Fall Out, and Secure For Sea; The 2012 Sino-Russian Naval Exercises

Uncle Volodya says, "A good navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace"

Full fathom five thy father lies;
Of his bones are coral made;
Those are pearls that were his eyes:
Nothing of him that doth fade
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange…

Alfred Thayer Mahan, author of “The Influence of Sea Power Upon History“, was the most celebrated and preeminent naval strategist of his day. According to the “U.S. History” site, he was one of the leading spokesmen for the age of imperialism, arguing not only that leaders who wanted to get anywhere concentrated on harsh political realities while the philanthropic side of overseas involvement was for milksops and Mama’s boys, but that modern navies need shore facilities in every region from which to project regional power. These facilities, he argued, would never be completely safe while they were in the hands of another country.

Those lessons were taken to heart not only by the United States of America, but by every maritime nation that aspired to be a world power; or to prevent someone who did from seizing, in the pursuit of empire, territory that was theirs but which they were too weak to defend. Consequently, regions that do not wish to be subjugated by the United States Navy Mahan championed so aggressively have sought to limit its influence in regions they consider their own, and to prevent its gaining a foothold from which to deploy and resupply.

The Soviet Navy peaked between 1985 and 1990, when it had 6 aircraft carriers, 30 cruisers, 32 frigates and about 70 each of Ballistic-Missile submarines and Guided Missile submarines. Since then it has shrunk to a shadow of its former power, and the vessels that remain are in need of refits and modernization while new construction is needed to keep pace with the shifting balance of power and the imperative for freedom of the seas for one’s own fleet while developing and maintaining the ability to deny it to others without leave.

Therefore, nations that once deliberately exaggerated the strength of the Soviet Navy in order to justify rapid military buildups – with lucrative sweetheart deals for the military/industrial sector – have fallen to snickering about the Russian navy of today, referring to it as “decrepit” and “barely seaworthy”. Such was the prevalent tone in discussions of the recently concluded and first-ever Russian/Chinese joint naval exercises.

A word of caution before everyone breaks out the pointy paper hats and champagne – China doesn’t see the exercises that way at all. China regards them as an opportunity to learn from a modern navy: “… a chance to interact with a more advanced force as China tries to improve its defence capabilities”. China, if anyone needs to be reminded, is regarded by the United States Director of National Intelligence as America’s greatest military threat, owns the western world’s manufacturing base and holds billions upon billions in western debt. Suggesting China has been able to position itself to admirable advantage as a result of western self-stroking complacency would be an understatement. And Russia has something the Chinese navy wants: the tactics, fleet maneuvering, antisubmarine warfare and coordinated area defense experience for projection of true blue-water seapower Russia acquired in the cold war. At the time, China’s navy was more a liability than an asset. I saw a good part of it in Quingdao in the late 80’s, and the submarine fleet was especially frightening. For the people who had to serve in it, not oppose it.

Look at China’s navy now. An aircraft carrier, later this year. Although its introduction is unlikely to mark a radical departure in strategic planning, retired U.S. Navy Captain Carl Schuster suggests it will “elevate the People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) into the ranks of the world’s great naval powers”. It will also move the drop-dead line for seaborne forces wishing to launch cruise missile strikes against the Chinese mainland some 200-300 miles to seaward.  The Luhu Class destroyers, in service in the mid-90’s, are capable ships that make use of up-to-date foreign technology such as French radars and weapon-control systems. Yes, the French are not too careful who they sell to. Oh, and powered by LM-2500 gas turbine engines, from General Electric, United States of America. She carries the C-803 missile: the air-launched variant, the YJ-83, demonstrated twice the range U.S. intelligence agencies had initially estimated in its initial test-firing. The Luyang I and Luyang II class are newer yet, and have the Chinese navy’s first real fleet air defense capability.

Although these exercises do not by any means indicate the emergence of a coherent military alliance or a common regional defense policy, let’s indulge in a moment of what-if, to see how that might alter the global balance of power, never mind in the region. Courtesy of the BBC, here’s roughly the way the world’s dominant military powers shake out. Personally, I thought it was kind of rude to leave out Germany, the Netherlands and France, who all have capable and highly professional small navies, but let’s stick with this list for the moment and confine ourselves to submarines, aircraft and ICBM’s only (since the list does not include surface ships).

The UK can be counted on to go along with pretty much anything the USA wants to do, and the USA never met a war the UK didn’t like, so we’ll include them together as partners. And we’ll add Russia in with China. Let’s run the numbers.

Oooooo…A Russia/China alliance would outnumber the USA/UK alliance by 45 submarines, 127 to 82. The USA/UK alliance has 364 more fighters/ground attack aircraft than a Russia/China alliance would have. The USA/UK alliance has a slight edge also in ICBM’s, 450 to 358. Those are all landbased, though: keep in mind the 45-submarine deficit. The USA/UK alliance has many more surface ships; however, the USA alone is spending $739 Billion a year to keep up its military, while Russia and China combined are spending about $143 Billion (although the chart is probably correct that the Chinese government’s defense spending is higher than it reports). Russia has the third-largest cash reserves in the world, and China is the largest holder of U.S. government debt at $1.18 Trillion. The USA has a $1.3 Trillion federal deficit: the UK has a deficit of 3,396 Million GBP, and recently imposed the most severe austerity budget since the Second World War. Money to spend on a military buildup affects the balance of power as well. Which hypothetical alliance has it?

The cost-for-capability gap is further illustrated in China’s acquisition plan for Littoral Combat ships versus the American plan. The Chinese went for a corvette-sized missile boat which retired United States Navy Commander John Patch described as “a thoroughbred ship killer”. The United States went for a small, cheap, mass-produced hull as well. In a decade the Chinese built eighty-three 400-ton trimarans at a cost of about $40 Million each. In the same time period the U.S. Navy built two  2,700 – 3,000 ton ships (two different designs), at a cost of more than $600 Million apiece. Some analysts laughed off the difference, suggesting small missile boats operating in the  littoral zone are easy meat for submarines and helicopters. Those are probably the same analysts who laughed off the joint China/Russia exercises as a comedy bringing together a great power wanna-be and a great power has-been. The Russian navy was and is very capable in anti-submarine warfare, and submarines are already uncomfortable operating in the littoral zone, which is typically shallow – sometimes shallow enough that a submarine can be seen from the air. Those who think helicopters will butcher the missile boats are forgetting fighter air cover from enemy aircraft carriers, and how far  they will have to stand offshore owing to the enemy’s missile envelope – 200 to 300 miles is a long flight for an armed-up helicopter unless it is planned to be a one-way. The most-quoted critic of littoral missile boats, Bob Work, bases his assessments on the shooting-fish-in-a-barrel experience of the U.S. Navy against Iranian and Iraqi Fast Attack Craft (FAC) in 1988 and 1991. Those boats were Boghammars and Kamans. The Boghammar is a twin-drive open boat that looks quite a bit like what you might use for bass fishing, with a machine gun in it. The Kaman and Kaman II boats were an export version of the French La Combattante boat, with MM-38 Exocet and Harpoon missiles respectively. Although the Harpoon is good for 70 miles, the radar carried (Thomson CSF G-Band) could see only 18 miles on a good day, and there were no surface-to-air missiles. Pride goeth before a fall, Bob. The Houbei (Type 022) class sports an X-band dedicated air-search radar that can see three times as far, and surface-to-air missiles. And it’s twice the size of a Kaman.

But where are my manners? I largely left out the Russians. Aside from having a pile of money and an avowed intention to bring back its navy from death’s door, Russia purchased the Mistral Class assault carrier from the French last year, and intends building 3 more. To hear The Moscow Times’ Pavel Felgenhauer squeal about it, you’d think Moscow had taken the U.S. navy hostage and was sending its ears home to its mother by registered mail, raving on about airspace defense missile brigades and the U.S. leapfrogging the Kuriles to invade the Sea of Okhotsk. Russia already had a fairly good sealift capability with 20 landing ships, although most are quite old and only the Ropucha II’s could really be called modern. But there’s no denying the Mistrals will bring an added dimension with helicopters to fly air cover in support of landings and offer rapid logistic resupply to consolidate a beachhead. They will also carry a sizable troop component. The Jamestown Foundation isn’t laughing about Russia’s ambitions to restore and upgrade its navy, and reckons Russia is serious about regional power projection. And that’s just Russia on its own.

Also, the who-would-win projections are usually made on the assumption that it’s total war, only firepower matters and devil take the hindmost. In reality, it’s almost never like that any more. In an atmosphere of less than total war, is it possible for asymmetric action using unconventional and unexpected tactics to blunt even an overwhelming advantage by a force that almost never changes its patterns? Why, yes, it is. Remember the Royal Navy’s humiliation at the hands of the relatively weak Iranian Revolutionary Guard when the latter captured 15 sailors from HMS Cornwall during a boarding event? In this instance, the navy had become complacent owing to operation after operation with nothing going wrong, and Cornwall was too far away to support the boarding party when they came up alongside the vessel they intended to board, and there was a small Iranian naval vessel on the opposite side. We’ve talked before about the massive exercise Millenium Challenge 2002, two years in the planning, in which the Commander of the Red Force – retired Marine General Paul Van Riper – “sank” some 13 ships including an assault carrier and a large support vessel in less than half an hour. Western navies have been accustomed to knowing what the enemy will do almost before he knows himself, owing to an ability to listen in on his communications with sophisticated intercept equipment. General Van Riper used preplans and couriers to pass his orders, and had a single massive attack launched on a common signal. If real, the exercise enemy (widely thought to have represented Iran) would have won a decisive sea battle and done tremendous damage to the western image of seaborne invincibility. I’m sure everyone remembers the tension created in the Straits of Hormuz when 3 naval vessels were approached by small Iranian vessels, and a coincidental radio transmission – probably from a local prankster who calls himself “Filipino Monkey” – threatened the warships. Not to mention the immediate effect on oil prices, which leaped 49 cents a barrel.

One more time. China is assessed, by the individual whose job it is, to be the greatest military threat to the United States. China rates the Russian navy as more advanced and professional than the Chinese navy. More advanced than the forces of the country that is America’s greatest military threat, in case the point escaped anyone. Both China and Russia have plenty of money with which to build up their military forces, and Russia has announced an intention to do just that. Russia is assessed as the USA’s second-greatest military threat. Although the DNI was talking about the nuclear forces of those countries and not their naval forces, I find it hard to believe the two biggest threats as nation-states are carrying out joint naval exercises and the USA’s response is yawn, wake me up when something exciting happens. Especially when one of those countries holds enough U.S. debt to tip the economy over, and the other is a major energy producer. Both countries have recently united to oppose NATO regime-change initiatives in the United Nations. Although exercises in the past have focused on joint anti-terrorism measures, the joint naval operations focused on air defense and anti-submarine warfare at the multinational fleet level, similar to the RIMPAC exercise hosted by the USN.

Mind you, the DNI also said he thought Colonel Gaddafi would prevail against the rebels. So maybe he’s just the village idiot dressed up as the DNI.

I’m not sure what Alfred Thayer Mahan would have said about the notion that the country he had marked out for dominion of the seas had decided to laugh at a building naval threat and ignore it until it got big enough to take seriously. So let’s seek wisdom from another great American naval strategist; Hyman G. Rickover, former four-star Admiral and, at 63 years of service, the longest-serving naval officer in U.S. history.

“You have to learn from the mistakes of others. You won’t live long enough to make them all yourself.”

Note: all information in this post was drawn from unclassified sources.

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300 Responses to Fall Out, and Secure For Sea; The 2012 Sino-Russian Naval Exercises

  1. yalensis says:

    Happy First of May Holiday, everybody!

  2. Indeed very Happy First May!

  3. Alex says:

    quote: “aircraft and ICBM’s only (since the list does not include surface ships).”
    surface ships?
    I ‘d definitely included Russian supercavitating torpedoes when weighting in the balance – after all, one is tempted to say that while Russia builds these torpedoes, the US builds the targets Yes, I read the several US (very patriotic as one may expect) sources that try to dismiss Schkval and the likes. IMHO the truth is that Russians (and Germans) can build them, while the US – cannot. Your opinion?
    Cheers

    • kirill says:

      Didn’t Edward Pope steal the plans? So the US should have no problem building them. I found it amusing when Scientific American tried to fob off this Russian innovation by claiming that the US had similar test torpedoes in the 1950s. But they had a graphic of a regularly shaped torpedo. Anyone with a clue could see that this is nonsense. The shape of the shkval is nothing like a conventional torpedo because of the hydrodynamic effects it is using (it is conic with gas outlet orifices near the tip). I guess there was a reason by Kolmogorov was a Russian and not an American.

      • Alex says:

        Yes, I agree – there are problems when it comes to even replicating Soviet technology from stolen designs – probably, because the Russians – and especially Soviet engineers are/were dumb. Or maybe it is that money cannot buy everything – especially brains- after all? The Russian Government should not forget this too. AFAIK – US unsuccessfully tired to replicate RD-180 for ATLAS V on their factories.
        Cheers

        • marknesop says:

          Soviet military technology was not necessarily dumb, and I’m sure you know that. It was merely designed with different priorities in mind. It would be operated by conscripts with a short period of training before getting them into active service, many of whom did not want to be there and who consequently had little interest in maintaining whatever it was they were driving/firing/operating. Therefore it had to be simple and rugged. Military production lines were made to turn out large numbers of hulls/airframes/chassis, and sometimes the workmanship was a little rough. The USA might have beautiful shiny equipment with a high degree of technical sophistication, but it rarely wins conflicts in which it is alone and head-to-head with someone else rather than part of an alliance, and only then when it has massive military superiority.

          • Alex says:

            Generaly, hard to argue, (although there are known cases (eg. Kalashnikov) when high tolerances and simple construction resulted in superior weapon – for real world)
            And to your praise of American science – perhaps, you are correct – I did not work in US. The US -educated “scientists” I met in Australian “scientific” environment. (I did not find either very inspiring – all without exception were people who had only one “scientific” problem to solve: to make money for themselves in the easiest possible way, and usually – at somebody;s expense. The Americans, perhaps, were more forthcoming with this attitude and definitely suffered from rarely supported by education superiority complex. So when I read sometimes brilliant research papers, I always have a strong suspicion that they were actually written by the Russians :) )

            However, going back to your main topic – do not you think that supplying technology to China might later backfire? In which case Russia will be the first to suffer?

            Cheers

            • marknesop says:

              The Kalashnikov is not particularly well-made, and not very accurate – lots of other assault rifles are more accurate. However, most soldiers are not snipers, and volume of fire is more important than accuracy in most actions. What the Kalashnikov is is rugged and simple – minimum of moving parts, easy to operate, extremely reliable even when it is mistreated and not well-maintained. I believe, without checking, that it is the most widely-produced assault rifle in the world, and it has undergone few modifications.

              It is significant that the Georgian Army, American trained and equipped with the latest western assault rifles, ditched them in favour of the Kalashnikovs they knew better as soon as they were in action.

              There are as many brilliant, altruistic Americans as there are any other population, and Americans have made great discoveries in virtually every field. The pressure to make money and the tendency to measure success by income have certainly not done science any favours, the same as the medical profession. But I would submit there still exist many Americans who seek and make discoveries for the common good. Unfortunately, unless you control the intellectual property rights to your discovery all the way to marketing it yourself, it will eventually be exploited by someone whose chief interest is in making money. And there’s nothing wrong with making money; I don’t want to give you the impression I hate money, because I’m actually rather fond of it. But measuring a scientist’s worth by how much of a financial windfall his/her discovery was encourages research for all the wrong reasons, and the western tilt in medicine toward managed care rather than cures does the same for medicine.

              China is energetically engaged in industrial spying on a huge scale, and there cannot be much that is a secret to them. It’s doubly hard to safeguard the internal workings of something you mean to sell, because they will simply buy it and reverse-engineer it. Just as in love, something meant to be a secret really is a secret only so long as you are the only one who knows it. The best way to protect your own interests from China is continued lobbying in international courts to force them to recognize intellectual property rights – which they basically do not right now – and make sure they don’t get anything for nothing. Sometimes that means a partnership or joint venture in which your rights are clearly defined. Anatoly did a very good post some time ago on “Why Russia and China Won’t Fight”, and I agree Russia is unlikely to suffer as long as it is a direct energy supplier to China. As far as Chinese rights to benefit from natural resources or technology, China is not much different from the USA in approach – it prefers to buy what you have if you will sell it, because it causes less international repercussions than stealing it or overthrowing you to take it.

      • marknesop says:

        I think the argument about torpedoes in which the west claimed to have gone down the same road years ago was on the occasion of the Kursk explosion, and the U.S.N. claimed – accurately – to have experimented earlier (in the 1950’s is also realistic) with peroxide as a torpedo fuel. They gave it up because it was too unstable, and this might in fact have contributed to the Kursk disaster. And such torpedoes did use a conventional body, so there was no real difference in shape.

        By contrast, the Shkval represents a leap of pure imagination, a question of how a torpedo would be affected if it no longer had to travel through water, as they all do. It is shaped differently because it transits in a different element, and shares more commonality with missiles than torpedoes. I never heard of Edward Pope, it sounds like there is an interesting story there.

        • kirill says:

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VA-111_Shkval

          The Scientific American article is about the Shkval though it mentions a conspiracy theory that the Kursk sank during tests of this torpedo.

          Pope pulled the “I got cancer” to get out of jail free card. Putin was a sap. Pope is still alive and kicking. Reminds me of Pinochet’s little stunt of pretending to be sick so as not to be deported to Spain from the UK. But ultimately it was the Brits that let that butcher go.

    • marknesop says:

      Anybody can build it once somebody has overcome the idea barrier. Every electronic or mechanical device built eventually hits a design wall whereby you just can’t make it any slicker, rounder, or whatever parameter you want to amplify to its utmost in order to make it do its job. In the case of torpedoes, the weapon had evolved to the point that nobody could make it any more hydrodynamic, or think of a way to give the engine more power without sacrificing warhead weight or lethality. There’s only so much room in the body, and you can only streamline the body so much. It was only the Russian designers who wondered if it might be possible – all other parameters having been explored to the limit – to decrease the resistance on the body by making it possible to fly through air rather than water.

      The Schkval is a brilliant piece of engineering, but it has its limitations. It is a straight-runner, with no control mechanism, so tactics built around its use rely on certain sets of circumstances; you must be close enough to the target that you could hit him (it’s blindingly fast for a torpedo) before he has an opportunity to evade, because you can’t change its direction once it’s launched. In order to get that close unnoticed, you must (a) know the target is there while your own presence remains unknown, and (b) be very quiet. Russian submarines, with the possible exception of newer diesel designs, are disproportionately noisy. That’s another problem subset to resolve, and most western nations have a huge advantage in noise reduction.

      • Alex says:

        I did not know about the noise problems in Russian subs – I thought that it was Australian Collins class production that hold the distinction for a number of years

        • kirill says:

          It’s a common meme in the western media to claim Russian subs are noisy as hell. Basically it is BS. The main source of noise from a sub is the propeller(s). It is difficult to design and machine them to have low cavitation. This is one of the reasons why there was so much fuss when Toshiba sold some high level NC milling machinery to the USSR. The claims in the wake of this was that Soviet/Russian subs got quieter.

          When I read this and apply my rudimentary physics knowledge (as opposed to zero which is what most journalists have), I see a lot of wishful thinking. Russian fluid dynamics theory is world class and not second rate copying of western brilliance. So if any country could design propellers of the right shape it would be Russia. The same goes for the shape of the sub itself and it is clear from the Akula design that correct fluid dynamics solutions are being applied

          On the milling machinery front I smell BS as well. The USSR had NC machines in the 1980s that could handle custom shapes. In fact, Soviet military milling machines were nothing to sneeze at. One of the best tank/cannon barrel milling machines was Soviet.

          • On the subject of the relative levels of quietness of Soviet/Russian submarines as opposed to US submarines here is a graph from Wikipedia that provides a comparison. Though Wikipedia does not give the source for this graph I remember seeing the graph elsewhere and can say that it is the US Navy.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Sub_Noise_Comparison_ENG.svg

            As I remember it was a standard trope during the Cold War that Soviet submarines were “much” noiser than US and British submarines. The graph shows that there is an element of truth to this but that the extent to which this was the case was and continues to be exaggerated. The latest US submarines were always quieter than the latest Soviet submarines but the latest Soviet submarines were quieter than US (and Soviet) submarines of the previous generation. Notice in particular that the Soviet Alpha or Lyra class submarine, which is always spoken of as a very noisy boat, though noiser than contemporary Soviet Victor II and Victor III boats, was actually quieter than earlier Soviet Victor I boats and earlier US boats. The Alpha class was a futuristic submarine with a titanium hull and a lead bizumeth reactor and was capable of achieving extraordinary levels of underwater speed and depth. I suspect that its noise levels were talked up in order to reassure the western public and to some extent even the US and British navies that it was not invincible. In the event it proved too expensive and difficult to maintain to be built in large quantities.

            • kirill says:

              Interesting graph. I can believe it was produced by the US Navy, but the lack of a scale on the y-axis makes it hard to evaluate. We don’t know if the x-axis goes through zero or even if the y-axis is linear. Maybe it is logarithmic :)

              The interesting part is after 1990. Looks like improvement has stalled. This actually says a lot. By the early 1990s the US noise reduction efforts reached physical limits. Based on this one can say that the Soviet/Russian subs are not far from this limit or most likely there as well. You just can’t keep on improving the propellers *of a given size* ad infinitum. US and Russian subs are of a certain scale which selects their propeller size. One could reduce the noise by making the propeller larger and have it turn slower, this way it would preserve the thrust. But I don’t see huge propellers in the design plans of both navies. I also don’t see exotic designs where a large inlet is used with internal turbines either.

              • Dear Kirill,

                That is absolutely right. You will notice that on the graph the latest Russian submarine the Severodvinsk (the first of the new Yasen class) is still said to be noiser than the very latest US submarines of the Sea Wolf and Virginia classes, though it is significantly quieter than the previous US Los Angeles class. However the Severodvinsk was actually laid down in the early 1990s but because of the economic crisis its construction proved incredibly protracted. The next boat of the class, which is now under construction, is said to be much more advanced and to incorporate further silencing technologies in which case it could be as quiet (or even quieter) than contemporary US boats.

                On the subject of submarine quieting technology reaching a technological plateau, you may be interested to know that I have read articles by Russian military scientists who claim that this is becoming increasingly true of military technology as a whole. By way of example the US F15 fighter aircraft, which was being designed in 1972, is a fully viable weapon today forty years later and the US and Israeli airforce still operates it in large numbers. By contrast none of the propeller driven fighters that were being developed in 1932 would have been viable forty years later in 1972 when the F15 was being designed. This is not just true of military aircraft but of practically every major item of military equipment one cares to name.

                • Just to add on the subject of the Severodvinsk, it is reported to have a test dive depth of 600 metres. If this is true then it can go to twice the depth of the latest US and British boats though the previous US submarine class the Sea Wolf (cancelled after just three boats on grounds of cost) could match it.

