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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Daughters Are Like Jewels to Russian Fathers

In response to "Everything Is Relative for Relatives in Russia," a column by Genine Babakian, June 5.

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Babakian managed to professionally observe all the fine points about family relationships in this country. Yet there is a minor comment I'd like to make. The Russian word brakodel is derived from the word brak in the meaning of defective goods or articles, rejects rather than marriage.

These are homonyms in the Russian language and often present problems for foreigners studying Russian. Therefore, it cannot be a marriage broker or a matchmaker, but a person producing some low-quality second-rate stuff, sort of a botcher.

A father of many daughters is jokingly dubbed brakodel because of his apparent inability to produce boys. To defend himself, he, however, may assert that a girl is a piece of more delicate workmanship, so it will be more appropriate to call him a goldsmith or a jeweler.

Georgy Meyerovsky

America Is Like Rome

In response to "Diplomacy May Be the Best Defense," an editorial, May 30.

It has come to the world's attention that yet again the United States wishes to use the old and tested Anglo-Saxon tactic of "divide and conquer" to persuade the Russian Federation to support America's planned abrogation of the ABM Treaty.

It is plainly obvious to people all over the world and it should be to Russia as well that the bribes offered by the United States in the form of the purchase of S-300 anti-aircraft missiles is the very same type of deception that the United States had used on Mikhail Gorbachev, when it promised no NATO expansion in exchange for Soviet acquiescence to German reunification.

It may never be known for certain what financial sweeteners were offered to Comrade Gorbachev to persuade him to go along with the Americans and, later, to support blatant U.S. lies.

The proposed national missile defense shield is a fraud, a fraud on the American people meant only to enrich the arms companies and their shareholders. But the repercussions of this corporate greed will indeed cause an arms race and prevent many countries from devoting resources to the betterment of their citizens. Russia and China, among many others, face this prospect.

In my opinion, Russia and China must remain united in the defense of global freedom and sanity. If they allow the new Romans to divide and rule, then Russia will become just a minion of the world's only superpower.

John Jureidini
Sydney, Australia

NASA Is Just Jealous

In response to "In NASA's Defense," a letter to the editor by Ken Williams, May 25.

I believe that Williams has failed to consider many important issues and chooses to concentrate only on what he perceived to be the negative aspects of Dennis Tito's space flight.

It is not a secret that NASA is still mad that the Russians were the first in space. To this day, this irrational jealousy poisons what could be a very productive cooperation in space. Williams and people like him have to realize that Tito's flight brought positive attention to the international space station and arguably made it easier for NASA to obtain additional funding for its programs.

As long as space tourists are well prepared to endure their little vacations in orbit, there should not be any obstacles to their flights. The Russians will get much-needed cash, and the ISS will get positive publicity. Everyone wins — except for those jealous types who will always whine and complain just for the sake of it.

Dmitri Chafir

Applause for Queen Beatrix

In response to "Ashamed of the Queen," a letter to the editor by Diederik Lohman, June 1.

As a South African citizen, I would like to respond to the letter in which Diederik Lohman deplores the meetings of members of the Dutch royal family with President Vladimir Putin, who — according to Lohman — has Chechen "blood on his hands."

I would like to ask the following question: What was the position of the Dutch royal family at the time of Dutch colonialization of southern Africa and the East Indies in the mid-17th century? In South Africa, Dutch policies resulted in well over three centuries of massive bloodletting, the last 40 years of which I had witnessed personally.

It is virtually impossible to find a country with a pristine, blood-free history. Fortunately, the Dutch royal family is more pragmatic and far-sighted than Mr. Lohman. The Chechen conflict is just a part of what is happening in Russia at the moment and President Putin's efforts, against overwhelming odds, to bring Russia into the Western European fold should be encouraged at every opportunity.

I applaud the Dutch royal family for their positive, supportive attitude and hope that their visit will be a huge success.

Estelle Roos

Moscow Has Peanut Butter

In response to "Moscow's Not L.A.," a letter to the editor by Lenard Leeds, June 1.

Apparently, Leeds is not happy about the state of Russia. And I agree with him: Russia is not prepared for tourists — yet. It annoys me a lot to pay up to 150 times what Russians pay for access to certain attractions. And I am not even a tourist: I live here, and pay taxes that pay for schools, hospitals and other services I don't use.

But I do disagree with Leeds about one thing: He can find peanut butter in Moscow. With lots of cholesterol, from which he has a greater chance of dying than from criminal attacks in Moscow. I feel safer here than in some neighborhoods or in the metro in New York.

And I also disagree about Leeds' bragging. Americans have their entertainment culture, and Russians have theirs. And I should rather stay with Russia's! So, please, enjoy Los Angeles, Mr. Leeds (I have been there, too).

Ulla Simonsen