Monday, July 30, 2007

Tack så mycket. Thank you so much for your works, Ingmar.

The Silence (Tystnaden) fell over the little island of Fårö.

"I don't watch my own films very often. I become so jittery and ready to cry ... and miserable. I think it's awful."

-- Ingmar Bergman 14 July 1918 – 30 July 2007

Don't you worry, dear Ingmar. We will watch them, over and over again.

With admiration, respect and longing, and have a good trip to the Wild Strawberries (Smultronstället)

och med Den goda viljan,



Man säger så lätt att man älskar. Jag älskar dig lilla pappa. Jag älskar dig lillebror. Men egentligen använder man ett ord man inte vet vad det betyder. Därför vågar jag ej skriva att jag älskar dig, Henrik. Men om du vill ta min hand och hjälpa mig ut min stora sorg, så kanske vi kan lära varandra vad det där ordet betyder.

Den goda viljan. Ingmar Bergman 1991

EDIT: Please read the obituary at the site of The Independent. It is written by director and screenwriter (Taxi Driver, among others) Paul Schrader.

[--] he probably did more than anyone to make cinema a medium of personal and introspective value. Movies by nature are, of course, very commercially driven and very accessible. No one really used cinema as private personal expression in that way. Bergman showed that you could actually do movies that were personal introspections and have them seen by general audiences.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

What a waste.

Last week, on Sat 21st July, at 5 am, neo-nazi skinheads launched a vicious and unprovoked attack on an anti-nuclear protest camp in Angarsk, Siberia, Russia. The nazis violently attacked activists in their sleeping bags and tents with iron rods, knives and air pressure guns.

21 year old Ilya Borodaenko from Nachodka suffered a head-fracture during the attack and later died in hospital from his injuries. At least nine others have been reported to be seriously injured, one of which has had both their legs broken. Tents were set on fire and several belongings were stolen.

(Please see UK Indymedia.)


A 21 year-old antinuclear activist died. So sad. Not just for his family and friends but for the energy policy of the whole Russia.

You see, Vladimir Vladimirovich, your country needs these young activists. (No, not the neo-nazis, for sure. But the environmentalists.)

Your country needs people who will non-violently tell you that you can't feed your people with enriched Uranium.

Neither can you build up security with barrels of Plutonium.

Nor, earn international respect with a dash of Polonium.

Also, these bright and worthy activists will add that your houses and factories already waste so much energy and electricity that you could actually shut down some reactors, instead of building more nuclear capacity, producing vast quantities of waste.

So very sad indeed.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Yup. Steely Dan report coming up...

Sorry, I'm still not able to blog about my past Steely Dan experience yet. It was so fantastic. I have to go and buy Gaucho again (it was stolen from me four years ago), and listen to it with Funnybunny (who was not there in Pori last weekend, of course), And I have to discuss with some friends who were there, too, about the lengthy but cheerful monologues of Walter Becker's... And, Donald Fagen was not at all reserved, either, I can tell.

Elvis Costello has just finished. So, who's next on stage?

And Im going insane
And Im laughing at the frozen rain
And Im so alone
Honey when they gonna send me home

Bad sneakers and a pina colada
My friend
Stompin on the avenue
By radio city with a
Transistor and a large
Sum of money to spend

Steely Dan: Bad Sneakers

But it was not the first piece of the Steely Dan concert at Pori Jazz 2007. No, the first one was...


EDIT: But it was not that one, either. (They did play Aja, but in the middle...) I think the First was Pretzel Logic, and soon after that Babylon Sisters, followed by Josie... The problem was, I did not take notes in the beginning. (Except mental ones.)

When all my dime dancin' is through
I run to you...


Congratulations, Lyudmila Alekseeva. Sub-eternal roses.

Before I give you the report on my adventurous visit to Pori

(it was indeed an adventure with non-expected incidents – nothing obscene or dirty, thoug... But a bit gritty all the same),

I would like to congratulate LYUDMILA ALEKSEEVA for her recent 80th birthday! Dear Mrs Alekseeva, it was lovely to have you visiting us recently!

