Russia: Deadly Fire Sweeps Through Psychiatric Institution
STORY HIGHLIGHTS NEW: As many as 37 people are dead in the fire, state media cite local investigators as saying The fire broke out at the psychiatric institution in the early hours, reports say The Emergencies Ministry says 23 people have been rescued, state media say A fire at a psychiatric clinic in April killed 38 people, sparking calls for better fire safety (CNN) — Up to 37 people died Friday after a fire tor through a psychiatric institution in Russia, a regional branch of the country’s Investigative Committee said, according to the state-run RIA Novosti news agency. A representative of Russia’s Emergencies Ministry gave a different toll, telling the news agency that 15 bodies had been recovered and 22 people were still missing after the fire outside the central Russian city of Veliky Novgorod. A criminal case has been opened to look into the cause of the fire, according to a statement on the Investigative Committee’s website. A total of 59 people were inside the building when the fire broke out, the Health Ministry said, according to RIA Novosti. The Emergencies Ministry said 23 people have been rescued, according to the news agency. Police are searching the area for residents who may have fled the site, it said. The fire broke out shortly before 3 a.m. Moscow time in the men’s ward of the Oksochi mental health care clinic, state-run Itar-Tass reported. The facility is a low-level wooden building. The fire has been extinguished, the news agency said, and dozens of emergency personnel are working at the scene. In April, a fire at another psychiatric hospital near the capital, Moscow, left 38 people dead.
Russia uncertain over prospects of SCO bank
Nonetheless, it is more concerned about China’s growing economic strength in this area and it has been demurring from contributing funds to the proposed bank. But what is noticeable is Russia’s active engagement in the BRICS bank. It is Russia that promoted the meeting of financial ministers of BRICS countries in order to turn an academic concept into a recognized coalition of emerging powers bearing significant implications for international relations against the backdrop of a tense relationship between Russia and the West. Russia’s national strength doesn’t allow itself to challenge the Western world nowadays, but the proposed BRICS bank can be an engine for the multipolar world that Russia dreams of. It also helps establish a fairer and more reasonable international financial order. The BRICS bank cannot replace the US-led International Monetary Fund or the World Bank even over the long term, but it is a strategic card that Russia will not give up. As the New York-based scholar Cynthia Roberts has pointed out, Russia’s BRICS diplomacy cleverly leverages China’s power to help lift the status of all participating countries, particularly Russia, in the global rebalancing. From a Russian perspective, the development banks under the SCO and BRICS differ greatly. First, Russia worries that China may expand its political influence in Central Asia by relying on its economic strength within the framework ofthe SCO development bank, while among BRICS countries, there is a somewhat balanced economic structure. There is no major power that can dominate the mechanism. India and Brazil can balance China’s power, while Russia can seek more advantages from it. Second, Russia has tightened its international strategic agenda and is unwilling to counter the West alone as a “revisionist state.” The BRICS bank can put China at the fore while supporting Russia’s idea of a polycentric world, which suits Russia’s strategic needs. Comparatively, any consensus within the framework of the SCO will be interpreted by the West as the joint efforts by China and Russia to challenge the West. Russia will not only have little economic benefits, but also lose room strategically.
Russia Celebrates a Triumph for Putin After Clinching Syria Deal
Thats simply because this is in the national interests of the Russia. Although no fresh opinion polls have yet been released since this weekends negotiations in Geneva, they are almost sure to give Putin and his diplomatic corps a boost in the ratings. But that is not because Assads regime has been rescued from a U.S. strike, says Alexei Grazhdankin, a sociologist at the Levada Center, an independent pollster in Moscow. Syria is too far away to garner much interest among the [Russian] population, he says. What matters to Putins electorate is how he manages relations with Washington. A harsh confrontation with the U.S. boosts Putins popularity at home, because it plays well with the older generation of voters raised on the dogmas of the Cold War. But any warming of relations also plays well for Putin, especially when it puts Russia in the position of an equal and respected partner. It hurts him when Russia is ignored or belittled, Grazhdankin says. But here Russia has taken a respected position, showing itself to be a serious player on the global arena. This naturally inspires positive emotions. That much was clear from the broadcasts this weekend on state TV.