Valery Timoshenko – “Gyp Putin”, caviar and Pussy Riot.

Media of New Zealand about the APEC Summit 2012 in Vladivostok

Mass Media of New Zealand as well as the Australian media didn’t pay special attention to APEC summit in Vladivostok, limited only by informational line of news agencies. But on the day of the opening summit in Vladivostok landed a ‘New Zealand troops’. Besides the official delegation, headed by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, in Vladivostok landed the “troops” included a representative group of New Zealand businessmen and small but cohesive squad New Zealand journalists of the country’s largest conservative newspaper the New Zealand Herald.

Such a high interest of New Zealand to Vladivostok Forum was not accidental. The years between the two countries were negotiating about free trade agreement. In case of signing this document, Russia could become the second country after China to the market which would be open access for New Zealand goods. However, the Russian leadership has insisted on maintaining some protectionist measures, to ensure that a cheap New Zealand products are not causing damage to Russian farmers. Therefore, the New Zealand delegation in Vladivostok expected another  “heavy round of the fight”.

New Zealand businessmen submitted by members of the New Zealand International Business Forum (NZIBF) regularly put their records on the Summit on the pages of the Web site NZMBF. As stated by one of the members of the business delegation, Stephen Jacobi, the Summit discussed the contribution of the New Zealand business in “future prosperity in the region through trade liberalization, security of food and water, infrastructure development, promotion of innovation and new transport routes. New Zealand businessmen took an active part in the work of the various working groups, in particular for small enterprise development, agriculture and transport, and education. The activity of New Zealanders has not passed in vain. Just three men went to the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC). In their opinion, the most exciting part of the job was the opportunity to meet and interact with the ABAC, which was very influential and successful business people both inside and outside their countries.

New Zealand businessmen were quite satisfied with cultural program of the Summit. In his daily column they wrote about driving on the world’s largest cable-stayed bridge, about visit Revolution Square and memorial submarine. Particularly struck by their entertainment for the delegates of APEC. Here’s how they wrote about it in his column, ‘After the first day of the session, we were treated to lunch in the open air, which was accompanied by a concert of famous Russian artists, including winners of the Eurovision – Buranovskie Babushki.” Reception on the occasion of the closing of the next night was held on a cruise ship ‘Legend of the Seas’, where we were entertained by the famous violinist and conductor Vladimir Spivakov with his chamber orchestra, the Russian pop star. There was a lot of laser light and fireworks, and, of course, a lot of caviar! ‘

New Zealand businesses were satisfied with the general results of the APEC summit. The most significant achievement, in their view, was the decision to reduce tariffs on a list of ‘environmental goods’ to 5 percent by 2015, which in practical terms, the advantage of New Zealand companies producing and exporting these types of products.

A somewhat different impression Vladivostok summit produced on New Zealand journalists, headed by Fran O’Sillivan. As a member of many economic councils, won international awards in the field of journalism, she is one of the most famous and influential New Zealand journalists. Although Fran O’Sillivan stated that its main aim is provide crucial business intelligence on New Zealand which is “informed, influential and indispensable”. Her reports from APEC Summit took place in the best traditions of the cold war. Russky Island she compares with Gulag. Houses are built in the style of “crappy construction standards: lifts stopping mid-floor; toilet doors too large for their frames.

the journalist John Armstrong is solidarity with her In the article “the Curse of Russky Island strikes” In his article, he relates the case when New Zealand journalists stuck in lift with a curse of earlier existing Gulag. He wrote about the death from starvation of four sailors adrift by his superiors (in fact, one sailor died and four were hospitalized). But he didn’t mentioned that the event happened almost twenty years ago, right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and has nothing to do with the Gulag, no to Putin’s Russia. However Armstrong wrote that the starvation threatened nobody on Summit, food was enough. But here he put his fly in the ointment, saying the organizers had to abandon the traditional Russian borscht, because one of the ingredients is used only to fed animals in some countries. This can be understood so that the Russian eat that in civilized countries get used only animals. Armstrong was also dissatisfied with housing of Russky Island, which he called the “cheap, sterile, modern architecture”, only faded, but quaint, charm of Vladivostok was a relief to the eyes.

Business results of the APEC summit also didn’t awoke optimism in New Zealand journalists. Russia didn’t conceded New Zealand on the issue of free trade. Prospects grim and nothing good promise. Blame the “totalitarian regime”, “gyp Putin”  and … Pussy Riot. Though, as you know, APEC is not a political organization and on its summits does not relate to issues of policy, the New Zealand journalists devoted several articles to Punk band Pussy Riot. According to Paul Little the locals of Vladivostok catty on Pussy’s rights.

Of course, in the eyes of “progressive humanity” the hooligan group appears in the guise of fighters with “Putin’s regime” for freedom of speech and expression. But,why APEC Summit? After morals of freedom with reference to the Gospel, Little suddenly jumps to a situation with one of New Zealand companies, which has provoked controversy with administration of Vladivostok over the land. The conclusion is, what kind of a fair resolution of the dispute may be involved in a country where even the rights of punk groups have been violated.

John Armstrong looks at the problem is much broader. The problem of Pussy Riot directly connects the inflow of foreign investment in the Russian Far East. At the same time, he recognizes that public opinion in Russia, especially the Orthodox people, is opposed to a punk band, but, in his view, swearing at Christ the Savior is not a serious offense.

Armstrong was also surprised, why the locals aren’t staged protests. And answers this question: “protesting could be a serious hazard to your health. TheRussky island is ringed by warships and S-400 ground-to-air missile launchers, with MiG-31 fighter jets at nearby military bases on alert to scramble at the merest hint of what might look like a terrorist plot.”

Must be mentioned that official delegation headed by the Prime Minister of New Zealand, John Key, was quite satisfied with the APEC Summit and despite of the difficulties on the free trade issues they still believe in further negotiations.

Residents of Russia, especially the Far East, of course, know about the negative aspects associated with the construction of Vladivostok, the theft and corruption, about the construction status. No one takes off  responsibility from the President and the government for that. A number of trials of corrupt officials has already begun. Ultimately, it is our internal matter. This is not the case. The case is in the regard to Russia by some western media in the spirit of the “cold war.” Recall the famous case of the Soviet ambassador to Sweden, on provoking question about Soviet achievements asked by one of the journalist which did not see even a decent toilets in Soviet Russia, revolutionary Alexandra Kollontai answered: “Everyone is looking for what he is most interested.”

By the way ordinary New Zealanders is not thrilled with how journalists described the APEC Summit. On the forums when discussing articles they drew attention to the elements of the cold war, and it was wrong to teach Russian, when themselves are not in order. Here’s how one of them responded to the article by John Armstrong. «Hi-de-hi from Putins, the pollies’ paradise»: These myopic poorly educated so called elders of NZ who are now very wealthy they being a privileged class all thier lives and seeking to maintain the tenacious grip prefer this country at all costs to languish in the dark ages and not make progress. The sooner they all die off the better for this country if we have time to adjust and adapt to handle rapid climate change.

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