                  I wonder whether this means that the Severodvinsk and presumably forthcoming members of the Yasen class have titanium hulls. In developing the Alpha class back in the 1960s and 1970s the Russians perfected the welding of titanium submarine hulls. Given the challenge involved in mastering this technology it seems surprising that having mastered it they should abandon it. Having said this graphics of the Severodvinsk published by Novosti say that like the Sea Wolf, Severodvinsk has a steel hull.

                • marknesop says:

                  I’d be interested to know how much it actually costs the Russian state to build an advanced submarine. Because warship classes used to be huge – 40, 50 units sometimes. Submarines like the Seawolf are often planned to be a much larger class on paper than they turn out to be in reality, because they are punishingly expensive. I wonder how much it costs the Russian state to build something now that it’s not done for free for the greater glory of the Soviet Union, but more on a market scale as it’s done elsewhere. I can’t recall ever seeing any figures for Russian domestic defense procurement.

              • marknesop says:

                Actually the screws of larger, particularly ballistic missile submarines are disproportionally large and have multiple elongated, leaf-shaped blades as shown in the photo linked earlier. These are not like the screws of surface ships, and their purpose is indeed to maintain thrust while allowing a slower rotation rate. Surface ships also make use of variable-pitch screws which can be turned in the horizontal axis on their hub to maximize efficiency at different speeds and even reversed to back up. Tugs and small auxiliaries often make use of a “Z-drive” in which the shrouded screw and its hub can be rotated to change direction.

                The attribution for the graph says it is from a collection by Norman Polmar, and is based on data from the Office of Naval Intelligence.

          • marknesop says:

            “The main source of noise from a sub is the propeller(s). It is difficult to design and machine them to have low cavitation.”

            Actually, that’s not entirely true. That this is the main source of noise, I mean. Propeller (except they’re called “screws” in the navy) rotation and characteristics are often the best way of identifying ship types by class or even individual ships, but the main source of noise in a typically noisy submarine comes from its power plant and auxiliary pumps. That’s why diesel boats are so quiet. Of course when the diesel is actually running, it’s as loud as a Led Zeppelin concert, but when they are trying to be quiet they are running on battery, and few sources of propulsion are as quiet as an electric motor. Nuclear power plants are generally noisier, and early soviet plants were extremely noisy for their type. It’s not just the main power plant – ships use all kinds of pumps and motors for the sanitary systems, putting the periscope up and down, making electricity and so on. If every motor is not shock-mounted with good dampers, each that is not is transmitting its machinery noise through the hull directly into the water. Water is an extremely good sonic path as long as you (the listener) are in the same temperature layer. Most everything in western power

            Here’s a helpful explanation of cavitation (skip directly to cavitation) – there are actually two types, based on different effects; suction side surface and tip vortex. But simply explained, cavitation occurs when the screw is driven at sufficient power that the bubbles formed by its thrust collapse back against the blade surface. Even poorly-designed screws do not cavitate much unless you are driving the boat hard; power means cavitation. Most submarines can avoid this by going slowly, and submarines are not designed for tearing around the ocean making noise. They are made for stealth and slow speeds.

            Toshiba did indeed sell machinery to Russia that was restricted according to American regulations, but there are lots of stupid careless mistakes that give away important information when a few minutes due diligence would have safeguarded it. Here’s an example. This, believe it or not, came from Google Earth. People tend to forget those satellites are up there all day long, transmitting amazingly clear pictures that see right over fences and turn everyone into a potential intelligence snooper.

            • kirill says:

              I don’t quite buy the idea that “screws” are quiet at low speeds. During battle you don’t have the luxury to crawl to reduce screw noise. The shape of the propeller in the satellite image tells me that they are using the same fluid dynamics ideas that are applied for aircraft. To reduce the sonic shock at the tips of the propeller blades you curve them exactly as in the image. The speed of sound is different in water compared to air but the requirement that the fluid cannot flow faster than the intrinsic sound speed in order to retain continuity remains. Of course having longer propeller blades is motivated by thrust requirements.

              As for internal noise, nuclear submarines produce the most noise in the steam turbines. Once again, I don’t see what mathematical genius exists in the west that would make steam turbines vastly quieter than Soviet/Russian ones. I have never even seen this point discussed by the yappers going on about Russian inferiority. I guess having one of my parents being a Soviet turbine engineer makes me biased.

              As for the rest of the submarine noise. Soviet subs are covered by thick rubber panels. You won’t be getting Das Boot moments here.

              • marknesop says:

                Once battle is joined, it’s true that nobody worries about noise, and it’s all about power and maneuverability. But a submarine is most useful when its presence is only suspected. It’s not at all uncommon for submarines to crawl around for weeks on end at very slow speeds, especially since they often patrol independently or remain in defensive postures near their own coast, and do not have to keep up with a surface task group. Rather, they more typically shape a course to intercept it.

                A single submarine can tie up a disproportionate number of surface and air assets, and a submarine commanded by an unconventional thinker is a formidable adversary. The best submariners I’ve ever worked with were the Chileans, with their Thomson Class Type 209’s. Interestingly, Germany built the 209’s completely for export, and does not use any itself.

                Western steam turbines probably are not quieter than Russian ones. They are typically better shielded from transmitting their noise into the water; by shrouding, by damping and by use of absorbers between the turbine casing and the hull. The same for auxiliary pumps and motors. Ideally they would not touch the hull at all, but be free-floating within, but no way has been found to do anything like that – at a minimum, it has to have a couple of mounting points to stop it rotating instead of the shaft (in the case of the main drive), and it must be joined to the shaft to supply thrust.

                All nations suffer accidents with their mechanical designs, and sometimes they kill people. But I’ve noticed western accidents (submarine accidents, particularly, like the losses of Scorpion and Thresher) are often portrayed as mysterious nobody-knows-what-happened conundrums, while Soviet and Russian submarine accidents are invariably portrayed as having resulted from incompetence, drunken workers, mendacity, corruption or an incoherent response.

                Scorpion’s loss (May 22nd, 1968) remains unexplained. Thresher is said to have experienced a catastrophic failure of her power plant that made it impossible to maintain forward motion, whereupon she sank below her crush depth and imploded. But I have read her wreckage when found was scattered over a wide area, which suggests an internal explosion. One explanation offered was the peroxide torpedo fuel, as we discussed earlier and as likely accounted for the massive explosion in Kursk.

                That’s why this book review of the loss of Scorpion surprised me. It suggests Scorpion was an unhappy boat with serious morale problems, and was a maintenance nightmare.

                • Dear Mark,

                  On the subject of defence costs you have touched on a very fraught point.

                  The Russians do not usually provide figures for the cost of individual items but unofficially it has been said that the total cost of building and commissioning the Severodvinsk was $1.6 billion. Bear in my mind the incredibly protracted development of this boat, which took around 15 years (!) because during the 1990s the government was repeatedly running out of money to complete her. Logically this very extended building and development programme should have increased her cost. Instead what has happened is that the anticipated costs of Kazan, the second in class, have apparently spiralled to over $3 billion. This would make her the most expensive submarine ever built. Late last year Serdyukhov the Defence Minister said this increase in the cost of the second Yasen class submarine over the first was “incomprehensible”. As I said before, Kazan apparently incorporates a great deal of new technology that has been developed since Severodvinsky was laid down and this doubtless partly accounts for her higher cost. However the main explanation appears to be that the privatised equipment and component suppliers (as opposed to the actual shipyard) have seized on the increase in defence spending to boost prices in order to increase profits. Apparently there have been tough talks underway in order to push the costs down again

                  This is a problem that is besetting the whole defence industry and explains why though the Russians have developed a wide range of new weapons so far few of them have entered serial production on a big scale. Over the last two years the Russian government has made it absolutely clear that it does not intend to allow defence spending to spiral out of control in the way that it has done in the US. It has repeatedly refused to accept equipment that it considers over priced or substandard whilst the occasional small scale purchases of foreign equipment that have taken place are clearly intended to scare the domestic defence contractors as are occasional criticisms by senior military officials of individual equipment items. In my opinion one of the reasons Rogozin has been brought in is because as a well known political bruiser he is thought to be the right man to bully the defence industry back into shape.

                  In saying all of this it is important to bear in mind that over the last twenty years Russia has suffered from a re equipment drought. It is not surprising in the circumstances that the defence industries have become run down or that with the increase in defence spending they are jostling to inflate profits. One thing Russia has repeatedly shown itself capable of in the past is efficient arms production whilst the Russian government is not the captive of the defence contractors as it has become in the US. Refurbishing and re equipping the arms factories and bulding new ones to replace capacity that has been lost is being given priority over actual equipment acquisition and I for one have no doubt that the problems the country is experiencing in getting defence production re started are transitory and will be overcome.

                • marknesop says:

                  I suppose I should not be surprised by now, but this is a sufficiently astute analysis for you to have spent a lifetime in Defense or at the Foreign Office. Indeed, there is precedent; I was aboard USS POGY some time ago when she visited Victoria. I learned that her construction period had encompassed nearly half Vietnam war – she was laid down in 1964 and not commissioned until 1971 because her initial contract was canceled and re-awarded so that she was begun by New York Shipbuilding and completed by Ingalls.

                  I’m afraid I cannot get enthused over living under a communist system, and I have always said democracy and private enterprise are the way to go – in Russia’s case, provided it can be transitioned to under control rather than the greedy grabbing free-for-all of the 90’s – but the potential for graft and corruption obviously exists in both. Those who sniff whenever a new Russian construction project, such as the massive building going on in and around Sochi, is announced and confide that most of the huge costs will be siphoned off by corruption have never taken a good look at the U.S. defense industry. That, of course, should not imply that it’s OK just because someone else does it – it should, however, leaven the criticism with a dose of reality.

                  An alliance with China must be very carefully managed, I share many of the apprehensions regarding the Chinese state with its critics. Russia needs China’s growing international muscle, but must be careful not to itself fall victim to it. I doubt that will happen so long as a sensible energy partnership prevails, and the world cannot certainly be left to the uncontested whims of the west. There is no reason for the west and a Russian/Chinese alliance to be enemies: competitors is sufficient, and counterweights to one another.

  4. kirill says:

    I remember all the cold war propaganda before the break up of the USSR. It was all chest thumping BS about western intellectual superiority over evil Russians. Funny that at the time and more so today, the educational standards in Canada and the USA were shit. I went through the Canadian school system and was lucky to still see a half decent curriculum, which was eliminated shortly afterward at both the high school and university levels. In spite of all the decline Russia still outclasses the chest thumpers. For Russia it is really is just a matter of spending the money, as they have the skilled people and it is clear that they have maintained naval knowhow and don’t need to start from scratch.

    So the western media can keep on snickering and writing its BS analysis from retarded analysts. This only makes it easier for Russia to recover. Then the west will be all in shock around 2020 like it was in 1957 with Sputnik. In spite of both the US and USSR getting their hands on the same German rocket technology, in 1957 Russia’s rockets were vastly superior to what the US had. The key difference this time around is that the sort of personality conflicts that sabotaged the N1 program will not occur since the era of Red Directors is over.

    • Alex says:

      I know none of the great scientific discoveries which were made because someone paid for them. Real science and engineering is an art… it needs appreciative and supporting spectators..the nation , not just qualified colleagues,… In terms of German rocket technology, USSR got essentially leftovers from USA/British tables. Still they beat US (not to mention the Britts), because there was that collective belief, an atmosphere which prevailed despite Stalinism. Then US beat the Soviets – but IMHO – only because Kennedy managed to inspire the nation and not until Soviets started to loose faith in the local version of Communism. I am worried about modern Russia in this respect – even though it is behind the US in this too – and that is why they have a chance to be better. But I can see no signs of a clear national idea which may inspire and support the talent there. Just a desire to be richer than others is not enough – it won;t create the necessary “atmosphere”. Simply because to have more money than others, one does not need virtues but rather needs to be free of any. :) Fortunately, the US discredited the idea of democracy so much, that I doubt they have much of the national idea left either.
      (of course, all of the above is IMHO )

    • marknesop says:

      Well, we don’t want to get unrealistically dismissive of everything western. Although I love visiting Russia, and while I wouldn’t go so far as to say I would never want to live there, given the choice I would not want to live anywhere but in Canada unless I were fabulously wealthy and did not have to work. In that case, I could live anywhere. The North American education system provides the same opportunities to excel for those students who are fortunate enough to be born brilliant, and indeed it produces at least as many brilliant graduates as does Russia or Eastern Europe as a whole. Its weakness is in the way it coddles the less-brilliant and the outright lazy, and discourages competition. However, I’d argue that is more a function of an affluent society than anything else – surely you can think of examples of Russian contemporaries who flew through university and got great grades because their parents were wealthy, not because they were particularly gifted.

      Personally, I agree the educational system in Russia – especially for the lower grades – is superior by a wide margin. I wish we would send educators there to learn and to mimic the best qualities of that process, and deplore the (general) western dismissal of the value of music programs especially as creative outlets and early indication of gifted students.

      I also agree the Russian navy could be first-rate if some money were spent on it, and that the body of experience ammassed in the cold war remains relevant, since the west has not changed much but for the advance of technology. But an all-volunteer force would make the best use of motivation and professionalism, and better pay would provide a higher incentive to make a career of it. I sense the Russian leadership is on my side in this and would like to transition to a volunteer force, but it’s a huge step and not one they may want to take simultaneously with beginning a quality military buildup.

      You don’t want to fall into the trap of assuming all western analysis is bullshit, because it’s not, and you want to keep the distance that allows you to recognize honest criticism so you can address what is in your power to change. This is my biggest complaint regarding relations with Russia – too much criticism is automatic and based on Russianness rather than any real fault. It is based on the enjoyment of ridicule rather than any interest in pointing out a genuine problem and suggesting a better way. But that exchange has evolved also to produce Russian criticism of the west that is self-pitying in nature and not in any way constructive. That also hurts the country of its origin in the end.

      • kirill says:

        I am most certainly not engaged in binary logic on the issue of Russian and western scientific and technological potential. But the discussion is framed by the drivel that I read in the western media. The same media that manages to cite Daniel Yergin as their main expert on oil production and not say Collin Campbell. So there is likely to be serious analysis in the west, but I fail to see it propagated in the media.

        I would disagree completely on the idea that Canadian and US education systems are no worse than other ones in the world. MIT is staffed by research associates from abroad and not home grown talent. At my university I am not surrounded by Canadians but by Europeans and east Asians. And the dumbing down of the system in Canada is real and not just my hyperbole. For example, in Ontario when they got rid of grade 13 they managed to get rid of rudimentary calculus (simple stuff like integration and differentiation). At the same time they jacked up university tuition by a factor of four in the last 20 years. So, in Canada, you have to go to university and pay to get a basic math education.

        Now they are talking (as per a CBC radio program that I listened two a while ago) of having primary school students choose their topic of study in grade one. What the hell is that? Primary school is not graduate school. You need a broad spectrum of ideas introduced and not specialization. I can see it now: students learning about fire trucks and ponies for eight years.

        • marknesop says:

          I would agree with the suggestion that the media is far more guilty of slanting analysis than the agencies that develop it. And you are apparently much closer to education than I, so I defer to you there. And indeed the level of student input to the curriculum is getting crazy if students so young are being allowed to make life-changing decisions before the soft patch in the top of their skull is properly hardened up.

          A side effect of dropping Grade 13 you may not have known was that the children of military members were once entitled to their first year of university or college free (tuition and books). My daughter was able to benefit from that program, years ago. However, it was recently dropped. When I asked why, I learned that it had always been an offset for Grade 13, since it was considered college preparatory and other provinces did not have it. Therefore, they were placed at a disadvantage someone convinced the government they should make up. So in the end dropping Grade 13 might have been more a cost-saving measure than anything else.

      • Alex says:

        No, I don’t fall into dismissing “western” science outright. IMHO – it is (was) more balanced. The Soviet science was over-focused on the high creative end and largely neglected the “base” i.e. properly qualified “ordinary” scientific workers & “support” staff – those who do not create new ideas themselves diectly but implement somebody’s .(in fact, a similar problem was in the Soviet army with its neglect of noncom-equivalent level staff).

        I am not sure what is worse in science – the Soviet cultural contempt of “grey”/”average” – or to have everyone without exception “gray” – without any creative streak – as in the current Australian (including imported British and US ) science? (actually, I am sure :) ) What I do know though, is that “western” educated “scientists” I met, consistently lacked the skills to understand and especially, use even basic math, not to mention physics (in “natural” sciences) and that at best they tended to know facts ( when they actually did), rather then being able to generate new. Well, if their – usually family – scientific “business” generated income with minimum input, why not to maximize net profit margin by minimizing expenses? Only logical to do so. (although the amounts of provincial snobbery I observed would be hard to justify even with a real talent).
        I admit, that my opinion might be, excessively biased – perhaps, I happened to observe a particularly unfortunate (but large) statistical sample.

      • kievite says:

        Personally, I agree the educational system in Russia – especially for the lower grades – is superior by a wide margin. I wish we would send educators there to learn and to mimic the best qualities of that process, and deplore the (general) western dismissal of the value of music programs especially as creative outlets and early indication of gifted students.

        I strongly disagree. My feeling is that Soviet educational system was almost completly destroyed during Brezhnev years and the level of scientific establishment degradation was simply staggering. What can be admitted is that motivation to get education was pretty high and family pressure to get into university was tremendous. Especially for boys as otherwise they would be recruited into Soviet Army. That was an excellent motivator.

        Another powerful motivators is that talented people have nowhere to go but into science and engineering. Few wanted to join KGB or party machinery. This unique situation disappeared with the dissolution of the USSR and can’t be reproduced. Look how many PhD became the sharks of business in no time. They were business sharks from the beginning and just have nowhere to apply their skills ;-). Berezovsky is good example here.

        Berezovsky was born in 1946 in Moscow to Abram Markovich Berezovsky, a Jewish civil engineer in construction works, and his wife Anna Gelman.[24] He studied forestry and then applied mathematics, receiving his doctorate in 1983.[25][26] After graduating from the Moscow Forestry Engineering Institute in 1968, Berezovsky worked as an engineer, from 1969 till 1987 serving as assistant research officer, research officer and finally the head of a department in the Institute of Management Problems of the USSR Academy of Sciences.[27] Berezovsky conducted research on optimization and control theory, publishing 16 books and articles between 1975 and 1989; his Erdős number is 4.[26]

        IMHO the level of university education was also pretty dismal but the exam system in which you need to have tete-a-tete discussion with the examiner was is some respects better that standardized tests typical for the US universities.

        Another problem was that the level of university teachers became really low and number of hours they were assigned were neck-breaking on low levels in 70th. So the last decade before 1991, Soviet educational system was in the same deep crisis as the society in general if not worse.

        • Alex says:

          I would agree with this assessment in general. Even with the crisis peaking circa 1992 – but not with a decade of the crisis before this date. The main difference between Soviet and what I saw in “western” so-to-speak “science” was the atmosphere. The people were not there to make a buck – they were there to understand how things worked. In the “western” science you always talk to a businessman, who desperately tries not to say too much (not that the ones I met ever had a single thought or the idea worthy of the effort) – because this is the only way he/she can hope to sustain their “business image” . (actually, at the last place I worked, you would be lucky to talk to even this sort of “scientist” and not to just a relative of the “scientist” or to his live investment to a friend’s Favors Bank account , who was there only because this increased the family revenue).
          Cheers

        • marknesop says:

          Well, there may be something to that – the suggestion that the choice for talented people is restricted to science and engineering – but I am talking about the lower grades, and surely children at that point in their education are not being pressured to choose between science and engineering? And what about the Moscow School of Higher Economics? Maybe that’s a science (is it?), but although it churns out more idiots per square mile than almost any other institution in Russia, it still seems a very prestigious school.

          Again, my experience is limited to what I saw while I was there and that of my own family. But I found the respect for a good education undiminished in today’s Russia, the children expected to adhere to a better standard of public behavior and the rewards and encouragement for academic excellence to be better by far. It is my impression that the western school system – and again, I’m only talking about the lower grades, I did not go to university or college and have no experience of them myself – discourages competition in favour of making the student feel he is part of a team and that students must work together and pace themselves to the slowest student, so that nobody’s feelings are hurt by not being able to keep up. This rewards the unruly, the dull and stupid and the disruptive with a disproportionate amount of attention as the system tries to induce them to play along with the team. Incidents of teachers being investigated because of alleged humiliation of students or being too heavy-handed with the discipline are way up in Canada at least, as it begins to dawn on students that there is no penalty for making false accusations and the ensuing investigation will likely result at least in the teacher being reassigned elsewhere: sometimes they leave the educational system altogether.

          My mother-in-law, wife and sister-in-law were all in education – my mother-in-law is retired while the other two remain in education – and I’m sure they would back me up that the attention to a proper education rather than social engineering remains the priority in Russia, especially in the younger grades. I would stipulate this might be less so or perhaps not at all at the state schools, where it seems few want to teach. My wife taught at a private school, which seem ridiculously easy to set up in Russia, and companies often set up schools for the children of workers while the country remained the Soviet Union. I imagine this is less common now. I would stipulate also that teachers are poorly paid, and I believe that was one of the problem areas addressed in Mr. Putin’s campaign speeches. I don’t mean to suggest the educational system in Russia is problem-free, certainly it is not, but the net beneficiaries at the lower-grade end seem to be the students rather than the system, owing to a significantly better grasp of priorities. It’s not so much that the Russian system is so superb as it is that ours is so bad.

          • kievite says:

            Mark,
            I greatly appreciate your comment about Moscow School of Higher Economics :-). That’s very true, unfortunately. Still I suspect you view educational system in Russia a little bit via rose glasses. Yes there were (and are) compensating positive factors. For example Alex mentioned one that I missed:

            The main difference between Soviet and what I saw in “western” so-to-speak “science” was the atmosphere. The people were not there to make a buck – they were there to understand how things worked.

            But the key was that all other channels of self-realization (and first of all business and finance which sucks disproportionate amount of talent here in the West) were closed and gifted students were pushed into science and technology. Again this situation now is history and is irreproducible.

            As for your observation:

            But I found the respect for a good education undiminished in today’s Russia, the children expected to adhere to a better standard of public behavior and the rewards and encouragement for academic excellence to be better by far.

            I really would like that it turns out to be true, but I am skeptical. I remember my middle and high schools years pretty well and even at this pretty distant point interest switched considerably toward “general popularity” instead of scholastic achievements. Degradation was also visible in textbooks: old textbooks were replaced with new, IMHO largely inferior (for example, great textbooks “Geometry” by Kiselov and Algebra (don’t remember the author) was replaced by something written by Kochetkov&Kochetkova, greatly inferior from all points of view. Junk that simply reflected the current (for the time) math fashion. I would agree that most teachers were great.

            Level of education at universities was generally pretty dismal despite, paradoxically, considerable number of world class graduates. I suspect that those who managed to became good engineers and scientists were by and large self-thought and own this to their talent, unique level of interest in chosen specialty and “drive to study” no matter what, not so much to teachers and textbooks. Actually most of Western best textbooks were available in translations from Mir Publishing house.

