Sunday, August 31, 2008

$0.00 vs. $0.99

Piracy: the unauthorized use of another's production, invention, or conception especially in infringement of a copyright (Merriam Webster Dictionary)

Common knowledge, one would have thought, but is it really?

When I first came across this term, I hadn't quite realized that I'd been a consumer of such products among millions of others, particularly in the land of "rightful" piracy - Russia. Back when we couldn't get original records and videos from abroad, the only alternative (and not a cheap one, either) we had at the time was a pirated copy of a foreign CD, VHS, etc.

One of my most vivid memories from the time my family moved to Moscow is a regular weekend trip to "the park of all pirates - Gorbushka" where one could literally get hold of anything that had ever been released in the west, or at the very least order a pirated copy from one of the "wiz" movers and shakers of Gorbushka.

Over the years, this venue has become one of the hotspots of Moscow and has, in fact, been featured in some of the tourist guides for foreign visitors.

Here's one such example: "Within a short walk from the metro station, this market located in the park around the Gorbunov House of Culture is very popular with both Russians and foreigners. You can buy any computer CD-ROM, CD, DVD and video film here, as long as you're not too bothered about copyright infringement. The prices are generally very cheap. Pirate copies account for more than ninety per cent of the CD-ROMs on sale, and more than half of them are translated in the Russian language."

You can only imagine the popularity of this music & film lovers' haven back in the days of Soviet Union - it was packed, to say the least! I bought all of my initial records at Gorbushka, from Maria Callas to Whitney Houston... It was my favorite weekend getaway with my dad - Saturday afternoon at Gorbushka was my ultimate dream come true at the tender age of 9!

Shortly afterwards, though, after the Soviet Union had completely collapsed and getting hold of foreign products became a matter of popping over to a nearby store, I realized that no pirated disk with faded artwork could replace a civilized CD with a colorful and informative album sleeve with liner notes, etc. You couldn't get an imported album for less than $15 but it was so worth saving up for that original copy!

Naturally, at the age of 9 (or even 12) copyright infringement was the last thing on my mind. But even when Napster became the coolest site among my classmates in the late 90's, I wasn't tempted in the slightest - what's the point downloaded an mp3 when I can buy an album with 12 tracks and a nice album sleeve with credits and "thank you's? That was my weak argument against Napster and its clones, but I meant every bit of it, although my friends couldn't figure out how a free download could beat a full priced CD bought at the Purple Legion, my favorite record store at the time.

Now, years later, before I've even released an album commercially, I realized that my upcoming single which is currently available for promo only - "Thinking of Someone Else" - is beginning to appear on various Russian websites for sale... Which is so odd because at the moment, it's exclusively available through compilation CDs for Promo/Radio/Press ONLY, so whoever is getting the 15 cents per download is clearly practicing the forbidden act of piracy!

It's childish to feel angry about this, of course, as one could argue that if your music is already circulating among pirates, it means that there's some sort of demand for it. So although technically it's a copyright infringement at its worst, the fact that at least a few of the people are willing to hunt for an mp3 download of the song is somewhat flattering, nonetheless.

No one has managed to really beat the system just yet, not even iTunes. People are still willing to spend that extra hour in search of the cheapest or even an all-around free download of their favorite song of the week...

It's human nature, after all: "If I can get this song for nothing, why should I pay 99 cents for it?" Unfair, I agree, and even cruel, for everybody is entitled to a share of the profits as a result of their own blood and sweat. But guess what? It's the reality.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Eddie's Spiral

If anyone had told me several years ago that I'd be launching my career on a commercial scale with a club remix, I would have laughed in their face - for no apparent reason other than the fact that I've always been miles away from dance music, let alone clubs and remixes.

In fact, years ago I was strongly advised to take this very route by a dance music connoisseur but chose to keep pursuing what I had initially envisioned.

In the very beginning of my career, a very good friend and publicist, Jeff Chegwin, arranged a meeting for me with one of the most prominent figures in UK Dance music, Eddie Gordon. I couldn't quite understand "why" dance music when my demo recordings at the time were all compiled of classic musical numbers, such as Andrew Lloyd Webber's "Sunset Boulevard" and songs penned by Michel Legrand and the Bergmans. Now how did that fit in with club music, I wasn't so sure....

The day before I met Eddie Gordon, I had just been introduced to Nigel Wright, one of Lloyd Webber's primary producers, who was incredibly charming and sweet. It seemed like a perfect match for the type of music I had been passionate about, but it was the same old story - with just a few bare-bone demos to my name and no management whatsoever, there wasn't much Nigel, or anyone else in his position, could do for the Moscow-based teenager.

Next stop - DANCE.

I can vividly remember walking into Eddie's office together with my parents (they were with me in London for my two-week trip of meetings and initial introductions - that was right before I actually moved to the UK) - club music thumping out of loud speaker, I felt at the very least out of place genre-wise.

We spent about an hour talking about this, that and the other. Eddie's immediate verdict was the following: "forget theater music for the time being, you should pursue dance music instead..." It came across as Chinese to me at the time, honestly. Imagine a Streisand-admiring teenager singing songs from "Yentl" who is suddenly being told that it's dance and club music she should consider above all.

My folks and I exchanged puzzled looks of confusion, as Eddie stepped away for a few minutes. He came back a while later with a notepad and started drawing a big circle which then became a spiral....And by the end of it, he put a big black dot in the middle of the spiral.

What did that mean?

"Basically, you'll keep going in circles and all sorts of musical directions until you finally home in on a dance track, trust me."

We thanked Eddie for his time and left the meeting feeling a little puzzled.

And guess what?

I have a feeling that he was right!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

“Thinking of Someone Else” Tops UK Club Favorites…!

Tinatin's "Thinking of Someone Else" Dr. Octavo Charmix is beginning to top the club favorite's in the UK!

Top London DJ Jay Martin presents the hot summer anthem collection.

DJ Jay Martin - Take It Out In Trade (Summer Club Anthems August 2008)

01 Stare Into The Sun - Jamie Scott & The Town
02 Waiting For The Night - Henrique & Danny Merx
03 One Day - David Latoure ft De Marco
04 What A Wonderful World - Axwell & Bob Sinclar
05 Shine On - RIO
06 I Love You - Nerved ft Anna Hanser
07 Thinking Of Someone Else - Tinatin
08 Disturbia - Rihanna
09 Into The Nightlife - Cyndi Lauper
10 They Said I Said - Sugarush Beat Company

Watch this space for more news from UK and Canada about "Thinking of Someone Else", and by the way - more remixes by top UK DJs (and beyond!) are on the way... So stay tuned :-)

A Night Out on the East River

What a month it's been so far, trying to juggle everything at once - the UK/Canadian promo of "Thinking of Someone Else", preparing new club remixes of the song as a bonus track for the single, researching and following the ever-so escalating conflict back home which has gone way beyond a Geo-Russian dispute, in fact, covering the news at the UN with a a particular focus on this issue, and so on.... So much to do, and since the summer is almost over - there's only so much time for a bit of fun!

Last night was a perfect opportunity to escape the reality of a political world - sailing across NY's Eastside with live music and a great company of friends and colleagues - what more could you ask for?

Well, it certainly didn't help waking up this morning with a piercing pain in the throat - no singing for me today, that's for sure! So what do you do instead on a beautiful Thursday afternoon with a sore throat and a bit of a headache (no, no, I only had a couple of glasses of Captain + Coke) - right on the verge of getting sick? I spent an hour or two in the heart of Central Park... reading today's newspapers and preparing for my radio show! Not glamorous, perhaps, but so relaxing, nevertheless. Oh, and my iPod helped immensely as well - new ideas on the way and all that.... Not as good as a proper holiday, but still rather soothing for the soul!

