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Old 01-27-2013, 02:45 AM   #4621
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Interview in L'Équipe magazine, 26 January 2013 issue. This is my own translation, not Google's.

Page One
Page Two
Page Three


Quote:

Marat Safin in the service of Putin


By Jean-Christophe Collin in Moscow


In November 2009, Marat Safin put away his racquets. Then the Gatsby of world tennis threw himself into politics. Now here he is, a deputy under the colours of United Russia, Vladimir Putin’s party. The choice was surprising. He explains it.


He greeted the young waitress, who didn’t resist, and sat down, jaws clenched. Lowered his eyes. "I'm sorry, I completely forgot". Despite his lateness, I was relieved: Russian parliament, where he has sat since December 2011, hasn’t changed Marat Safin after all. He remains the elegant, bright, casual guy that top-level sport does not produce enough of. Nevertheless, for the next hour, he will to strive to demonstrate to the contrary, that he has become precisely someone else. To tell us about his new life, his responsibilities, and to sketch a portrait of a different man, always endearing but more rational than the elusive tennis player that he once was.

An affable player, world number one at 20 years old, so very Russian, an inveterate party animal, capable of the best – the tennis lesson in the 2000 US Open final against Pete Sampras –, and the worst – smashed racquets, see-sawing matches– , he had brought his undulating career to an end in a last match at Bercy against Juan Martin del Potro on 11 November 2009. Without regret, he assures me.

"I’d had enough, morally, physically, psychologically. I haven’t touched a racquet since, I’ve just done some exhibitions. I’ve played football, hockey, but no more tennis." I remarked to him that Ivan Lendl also stopped playing completely after having put an end to his career. "He comes from an Eastern country like me… You can’t imagine how sport there was inculcated into children".

In a quiet and elegant café where he customarily goes, near Pushkin Place, Safin dives back into the subject of the Soviet Union, and its statistical and military conception of sport. "The system took people, exploited them and, from this number, some champions came through, but all the others were broken. The human being was absolutely not taken into account. All the pleasure of the game was killed…"

Safin left this world at 14 years old and went to Spain, but he had nevertheless been marked forever. Today he remains attached to this child who used to thump balls, almost in a shelter from the world, in a wondrous clearing in the heart of Moscow, the gigantic and grey capital, with wide avenues such as boredom. And then there were, here and there, a few small corners of poetry, like the modest Spartak Tennis Club, set among the trees.

"It’s true that it was an unusual place. How many of us came out of that scene … Andreev, Chesnokov, Kournikova, me, my sister…" It was Marat’s parents who were in charge of it. A real miracle for a sport that almost didn’t have a legal existence in the USSR. Stalin had considered it a sport of the petty bourgeoisie and banned it forever. "Even so, he played," Marat asserts.

So there was indeed a tennis court at the Kremlin, but it did not appear on any official plan. "It was very difficult to play during that time," he remembers. "There were a few courts but mostly it was difficult to find racquets, balls. In any case, it was difficult to find anything. The shops were empty, you had to queue for hours to buy a litre of milk. Lots of people have forgotten all that, mostly young people who never knew those times. I actually lived it. I’ve forgotten nothing, but they don’t realise where you’ve come from and the path you’ve travelled.”

This discrepancy seems to be what's driving his political involvement with the existing regime. The interviewer from the West doesn’t understand how a guy like him, who has travelled the world, lived in democracies, could agree to endorse Vladimir Putin’s presidency, even going so far as to support his party.

Marat Safin had granted us an interview after the election of Putin with 64% of the vote last March. The Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had clearly established that the elections had been rigged. There was ample evidence of ballot stuffing; above all, the main opposition hadn't had the right to stand.

It seemed the Gatsby of modern tennis was unable to justify the disputed election of an authoritarian regime. "All that, it's nothing but criticism from the opposition. In every country, every time there are elections, there are disputes. Look at the election of Bush ..." Sure, Marat, but the Russian government has a hold on the media, the judges ... The concept of the rule of law is trampled every day. Safin brushes all this aside with one of his two-handed backhands to put the Russian political situation in a historical perspective. "Look at where we’ve come from! Look at the changes occurring in a few years ..."

