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Rival Petitions Want Russia, U.S. Branded 'Sponsors of Terrorism'

Published: May 13, 2014 (Issue # 1809)



  • U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the Pentagon in Washington. (File)
    Photo: Aaron Hostutler / Defense.gov

Two rival petitions urging the U.S. government to designate either Russia or the U.S. as a "state sponsor of terrorism" for their respective policies in Ukraine are vying for signatures on the White House website, with the anti-Russian one enjoying a strong lead so far.

The petition targeting Russia had a one-week head start, having been posted on the "We the People" section of the website on April 23, and had garnered more than 53,300 signatures by Monday afternoon.

"In its unannounced war against Ukraine, Russia relies on covert operations which fall squarely within the definition of 'international terrorism'" under U.S. law, the petition said. The appeal needs to gather at least 100,000 signatures by May 23 to require the White House to respond.

The rival appeal, which uses the same language except for replacing "Russia" with "USA," showed up on April 30. It had slightly more than 500 signatures by Monday.

Both petitions blamed the violence in Ukraine on "armed operatives" saying that the respective foreign forces "acting under disguise, attempt to influence the policy of Ukrainian government by intimidation or coercion."

The anti-American petition then added its own line, complete with spelling errors, to comment on the supposed U.S. operatives: "Luckily, they have disappeared by now."

Currently, the U.S. designates four countries as state sponsors of terrorism Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel said during ABC television's "This Week" program on Sunday that a more appropriate expression to describe Russia would be an "adversary in Ukraine."

Hagel also criticized Russian President Vladimir Putin's statements that Moscow had pulled back its troops from the Ukrainian border.

"Well, they're not leaving, as far as we can tell," he said. "You have to ask President Putin as to why he says they're leaving and when, in fact, they're not leaving."

Moscow denied accusations by Ukrainian and Western officials that its troops are engaged in the ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine, and instead accused the U.S. and European governments of having fostered the conflict.





 


ALL ABOUT TOWN

Saturday, Aug. 30


Break out the tweed and channel your inner Englishman during the English Hunt Picnic this afternoon organized by the Bagmut stables from Krasny Bor in the Leningrad Oblast. Equestrian stunts, English archery and classic hunting fashion will all be available to visitors hoping to live like the characters in Downton Abbey if only for a day. Tickets for the event cost 7,900 rubles ($219.40).


Bookworms will have their chance to swap out well-read classics for something new for their bookshelves at Knigovorot, a free book exchange that will be held in the Yusupov Garden on Sadovaya Ulitsa today. Come for the chance to get a new book or take the opportunity to discuss the literary merits of your favorite authors with fellow fans.



Sunday, Aug. 31


The Neva Delta International Blues Festival wraps up this afternoon on Vasilevsky Island with a concert featuring not only some of Russias best blues bands but international stars as well. Admission is free for all three days of the festival, which begins on Aug. 29, and the shows starting at 5 p.m. each day.



Monday, Sept. 1


Today marks the beginning of Lermontov-Fest, a fall festival celebrating the life of one of Russias most remarkable poets who, in a fate eerily similar to Pushkins, was killed in a duel at the age of 26. Organized by the Lermontov Library System, the next several months will see art exhibitions, concerts and public lectures focusing on the Lermontovs short yet prolific career. Check the Lermontov Library Systems website for more details.



Tuesday, Sept. 2


Join expats and practice your Russian during the Russian Clubs weekly meetings every Tuesday night at 7:30 p.m. The club is free to participate in although you need to be a registered member of Couchsurfing.



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