I've spent the last few months reading so much about Russian history and particularly the Soviet era, I realized the other day that I've been neglecting entertainment and fiction for a while now, so I just picked up a funny book called "A Waiter's Rant" - absolutely hilarious. So this book, alongside my other current read, "Why Did the Soviet Union Collapse?" (doesn't sound too entertaining, does it? Haha) and the iPod - can't complain!

Here's to the upcoming long weekend!!!

Will have to keep an eye on the politics, though, so you will forgive me if I write a paragraph or two about the current events and the news from home and beyond... Hard to be ignorant about it when it is so obviously close to home and is increasingly affecting all of us not only in Eastern Europe but pretty much everywhere else..... More on that later :-)

Monday, August 25, 2008

Freedom of Speech - Illusion or Reality?

Writing about politics has never been a particular forte of mine and I've never attempted tackling it one a strictly professional note, but at the same time, I've always quietly harbored a hidden passion for current affairs and admired those not afraid to voice their honest opinion (something we're all entitled to, although heavy censorship doesn't always allow it) even if it means not always being in full agreement with their leadership.

Freedom of press is an ironic and somewhat "foreign" phenomenon to me coming from a highly-censored culture (particularly the days of the Communist regime, which rarely, if ever, allowed true artistic, journalistic and political opinion among Soviet citizens) and having witnessed, albeit through second-hand sources, the outcome of these rare outbursts made public by opinionated and brave thinkers.

Yesterday's intelligentsia (wikipedia: a social class of people engaged in complex mental and creative labor directed to the development and dissemination of culture, encompassing intellectuals and social groups close to them) largely wiped out initially during the reign of Lenin and later Joseph Stalin, have been swiftly replaced by today's oligarchs and the few overly outspoken journalists.

The Economist made an interesting point about the struggle for democracy and censorship of the Russian media:

"The room for honest speaking is far greater than Russian intellectuals make use of."

This is partly true, as most of the mainstream political journalists in Russia have seen the fate of activists such as Anna Politkovskaya and Galina Starovoytova unfold as a result of "rebellion" against the media censorship, government's media restrictions have been by and large replaced by the inner self-censorship as a means of self-defense. "See no evil, speak no evil" - as simple as that!

Yet on the other hand, one wonders if such restrictions in voicing public and journalistic opinion, whether it's brought forward by the government of any given country or simply one's own cautiousness, could potentially result in a healthy understanding of "what's going on" instead of scripting the country's political affairs based on a prewritten outline.

But it's hard to blame those who are trying to keep their profile "low" and away from the eyes of the censor....

Regardless of what the reality of today's world and its tight protocols may impose upon our society and the price we will have to pay for this need, the freedom to speak one's mind and read - at least relatively - unbiased news reports will always remain irreplaceably vital as one of the "given" rights of a human being.

Whether we chose to struggle towards implementing this common "human right" is up to us alone... Individually and collectively.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

In War & Peace

Amidst numerous speculations about the situation in Georgia and the relationship between Georgia and Russia that has escalated to a political conflict between the two nations over the past couple weeks, many have tried to place the blame on both leaderships depending on the country of origin of the media source and their political affiliation.

On a personal note, I have found it to be a rather tricky political game way out of my apolitical reach to judge this or that political party, but at the end of the day, trying to remain unbiased initially, I realized that common sense can at times be much more valuable and objective than a direct affiliation with one leadership or another.

When your home country is under attack by the country where you spent your entire formative years, it is at the very least a personal dilemma...

Having spent most of my childhood in Moscow after my family moved to Russia when the civil war broke out in Georgia around the time of the Soviet collapse, I quite naturally made friends for life in Russia, studied in both Moscow-based international school and the Moscow State University and also made my very first steps in my musical career opening the first Russian film festival in Cannes at the age of 14 - all of this took place during the years I spent living in Moscow, the capital of the country that is now in war with my country of origin, Georgia.

I keep reminding myself that any political conflict is between politicians and not civilians, therefore, friends that have become my other family back in Russia and our close ties both historically and personally between the two nations should not have to suffer from these recent tragic events that took place between Georgia and Russia in South Ossetia and beyond. But at the same time, there's an inner conflict that makes all of this far more complicated to handle than mere words on paper and biased news here, there and everywhere (so is the nature of the media speculations and journalistic wars between different sources, unfortunately.)

This evening I came across a couple of interviews by Eduard Shevardnadze, who is best known for his role as Soviet foreign minister under Mikhail Gorbachev. The man who helped end the Cold War and reconcile Moscow with the West later ruled his native Georgia for a decade, albeit not too successfully perhaps as his presidency resulted in a hugely publicized overthrow in the "rose revolution" triggered by the youthful, pro-Western Mikheil Saakashvili in 2003.

But that aside, even the former Georgian President admitted that this current conflict between the two neighboring countries could only have lose-lose consequences for all parties concerned, including Russia: " Whatever the price, we have to fix the relationship between Georgia and Russia. For two centuries we have lived together..."

"Georgia was a Russian colony for more than 200 years ... But this is the 21st century, the time for colonies is over. Georgia now has the strong support of the outside world," Eduard Shevardnadze told Reuters earlier today. And it is true.

This war is beginning to affect the civilians and those who lived as neighbors for years on end. With so many Georgians living in Russia (and Russians, too, do live in Georgia and have been known for having mixed Geo-Ru marriages for so long now) how do they live together in peace, for every one of us is entitled to defending their own country and leadership - except that's not always positive, given the magic of "common sense" and open-minded understanding of the bigger picture.

Another point that Shevardnadze made in his interview to Reuters, which really is well on the money was the explanation of how a Georgian mind works... That is, with regards to how like everywhere else, the country and its citizens were split into pro-Saakashvilians and those against his politics and actions.

"You know what mistake the Russian leadership is making when they say they don't want to deal with Saakashvili - that he should resign and only when there is a new president, they will start a new conversation with Georgia? Previously, when the military campaign in Tskhinvali failed, and Georgians subjected Saakashvili to serious criticism, most of the people were against the president. But when Russia began to ask for his resignation, most of the people began to support him. It is the Georgian nature, you have to understand."

And this is coming from the man who was overthrown by Saakashvili in 2003! At times, good diplomacy really works - especially at times like these.

All of this said, the dilemma remains the same - when a war breaks out so close to home with another country that became my surrogate home for years while I lived, studied, made friends and learned the ABCs of life and took my first musical steps, I can't help but feel torn...

But at the end of the day, when I hear the news - from sources other than those of Georgian or Russian affiliation - about Georgian people, my people, suffering as a result of this tragic conflict, living in fear day to day, expecting the war to resume any day (and let's hope this really is the end), that's when I realize that no matter what, it's the civilians affected by any political conflict whatsoever who are the ones suffering the most - there are no winners in such cases, never.

I find it to be ridiculous when the media start to speculate about the winners and losers of the war. It's very sad. But that's the nature of journalism, I guess - everything has to have a logical beginning-middle-and the end, otherwise the story won't stand the editorial examination prior to deciding whether the material deserves a column or not.

One last thing - when I was little, I couldn't really understand the mass obsession with the pompous "world peace" propaganda in every corner of the world and in every industry, including music. And as it turns out years later, ultimately this is all we can really hope and pray for (alongside health and well-being of the ones we love) because everything else is so minuscule and so very trivial...

