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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Dismayed by Zhirik, Disillusioned Over Dalai

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Email the Opinion Page Editor

In response to "Zhirinovsky Hits Head in U.S. Car Accident," an article on Aug. 16.

I am an African asylum seeker residing in Moscow.

I read this article with dismay. I was very surprised to learn that the State Duma deputy speaker and publicity-loving maverick Vladimir Zhirinovsky had been in the United States.

My question is: Why did he travel to a foreign country for publication of his so-called book?

I know Zhirinovsky to be a hardened patriot and someone who loves to criticize foreigners. I would respect him greatly if I was told that he never travels out of Russia. I am a foreigner in Russia and I have respect for Russians and for their culture.

I think that Zhirinovsky should respect the decision of the Massachusetts police as he respects decisions taken by the Russian police. When you are in a foreign country, according to Zhirinovsky, one should respect the laws of the land. He is not above the law, he has to put up with it and not criticize.

I remember listening to this man after a football match between Senegal and France. He openly insulted a whole nation, calling the Senegalese players monkeys and blasted Senegal's victory over France as being just big politics; adding that it was impossible for this African country to defeat a European country (and the defending champion).

I always thought that this man was highly educated. But after listening to him on television and at the Friendship University when he was campaigning for his party, as well as reading articles about him, I am very disappointed.

Paul Amara

A Lack of Courage

In response to "Government Denies Dalai Lama Visa," a Los Angeles Times article on Aug. 19.

It is regrettable that the Russian Foreign Ministry has succumbed to Chinese government pressure and denied a visa to the Tibetan leader, his holiness the Dalai Lama. Russia should have the courage to adopt its own independent stance, particularly on issues that are close to many of its citizens. The Dalai Lama is not only a Tibetan leader but also the spiritual leader of several million Buddhists, including those in the republics of Tuva, Kalmykia and Buryatia in Russia.

This development may embolden the radical elements in the Tibet movement who feel the Dalai Lama's commitment to nonviolence is not achieving anything. It indicates that unless one uses a medium other than nonviolence, governments, such as that of the Russian Federation, will suffocate you.

Unlike the Soviet Union, Russia is supposed to be practicing democracy. The most important factor in a democracy is allowing a plurality of viewpoints. Unfortunately, Russia is failing to live up to these democratic ideals.

Bhuchung Tsering

No Visa Equals Moolah

It seems to me that Russia and all CIS states would benefit greatly from dropping visa requirements and offering 30-day visitor passes to citizens of most Western countries.

The enormous amount of euros and dollars generated from the tourist trade would elevate the standard of living for citizens of most former Soviet countries manyfold in just a few years. Russia would have millions of summer tourists overnight. Each one would spend in a day what the average Russian citizen spends in a month. I know many people who would love to explore Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States, but do not do so because of the strict visa regime.

Peter Dudley
New Durham, New Hampshire

A Hot Mission

I am a fan of The Moscow Times and highly appreciate the work you do in shaping the social climate of present-day Moscow. Although one cannot always share the opinions expressed, the role your newspaper is playing is special. The paper appeals to Muscovites, expatriates and guests alike and it would be hard to imagine a day in the capital without the familiar blue-black front page.

Someone said that people read for information, pleasure and from habit. The Moscow Times meets all those needs. There is, however, another mission for the paper that cannot be underestimated: It is very suitable and useful for people learning English and is very widely used in classrooms for homework as well as by teachers as a source of ideas and "hot" vocabulary.

As a teacher of English, I feel a few things could be done to attract more learners to the newspaper. I have to stress that they do not have to be beginners or intermediate-level students. Those categories are traditionally more or less catered to. But with foreign languages one never stops learning. Even very advanced speakers have to study further, for which notoriously there is never time. And, sadly, the competent English speakers' needs are more often than not completely neglected -- they mostly have to fend for themselves.

Alfia Yunusova
Moscow region

Sharing Russia's Loss

I read the sad news about the crash of a military helicopter in Chechnya, with the loss of so many brave lives.

Having served previously as a pilot in the Royal Australian Air Force, and now as a Qantas pilot, I can fully understand the inherent dangers of flying.

Please know that many thousands of Australians are also grieving for the loss of the loved ones in the crash, and our thoughts are with Russia's leaders, the victim's workmates, friends and families at this difficult time. Their deaths bring great honor to all Russia, as it would to the people of any country that loses its brave servants and defenders.

Alan Hennessy
Sydney, Australia