In Need of Better Safety and Gold Standards

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In response to "U.S. Details Secret Nuclear Shipment to Mayak," an article by H. Josef Hebert of The Associated Press on Oct. 24.

Editor,
Instead of putting public interest first and discussing the risks of nuclear transportation, this article ignores any real concerns. It seems to represent the point of view of the U.S. government only.
Preventing nuclear material from getting into terrorists' hands is an important goal that needs to be supported.
The Mayak nuclear plant is renowned not for its safety but for the world`s second-largest nuclear catastrophe in 1957.
Today, Mayak is also equally renowned for its lack of safety, poor security and the dumping of radioactive waste into the environment. It is surprising that a U.S. official would dare to claim that security there is "far tighter" compared to that in Hungary, a member state of the European Union.
Russians have held protests against the transportation of nuclear material from abroad into their country -- particularly when it involves "uranium tails," or radioactive waste resulting from uranium enrichment. And there are very good reasons for this. People know quite well that they are poorly protected against environmental catastrophes.
Russia is not a safe place to store nuclear materials -- not safe from being stolen by terrorists and not safe from an environmental disaster.
Vladimir Slivyak
Co-chairman
Ecodefense
Moscow


Real Reason for Train Clocks



In response to "The Backward-Looking Metro," a column by Georgy Bovt on Oct. 23.

Editor,
The clock that shows the time elapsed since the last train departed is not for passengers. It is for the train conductors so they know the distance between two trains.
Ertan Demirkiran
Moscow


When in Amsterdam ...



In response to "My Tips on Running a Successful Business," a comment by Tremayne Elson on Oct. 24.

Editor,
There is hardly a chamber of commerce that doesn't offer training on how to enter the Russian market with information and tips on how to solve problems in the country. But, unfortunately, this is not reciprocal.
Who is teaching and informing Russian business people about the cultural aspects of their counterparts abroad?
I often work with Russian trade missions, and I see how Russians behave as if they are operating in their home country. It can be very counterproductive.
Jan Beerenhout
Russia Foundation
Amsterdam


Gold Standard for Russia



In response to "'Why Kudrin Has Severe Chest Pains," a column by Yulia Latynina on Oct. 22.

Editor,
Regulators don't cause the problems, they are the problem. There is no free market anywhere in the world. Pure capitalism has never been tried in any modern society.
At the moment, Russia appears to be drifting somewhere around the outskirts of communism and preparing to dock permanently. The collapse of the U.S. dollar could save Russia from that fate by returning it to a gold standard, which is at the heart of true capitalism.
Bernard Palmer
Sydney, Australia


Too Fat for Revolution



In response to "Blind Faith of Free-Market Cheerleaders," a column by Boris Kagarlitsky on Oct. 16.

Editor,
If you're rich enough, you can get away with theft. That is the real attraction for many promoters of capitalism in the United States. It's not that anyone thinks that the market is many of infallible, but we are quite willing to consider it sacred.
The U.S. ideologues would rather see single mothers begging in the streets than be part of a forceful redistribution of wealth, although objectively that is probably what is needed in the United States.
Unless the present collapse is far worse than it appears to be, there's no hope our politicians will ever have the courage to even suggest such a solution.
Our people have tied their own hands, and they are far too fat and complacent to stage the kind of revolt needed.
Tony Somera
Champaign, Illinois


Biggest Bloc in the World



Editor,
It is very clear that Russia has sent a clear message to the West that it once again a strong global player. This became apparent after the Georgian war. This poses a great threat to U.S. interests in Asia, the Middle East and in Central Asia.
Now the question is, will there be any impact on the Middle East and the Persian Gulf? I think there will be a huge impact on these areas.
Russia already has strong ties with Iran, and it is helping it to maintain its nuclear capability. Moscow has the same ties are with Syria. This is a great opportunity for the Kremlin to play a vital role in Arab-Israel disputes and minimize the U.S. role as much as possible.
If these countries form a union under the leadership of Russia and China, this will be the biggest bloc in the world -- much bigger than the European Union and NATO put together.
Haris Shahid
Karachi, Pakistan