Finally this really is starting to makes sense now - "world peace" isn't just a pompous demand, it really is the core of it all, the big goal that we, the humanity, strive to achieve in this struggle against war - any war, be it the one on a large political scale or the war within us and among us as people.

And everything else... Well, we've just go to keep it in perspective. It is so easy to take the security of the countries we live in for granted, and at moments like this, you just realize how quickly for some people that security can go - practically overnight...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Thinking of Someone Else" on ERG Music Compilation, Canada

Tinatin's "Thinking of Someone Else" - Dr. Octavo Charmix - will be released in September for PROMO, RADIO and PRESS ONLY by ERG Music Canada among other late-summer hits of 2008 covering a variety of leading artists in the pop music scene, as well as the latest radio edits of Alternative, Rock, Pop, AC, Country, Hip Hop, House, Urban and Dance, and the top 12" extended releases of the summer!

For upcoming news about the U.S. promo release of "Thinking of Someone Else", check in with us in the coming weeks and you'll hear about it first!!

Monday, August 18, 2008

It's a Tie: When Personal Offense Replaces Political Integrity....

"As he waited for a BBC interview to begin, Mikheil Saakashvili took a call on his cell phone, absentmindedly stuffed the end of his red silk tie in his mouth and began to chew it in an apparent attack of nerves.

What he did not know was that the cameras were already rolling and the BBC would broadcast the footage on Friday, with a joking comment about the Georgian leader chewing over his next move."

The above article by Anna Malpas appeared in The Moscow Times earlier today, stirring quite a bit of "youtube-esque" interest once the BBC clip was picked up and spanned by the news sources in Russia.

In fact, criminal psychiatrist Mikhail Vinogradov, who specializes in serial killers, told the Vesti news channel that Saakashvili "shows the highest degree of anxiety" and that he is "psychologically inadequate."

Moreover, the web site went further, writing that "such mental unbalance leads to irresponsible political decisions, which lead to chaos, human deaths and humanitarian catastrophes."

Personally, as one of the many, many millions of readers and viewers following the current events back in Georgia, Russia, etc. I can't help but wonder how much further and even more so - lower - can the media get at times when political and purely diplomatic stories just won't suffice in satisfying the editors and the general audience and they simply have to dig in deeper and deeper, overstepping way beyond professional boundaries.... It is staggering at best and quite offensive and even insulting at its worst, or is it not?

One of the other online media sources, also commenting on the BBC clip, made the following suggestion about the "live" incident: "Saakashvili seemed very hungry. Obviously Georgia really is on the brink of a humanitarian crisis and needs the help it gets from the United States."

Whether we support one party or another, without being biased - there are times when it's just a bit too much - the very point where one's journalistic integrity and ability to use his/her professional stature in the most effective manner.

When an objective, unbiased yet healthy news coverage and editorial commentary is replaced by personal insults and questionable but offensive attacks, it's hard to take the information covered in the politically incorrect material with any more trust or interest than any given article from The National Inquirer or the UK's Sun.

Again, I only voice my personal opinion(s) in these blog posts, but at the end of the day, we - those who live in the 21st century democracy - have every right to say what we think and write what we believe is true. We all have our political beliefs, religious outlooks and general opinions on this, that and the other.

Not one political leader in the history of humanity has ever been impeccable in their actions and deeds, rarely far from being saints and angels, but does that give anyone (e.g. a journalist, a fellow political figure, an ordinary civilian) the right to personally and openly attack, insult and as a matter of fact to morally destroy anyone (be it a politician, a celebrity or a regular person) - by ridiculing continuously, on daily basis, their innermost habits, private affairs, personal lives (unless any of this truly affects our lives as a result), etc.

Without defending anyone nor taking personal sides, it pains me to see that our society has become so "small" and minuscule whereby we have to dig for the cheap and superficial trivia in order to greedily satisfy our morbid curiosity.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

After Georgia - What's Next for US & Russia?

A clearly uneasy period for the Russian/US relations both on diplomatic and purely political grounds in full gear, as well as the US aid and that of the United Nations made readily available to Georgia, including the conflict zone of South Ossetia, as well as Gori, very few have raised the question of the future of U.S.-Russian relationship from this point onwards.

However, an article that appeared earlier today through a source at the Associated Press raises this very question yet on a rather objective note.

It may just be useful to put the undoubtedly tragic outcome of the conflict (especially for the civilians affected by the recent upheaval) and the act of placing the blame (obviously clear by now to many but a few, which does vary depending on whose "side" you're on) aside for a moment, and analyze how these recent events that took place in Ossetia and Georgia proper will influence the near future of the diplomatic and political ties between the Russian Federation and United States of America.

Just another opinion from a slightly different angle, which I thought some of you may find equally interesting:

Analysis: After Georgia, what next for US, Russia?

WASHINGTON (AP) — There is blame to go around as the United States assesses the disastrous consequences of the war in Georgia.

President Bush was overconfident. Georgia's pro-American President Mikhail Saakashvili overreached. And Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin overreacted.

Now what?

Washington is trimming cooperation with Russia on several fronts, most of them military so far, while saying the loss is Russia's. Putin, clearly in charge if there was any doubt before, seems unconcerned.

But even as the White House has concluded Moscow must pay further for an out-of-bounds war with U.S.-backed Georgia, it is worried now about going too far itself.

The cost of overpunishing, Bush's advisers believe, could be to feed Russian grievance and encourage the very Cold War-style regional aggression the West decries. Bush advisers appeared startled over recent days at raw statements coming from Moscow that suggest many in the Kremlin still put a premium on maintaining or even expanding the square mileage under Moscow's control.

An even bigger cost could be the cold shoulder from Moscow the next time the U.S. needs its help.

Say, a few weeks from now when Washington wants Russia's vote for a new round of U.N. Security Council penalties against Iran for its suspected nuclear weapons program. Or perhaps if North Korea balks over the plan to get rid of its atomic bomb arsenal.

A Russian plan to host a follow-up to Bush's Mideast peace conference of last year is probably dead for now.

Russia also cannot be ignored. It is one of the Security Council's five permanent, veto-holding members, as well as an energy behemoth with business ties across the globe.

Bush helped set himself up for a fall by sounding so openly optimistic over the years about Russia's desire for full legitimacy alongside the democratic, free-press nations on the other side of the old Iron Curtain.

This crisis mushroomed far beyond what he or other Western leaders imagined. The president has tried to contain it while striking the right balance of condemnation, coercion and concern.

Bush spoke on the topic, with increasingly tough rhetoric toward a Russia he once considered a promising if imperfect partner, on five of six days this week. That's a level of public presidential attention that few crises have drawn in his eight years in office.

"Bullying and intimidation are not acceptable ways to conduct foreign policy in the 21st century," he said Friday at the White House. "Russia has put its aspirations at risk," he added Saturday from his ranch in Crawford, Texas. Further, Bush said "there's no room for debate" over whether Russia can lay claim to Moscow-loyal separatist provinces in Georgia that are at the heart of the conflict.

The White House has decided there will be further consequences for Russia, no matter whether it fully complies with a U.S.-backed cease-fire that was signed by Saakashvili on Friday and by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Saturday.

For one thing, other nations in the region that once were Soviet republics or satellites have become nervous. Those countries need to hear world leaders tell Russia its actions in Georgia were unacceptable — and to see some bite that shows they mean it.

Bush's credentials as a self-styled global freedom fighter, particularly one who promised unflinching support to democratic Georgia and may have indirectly emboldened Saakashvili to undertake his military misadventure in one of the breakaway provinces that provoked Russia's brutal response, also are at stake.

