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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Immigrants, Nukes, Ideals and Wayne Gretzky

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Email the Opinion Page Editor

In response to "The High Cost of Low Immigration," a comment on Nov. 21 that had run as an editorial in Vedomosti.

How many times have I read in the press that the Russian population is shrinking and that this demographic crisis must be solved by attracting immigrants?

Why doesn't the press ask the Russian people already here whether they want such a solution? Call me a xenophobe, but I do not and don't know a single person who does.

I am sure that repellent images and negative stereotypes should not be applied to all immigrants, but I also believe that hostility towards these people will only rise in direct proportion to their increasing numbers among us. Who can tell if we will be able to avoid what happened in France?

This is not just a problem of replacing Russia's population: It is a problem of Russian citizens feeling weak, unprotected and unsure of their future in their own country. Economic growth cannot be built on the crisis that increased immigration would bring.

Olga Kouznetsova

A Tire Maker Responds

In response to "Tire Maker Minimized Taxes: Paper," a Reuters story citing a Vedomosti report published Nov. 11.

Unfortunately the material used in the article contained a number of mistakes because of an imprecise translation and inaccurate interpretation of the article in Vedomosti on Nov. 10. As a result, The Moscow Times used a headline that misled its readers.

The precise citation from the AmtelVredestein document is the following: "Several entities within the group have used special purpose entities, mainly in periods before Dec. 31, 2002, in which they did not hold any direct or indirect equity interest, for tax and customs duty minimization purposes."

Companies that are part of the AmtelVredestein group have never used and do not use schemes for optimizing taxes. The companies referred to in the citation never belonged directly or indirectly to companies in the AmtelVredestein group.

Alexei Gurin
General Director

In Support of Democracy

As a student studying in the United States, I always follow political news about my home country, Azerbaijan, in The Moscow Times. I want to thank you for always giving fair news about my country to the whole world. My nation expects and hopes for the support of all democratic forces like you. My nation can achieve the freedom and democracy it wants only with the support of the democratic world and democratic media.

Babak Mammadov
Warrensburg, Missouri

Russia and Nearby Nukes

In response to "Russia's Last Best Chance," a column by Richard Lourie on Nov. 21.

I enjoyed Lourie's column. I would point out, however, that the nuclear threat to Russia comes less from its own insecure arsenal than from one the Russian government is helping to develop. For Russia to defend the nuclear aspirations of Iran is tantamount to suicide. Yet the Putin government continues to obstruct the UN's efforts to halt Iran's uranium enrichment program. It seems money from Iran is more important than Russia's safety.

Iran is an Islamist theocracy with a history of supporting terrorism in the Middle East and an arsenal of 1,500-kilometer-range missiles that will soon be armed with nuclear warheads. What makes Putin believe Iran won't support Chechnya's separatist movement with nuclear-tipped missiles? I am fortunate to live outside of the 1,500-kilometer range of Iran's missiles, but Putin and millions of innocent Russians do not.

Crosby Boyd
Sanibel, Florida

Ideals and Sacrifice

I am an American who has lived, studied and worked in Russia for much of the last six years. This experience has led me to some second thoughts on recent Russian political history. Much has been written about the agony of the 1917 Revolution and the subsequent years under the communist regime, and at the same time a great deal has been written applauding the bloodless nature of the revolution in 1991.

My second (and perhaps contentious) thoughts come to this: Perhaps the peaceful nature of the collapse made Russia's transition into market liberalism an exercise of the elite -- the masses were alienated in and by the process. Because ordinary Russians did not lose their lives in great numbers in the struggle for their political and economic freedom, these freedoms are easily being eroded under the current regime.

If many Russians had suffered for an ideal, as did the revolutionary French and Americans, the galvanization of the entire society around principles of freedom, democracy and market capitalism would have occurred. No one thinks bloodshed is a good thing in and of itself, but perhaps if average Russians had had more involvement in the process of overthrowing the old regime, the post-1991 freedoms would not be so easily co-opted by petrodollar-funded governments who can have their illiberal way, now and in the future.

Brad Clark

So Who Is Wayne Gretzky?

Can you help us solve a mystery as complex as trying to explain the rules of cricket to a Chuvash?

Who is Wayne Gretzky?

We cannot understand why your newspaper gives so much coverage to American sports and so little to other sports popular in Europe (other than soccer or golf). Would it be possible to get some badminton, handball or curling scores? And we would enjoy the occasional reference to rugby, too.

Rugby is one of the most popular games played around the world. Plenty of us play it in Moscow, and we deserve a little more than a news headline here and there. Bring it on!

Francois Nonnenmacher