            There was a pretty good song by Alla Pushover (A Half -Taught Wizard ) that depicted the typical situation with university graduates:

            In 80th Soviet Science was was already “cooked” and a lot (I would say most) of university professors were real pseudo-scientists — some were Lysenkoists advancing ther absurd, harmful theories, some were simply shrewd administrators who used scientific degree as a milking cow and has zero interest in science whatsoever. Both those types poisoned the system to the extent that almost nothing good can grow. Now I understand that Western Universities are far from paradize too and it might be that if you can’t get used to heat get out of the kitchen. Actually many things in Western science remind me Brezhvev years — academic gangs recruted by nationality (Indian, Jewish, etc). Empires created by “scientific school leaders” who now mostly are interested in protecting and milking thier franchases and control publications the way academic mandarines did it in the USSR. And so on and so forth. It might well be that real science always exists “not due” to favorable conditions but “against all odds”… But at least Western universities provide much better visibility for young talent.

            Returning to the USSR situation, another sign of degradation was that most of PHD thesis (“dissertations”) were junk even in Moscow, to say nothing about Asian republics ;-). And the whole academic institutes were “zero producing” fictions with no real return on investment — kind of “sinecura” for inhabitants — collection of working moms, completely corrupted “chiefstans” and 1% of accidentally preserved “real scientists” that were exploited and humiliated.

            Boris and Arkady Strugatsky famous novell “Monday Begins on Saturday” is a pretty telling testimony of the general academic environment in Brezhnev’s USSR

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monday_Begins_on_Saturday

            But I would completely agree with the part where you talk about discouraging competition in Western schools:

            It is my impression that the western school system – and again, I’m only talking about the lower grades, I did not go to university or college and have no experience of them myself – discourages competition in favour of making the student feel he is part of a team and that students must work together and pace themselves to the slowest student, so that nobody’s feelings are hurt by not being able to keep up. This rewards the unruly, the dull and stupid and the disruptive with a disproportionate amount of attention as the system tries to induce them to play along with the team. Incidents of teachers being investigated because of alleged humiliation of students or being too heavy-handed with the discipline are way up in Canada at least, as it begins to dawn on students that there is no penalty for making false accusations and the ensuing investigation will likely result at least in the teacher being reassigned elsewhere: sometimes they leave the educational system altogether.

            I was also always surposed at dismal results achieved despite very good textbooks and excellent, extremly rich facilities. There is one funny nuance here. Sometimes law system is used to secure specific place or as a kind of “achivement lift” ( http://reason.com/archives/2003/05/08/dont-mess-with-the-best )

            The school painted Hornstine’s father as the villain. According to the Times article, “They say that the student’s father, New Jersey Superior Court Judge Louis Hornstine, told [Superintendent Paul J.] Kadri during a meeting that he would ‘use any advantage of the laws and regulations’ to give his daughter ‘the best opportunity to be valedictorian.'”
            That kind of obsession with the vaunted valedictorian title seems absurd, especially when it comes from the father, not the student herself. But I wonder if the school might be just as confounded if Daddy had said he’d look for loopholes that would allow his daughter to receive the very best education possible. To me, that’s being a smart parent. If your tax dollars are paying for a massively bureaucratic, one-size-fits-all public school, you may as well make the best of it.

            • Alex says:

              @cartman
              Your assessment is as extreme as mine, which usually means that the truth is somewhere in between (I don;t believe it is in the middle, though) :)

              In the Soviet Republics .. the were two lines of academic career (and Soviet high education in general) – “National” (whatever the main nationality in the Republic happened to be) and “Russian” (which included all other nationalities – mostly the Russians and Jews). These two lines never crossed each other – one lived and communicated within his cohort. The main difference between the streams was that, if one did not happen to belong to the “national kadre” stream, the only available option was to be able to do something real..

              What Mark said about “averaging” in the “western” schools I also observed first hand. In Australia, At primary schools at least some teachers take sometimes drastic measures to show to the kids that to be “more clever” is not a virtue. They do it somewhat less in what is called “high” school (from year 6 on). (but by this time there is no need anyway). The result was mostly good, sociable human material – which being employed anywhere – especially in scientific research , would not offend any manager with the excessive talents.

  5. Alex says:

    The 1st of May? Sure ! Cheers!

  6. The dismissive attitude towards Russian military technology is of course nothing new. The Germans invaded the USSR confident in their belief that their weapons were far more advanced than those of the “Slav subhumans”. When they discovered that Soviet tanks like the KV1 and the T34 were better than their own it came as a shock.

    As for Mark’s comment on the “rougher” look of much Soviet/Russian weaponry as compared to American, that too is hardly new. There is a famous story, which may be true, that during the Second World War the German military asked their tank builders to build for them an exact replica of the T34 tank. The German tank builders responded that this would be impossible because such a tank would fail to meet their quality control standards.

    • kirill says:

      I don’t know whether such statements are factual or sneering at the untermensch. The common refrain I hear is that AK-47 are built like crap. I have seen video of what they subject these machine guns to and I can tell you they are quite well designed. You don’t get a gun with crappy build to stand up to heavy abuse. Bad + bad != good. People deliberately confuse lame knock-offs as Soviet/Russian products.

      In the case of the T34 I see indications of sour grapes. The brilliant German war engineers never thought to slant the armour to increase its effective thickness. Look at the boxy initial designs of the German tanks. Later models start to look more like the T34. This is not to belittle the German engineering as can be seen in the V-2 and the Me 262 but the endless stream of BS about Russia/USSR is a bit too much to take. It’s all “human wave attacks” and guns that are assembled by chimps from parts built by chimps. The same racist drivel that was invoked to excuse Napoleon’s route in Russia. Supposedly it was “General Winter” that defeated him in the fall!

      • Dear Kirill,

        There has been a slight misunderstanding because I did not explain myself well.

        The point about the T34 is that when the Germans came into contact with it, it was far superior in armour protection, mobility and weaponry to any tank in their army. Indeed I think I am right in saying that most people today think the T34 was the best all round tank of the Second World War.

        When the German tank commanders came up against the T34 they complained bitterly to their tank industry that they were being supplied with nothing comparable and demanded that their tank industry produce for them an identical tank since the T34 could not be bettered. It was at this point that the German tank manufacturers allegedly came back to say that they could not simply copy the T34 tank because the result would fall below their quality control standards.

        The point of the story is that though the T34 was by comparison with German tanks rather rough and ready, it was overwhelmingly effective and did the job. By contrast German tanks like the Panther though far more refined, were also far more expensive, were therefore produced in far fewer numbers, were much more complicated and difficult to maintain and were in the end less effective. The moral of the story is that when it comes to military equipment the best is often the enemy of the good enough.

        @ Mark, Whilst on the subject of tanks I once had a very interesting conversation with an Iranian engineer who had served on the front lines in the Iran Iraq War. The military on both sides of that war were trained to roughly similar levels but the Iraqis used Soviet supplied T72 tanks whilst the Iranians used British Chieftain and US M60 tanks that had been bought by the Shah. The Russian tanks were much smaller and lighter than the British and American tanks though the armament and armour protection was about the same. The Russians achieved this by reducing their tanks’ internal spaces which made their tanks much more uncomfortable and far more tiring and harder for their crews to operate. However the smaller and lighter Russian tanks were much more mobile than the much bigger and heavier western tanks and importantly were far less prone to mechanical breakdowns and were much easier to maintain. He told me that as a rough rule of thumb the Russian tanks, which weighed around 40 tonnes, needed only half the maintenance support that were needed by the western tanks, which weighed in at over 60 tonnes. According to this man the small size and low profile of the Russian tanks also gave them an often decisive edge in fighting on the plains (especially in desert plains) as they became practically invisible by disappearing into the heat haze.

        Overall this person’s assessment was that the Russian tanks were better for dynamic mobile warfare than western tanks but only if manned by much better trained and physically stronger and fitter crews than those the Iraqis had.

        • marknesop says:

          That makes sense to me; tank crewman is not a job for huge men – although a high level of fitness is desired, as indeed it is for everyone in the army – and agility is much more a factor in survival for a tank than some might think.

          Most areas of military equipment design, regardless the field, are a constant battle between the smaller-and-lighter crowd and those who insist extra weight is not detrimental as long as it translates to greater firepower. I mostly agree with the portability/agility sector; huge firepower is only an asset if sitting still is not going to invite counterfire. If it does, there’s always a weapon that will outrange you, with which the enemy can pick you off at leisure.

          But, as always, the people who learn these lessons are never the people who design the next generation of weaponry. Because they’re dead.

          • yalensis says:

            On squeezing a lot of little guys into a tank:
            Similar thing happened with Soviet space program.
            Soviets astounded the world when they adapted the Vostok type capsure (in which flew into space Yuri Gagarin) to fit 2, and then 3, cosmonauts. This adapted capsule was called the Voskhod. In reality, it was really only good for 2 guys, the third guy had to sit on the lap of second cosmonaut. So, best if he was a little guy. But this was kept secret from West, which was shocked and scrambled to keep up. Ha ha! It wasn’t until the Soyuz capsule that the cosmonauts got a little more personal space..

            • marknesop says:

              I suppose it’s similar, in the sense that it surprised everyone, but this example seems to have been for no purpose but to be clever, and the third cosmonaut does not seem to have been needed. Tanks in the field depend on speed, agility and a low profile to make them difficult to see, while there remains a job for everyone in it. The choice is to reduce the crew or give them less space, because the silhouette must be constantly trimmed. Helicopters are tank killers, not to mention a few specialized fixed-wing types like the A-10, and their various sensors make it very difficult for a tank to get away once it is discovered. If tanks are not protected by air cover or mobile batteries, their only hope is being difficult to see.

    • marknesop says:

      Once again, systems like this were made to be operated by conscripts with minimal training; rugged, simple and generally reliable. The weak link in the T-34 was its transmission, and it was apparently not unusual for them to go into battle with spare transmissions strapped to the deck.

      Funny story about the T-90 main battle tank. This is from a book I read a long time ago, I thought it was called “Inside the Soviet War Machine”, but I couldn’t find anything with that title. It was written by a Soviet Army officer, and mostly detailed the lengths to which the Soviet Union had gone to boost the image of the invincibility of its military, such as a re-enactment of a historic crossing of the Dnepr River by tank columns in which Russian engineers actually paved the bottom of the river beforehand to ensure nobody would get stuck and cause embarrassment. But it contained some gems that mocked the west as well, and the new (at the time) T-90 provided one of them.

      It seems there was a great deal of speculation regarding the main gun fitted: was it a 120mm or a 125mm ? (it is a 125) The American intelligence community diverted satellites to snoop on a factory that produced it, spending huge gobs of money for zero result due to cloud cover. British Special Forces broke into a compound in East Germany that had the T-90 inside, measured the bore and verified it was a 125mm, and even took the manual that was inside the tank, and all it cost them was a few dollars to replace the lock they had cut off to gain entry. A month or so later a visiting French official was given a tour of it, during which he was able to confirm the gun was a 125mm, and he was even given a free dinner. I don’t know if it’s true, but it certainly sounded as if it could be.

      The T-90 was not a great success; the designers made the turret so low in an effort to reduce its profile that they did not leave enough room behind the breech for the loader, and it also featured an autoloader that tended to load the loader’s arm because of the limited room. Consequently it became common to raise the barrel slightly so as to drop the breech opening inside to where there was more space. The raised barrel nullified any advantage of the low-profile turret. But military design is a learning process, just like any other design field.

      • yalensis says:

        I am always reminded of that famous quote from Herman Wouk’s masterpiece, “The Caine Mutiny”:

        “The first thing you’ve got to learn about this ship is that she was designed by geniuses to be run by idiots. This is the engine room. To operate, all you need is any group of well-trained monkeys. Ninety-nine percent of everything we do is strict routine. Only one percent requires creative intelligence.”

  7. Leos Tomicek says:

    I am not so keen on contemporary military issues, but I think the difference between US and Russian navies really boils down to priorities. The Americans want to project their power across the globe, Russian’s not so much. That is why one keeps a large and impressive navy with aircraft carriers and huge battleships that could be used for bombing defenceless third-world nations, and the other keeps a navy for protection of its territorial waters from Japanese fishermen and protecting its merchant fleet from Somali pirates. The last naval battle the Russian fleet had was against Georgian navy, but most of that operation did not rely on naval power anyway.

    The only major thing I can think of that the Russians have are submarines with nuclear missiles. Those as far as I’m concerned are kept for the ultimate armageddon, which God willing will never come, because that would be the end of us all.

    I therefore cannot agree with Jamestown that Russians are reforming their navy so they can project regional power. They don’t need it for that, and I think Jamestown is projecting too much of its own American thinking into their analysis. I personally interpret the purchase of Mistrals as an attempt to do better what they are already doing.

    • The Jamestown Foundation analysis seems to be very heavily focused on the naval balance in the Black Sea. Though this is very important for Russia it cannot be its central concern.

      I tend to agree with Leos here. I too very much doubt that the priority for the Russian navy will be power projection in the US sense. The Russian navy does not have the vast network of overseas bases that the US has and nor does it have or claim to have the sort of global interests the US has assumed for itself. By the way in my opinion this was also true of the Soviet period and explains why the USSR was so late in starting up aircraft carrier construction.

      Having said this, Russia remains a major power, is the country with the world’s longest coastline (a fact by the way that is too often forgotten) and has a naval tradition going back to Peter the Great. I very much doubt that the Russian leadership will be prepared to lets its naval forces decline to the level of a coastal or fisheries protection force. On the contrary new submarine, corvette and frigate construction, the acquisition of the Mistral class and the imminent start up of construction of a new destroyer class surely point in a totally different direction. Quite apart from anything else Russia will need to protect its balllistic missile submarine forces and its coastline from the US fleet.

      • Leos Tomicek says:

        Actually, that Russian naval tradition began under Peter’s father Alexey who started the construction of western style frigates, but these were only two (one of them not entirely Russian) and sailed the large Russian rivers and the Caspian Sea for trade. Peter started construction of ships on the Black Sea and the Baltic Sea. but he had to first seize access to those bodies of water from the Tatars, the Ottomans and the Swedes. There is also another factor which diminishes the significance of navy for Russia, and that is the fact that large part of its long coastline tends to freeze during winter.

        On the other hand navy was always a source of pride, and a country like Russia cannot do without it. My point was that it was never given that much attention over other military areas.

    • marknesop says:

      Mostly, power projection is a matter of showing what you could do, because military observers are taught to think capabilities, not intentions. It doesn’t matter if you think they would do it. Could they do it? Yes? Then they would.

      Russia is certainly less about power projection than was the Soviet Union, which had the spread of Communist doctrine as a goal. But major energy producers who are (a) too weak to protect themselves, and/or (b) do not have an alliance with a powerful neighbour or benefactor might find that buyers are curious why they should pay for something they could simply take. A strong navy is mostly meant to be a deterrent. But an aircraft carrier allows you to ;park it offshore and basically create an airbase anywhere you like as long as you can protect it well enough that it can operate freely.

      Nations coveting the property of another seldom try to take it by military force now, preferring to use expendable surrogates (read “rebels”) or by inveigling with political opposition forces to overthrow the government in exchange for one that will allow extensive dabbling in the country’s foreign policy.

      • kievite says:

        Mostly, power projection is a matter of showing what you could do, because military observers are taught to think capabilities, not intentions. It doesn’t matter if you think they would do it. Could they do it? Yes? Then they would.

        Yes. That’s the way I view “missile shield”. Pure projection of power.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s exactly right. A Russian planner consulted on defense policy would have to say the nuclear deterrent was no longer effective, because the missile shield would make a first strike by the USA – theoretically – both viable and survivable. It doesn’t matter if they would do it, and I don’t think anyone seriously thinks they would. But they could. How many people would have said in 1942 that the USA, Japan, Germany and Italy would all be the best of friends in less than 30 years? Alliances shift like sand, and the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

  8. Here is an interesting article by Edward Luce of the Financial Times written for the British magazine the New Statesman in which senior members of the US military including the retiring Chief of the Joint Chiefs of Staff tell him that the greatest danger to the US is its debt burden.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/2012/04/%E2%80%9C-number-one-threat-facing-america-its-debt-burden%E2%80%9D

    What is most remarkable about this article is that the analysis of the US’s problems comes from serving members of the US military. Their essential points are

    1. That the US has at most until 2021 before it entirely loses what room it still has to manoeuvre or to shape events in its own interests;

    2. That the US defence burden is unsustainable and the diversion of resources it involves is undermining the US economy beyond the point of recovery;

    3. That the US needs to cut its defence spending radically, withdraw from most of its foreign bases, end its various wars and seek a rapprochement with its major potential adversaries (China but also Russia and Iran), which would logically involve recognising their regional interests and abandoning the effort to meddle in their domestic affairs;

    4. That the US should use the funds saved from the cuts in the defence budget to reinvest heavily in its economy and in its science and education base.

    It goes without saying that I agree entirely with this analysis. It also goes without saying that I think that there is absolutely no chance what it proposes will be carried out.

    • marknesop says:

      “It also goes without saying that I think that there is absolutely no chance what it proposes will be carried out.”

      I think the decision will be forced upon the country’s planners, for lack of viable alternatives. The quite understandable pride Americans feel for their huge military will allow it to go on for a while even in the face of decay in other institutions in order to maintain it, but it can’t last. As Kirill has pointed out before, sites that feature “shadowing” of government economic data suggest parameters like unemployment and household income gains are actually much worse than they are portrayed. More and more acknowledgement is coming out that the recovery is really not recovering and the U.S. economy is pretty close to stagnation.

      Rather than encouraging moderation, the situation merely reminds the warhawks how little time they have, and increases their belligerence in their haste to get the job done while their will can still be imposed. It’s a strange concept to think that Russia and China might save the west from making a terrible mistake that might leave its legacy irretrievably tarnished. Maybe. And I don’t suppose they will want to do it for nothing, either.

    • Hunter says:

      Well by 2021 I could see US troops being out of Afghanistan totally and out of Kyrgyzstan as well (presence would no longer be required to support operations in Afghanistan). There would probably be a heavy draw down in Bosnia too as by then Republika Srpska is likely to have become independent of Bosnia and joined Serbia and the prospect of renewed civil war would be gone anyway. There would probably also be withdrawal of some forces from Germany, Italy, Romania, Bulgaria, Japan, and the UK.

  9. Dear Mark,

    One point I would make is that though they are careful not to admit it, Russia and China most definitely are military allies. The Syrian crisis has demonstrated in the clearest possible way what has been obvious for a long time, which is that Russia and China coordinate their foreign policy positions on the Security Council. However the extent of their alliannce certainly goes far beyond this and definitely includes a military component.

    A fact that people consistently downplay or ignore is that Russia and China are actually formally tied to each other in a defence and security pact, namely the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. This is quite explicitly a security organization even if it is not an alliance in the way that NATO is and the former Warsaw Pact used to be. In fact the formal security ties between Russia and China via the Shanghai Cooperation Organization are actually greater than those that existed between the USSR and China even during the heyday of Soviet Chinese friendship in the 1950s. At that time there was no formal military treaties or security agreements tying the USSR to China. There was a Friendship Treaty but this fell far short of an outright alliance. China was never a member of the Warsaw Pact though it did send a representative to Warsaw Pact meetings until the Soviet Chinese quarrel of the 1960s made this impossible.

    What confuses people is that though Russia and China are allies and though their military cooperation is increasing all the time for the time being it suits their joint interests to pretend otherwise. Were Russia and China to confirm formally that they were allies the US would be in a stronger position to claim that they were a threat and to use this to compel its allies to take united action against them both whilst winning over to its side such countries as India and Vietnam, which might find the appearance of a Russian Chinese alliance alarming.

    The fact that this is an alliance that Russia and China don’t want to broadcast does not however mean that we too have to pretend that it doesn’t exist when it so obviously does. Similarly we should not fool ourselves that the naval exercises you have just discussed in your post are not directed at the US when they obviously are. The scale of these exercises implies that they are intended to respond to naval threats. What other country or group of countries apart from the US and its allies pose any sort of naval threat to Russia and China?

    I would add that it is surely only a matter of time before the existence of this alliance becomes generally acknowledged. When it does expect the world to shake.

    • yalensis says:

      Great comment, @alexander. I think you are right, and certainly hope that you are right. Because an alliance between Russia and China is something I have dreamed about for a very long time. In retrospect, if Russia and China had not quarrelled in the 1960’s (I mostly blame Khrushchev for that spat), then the world would be a better place today. Fewer wars, for starters. Also, Nixon would not have gone to China, and we would not have to listen to this awful screeching abomination of an opera:

      • Dear Yalensis,

        Thanks for this clip. I have never seen Nixon in China. It looks ghastly!

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Alexander:
          You have NO idea how awful this opera is! Mind you, I am not knocking the singers, they are world-class singers with an excellent set of pipes. It is the material itself that is bad. There is one really horrible scene where a Chinese girl sings an aria with the lyrics, “Oh, please give me some Tang to drink!” At the performance I attended, audience laughed their ass off, and it wasn’t supposed to be funny. I can’t believe any reputable opera house would stage this drivel! But it was staged at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, and some others too. Just shows how degenerate modern music has become. The last truly great modern American opera was “Porgy and Bess”, and that written over 75 years ago!

      • Misha says:

        I don’t mostly blame K for the spat with China.

        At the time, the Chinese side had some ideas that were quite problematical.

        • yalensis says:

          @Misha: As in any quarrel, it takes 2 to tango, and I am sure there was plenty of blame to go around! The good news is that now things seem to be smoothing over, and both sides working together in cooperation, if not exactly friends.

    • Misha says:

      Some outside of China and Russia see potential if not existing differences between these two countries.

      I see some basis for this observation, while also noting how neocon-neolib influenced foreign policy advocacy can serve to better unify some including Russia and China.

  10. marknesop says:

    The revolt against Bibi continues to gather strength. I believe he will soon have to abandon agitation against Iran in favour of entrenching himself against being driven out of office. Good riddance, if it happens.

  11. kirill says:

    @Alexander and Mark

    Regarding the costs of the Kazan and the gouging by contractors. Here in Ontario, OHIP the public health care provider pays a 300% markup on medical equipment due to dealings with certain intermediaries. So people who are not fully covered realize that is better to get equipment themselves from the original suppliers and not from OHIP. This is not a one off case or select item issue, it is systematic. Probably MRI machines are not subject to this abuse.

    If the Russian government does not want to have out of control costs it should make sure this sort of BS does not occur. It should be the general contractor dealing directly with all the suppliers and not have any intermediates skimming pure profit without producing anything. There is a certain pathology afflicting Russia’s economy. Everyone and his dog wants more than western prices and for substandard products. Instead of being spineless the Russian leadership should haggle down the prices brutally. There is no intrinsic price for big ticket items like submarines, it is all based on ad hoc estimates and grab all you can. If they want $3 billion then offer them $1.5 billion, take it or leave it.

    I can see why politicians in the US are spineless as they have been bought off by lobbying and campaign contributions. But I don’t see why Putin’s regime would be swallowing some tycoon wannabe’s wet dream prices.

  12. cartman says:

    Miriam Elder writes another rant that somehow makes it into the Guardian’s news section:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/may/02/russia-today-ched-evans-rape

    Good god, does she know that the column she wrote this about is clearly an editorial, and RT regularly provides space to editorials that completely disagree with one another. The Guardian, which publishes one-sided articles written by corporate PR representatives has no concept of free speech.