Democrat Barack Obama and Republican John McCain have issued tough denunciations of Russia, a signal to Moscow that the next U.S. administration will not sweep the Georgia war under the rug in the interest of a fresh start with Russia.

But Bush also still wants to make sure Russian leaders pick up the phone when America calls. The last thing U.S. officials want is a 10-year freeze in U.S.-Russia relations.

So with just five months left in office, the Bush White House has settled on an approach to punishing Moscow that would be intentionally low-profile. Bush advisers have concluded that anything perceived by Russia as a public humiliation would be counterproductive.

The best approach in their view is quiet action, such as continuing to exclude Russia's foreign minister from discussions among his counterparts from the Group of Eight industrialized democracies, as has been happening since the Russia-Georgia fighting began last week.

Most speculation had centered on outright kicking Russia out of the G-8, the elite economic club known as the Group of Seven before Russia was included a few years ago. Even such a public, more dramatic move would likely have little practical effect given the group's lack of power to enforce policies.

Another option would have the United States revoke its support for Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization, another penalty that, although probably the toughest available to the U.S., may not sting much for increasingly oil-rich Russia. U.S. officials have all but rejected that route as overkill.

The idea is to give Russia face-saving leeway to decide that Western institutions and Western-style governance are the way of its future.

The trick, of course, is convincing Russia of that — a task that puts U.S. officials in the position of trying to get Russia back on a path it may never have been fully on.

The Bush administration believes its best argument is economic, essentially telling Moscow that to remain a country that merely sells gobs of energy worldwide but lacks international prestige and access to lucrative markets for a range of products would mire it in third-world status, rather than the first-world rank it desires.

True, perhaps, but also evidence that the administration has reduced its Russia calculus to self-interest on both sides. Rice said as much before leaving for Europe and Georgia this week. Russia will cooperate on Iran and other issues for its own reasons, she said. "It's not a favor to the United States."

Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympics 2014 - To Be Or Not To Be?

On the eve of the Beijing Olympics - an exciting event most of us in different parts of the world were expecting with childish enthusiasm that has perhaps faded over the years, less than 20 miles from Sochi (the prospective host city of the Winter Olympics 2014) the escalation of a major conflict captured millions of viewers and readers from across the world.

A week later, the co-chairs of the congressional House Georgia Caucasus claim that the International Olympic Committee should "punish Russia by moving the 2014 Winter Olympics out of Sochi," as according to a draft of the resolution being prepared by Reps. Allyson Schwartz, D-Pa., and Bill Shuster, R-Pa.: "the prospective host country has played a significant role in the escalation of that conflict."

However, some consider this to be an over-reaction: IOC spokeswoman Giselle Davies said Friday the IOC believes the Olympics games are "not a tool to be used by politicians."

"It is premature to make judgments about how events happening today might sit with an event taking place six years from now," Davies said in a statement, adding that 35 representatives from the Sochi 2014 are in Beijing observing the games, according to Associated Press.

Some of you may well remember the first-ever U.S. boycott of the Olympics in 1980. The 1980 games were awarded to Moscow and many in the west feared that the games would turn to a propaganda show for the Soviets.

When the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan, President Carter pressured the United States Olympic Committee to boycott the games. Moreover, he threatened to withhold funding, revoke the organization's tax exemption if it would not comply. And in fact, it did.

Today, 28 years later, the head of the Sochi organizing committee, Dmitry Chernyshenko, said in his statement that the committee is aware of the intended resolution, however only the IOC can respond to such matters.

"All our efforts here in China are spent on learning from these wonderful Beijing Games so that we can enhance our offer for the Olympic movement," Chernyshenko said. "At Sochi 2014, our focus is to deliver an excellent and innovative Games that will inspire the world. We are on track to achieve this."

Strangely enough, politics have gone well beyond being solely political matters and now affect everything from music to sports on a global scale - more openly and publicly than ever before. Clearly, this has always been the case, particularly back in the days of the Cold War, but with the ever-growing power of the media (especially in our era of internet domination) it is more apparent than ever before.

Is this pending resolution currently being drafted by the U.S. lawmakers a logical, well-thought-through response to the latest conflict upheaval in South Ossetia or an extreme overreaction to the recent events in the conflict zone?

The Latest On Georgia

What a week.... with the upheaval back home, it has really been a nerve-wrecking time for us... particularly those of us far from our families and friends back in Georgia...

In response to some of the messages from friends here on myspace about the situation in my home country, particularly through the UN lens, I compiled some of the latest news both at the UN and also through the AFP for those of you interested in the conflict and, hopefully, its more or less peaceful resolution.

The following statement made by the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon, attributable to his spokesperson, Michele Montas (a fascinating lady, actually, more on her later - promise!) was made available to us, the UN Correspondents yesterday. It is quite generic at first sight, of course, but at least it offers Georgia some sort of support from the international community - much more than most had envisioned initially, which already is a good sign. Some say it's only because of the corridor to the oil pool, and it is most likely the truth, but on the same note, we can't help but feel hopeful........

UN SG's statement:

The Secretary-General welcomes the acceptance by Georgia and by the Russian Federation of the peace plan proposed by President Sarkozy of France. He calls for immediate follow through in implementing the agreed principles, including the full end to hostilities and the withdrawal of forces to previous positions. The Secretary-General reiterates his support for a solution based on the full respect of the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Georgia. He is prepared to use his good offices toward the restoration of peace and security in the region.

The Secretary-General appreciates the role played by the EU Presidency and the Chairman-in-Office of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in search of a lasting peaceful solution. He strongly believes that the resolution of the conflicts in Georgia requires a comprehensive approach through a concerted effort by the international community. The UN stands ready to facilitate international discussions as well as to contribute to possible peacekeeping or other arrangements for Abkhazia and South Ossetia.

The Secretary-General remains concerned about the humanitarian situation in the region. He mourns the victims of the hostilities and urges all parties to provide full and safe access for humanitarian organizations to the regions affected by the conflicts.

New York, 13 August 2008

Push for UN vote on Georgia truce by week's end

UNITED NATIONS (AFP) — Sponsors of a UN Security Council resolution to formalize the ceasefire deal between Russia and Georgia pushed for a vote by week's end, but Moscow balked at inserting any reference to Georgia's territorial integrity.

"Yes ideally, we would like a vote this weekend," a Western diplomat close to the bargaining involving European, US and Russian diplomats told AFP Friday.

"But we'll take as long as it takes. We are not going to push for a vote if we know that the Russians will veto the text -- which does not mean we have to give in to all their demands... There has to be hard bargaining," said the diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity."

Other diplomats said the 15-member Council was expected to hold new consultations Sunday on a new draft meant to formalize the French-brokered agreement reached by Moscow and Tbilisi to end fighting for control of the breakaway Georgian enclaves of South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

And UN chief Ban Ki-moon was to interrupt his current two-week vacation Saturday to hold private talks here with the ambassadors of the United States, Russia and Georgia, according to a UN official.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said Ban would speak to reporters after his meetings with the three envoys.

This week, Ban discussed the issue by phone with Georgia's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili but was unable to reach Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, according to Farhan Haq, a UN spokesman.

Thursday, Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin spoke optimistically about early approval of the new draft by the Council.

But diplomats said the Russians were demanding that there be no reference to respect of Georgia's territorial integrity, a demand which could prove a "dealbreaker," according to one source.

Earlier Friday, Georgia's pro-Western President Mikheil Saakashvili announced he had signed the EU-brokered ceasefire during a visit to Tbilisi by US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice.