This is effectively an argument made by certain Russians, more numerous than one would think in Western Europe. Often people who profit from the system, but not just them. Nevertheless, they are not, in general, young and open to the world like Safin. In a country that loves a firm hand, great sportspeople often have their "légitimistes". Close to power. Especially since Putin promotes sport as a factor in the recovery of the country. But all the same, one remains stupefied at the conversion of someone who, after losing his final at the 2002 Australian Open, had thanked his "family", pointing over to three sublime, busty young blondes who had followed him over the fortnight. Now that was Safin. A man who kept a distance from himself, from tennis, from the world, who preferred life to his talent. Then how has he come to put on a tie, a dark suit, and to vote for laws that are occasionally unjust …

"It was Dmitry Svatkovsky, champion at the Sydney Olympics in modern pentathlon, who suggested that I go into politics." Putin’s party, United Russia, recruited sportspeople to give it a glamorous, dynamic image. "At first I refused", Safin continues, "it wasn’t my world. I was more business-oriented. And then I said to myself, why not. It could be very interesting and constitute a new step in my life".

He is, in fact, since December 2011, a deputy of the Nizhny Novgorod area, a city with more than one million inhabitants, almost 500km to the east of Moscow, and called Gorky during the Soviet era. It was there that the dissident Andrei Sakharov had been sent into exile… It’s slightly as if Yannick Noah had become a deputy of Meurthe-et-Moselle. "I go there one week a month and the rest of the time I sit in Parliament. I work on laws, within a very tight schedule".

The people aren’t fooled by the regime’s choice of these popular characters. The Russians have an expression for it, they say "muzzles for sale"*. Male and female tennis players are real stars in Russia. And it’s an old tradition over there for sportspeople to sit in Parliament. This was already the case in the Soviet Union, to the chagrin of the opposition, who denounced these parliamentary clodhoppers. "These people don’t make the laws, they just press buttons", says Ilya Yachin, one of the most important personalities of the opposition. "We have the Parliament with the most sportspeople in the world, it’s grotesque …"

Safin goes on: "I’m very happy in my choice. I’ve invested a lot, I genuinely work. It’s a new career". Finally, not as distant as before, he reflects: "Top-level sport is good preparation for this work. I’m habituated to stress, concentration, competition …"

Sure, but top-level sport is played according to immutable rules recognised by everyone, with impartial umpires. Politics in Russia operates according to the rules of the established regime. Marat’s new family. We preferred the other one.
* I think muzzle in this context means face, in an informal or pejorative sense, not the actual guard for an animal’s muzzle.
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Old 01-27-2013, 04:48 AM   #4622
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Jeeze...he's even deeper into denial than I realised...and I agree with the author..Marat may have liked being the 'black sheep' of the tennis family - but I prefer it to his current one, too.....but guess it confirms how he ended up getting involved in the first place....and also the myth of his 'love' for tennis is dispelled - he was telling the truth when he said "it's just a job" ...and I can see the obvious attraction for him when he was recruited...but...what has happened to his conscience....maybe he never really had one....brainwashed by tennis as a child...brainwashed by politics as an adult - then again, I'm just a westerner,how can I understand where he came from....one thing is for sure - he doesn't have to queue up for anything these days......he just has to keep pushing those buttons.
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Old 01-27-2013, 06:24 AM   #4623
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thanks for translation, Monkey!
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:36 AM   #4624
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

^ You're welcome!

Posted today on United Russia's website, an article by Marat on patriotism. (Google translation below) How differently it would read, if the word "patriotism" was replaced by "compassion", "empathy" or "human fellow feeling" ...

"Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel." Samuel Johnson, The Patriot.

Quote:

Safin: Patriotism in the lives of young people

Patriotic feelings among youth is an essential factor for the growth of the country's welfare.


Patriotism is the main meaning of citizenship. So patriotic education is at the heart of civic education, writes Duma deputy Marat Safin.

"The theme of patriotism is not the last place in modern society. And talk about it are different from political statements in the campaign to pass laws, which call for the resignation of senior officials, may be regarded as treason ...

But the fact that the talks on the theme of patriotism go, says that it is important and urgent.

There is a budget program for the development of patriotism, there are even organizations that call themselves patriotic, but patriotism in the eyes and minds of people does not add up ...