    • kirill says:

      She is serving her role to smear Russia. The details and facts don’t matter. Much like with Climategate, the accusation is what sticks in the minds of many. For example, people routinely go on about Russia cutting of gas to Ukraine and Europe. This *never* happened. It was Yuschenko who closed the valves on the Ukrainian side of the border. Gazprom as the independent third party monitoring to prove it. But none of the western media bothered to report the facts, just the accusations.

      • Misha says:

        I came across ethnic Ukrainians who were in Ukraine during the gas crisis period in question. Their disgust was with the Ukrainian government and not Russia.

    • Misha says:

      Note those promoting such individual commentary over more objective options.

      BTW, the article in question downplays how the Israeli delegation laughed at what were intended to be off record comments.

      • Misha says:

        Following up on the Putin-Israeli delegation laughter bit in the hyped Guardian article, the man has two daughters. I very much doubt that Putin views rape as a laughing matter. Let’s get real. In conversation intended as off records, comments can be more loosely stated in a way that can get twisted.

        The other day, someone at my gym carried on in a similar manner. I know what he’s really like, in contrast to how he could hypothetically get butchered. Later on, he expressed discomfort at a scene in the recent episode of Mad Men, when a 13 year old views an oral sex scene.

        I’ve heard my share of sexual harassment stories in Israel like women (hardcore Zionists at that) saying they’re more likely to be groped there than in the US. One could do a smear job on Israel. Some countries are more prone to getting greater negativity than others for reasons having to do with bias.

    • yalensis says:

      Miriam Elder happens to be right about this particular issue, but she is just the proverbial “broken clock” who is right twice a day.
      I am very disturbed by the increasing sexism and homophobia in Russian culture. (Which I blame on rampant capitalism and also the increasing influence of Orthodox Church.)
      However, this negative phenomenon is happening in Western culture too. Just look at USA, where Republican candidates are waging a “war on women” and demanding a ban even on basic birth control. They want to set Western society back a whole century on social issues. Oligarchic capitalists want to turn working men into serfs, and women into domestic slaves. It is all part of the degeneration of global capitalism and the descent back into medieval barbarism.

      • Dear Yalensis,

        I too disagree with what is said in the article.

        I cannot comment about sexism in Russia because I simply don’t know the society well enough. What I would however say is that the sort of comments in the article Miriam Elder quotes are often made here in Britain following cases of this sort. Though I don’t agree at all with such comments it does therefore seem rather unfair to single out a comment on RT for particular criticism. Though I have not followed the British press on this story I feel sure that similar comments have appeared in it as well. I ought to add that the article uses a lot of colloquial English expressions which makes me wonder whether it might have been written by a British writer.

        I haven’t followed either the case or the British press on this story. It is important to say that the judgment is under appeal so the legal process is not yet finished. The one thing that makes me uneasy about this case is that yet again a British court has convicted one defendant and acquitted another even though the case against the two defendants seems on the face of it to have been identical. There may be a good explanation for this. I simply don’t know enough about this case to be able to say.

        • cartman says:

          Even if he was found guilty beyond reasonable doubt, that does not mean the laws of the country are unjustly draconian. Look at Sweden’s, which Elder seems to support with her mention of Assange’s rape charges.

          In Britain, I don’t understand why the two cases had such different outcomes, or why getting intoxicated by your own hand makes you less responsible for your following actions. I suppose if the victim had gotten behind the wheel and crashed into pedestrians, she would be innocent as long as she could not remember.

          • Leos Tomicek says:

            I think the Democrats in US (the party of Feminism) made changes to the definition of rape which stipulates that consent cannot be given under intoxication. Do not try to make sense out of it, the only sense is to turn a large number of men into serial rapists. Because if that is not the goal, than I don’t know what is.

            • yalensis says:

              Yeah, but we’re not talking about getting tipsy on a glass of wine anymore. Kids on college campuses have access to really potent tranquilizers that can put a person practically into a coma!

          • yalensis says:

            I am not really commenting on these specific cases. I am not a laywer, so my opinion is not valid, in any case. Legal systems are a particular machine with their own rules, and one cannot really know the ins and outs, without being a specialist in these particular cases. I am more commenting on general cultural trends which I find alarming, to roll back social equality and go back to medieval system of gender roles. Miriam Elder was able to play the gender card and seize on one example to make Russia look bad, but she didn’t make up the example, it sprang into her lap!

            • Leos Tomicek says:

              What are medieval gender roles? Men doing dangerous jobs and women doing caring and nurturing jobs? With free choice they do the same today. There was never really any inequality between men and women, so it cannot rolled back.

              • yalensis says:

                Oh, yeah, that’s right, my mistake!
                Gender inequality was just a figment of malcontented bitches imagination. There never was a problem. For the love of god, Leos, what the f** universe do YOU live in?

      • marknesop says:

        She is not right in her linking of the unsigned opinion with official state policy. Her default position is always, “How do you expect this not to happen – the government not only condones it, it supports it”.

        • Misha says:

          That article is crap. The main focal points are sketchy – poor examples addressing a serious issue that’s by no means relegated to Russia.

          Some “journalist” who then has the gall to negatively characterize RT.

        • Leos Tomicek says:

          She is a dumb man-hating Feminist in my opinion, and such deserve uncompromising rebuke in my opinion.

          http://www.austereinsomniac.info/blog/2012/5/3/russians-are-rape-apologists.html

          • marknesop says:

            I wouldn’t have said Miriam Elder was any more a feminist than any other woman is – she just seems to hate everything except hamburgers and revolution. Nothing is any good unless it’s American, and anybody who doesn’t want to be an American is a fool. Democracy is a panacea that cures all ills. Although she likely does believe women should be favoured over men, she merely took a feminist tack because it gave her an opportunity to rip on Russia – as she loves to do – from the standpoint that it has a state policy of contempt for women. Nothing she says is of any particular consequence unless you buy into the idea that she knows better than you do, because the only thing that makes her different from anyone on the street who has an opinion is that she has a megaphone with which to shout her nonsense and most people do not.

            • Leos Tomicek says:

              Not everyone on the street has the same opinion as she does, nor does every woman think like she does, or at least hold the kind of positions as she displays in her article. I do not know better than she does, but I have read a great deal of Feminist writing, and I can identify the ideological script she flows from. And besides, she works for a radical feminist gutter rag called The Guardian.

              • marknesop says:

                Yes, I’m agreeing with you, and I don’t think she knows any more than you do. I think many, perhaps most women feel that women’s rights should be given priority over men’s rights, just as I imagine most men are satisfied with things as they are and do not believe any further efforts toward equality are necessary, as we’re looking at voluntarily ceding superiority rather than equality, and probably even that would not be sufficient for some. I just don’t agree that Miriam Elder is motivated by feminism, but instead believe that she is using it as a convenient vehicle to bash the Russian government by alluding that support of rape is state policy.

                • Leos Tomicek says:

                  But then again, she seems to be well versed in Feminist thinking.

                • marknesop says:

                  Unfortunately, that (“feminist thinking”) seems more and more to have evolved into “common wisdom”. I am not a fan of any discipline that penalizes or disparages me for something I have never done, and it is absolutely as wrong as assuming blonde women are stupid or that nobody with breasts can learn to drive.

                • Misha says:

                  The author in question is using the issue of rape to bash Putin, RT and Russia at large.

                  The anonymously written RT article in question was likely written by a non-Russian who is perhaps influenced by eXile.

                  The rape in question was committed in the UK by a non-Russian. The RT article in question expresses a view that isn’t so uncommon in the West.

                  The Putin bit is a hack job.

                  Leos, you beat my draft about this issue. I plan on having more out on the subject shortly.

                  Technically, Elder’s article is LOUSY.

                  People promoting that source of some others aren’t serving the interests of improving the coverage.

                • Misha says:

                  BTW, dont rule out The Guardian editor(s) significantly editing down the initial submission.

                  That’s still no excuse for the author, who can make an issue about it – if that’s what happened.

                  What can happen between editor and writer is a not so well known aspect for a good number.

                  Accepting a paycheck in exchange for accepting a questionably (put mildly) written article takes the form of a presstitute over a journalist.

                  That’s not a sexist comment. It applies to anyone taking that route.

                • yalensis says:

                  Exactly. Her main gig is Russophobia, not feminism. Anything to bash Russia.

                • Leos Tomicek says:

                  @ Mike

                  Sexist is a loaded term anyway…

              • Misha says:

                Pardon any punctuation and speling snafus. I’m on the run.

      • Misha says:

        The hypocritically incessant and inaccurate bashing of the ROC lingers on.

        Elder’s rant is a jilted grudge with no statistical validity. Granted, a lack of consistency in gathering data on matters like sexual abuse.

        The soccer player in question is British not – Russian. Katsav committed rape – not Putin.

        The 1990s period in Russia brought about an enhancement of some twisted standards. The Soviet period included bouts of tolerating abuse from some of the higher ups. Beria was especially atrocious when it came to sexual abuse.

        Now, Russia is in the process of finding itself – if you may.

        • Misha says:

          Some good hypocrisy busting on the subject of the ROC:

          http://russiaprofile.org/experts_panel/57777.html

          • kirill says:

            Wow, “Pussy Riot” is the biggest case against the ROC. Trespassers and exhibitionists are a church issue and not a state issue now? WTF. Imagine the deafening din of indignation if the ROC had a paedophile issue like that other major Church and ran a Grand Inquisition to this very day to sort out ideologically non-conforming priests (the pedos conform so they are not excommunicated). The accusation of the ROC being in bed with power is lame given the record of the other Church.

            • There are some very fine comments attached to this article about the ROC, which are well worth reading and which effectively take the article apart. One is by the wholly admirable Eric Kraus.

        • Leos Tomicek says:

          Let us not forget that under USSR homosexuality (the very act itself) was criminalised.

          • yalensis says:

            Not true,. a**hole!

            • Leos Tomicek says:

              Yeah sure, prove me wrong!

              • Misha says:

                Circa early 1980s, the official Great Soviet Encyclopedia English language translation characterized homosexuality along the lines of a disease, without quoting verbatim.

                Without meaning to a be a third man in (ice hockey terminology, regarding a penalty for someone who butts into an existing fight between two players), the dynamic seems to be one of a more sovok outlook versus a Russophile non-sovok leaning perspective.

                At times, I see where the two can tick each other off.

                For example, as far as I’m concerned, Elder’s article is disrespectfully inaccurate, in terms of what it suggests of Russia’s past – sometghing akin to the hypocritical assault against the ROC.

                Salut!

    • cartman says:

      Elder’s comedy does not quit:

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/04/vladimir-putin-return-lavish-ceremony

      The equivalent of $500,000 is ‘lavish’. Should that be categorized alongside Obama’s $150 million inauguration?

      • kirill says:

        This is why basic mathematics is demphasized from school curriculae in the west. You will note how few numbers are given in many media pieces. For example there is a piece on recent methane hydrate extraction research which the article pumps as promising but no information is given that would tell you what is actually going on. For example how much CH4 can they extract per unit area of the sea bed.

        What’s a few more zeros on a number, eh?

        • Misha says:

          Some recent salvo of commentary from a Guardian, RFE/RL, JRL promoted journo, who writes from a safe distance – as in not facing direct challenges in a well moderated point-counterpoint type of situation.

          I sense that some at RT actually like her presence, on account of the publicity she gave to that station and how it’s easy to refute her comments.

          Meantime, a number of pertinent issues get put aside in favor of slop.

      • marknesop says:

        Silvio Berlusconi’s wristwatch cost more than the entire ceremony. And Berlusconi was a valued American ally, although he did maintain good relations with Russia.

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    News headline in today’s UK “The Independent”:

    “Electoral Commission boss faces fight for job after claims of fraud”.

    Well, it’s only to be expected, isn’t it? Russia is so corrrupt and democracy has never taken root there in that “Mafia State” ruled by an ex-KGB spy tyrant and his “party of crooks and thieves”.

    But the Independent article linked below is not about Russia: it’s about the land that proudly boasts its claim to be the seat of the “Mother of Parliaments”:

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/electoral-commission-boss-faces-fight-for-job-after-claims-of-fraud-7707489.html

    I wonder if a mass demonstration is going to be organized by irate British voters to protest against this flagrant and cynical breach of democratic procedure? Perhaps British protestors for a fair democracy could apply for a grant off USAID?

    • marknesop says:

      I’m surprised it was even reported at anything other than the local level. And if you brought it up as part of an attempt to leverage your own position in a disagreement regarding Russia you would be accused of whataboutism and told that the subject is Russia, that what goes on in UK electioneering has nothing to do with Russia. You are forced into a position in which your choices are limited to acknowledging something bad happened in Russia, or denying it. If you deny it, the other side of the argument will point smugly to their linked evidence. See? they will say – he denies it.

      It’s as if there were simultaneous outbreaks of scurvy in the west and in Russia, only the outbreak in the west was worse or at least as bad, and the government was doing nothing effective about it in either case. The point would be raised that Russian citizens are suffering from a disease that has been eradicated everywhere else, probably because of their backwardness, ignorance and slovenly habits. The government, meanwhile, is too busy fattening itself at the public trough to do anything about it although the solution is simple, rapidly effective, inexpensive and will immediately save lives. A lengthy comment section builds, ranting how ignorant and stupid the Russians are and how shamelessly mendacious and disengaged their government.

      But as soon as you point out that the outrage might be better spent in agitating for an effective solution closer to home, where the exact same problem is occurring with the exact same useless dithering by the government, they will thunder, “STOP YOUR WHATABOUTISM!! IS THERE A SCURVY OUTBREAK IN RUSSIA OR IS THERE NOT???YES OR NO!!!”

      • kirill says:

        This “whataboutism” label is so primary school and retarded. It reminds me a bit of “Godwin’s Law” which is at face value idiotic, implying you can never compare the Nazis to anything. Human behaviour is generic. Calling someone a Nazi for behaving like a Nazi is an empirical observation and not “losing the argument”. At the very least those countries that would lecture the world about human rights and democracy should live up to their own “standards”. Looking in the west’s backyard and seeing serious inconsistency with their facade of moral authority is self-evidently a legitimate activity. Trying to make sussing out a hypocrite “unacceptable behaviour” is some comic attempt to impose newthink.

        • Whenever you hear westerners complain about “whataboutism” you can be sure that they know that the charge is well made and that they have no answer to it. It is in fact a well known defence in law (the formal Latin title is “tu quoque”) where a defendant says that the prosecutor is in no position to accuse the defendant of a particular crime because the prosecutor is guilty of the same crime himself. The Nurnberg Tribunal specifically and expressly accepted the “tu quoque” defence, which is why for example the Nazi leaders were never prosecuted for war crimes arising from the aerial bombing of cities because the western Allies had done the same thing themselves. Over the course of the Nurnberg trials Jackson the US prosecutor specifically said that the Allies (ie. the US, the UK, the USSR and France) would in future be held to the same standard as the Nazis they were prosecuting.

          When westerners reject criticism on the grounds that it is “whataboutism” what they are actually saying is that the west should not be subject to the same standards as the countries the west criticises. The truth of course is that whilst the west assumes the right to criticise others it denies others the right to criticise the west since the west (or to be exact some people in the west) consider that because of its supposedly superior democratic virtue the west should not be criticised at all.

          • Misha says:

            Their whatboutism is more valid than some others is the mindset at play.

            The reality is another matter.

          • yalensis says:

            Very good point, @alexander, and in fact I propose that in the future we change the name of “whataboutism” to “tu quoque”, the Latin expression gives this debating tool a certain cachet.
            BTW, in Russian, the equivalent of “tu quoque” is сам дурак, which means something like “you’re stupid too!” it would be the retort employed by a child on the schoolyard against another child who has just called him stupid.

  14. Hunter says:

    Mind you, the DNI also said he thought Colonel Gaddafi would prevail against the rebels. So maybe he’s just the village idiot dressed up as the DNI.

    Well Gaddafi was prevailing against the rebels until they got a little…umm…”outside help”. The DNI estimate that Gaddafi would prevail against the rebels was made before the NATO-plus (NATO plus Qatar and a few others) intervention wasn’t it?

    • yalensis says:

      Um, yeah, NATO bombs and ground invasion kind of changed that equation.

    • marknesop says:

      It may have been, but the intention to prevail through the “rebels” regardless the cost or effort must have been a fairly long-standing plan, and it would be one you’d expect the DNI to be in on it. You can never tell, maybe he was deliberately kept in the dark because he was not part of the inner circle, but I would think that particular office would be better-informed than all but the highest, such as between President and Secretary of State or Secretary of Defense. I’d have to look at the date on the article again, but it seems to me the media campaign against the dastardly Gaddafi started up right away as soon as the “rebels” began to stir in Benghazi and Misrata. This suggests there was a coherent plan to topple Gaddafi, perhaps even before the “rebellion”.

      • Hunter says:

        Nah, remember even if the DNI knew about plans against Gaddafi, what would not be known is the fact that military plans against Gaddafi would be implemented as a result of the rebels. That required a UN resolution (which but for Russia and China abstaining would have never have gone through). So I don’t think the DNI can be faulted for not reading the minds of the Russian and Chinese government and knowing that they would abstain and thereby allow a UN resolution to be passed which would enable NATO and its Arab allies to assist the rebels and tip the balance in their favour. In fact the DNI estimate may have been made based on the assumption that there would be no international sanction for intervention as a result of vetoes in the UN Security Council and that therefore Gaddafi would be fighting the rebels without outside interference. Plus as I outlined previously (I can’t remember in which one of your posts) the Libyan intervention seemed to have been a confluence of a lot of the “right” factors at the right time – dislike for Gaddafi among Arab governments, long-term dislike of Gaddafi in the West (among the government and media), revolutions in neighbouring Tunisia and Egypt installing governments that would themselves be inclined to support the Libyan rebels, Russo-Chinese acquiescence to UN intervention as a result of the West and Arab governments uniting around common interests and the Gaddafi family not helping the situation with the statements made on national TV concerning what they would do to the rebels (note Assad has been extremely wise in not following that particularly blunder but has stuck to a nice PC line of maintaining that the rebels are criminals, terrorists and anarchists and not trying to broad-brush entire towns as being rebels to be exterminated).

  15. yalensis says:

    Still on Libya topic: I just saw this piece about some Slavic (Ukrainian, Russian and Belorussian) prisoners still being held by new gangster/Al Qaeda regime in Libya. Prior to Gaddafi overthrow, these men were working on various construction and engineering projects for the Libyan government. To my knowledge, these men have not been charged with anything. In the first few months of captivity they were subjected to physical abuse, now, thank goodness, it is stated that their conditions have improved.

    http://libyasos.blogspot.com/2012/04/easter-in-libya-story-of-zechariah.html#more

    • Alex says:

      ..a decent Government would consider this story as an opportunity to field-test combat-readiness of its marines ..

      • marknesop says:

        If you’re referring to the Libyan government, there isn’t any. If you’re referring to the Russian government, they’d be in a very bad position to do anything except in the strictest secrecy, since they left themselves no repositioning room by supporting the resolution that led to Gaddafi’s overthrow and murder. If you’re referring to the U.S. government, they don’t want to know anything about Libya now that the mission has been accomplished, and are studiously avoiding a position whereby they might have to go back in and reverse the damage they themselves initiated and inflicted. Even the stupidest voter would be able to grasp that dichotomy.

        • yalensis says:

          Russian government probably conducting quiet diplomacy behind the scenes, to free these guys. Not the types to swoop in Rambo-style. Problem is, there is nobody to negotiate with, just a bunch of crude warlord types.

          • Alex says:

            @mark & yalensis Of course, I meant the Russians. Doing something dramatic & almost theatrical in such situation(-s) – i.e. “defending” ordinary citizens rather than running eg, all-Russia media circus protecting Shuvalv’s Millions) , would do more and be far more appropriate to increase popularity of the Government/UR than several Churovs decorated with the Order of Alexander Nevski. But, of course, they have their priorities, haven’t they?
            And of course, sending marines in there would be a logistical/tactical problem demanding a real talent & determination, so it is probably, not the realistic option currently..

            • marknesop says:

              Is that meant to suggest Russia is militarily bereft of talent and lacking in determination? What would increase your confidence: invasion of some Middle Eastern or African country, killing its leader and wrecking the country for a generation or two? Let me know – I’ll see what I can do. I seem to recall the country we are discussing was quite safe for foreign contractors before it was smashed to bits and handed over to al Qaeda, in a display of talent and determination that must have impressed everyone.

              • Alex says:

                @mark “Is that meant to suggest Russia is militarily bereft of talent and lacking in determination?”
                No. IMHO it and its army lack motivation.

                (and maybe I was somehow misunderstood, but IMHO Russia made a political mistake in Libia’s case)

  16. marknesop says:

    Very much in line with what we’re talking about here, I read in an older edition of Defense News today (as I’ve mentioned before, unless you’re a subscriber you can only see the daily edition, and this was the hard-copy edition; I picked it up because there was a story about Canada seeking “more U.S. cooperation” with the Canadian Arctic, which the British Columbia professor who had acted as an expert consultant to the government announced made him uncomfortable because it was nothing we could not do ourselves, and involving the Americans sounded very much to him like “making concessions that were not necessary”) that the USA is continuing its pivot toward Asia by (a) basing something like 2,000 marines in Australia (these will come from the withdrawal from Okinawa; the rest will go to Guam and Hawaii), (b) forward-basing warships – probably the LCS “fleet” – in Singapore, and (c) increasing the U.S. presence in the Philippines.

    Interesting also is a story on U.S. intent to soothe Russia’s irrational fears that the U.S. missile defense system designed to guard against ballistic missiles from Iran that currently do not exist is instead a means to station a long-range air search radar right on Russia’s border and interceptors which will negate or reduce Russia’s nuclear deterrent. Presumably this reassurance will take the form of cuddling and soft patting on the back, since this article makes clear the USA does not intend to change its plans in any way. It all seems to revolve around “making Russia understand” that the U.S. does not intend to use the system against Russia. although it expects Russia to take its word as it refuses to sign a statement to that effect. I’m sure that will be a very productive discussion.

    • kirill says:

      Thankfully, with Putin around there will not be too much response from Russia to this BS other than to take appropriate response measures. These radar installations cannot survive a nuclear strike (they cannot be made small and mobile) so the idea that they will be tracking Russian ICBMs during launch is wishful thinking. While the Russian ICBMs are in early stages of the boost phase the regional, Iskander-like, nuclear surface to surface missiles will be taking European tracking radar installations out of action.

      Probably the ABM missiles can be made mobile, but we are seeing here the age old measure vs. counter-measure warfare technology development. So there will be anti-ABM missiles as well. But at the same time the ABM system can be defeated by simply having more launchers. At the rate this US driven “it’s my way, or the highway” policy is going we will most likely see the end of any strategic arms control.

      • marknesop says:

        The problem is that the radar is on all the time, ostensibly looking for surprise missile launches from Iran going in a direction they would not go and at a location they cannot reach, but actually peering deep into Russian airspace, always watching and gathering intelligence. You’d have to double its likely range to be safe, and even then you could never be sure what they’re seeing.