And he insisted that Tbilisi would never agree to surrender Abkhazia or South Ossetia, currently outside his government's control.

Rice for her part said the United States and European Union had agreed to "recognise the territorial integrity of Georgia and recognise that Abkhazia and South Ossetia are within the internationally recognized boundaries of Georgia."

She added that Washington favored the deployment of a "neutral" international peacekeeping force in Georgia.

Meanwhile, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told his French counterpart Friday that his country would sign the ceasefire and scrupulously respect all agreements, including a troop withdrawal, officials said in Paris.

Despite that pledge, Russian armored vehicles and tanks remained deep inside Georgian territory, some even pressing further towards the capital Tbilisi.

In Washington, US President George W. Bush complained of Moscow's "bullying" and urged Russia to honor its pledge to withdraw its troops. Bush was preparing Saturday to meet with Rice and other top advisers to determine Washington's next steps in the crisis.

The peace plan includes a commitment not to resort to force, to end hostilities definitively and to provide free access for humanitarian aid.

Georgian military forces are also to withdraw to their usual bases while Russian military forces are to pull back to the lines held prior to the outbreak of hostilities.

Pending an international mechanism, Russian peacekeeping forces will implement additional security measures.

Finally, international talks are to open on the security and stability arrangements in Moscow-backed South Ossetia and Abkhazia.

Russian troops entered Georgia in response to a Georgian offensive on August 7 to retake South Ossetia, which achieved de facto independence from Tbilisi in the 1990s during the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Moscow, which strongly supports South Ossetia and Abkhazia, has given Russian passports to most people in the two territories.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Tinatin on MTV Soundtrack

Tinatin's music is now featured on MTV Soundtrack and has been added to MTV Soundtrack's playlist online, including "Thinking of Someone Else" Charmix, "Connected", "We the Peoples", and more...

For more information, please visit:

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

“Thinking of Someone Else” Charmix - Full List of UK clubs so far…

Tinatin's "Thinking of Someone Else" Dr. Octavo Charmix is bringing down the house in the following clubs across the United Kingdom - week one!!........

Queens Court

Central Nightclub

Stamford Lines and UK Venues

Various in NE Scotland. Main ones: Kode, Aberdeen, Pelican, The Office, Deka Vu, Peterhead

Cruz 101 (Manchester)

Affinity (Sheffield)

Man Bar

Flamingos Blackpool

Manchester Manto

Fibre Leeds

Spirit Manchester

Main Street Towyn Rhyl (N. Wales)

Black Cap (London)

Two Brewers (London)

Heaven (London)

Black Horse (London)

White Swan - London

Mobile Disco

Enigma Nightclub

Torbay Social Centre

Quebec Gust DJ at various venues

The Stag - Victoria (London)

The Coleherne - Earl's Court (London)

Edwards Bar (Cardiff)

Lloyds Bar - Crockerton Inn

Platinum (Cardiff)

Buzz Canaries Yoostream

Liberty's Nottingham Smooth

Radio East/West Midlands

Cube (Birmingham)

Zinc (Birmingham)

Sports Cafe (Birmingham)

Sports Cafe (Liverpool)

Sports Cafe (Manchester)

The Opera House

The Xchange


Nightingale Birmingham NG1

Nottingham Studio Lounge

Oxford Glamorous Bar

Birmingham Essential Nightclub

Manchester Queer Style Bar

Landmark Yate's Shornecliffe


Glamorous Show Bar

The Village

Springhead Tavern

Kinky Boots

Holday Inn

Liquid Lounge

The Boston Northampton

And this is just the first week..... more to be added asap... watch this space!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Both Sides of the Conflict: S. Ossetia

Dear Friends,

First of all, thank you so much to each and every one of you for your warm support and prayers at this difficult time for my home country of Georgia, that I so value and appreciate it. I have read every single message and comment from you and am so touched by your words.

As you have shown so much interest and genuine care for what is happening at the moment in Ossetia, and although many of you will understand where my heart truly lies at this very tough time, I have decided to share these two very opposing and varying opinions about the current situation and the conflict itself, therefore giving those of you interested in the story a more or less two-sided picture as of now....

Based on the latest reports

Bush says violence in Georgia is unacceptable

By BEN FELLER – 1 hour ago

BEIJING (AP) — President Bush on Monday sharply criticized Moscow's harsh military crackdown in the former Soviet republic of Georgia, saying the violence is unacceptable and Russia's response is disproportionate.

The United States is waging an all-out campaign to press Russia to halt its retaliation against Georgia for trying to take control of the breakaway province of South Ossetia.
Bush, in an interview with NBC, said, "I've expressed my grave concern about the disproportionate response of Russia and that we strongly condemn the bombing outside of South Ossetia."

On Sunday, Vice President Dick Cheney said that "Russian aggression must not go unanswered, and that its continuation would have serious consequences for its relations with the United States."

The crisis over South Ossetia appeared to ebb as Georgian troops began retreating and honoring a cease-fire, a claim Russia disputed. U.S. officials said Moscow was only broadening its retaliation against Georgia for trying to take control of the region.
The sheer scope of Russia's military response has the Bush administration deeply worried. Russia on Sunday expanded its bombing blitz in areas of Georgia not central to the fighting.

Cheney spoke Sunday afternoon with Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, Cheney press secretary Lee Ann McBride said. "The vice president expressed the United States' solidarity with the Georgian people and their democratically elected government in the face of this threat to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity," McBride said.

Asked to explain Cheney's phrase "must not go unanswered," White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said, "It means it must not stand." White House officials refused to indicate what recourse the United States might have if the military onslaught continues.

A Russian official said more than 2,000 people had been killed in South Ossetia since Friday; the figure could not be confirmed independently.

The president was to end his weeklong stay to Asia by attending a baseball game and other events Monday at the Beijing Olympics. The trip was meant mostly for fun and games — there have been plenty of both. But the fast-moving conflict in Georgia has grabbed his attention.

Bush, pressing international mediation, reached out Sunday to French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who heads the European Union. The two agreed on the need for a cease-fire and a respect for Georgia's integrity, White House spokesman Gordon Johndroe said.

In Washington, the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee said the United States must work closely with Europe in condemning Russia's actions.

"We cannot just go out alone on this and talk and act unilaterally. We don't have much impact, I believe, in terms of our unilateral declarations anymore with the administration's approach to the world," said Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich. "We've got to stand together with European allies."

Georgia, whose troops have been trained by American soldiers, began an offensive to regain control over South Ossetia overnight Friday, launching heavy rocket and artillery fire and air strikes that pounded the provincial capital, Tskhinvali. In response, Russia launched overwhelming artillery shelling and air attacks on Georgian troops.

"We're alarmed by this entire situation, and every escalatory step is a further problem," deputy national security adviser Jim Jeffrey told reporters.

The U.S. military began flying 2,000 Georgian troops home from Iraq after Georgia recalled the soldiers following the outbreak of fighting with Russia. The decision was a timely payback for the former Soviet republic that has been a staunch U.S. supporter and agreed to send troops to Iraq as part of the U.S.-led coalition. Georgia was the third-largest contributor of coalition forces after the U.S. and Britain, and most of its troops were stationed near the Iranian border in southeastern Iraq.

The risk of the conflict setting off a wider war increased when Russian-supported separatists in another breakaway region of Georgia, Abkhazia, launched air and artillery strikes on Georgian troops to drive them out of a small part of the province they control.

Also, Ukraine warned Russia it could bar Russian navy ships from returning to their base in the Crimea because of their deployment to Georgia's coast.

