Sunday, August 31, 2008

Magomed Yevloev dead

According to the information I have recently received, Magomed Yevloev was killed this morning in Nazran, Ingushetia. Yevloev was a lawyer and publisher of the website "".

Yevloev was detained by the police at the airport in Nazran, and he was later delivered to the hospital - again by the police, it seems - where a wound in his head resulted to his death. According to the hospital he had been shot.

Mr. Yevloev visited us, the FinRosForum meeting last summer in Suomenlinna (Sveaborg), Helsinki. I will add a quote from him into IStori soon after I have watched his speech with my fellow Forum guys. EDIT: the footage is here.

Please see the Kasparov website for the news (in Russian).

* * * * *

This little princess is Anna Stepanovna Mazepa (later: Mrs Politkovskaya), age four, in New York where his father was an ambassador of the CCCP.

Yesterday it would have been Anna's 50th birthday.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Yes they can nominate him!

I have a dream! Even though I am not a Finnish Social Democrat, well-known for their new campaign made out of wishes that must come true if they are to continue among the hard-core achievers in the Finnish politics.

A Historic Moment. I can feel the winds of change.

Reuters today, in the Independent:

To shouts of "Yes we can," Democrats nominated Barack Obama yesterday as their presidential candidate in a historic first for a black American.

The following points belong to Obama's goals (quoted from his website, under the title of Foreign Policy):

# Strengthen the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty: Obama will crack down on nuclear proliferation by strengthening the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty so that countries like North Korea and Iran that break the rules will automatically face strong international sanctions.

# Toward a Nuclear Free World: Obama will set a goal of a world without nuclear weapons, and pursue it. Obama will always maintain a strong deterrent as long as nuclear weapons exist. But he will take several steps down the long road toward eliminating nuclear weapons. He will stop the development of new nuclear weapons; work with Russia to take U.S. and Russian ballistic missiles off hair trigger alert; seek dramatic reductions in U.S. and Russian stockpiles of nuclear weapons and material; and set a goal to expand the U.S.-Russian ban on intermediate-range missiles so that the agreement is global.

I wonder how Russia will take all this. I wonder. A black candidate reducing nuclear stockpiles. The Nashi kids must be dumbfounded, too.

I am afraid the Cold War is alive and well, and it is the Eastern block strenghtening it, this time.

A missile seeking sunshine in its silo.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ruhnu (Runö)

This summer's Estonia Flower tour (Blomsterresan) headed as far as to Ruhnu, an island of 64 inhabitants in the middle of the Gulf of Riga. The surface of the island is 11,9 km², length 5,5 km and width 3,5 km.

It was excellent. We were 30 Finns, the majority of us (all but Mr HP, Miss Funnybunny and me) Swedish speaking Finns. Swedish as their mother tongue, Finnish as nationality.

Workers, unite!

One of us had to leave from the Tallinn harbour back to Helsinki with a helicopter and continue to Moscow, and to Georgia from there. The newest war in Caucasus broke just when we had arrived in Estonia.

So, from Tallinn, we 29 people drove by bus to the Munalaia harbour near Pärnu and took a small ship to Ruhnu. According to the information given by the captain the ship is not to leave the harbour if the wind becomes faster than 15 m/sec. But, as we think the case was, in the middle of the sea the wind was much heavier than the limit.

But I think we all would have become seasick anyway.

As we all did. So what. Recovery starts quickly, just when one has jumped onto earth. It took only three hours to get to Ruhnu, and - if you don't count the wind - the weather was mild, warm, almost sunny, and the water (= the Baltic splashing all over us) was warm, too.

Mr HP and Miss Funnybunny relax on the deck.

Our house. Our little family lived downstairs, with another couple next door, and four people upstairs. We all lived in cottages like this. loooks like from the Lord of the Rings, doesn't it? "Shire" I mean.

Our Swimming Society swam at 7 in the morning. As we did in Pärnu, and had shots of brandy afterwards. "Must celebrate the End of the Season", as our President explained.

Limo rand (Limo beach), Ruhnu.

Friendly fox, pal of Miss Funnybunny's.

A tromb is arriving. Luckily we sailed to the opposite direction.

Before being back in the North, we still had some important things to do:

firstly, to see a garden...

then, to enjoy nightlife on board (Tallinn -> Helsinki).

Last and least, the Sveaborg (Suomenlinna) fortress very near home sweet home, in Helsinki, Finland (despite the Swedish flag of the ship).

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Strange Assault In Nizhny Novgorod. Stanislav Dimitrievsky targeted again.

Dear Readers

The Following has been was sent to me by Oksana Chelysheva, a Russian journalist and Human Rights specialist. She is currently living in Helsinki under the Writer in Exile program of the Finnish PEN. I publish this with Chelysheva's agreement, and please feel free to quote or forward the text (or this link).