        The interceptors themselves are not likely slaved to the ABM radar, it’s a different application and they probably have their own – the big radar is just for early warning. But the cornerstone of nuclear deterrence is, if you launch a strike against me, even though you may get me, the counterstrike will be on its way and you can’t get them all. But now, perhaps they would. The theory is that a surprise first strike would get most of the missiles still in their silos. If there were, say, only 20 or so left that the first strike did not wipe out, they would normally still be enough to cause enormous damage to the west – only now, the interceptors would get them, and get them still close enough to Russia that it would wear most of the fallout cloud. If the system really is not designed for use against Russia, why will the USA not sign a document to that effect? The simple answer is, they want to preserve all their options, and likely are reveling in how nervous it makes Russia. You know, and I know, a similar Russian installation in Canada would never be tolerated by the USA. There is no amount of reassurance Russia could offer that it was not targeted against the USA that would be believed, they would interpret it as an act of war. Why is it so difficult for them to see this is interpreted the same way?

        All anti-missile missiles suffer a reduced probability of intercept against a crossing target. The further off-axis a target is from the interceptor, the less likely an intercept will occur because of the constant build-up of lead angle. This is basic math. The highest probability is when the inbound missile is coming directly at the interceptor. Look at a map of Europe and the Middle East, and see where Iran lies in relation to the interceptor sites.

        A better option for defeating radar is a jammer, so that all it reads is noise. But a jammer that would defeat such a big, powerful radar would have to be just about the same size itself, because it too would depend on raw power. However, there would be a certain comical symmetry in that – a big western ABM radar as close to the border as the builders could conveniently locate it, and less than a mile away, an enormous radar jammer that would make sure it saw nothing if the need to use it arose. Like a big fly, poised to take off, and just a short distance away, a huge fly swatter.

        • kirill says:

          I am quite sure that there are new radar installations specifically intended for the ABM system. The ABM missiles need detailed tracking information on Russian ICBMs. Without this information they don’t stand a chance of interception given the extremely short times. Having the ABM system near Russia’s borders is obviously due to these constraints since the best time for interception is when the ICBM is still in the “boost phase” and “slow”. Hitting the warhead over the US is not a technical solution that the US has adopted due to the extreme velocity and smallness of the target.

          So Russia’s technical response will be to take out the tracking radar installations as fast as possible. These tracking stations are not early warning stations and lose their value if they cannot be used during a significant fraction of the boost phase of Russian ICBMS, so 10 to 15 minutes. If you give 2 minutes for confirmation of a US strike incoming, then you can launch an attack on the radar installations even before launching your ICBMs. The regional nuclear missiles don’t have to fly halfway around the planet.

          I don’t really buy the first strike option as an achievable result. It assumes that there is some sort of serious political incapacitation in the country down to the launcher level. Any first strike launch will not be met with passivity under normal conditions. It is easy enough to detect a US first strike launch and in a time frame (basically two minutes or less) that allows a counter-strike launch. There is no need for tracking. So the ABM system is not for mopping up of surviving missiles. In my view, it is predicated on arms control agreements pushing the number of Russian launchers down to under 1000. This is what Medvedev was proposing and which I highly doubt that Putin will pursue since it clearly plays into the hands of the Americans and their ABM strategy.

      • yalensis says:

        Well, this goes back to Rogozin’s cryptic comment about Russia’s “Nu Pogodi” response to U.S. threat, which is top secret and still under development. Recall, Rogozin promises Russia will come up with some kind of weapon or response that will be equivalent of Wolf pouncing on Hare in a single bound, without chasing around in zigzag pattern. I don’t know. Maybe it is something as simple as dropping a nuke on a radar installation?

        • kirill says:

          I don’t think that is what he has in mind. My point was that for the radar installations to be useful they have to do more than record the first few moments of Russia’s ICBM launches. Satellites can do that also. The purpose of the radars is to track the ICBMs and feed this information to the ABM system. They are not just nuke launch detectors. But the US knows this so part of the ABM plan is to make Russia look like a nuclear aggressor by playing up they will nuke Europe theme.

          If Europe does not want to get “nuked” it should not participate in the intrinsically aggressive strategic ABM system, designed to give the US nuclear primacy.

          Rogozin’s job is just to publicly announce that there will be Russian counter-measures and that Russia will not roll over to make itself look good in the eyes of its proven enemies.

          • marknesop says:

            Well, the ABM radar would be the first alert, but what I am getting at is that the detecting radar is not an ideal guidance system for the interceptor – that typically calls for a more focused beam, although with frequency-scanning technology such as is employed in some western sensors, it is certainly possible.

            I had not thought of the subtle visuals created by boxing Russia in with ABM systems, and subliminally making it look like an aggressive rogue nation – that’s a good point.

            • kirill says:

              I should have added that there is distinction between the European BMD and the US NMD. The interceptors have significantly slower targets than warheads as they target the ICBM before warhead separation. Several years ago when the NMD was going to make the US invulnerable, Russia introduced hypersonic maneuverable warheads while at the same time the NMD interceptors were failing to hit test warheads on pure ballistic trajectories whose full details were known. It is clear that the US has shelved the NMD and has focused on the BMD, which has to be deployed around Russia’s borders as the slow boost phase does not last long enough for interception over the oceans.

              The regional radars are essential to get the location of the mobile ICBM launches and I expect that there will be satellites as part of the BMD to get finer tracking data. So the radars and satellites will be prime targets in the moments before Russian ICBM launches. Radars in the USA and Canada are of no interest as they are not part of the BMD.

              • marknesop says:

                You seem to be very up on this, and what you say makes sense. It’s true the tests of the system were largely rigged – the time the target would be launched was known in advance, its approximate direction of approach and intended point of impact. In some of the tests the target projectile was augmented to give it a larger signature and make it easier to detect. However, those who don’t know much about it should not be fooled; making it easy for new systems is routine when the objective is data collection, and doesn’t have much bearing on how the operational system will perform. Test data from easy tests will be used to tune the system and locate weaknesses, and is by no means a measure of the best it could do. I personally believe, though, that “hard-kill” systems are much less effective than decoys or jamming.

                Unfortunately, decoys work only on a threat that must use external sensors to update its position, and ICBM’s use an Internal Navigation System (INS) that does not. The system, however, relies on the radar to pinpoint the elements of a counterstrike (in the scenario of a strategic first strike) so as to take them out before they can be a threat to the other nation. The radar is vulnerable to deception and jamming, as it relies on external input.

                I maintain that if a given nation’s intentions are truly peaceful, then upon developing a “shield” that makes it impossible for you to attack it with missiles, it should then get rid of its own missiles. Retaining a strike capability indicates, at least to me, that the intention is to use that augmented strike capability to extort concessions from the newly-weakened country. That narrows the available options to either accepting its weakened status, or developing a countermeasure that renders the shield ineffective. The interceptors appear to be planned in groups of only 20 or so, and even taken all together as a group would not be enough to destroy Russia’s entire missile force. That suggests that most will be taken off the board by some other measure, such as a first strike. Once again, political will or present relations have nothing to do with the execution of such a plan – if the capability exists, it must be assumed the intention at some time may exist also. This is the foundation of nuclear deterrence. This is why Russia is opposed to the siting of these systems – if Russia’s capability no longer exists or is made manageable, then its intentions do not matter.

                The willingness of other countries to host these systems is also a necessary component of the strategy; the USA cannot simply drop missile bases in other countries without permission, unless it first conquers and subjugates them. Maybe that – the willingness to host a foreign missile base – is something that could be worked on.

        • marknesop says:

          I doubt anyone in their right mind would do something like that. And you have only to read the votes on recent UN resolutions to see who is in their right mind and who is not. Nukes are a horrible weapon that poisons everything for miles around, and if it were possible to un-learn the way to create something, that should be first on the list.

  17. R.C. says:

    There’s a brand new article up on antiwar.com regarding this:

    http://news.antiwar.com/2012/05/03/russia-threatens-preemptive-strike-if-nato-builds-missile-defense-shield/

    Chief of General Staff Nikolai Makarov on Thursday at an international conference attended by U.S. and NATO officials said, “A decision to use destructive force pre-emptively will be taken if the situation worsens.”

    Apparently, it seems that the Russians believe that the Americnas aren’t serious about resolving the issue as they’ve called the negotiations a “dead end.”

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, that pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it? America insists the missile defense system is to protect Europe from rogue missiles from Iran, but if that were true, the systems should be sited in the countries they are intended to protect, in order to maximize the probability of an interceptor kill, and they should be located on the Iran side of those countries so as to be able to kill the incoming missile before it could fall in the country or countries you wish to protect. Siting the ABM radar probably doesn’t matter, it can see a long, long way – and if you’re interested on how far it could see inside Russia, look at the distance from Poland to Iran: what’s the use of an ABM radar that can’t see an incoming missile until it’s halfway to its target? Obviously they intend the system to be able to see a launch from Iran while the missile is at worst still in its boost phase. But the siting of interceptors in Poland or Romania presents them with a more difficult problem to solve if they are used to protect Germany, France and the UK, for example.

      If America wishes to show its sincerity that this is not a move to bolster American hegemony – not global leadership, which this is not, but global menacing of regions that will not subordinate themselves to its interests – it could build all the ABM systems it wishes after getting rid of its own nuclear deterrent. A big friendly nation that just wishes to help out its neighbours by protecting them against missiles has no need of nuclear missiles itself. And if shooting down ICBM’s that present a crossing target is no problem, then a better place to site both the radar and the interceptors, for the shortest reaction time, would be Iraq or Saudi Arabia. Perhaps America wants to avoid hurting Iran’s feelings by making it obvious that an anti-ballistic missile system is designed to counter a threat from Iran. Which currently has no nuclear missiles. At all.

      • Hunter says:

        Well placing the systems in Iraq or Saudi Arabia is a non-starter since the Americans have basically pulled out of those countries already. But placing the interceptors and radar in Turkey would help and could work (as Turkey is a member of NATO). There was also the (Russian proposed) plan to base the system in Azerbaijan. That could also go some way towards showing that the system isn’t intended to work against Russia (at least soley) but is intended for a possible future threat from Iran.

        Of course ABMs are rather pointless anyway since to date no nation’s leader has been insane enough to launch actual nuclear missiles. The failure to do this act is certainly not because of ABMs being able to render such attacks toothless, but because of the very real prospect of nuclear retaliation resulting in utter annihilation. I can’t imagine any scenario in which any government of Iran would actually launch a nuclear missile at Europe save in the extremely outlandish case of the entire government being made up of suicide bombers who would be launching such a missile with the express aim of inviting nuclear retaliation so that the entire Iranian nation can ascend to heaven with them in what would effectively be the largest suicide bombing in history. I think LOOOONNNGGG before it reached that point though there would be a coup in Iran to remove the suicidal fellas in government.

        Certainly Iran and Iraq have in the past launched missile attacks on each other’s capitals during the Iran-Iraq War, but only Iraq actually used chemical weapons. Even then Iraq didn’t launch ballistic missiles tipped with mustard gas as far as I know. The chemical weapons were mainly used on the battlefield and in civilian areas (both Iraqi and Iranian civilians being targeted) somewhat near the battlefield. The key to those ballistic missile attacks though was that they occurred during a war. So Iran isn’t going to be launching ballistic missiles against Europe outside of war and Iran is very unlikely to start a war involving itself and Europe/United States (it has no reason to do so and has no means to actually win and knows it). Thus the best defence against an Iranian ballistic missile threat is to simply stop interfering in Iran and not to pick a fight with Iran in the first place.

  18. Returning to the subject of Russian Chinese friendship, here is an opinion piece about from the Global Times, an English language Chinese newspaper that is run by the Chinese Communist Party’s official newspaper the People’s Daily

    http://www.globaltimes.cn/NEWS/tabid/99/ID/707093/Sino-Russian-ties-protect-rights-of-developing-nations.aspx

    The article all but says that the two countries are in an alliance and it also accurately identifies the main threat to that alliance. This is the pro western liberal element in both countries that lacks confidence in their countries and in their countries’ ability to develop by themselves and according to their countries’ own traditions but which instead seeks slavishly to follow the west.

  19. yalensis says:

    Ties between Syrian “activists” and Albanian/Kosovo terrorists?

    http://rt.com/news/syrian-opposition-studies-terror-tactics-in-kosovo-585/

  20. This says:

    This is how I would handle the situation, and I am certain that this is the only Logical way to handle the situation, and that is why I think that Russia thinks the same.

    Russia needs to be Allies with China, because the Western Europeans are Nazis, they always have been, and they always will be Nazis.

    It is not as I would wish it to be, but every action has a reaction, and the World knows that America is the guilt one here.

    Countries should remain totally Neutral to all countries in the World, but they should have trade and friendship with any Country that wants the same.

    It is best to let everyone know how to act sensibly by not wasting Money on projects that could easily get Euro American Politicians killed, in order to safe the Planet from total destruction.

    We have heard Russia has warned of a preemptive strike against the American missile shield in Europe.

    This is the right Policy for Russia to tell everyone that if you build it we will bomb it.

    I would go further and tell China not to waste Money lending Money to America, because Euro America may soon be finished.

    I would advise Germany to have evacuation plans for all humans in Berlin, because Germany has not paid sufficiently for the Millions of Russians they have murdered.

    I would advise Holland to evacuate all People that are below sea level, because the destroyed Dutch Dikes will finish off Euro-America.

    I would say to the American People who have access to American President to assassinate him, and any others that need killing, like the Vice President etc.

    This is if the American People love their lives, and if you truly have the wisdom to understand what Thomas Jefferson said.

    Thomas Jefferson said that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    There are two signals for the American People to save their lives, the lives of their families, and their friends and neighbours.

    The first safety signal is if they start building the missile shield, the America People will be given their opportunity to save their lives, but they must kill every Federal America Politician to be certain of saving their lives.

    Russia should repeatedly tell the America People to Act quickly, because once Russia gives Germany and Holland one month to start evacuating their Citizens, then those body guards of American Federal Politicians will need to kill the American Federal Politicians if they wish to live.

    The final signal, and let us hope it never gets to that, but if it does, because Russia should not relent, then the signal will be the bombing of American missile shield facilities.

    This will be a final chance for the People of European NATO Countries to kill their Politicians so that they may live.

    The time has come for Continental Europe to ask America as a friend to leave Continental Europe completely and permanently.

    The American People need to know these things, because American foreign policy affects them, and Americans should Vote for a President who will act in the interests of his People.

  21. I am not in a position to discuss the technical aspects of missile defence but the Russians are fully entitled to feel shortchanged.

    The history of missile defence begins in the 1960s when both the USA and the USSR had active missile defence programmes. It seems that the US programme was not going well, which led the US President Lyndon Johnson to propose a missile defence treaty to Soviet Premier Aleksei Kosygin at the Glassboro Summit in 1967. All accounts of that summit say that Kosygin was furious and responded negatively. However at US insistence negotiations went ahead leading to the ABM Treaty of 1972.

    As we all know, no sooner was the ABM Treaty in existence then powerful voices in the US began to campaign against it even though it was the US that had initially proposed it. In 1983 Reagan publicly proposed his so called Strategic Defence Initiative, which was incompatible with it. That futuristic space based system was eventually abandoned only for the whole concept of ballistic missile defence to be revived by George Bush II in the form of interceptor missiles based in the former Warsaw Pact countries of eastern Europe. This was unbelievably provocative given that only a few years before Bush II’s own father Bush I had promised Gorbachev that in return for the USSR’s withdrawal from eastern Europe NATO’s boundaries would not be extended into eastern Europe and that the US would not station troops or military material there. Nonetheless in spite of Russian objections Bush II pushed on with the plan and unilaterally withdrew the US from the ABM Treaty, which as I have said was a treaty the US originally proposed.

    Obama then came along and gave every impression that he was intending to scrap Bush II’s plan. As is well known shortly after he became President he made an official announcement that appeared to signal its cancellation. What he appeared to propose instead was a far more modest plan based on existing air defence systems much of which would be ship based. On the strength of this announcement the Russians went ahead and negotiated a major arms reduction treaty that is supposed to reduce US and Russian nuclear arsenals even further than they had been reduced previously from their Cold War peaks.

    It now turns out that Obama’s announcement amounted to a great less than appeared to be the case so that the missile defence programme his administration is now sponsoring has come to look increasingly like the Bush II programme that was supposedly abandoned. Apparently it is again intended that radars and even missiles will be installed in the former Warsaw Pact countries of eastern Europe. Sad to say this is consistent with the whole pattern of Obama’s Presidency, which start with the impression being given that Bush II policies eg. over Guantanamo, Afghanistan, the “war on terror” etc are being changed or abandoned only for them to be continued in essentially the same way as before.

    That these anti missile programmes are targeted in the first place at Russia and in the second place at China I for one have no doubt. If they really were intended to protect the US and NATO from rogue states like North Korea and Iran and not from Russia and China then there is absolutely no reason why they should not be a collaborative venture with Russia and possibly China as the Russians have repeatedly proposed. That the US and NATO categorically rule this proposal out and refuse even to discuss it can only mean that notwithstanding what they say Russia obviously is the target. The Russians would be imbeciles if they thought otherwise.

    It is not anyway as if the supposed threat from Iran or North Korea that the proposed system is supposed to defeat even exists. North Korea does have a small nuclear capability and does have a long range missile programme but I for one struggle to see what radars and missiles in eastern Europe and in the Mediterranean Sea could do to respond to it. If and when North Korea does develop long range missiles its targets will be South Korea, Japan and the west coast of the US not Europe. Besides its long range missile programmes don’t seem to be going very well at the moment and it will be a very long time before it becomes a serious threat.

    As for Iran, there is no proof that it has a nuclear weapons programme or a long range missile programme. Iran continues to work with the IAEA, has remained a signatory of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty and the US’s own intelligence services have repeatedly said that it abandoned its nuclear weapons programme long ago back in 2003 following the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime against which it was obviously targeted. There is no evidence that Iran has or is developing long range missiles of intercontinental range. Iran’s longest range missile remains the Shahab 3, which was designed during the Iran Iraq war as a response to Saddam Hussein’s missiles. The Israelis and some US analysts have speculated about the existence of longer range Iranian missiles which they call the Shahab 4, 5 and 6, but no concrete proof for the existence of these missiles has ever been produced and the Iranians and most serious analysts who have looked into the matter deny their existence. There are also rumours of a more ambitious Iranian missile programme supposedly using illegally acquired 1960s Soviet missile technology but again no evidence has ever been produced for the existence of this programme. Even if it does exist (the Iranians deny it) given the state of Iran’s industrial base it would be decades before anything came of it. We know from Wikileaks that US claims that Iran was importing long range missiles from North Korea were separately identified and independently checked by the Russians who told the US that there was no truth to them. The relevant cable is one of the most interesting of the cables released by Wikileaks.

    In summary the whole history of US missile defence programmes is one of almost incredible bad faith with the US repeatedly making promises and even agreeing treaties with Russia when it suits its interests which it then invariably breaks as it pursues a succession of programmes that are obviously intended to put Russia in a strategic disadvantage.

    • kievite says:

      In a way the fact that Russia still have a say in this matter is amazing. It lost Cold War and was further decimated by Yeltsin gang. In a way dissolution of the USSR means that it lost the Second World War too, Victory day notwithstanding. So we should not forget the simple fact that Russia is still a cripple that only started to recover.

      At the same time the situational awareness about the USA plans is a force multiplier. And I think cheap technical means of jamming radar with false signals is not inconceivable. With modern computers, drones might be a viable anti-radar weapon if equipped to detect the frequency of the radar. Reflected signal is so weak that any active interference ( “falsification of reflection”) by reflecting the the pulse with random (artificial) time lag might be a complex puzzle to solve as you can no longer be sure from whom the reflection came.

      Another important factor to consider is the USA overplayed its hand after 1991 and now face the problem of huge debt which might become strategical issue in 10 to 20 years. That means that at some point Pentagon will be cut in such a way that feathers from the brass will be flying all over Potomac. So both parties in “missile defense” dispute are cripples and as such would do good to avoid fight.

      The same consideration suggest that war with Iran would be a huge mistake, that instead of gain in power might further deteriorate or at least complicate strategic position of the USA. To subdue a nation of 73 million is a very costly and protracted task much like fighting simultaniously in Iraq and Afganistan (both Afganistan and Iraq have populations of 32 millions). There is no money for this task in the USA treasury. And cheaper solutions like carpet bombing might not work as desired as long as there are vulnerable to counterstrikes US forces in Afghanistan. Not that I have any sympathy for theocratic regimes but it looks like Almighty might protect Ayatollahs from the wrath of the USA for playing with dollar alternatives ;-).

      Also the USA in their commendable desire to crush the theocratic regimes might consider a simple fact that Saudi Arabia is also ripe to regime change and that goal would be much cheaper to accomplish (they are just 27 millions strong ;-).

      • Misha says:

        Russia should’ve a say on account that it’s a nuclear power, with key natural resources and an economy in the BRIC grouping.

        The issue of whether the Cold War was the West against the Communist USSR or Russia or both is an ongoing debate.

        Pre-Soviet Russia wasn’t at continuous odds with the West. During this period, Western nations were at war with themselves. WW II saw the Soviets and Anglo-Americans on the same side.

        The USSR wasn’t created to benefit Russia by screwing others. A valid enough counter-claim can be made on such a thought.

        • Misha says:

          On the subject of losing wars while still having clout, consider how for a good portion of the Cold War, West and East Germany had among the strongest of economies in their respective blocs, with Japan recovering well in Asia.

          As the Cold War was coming to an end and shortly after it ended, there were a good number of Russians willing to embrace the West. This sentiment has soured on account of how some influential folks in the West have carried on. The first wave of NATO expansion involved a good deal of anti-Russian propaganda from the likes of McCain, the late Safire and C. Rice (before she became SoS). From these circles, the lines were and (in some instances) remain that Russia is an inherent threat and therefore can never be considered for NATO membership.

          There’re pro-West and pro-Russia people out there who for good reason don’t agree with this minsdet. That kind of attitide has changed how a good number of Russians viw the Wwest today as opposed to the late 1980s-early 1990s.

          Regarding NATO membership, polls in Ukraine and Moldova, among some other former Communist bloc entities don’t show great enthusiasm.

          Mark’s above post kind of relates to the CSTO spirit which has drawn the interest of some nations not formally in that org.

          From the point of view of America’s best interests, having a responsibly strong military bloc other than NATO covering trouble spots in Asia isn’t such a bad idea.

          Then again, the war economy mindset nurtures the idea that having threats encourages the so called military industrial complex, in a way that creates jobs and profits. On the other hand, consider the loss of life (Western and otherwise), in scenarios more likely leading to military intervention, as well as how attention is focused away from improving civilian economic issues.

          This isn’t Marxist thinking as much as it’s simple common sense.

      • marknesop says:

        Such radars often employ frequency scanning, so that the transmitter frequency slides constantly over a broad range, and the surface of the radar itself is covered with tiny transmitters, known as a Phased Array. You would have to be able to jam the entire frequency range. That’s certainly possible, although it would require a great deal of raw power and, as I suggested before, the jammer would be a structure at least as large as the radar and perhaps larger. But there’s a certain poetic justice in that; it’s non-violent, and nobody gets hurt. You build it within easy sight of the radar, and resist the urge to try it out – thereby revealing any weaknesses it might have – until you need it. A jammer, even on that scale, is pretty simple to build compared with the complexity of the radar, and probably a hell of a lot cheaper. You don’t need to leave your own airspace or national territory to use it, and you don’t have to risk any lives on either side.

