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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Iraq, Emotive Visa Issues and 10th Anniversary

In response to "War on Iraq: Who Needs It?" a comment by Robert Skidelsky on Oct. 10.

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Robert Skidelsky makes many cogent observations regarding the motives for a military attack on Iraq by the United States. It is my opinion, however, that he omits the more fundamental political motivation for an attack against Iraq.

President George W. Bush is looking ahead to the 2004 election and pursuing military action against Iraq for the following reasons:

1. Military action focuses voter attention on foreign "enemies" as opposed to the weak economy;

2. American voters tend to re-elect an incumbent president during time of war;

3. Strong, independent presidents who are not afraid to use military muscle are appealing to a significant percentage of the American public, (you need look no further than Ronald Reagan and his invasion of Grenada and attack on Lybia, but the same holds true as far back as Theodore Roosevelt);

4. Finally, Americans just seem to love their military and the exercise of its power. We seem to treat it as another sporting event.

As a domestic political move, an attack on a weakened Iraq is guaranteed to appeal to the majority of the U.S. electorate, as long as there is a quick, decisive win with very few American casualties.

Frank Robin
Austin, Texas

I must say that Robert Skidelsky's article is the most comprehensive and the closest to the truth behind the war on Iraq. I would like to thank Robert Skidelsky and The Moscow Times online newspaper.

Yafai Hussain
Birmingham, Britain

All media outlets I have been reading around the world refer to the United States, France, the Germans or the Russians.

We use country names as if all the members of the country shared the same view -- e.g. as if all Americans share Bush's view on Iraq. I do not think this is an accurate reflection of reality. Probably most ordinary people realize that it is the elite in each country who benefit from the war, but who do not bear the cost since they themselves do not fight in it. The war is not really between nations, it is between the elites in various countries and ultimately the price of the war will be paid by ordinary people everywhere -- regardless of their nationality.

Barrie Hebb
Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada

Ukrainian Cuisine

In response to "Internet Search Leads to Love in Kharkiv Zoo," an essay by David Ginn on Sept. 25.

In David Ginn's essay, he reflects on his romantic experience in Ukraine after searching for a potential wife on the Internet.

The story has a happy ending. The guy finds his dream woman, and she later comes to America. However, the author presents a somewhat inaccurate picture, in my opinion, of the quality of Ukrainian food and why Ukrainian women are beautiful.

He states that the best food in Kharkiv is served in McDonald's and that Ukrainian women are thin and gorgeous because they eat "bad" food (I am paraphrasing here).

I am a Russian living in Moscow, but Russian and Ukrainian food is very similar, and I have been to Ukraine many times. The author probably has never attended a regular family dinner, let alone a party, in Ukraine, otherwise he would fully appreciate the diversity, richness, and freshness of Ukrainian food.

It does not have any preservatives and tastes far better than American fast food or a regular meal at a student cafeteria -- I know because I lived in the United States for six years.

My second point is that Ukrainian (and Russian) women are beautiful because of the very broad genetic foundation of the population of the former Soviet Union, in which Slavic people mixed (to some degree) with many other ethnic groups in the country, and the movement of people around the vast territory made sure that there was constant inflow of new blood even in relatively remote areas.

Also, Ukrainian women are slim because in our climate, calories are burnt much faster than in the United States and food does not have preservatives that slow down metabolism.

Finally, Ukrainian (Russian and Belarussian) women walk around a lot unlike women in some Western countries who prefer to drive everywhere even if it takes only 10 minutes to reach one's destination by foot.

I wish the author a happy family life and hope he will find some time to visit Ukraine again and go to some restaurant in Kiev to try some traditional local food.

Ruslan Anisimov

Happy Anniversary

In response to the 10th Anniversary Issue on Oct. 9.

I loved reading the anniversary issue stories, especially the one about the whereabouts of many of my former Moscow Times colleagues and their achievements over the years.

As the community editor on the original staff from 1991-93, I often recall the adventures and angst of living in Moscow. Being a part of The Moscow Times staff remains one of the most interesting, fun and challenging periods of my career.

For the record, I worked as a freelance business and feature writer in Bangkok (1993-96) and Riyadh (1996-99) during my husband's U.S. State Department postings after we left Moscow in mid-1993.

And yes, I'm still a working journalist. This time as managing editor at the American Water Works Association in Denver and spending my spare time spoiling our three grand babies.

I wish the MT staff another decade of continued success.

Judi Buehrer
Denver, Colorado

On behalf of the European Business Club and our members, I would like to express my congratulations to The Moscow Times on the occasion of its 10th birthday. For many foreigners in Moscow, your newspaper has been the only way to make sense of some of the incredible events, which have occurred over the past turbulent decade. Whether interested in Russia for business or pleasure, The Moscow Times has remained as one of the most important sources of information about Russia, in any language. I wish you an even more successful future, and I look forward to reading your paper over the next decade.

Irene Commeau
Managing Director
European Business Club

Thanks for your special anniversary edition. As a regular reader since The Moscow Times' very beginnings, I was amazed to see that 10 years have actually passed.

I can't really add anything more to all of the praise you've received from so many prestigious people -- I can only agree in particular with Lennart Dahlgren of IKEA and perhaps add that, even though I live abroad, my main source of daily news is The Moscow Times.

In fact when I'm in Moscow I never bother to buy an international newspaper because I've realized upon my return that my local newspaper can't add anything more to what I've already read while in Moscow.