"If those Russian ships leave that port in the Black Sea and if Ukraine decides that it is not going to allow those ships back into that port ... that is a potentially much greater conflagration involving a wider regional area," Levin said.

The White House sought to reassure that the administration — including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen — were talking to parties on both sides and trying for a diplomatic solution.

Asked about the possibility of sending the U.S. military or other aid to Georgia, Jeffrey said, "Right now our focus is on working with both sides, with the Europeans and with a whole variety of international institutions and organizations to get the fighting to stop."

Levin, too, did not see the chance of U.S. military involvement, though he said the U.S. needs to make clear to Russia that its action "is way out of line."

Bush also tended to relations with China, again raising raised concerns to President Hu Jintao about how the host of the summer Olympics treats its own people.

Bush worshipped at a Beijing church and declared China has nothing to fear from expressions of faith. The message had the added punch of coming on China's turf, as Bush has done before.

He managed time for a couple of marquee sporting events. With first lady Laura Bush, daughter Barbara and former President George H.W. Bush, he cheered from the stands of the Water Cube Olympic swimming venue. American Michael Phelps claimed the first of an expected string of gold medals by smashing his own world record in the 400-meter individual medley.

"God, what a thrill to cheer for you!" Bush told Phelps afterward.

At night, Bush watched the eagerly anticipated U.S.-China men's basketball game.
Before the contest, he huddled with U.S. players in a corridor of the Olympic arena, putting his hand in with theirs and joining in a cheer, "One, two, three, U.S.A., go!"

Associated Press writers Mark S. Smith and Paul Alexander contributed to this report.

*Interview by Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation *
*Sergey Lavrov to BBC, Moscow, August 9, 2008*

*Question*: What is Russia's aim in South Ossetia?

*S.Lavrov*: Russia's aim is to keep peace. This is not just Russia's aim, this is Russia's obligation. Russian peacekeepers have been brought there under the agreement between the parties after the war which started in the early nineties. The late President Gamsakhurdia who was the leader of Georgia at that time declared his policy "Georgia for Georgians". He cancelled autonomies of Southern Ossetia, Adjaria and of Abkhazia. He brought his troops into these areas and then the resistance took place. And Georgian army was wiped out of those regions. It was then that after quite nervous and intense negotiations a peacekeeping mechanism was established comprising Georgians, Ossetians and Russians. The peacekeeping force was established and this peacekeeping force has a mandate. The mandate is to make sure that there is no violation of quiet in the zone of conflict and the peacekeepers are required by this document to prevent any violations and to put out any violations. Since Georgian forces for the second time are engaged in aggressive actions in full violation of the obligations under those international agreements and international humanitarian law by attacking civilians, residential quarters, humanitarian convoys, attacking the convoys trying to remove the wounded from the area of the fighting and even, by some reports, finishing off the wounded. So this is absolutely unacceptable and the responsibility of Russia as a peacekeeper could be only sustained by responding to this aggression.

*Question*: Does not Georgia then have the right to control its entire territory?

*S.Lavrov*: Absolutely. Absolutely, but Georgia after it attacked, as I said, its own regions in the early nineties, accepted that there would be international mechanisms to keep peace in Ossetia and in Abkhazia but not to perpetuate the situation. In both cases international negotiating mechanism has been established with the participation of Georgia, which unfortunately for the last couple of years the Georgian government has been consistently ignoring and asking for something else. You know that people say now "Let's announce immediate ceasefire". But ceasefire was announced two days ago only to be violated by the Georgian forces. The ceasefire is something, which you use when the war has started already. But for the last few months Russia alone has been trying to persuade the Georgian government to deliver on this commitment and to sign a legally binding document not to use force in the Southern Ossetian conflict. This was an arrangement tempted to be agreed a year and a half ago within the Joint Control Commission between the Georgians and the Southern Ossetians. And then the Georgians violated this commitment and refused to sign such a document&183; Mr. Saakashvili recently said: "It is ridiculous to ask us to do this because Georgia will never use force against its own people. As simple as that." And unfortunately our western friends who one way or another participate in the efforts to settle this conflict were also reluctant to pressure Tbilisi in order to have this legally binding document happen.

*Question*: Mr.Saakashvili's Administration is very close to the United States. Do you think their closeness in some way took blame for this flare up in the conflict? Do you think the US could have done more to prevent this happening?

*S.Lavrov:* You know, I talked yesterday to Secretary Rice and we discussed what we could do, especially since during the last few months' short of blank pressure on Tbilisi to sign this document, I believe the Americans were trying quite hard to prevent lodge*.* And from indirect information we are getting from Washington we understand that people involved in this issue have been really shocked by what Mr.Saakashvili has started. So we encourage the United States, we encourage the EU members – we talked yesterday to quite a number of colleagues from France, Germany, Mr.Javier Solana, our Finnish friend, who is the head of the OSCE now, and we explained our position. We can not allow peace agreements just to be violated this way. And whatever it takes to bring the situation to status quo ante would be done. You know that peacekeepers are being killed including by Georgian peacekeepers, who used to serve together with them in one contingent and who were supposed to be united by the common goal agreed on paper officially by both sides.

*Question*: How far is Russia prepared to go in this quest to restore the status quo?

*S.Lavrov*: Mr.Saakashvili keeps saying that we want to chop off part of Georgian territory. He is also saying this is not about Georgia, this is about the future of Europe. He says that Russia is also making territorial claims to other countries, including the Baltic states. This is rubbish because it is exactly the other way around as far as the Baltic States are concerned. Some of them have territorial claims to Russia, at least some politicians of those countries. But Russia wants to sign the border treaty with Estonia which is the last remaining Baltic State, with which we do not have such a border treaty. It is exactly because of Estonian politicians' territorial claims to Russia that we can not do this. But our goal is very simple. We want to act strictly within the mandate given to the Russian peacekeepers and this mandate provides for the zone of conflict to be freed from any illegal armed groups except for peacekeepers themselves and the zone of conflict must keep the regime of protecting civilians. When civilians at this zone, when the peacekeepers' forces in the zone of conflict are attacked from outside of course those sides from which the attacks are launched, we should not feel safe, that is for sure.

*Question*: So you would pick up targets in Georgia if you feel that is within Russia's interests?

*S.Lavrov*: No, no. I was very clear when I said so. Do not interpret in that way.

*Question*: I am just trying to understand.

*S.Lavrov*: When the peacekeepers are inside the zone of conflict, the civilians whom the peacekeepers must protect are in the zone of conflict when the civilians' side is bombed, is shelled from outside the source of this attack must be targeted, so that this massacre is not repeated. About 15 hundred civilians have been killed by some count which is being verified now. At least 15 Russian peacekeepers are dead. Some 50 are wounded. There are reports, as I said, that the wounded peacekeepers are finished off by the Georgians, which is a gross violation of all Geneva conventions and the international humanitarian law. And I would just say that people in Europe, people in the West should not perceive it differently. We had been for last months if not years not only preaching for the signature of this non-use of force document&183; We have also been drawing the attention of our colleagues to the facts of Georgia buying offensive arms in contradiction to OSCE recommendations, in contradiction to the EU recommendations which provide for at least caution in selling arms to the areas of conflict. Offensive arms have been brought to Georgia in very big numbers. Some countries to whom we talked realized the negative potential effect of this action and they stopped it. Some others do not. I do not want to go up to the details, but some countries did so, but some others did not. And as a result of this we have Georgian military budget having increased I think 30 times over the last three years, which is being an all-time record. When Mr.Saakashvili says that Georgia by international standards is a number one democracy in the world, I believe that this is still to be checked. But Georgia is for sure number one arms importer of the world. And now we see these arms being put in action to the detriment of all the civilians, many of whom are Russian citizens. And we frankly speaking can not avoid noticing that those who ignored our warnings and who were selling offensive arms to Georgia, those who ignored all warnings and did not impress the need to sign this non-use of force agreement on the Georgian government, I think they should be at least part of the responsibility for what is going on. Especially as Mr.Saakashvili is talking on TV every now and then at the background not only of the Georgian flag, but also of the EU flag.* *I asked yesterday the representative of the EU presidency, whether this was the practice for the EU flag to be used by whoever basically wants to use it and the answer was "no". I was told that they would look into the legal aspects of the problem.