        Like they’re always saying; work smarter, not harder.

        The system you’re talking about is a deceptive repeater; it captures the transmitted pulse and amplifies it on the return, so that the target looks much closer than it actually is. That sort of system is effective if you are a moving target (like a ship) and want to complicate acquisition. The technology is pretty old now, and designed to trick an active seeker. It would not be ideal for fooling a search radar like this one.

      • yalensis says:

        Excellent comment, @kievite!
        Somehow, in my cynical mind, I doubt USA gives a rat’s tushi whether a regime is theocratic or not. That is NOT the reason they dislike Iran!

  22. PvMikhail says:

    greetings people,

    I am a little bit into military topics, however naval forces are not among my priority. In connection to this article: I think we should not draw conclusions from numbers and theoretical financial possibilities. I think this article can be attacked or at least heavily criticized by opponents. Unfortunately the US navy has no match yet in the World and this will remain such for at least a decade. China hasn’t got the technology and Russia has not got the industrial capacity to end this superiority earlier than 2020-2030.

  23. PvMikhail says:

    OFF

    Worrying reality in Moskva: I think this article is a good one from this woman, whom I had already introduced to you:

    http://en.rian.ru/columnists/20120504/173225979.html

    Something has to be done with these idiots from the mountains. They don’t understand anything, but brute force as I told you earlier. We also have this kind in our country. Different ethnicity, but the same problem.

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for extremely interesting story, @PvMikhail. There have recently been some mysterious and cryptic rumors that Putin is going to clip the wings of these Chechen warlords and their kin. For starters, Kadyrov might be getting a demotion. I certainly hope that turns out to be true! I will find some links for you if I can.

      • PvMikhail says:

        I tell you what’s the problem is. Russia is a multinational entity, it always has been and always will be. The country is seriously weak now, because of the demographic crash of the 90s, that’s why it needs time and comfortable conditions to build up itself again. It is like a situation after all-out war. Now the country can’t afford neither a serious external war, nor a civil war. So the government has to guard the national unity, no matter what. Has to defend society against “nationalist” elements, even if they often right pointing at caucasians or tajiks. “Russia is for Russians” is not an answer, simply because it undermines the fragile stability of the state, in addition, it endangers the friendship with very loyal and integrated nationalities, who want to build a strong Russia. Moskva’s efforts to pacify the mountains with words instead of guns is the direct consequence of the recognition of this situation. So this (hopefully interim) situation allows this mafia to stay out of the cleansing, because they could shout ethnic chauvinism for pretty much any persecution. Somehow the government has to find a way to ensure security for loyal minorities and in the same time with the backing of the majority it has to kick these mountainers into the teeth. The clan based society of these places make them strong against individuals, so they can terrorize always just one or two people. These cases will not cause the majority to reach it’s boiling point, so in theory this can continue endlessly. I exactly know these tactics: romani minority of Hungary and other European states. The government”s responsibility to do something about this. Russia has always fought wars to secure itself from surrounding enemies by natural borders and military buffer zones. However the biggest threat to it’s security ironically is the consequence of this – the incorporation of the eastern part of Caucasus. This conflict can be decided only by 2 ways: giving up these territories or the 1944-45 scenario, but no return this time. This is serious stuff.

        • yalensis says:

          Excellent analysis, @pvMikhail. You have put your finger on the crux of the matter, which is that within these ethnic enclaves, the loyal peace-loving majority can be terrorized by a small minority. Even a tiny minority, even just one or two crimininal individuals, can terrorize an entire community. The long-term solution is to eliminate the criminal element, restore order, and integrate these enclaves into the larger entity.

    • AK says:

      Brilliant. Russia is Westernizing successfully. Impudent minorities forcing their values on an indigenous population that does not want them but is too meek and limp-wristed to stand up for itself.

  24. On a completely minor point, it never ceases to depress me how the Guardian has to rewrite history even in small ways and when it really shouldn’t matter.

    Here is an article in the Guardian today about the truly great classical music conductor Mariss Jansons. http://www.guardian.co.uk/music/2012/may/04/mariss-jansons-interview-fiona-maddocks

    Mariss Jansons today lives in St. Petersburg where he moved with his family from Riga in 1956 when his father Arvids Jansons was chosen by Mravinsky to work for him in the Leningrad Philharmonic. The Guardian refers to this by saying that in 1956 Jansons “moved to the USSR”. Jansons did not “move to the USSR” in 1956 since Latvia and its capital Riga in 1956 where Jansons and his family had been living until then were in 1956 part of the USSR. The writer of the article clearly knows this because earlier in the article she refers to the Riga of Jansons’s childhood as “Soviet Riga”.

    This little falsification of a historical fact is of course inserted into the article because the Guardian following the official Latvian government line now pretends that Latvia was never a part of the USSR but was only occupied by it. In doing so however the article offends against the views of its subject since elsewhere in the article Jansons makes it absolutely clear that he is totally opposed to the ultra nationalist stances that gives rise to these sort of falsifications.

    • Misha says:

      They really do have the gall to post/publish the crap about RT.

      Be on the lookout.
      ;)

      Biases and cronysim can be worked around.

  25. I have been trying to get a sense of what has been happening today in Russia and Moscow but as always it is difficult for me given my distance from events and my inability to track Russian websites or following Russian television. Here for what it’s worth is my summary. Others nearer the scene or able to follow it better (Moscow Exile/Yalensis etc) will be able to give a more accurate summary:

    1. The “March of Millions” in Moscow did not attract millions (did anybody ever think it would?) despite its pretentious title and Udaltsov’s and Navalny’s claims at the time when it was originally called. There are the usual wide differences in the estimates of the numbers that are supposed to have turned up. The police say 8,000, Itar Tass says 15,-20,000, Novosti (whose team includes the Briton Marc Bennets who is an open supporter of the protesters and who has participated in earlier protests) claims an improbable 50,000 and the protesters themselves or to be more precise Udaltsov and Ponomariev claim an impossible 100,000. I cannot give an estimate from London but based on the pictures I have so far seen I would say between 8,000 to 20,000 at most. This would put the protest at roughly the same level as the 5th March protest.

    2. It has been obvious that Udaltsov, Ponomariev and Navalny have been spoiling for a fight (we discussed this at length before the protest on 5th March 2012) and sure enough one or possibly more than one has happened. Again accounts are confused as they invariably are after clashes of this sort but Novosti, which is consistently sympathetic to the protesters, claims that the clashes began after Udaltsov led a group that tried to break through police barriers to march on the Kremlin. There has also been some sort of a sit in near the Udarnik cinema. The ringleaders as always seem to be Udaltsov, Ponomariev and Navalny. I gather that Udaltsov and Navalny were arrested whilst were trying to address the crowd at Bolotnaya Square and so was Nemtsov. It is not clear to me whether the police in the end dispersed the protest but I presume they did.

    3. Provoking violent street protests seems to be the only shot that Udaltsov and Navalny have in their locker. Their recent attempt to win a mayoral election in Omsk ended in farce when their chosen candidate Varlamov pulled out when even he admitted that most of the signatures on his registration document were forged. Presumably Udaltsov and Navalny hope that they will be able to blame the street clashes on the police so as to trigger a new surge in the protest movement as they did after the clashes on 5th December 2011. The trouble they have is that the clashes on 5th December 2011 happened after parliamentary elections the results of which were widely (if in my opinion wrongly) disputed whereas no one seriously disputes the results of the Presidential elections or of Putin’s election as President. Significantly I gather that even the western observer teams have now provided official reports that recognise the legitimacy of the result of the Presidential election.

    4. I suspect that another problem Udaltsov, Ponomariev and Navalny will run into is that whilst following the protest on 5th December 2011 most people (wrongly) blamed the police for the violence it must by now have become obvious to most people that it is in fact Udaltsov, Ponomariev and Navalny who are actually behind it. No doubt their own hard core of supporters will continue to see them as martyrs regardless of the truth but I suspect that a lot more people will be put off by this sort of behaviour.

    5. Elsewhere outside Moscow attendance at opposition rallies appears to have been derisory. Outside Moscow the protest movement is definitely dead. Probably some of the activists were brought from the provinces to Moscow to boost the turnout there but even allowing for this country wide support for the protest movement seems to have collapsed.

    • kirill says:

      Interesting that the less prosperous regions of Russia (outside Moscow where the per capita GDP is lower) have almost no support for the liberasts. One would think that economic disenchantment would be a fertile ground for revolution. Clearly not in Russia. So this begs the question who are these idiots in Moscow that they feel the compulsion to demonstrate. Smells like greedy sods to me. The foundation of this agitation is money from the west and support from some Russian oligarchs who feel they don’t have enough money. That is why there is such a small number of demonstrators. Most people have no reason to demonstrate and enough pride not to do it for money.

      • PvMikhail says:

        Russia was always like this. Remember 1917. That was originally the revolution of some cities, less than 3% of the population of the empire. Countryside never wants anything drastic… and they are right. Russia can’t afford revolution or any kinds of uncertainty any more.

        • Misha says:

          “Russia was always like this. Remember 1917. That was originally the revolution of some cities, less than 3% of the population of the empire. Countryside never wants anything drastic… and they are right. Russia can’t afford revolution or any kinds of uncertainty any more.”

          ****
          :)

          In a non-bigoted/non-Stalinist intended way, the term “rootless cosmopolitan” has merit. In some instances, “ruthless cosmopolitan” is more appropriate.

          Being Rural need not be backwards on social issues. Conversely, being urban doesn’t have to have a prejudice against honoring national identity.

          • Misha says:

            Another example of the kind of commentary from Russia, which openDemocracy supports:

            http://www.opendemocracy.net/od-russia/tikhon-dzyadko/russian-orthodox-church-from-farce-to-tragedy

            • PvMikhail says:

              sorry I can’t read this. I have read the introduction and I got too angry. Lies everywhere. Just look at the recent polls, which shows, that orthodox Russian majority trust the church and recent scandals didn’t have an affect on people’s opinion.

              http://fom.ru/obshchestvo/10434

              • Just a few comments here made from someone who is not a Christian but who was brought up in the Orthodox Church (I was put off its teaching by my grandmother who was a religious fanatic)

                1. The writer of this article seems very poorly informed about Church teaching. In order for there to be forgiveness there must first be confession and repentance. Think of Christ’s parables about the tax collector and the Prodigal Son. So far the Pussy Riot girls have given no indication that they repent what they did. The girls who are being prosecuted cannot in fact say that they repent what they did because they do not even admit that they were the ones who were present in the Church when the “concert” took place. If the girls do confess and genuinely repent what they did then the Church would be in a position to forgive them but we are not there yet. Frankly given the stance the girls’ supporters are taking I doubt we will ever be there.

                2. Having said this, it is essential to remember that Russia is (thankfully) a secular state in which the Church is separated from the state. The demand that the Church show clemency is therefore cockeyed. Even if the Church were to “forgive” the girls it is in no position to grant “clemency”, In a secular state the Church does not control the courts and cannot and should not tell the courts and the authorities what the sentence in a particular case, even a case involving the Church, should be. I would judge it a very alarming development indeed if it could.

                3. On a broader point, I think the influence of the Church in Russia is exaggerated. I do not get the impression that Russia is a deeply religious country or that most Russians are especially religious. Nor do I think that Russians are especially influenced by Church teachings on moral or sexual questions. Russian hostility to homosexuals is deeply rooted in Russian society as it was of course in the west only a short time ago and I think the role of the Church in fostering this hostility is exaggerated. I am with Yalensis on the subject of women’s position in Russia and in thinking that a good dose of feminism would not go amiss there but again I doubt that the Church has much to do with this given that these attitudes seem to be widely held by people who are not interested or who are even hostile to the Church. I ought to say that in my opinion attitudes in Russia on women’s questions are starting to change for what I think is the better as is shown by the increasing number of women in public life. However, and this is an important point, I think it is for Russia and Russians to decide the pace of this and any other social change by themselves.

                4. I would add that one does not have to be a religious person to have trust in the Church as an institution or to be deeply offended by the sort of behaviour we saw in the Pussy Riot “concert” in the Church. As a non Christian I found it revolting as did one of my British friends who unlike me speaks Russian and who saw the concert on You Tube.

                5. Lastly, on the subject of the Church, it is quite interesting to someone like me, who was brought up in the west during the Cold War, to see how western attitudes to the Russian Orthodox Church have undergone a complete U turn. During the Soviet period it was taken for granted that the Church was an anti Soviet element in Russian life that was supposedly being cruelly persecuted and suppressed by the atheistic Soviet authorities. As such it was invariably represented as a heroic institution that deserved (and got) western support. Western leaders who visited Moscow on state visits such as Margaret Thatcher always made a point of attending Church services usually at the Troitsky Sergeyev monastery. When discussing Russian intellectuals who were or who were assumed to be anti Soviet (eg. Pasternak, Akhmatova and Bulgakov or even the pop singer Boris Grebenshchikov) particular stress was always given to their Christian beliefs. Now that the Church is no longer obviously persecuted but is seen instead as being friendly to the authorities it has become a sinister and reactionary organisation that is supposedly impeding the country’s “modernisation” and “democratisation” (read westernisation).

                6 This is of course pretty typical of western attitudes. Anyone in Russia who supports the government (be it tsarist, communist or post communist) is bad. Anyone who opposes the government is good. Just look at the favourable press Udaltsov gets despite his neo Stalinist views. Think also of how Berezovsky was the Godfather of the Kremlin until he fell out with Putin at which point he suddenly became the champion of democracy.

                • PvMikhail says:

                  I am Christian and I am proud of it. I was raised up as such, but I was never forced to it. I rationally came to the conclusion, that faith helps people and church does more good than bad. I have seen it with my own eyes, so nobody can turn me against it. Thank you for your remarks as a non religious person. Russia should be a predominantly Orthodox society, because this is the tradition and moreover, Orthodox ethnic minorities are more loyal to the idea of Russianness in general. Orthodox church need support and it also should give support to people, which it does. It is a natural interest of Russian state. End of story.

        • yalensis says:

          @pvMikhail, Mostly the countryside wants stability. However, throughout Russian history, there have been a handful of exceptions to this rule, ALWAYS involving the question of land ownership. Examples: Stenka Razin, Pugachov, etc. The latter uprising (during reign of Catherine the Great, and described in Pushkin’s novella, “The Captain’s Daughter”) began as a rogue criminal operation but morphed into a mass rebellion against serfdom. (To be more specific, neo-serfdom, formerly free peasants now being forced into plantation-type serfdom.) Latest example: Bolshevik revolution, which began as urban rebellion of factory workers, led by “rootless cosmopolitans” and professional revolutionaries; however, it gained traction and succeeded in the coutryside because of the Bolshevik slogan “Land and Peace”. Peasants wanted to own their land free of debt. This is the one and only issue that will drive the Russian peasant to violence. I don’t think you had anything like this in Hungary, because, historically, your peasants owned their own land.

          • Misha says:

            Some Cossacks turned Pugachev in, with a good number who didn’t support him from the get go.

            On the matter of popularity, I’m suddenly reminded that Vyhovski, Mazepa, Petliura and Bandera had limited appeal on the territory of modern day Ukraine – something that to a varying degree is noticeable to this very day.

          • PvMikhail says:

            Not exactly. We had a handful of big land owners and a lot of kulaks, if you understand me. And then, there was the 50% of population possessing no land at all. Typical Eastern European evolution with the land ownership. When in Western Europe they started to do things according to principles of business, I mean land renting, we used serfs. We also had big peasant rebellions through the years, however not so much, because Hungary had a bigger driving force: to become independent from Austria. That caused more rebellion. Between the 2 World Wars it was a central issue for the country to solve the land problem. However the autocratic religious-conservative rightwing semi-dictatorship, called the Horthy-era, preferred to put this question into ice and conserve the situation in society. In 1945 the new government distributed lands to the people, however from 1949 communist started collectivization, so it was pointless. Then in 1990 new government started to distribute (to anybody who could prove, that communists took it from them) mini farmlands with absolutely no economic value on their own. This destroyed the agriculture. Big investors bought up the little farmlands from people who could not do anything with it. The output almost halved even compared to inefficient communist collective farms. Prices went rampage in a historically agricultural society… What a joke.

          • cartman says:

            Those events should be looked at this way:

            Northern Wars –> Stenka Razin
            Russo-Turkic Wars –> Pugachev
            World War I –> 1917

            The policy of heavy taxes and conscription to fight bloody foreign wars were behind each of these events. The Patriotic and Great Patriotic Wars (and to an extent the Chechen Wars) shored up support for the leaders when those were all domestic and defensive.

            • yalensis says:

              @pvMikhail: Thanks for historical elucidation of Hungarian agriculture. Cynic in me says no matter what the system (feudalism, capitalism or communism) small farmers always seem to get screwed!
              @cartman: I see your point and it is a good point. Entanglement in foreign wars can lead to internal rebellions. Add to your list: Russo-Japanese War of 1904, leading to 1905 factory workers revolt in Petrograd.

              • cartman says:

                If Russia could phase out the practice of conscription it would have a great impact on the stability of the country (unless there was an invasion by a foreign aggressor). Russia has other levers of power, owning most of Cyprus and Montenegro (potential members of the Eurasian union and keys to bypassing the Bosporus). In the future Greece, Serbia, and Bulgaria could help piece together the rest of the puzzle.

                • Dear Cartman,

                  It is not widely know that the USSR had a very reduced conscription system between 1924 and 1936. At that time the Red Army was organised on a mixed system whereby alongsidea number of up to strength formations there were cadre formations organised on a territorial principle in which young men served for only 3 months in their first year of service and then for only one month in every succeeding year over a period of 5 years. The total strength of the Red Army during this period was about 500,000 men, well below Russian army strength in the late tsarist period. Full conscription was then reintroduced in 1936 and extended in 1939 as a response to the Nazi German threat. All the indications are that Stalin intended to reduce the strength of the Red Army back to pre 1936 levels after the Second World War but that this was put aside as a result of the Cold War.

                  I suspect that the ultimate plan is to create a fully professional all volunteer army supplemented by reserves made up of boys receiving basic military training during their school education through the DOSAAF system, which Medvedev has said will be revived. Whether this is realistic is of course another matter.

                • marknesop says:

                  The Russian government, with (mostly) the support of the leaders of the Armed Forces, is committed to an all-volunteer force and has been for most of the past decade. Here, in my opinion, is a very solid argument in favour of all-volunteer forces. The two main arguments against it and in support of conscription are sensibly discussed; to wit, (1) it will cost too much, and (2) it will attract only the dull and poverty-stricken. The example used is that of the United States, which had conscription until 1973. It did indeed cost a fair amount of money in initial outlay, but as the author points out, all that money stayed in the United States. It certainly did not attract only the poor and desperate, as it will not in Russia if the pay is decent and recruiting is properly managed.

                  Children of the privileged and connected in the USA were always able to avoid military service if they chose: Dick Cheney was notorious for obtaining 5 consecutive deferments. The poor and the racial minority served disproportionately in Vietnam, under conscription. The United States Armed Forces today form the world’s most powerful military, amply supplied with state-of-the-art equipment and excellent training. The military budget is presently unsustainable, true, but the U.S. military does not need to be anything like as big as it is provided its priority is national defense rather than conquest and achievement of foreign policy goals. There is absolutely no reason Russia cannot build an enviable all-volunteer professional force that is proportional to the population and shaped to achieve national-security goals. It is also the most desirable alternative. It won’t be easy, because there is a lot of competition for budget rubles and there are those who suggest the numbers cannot be maintained without conscription. But it is achievable, and I believe the government intends to follow through.

            • PvMikhail says:

              Good point with the wars. I always wondered why Russian Empire had to enter wars in foreign lands… It was just stupid. Russia had one goal through the centuries: ensure it’s own security by natural borders and buffer zones. Russian Empire had it all: Kavkaz as natural border and Transkavkaz as buffer zone against Middle East, Turkestan as a buffer zone against South Asia, with the high mountains like Pamir or Tien San as natural borders, on the Far East there was Mongolia and Manchuria as buffer zone, in Northern Europe there was the Finnish buffer zone and in central Europe, there was Poland as buffer zone. Doing anything after this is just stupid and pointless. Like, for example, start a naval war with a predominantly land oriented Empire against a local player over a worthless land with too many inhabitants to subjugate, like Korea… What a joke…

              • Misha says:

                Well…

                Japan was the one launching the surprise attack at Port Arthur.

                I’ve it from good sources that at the time of Peral Harbor in 1941, some in the USSR and elsewhere recalled the American government’s reply to the attack on Port Arthur.

                The trained court appointed Russia unfriendly will likely say that Russia was acting pushy in Asia at the time. WTF!? What other powers were in Asia at the time and not as close to that area as Russia?

                And as some might know, there’s the argument that the US provoked Japan. Recall what Tom said to Sonny in a flashback at the very end of Godfather II.

                • Misha says:

                  That’s Pearl Harbor.

                  In the middle of putting the finishing touches on something that should be out soon.

                • Misha says:

                  On the matter of empires and foreign wars, consider the Bulgarian atrocities of the late 1870s. Some in the West were aghast at the savagery of this brutality (not to be confused with the 1990s Bosnian Civil War, which pitted something more complex in terms of the idea of innocent versus guilty) and for good moral reasoning. Russia was the closest/strongest empire able to do something about it. A good number in Russia willingly volunteered to go fight there, before Russian did an early day version of “humanitarian intervention.”

                  Thereafter, some western geo-strategists became concerned about the emergence of independently pro-Russian elements in the Balkans. The Congress of Berlin was implemented to limit that desire.

                • PvMikhail says:

                  Whatever happened, Russia should have just divide Asia with emerging japanese giving them all the territories, where asiatic people were predominant, like China or Korea. What could have Russia done with those territories? Russia had its population centre 8000km from there. It had a pathetic number of population compared to chinese lands. It had close to zero ethnic Russian population in Siberia. Believe me it was pointless.

                • Misha says:

                  You know the saying about hind sight.

                  How bright was Nazi Germany for pursuing the kind of two front war it chose? The US getting militarily active in Southeast Asia in the 1960s is another. With the history of Afghanistan in mind, the recent foreign military action there comes to mind as well.

                  The Serbs were put into a hypocritically bullied position in 1999, with the choice of getting bombed or simply letting a nationalist/terrorist org. have its way on Serb territory.

                  At the time, the Russians and the rest of the world at large were stunned at what happened after the Japanese attack on Port Arthur.

              • The interesting thing about Russia’s “humanitarian intervention” on behalf of Bulgaria in 1876 is of course that it was strenuously opposed by the British who are the most outspoken supporters of “humanitarian interventionism” today.

                It is important to say that Russia was very far from being united in supporting the Bulgarians in 1876. There were many people (like Tolstoy) who strongly opposed the intervention. Alexander III after he succeeded his brother hinted that he thought the intervention might have been a mistake. It is also important to say that Russia did not intervene on purely “humanitarian” grounds but in defence of its interests in the Balkans, which were of longstanding and which were threatened by the exceptionally violent suppression of the Serbian and Bulgarian revolts by the Ottomans.

