What’s Behind Russia’s Revival of a Soviet-Era Song Contest?

Russia will revive the Cold War-era Intervision Song Contest this October, according to July 25 reports.

Intervision was first established back in 1977 as a direct rival to the Europe-oriented Eurovision Song Contest. Few people in the participating Soviet nations had private telephones, so Intervision’s television viewers would turn on their house lights if they liked a certain song, or off if they didn’t. The state energy company would then record the size of each power spike, and report the results to the television company to determine points for each contestant. As the Soviet Union began to weaken in the early 1980s, Intervision was discontinued.

Now, Putin is reviving this relic of the Soviet Union’s “glory days,” as he recently has with so many others including a military prep fitness program, the “Hero of Socialist Labor” award, and a grip on domestic media that would earn a hat tip from Comrade Stalin himself.

All these moves serve Putin’s general purpose of resuscitating the Soviet Empire. But this latest one—reviving the song contest—also serves another specific purpose. Continue reading

Iran’s supreme leader orders fresh terror attacks on West

Update: Special thanks to those at Balatarin that linked this story. As with all posts, be sure to click the link at the bottom for the original source and full article. We look forward to and welcome the opportunity to being a future resource.

Iran’s Supreme Leader has ordered the country’s Revolutionary Guards to intensify its campaign of terror attacks against the West and its allies in retaliation for supporting the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad in Syria.

Damascus is Iran’s most important regional ally, and the survival of the Assad regime is regarded as vital to sustaining the Iranian-backed Hizbollah militia which controls southern Lebanon.

The report, which was personally commissioned by Mr Khamenei, concluded that Iran’s national interests were being threatened by a combination of the U.N. sanctions imposed over Iran’s nuclear programme and the West’s continuing support for Syrian opposition groups attempting to overthrow the Syrian government.

Intelligence officials say the report concludes that Iran “cannot be passive” to the new threats posed to its national security, and warns that Western support for Syrian opposition groups was placing Iran’s “resistance alliance” in jeopardy, and could seriously disrupt Iran’s access to Hizbollah in Lebanon.

Mr Khamenei responded by issuing a directive to Qassem Suleimani, the Quds Force commander, to intensify attacks against the West and its allies around the world.

The Quds Force has recently been implicated in a series of terror attacks against Western targets. Last year U.S. officials implicated the organisation in a failed assassination attempt against the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington. It was also implicated in three bomb attacks against Israeli diplomats in February, planning to attack the Eurovision song contest in Azerbaijan while two Iranians were arrested in Kenya last month for possessing explosives.

Intelligence officials believe the recent spate of Iranian attacks has been carried out by the Quds Force’s Unit 400, which runs special overseas operations.

“Unit 400 seems to have been involved in all the recent Iranian terrorist operations,” said a senior Western intelligence official. “The Iranian regime now seems determined to retaliate for what they regard as the West’s attempts to influence the outcome of the Syrian unrest.”

Full article: Iran’s supreme leader orders fresh terror attacks on West (The Telegraph)