Baby … steps

What a country!  In United States, CIA watches Kremlin.  In Soviet Russia, Kremlin watches you.  (Well, the mere fact that Lunghu might be slightly paranoid isn’t necessarily conclusive evidence that “they” aren’t out to get him.)  Case in point:

A few weeks ago, Lunghu blogged about the US embassy in Bishkek and the way its outreach program made use of cowboy “culture” and Hollywood film to emphasize the key historical role of horses in both Kyrgyzstan and the United States.   In passing, Lunghu briefly suggested that perhaps the Iranian and Russian embassies didn’t have too much to offer the Kyrgyz in terms of cinematic fare, and that their ability to use “soft” cultural power was consequently more limited.

Somebody somewhere either saw that as a challenge … or as a business opportunity.

Russia’s giant Mosfilm, one of the largest and oldest film studios in Europe, has teamed up with Google to launch a channel on YouTube, where Mosfilm will be showcasing its feature films free of charge.  The channel already has 50 films available in HD on its virtual “shelves” and is planning to add five new films each week.  By the end of the year there will be up to 200 films from Mosfilm’s golden collection of several thousand, accompanied by subtitles.

Mosfilm traces its history back to the early days of the Soviet Union and cinema in the 1920s when film production was nationalized into the Goskino company.  It acquired its current name in 1935 and still proudly uses the famous Soviet sculpture “Worker and Peasant Woman” as its symbol.

Mosfilm logos, old & new

Now, if only broadband internet was widely available in Kyrgyzstan …

Of course, Russia already has a instantly-recognizable 21st C. brand presence in the global marketplace of ideas:  Comrade Bear.

Now that Easter obligations have been attended to, Prime Minister Putin has freed up his schedule to visit some of Russia’s neighbors to the West.  Since it might not yet be entirely safe to land a Tupolev aircraft in Poland, Putin has been visiting Denmark and Sweden instead.  Here his well-known sense of ironic humor was fully on display:

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin continued on Wednesday to criticize NATO military operations in Libya, saying that he was “dumbfounded” over how easily decisions are made to use force against countries.  … Apparently referring to reports about NATO planes bombing civilians in Libya, Putin remarked “this happens despite human rights and humanitarian concerns which the civilized world is believed to advocate.”  
“Don’t you think that there is a serious contrast between words and practice of international relations?” he said, adding that this “imbalance” should be eliminated.

In an unexpected departure from the standards of fair and balanced journalism for which the Kingdom of Sweden is world-renowned, Swedish reporters neglected to solicit the views of President Saakashvili on this subject.

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