                • Misha says:

                  As noted previously, some in the West sought a stop to the aforementioned atrocities before Russia formally intervened. On top of that, there were volunteers in Russia who went there to fight on their own, plus sentiment in Russia to do more.

                  As far as “humanitarian interventions” go, this one appears every bit as legit. In Sofia, there’s a high profile statue honoring the Russian czar of that period.

                • Misha says:

                  Said statue in question:

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_the_Tsar_Liberator

                  Regarding some other recent points at this thread, Russia had a proud pre-1917 past, which a good number are unaware of.

                  This is a main reason why I appreciate Vladimir Belaeff’s input at the Russia Profile panel discussions. Too many seem unaware of this aspect of Russia’s past – Russians included.

                • Misha says:

                  http://www.eurasiareview.com/02042012-coverage-of-russia-uncensored-analysis/

                  Excerpt with hyperlinks –

                  Using history as a basis to question how Russians see the past, another oD posted article gives a suggestively negative appraisal of Alexander Nevsky’s truce-like understanding with the Mongol occupier of Rus – the roughly 9th to mid-13th century entity which modern day Russia, Ukraine and Belarus are descended from. In this particular oD piece, Nevsky’s name is hyperlinked to a source that can be reasonably viewed as historically challenged and crankish. The source in question uncritically presents a skewed commentary on Nevsky from the anti-Russian, Ukrainian nationalist leaning Day Weekly Digest.
                  Nevsky’s supporters see a man who pragmatically paved the way for a stronger opposition to Mongol rule, which eventually led to the Rus territories becoming free of that occupier. The area of Rus under Nevsky’s domain (in contemporary Russia) became the strongest of post-Mongol era Rus land.

                  Mykola Riabchuk’s most recent oD article rehashes much of the inaccurately negative views against Russia and Russians. The following is an excerpt from that piece:

                  “The Russians were disadvantaged by their oppressive empire, whether ruled over by tsars or commissars. Their development was undoubtedly held back, but they enjoyed many privileges that other nationalities did not. As a group, they were spared from many dreadful policies, such as the extermination of the native populations (Siberia and the Far North), mass enslavement (Central Asians), genocide (Ukrainian peasants and Kazakh nomads), summary deportation (Chechens, Balkars, and Crimean Tatars), persecution (Poles and Germans), segregation (Jews), and more.

                  The professed self-victimization of Russians tends to obscure all these ‘peripheral’ developments, by promoting instead the myth of the ‘mission civilisatrice.’ It also opens up the dangerous possibility that they will abdicate the responsibility for the colonialism and imperialism that Russians as the main imperial stakeholders do bear, and, even more dangerously, shift that responsibility on to ‘others’ -Georgians, Poles, Ukrainians and, of course the Jews who arguably ruled the Russian Empire.”

                  Some might take special notice of the claim made about the Jews. Perhaps Riabchuk is being awkwardly sarcastic, in a way that is different from what he might have actually intended to say. If a Russian like Alexander Dugin expressed that view, it would come as no surprise to see the likes of oD and Umland highlight that thought as an example of Russian extremism. The Jews in the Russian Empire experienced instances of discrimination, violence and the potential for upward social mobility. It is a sheer crock to believe that “the Jews arguably ruled the Russian Empire.”

                  Nationalist anti-Russian leaning sources appear to have difficulty acknowledging that Russia’s success includes the Russian acceptance of many non-ethnic Russians, who over the course of time have willingly blended in with Russian identity. This point does not deny ethnic problems in Russia, which are periodically distorted along the lines of Riabchuk’s oD commentary.

                  The adage of two wrongs not making a right can further emphasize that hypocritically applied highlighting is not proportionate with reality. During the Russian Empire’s existence, other countries/empires saw harsh manner accorded to some like the African-Americans and Indians in the United States, as well as a few of the non-Turkic peoples in the Ottoman Empire. Imperial thinking is by no means exclusive to Russia. The term “white man’s burden” was not coined with Russia in mind. Besides Russia, there are numerous countries that simultaneously have chauvinistic and reasonably patriotic advocates.

                  Over the course of time, the term ”Russification” has been used in a comparatively hyped way. When compared to Gaelic use in Ireland and Scotland, consider the greater popularity of the Ukrainian and numerous other non-Russian languages in the former Soviet Union. Yet, “Angloization” is not as popularly used.

                  Every post-Soviet government recognizes the independence of ALL of the former Soviet republics. That position has not created an overbearingly influential nationalist uproar in Russia.

                  Riabchuk’s article has this questionable claim on Russia’s coat of arms: “In 1625 the double-headed eagle appeared with three crowns, interpreted as a symbol of unity between Great Russia, Little Russia (Ukraine) and White Russia (Belarus).” Upon some inquiring, multiple sources (including Andrey Fomin of Oriental Review) confirm that the three crowns on Russia’s two headed eagle symbolize the Russian acquisition of Kazan, Astrakhan and Siberia.

                  My follow-up on this topic drew a reply from an observer of Russian affairs, who said that the acquired territories in question had served as outposts for periodic raids against Russia. This source added that much of this land was previously either a part of Rus and/or had a prior presence related to the predominate Slav group (the ancestors of Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians) that comprised pre-Mongol subjugated Rus.

                • PvMikhail says:

                  The support of Ottomans was also a joke, hippocrisy of the West. Krymean War was like a second IV. crusade. Britain was the mastermind behind this and even today I have hostile feelings towards it, because in geopolitical therms it is an “anticontinental force”. If you don’t already know what I mean, just ask me if you want to know.

    • Since writing the above a little more information has come my way:

      1. One person seems to have died during the protests but thankfully not because he was involved or got caught up in the street clashes but because he was a reporter who fell off a building whilst he was trying to monitor them. In other words this was a simple accident.

      2. According to the police account the clashes happened near the Udarnik Cinema when Udatsov tried to lead a sit in there. Supposedly he and his group refused to move on to Bolotnaya Square allegedly because they were unhappy with the “narrow entrance”. The police tried to move the group on, the crowd turned angry, bottles etc were thrown and a fight ensued. It seems that at some point Udaltsov and his group may have tried to break trhrough the police lines to get to the Kremlin.

      3. It seems that during the fight some policemen were injured and two NTV reporters were beaten up by the protesters. Itar Tass and Novosti are reporting that police helmets are visible floating on the Moskva. This of course all suggests violent behaviour on the part of the protesters. There are also reports of rocks and petrol bombs being thrown. If this is true then it can only mean that the violence was planned since petrol bombs have to be prepared in advance. The police for their part seem to have used tear gas but I have not seen any reports of water cannon being used.

      4. There are also reports that some attempts were again made to plant tents either near the Udarnik cinema or at Bolotnaya Square or both. The inspiration surely is not the Occupy protests in the US but the Orange occupation of Maidan Square in Kiev in 2004. Again it has been obvious since the protest on 5th March 2012 that this is what Udaltsov, Ponomariev and Navalny have been planning.

      5. Lastly I have heard reports that the Investigative Commission or whatever the new FBI like body Medvedev has set up calls itself is looking into whether there were calls for riots during the meeting at Bolotnaya Square. If so then this would be a serious criminal offence in any country.

      As discussed, all of this is what I have been able to glean from information I can access from London. Anyone else who has more accurate or up to date information I will be pleased to hear from.

      • Dear Kirill,

        Some of them are doubtless greedy sods but to me they seem more like extremely arrogant and conceited sods. They have an absurdly inflated idea of themselves, which makes them furious that others they wrongly consider inferior to themselves are in power instead of them. It is this quite unreasonable even irrational anger that is their most striking quality.

        I would remind people on this blog that I have always predicted that sooner or later Navalny and Udaltsov would turn to violence. They are in fact very violent people. It is their anger that makes them so.

        • There has been a brief account of the protests by the BBC. It gives estimates for the number of protesters as between 8,000 (the police figure) and 20,000 (which it says is the organisers’ figure) (NB: Novosti and Itar Tass report Udaltsov and Ponomariev as claiming that 100,000 turned up). It also says that the clashes happened when a breakaway group of protesters (presumably the group Novosti says was led by Udaltsov though the BBC report doesn’t name him as being there) tried to cross a bridge leading from Bolotnaya Square to the Kremlin. If this is the bridge near the House on the Embankment then I know it well. The protesters who tried to cross the bridge were stopped by the police, which led first to a sit in and then to clashes. The BBC says that the protest had been peaceful until this group broke away and tried to storm the bridge. In saying this the implicitly BBC blames this group of protesters for the violence.

          The BBC also confirms that the police then arrested Udaltsov when he was trying to address the crowd from the platform on Bolotnaya Square. If he was responsible for the violence and was inciting the crowd to more violence then they were right to do so.

          • I gather that Vladimir Lukin, the country’s Human Rights Ombudsman, has said that the violence at the protest today was a pre planned provocation prepared by the protesters themselves.

            Lukin is one of the more liberal members of the political establishment but since he holds an official post he is hardly a member of the opposition. Perhaps more significant therefore is the fact that Voice of Russia is reporting Mitrokhin as saying the same thing and as condemning Udaltsov, Nemtsov and Navalny for what happened today. If what Mitrokhin is saying reflects the Yabloko position then the opposition has finally split and Udaltsov, Navalny, Nemtsov, Ponomariev and the rest of the merry band are on their own. I wonder by the way for how much longer Mironov will tolerate Ponomariev’s continued membership of Just Russia.

            • In what I expect will be the last in this flurry of comments from me about the events in Moscow today, I give the tally of “victims” as reported by Itar Tass. These are

              2 NTV reporters beaten up by the protesters

              7 protesters including some women injured mainly with bruises but one apparently with a burn mark, There is no word of any protester needing hospital treatment.

              20 police injured including 3 hospitalised

              (the greater number of police injured also suggests that the violence was the fault of the protesters but does not prove it)

              250 persons arrested including Navalny, Udaltsov and Nemtsov. Mitrokhin says that 90 members of Yabloko were amongst those arrested though he says they had nothing to do with the violence. There is no word of Ponomariev being arrested. Though he is always involved he seems to have the knack of staying out of trouble probably because his modus operandi is to direct operations from the rear leaving others to take the rap. There is no word also about Chirikova. I get the impression that she disapproves of violence so she may not have been there.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Moscow Exile and his family are now domiciled at their country residence, as, indeed, are very many Muscovites at present, for Wednesday is a public holiday here, Victory Day, and today, tomorrow and Tuesday have all been granted as days off. Yesterday, Saturday 6th May was a working day in lieu of tomorrow, and next Saturday is a working day in lieu of Tuesday, 8th May. So it’s a very long holiday weekend that we are enjoying here now. The “millions”, however, have chosen to ignore this extended weekend and have taken it upon themselves to perform criminal acts in defence of freedom and democracy.

      • Good for Moscow Exile and his family. It is excellent that they retain a sense of balance and proportion and attend to those things in life that actually matter.

        Have a wonderful and enjoyable holiday. Happy Victory Day (when we get there)!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yesterday was Saturday 5th of May, of course!

  26. On a different note, what has happened to the Udarnik cinema? A couple of years ago I stayed for a short time in a flat a friend of mine was letting in the House on the Embankment at which time the Udarnik cinema looked empty and derelict.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      NTV videos on this Yandex site showing the “millions” at Bolotnaya Square and its environs:

      http://video.yandex.ru/#search?text=%D0%BA%D0%B8%D0%BD%D0%BE%20%D1%83%D0%B4%D0%B0%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B8%D0%BA&where=all&id=13936-00-1u

      Dear Alexander,

      The “House on the Embankment” (Дом на набережной) is still there:

      http://www.manager.ru/politics/eho_istorii/dom_na_naberezhnoiy_liudi_i_teni_2008-1-5-52-50.htm

      Part of it is now a museum, as very many members of the Soviet artistic “elite” lived there in the 1930s, as did senior military officers and members of the nomenklatura, many of them only to be arrested and incarcerated and to vanish almost without trace, during the Stalin purges.

      The “Udarnik” (“Shock Worker”) cinema still stands as well, but it stopped showing films in 2010, It is now owned by a holding company “Karo”, which announced in 2011 that the auditorium was being rebuilt and modernised and that part of the rebuilt cinema might be used as a concert hall.

      See:

      http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D3%E4%E0%F0%ED%E8%EA_%28%EA%E8%ED%EE%F2%E5%E0%F2%F0%29

      As it happens, Udarnik was the last cinema I visited in Moscow. That was in 1998 and the film that my wife and I watched was “Titanic”.

      I fell asleep.
      :-)

      • Dear Moscow Exile,

        Thank you for all this information.

        As I said, I have stayed briefly in a flat in the House on the Embankment when it was being let by a friend. I remember being astonished by the modesty of the place. Doubtless when it was built it offered better apartments than the apartments of most people in Moscow but if the apartment in which I stayed was representative then the accommodation it offered was far simpler and more modest than anything even a moderately wealthy middle class person in New York, London or Paris might expect to live in. As I remember the only luxurious touches were some rather impressive art deco style brass light fittings and door knobs. Yet the House on the Embankment remained elite accommodation right up to the end of the USSR with the signs outside showing that even people as important as the former Soviet Prime Ministers Aleksei Kosygin and Nikolai Tikhonov had their apartments there. This was the town accommodation the USSR offered its leaders at a time when the country was a superpower. I cannot imagine the leadership of any other country as comparably powerful imposing on itself the sort of discipline the Soviet leaders must have done if they lived in accommodation of that sort. It makes a painful contrast to the baroque lifestyles of western leaders and Russian oligarchs today.

        As for the Udarnik Cinema, its conversion into a modern art museum seems to me a brilliant idea.

        PS: I have never seen Titanic and have no intention of ever doing so. The idea of drowning is a recurring nightmare I have had since childhood.

  27. If anybody wants proof of the takeover by Orange elements of at least part of Novosti see the following piece about the protest today

    http://en.rian.ru/society/20120506/173276235.html

    Notice the claim that “independent observers” put the number who turned up at the surely far too high figures of 50,000 to 100,000 whilst failing to mention that the “independent observers” are either Novosti reporters or Udaltsov and Ponomariev, but notice especially that one of the two “experts” consulted about the protest and the one given the greater prominence is our old friend Stanislav Belkovsky.

    Novosti is a publicly funded news agency. I really hope Putin sorts it out. This should be a priority. It is not after all as if the liberals don’t have their own media channels.

    • AK says:

      I agree. This is really killing me. The Russian media is both as unfree as Zimbabwe, AND liberals run the premier state news agency.

      The liberals have also strengthened their control over Inosmi (which is actually a RIA project) in the past few years, and the current chief editor of Inosmi is a radical liberal who regularly insults the commentators at his own site on Twitter.

    • marknesop says:

      The liberatsi remind me of children playing games in which they overcome hordes of invaders to win the princess or something. Numbers don’t matter, they just make up whatever sounds good, and some sympathetic sources will dutifully record a “massive protest” against Putin. Yawn. It’s just the children playing games again, with their overactive imaginations.

      Just thank God Stanislav Belkovsky isn’t managing your bank account. He plainly can’t count. And who’s going to believe an estimate of 50,000 to 100,000 anyway; a number, or twice as many? Come on. How could 50,000 look like 100,000? What kind of “expert” is allowed to get away with that broad an estimate? What did the robber look like, Mr. Belkovsky? Well, he was wearing a dark coat and a wooly cap, and weighed about 200 pounds. Maybe 400.

    • kievite says:

      http://xakudu.livejournal.com/83329.html

      Люблю я марш в начале мая,
      Когда блистательный ОМОН,
      Как бы резвяся и играя,
      Несёт порядок и закон.

      Гремят призывы в мегафоны,
      На штурм сгоняя хомячков,
      Их миллионы, миллионы:
      Немцов, Навальный, Удальцов

      Манифестант бежит проворный,
      Не молкнет в блогах шум и гам,
      И гул в ЖЖ, где иллюзорно —
      Все вторит весело громам…

      Бьют барабаны, сердцу любо
      Смотреть, как наперегонки
      В джинсе и норковых тулупах
      Толпой несутся хомячки.”

      • kievite says:

        And another joke. Sorry, Google translation does not resemble the original, which is really funny so I publish it in Russian (Автор: Юлия ГУСАКОВА – шеф-редактор интернет-канала РОССИЯ.РУ):

        Дорогие Соединенные Штаты! Раз попёр нам денежный фарт,
        от лица оппозиции лет ми спик фром май харт:
        мы узнали про ваши 50 миллионов долларов – и как из душа окатило.
        Заявляем тихо и застенчиво – 50 миллионов – это до обидного мало!
        Если б вы знали, как нынче дороги шапочки из фольги,
        ради идеалов свободы последний мерс продаёт активист Мальгин,
        а правозащитник Пономарёв вынужден барыжить Курилами.
        Меж тем на улицу страшно выйти – а вдруг там Багиров?!
         
        Как последний лох отдыхает в Дубае оппозиционер Немцов –
        эта несправедливость прекратится в конце-то концов?!
        В Питере запретили пропаганду гомосятины в школе –
        попрание наших прав доколе мы будем терпеть, доколе?!
        Гейши подорожали – бесплатно только дрочи да ковыряйся в носу,
        Ксюшу-уголовницу того и гляди, на расстрел за волосы выволокут босУ.
        Даже патроны купить не на что – кидаем в Ткачёва шишки и прочую ерунду.
        Как нам выжить без ваших долларов в этом тоталитарном аду?
         
        На жалкие грОши сложно строить демокраси и сивил сосаети,
        в марте мы лажанулись, но будьте же щедрыми и нас не бросайте!
        Чтобы избавить российский народ от чекистских оков
        только деньги нужны, только деньги, только деньги – и печенья для хомячков.

        Мы ведь элита России, у нас тысячи креативных идей!
        Написал в Рунете гадость про Путина – и коррупции меньше, и плитка лежит ровней!

        После нелегитимных выборов вроде затишье, но перед инаугурацией
        мы на улицы выведем миллиард – уже ведём переговоры с китайцами.
        Лёша Навальный создаст +100500 сайтов РОС-чёто-там,
        проведем КСП-фестиваль, раздадим палатки и изгибы желтых гитар,
        Pussy Riot со сцены споют про владимирский сука централ.
         
        Мы будем петь и плясать против Путина,
        будем купаться в фонтанах голые против Путина,
        будем в Жан-Жаке капкейки жрать против Путина,
        а Удальцову придётся поголодать.
        В мае – на шашлыки против Путина,
        летом курорты – все как один против Путина,
        будем ссать против ветра и против Путина,
        и в знак протеста в штаны себе будем срать.
         
        Люди добрые, подааайте на развитие демократии!
        Подааайте на формирование гражданского общества!
        Извините, что мы к вам обращаемся.
        Сами мы не местные, у Адагамова вообще норвежский паспорт.
        Спасибо вам, люди добрые! Гад блесс Америка!
        Счастья вам, добра и удачи!

        ПОЯСНЕНИЯ:

        Лет ми спик фром май харт – английская речь российского министра спорта Виталия Мутко перед исполкомом ФИФА стала Интернет-мемом.
        50 миллионов долларов – США спонсирует российскую оппозицию.
        Шапочка из фольги – Интернет-прикол.
        «Правозащитник Пономарёв вынужден барыжить Курилами» – Лидер движения «За права человека» и один из руководителей движения «Солидарность» Лев Пономарёв пообещал японцам поддержать передачу Курил в обмен на финансирование.
        «Отдыхает в Дубае оппозиционер Немцов» – в разгар митинговой активности в России политик Борис Немцов отдыхал со своей девушкой в Дубаи.
        Александр Ткачёв – глава администрации Краснодарского Края. Во время последнего визита к стоящейся якобы даче Ткачёва экологические активисты кидались в Ткачёва шишками (со слов самих активистов).
        Рустем Адагамов – известный жж-блоггер drugoi. Имеет двойное гражданство – Норвегия, Россия.
        Democracy, civil society – демократия, гражданское общество.
        God bless America – песня, символ американского патриотизма

        • yalensis says:

          Footnotes to poem:

          Лет ми спик фром май харт – английская речь российского министра спорта Виталия Мутко перед исполкомом ФИФА стала Интернет-мемом.
          50 миллионов долларов – США спонсирует российскую оппозицию.
          Шапочка из фольги – Интернет-прикол.
          «Правозащитник Пономарёв вынужден барыжить Курилами» – Лидер движения «За права человека» и один из руководителей движения «Солидарность» Лев Пономарёв пообещал японцам поддержать передачу Курил в обмен на финансирование.
          «Отдыхает в Дубае оппозиционер Немцов» – в разгар митинговой активности в России политик Борис Немцов отдыхал со своей девушкой в Дубаи.
          Александр Ткачёв – глава администрации Краснодарского Края. Во время последнего визита к стоящейся якобы даче Ткачёва экологические активисты кидались в Ткачёва шишками (со слов самих активистов).
          Рустем Адагамов – известный жж-блоггер drugoi. Имеет двойное гражданство – Норвегия, Россия.
          Democracy, civil society – демократия, гражданское общество.
          God bless America – песня, символ американского патриотизма

          Thanks again, @kievite, this is great stuff. I love a poem that is so complicated it requires footnotes. (Allude to T.E. Eliot, “The Wasteland”).
          I cannot translate the poem itself, it is untranslatable. However, for the sake of non-Russian readers, let me at least attempt to translate the footnotes, they explain some of the jokes:
          “Let me speak from my heart” – spelled out in Cyrillic letters, to be spoken in English with thick Russian accent. Words uttered in English by Russian Minister of Sports, Vitaly Mutko. Speech became internet-sensation.
          $50 million dollars – amount USA allocated to sponsor Russian Opposition.
          “tinfoil hat” – internet meme.
          “Kurils” – Ponomarev promised Japanese to give back Kurils in exchange for their financing of Opposition.
          Nemtsov vacationing in Dubai (with his girlfriend) at height of Opp rallies.
          Alexander Tkachov: administrative head of Krasnodar. Ecological activists tossed pinecones at his dacha.
          Rustem Adagamov – LiveJournal blogger called “drugoi”, has dual Russian-Norwegian citizenship.
          “Democracy, civil society”, English words now part of Russian vocabulary (and spelled out in Cyrillic letters)
          “God bless America” – song, symbol of American patriotism

      • yalensis says:

        Thanks for posting poem, @kievite. I got good laugh, Russia producing new Lermontovs with every passing day!

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    Here’s a video showing the “millions” at Bolotnaya yesterday:

    In the comments below the video, some smart arse says “MY GOD!!! This is awful! Did you see how vicious those balloon wielding flag waving protestors were? ”

    That commentator has clearly failed to notice the hurling of projectiles by some amongst the “balloon wielding flag waving protestors” at the police, especially at about 1 minute 38 seconds in the video, when a petrol bomb is pitched from the crowd into the police ranks. The police then charge into that section of the crowd whence the firebomb came.

    How brutal of them!

    (I just have to use that word “brutal”! It’s a favourite of the former “Guardian” Russia “correspondent” Harding whenever he describes any Russian action.)