And congrats, PM from Pori area, for your 50th anniversary. (Sorry for missing the party on Sat. In Pori.)

There you go, it's Anna Akhmatova again.

I Don't Like Flowers

I don't like flowers - they do remind me often
Of funerals, of weddings and of balls;
Their presence on tables for a dinner calls.

But sub-eternal roses' ever simple charm
Which was my solace when I was a child,
Has stayed - my heritage - a set of years behind,
Like Mozart's ever-living music's hum.


And last and least, before my Steely Dan report, containing some juicy details on how to survive in Pori: look what I just found – a hand-powered chainsaw. Now isn't that something. At times these Treehugger pages make me day.

This saw is not for splatter film directors, or muscless non-green mobsters who tend to destroy rainforests.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

But before I leave for Pori...

... I will show you some photos of my surroundings.

The Uspenski Cathedral, and somewhere over the rainbow...

And, these are my yummy yummy tomatoes. Growing by the window. Bought the bush from the Hakaniemi market, the best outdoor market in Helsinki. Or in Finland.

... and guess what the music for today is – and tomorrow!

(Hint: Send it off in a letter to yourself...)

Any major dude will tell you

Any Major Dude Will Tell You

I never seen you looking so bad my funky one
You tell me that your superfine mind has come undone

Any major dude with half a heart surely will tell you my friend
Any minor world that breaks apart falls together again
When the demon is at your door
In the morning it won't be there no more
Any major dude will tell you.


I am SO happy. I have the tickets now. Just checked. I'll see, AND HEAR... Donald Fagen, Walter Becker, and the rest of Steely Dan on Saturday at the Pori Jazz Festivals.

(Scream it like in Pretzel Logic.)

And after that, in the evening, at the club: Blood, Sweat and Tears! At the club, can you imagine?! I will go to a club to listen to BS&T.

I hope the Major Dudes (like Fagen, at least) will join us.

Great, Pori, here I come. Or soon. I'll take the Jazz Train (yes, there is one) in the very morning of Saturday.

I feel all excited already...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Movement on solidarity. Outflanking the siege. And more coverage.

Firstly, please see what Zahar Prilepin from Nizhny Novgorod, Andrei Kolomoisky from Viborg and Andrei Dmitriev from St. Petersburg wrote about the Civic Forum.

In those pages of our guests there are also some photos of the forum. And if you want to have (more) fun, try the Google translator (into English), it should be linked there, somehow.


But then.

Answers. At last.

This is what Neil Hicks from Human Rights First wrote for the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum. This is just the end of his paper, and a very rare comment:

Finally someone says what should be done, instead of telling how bad and difficult everything is.

(the last chapter only)
How to Promote Human Rights and Democracy: Outflanking the Siege

Neil Hicks, Human Rigths First

The goal of international support must be to outflank the official siege that has been placed around independent Russian human rights defenders. One way to do that is to build an international coalition of support for Russian human rights defenders that mobilizes prominent individuals from the worlds of politics, academia, the arts and even sport and popular culture – people who will not be ignored by the international and even the Russian media, and who will reach an audience in Russia beyond the small constituency that is already associated with human rights and democracy.

In its efforts to resist the closure order imposed on it and to continue to function the Russian Chechen Friendship Society in Nizhny Novgorod has provided one example of how this can be done. Through inviting prominent individuals to become “supportive members” of the RCFS it has attracted public support from a number of leading European parliamentarians, as well as from internationally recognized intellectual figures like Francis Fukuyama, Andre Glucksman and Moises Naim. Such figures, and others like them, can command an audience in Russia and cannot be ignored or swept aside by the authorities.


The point of such initiatives, if they are to be different from what has gone before, is that they should be innovative, they should involve new constituencies, they should adopt a positive tone: emphasizing in the face of official hostility and apparent popular indifference that human rights are inclusive, universal values that are good for Russia. As many such events as possible should take place inside Russia, with the expectation that the involvement of prominent international figures, and the adoption of a message that is first and foremost pro-human rights, not anti-Putin, should provide some protection from the type of repression that has faced activities like the marches of dissent. It is also vital that international interest, support and participation in events must be sustained until such a time as the level of threat against the independent Russian human rights movement diminishes.

