is suspending production in Kaluga, a town about 150 kilometers southwest of Moscow.

Translation: The Volvo plant in Kaluga is suspending the production of trucks in Kaluga, and reducing 30% of its staff. The Volvo Group team was forced to make the cuts.

The Volvo Group said that poor market conditions and lack of demand for commercial vehicles was forcing them to suspend production, RIA Novosti quoted them as saying. The management characterized the move as "temporary."

Translation: Bad news, starting 2/11, Volvo will suspend production of trucks in Kaluga and fire a third of its personnel. Very sorry for Russian Detroit.

Volvo opened a $52.5 million excavator plant near Kaluga in 2013.

-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick

The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Italian Jets Scrambled To Intercept Russian Flight Over Baltic

The official Twitter account of the Latvian Armed Forces (NBS) has reported that Italian Typhoon fighters, operating as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission, have been scrambled to intercept a Russian Il-38 aircraft over the Baltic Sea. 

The Il-38 is a maritime patrol and anti-submarine warfare aircraft. No details have been given as to whether the flight crossed into Latvian sovereign airspace.

-- Pierre Vaux
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Search of Navalny's Anti-Corruption Fund Director May Indicate Another Case in the Works Against Opposition

Police searched the home of Roman Rubanov, director of the Anti-Corruption Fund founded by opposition leader Alexey Navalny, early this morning, as we reported.

The homes of Rubanov's parents and sisters were also searched. The purpose was ostensibly related to the "art theft" case which is the latest in a series of cases used to harass Navalny and his associates for their work in exposing corruption in high officials.   

The search came on a day when Rubanov was to take part in a meeting to organize an opposition march planned for March 1 to protest the economic crisis in Russia and the war in Ukraine.

Translation: The search is finished. They took the laptops, cell phones and flash cards. They were looking for Kulachenkov and the picture.

Nikita Kulachenkov is another employee of the Anti-Corruption Fund who is wanted by police in the art case.

Translation: from the cops it was clear that they were looking not for Kulachenkov but anything on the Anti-Corruption Fund case.
Translation: in looking for Kulachenkov, the flatfoots didn't even look under the bed.

Translation: And coming to search at 7:00 am is beastly.

As Meduza recalled, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev once called such investigators "bastards" for coming so early.

His remark came in response to a query from journalist Alexei Pivovarov, who noted that Pavel Kostomarov, with whom he was making a documentary film about the Bolotnaya Square case of jailed demonstrators, was searched early in the morning.


Translation: today the Investigative Committee is having a conference on the Anti-Corruption Fund case (a cop let this slip) - we're waiting for them next week.

Translation: I was tailed to my office.

While the formal reason for the search was the "art theft case," Rubanov and others are concerned that the authorities may cast their net wider, as they made reference to a complaint from Mikhail Degtarev, a member of the ill-named Liberal Democratic Party of Russia led by Vladimir Zhirinovsky, regarding alleged embezzlement at the Fund.

Yesterday, the New York Times published an interview with Navalny, where he mentioned plans for the March 1 march:

Opposition to Russian involvement in the war in Ukraine is the main theme of the March 1 rally. The rally needs a permit, and Mr. Navalny thinks it may get one for a location on Moscow’s outskirts, but not in the center.

“Everyone understands that war with Ukraine is just crazy,” he said. But other issues include some major political and economic demands: reducing the 32 percent of the government budget dedicated to defense and public security; canceling the sanctions on Western food imports, which fuel inflation; and loosening election laws to give more parties a chance, including his own, the Progressive Party.

Mr. Navalny said he thought Western sanctions on certain sectors, like banking, had had some influence on the Kremlin, while personal sanctions had been too easy to circumvent.

If the West really wanted to influence the discussion inside the government, it could quietly impose a complete travel ban on the 1,000 or so most important Russians and their families, Mr. Navalny said, many of whom own property abroad. “That would increase the split in the elite,” he said. “All these guys want to drink coffee in Paris.” Such measures would be popular with ordinary Russians, he added.

As Fund employees have been interrogated 12 times in the last 3 days, the authorities may be developing another case to use against the Fund and disrupt plans for the demonstration in March.

The Fund has continued to publish photos and documentation about the lavish homes of top officials who appear to live beyond their means.



-- Catherine A. Fitzpatrick
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Man Sets Himself On Fire Outside Kaliningrad Mayor's Office

TV Rain (Dozhd) reports (translated by The Interpreter):

A man, having immolated himself outside the Kaliningrad mayor's offices, has been taken to hospital by doctors and is in a critical condition. This was told to TV Rain on Friday, February 6, by the head of the regional anti-corruption centre of Transparency International, Ilya Shumanov.

fir.jpg

Photo: Maxim Pereverzev / Klops.ru

"The man set himself on fire right next to the central entrance of the mayor's office. Eyewitnesses say that he survived and was taken away in a critical condition to hospital. There are now many law enforcement personnel around the Kaliningrad mayor's office, some of them from the security services," said Shumanov.

Of the reasons for the immolation, he said, nothing is known yet.

The Klops.ru publication writes, citing eyewitness reports, that the man walked up to the mayor's office and placed a note on the ground, after which he poured petrol over himself and himself on fire.

Kaliningrad-based Klops.ru reported that, after seeing the man douse himself in petrol:

The eyewitness rushed into the building to alert the attendant. When they returned outside the man was already lying on the street and burning. People tried to put out the fire, throwing a jacket on the man; motorists helped with fire extinguishers.

Afterwards an ambulance arrived on the scene and the still-alive man was taken to hospital. 

-- Pierre Vaux
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
How Putin's $51 Billion Sochi Plan Blew Up in His Face
As the anniversary of the Sochi Olympics comes up, Business Insider and other media are asking where the money went.
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