As a State Duma deputy and a representative of the Patriotic party platform "United Russia", I attended a meeting of the youth debate club "Boiling Point" on November 27, 2012, in Nizhny Novgorod. The theme of the meeting "Patriotism in the lives of young people", the meeting was held in the form of debate. Discussed two groups, the first group was for patriotism, and the other group, including young ardent member of the Communist Party and the patriotism.

In my opinion, patriotism is the main meaning of citizenship. So patriotic education is at the heart of civic education.

The event showed that the patriotic education of youth can be used and is used for undermining the credibility of the current political system. Our group of patriots at the meeting of the club was subjected to criticism by the hot young communist. Was the constant comparison of the situation in the country (medicine, education, the military, police) with the situation in the Soviet Union (it is worth noting that the age criticism - about 20 years), silence the difficulties of life in the communist system and the criticism of the current quality of life.

From the debate it became clear that young people are very close to the theme of patriotism. I believe that the main purpose of patriotic education - the formation of high civil social activity in the first place, among this segment of the population, young people. Today it is the sense of being seriously tested - changing our Fatherland, revised and rethought his past, present, concerned ... However, young people, students, perceive all the problems and difficulties that are present in the country, close to the heart, rather than moving away from them.

In his argument for patriotism, I noted that patriotic education - the most important task of society as a whole and the individual family in particular. A rich, strong and powerful country like simple. And if home weak and poor? If going through a spiritual crisis? Need to solve these problems, to work, to restore a living conscience, belief in the power of kindness, sensitivity to evil, a sense of honor and capacity for loyalty.

It should be noted that opponents of patriotism at the meeting had accumulated no more than 5%, including the group directly involved in the debate. The vast majority of students and young people is well aware that not everything is perfect in the country, you have to correct the situation, starting with himself, and not to rely on a neighbor. Do not sit and criticize the Governor, members of all levels of government, the president, the current political system, not to solve critical problems. We have to learn and work, begin to improve life around, give people good.

An excellent example of patriotism are also voluntary movement. Meeting with students in higher education, I regularly raise this issue with the youth. It is encouraging to see that every university has its own voluntary movements with their good intentions and objectives. In their free time, the guys help the elderly, visit children's homes, help low-income families.

Voluntary movements are not just in schools Nizhny Novgorod. I have been actively cooperating with the children of the Youth Chamber of the zemstvo assembly municipalities Nizhny Novgorod region: Arzamas, Shatkovskaya, Bolshoye Boldino, Gaginskaya and others. The last event was held at the end of 2012, when the region was visited by more than 70 disadvantaged families and families Children's House "Swallow" in the village of Svetlogorsk Shatkovskaya area with delivery of Christmas gifts and theatrical congratulations.

I believe that, in the Nizhny Novgorod region will soon be appearing organizations and projects that clearly focused on the formation of civil and patriotic feelings of the citizens. Then, combining this activity with the activity of the military-patriotic clubs, we get the effective direction of the field of social policy, the state and society - the development and education of patriotic citizens ...

As a result, it should be noted that the patriotic feelings among youth is an essential factor for the growth of prosperity. Is very important to bring the feeling from early childhood in the family, school, university. The younger generation takes the example of the older, more experienced and adult companions, and if the supporters of the opposition parties will seize the chance and will bear the discord in bright minds of young people, which country do we get? On this issue should think every one of us."
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:00 AM   #4625
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Quote:
Originally Posted by inez View Post
Jeeze...he's even deeper into denial than I realised...and I agree with the author..Marat may have liked being the 'black sheep' of the tennis family - but I prefer it to his current one, too.....but guess it confirms how he ended up getting involved in the first place....and also the myth of his 'love' for tennis is dispelled - he was telling the truth when he said "it's just a job" ...and I can see the obvious attraction for him when he was recruited...but...what has happened to his conscience....maybe he never really had one....brainwashed by tennis as a child...brainwashed by politics as an adult - then again, I'm just a westerner,how can I understand where he came from....one thing is for sure - he doesn't have to queue up for anything these days......he just has to keep pushing those buttons.
Yep, that was quite an ending to the article - We preferred the other one. I always said he's more the business-manager type, he'd be a great tennis (or whatever) manager. That he went into politics.... Maybe he'll get bored-tired of politics soon too who knows. And not much conscience in the West these days either, no?
Anyway thanks a lot monkey.
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:38 AM   #4626
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MariaV View Post
And not much conscience in the West these days either, no?
I was referring to Marat's personal conscience, MariaV - not making some international socio-political comment...not everything is to do with the west trying to put down the east - I am more than aware that politicians of all nations quite often leave a lot to be desired when it comes to their personal ethics ....