I hasten to add that conventional efforts to promote human rights and democracy in Russia should not be abandoned. By this, I mean the political pressure on the Russian government to abide by its international obligations in the human rights field from other governments and from international organizations, as well as the monitoring and exposure of violations and campaigning against injustices carried out by local and international non-governmental organizations. We have to recognize, however, that such conventional pressure alone has not been sufficient to bring about the desired change in the behavior of the Russian authorities.

It is vital that a sophisticated official response to international human rights pressure should not be seen to deter such pressure in the case of Russia. Repressive governments around the world seek to undermine and discredit their critics using some of the same methods. If Russia is able to get away with it, because it is a large influential country, then this would be a setback for the international human rights movement not only in Russia, but also globally.

My answer to the question -- on how to promote human rights and democracy in Russia is that we need a new international people’s movement of solidarity with independent Russian human rights activists. The institutions for exerting pressure on the Russian government to improve its human rights practices exist and we should make use of them, but the time has come for a new approach that can reach a new constituency in Russia that is sympathetic to human rights and democracy, but which has been placed beyond the reach of conventional human rights mechanisms and organizations.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Coverage. And the third skier.

Andrei Dmitriev, Kerkko Paananen and Yulia Malysheva coming back to the central Helsinki. By boat, of course. This photo was taken by Alexander Mnatsakanyan.

See some media coverage of our recent Finnish-Russian Civic Forum 2007 in Kerkko Paananen's pages. The clips are in Russian, English, Swedish and/or Finnish. The persons interviewed are Oksana Chelysheva, Yulia Malysheva and Olga Kurnosova.

(Photo of Malysheva being interviewed on my previous blog post.)


I want to quote Lyudmila Alekseeva's speech. She addressed this in Radio Liberty's 50th Anniversary Celebration Conference 6 June 2003.

The path to a law-based democratic Russia is still long and difficult.

However, never in its centuries-long history has Russia moved so far along that path so quickly as it has over the last decade. I am not asking you to believe in miracles. I know that we need to muster our patience and not weaken in our efforts to achieve this sacred goal. But I would like to say something that I know you all know -- none of the Soviet-era human rights activists ever believed that during our lifetime, the Soviet Constitution would be replaced by one in which it was written that the main purpose of the state is to guarantee and defend human rights.

Now we have such a constitution. I believe that Russia will make the journey from our present lawlessness to a genuine law-based state in a relatively short historical period -- the lives of two or three generations. That is much less time than Western countries required to achieve democracy. I believe this not because Russia is special in some ways, but simply because Russia started out on this journey later than the others. Here's an analogy: When the first cross-country skier sets out into deep snow, the going is slow as he cuts a new path. The second skier moves faster, and the third simply flies over the trail that the others blazed.

Russia is that third skier.


I love her optimism. I wish there were more people like her.

Friday, July 06, 2007

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum 2007. Thanks, everybody!

"I believe that in ten years things have changed for the better. That the civil society has by then won over the bureaucracy."
–– Lyudmila Alekseeva, Helsinki Conference & the Other Russia movement, Moscow

Alexander Mnatsakanyan in the boat. And the Finnish flag.

Panel on Freedom of the Media. Or the media not being so free. Andrey Kolomoisky, Alexander Mnatsakanyan, Grigori Pasko and Andrei Nekrasov.

"I have been a journalist for over 30 years. I started when Brezhnev was in power. And I could have never thought the day would come when a journalist is shot to death in an elevator at her home building".
–– Grigori Pasko, journalist, Moscow

Grigori Pasko

A big audience. On a hot summer day. In an island, far from the pleasures of Helsinki. Can you imagine?

"Once again, it is impossible for the opposition to really participate in these [upcoming presidential] elections".

