It has also earned a reputation as a crime-ridden, mafia-dominated...
Sabine Free State
This lawless area also attracted exiles, deserters, political refugees, fortune hunters, and a variety of criminals...
I think Igor Smirnov may be trying to straddle both sides of the political fence.
Many people in that region still have a certain affinity towards Stalinistic style rule, some in that area, especially the old timers, reminisce about the way things were when the communist party in Russia, then the USSR was neatly controlling things.
Many of his constituents may even blame the newfound freedom as the cause of all the social and economic problems that area is facing, the void, for lack of a better word, which was left w/ the partial collapse of the USSR. When there is a void, coupled with weak leadership, economic chaos and morals, of course crime soars and thugs rule.
It may be for psychological reasons that some may to want to retain momentos that remind them of a perceived better time. Besides, folks in that area are strongly nationalistic, in a way that is hard for many of us in the west to understand.
I believe many of these folks derive a sense of pride, nostalgia and security from the old style regime's icons like old communistic type banners, statues and so forth. That is why when asked why his government keeps many of these objects in full view, his cronies said it was OK.
Igor Smirnov is not naivette, so the icons stay.
"Communist strongman or courageous independance hero?" the Reuter's article asks, I believe Mr. Smirnov is first and formost a smart POLITICIAN. He is holding his finger to the wind, to see in which direction it is blowing.
Meanwhile, his constituents grind along, weighed down with economic uncertainty while retaining their old style nationalism.
Why does change happen so slowly?
Thanks for the good reads, the second article is also very interesting.
Maybe. But do Austin Roses overwinter there?
Heck yea I think you can overwinter roses there!
Check this out:
Also check out Russian Association of Rosarians.
I know David Austin ship roses there, look up David Austin's UK site for more info :)