- I'm finding it hard to make much sense of the article...given that it appears to be para-phrasing some interview/conversation with Marat I can't unravel his argument - and what he actually means when he says "patriotism'...the apparent examples he gives about the students visiting the old folks and orphanages and helping 'low income' families sounds more like people acting with a social conscience....rather than 'patriotism' with its unpleasant jingoistic associations...I wish he would explain himself clearly :-( ...but there is some hope..."in the belief in the power of kindness".....maybe...
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Old 02-05-2013, 09:56 AM   #4627
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Quote:
Originally Posted by inez View Post
I wish he would explain himself clearly :-( ...but there is some hope..."in the belief in the power of kindness".....maybe...
Main points here are " Do not sit and criticize the Governor, members of all levels of government, the president, the current political system, not to solve critical problems. We have to learn and work, begin to improve life around, give people good." "and if the supporters of the opposition parties will seize the chance and will bear the discord in bright minds of young people, which country do we get?"
and this one is really priceless "The event showed that the patriotic education of youth can be used and is used for undermining the credibility of the current political system."

It's all very simple. According to ER Patriotism=loyality to the all levels of authority, no questions asked.
If you want changes like honest elections, independent court etc you are not a patriot, you are undermining the political system and put country in danger.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:55 AM   #4628
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...I know......but you know, clutching at straws and all that........its pretty categorical....he has bought into the Party line....
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Old 02-14-2013, 09:50 PM   #4629
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I really dislike Marat the political man.... like Maria V said in the other thread I always saw him going into business after retiring not politics. I guess the people who gave him this advice ( to go into politics) were really persuasive. But of course is undeniable that striping all the party lines and opinions we still have a pretty conservative and macho (to not say misoginist because it would be a tad harsh in the eyes of many) Marat. For me is really hard to see a glimpse of old fun tennis Marat even if even in that era we saw glimpses of the present Marat if that makes sense in any way. To end: tennis yay! politics nay!
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I would love to see that!
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:35 AM   #4630
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

I don't think Marat is a conservative by nature.

And people, please, don't call him a politician. It sounds ridiculous. Like majority of russian MP's he's nothing more but a well paid audience member clapping and booing on cue and Duma itself is nothing more but a decoration. Real russian politics and decision making happen in other places.
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Old 02-18-2013, 09:51 AM   #4631
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

In dedication to Marat's article on patriotism...

Why Russia's Patriots Love to Buy U.S. Real Estate
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Old 02-21-2013, 05:45 PM   #4632
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Quote:
Originally Posted by mer View Post
In dedication to Marat's article on patriotism...

Why Russia's Patriots Love to Buy U.S. Real Estate
Interesting read, thanks, mer.

Mini-interview with Marat following the football friendly today at sports hall "Druzhba" at Luzhniki. Google-translated via Moskva Sportivnaya.

Quote:

Marat Safin: "The idea of ​​the award "National Football Olympus" feels right

On 21 February, in the capital's multi-purpose arena "Druzhba" at the award "National Football Olympus", a friendly football match was played, fans of which were raised in orphanages in Moscow and the Moscow region. One participant in the sport event was the former tennis player, now State Duma deputy Marat Safin, who at the end of the football meeting answered some questions from our "Moscow Sports" correspondent.


Marat, what are your impressions of today's celebration?

Pavel Borodin - well done. Helps children without parents to care for them. And we, in turn, support his endeavors. Our task - to brighten up the children out into adult life, give them a chance to develop.

What about the award "National Football Olympus"?

The award will be held for the first time, so far I can't say anything concrete. But the idea was right. The more people who are engaged in this business, they know what to do. This is evidenced by the mix of participants. On the whole, the award is at a high level, so it will be interesting to see what happens as a result.

