TIME Ukraine

Ukrainian Protesters Topple Massive Lenin Statue

Ukraine
Activists dismantle Ukraine's biggest monument to Lenin at a pro-Ukrainian rally in the eastern Ukrainian city of Kharkiv on Sept. 28, 2014 Igor Chekachkov—AP

Police did not intervene as thousands celebrated the statue’s fall

Ukrainian protesters in Kharkiv, a city in the nation’s restive east, toppled a prominent statue of Soviet icon Vladimir Lenin late Sunday night in the central square.

A group of men scaled the massive monument and carved into it the words “Glory to Ukraine” before sawing off the statue’s legs and pulling it down from its pedestal, Voice of America (VOA) reports.

Police reportedly did not intervene as thousands celebrated the statue’s fall and raced to the wreckage to collect makeshift souvenirs. However, RT says that a criminal investigation has been opened into “the destruction of or damage to cultural heritage sites and personal property.”

Let him fall,” wrote Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, on his Facebook website, in Russian, according to a VOA translation.

The governor of the Kharkiv region had previously signed an order to demolish the statute, but demonstrators got to it first, the BBC says.

VOA says that more than 160 Lenin monuments have been pulled down since Dec. 8, when demonstrators began toppling the Soviet symbols in the capital Kiev.

TIME movies

Russia Wants to Win at the Oscars With an Anti-Russian Film

Palme D'Or Winners Press Conference - The 67th Annual Cannes Film Festival
Russian director and screenwriter Andrey Zvyagintsev, center, winner of the best screenplay at the Cannes Film Festival for his film Leviathan, attends a press conference in Cannes, France, on May 24, 2014 Vittorio Zunino Celotto—Getty

Leviathan follows a Russian man as he duels with a corrupt, pro-Putin local mayor

Russia is betting on an anti-Russia film to win big in Hollywood this winter.

The country has named Andrey Zvyagintsev’s film, Leviathan, as its submission to the Oscars, even after foreign reviewers described the film as skewering Russia’s corrupt politics, reports the TASS news agency.

“We took the decision after a majority vote. Leviathan is Russia’s pick for the Oscars,” Pavel Chukhrai, a film director on Russia’s Oscar nomination committee, told TASS.

Leviathan, which won best screenplay at Cannes, follows a Russian man as he duels with a corrupt (and pro-Putin) local mayor. The film has been widely reviewed as a grim, satirical take on Russian politics: in a review this spring, the New York Times called it “a scathing indictment of Russia under President Vladimir Putin.”

Zvyagintsev also told reporters at Cannes that Russia’s Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky had seen the film but “didn’t like it” — though he did call it “talented,” according to the Times.

Zvyagintsev’s films have done well on the international awards circuit: his 2011 movie, Elena, nabbed top awards at Cannes, and his 2003 film, The Return, garnered the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, Agence France-Presse reports.

Leviathan is expected to open in Russia in November — but, AFP says, with its profanities cut.

[TASS]

TIME Ukraine

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Tells U.N. That Moscow Must Stop Arming Rebels

"We are the country that needs peace and it's difficult to hammer out any kind of peace deal at the barrel of a gun, made in Russia"

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Wednesday demanded that Russia pull its forces out of Ukraine and stops the supply of arms to pro-Kremlin rebels.

Speaking at the U.N. General Assembly in New York City, Yatsenyuk said Moscow must start real peace talks with Ukraine.

“We urge Russia to pull back its forces, to pull back its artillery, to stop the supply of Russian-led terrorists, to restore the control over Ukrainian-Russian border and to start real talks — peace talks,” he said.

Yatsenyuk also urged Western nations not to lift sanctions against Russia until Ukraine regained control of all of its territory, the BBC reports.

In March, Russia annexed Ukraine’s southern peninsular of Crimea, sparking clashes between the Kiev-aligned military and pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country.

Yatsenyuk insisted that he intended to reclaim all lost territory. “Crimea was, is and will be a part of Ukraine,” he said.

Russia denies equipping the rebels or sending forces into Ukraine.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama said he would consider lifting sanctions on Russia if the government abides by a cease-fire signed on Sept. 5. Despite the agreement, fighting has continued in the rebel-held eastern city of Donetsk.

The U.N. says the number of people killed in Ukraine since the conflict began in April has topped 3,000.