Oksana Chelysheva, Vice Chairperson of the Russian-Chechnyan Friendship Society

Mariana Katzarova and Oksana Chelycheva

"Times are changing. Everybody around Putin want to have changes, too. And things are not stable right now. But only the future will show how the changes will be like".
–– Yulia Malysheva, Chairperson of the Popular-Democratic Youth League, and the Other Russia Movement

Yulia Malysheva being interviewed by the Finnish television.

"It [the war in Chechnya] in not 'war against terrorism'. It is terrorism. Against innocent civilians".
–– Ivar Amundsen, Chechnya Peace Forum, London

Friends taking some time off. Aaron Rhodes and Ivar Amundsen discussing in the front, while others like Katzarova, Hicks, Chelysheva, Matinpuro, Harju, Sailo and IStori having their own funny talks.

"There is also a huge on-going environmental catastrophy in Chechnya. And these problems can not be solved in some small round-table meeting. That's why we have created the All-Russian Civic Congress. Please help us in every political level and fora – in the EU, everywhere".
–– Ruslan Kutaev, All-Russian Civic Congress and advisor of the late Chechnyan president Aslan Maskhadov. Grozny, Chechnya

Ruslan Kutaev met a Finnish fan. Who looks very Chechnyan, she was told.

"[the Russian] People don't see the connection between how they vote and what takes place after the elections. Most people think their personal safety is depending on their families, not on the state".

–– Alexander Nikitin, Bellona, St. Petersburg

Oksana Chelysheva, Lyudmila Alekseeva, Alexander Nikitin, Dmitry Lanko and Yulia Malysheva. And the Rule of Law.

"I just want to live in a normal European country where people are free and not tortured".

–– Andrei Dmitriev, editor in chief, Agency of Political News

Our dear bolsheviks. Andrei Dmitriev, Zahar Prilepin and Alexei Volynets are soon heading home, what a pity...

The sad fact that Lyudmila Alekseeva is leaving is not making Ruslan Kutaev laugh. It must have been just something she said.


Million thanks to our guests and co-organisers. It was great to make new friends – and to see some old ones again.

And very special thanks to Asman & her troops for the wonderful Chechnyan food!

(To see the list of speakers, please take a look at a the previous blogging on this below.)

Precious and not-so-valuable things.

Film director Andrei Nekrasov and producer Olga Konskaya on a water bus on the way to the Sveaborg islands in Helsinki archipelago. I like these guys a lot. But burning sun and strawberries? No thanks, not for me!

I was challenged by a. ja Korvenranta to tell seven things about myself. At random.

The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum 2007 has just ended, our guests have (almost) left and my notes are (almost, almost) completed. Now I have time to take a deep breath and reveal the seven things.

1. I long for adventures and new experiences. I wish I could take the train to Vladivostok and back. Well, maybe I can. The real question is "when"?

2. My favourite season is autumn. Even without proper, long holidays (which I never have had, and probably never will have), around August–September I feel refreshed and energetic. And too much sunshine make me feel dizzy or even sick.

3. I very, very seldom like comedies. Nearly never. On TV – only few are good, like the Monty Python stuff, Yes, Minister and Soap. (The best Finnish one: Tabu.) FILMS – eh, I can't remember any good comedies, but perhaps there are some. Ok, the Blues Brothers. And Jackie Brown – but is that one a comedy? How about THEATER? Nope. I never go to watch comedies in theater. I hate to see actors shouting and laughing out loud and men dressed in women's clothes and bumping into each other and dropping their trousers or anything equaly horrible.

4. I do not eat strawberries. Never.

5. I love going to sauna. To a really hot one, at least 80 C. And swimming, too. I try to do both as often as possible. (The guests of our Finnish-Russian Civic Forum went to a beautiful datcha and sauna day before yesterday. And I was not able to join them! What a pity! Still feel sorry for myself. I would have swum in the sea, too.)

6. I don't have an iPod but I envy people who do. Although I just don't think I have time to listen to anything extra. My days are so full of noises, voices and music already.

7. I don't like cooking anything complicated. Cooks on TV? Never watch them. Tried to see that Jamie Oliver once, but then I got same feeling I get when I open a cook book, any cook book: life is too short.