My President yesterday was very clear. He said that under the Constitution he is obliged to protect the life and dignity of Russian citizens, especially when they find themselves in the armed conflict. And today he reiterated that the peace enforcement operation enforcing peace on one of the parties which violated its own obligations would continue until we achieve the results. According to our Constitution there is also responsibility to protect – the term which is very widely used in the UN when people see some trouble in Africa or in any remote part of other regions. But this is not Africa to us, this is next door. This is the area, where Russian citizens live. So the Constitution of the Russian Federation, the laws of the Russian Federation make it absolutely unavoidable to us to exercise responsibility to protect.

*Question*: You offered passports to the citizens of another countries not just part of a campaign of antagonism you have had to Georgia over last year?

*S.Lavrov*: No, no. I believe, they understand the reason for this. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Russia found itself in a very awkward position. Some 25 million people who used to be the citizens of the Soviet Union, overnight found that they are living in a foreign country. And Parliament of the Russian Federation in 1991 adopted the law saying that whoever was a holder of a Soviet passport has the right to become a Russian citizen. And since about the same time the then Georgian President Mr. Gamsarhurdia started this "Georgia for Georgians" campaign and antagonized Ossetians, Adjarians, Abkhazians, they ran to Russia for passports, for citizenship. That is how it started. And when this conflict was brought from the hot phase into the frozen phase, these people were still deprived of elementary social services and as Russian citizens they had the right to be provided with pensions, salaries and elementary things. So I believe this is not something, which is not understood. And when people try to blow this particular aspect of the situation – the Russian passports in Ossetia and Abkhazia – out of proportion, I always remind them about a situation in a different country, in Moldova, where huge proportion of the population is getting Romanian citizenship and the EU is quiet.

*Question*: You mentioned there was a sense of shock in Washington on the way that things have developed. Given of this situation is so unpredictable aren't you concerned you are involved in a major conflict with a country which is a would be NATO-member and a very close-eye of you former cold-war foe, Washington.

*S.Lavrov*: If NATO is ready to welcome such a regime in its ranks, it would be interesting to see how this is done. I do not think we are on a brink of a war. We are limited in all our actions to do things. Responsibility to protect our citizens under the Russian constitution and the responsibilities of the peacekeepers to keep this particular case when peace was raped to restore peace. Peace is required and that is what we are going to achieve but we would not go beyond this.

*Question*: It is not a secret there has been great antagonism between particularly this country Administration in Tbilisi and Moscow for the last few years. Isn't it the truth, but you just do not like this regime, you do not like them to join NATO and in this conflict you want to teach them a lesson?

*S.Lavrov*: In 2006 what happened was that four Russian officers who came to Georgia to oversee the withdrawal of the Russian military bases, which Georgia wanted so much, were without any reason grossly attacked and humiliated. So if you want us to like people who did it, I do not think we will. If you want us to like people who started this aggression in Southern Ossetia killing Russian peacekeepers, I do not think we would be positively considering the offer. Actually speaking of the current government in Georgia I mentioned the withdrawal of the Russian military bases. I negotiated this issue personally in 2005 with President Saakashvili and at that particular format Russia was saying that we need many years to withdraw. And a lot of money to pay for this withdrawal. And Mr.Saakashvili said to me when I visited Tbilisi in 2005 that he wanted this bases out before his next elections, so that he could present to his electorate the results of the efficiency of his policy. I reported to then President Putin, this was discussed in the Russian Security Council and not an easy decision, from the point of view of domestic audience*,* was taken to withdraw in 2,5 years. Just as Mr.Saakashvili wanted, six months before his elections. And we delivered even in advance, before the deadline the Russian bases were out. In spite of that fact those who were engaged in the withdrawal procedures were grossly attacked and humiliated, as I said, in 2006. An interesting thing is that part of that arrangement which I negotiated was to be delivered by our Georgian colleagues. And the package contained three elements: one – Russia withdraws totally from Georgia, number two – Georgia adopts a constitutional law prohibiting, proscribing the presence of any foreign basis on Georgian soil forever, number three – Russia and Georgia together establish a joint counter-terrorist center, because the issue of Georgian territory being used by people from Northern Caucasus to come and then to go back to Russia - this issue was quite topical. So we withdraw our bases, they undertake not to have any foreign bases and we jointly create counter- terrorist center. These were the three elements of the package. We delivered and they just forgot about their obligations. So we have experience of dealing with this government and I believe we have an objective picture of it.

*Question*: Now could this conflict end without further bloodshed? There are reports that more troops are sent in.

*S.Lavrov*: They have a mandate to liberate the zone of conflict from violators. Whatever it takes we would do. To stop this is for the Commander-in-chief of the Georgian army, to give orders to his troops to withdraw from the area they illegally occupied. Then of course it would be not necessary to use peace enforcement to achieve this goal. And then I would come again to the thing which I mentioned in the beginning that a non-use of force legally binding document with international guarantees would be signed which I would strongly recommend.

*Question*: Am I right in understanding you that Georgian army was shooting Russian wounded dead?

*S.Lavrov*: Yes. That's the reports we are getting and we are verifying them.

*Question*: So that if this is the case and that is clearly a war crime.

*S.Lavrov*: Yes. And the President of the Russian Federation said that those who are responsible for it should be brought to justice and we would be considering using the international law proceedings.

P.S. From Tinatin: Let's just hope for a peaceful resolution and the end to all of this before it gets a little too out of control.....One way or another, that's all that really matters.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Human Rights Watch on Georgia/Russia in South Ossetia

I have just received this press release from the Human Rights Watch and since you have all been so attentive and caring in regards to this horrible conflict escalating by the day, I've decided to post a copy of the HRW release for those of you interested in both sides of the story.... taking into account the two varying sides only when it comes to the civilians - unjustly affected by this mayhem.

For Immediate Release:

Georgia/Russia: Do Not Attack Civilians in South Ossetia

New York, August 9, 2008 – Georgia and Russia should not under any circumstances target civilians as the current hostilities intensify in South Ossetia, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch, concerned by reports of attacks targeting civilians, called on all sides to respect the absolute ban against targeting civilians or carrying out attacks that indiscriminately harm civilians.

“All sides must remember that attacks on civilians, or acts intended to terrorize civilians, clearly violate international humanitarian law, and may constitute war crimes,” said Holly Cartner, Europe and Central Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “This would be true even if they are carried out in reprisal for indiscriminate attacks by the adversary.”

After weeks of low-level hostilities, the conflict in South Ossetia, a breakaway region of Georgia backed by Moscow, escalated dramatically in the early morning of August 8, 2008. Georgia declared that it intended to restore constitutional order and launched a large-scale military offensive. Russia sent additional troops to South Ossetia, saying they were reinforcements to Russian peacekeepers who are in the area to monitor a 1992 ceasefire between Georgian and South Ossetian forces.