“We are the country that needs peace and it’s difficult to hammer out any kind of peace deal at the barrel of a gun, made in Russia,” Yatsenyuk said.

TIME Outer Space

Russia Says It’s Putting Another Man on the Moon…By 2030

Soyuz TMA-12M Prepares To Launch
The Soyuz TMA-12M rocket launches to the International Space Station, March 26, 2014 at the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. Joel Kowsky—NASA/Getty Images

One giant leap for mankind, again

Russia’s space agency said Tuesday it will launch a “full-scale” exploration of the Moon as part of a long-term mission to get a human being on the lunar surface for the first time in decades.

The head of Roscomsos, Oleg Ostapenko, said that designs were already underway for a manned spacecraft that he estimated could reach the moon by the end of the next decade. “By that time, based on the results of lunar surface exploration by unmanned space probes, we will designate [the] most promising places for lunar expeditions and lunar bases,” Ostapenko said, according to a translation by Russian state-owned news agency ITAR-TASS.

The mission was announced at a government meeting chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who has previously threatened to sever ties with American space agencies over the West’s reproach of Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine crisis.

“At the end of the next decade, we plan to complete tests of a super-heavy-class carries rocket and begin full-scale exploration of the Moon,” Rogozin said.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 23

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

1. As coalition bombs fall on Islamic State targets, the future of the Kurds hangs in the balance.

By Dexter Filkins in the New Yorker

2. To solve massive international health crises and prevent future ones, the world needs a Global Health Workforce Reserve corps.

By Michele Barry and Lawrence Gostin in the Los Angeles Times

3. In Ukraine, a bad peace is better than a long war with Russia.

By Anatole Kaletsky in Reuters

4. The spiraling costs of end-of-life care signal that significant change — in policy and mindset — is needed.

By Jenny Gold in Kaiser Health News

5. Communities need information to survive and thrive. The public library is primed to meet that need.

By Amy Garmer in the Knight Blog

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME russia

Thousands of Russians March for Peace in Ukraine

Rallies take place in Moscow, St. Petersburg and other cities

Thousands of people staged a peace march in Moscow on Sunday to protest against the Russian government’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict.

People of all ages joined the rally and many waved Ukrainian flags, chanting songs and holding banners that read “Hands off Ukraine!” and “No to war,” the Guardian reports.

“This march is to show the people that there’s quite a number of people who are against the war and don’t think that most Ukrainians are fascists,” 28-year-old Mikhail Garder told the Washington Post.

Sunday’s march was the biggest antiwar demonstration in Russia since clashes between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels began in April.

Officials put the number of protesters at 5,000 but volunteer group White Counter says the number was closer to 26,000 people, the Guardian said.

Many protesters felt the Kremlin was inciting the conflict in eastern Ukraine by equipping the rebels with arms and tanks.

“A war with Ukraine, that’s the most ridiculous, the most idiotic thing that Putin could have come up with,” protester Yuri Smagurov said. “We have put ourselves in such a position that we’re against everybody — against Europe, against ourselves, against the United States, against normal life.”

At one point, several peace marchers clashed with pro-Kremlin supporters along the route but scuffles were quickly stifled by riot police.

Smaller rallies were also held in St. Petersburg and other cities around the country.

TIME Scotland

Russia Says Scottish Referendum Could Have Been Rigged

Scottish Independence Referendum 2014
Dejected Yes supporters in Glasgow, Scotland, on Sept. 19, 2014. Robert Perry—EPA

They should know

Scotland’s historic election on independence did not meet international standards for constitutional referendums, the head of a Russian voting rights organization has said, with procedures that left the result subject to rigging and vote-tampering.

Igor Borisov, chairman of the Public Institute of Suffrage in Moscow (also translated as the Russian Public Institute of Electoral Law), said the voting took place according to United Kingdom voting rules, which differ from the international community’s accepted procedures for such votes, Russian news agency Ria Novosti reports.

The unusual criticism comes just months after the international community rejected the results of a referendum in Crimea. The White House said the March ballot had been “administered under threats of violence and intimidation from a Russian military intervention that violates international law.”

Borisov said the chief concern in Scotland was the counting of the votes, which he alleges was not secure and was open to potential voter fraud and rigging. Borisov noted that the vote-counting room was the size of an “aircraft hangar,” which opened up the democratic process to tampering.