Ok, Seven radomly chosen details of yourself. And I now pass this on to Vaiheinen, Avaruusajan päiväunelmia, Mane the Mean, Oderazzi, Eksyneen turistin blogi, Terhikki and Vesikoira from Haukilahti (once I find your blog again, dear KK).

Monday, July 02, 2007

They are coming. Alekseyeva, Chelycheva, Nikitin, Pasko, Rhodes...

There is an interesting conference taking place in Suomenlinna fortress, Helsinki tomorrow and day after, 3–4, July.


The guests of our Forum in alphabetical order.

Whoah. What a list. And the program is here.

LYUDMILA ALEKSEYEVA is a veteran human rights activist, founder and Chairperson of the Moscow Helsinki Group, one of the foremost human rights organisations in Russia. Ms Alekseyeva is Co-chairperson of the All-Russian Civic Congress and a Member of the Organising Committee of The Other Russia coalition.

IVAR AMUNDSEN is Director of the Chechnya Peace Forum, based in London. He was friend to both slain journalist Anna Politkovskaya and former KGB officer Alexander Litvinenko. Mr Amundsen is a long-time campaigner for human rights.

OKSANA CHELYSHEVA is the Deputy Executive Director of the Nizhny Novgorod-based Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, which was refused registration in Russia. The society was then registered in Finland. The organisation is active in protecting the rights of Russia's Chechen minority and promoting interethnic dialogue.

ANDREY DMITRIEV is the Co-coordinator of the anti-Putin opposition's The Other Russia coalition in St Petersburg. He is the former leader of the now banned National Bolshevik Party in St Petersburg. Mr Dmitriev has been active in organising the recent Dissenters' Marches in St Petersburg.

OLGA GALKINA is a Member of the Regional Party Bureau of the liberal opposition party Yabloko's branch in St Petersburg. She is also one of the leaders of Yabloko's youth wing.

HEIDI HAUTALA is Chairperson of the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum. She is a Member of the Finnish Parliament, representing the Greens, and a former Member of the European Parliament. Ms Hautala was the Greens' candidate in the Finnish presidential elections in 2000 and 2006.

NEIL HICKS directs the Human Rights Defenders programme at New York-based Human Rights First. The programme assists human rights advocates under attack for their work. Mr Hicks is involved in campaigns including overseas missions, diplomatic advocacy, public education, and grassroots lobbying.

MARIANA KATZAROVA is Founder and Director of the London-based peace group, RAW in WAR - "Reach All Women in War". RAW supports women human rights defenders in conflict areas. The organisation has recently launched a special Chechnya Project. Ms Katzarova is former researcher on Russia for Amnesty International.

OLGA KURNOSOVA is the Chairperson of the St Petersburg branch of the United Civic Front, led by Mr Garry Kasparov. Ms Kurnosova is also a Co-coordinator of The Other Russia coalition and an active organiser of the Dissenters' Marches in St Petersburg.

RUSLAN KUTAEV is a Coordinator of the All-Russian Civic Congress, an umbrella organisation of Russian opposition movements, in North Caucasus. He is a Member of the Organising Committee of The Other Russia coalition. Mr Kutaev is a former advisor to late Chechen President Aslan Maskhadov.

DMITRY LANKO is Assistant Professor at the Department of European Studies of the School of International Relations at the St Petersburg State University. His expertise in Political Science spans throughout the Baltic region.

LAURA LODENIUS is Executive Director of the Finnish Peace Association. The organisation is Finland's oldest peace advocacy group in operation. The association unites a dozen peace groups in Finland.

VLADIMIR LYSENKO is Co-chairperson of the liberal Republican Party of Russia (RPR), which was closed down by the authorities. RPR is co-chaired by Mr Vladimir Ryzhkov. Mr Lysenko is a former long-time Deputy in the State Duma, Russia's lower house of parliament. He is President of the Institute of Modern Politics.

JUKKA MALLINEN is a poet and translator of Russian literature. His most recent translation is Russian journalist Valery Panyushkin's book, "Khodorkovsky: The Prisoner of Silence". Mr Mallinen is Chairperson of the Finnish PEN society and Deputy Chair of the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum.