I can't not ask you about tennis. In your opinion, how has the season started for the Russian athletes?

Girls show good results, the boys are not good. We have a difficult situation with men's tennis. Those tennis players whose career is coming to an end are still running hard, and the young guys are still quite green.

Are there promising tennis players now in Russia?

Talented guys can't come out of nowhere. They need to be engaged. And now we have to this particular no one cares. Some things need to change. And count on the fact that we have someone come out from somewhere - is nonsense. No more of those times when Yevgeny Kafelnikov, Maria Sharapova and Svetlana Kuznetsova went abroad for their money looking for sponsors and themselves raised.

Not so long ago, Kazan was excluded from the list of applicants for carrying out the Final Championship WTA. Do you plan to hold competitions of its kind in Russia in the near future?

I don't know, because I'm not involved in tennis, I've moved away from it completely. This is a matter for Shamil Anvyarovich Tarpischev. No one spoke to me about Kazan. Why do I need to climb to where I have not been calling.

And if the Federation still appeals for help?

They all can, themselves all know. When they need help, they call. When not, they do everything themselves.
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Old 03-01-2013, 12:05 PM   #4633
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Via Russia Herald.

Quote:

Davydenko considering politics career after tennis

Russia Herald (IANS) Friday 1st March, 2013

Russian tennis ace Nikolay Davydenko is considering following Marat Safin into Russian politics after his sporting career comes to an end.

Davydenko, a 31-year-old veteran of the tour with nearly 14 seasons in pro tennis, believes he has one or two years left at the top of the game, after which he sees politics as the only viable career path.

"If they invite me into politics, I'll go into politics," Davydenko told R-Sport after losing to Roger Federer in the quarterfinals of the Dubai Championships Thursday.

"I'm not sure, of course, because politics is not exactly straightforward. You need to move in the right direction, where to go, what to do. But if the interest is there, I would go into it," he said.

Davydenko pointed to his longtime mentor and former world No.1 Safin as an example. Safin, who retired in 2009, was elected to the lower house of parliament in 2011, representing the Nizhny Novgorod region for President Vladimir Putin's United Russia party.

"Safin is doing well. He's advancing, progressing. After tennis, he entered politics in the right way. We meet up pretty often, have a chat, he's doing great. He hasn't lost touch with us, he gets in contact quite a lot, I've been quite surprised," Davydenko said.

Were the seemingly natural progression into the Russian tennis federation a possibility as a future career path, Davydenko said he might have been tempted.

"In Moscow it's really hard to stay in sport," he said. "There it's easier to go into business or into politics. Because sport, tennis, at the moment is not really progressing. Everyone is firmly rooted to their spot and it's very tough to budge someone from their place. Pretty much impossible, in fact, so it's best not to touch them. I don't think that any of our players want to stay in tennis. It's hard to do something with the federation."

But the Moscow-born player, who has racked up more that $15 million in career prize money, insists he still has the necessary drive to win a 22nd career title.

"I have no specific aims, I just want more titles. Winning any tournament is very prestigious... I've won 21 titles and I want to win more."

Many Russian sports stars have entered the world of politics after retiring, with several joining United Russia. They include former WBA heavyweight boxing champion Nikolai Valuev, former rhythmic gymnast Alina Kabaeva and, albeit briefly, 2006 Olympic figure skating champion Yevgeny Plushenko.
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:20 PM   #4634
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Marat looking like a Thunderbirds puppet on the cover of the March issue of "Ginza News" (available to customers only). Via Ginza Project.

Marat Safin: "I'm not in the market of eligible bachelors".


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Attention all guests Ginza Project! Moscow - New Issue of Ginza News!

March 1 at all restaurants, a new edition of the newspaper Ginza News!

Hero - loved by all women in the country, the legendary athlete and aspiring politician Marat Safin! Interview with former tennis player and new deputy about the changes in his personal life, non-sporting career ambitions and tastes - only for guests of our institutions!
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Old 03-01-2013, 01:34 PM   #4635
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Default Re: News & Articles Part 3 - The Return of the Yeti

Kolya once again saying as it is. Marat tried to help Shamil in the Tennis Federation but dunno what happened, most probably things just not moving like Kolya says.
Thanks for all your hard work monkey!
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