She feels safer, and so do the members of the movement in Nizhny, knowing the news on assault are actively spreading in the West.

The photo was taken by me, IStori, a year ago in Helsinki, when Dimitrievsky was visiting the Finnish Human Rights and Peace movements.

"On 14 August at 4.20 am unidentified people assaulted the flat where Stanislaw Dmitrievskiy, the chair of the Russian-Chechen Friendship Society, and his family live. The flat is located on the first floor of a five-storied apartment building.

Assaulters smashed the window pane of the living room with a silicate brick. The brick smashed the outside pane. The inside pane sustained the blow. Thus, the brick fell down outside the flat. The brick was painted red, with swastikas and numerous insulting and threatening graffiti.

There were the following inscriptions on the entry door, "Dmitrievskiy vermin traitor of Russia ap.24 Believe it!" Swastika followed them. There was an inscription on the kitchen window pane, "Get away!" and a swastika. The inscription on the side part of the door (next to the code key) stated, "Dmitrievskiy is a whore". There was another insulting inscription below the kitchen window on the wall of the house.

Dmitrievsky's neighbors claim that they spotted two suspicious people. They explained that they were woken up by barking of the dog that the residents of the apartment building have been taking care of. As they thought that those might be car thieves, they looked out and threatened that they would shoot at them from an air-rifle. As it was still very dark, they could discern only the silhouettes of the two people dressed in sport suit, one of them having luminescent pigment on the side stripes.

Dmitrievskiy immediately called the police. The patrol police arrived in some forty minutes and the investigators came to the site of the accident only at around 7 am. They only scraped off some paint to examine it and took the brick with them as evidence. In their words, the case will be investigated by a local policeman. The photo footage of all the inscriptions and the site was carried out by the Nijny Novgorod Committee against Torture.

We connect the assault with the coming publication of the research into the international criminal law that the staff of the organization has been working on for the last a year and a half as well as the open letter to Vladimir Lukin, the Russian ombudsman, with regard to the armed conflict with Georgia."

Oksana Chelysheva

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Finncon 2008

M. John Harrison. Farah Mendlesohn. Charles Vess. And Cheryl Morgan, in Finland again! She has written an excellent report on the con, please see this entry in her blog. (And THANKS, Cheryl, for you beautiful words!)

Lots of splendid presentations, 7000 participants, anime fans in strange costumes, discussions, signings, scifi fandom dressed in black as usual, cat ears, meeting friends – old and new ones – in beer sessions in bars or in the countryside with or without sauna...

And the sunny city of Tampere. What more could you ask for in a literary get-together?

M. John Harrison in the Lenin Museum, Tampere. The only Lenin museum in the world.

Petri Hiltunen analyzing War. Definitely.

M. John Harrison, Edward James and Charles Vess waiting for their turn to go to sauna. Ladies went first.

Mr and Mrs Guest of Honor. And guess what it is behind them, a small hut down the hill? Sauna, of course.

The Finnish Sauna

Wherever I spend my weekends or holidays in Finland, I never fail to go to sauna, and I always swim, if there's just some water nearby. (Usually there is.)

"In the sauna wear your birthday suit. Nakedness is natural. Sweating makes swimsuits uncomfortable.

There are no exact rules of behaviour but the ritual is meant to be relaxing. Hurry and noise are out of the question and so is reckless competition about who stands heat best.

It is a good idea to begin with a wash or shower; a seat towel for the hot room is also useful.

The temperature should be 80-90°C; ten minutes at a time will be enough. Air humidity is regulated by ladling small doses of water onto the stove stones. Warming up and cooling off can be repeated as many times as feels good. Whisking adds to the pleasure."

These pictures are from a summer cottage in the middle of the lake Päijänne.

1. Approach the sauna.

"The basic sauna ritual is the same as it always was: warming up, sweating, taking löyly vapour and whisking, washing and cooling off. Cooling off nowadays often includes swimming. Many people like to cool off in the open air, and there are also brave ones who want to roll in the snow or take a dip in the sea or lake through a hole in the ice."

2. Take your clothes off and get in. (If you feel very dirty you might want to swim at first too, like I usually do.)

3. Go swimming. Then go back to sauna. Then swim again. And go back. And so on.

"Sauna bathing does not only clean the body but also purifies the mind. The bather's frame of mind after a leisurely relaxed sauna ritual could be best described as euphoric. It is like a rebirth; all unpleasant feelings fall away and you feel at peace with the whole world. This is what Finns mean by the care of the soul received in the sauna."

4. Admire the view, as it must be late evening or night when you finish with the bathing.

5. Tomorrow it will be a new day! Start heating the sauna (starting time depending on the type of sauna: sauna with a chimney, smoke sauna, or sauna for continuos heating), so it'll be ready in the evening again.

The quotes with facts are from the site of the Finnish Sauna Society.