President Dmitry Medvedev dismissed the head of Russia's accident-prone navy and named a new air force chief on his last full day in office on Sunday as he prepares to take the No. 2 post under Vladimir Putin. Medvedev, who is on track to become prime minister after Putin returns to the presidency on Monday for a six-year term, has replaced the heads of the army, navy and air force in the past two weeks.
In a decree announced by the Kremlin, he dismissed Admiral Vladimir Vysotsky, whose nearly five-year stint as navy commander included a fire aboard an atomic-powered submarine in December and a deadly accident on another submarine in 2008.
Authorities initially said all nuclear arms aboard the Yekaterinburg had been unloaded long before a fire broke out aboard the docked vessel on Dec. 29, but a senior official later suggested it may still have been carrying the weapons. The official spoke after the respected magazine Vlast quoted Russian navy sources as saying the submarine was carrying 16 intercontinental ballistic missiles, each armed with four nuclear warheads, during the fire set off by welding sparks.
"After something like that, the head of the navy in any functioning state would have been sacked," said Ruslan Pukhov, director of Moscow-based defence think tank CAST. He said the decision was probably made by Putin, who becomes commander-in-chief of the armed forces when he is sworn in as president on Monday.
Medvedev replaced Vysotsky with a vice-admiral, Viktor Chirkov. In another decree, he named General Viktor Bondarev to replace former air force chief Alexander Zelin, who had grumbled about military restructuring and was dismissed on April 27.
Medvedev also dismissed the commander of the army in late April, but appointed him to a high-level post as deputy head of the military general staff. On Sunday, Medvedev named Zelin as an aide to Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.
Russia's military branches have been weakened by the growing power delegated to its geographical military districts, and the air force has lost some of its functions to the Aerospace Defence Forces, said independent military analyst Alexander Golts.
But Medvedev's main aim of the last minute announcement may have been to show "that he must be taken seriously", Golts said.
Steered into the presidency by Putin, who faced a bar on a third straight term in 2008, Medvedev has been seen as the junior partner in Russia's "tandem" leadership and may face trouble commanding authority as prime minister. He seems determined "to demonstrate that he is staying on - that the tandem still exists and that he still exists as the No. 2 leader of the state," Golts said.
Posted by: Frank G ||
AFAIC this is the French equivalent of Russia's VLADVEDEV = SARKOLLANDE??? I anticipate Sarkozy shall return like NOT-Gen. MacArthur.
* ION WORLD MIL FORUM > BACHELOR LEADERS: FRANCOIS HOLLANDE THE THIRD FRENCH PRESIDENT WID NO GOVERNING EXPERIENCE, NO OUTSTANDING OR EXEMPLARY CHARACTERISTICS, + NO WIFE. EURODOLLAR CRISES MAY EFFECTIVELY PREVENT HOLLANDE'S IDEALIST SOCIALIST PARTY AGENDA FROM BEING IMPLEMENTED IN FRANCE.
"I am absolutely comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women, and heterosexual men and women marrying another are entitled to the same exact rights, all the civil rights, all the civil liberties," he said a television interview.
His remarks came as the Obama administration continued to walk a political tightrope over same-sex marriages, with Barack Obama's own position on the issue said by aides to be "evolving".
In a sign of how sensitive an issue gay marriage is for Mr Obama's campaign strategists, gay rights groups initially took Mr Biden's words on NBC's "Meet the Press" as a significant step towards full endorsement, only for senior Obama aides to say the position remained unchanged.
David Axelrod, the Obama campaign chief strategist, clarified on Twitter that Mr Biden had only "precisely" stated Mr Obama's position that "that all married couples should have exactly the same legal rights".
A Biden aide then added further clarification: "The vice president was saying what the president has said previously -- that committed and loving same-sex couples deserve the same rights and protections enjoyed by all Americans, and that we oppose any effort to rollback those rights.
Translation: Greek voters are petulant children who don't want to pay for the many mistakes they've made.
Greece's former finance minister and Socialist party leader called for a broad coalition government of pro-European parties, ruling out a two-party government with his conservative rivals after his party received a drubbing in Sunday's parliamentary elections.
Official projected results showed Evangelos Venizelos' PASOK party plunging to third place with 13.6 percent and 42 seats in the 300-member parliament. The conservative New Democracy was projected in the lead with 19.18 percent and 109 seats, far below the 151 needed to form a government. The margin of error was 0.5 percentage point.
"A coalition government of the old two-party system would not have sufficient legitimacy or sufficient domestic and international credibility if it would gather a slim majority," Venizelos said. "A government of national unity with the participation by all the parties that favor a European course, regardless of their positions toward the loan agreements, would have meaning."
Doesn't the leader of the leading party get to decide what the coalition will be? Why is Venizelos running his mouth? His party is in third. Perhaps he should let the two leaders work it out and give him a call if they need/want him.
If borne out by final results, the outcome is devastating for PASOK, which won a landslide victory in 2009 with more than 43 percent of the vote.
Voters outraged by Greece's protracted financial crisis and the austerity measures imposed in return for international bailouts punished both main parties, turning to smaller anti-bailout groups instead. The leftist Syriza, which was projected in second place with 16.3 percent and 50 seats, has been strongly opposed to Greece's bailout agreements.
Common to all democracies are electorates who act like petulant children, unwilling to pay (themselves, anyway) for the many mistakes they have made, are currently benefiting from, continue to make, and will make in the future.
Didn't the EU install the current gov't by fiat not long ago? My take is that either they will step in again, or the Greeks will be summarily kicked out of the Euro as the Germans decide that they've played Daddy Warbucks for too long.
I figure that France is rapidly looking to join Greece. At that point the whole house of cards collapses.
Fair point, Beavis. When the Greeks cut their government budget by a third they can call. Spain, Italy, same thing.
Of course, we could cut ours by a third and not miss much.
Posted by: Steve White ||
Looks like the far right also gained seats. Anti immigrant, tired of supporting non greeks, called neo nazis.
Wanna bet their economic policies are indistinguishable from the rest of those elected? "National Socialists" are "far-right" only in the eyes of "International Socialists".
Posted by: Rob Crawford ||
"Facism is always descending on America, but it always lands in Europe."
Posted by: Barbara ||
"National Socialists" are "far-right" only in the eyes of "International Socialists".
This is one of my pet peeves lately. The Nazis were Socialists. They called themselves the National Socialist German Workers Party, fer cripes sake. Try telling this to someone who 'knows' the Nazis are right-wing. You'd have an easier time explaining quantum mechanics to a cow.