“Even if you want to, it’s impossible to tell what’s happening,” he said. “It’s also unclear where the boxes with ballot papers come from.”

[Ria Novosti]

TIME Military

U.S. Jets Intercept Russian Aircraft Near Alaska

F-22 Raptor Dedication Pass
Lockheed Martin F-22A Raptor carries out a 'Dedication Pass' as part of it's display at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Anchorage, Alaska. Keith Draycott—FlickrVision

The Russian planes, which included two bombers and two fighter jets, were nearing the Alaska coast

Two American F-22 fighter jets intercepted six Russian military airplanes that neared the cost of Alaska, military officials said Friday.

The U.S. jets intercepted the Russian planes 55 nautical miles from the Alaskan coast, Lt. Col. Michael Jazdyk, a spokesman for the North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, told the Associated Press.

The Russian planes—which included two long-range bombers and two fighter jets—looped south and returned to Russia after the U.S. jets scrambled to meet them. The Russian jets did not enter sovereign airspace of the United States, but rather entered an area that extends 200 miles out from the coastline known as the Air Defense Identification Zone.

The U.S. fighter jets were scrambled “basically to let those aircraft know that we see them, and in case of a threat, to let them know we are there to protect our sovereign airspace,” said Jazdyk.

[AP]

TIME Companies

Do Svidaniya, Pabst! Russian Firm Acquires Iconic American Brewing Company

Pabst Blue Ribbon
USA - 1949: A menu for Pabst Blue Ribbon reads "Menu, Finest beer served...anywhere!" from 1949 in USA. (Photo by Jim Heimann Collection/Getty Images) Jim Heimann Collection — Getty Images

The company that produced “America’s Best” beer in 1893 will now be Russian-owned

Russian firm Oasis Beverages announced this week that it will be acquiring famed American brewery Pabst Blue Ribbon — 170 years after the company was first established in Milwaukee.

“Pabst Blue Ribbon is the quintessential American brand — it represents individualism, egalitarianism and freedom of expression — all the things that make this country great,” said Eugene Kashper, chair of Oasis Beverages, in a statement.

“The opportunity to work with the company’s treasure trove of iconic brands, some of which I started my career selling, is a dream come true.”

The terms of the transaction have yet to be disclosed, according to the New York Times.

However, the chair of Russia’s largest independent brewery noted the company would continue to be based out of Los Angeles. American private-equity firm TSG Consumer Partners will take a minority stake in the company as well.

Besides the enterprise’s iconic namesake beer that has succeeded in capturing the heart of hipsters worldwide, the Pabst Brewing Company is home to myriad iconic American brands including Lone Star, Schlitz and Old Milwaukee.

TIME Congress

Ukraine President Asks Joint Meeting of Congress for Lethal Weapons

Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko acknowledges applause after addressing a joint meeting of Congress in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sept. 18, 2014.
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko acknowledges applause after addressing a joint meeting of Congress in the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Sept. 18, 2014. Kevin Lamarque—Reuters

“One cannot win the war with blankets,” says the Ukrainian president

Correction appended, September 18

Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, asked a joint meeting of Congress Thursday for military weapons in the fight against East Ukrainian separatists.

“One cannot win the war with blankets,” said Poroshenko to hearty applause. He added that both lethal and nonlethal aid is “urgently needed.”

The United States has provided about $60 million in nonlethal aid so far.

Poroshenko, who entered the House chamber to a three and a half minute standing ovation, astutely pulled at the heartstrings of Congress, tying Ukraine’s fate to American assistance in the fight, the “forefront of the global fight for democracy.” He also said that the country, like Israel, had the right to defend its territory and that the annexation of Crimea—”one of the most cynical acts of treachery in modern history”—wouldn’t be tolerated.

In a speech that lasted over 40 minutes, Poroshenko said the struggle “is not only Ukraine’s war.” He pushed for further sanctions against Russia to “help distinguish between good and evil,” a fund that would aid U.S.-Ukraine economic activity and a special U.S. security status for Ukraine.

“The war that these men are fighting today is not only Ukraine’s war,” Poroshenko said. “It is Europe’s, and it is America’s war too. It is the war for the free world.”

Correction: The original version of this story incorrectly reported that Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko gave his remarks to a joint session of Congress. It was a joint meeting.

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