And best of all, I'm always up to date on all that's happening, which has proven very useful at keeping up my long-term friendships in Moscow when I can't be there physically and can only communicate by telephone.

Maria Messina
Zurich, Switzerland

Fiancees and Students

In response to "
Fiancees Stuck in U.S. Visa Backlog," a story by Robin Munro and Oksana Yablokova on Oct. 14.

The situation with U.S. visas is really frustrating. It concerns not only fiancees but many other applicants, such as international students.

I have been waiting for my F-1 visa since July 2, when I was interviewed at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow.

The status is still the same: "Your application needs additional administrative processing. ... As of today, it has not been completed." I know about 10 students who are having the same problems. One of them has been waiting since the beginning of June. I believe that a public investigation of this topic would speed up the procedure and help a lot of people get their visas.

Dmitry Pestov
Nizhny Novgorod

I am from Moscow and this fall I was admitted as a graduate student to the applied and engineering physics department at Cornell University.

However, I have been waiting for my F-1 visa more than 90 days. I was told by the U.S. Embassy in Moscow about "additional administrative processing" at the U.S. State Department in Washington.

These precautionary measures are, of course, very important, and I agree that they are necessary as I plan to study in the United States and want to see a peaceful sky over America. But, on the other hand, Cornell expects me to start my studies very soon, so is it possible to speed up my case?

I personally know about 10 students from Moscow with the same visa delay problem. I sincerely hope someone is looking into this very frustrating situation.

Lioubov Kouznetsova

I would like to add the following to the story you published about fiancee visa delays.

The fiancees' fathers, husbands, and other acquaintances here are not taking this lightly. We are absolutely furious at the U.S. government. Now, you may think this will do no good, but I call your attention to the upcoming U.S. elections.

The story only mentioned a number of 145 or so, while actually the number of immigrant visas delayed is closer to 800, fiancees included. The number of visas for Moscow alone that are delayed is nearer to 3,000. Yes, some are students, some are business people, some are the wives, husbands, children and fiancees of U.S. citizens. If you add to this number another 3,000 from China, another 1,000 from India and so on, you can see this number rapidly grows.

The men and families here in the United States have joined together in this battle to fight the ridiculous decision that people from Russia pose some kind of threat to America. A web site,, was constructed that includes a petition to the U.S. government to correct this bottomless abyss of visa delays.

Come election day here on Nov. 5, if these delays are not over, our voice will be heard at the ballot box.

My fiancee had her interview July 22, and she is now waiting in Chelyabinsk.

William E. Phipps
Evansville, Indiana

Thank you for the story concerning delays over issuing fiancee visas. I am one of the individuals who have been waiting since July 24 for the issuance of an "approved" visa after a successful interview at the U.S. Embassy.

I would like to make a couple of points regarding U.S. Consul General James Warlick's comments:

1. If our interview had been conducted on July 19, my fiancee would have been with me in the United States on July 20. They abruptly stopped issuing visas July 22 with absolutely no notice.

2. The proof of the relationship with the U.S. citizen is done well in advance of the interview by the submission of documents to the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service by the U.S. citizen and by interview at the U.S. Embassy. The people experiencing the delay have already proven their relationship with the U.S. citizen to the consulate by passing the interview and receiving an approval for the visa. I attended our interview July 24.

3. Those of us who had interviews scheduled for the week of July 22 had applied for the visa in February 2002. This is now eight months of waiting for the K-1 visa. Where does Warlick get the figure of six months delay only if the papers are incorrectly filed?

4. The priority for visa processing is not for family-based visas. Please visit and you will see the real story.

5. Nobody has told us why Russia is "targeted." This is true as people from Muslim countries are receiving their visas.

My fiancee has been sitting in a hotel since July 24 and it feels like a prison to her. This is not justified.

Lawrence Clark
Bowling Green, Ohio

The situation with F-1 and J-1 student visas is as frustrating as that with fiancee visas. I personally know 10 students and five scientists from Moscow with the same visa delay problem, and the surprising thing is that some of the students handed in their applications at the beginning of the summer. In other words, it seems that the issuance of certain categories of visas has been frozen since June.

I should have begun my graduate studies at the Department of Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Sept. 4. However, I have been waiting for my F-1visa almost three months, and I do not know much longing I will have to wait for my visa.

I understand that precautionary visa measures are very important, but why the slowdown for a person like me who has already been to the United States and left without violating any laws?

Vasily Dolgushev
Dubna, Moscow region

Pakistani Elections

In response to "Observers Call Pakistan Vote Flawed," a Reuters report on Oct. 14.

I am writing in regard to the Reuters report on the recent elections in Pakistan, which quotes EU observers' criticism of the elections.

It is not only a contradictory assessment of the election process but also amounts to interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan. The people of Pakistan exercised their right to vote in an impartial and conducive environment, which is evident from the successful conclusion of the election process for both national and provincial assemblies in just one day. On the contrary, the observers from many other international organizations including international human rights organizations have expressed positive views about the general elections in Pakistan. It is therefore wrong to say that certain political parties were beneficiaries due to so-called official support. The outcome of the elections has surprised the analysts, which further vindicates the assertion that elections were not "flawed."

Pakistan is a member of the coalition in the war against terrorism and will continue to remain so. Political parties will have to decide among themselves about the formation of the future government in Pakistan, which is expected to be completed soon.

G.H. Bajwa
Press Counsellor, Pakistani Embassy