YULIA MALYSHEVA is Chairperson of the Popular-Democratic Youth League, affiliated to Mr Mikhail Kasyanov's Popular-Democratic Union of Russia. Ms Malysheva is one of the organisers of the Dissenters' Marches in Moscow.

ALEXANDER MNATSAKANYAN is a journalist who has worked as a war correspondent for various newspapers in Transdnestria, Abkhazia, and Chechnya. He has covered the conflict in Chechnya since the early 1990s. Mr Mnatsakanyan is responsible for the project on murdered journalists at the Moscow-based Glasnost Defence Fund.

ANDREY NEKRASOV is a Russian documentarist from St Petersburg, most famous for his films. “Disbelief” was about the FSB being behind the explosion in Moscok, St. Petersburg and Ryazan (which led to the Second war in Chechnya), and the latter, "Rebellion: The Litvinenko Case", about the fate of the former KGB officer, Alexander Litvinenko. The latter was screened at the 60th Film Festival in Cannes in May 2007.

ALEXANDER NIKITIN is Director of the St Petersburg branch of the Norwegian environmentalist organisation, Bellona. Mr Nikitin is a former submarine officer, who was charged with treason for contributing to Bellona's report on nuclear safety within Russia's Northern Fleet. He is Deputy Chairperson of the Green Russia fraction of Yabloko.

GRIGORY PASKO is a free-lance journalist, specialising in environmentalist issues. As Editor of the newspaper of the Russian Pacific Fleet, "Boyevaya Vakhta", Mr Pasko disclosed the dumping of nuclear waste into the sea, for which he was convicted to three years in prison.

YEVGENI (ZAKHAR) PRILEPIN is the Editor-in-Chief of the Nizhny Novgorod edition of "Novaya Gazeta". He is the author of several works of literature, including the novel "Sankya", which was shortlisted for Russia's Booker Prize in 2006. Mr Prilepin is a member of the banned National Bolshevik Party.

AARON RHODES is the Executive Director of the International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHF), based in Vienna. The IHF monitors compliance with the human rights provisions of the Helsinki Final Act of 1975 and its follow-up documents.

BART STAES is a Belgian Member of the European Parliament, representing The Greens - European Free Alliance fraction. Besides environmental issues, Mr Staes has been active in promoting peace. His interests include Chechnya, Turkey, and the Balkans.

MIKAEL STORSJÖ is Secretary of the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum. He is a vocal advocate of the right of the Chechen people to decide their own fate and an ardent critic of the ruling regime in Russia.

NILS TORVALDS is a long-time broadcast journalist. He works with the Finnish Broadcasting Company's (YLE) Swedish-language service. He served as YLE's correspondent in Moscow in 1995-1999. Mr Torvalds was recently elected Deputy Chairperson of the Swedish People's Party.

ANU TUUKKANEN is Country Expert at Amnesty International's Finnish section. She coordinates Amnesty Finland's campaigning on different countries. Russia is one of Amnesty Finland's ten priority regions.

ANASTASIA UDALTSOVA is the spokesperson for the left-wing youth movement, Vanguard of Red Youth (AKM). The AKM is vocal in its opposition to the policies of Russia's present government and has been an active participant in the Dissenters' Marches.

FURUGZOD USMONOV is a contributor to the St Petersburg-based opposition newspaper, Delo. He has focused on the problems faced by Russia's ethnic minorities, especially those from Central Asia. Mr Usmonov has extensive knowledge about politics in both Russia and Central Asia.

KSENIA VAKHRUSHEVA is a member of the Coordinating Committee of the opposition youth movement, Oborona, in St Petersburg. Oborona is a movement of people who reject the injusticies, corruption, and lies of officials.

ALEXEY VOLYNETS is the Editor-in-Chief of "Limonka", the newspaper of the banned National Bolshevik Party. The newspaper continues to be published despite an official ban. The name of the newspaper is a play on words on NBP's leader, Eduard Limonov, and is idiomatic Russian for a grenade.