The president's United Russia is in decline, but has managed to retain a constitutional majority in the Duma. Rise of the Communists, helped by the useful vote of the navalnists. Oppositions: online vote rigged. Claims of fraud through "Lukashenko method" in the provinces. Putin's civic list may create problems for the Tsar.
At the general audience, Francis retraces the stages of the trip to Budapest and Slovakia, "a pilgrimage of prayer, a pilgrimage to the roots, a pilgrimage of hope." Roots "not as museum exhibits, not ideologized and instrumentalized for interests of prestige and power, to consolidate a closed identity. No." "Violence against women is an open sore. It’s everywhere."
‘The Congregation for Religious is examining the religious congregations and associations created in this period.” Among the latter, many have been placed under external control. Positions of governance in lay groups are a “call to serve” that runs up against a hunger for power and disloyalty.
Christians “are weavers of dialogue where hostility is growing; models of fraternal life where society is experiencing tension and hostility; bringers of the sweet fragrance of hospitality and solidarity where personal and collective selfishness too often prevails, protectors and guardians of life where the culture of death reigns.”
“Judgement and prejudice only increase distances. Hostility and sharp words are not helpful. Marginalizing others accomplishes nothing. Segregating ourselves and other people eventually leads to anger. The path to peaceful coexistence is integration,” said Francis. What is more, “Bombarded by virtual messages, we risk losing our real roots,” he added. “To grow disconnected from life, or to fantasize in a void, is not a good thing; it is a temptation from the evil one. God wants us to be firmly grounded, connected to life.”
"How many generous persons suffered and died here in Slovakia for the name of Christ! Theirs was a witness borne out of love of him whom they had long contemplated. To the point that they resembled him even in their death. I think too of our own time, in which there is no lack of opportunities for bearing witness.”
Siberian entrepreneurs seeking investment from China. Moscow needs to boost energy supplies between Lake Bajkal and the Amur River. The Chinese want control of the new facilities. Russian critics say opening the doors to Beijing's money goes against the national interest.
“Even as battles for supremacy are waged on various fronts, may this country reaffirm its message of integration and peace,” said Pope Francis. “[M]ay Europe be distinguished by a solidarity that, by transcending borders, can bring it back to the centre of history.” For the pontiff, the Church must teach “inner and responsible freedom”. She must know “how to be creative by immersing herself in history and culture;” she must know “how to engage in dialogue with the world, with those who confess Christ without being one of ‘us’, with those who are weary of the religious quest, even with those who do not believe.”
Moscow sets condition of an end to the political and social crisis that has hit Minsk over the past year. The aim is a common gas market and fiscal harmonization. Belarusians will fall further into debt with the Kremlin. Migration crisis: Russian leader distances himself from Lukašenko.
Francis closed the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress. "The cross is never in trend of fashion: today as in the past. Rather it it heals within. It is before the Crucified One that we experience a beneficial inner struggle, the bitter conflict between 'thinking according to God' and 'thinking according to men'." "The threat of anti-Semitism still lurks in Europe and elsewhere".
A visit among peoples who "have suffered a regime repressive of faith and religious freedom". A journey of a spiritual nature to nations with political policies are far removed from the ideas of Francis, especially with regard to reception of migrants and refugees. In the Hungarian capital the closing of the 52nd International Eucharistic Congress, with the theme "All my springs are in You".
Tajikistan is among the most concerned and is preparing itself militarily, asking the international community to intervene. Uzbekistan is more open to dialogue, but has the best armed army in the region. The Taliban speak of good relations with Tashkent.
Kremlin and Chinese have invested heavily in Guinean mines, supporting deposed President Alpha Condé. The role of the Russians in the international traffic of cocaine, which also passes through Guinea. Suspicions that the US and Europe favored the coup to weaken Russia and China.
Russian security services accuse Ukrainians of sabotaging gas pipelines near Simferopolis. Tatar activists arrested. Russians launch plans to desalinate water and guarantee water supplies to the population. Kiev wants to take back the peninsula.
"So many people in the world, so many, millions, who do not have the right to eat, do not have the right to education, do not have the right to work: they are the new slaves, they are those who are on the peripheries, who are exploited by everyone. Even today there is slavery: let us think about this a little. We deny these people human dignity."