South Ossetia authorities claimed that Georgian forces used Grad multiple launch rocket systems to shell civilian areas, particularly in the capital, Tskhinvali, and that dozens of buildings were destroyed or damaged, including the university, the hospital, a shopping center, schools, and several government buildings. According to unconfirmed media reports, several Ossetian villages, including Dmenis and Tsunar, also sustained significant damage.

Reports on casualties vary widely, with different media agencies citing figures ranging from 15 to 1,400 people killed in South Ossetia as a result of the attacks. None of these reports could be confirmed.

According to the Russian Federal Migration Service, 971 people fled South Ossetia on August 8 and sought refuge in North Ossetia, a Russian province that borders South Ossetia. North Ossetian hospitals reported that they were ready to admit the wounded; but the head of the regional hospital was quoted by Kavkazskii Uzel, a news website, as saying that, “the road which was intended for evacuation of the wounded has been bombed,” and doctors did not have access to the wounded.

Russia’s military command claimed that 12 Russian peacekeepers deployed in South Ossetia were killed and 120 injured, and also blamed the Georgian side for obstructing the evacuation of the wounded from Tskhinvali.

In the meantime, according to the BBC and other international media, Russian tanks have reportedly reached the northern suburbs of Tskhinvali while the Russian air force has been carrying out air raids in South Ossetia and further into Georgian territory. Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili accused Moscow of bombing Georgian air bases and towns, resulting in the deaths of 30 military personnel and civilians.

Human Rights Watch called on both parties to abide by the fundamental principle of international humanitarian law, which requires armed forces to distinguish between combatants and civilians, and between military objects and civilian objects, at all times. It is also forbidden to carry out indiscriminate attacks or attacks that cause damage disproportionate to the anticipated concrete military advantage.

South Ossetia was an autonomous province of Georgia during the Soviet era. It declared independence from Georgia in 1990, and armed conflict between South Ossetian and Georgian forces ensued in 1991 and 1992. The conflict ended in 1992 with a ceasefire and establishment of a tripartite peacekeeping force, with Russian, Ossetian and Georgian peacekeeping battalions. The ceasefire adhered, but tensions continued, with Georgia accusing Russia of providing assistance to South Ossetia’s separatist movement.

For a background Q&A on the current conflict in South Ossetia, please visit:

For more of Human Rights Watch’s work on Georgia, please visit:

On Georgia Today

Many people underestimate the value of real human relationships we make with our online "virtual" friends on websites such as Myspace, but at times when that "human factor" is much needed, somehow the line between online and offline friendships is so blurred - it becomes too minuscule a difference.

With the most recent escalation of conflict back in my home country, Georgia (Georgia the country, not the state, remember that blog post early on? :-) and the growing interest of western media about the events taking place in Southern Ossetia, I - among many, many Georgian expatriates witnessed the genuine concern of the westerners, and in my particular case - the friends that I have recently made on Myspace have really demonstrated such heart-felt support and interest in the current events... It's staggering and heart warming. Thank you all so much for your sweet messages and concern.

Years after Southern Ossetia along with another Georgian region - Abkhazia - declared their independence from Georgia in the mid 90's, Georgia's President Mikhail Saaakashvili has vowed to bring both regions back into the fold. Over the past several months, the tensions between Moscow and Tbilisi have increased most significantly and the fighting has intensified - most recently, since earlier this week - even more so, as most of you may already know.

World leaders and international organizations, including the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council, have been actively calling for an end to the fighting in Georgia's de facto breakaway region, South Ossetia, but unfortunately as we have seen the news unfold throughout the day, the conflict is only escalating at a significant rate.

And with governments of Georgia, Russia and the de facto leadership of the de facto region of South Ossetia aside, civilians are truly the ones least deserving of this nightmare. While all parties are eagerly blaming each other, the ordinary civilians are being affected by the fighting not only in Ossetia, but even, for example, in the capital of Georgia - having spoken to my family back home last night, they voiced their worries about the younger male members of my family being forced by this current situation to join the local troops to fight in Ossetia... Scary... And unpredictable....

One wonders if this is just the beginning of something even more complicated and frightening due to all the political mayhem... And who gets stuck in the middle of it? People... People who want nothing more but to live in peace in their own homes with their family members all being well and alive.

As my compatriots and I keep our fingers crossed for a peaceful solution to this long-term conflict that has been going on for ages now, let's just hope it really doesn't get much worse before it's too late...

And thank you all once again, dear friends, for your thoughts and care - being born in Georgia and having moved to Russia quite early on, I can't help but feel torn and extremely uneasy about this, hoping somehow the international interference brings the right kind of resolution to this newly enraged... No, don't want to say the word "war".

“Thinking of Someone Else” Charmix in the UK by Euro Solution

It's official - Tinatin's "Thinking of Someone Else" (Tinatin/Christopher Neil/Ben Jammin' Robbins) Charmix by Dr. Octavo has now hit the clubs across the United Kingdom!

For more info, please check out the following links and for those of you in the UK - enjoy "Thinking of Someone Else"!!!!!

Euro Solution's current projects

Tinatin on Euro Solution

Euro Solution website

Monday, August 4, 2008

Heroes, Dissidents & Noble Prize Winners

Pop idols, commercial brands molded into household "iconic" names and tabloid celebrities aside, there are and have been those who made a difference in their own, unique way without necessarily pursuing the route to fame and the celebrity status. They simply wrote and said what they truly believed in, created that which appealed to them wholeheartedly and didn't obsessively seek a desperate claim to fame or a mass iconization.

One such person passed away today - a Russian dissident who publicly wrote what he believed in and attracted interest all around, including a serious high-level disapproval in his native country. The exile who became a legendary figure first abroad and only much later at home (though still much under-appreciated back home) was Aleksander Solzhenitsyn, the author of a Nobel Prize-winning trilogy "Gulag Archipelago", a highly engaging read describing in great detail the savagery of life under the dictatorship of not just Joseph Stalin but the communist regime as a whole. No wonder the controversial trilogy raised many eye brows in his native Russia and the author was forced into political exile for two decades, while the Communist regime he had left behind forbade the "traitor's" works on a major scale throughout the Soviet Union.

Such was his tragedy, and he was not alone. There were numerous others who before and after Solzhenitsyn had lived through similar accusations on a national level of the betrayal of the Motherland in one form or another.

And yet, those who remember those few names are bound to appreciate that which they so readily and even rebelliously shared with their readers and ultimately true followers.

What is it that makes Russia so exotic both as a result of its history and the likes of Solzhenitsyn, Stalin (pardon, Soso was Georgian!) Tchaikovsky, Pushkin, later Politkovskaya, Putin, Khodorkovsky.... The list goes on, the names represent different eras, historic value and national inheritance or loss as a result of their existence, but after all - through the fierce criticism of the communist regime and later the Nouveau Riche modernization of Russia, it still ignites interest, intrigue, raises eye-brows and numerous questions. It has not lost its "interest" factor in the global spectrum.

Why? Or rather, how?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Tinatin's "Thinking of Someone Else" Charmix on Rhythm Radio Compilation, Canada

Tinatin's "Thinking of Someone Else" Charmix by Dr. Octavo is now on Promo Only Compilation Album of Rhythm Radio circulating across Canada, along with Katy Perry's "I Kissed a Girl", The Surgents "Calls in the Night", Ashlee Simpson's "Little Miss Obsessive", Michelle Williams and more.

For more info, please visit the August track listing!