    I have noticed how a large majority of the crowd seems to consist of males in their late teens and early 20s. It is hardly surprising to note as well that none of them appears to be wearing the Ribbon of St. George, which many Russians citizens adorn themselves with at this time of year. (See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ribbon_of_Saint_George)

    These people are, in my opinion, representative of those whom both Kirill and Alexander above have quite rightly described as arrogant and greedy and conceited sods.

    I wish they would all bugger off to the land of their dreams, where they can devour Big Macs and guzzle Coca-Cola to their heart’s delight whilst they bask in the eternal and heady glow of freedom and democracy.

    Looking at this video, I can fully agree with the opinion of the Russian Human Rights Ombudsman, Vladimir Lukin, who has said, as Alexander commented above, that the violence at the protest today was a pre-planned provocation prepared by the protesters themselves.

    I mean, those protestors who, having apparently become so inflamed at the provocation of the police, then felt the urgent need to retaliate in some way or other, did not simply find those projectiles, pyrotechnics and petrol bombs handily lying around about the canal emankment and the square, did they?

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    On a lighter note, the other day I received this video (linked below) from an old friend and fellow exile who is now whiling away his dotage in southern Spain.

    The video was shot on Sparrow Hills, Moscow, on the 26th of February of this year. Accompanying the video is a comment taken from many that appear below it, which reads:

    THIS IS ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL

    What a crazy, ever changing world…

    Who could have thought that in 2012 young people in Moscow would put on a “flash mob” happening, dancing to an 83 year old American song written by a Russian born American/Jew (Irving Berlin) whose last name is the capital of Germany…

    Yes, who could have thought it? Especially those who have deeply ingrained stereotypical ideas about the “Evil Empire”.

    Some of the comments below the video are interesting. Many of them are clearly from US citizens voicing their usual surprise at how “normal” Russians seem (singing and dancing, would you believe) and, of course, how “beautiful” Russian girls are. (Surely the citizens of an Evil Empire should all be ugly!)

    But then there appear sour comments stating that the video does not show a real “flash” event, that the whole thing was well rehearsed and choreographed, that the dancers are professionals etc. (Interesting: the liberasts in Russia often call their well organized and funded demonstrations “flash” events.) Some mock the mistake in one of the Russian girl’s English, where she sings “super pooper” instead of using Berlin’s words “super trooper”. (I wonder how good the Russian is of those commentators that pointed out this horrendous error?) And slowly but surely the liberasts crawl out of the woodwork, warning all those gullible American fools who may have logged into the site that the whole show was a pro-Putin propoganda exercise: “This is not flash mob, it is politic ad for Mr. Putin. Only idiot will vote for him. Don’t click “Like” on this video, please”.

    So don’t forget, this advice, this cry from a tortured Russian soul: even if you like the singing the dancing, a click for “like” means a click for “Putin”.

    You have been warned!

    • PvMikhail says:

      This is not quite the image I have about Russia. I prefer the image, that they are proud but withdrawn spiritual people living amongst incredible conditions feared for their strength and stamina.

      Idealism is destroying me, isn’t it?
      I know that Moskva is quite the opposite nowadays… That’s why I prefer this dancing video over caucasians and skinheads fighting on the streets, both terrorizing normal people… These are all the signs of westernization: the rappin-dancin-chechens in their tuned sportcars look like blacks in Bronx and the skinheads are not domestic invention either…

      • yalensis says:

        Thanks for the “basso profundo” clip. So eerily beautiful. Range of human voice is amazing, a good Russian basso always sends chills down my spine.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I can’t stand русский рэп (russkiy rep – Russian rap). In fact, I think all rap is an abomination, but as the Russians say: На вкус и свет товарища нет! (Na vkus i svet, tovarishcha net – In taste and colour there is no comrade.)

        This deculturization of Russian society by the importation of Western “popular” culture, this importation of vulgarity and tastelessness and the marketing thereof as though it were the greatest thing since sliced bread; this slavish adaptation to certain Western mores by the gullible, who believe that their acceptance of and participation in vulgar and often obscene behaviour is an expression of their new found “freedom”, often makes me despair.

        Not so long ago my children and I were in our local “Sportmaster” branch. I needed to buy some new skis for my 12-year-old son, who is shooting up now – he’ll be well over 2 metres tall in his adulthood. In Sportmaster there was, as is usually the case now in Russian “Western-style” retail outlets, a constant backdrop of “muzak”.

        In my experience, the preferred “muzak” in such shops often seems to be black American “soul”, a genre whose ceaseless wailing often drives me to distraction. However, on the day in question, the preferred choice in that Sportmaster shop was some black US “gangsta” rapper monotonously intoning the words “Come on baby, suck my cock”.

        I approached a shop assistant and said to him in Russian, “Do you understand what he’s saying?”

        “Yes”, came his grinning reply, “It’s cool, isn’t it?”

        The assistant, who was in his early 20s, used the US English slang “cool” in his reply. Clearly it would have been uncool of him to use the Russian cognate круто (kruto).

        “It certainly is not cool”, I retorted. “My two eldest here can speak English fluently, and if you don’t get it turned off at once, I will make a complaint to your head office about this.”

        The “music” was turned off and since then I have never heard it or similar obscenities played in my frequent visits to that Sportmaster branch.

        There is hope though. My children often go on school trips to the ballet or opera and the many galleries in Moscow, and on Saturday I attended a stirring Victory Day concert at my children’s school and in which my son and two daughters sang Russian folk and patriotic songs.

        Funny thing is, though, they – my children, that is – always howl me down whenever I begin to sing Очи черные (ochi chyorniye – black eyes), which is strange because, although I say it myself, I think I sing it quite well, although not quite as well as this man did:


        :-)

        • PvMikhail says:

          I am the children of an already westernised generation. I am 23. I listen to Western, Hungarian and Russian music as well, however Russian music is not known here at all. I don’t know any of these classic songs, like the one you linked, despite there are a lot of such songs in Hungarian too. My mother is 55, she knows almost all of them. Mainstream Hungarian music is dying or already dead. Best performers are bands which founded in the end of 1980s. Of course there is a vibrant contemporary underground scene. But mainstream is dead, because all it has (except those old bands, which are mainstream only because everybody knows them) are the finalists of these talent shows: Megastar, Hungarian Idol and such low level foreign cr@p.
          I can definitely agree, I hate rap. Some weeks ago I was a the concert of my childhood bands, once performed in a very original “funny-obscene rap” genre we liked as 12-16 y-o. I expected it to remind me those years. But nothing such happened, maybe because they played new tracks. I just left early, because it was gavno.

          • Dear PvMikhail,

            Do Hungarians still listen to Bartok? In my opinion Bartok (with Schonberg, Scriabin and Debussy) was the twentieth century’s greatest composer. His string quartets are amongst the greatest ever written. In my opinion only Beethoven’s equal them.

            • PvMikhail says:

              Classical scene is present here, just like in Wienna or Prague, so the monarchy and it’s musical legacy is not dead yet. For example I regularly go to Hungarian State Opera and watch some plays. They are mostly good. However in the National Theater there are directors with a modernist and pretty idiotic stance and they like to destroy well directed classic plays with nudity and obscenity. For example actors and actresses have to take off their clothes or wear giant fake dicks and boobs. I really don’t like it. I think it has its place somewhere in the San Francisco gay scene, not in our theaters, which have strict traditions. This is the situation since a younger liberal-minded openly gay director took over the leadership of our First Theater… It can be really shameful, when you see a billboard about a new play and next to the text there is a giant dick. This happened, they have even put billboards like that in Croatia.

        • Dear Moscow Exile,

          Thank you for this beautiful film. The singer is the great Chaliapin, possibly the greatest bass there has ever been. From the sound it appears to be a very early recording possibly even pre World War I when he would have been at his height.

          I am by the way incredulous that ochi chyorniye is still sung or known in Russia. I know of the song from my father who picked it up in White Russian nightclubs in Paris in the 1950s. I’d assumed it was long since forgotten.

          • Dear PvMikhail,

            Thanks for this.

            The Hungarian State Opera is a great company. A while ago Hungaroton the Hungarian state recording company recorded some very fine Italian operas by people like Respighi and Boito that are impossible to find elsewhere with the Hungarian State Opera. The standard of the performances and of the recordings is outstanding.

            As for the curse of modernism, unfortunately it is affecting the Bolshoi Opera as well. There have recently been some very odd and controversial and from what I have heard frankly hideous stagings of Eugene Onegin and Ruslan and Ludmila. This is most peculiar since the trend at the Bolshoi for its ballet stagings is in the opposite direction, with revivals of ballets like La Fille du Pharaon, La Bayadere and Le Corsaire using whenever possible the original nineteenth century costumes and sets.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Dear Alexander,

            Ochi Chyorniye has never lost its popularity here. By the way, that Chaliaplin recording in the above video clip I bought recently here as a digitally remastered version. It was recorded in 1903, if I remember rightly, and the chorus is a Gypsy one. They always say “Black eyes” is a Gypsy song, but although that song is always part of a Gypsy repertoire, the song, in fact, was written by a Ukrainian in 1843 and the music composed by a German. We have a large number of digitally remastered works as well as as old Melodia (the soviet music publisher) vinyl disks – some of them shellac even – at my dacha.

            Other party and dacha favourites here are “Step’, da step’ krygom” (The Steppe is All Around) , which again, though I say it myself, is one of my best party pieces, though my children would disagree about that, and “Moscow Nights”. And the Great Patriotic War 1941-1945 hit “Katyusha” is often sung with gusto in my home, as is “Kalinka”:

            • Misha says:

              Among my favorites/favorite versions:

              Cossacks Never Say Die! – sung in Ukrainian with photos of Russian based Cossacks

              Kuban Cossack Choir – two songs in this one

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I’ve just found my remastered version of Chaliapin’s (or more accurately: Shalyapin’s) Ochi chyorniye that I mentioned above. It was buried in the loft at our dacha.

              We’ve had a pretty miserable time here so far during this long Victory Day extended holiday period, for although it is very warm, we’ve had nothing but one heavy thunderstorm after the other. So there has been no shashlyk in the garden and no singing during these past three days and all our records still remain where we stored them at the end of the last dacha season. We go back to Moscow tomorow evening, but shall return in a few weeks after the schools have broken up and shall then remain there until September.

              Anway, I digress: I was mistaken about the date that I thought Shalyapin had recorded that version of Ochi chyorniye that I have and that I posted here: it was not recorded in 1903 but on the 27th of September,1927.

    • yalensis says:

      Excellent show number! Bravo! But seriously, where did they guys rehearse? The complexity of the choreography is at a professional level, they must have been rehearsing this for weeks. So I am skeptical that this is just spontaneous “flash mob”. I am not disapproving at all, though. I think life should be like this, everybody should be in show business and people breaking out into production numbers just like in Hollywood musicals!

    • marknesop says:

      This is the clip I tried to link once before a couple of weeks ago, but it was from my wife’s “Classmates” profile (someone had sent it for general viewing), and all I was able to link was the entire page so I deleted it. I thought it was great stuff as well, although I had no idea the song was that old – I thought it was written by Taco, if you can believe it, I guess I need to get out more.

      I never thought this was a “flash mob” (it certainly is grinding the way the media chirps these buzzwords as if it had invented them, another that drives me crazy is “boots on the ground”, and the way every 22-year-old reporter intones it now in every conflict as if he or she were a seasoned infantryman fresh from the battle), it is obviously at least a semi-professional arrangement reminiscent of 80’s rock videos. That doesn’t detract from its appeal at all, I really liked it. The note that accompanied the video on my wife’s page also said the event was a celebration of Putin, although I didn’t see anything political in it.

      Referring to your other posting, I did a piece back in 2010 which discussed the USA’s boycott of UNESCO for nearly 20 years, followed by a thaw during the Bush administration. Two years later the USA was again locked in a bitter dispute with UNESCO and threatened to pull out altogether, over an initiative to protect native cultural diversity in an atmosphere of increasing globalization.

      The USA stood alone in opposing it, because it would have – in their view – limited the spread of American pop culture through movies, videos and television programs. American policymakers know well that popular entertainment is pretty much the best vehicle there is for promoting western values and freedoms, regardless its accuracy compared with the way things really are. When I visited Russia last – which must have been 2005, so that’s quite a long time ago really – “Santa Barabara” was extremely popular. Does anyone think the weekly posturings and angst in California soap operas represents real life in modern America?

      Music, obviously, is a big one now. I also loathe Rap, and believe a large part of its popularity with male youth is owed to its routinely sexual vulgarity and how you can get to say “fuck” over and over in public – so much fun shaking up the old people, don’t you know. But it also routinely carries an anarchic theme, about “dustin’ some cops off” and fighting with the police, pushing for utter freedom to disregard those elements of authority that stand in the way of your having a good time while cherry-picking those that allow you to get a payday without having to work for it, or the misplaced belief that everybody can make it as a musical star (although with some of the junk out there that somebody is obviously promoting, you have to wonder if there might not be an element of truth to that one). Some of this music originated in urban centres where the police are outmanned and outgunned in every aspect, enjoying an advantage only in air support by helicopters.

      But perhaps I’m taking it too seriously. When I was a teenager, the coolest emblem was the UK flag, and it was everywhere on T-shirts and the back pockets of jeans. Nobody seriously wanted the UK to invade Canada and make us all British; we just thought it made us look cool and worldly, like we had been around, you know?

      Maybe we should start our own Rap group. Nothing kills a genre faster than having it picked up by the white mainstream. Then it loses its protest value, and the culture that thinks the world owes it a living has to morph to a new message.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The British Union Flag is, for some reason, a popular emblem amongst the young here. I often see it stitched on denim jackets or as motifs on shopping bags and handbags. The Russians, of course, always call it the “English” flag. However, they are far more fond of sporting as a fashion accessory the Russian flag with its double headed Romanov eagle.

        As regards Santa Barbara, it is a long time since I have seen that soap. The Russians were also fond of Brazilian and Mexican soaps that first appeared here in the ’90s. They have their own now, which are almost as bad.

        By far the most popular US soap now is “Sex and the City”, though some, I’m sure, would not class as a soap that never ending tale of promsicuous, bourgeois, 30-something New York women who should know better . My wife loves it. Interestingly, it is not called “Sex and the City” in Russian, but “Sex in the City”. I often wonder why. Is someone trying to imply that sex in the city is better than, say, in the country? Speaking as something of an expert in this matter, I prefer to while away the summer months at our little country love nest. In my opinion the only downside in undertaking one’s amourous activities in the country is the abundance there of extremely aggressive mosquitoes that all seem to have a distinct preference for English blood.

        Why titles of films and books are changed in languages other than that in which they were first written or made intrigues me. “Тихий Дон” (tikhiy don), literally “Quiet Don”, is known as “Quietly Flows the Don” in English. I suppose that if it had been publshed as “Quiet Don”, I reckon some may have thought it to be about a quiet bloke called Donald. They say that the film version of the first Harry Potter book “The Philosopher’s Stone” was called “The Sorceror’s Stone” in the USA because its distibutors feared that the original title might deter some cinema goers from watching what they might believe to be a “highbrow” art movie. (I don’ wanna watch no goddam movie about freakin’ philosophy!)

        I am saddened to confess that my son and heir, Vladimir, is into rap. He is star man amongst his rapper pals because he can rap fluently in English. He and his rapping friends even recently entered a rap video competition set up by the Goethe Instutut, no less. According to the rules, the rap video entries could be in Russian but they had to have some German words in them. So Vova got me to teach him how to badmouth in German and he and his pals shot what I have to confess was a pretty good video full of “Arschloch” and “Scheisse”.

        The video was immediately knocked back because two of the boys in the video were waving about very realistic toy pistols. Not my Vova though. He was just rapping out dirty German like a good little Fritz.
        :-)

        • yalensis says:

          Thanks for comments, @exile, I really appreciate your humor. (I got a good laugh at that bit about “Quiet Don”, I can magine a 1000-page novel about a reserved Irish bloke named Donald, his stream of consciousness about his sexual hangups, this would probably be a major work by James Joyce!)
          On rap, I share everybody’s loathing of it. However, to my shame, I make a couple of exceptions. For some unknown reason, I do like Snoop Dog. Also I like that Cee Lo Green song “f*** you”. The lyrics are vulgar (goes without saying), but the song itself is musically adept and eminently dancable. It even got my sister dancing and snapping her fingers when we listened to it together.

          • PvMikhail says:

            wow… how old are you by the way?

          • PvMikhail says:

            I also admit something just for the sake of justice: when I played GTA San Andreas, I liked “I don’t give a f@ck” from 2pac, especially when he distributes a lot of “f@ck”-s between a range of different US agencies at the end. Eat this, CIA :)
            Also there is a spanish track from Cypress Hill in it. However I mostly listened to the “European” radio station or some country music for fun! “Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys…”

        • PvMikhail says:

          so Russians watch Sex in the city and cheap South American soaps… You destroyed my World… I thought that only Hungarians got so … during this short period of time as 20 years… I would ban these series from TV.
          Ok, we haven’t got any satisfactory series on our own, but there are good Russian series, which I occasionally like to watch even when I, with my basic Russian can’t really understand whats going on.

          I can’t stand western or latin soaps, moreover I hate them with passion. I used to watch american Criminal Investigation series – Las Vegas and Miami, NCIS and such, but then I got bored. Third Watch is the only american series, which I followed from the beginning to the end. I occasionally find “The Friends” and “Two and a half man” funny, but that’s all. One series I am addicted to: Бандитский Петербург directed by Vladimir Bortko. There is hardly anything which could be better than that. Since I have seen it on state TV here 3-4 years ago, this is my favorite series ever. So brutally realist. So here I would like to ask: Does anybody have Бандитский Петербург with some kind of English subtitles? I could not get my hands on it with Hungarian voice, and I can’t find subtitles to it anywhere.

          The best series America gave us is South Park and Family Guy. If you can see the hints, the outright criticism of society between gags and obscenities, then you will have a great entertainment experience… :)

          BTW “English flag” is also popular here along with American one. Also “Italia” is frequent, I think the football has something to do with it, same with “Espanol”, “Brazil”, however lesser extent. German, french flags are neglected. Russian is nonexistent.
          For some reason, most people like Cuba here, so that also can be found. However most of the clothes are form China, so the main trend is dictated by chinese bosses themselves based on fashion predictions. If I have to choose, I would choose British flag over American, because it is in Europe at least geographically. I don’t really like Britain as a political entity, but I very much like the culture, which gave us Monty Python, and music like Depeche Mode, The Smiths, Placebo, Muse, Motorhead etc. However on the American side, there is Pixies, Nirvana, Guns’n’Roses and Metallica etc, despite that politically USA is totally unacceptable for me. I would wear German flag for Rammstein and Russian for KINO any day.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I should stress that the imported Latin American and US soaps were only fashionable in the ’90s. They are nowhere near as popular now as they used to be, as the Russians soon developed their own soaps, which are, of course, more in tune with the Russian “soul”. There was a seeemingly endless one, a historical costume drama called “Petersburg Secrets”, that became extremely popular towards the end of the Yeltsin regime. My wife use to follow every episode without fail. It is set in turn-of-the-19th century St. Pete and is full of intrigue and complex double dealing and romance amongst the petite bougeoisie, government bureaucrats, aristocrats and their servants and lackeys. Even if it had been perfectly dubbed into English, I shouldn’t imagine that any US TV channel would have bought the series off the Russians: too much dialogue, deep conversations, psychological twists and turns, you see, and no “action”, namely no guns, guts and girls, though there is plenty of tastefully done romance.

            The Russians are far more into their home made situation comedies now. “My Lovely Nanny” was a big hit here. The heroine (Vika) is a dizzy, extremely attractive Ukrainian who nannies for some likeable “New Russian” widower (Maxim) and his large family. It’s worth watching if only because the leading lady is so pretty. She really is a Ukrainian as well.

            The Russians also watch imported US sitcoms such as “Friends”. My children enjoy the ones targetted at a teenage audience because they’re usually about forming rock bands and becoming famous, which all seems part and parcel of the “American Dream”
            nowadays.

            Here is a promotional video for “Petersburg Secrets”, which will give you an idea of the quality of the series:

            And here’s an episode from “My Lovely Nanny” in which Vika has an all night party in widower Maxim’s luxury flat while her employer and his personal private secretary, Zhanna, have gone away for a romantic weekend in Sochi. More accurately, Zhanna thinks it’s going to be a romantic weekend until she finds out from Konstantin, Maxim’s factotum, that thanks to Vika’s machinations, Maxim’s two children are also coming along. Vika is the dark haired one. The first woman that appears in this clip is Zhanna, who is greeted by Konstantin. Zhanna is constantly on the lookout for signs of a relationship developing between Vika and Maxim and is always, therefore, trying very hard to get Maxim to marry her before he falls prey to Vika’s charms:

            • PvMikhail says:

              Impressive quality. You can’t compare that anything american… No action: it is a funny story. In Hungary there are soap operas only about everyday life. Absolutely clueless, shallow plots with no meaning, the whole thing is outright stupid, like an amateur movie or something. I remember a special case, when in one of these series, where the story evolved around a hospital (similar to Greys Anatomy), a terrorist attack took place and scores of people killed. It was a joke. For one: nothing like that usually happens in Hungary, fortunately. Secondly, the way they put it inot screen was just… stupid, I can’t even describe that. They used it to change the actors and actresses who played the characters, because after that some of them “resurrected”. Action…

  30. Here is an altogether excellent article from RT’s Robert Bridge about the challenges Putin faces as President.

    http://rt.com/politics/vladimir-putin-president-russia-reset-opposition-639/

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Miriam Elder in today’s Guardian reports that officials were continuing “to downplay the protests”. She quotes a Kremlin spokesman as saying “I don’t see a link between these incidents and the situation in the country as a whole. What I saw was a bunch of marginal people”.

    Quite! Although the Western media would never concede that even at the most liberal estimate the numbers that protested yesterday and today in Moscow represent barely 4% 0f the population of the capital, not to mention the paucity of their numbers in relation to the population of Russia as a whole. But I suppose Elder is duty bound to project the image that the present Russian administration is quaking in its collective boots at the sound of its multitude of enemies baying for Putin’s blood.

    These “opposition” protestors remind me more and more of that scene in the Biblical spoof “The Life of Brian” where the “People’s Liberation Front for Judea” is represented by one sad and lonely old figure sitting alone in a Roman amphitheatre.

    Further to my comment above concerning the apparent age and gender of very many of the “millions” that turned out yesterday and today so as to have, in the defence of freedom and democracy of course, a little rumble with the Moscow plods, Elder also reports that “Several of the young men detained on Sunday and Monday took to Twitter to write that after being arrested, they had been ordered to report for military service”. (Note how these people have already been set free: I doubt if most of them were banged up for more than four hours on Sunday and yesterday.) She goes on to write “Valery Astanin, a member of the Moscow army draft board, confirmed the strategy to Interfax news agency: ‘There were more than 100 young people of draft age among those detained by law enforcement, including more than 70 who have long avoided the military draft’ “.

    Looks like there’s going to be much wailing and gnashing of teeth pretty soon in some Russian army boot camps.

    I suppose that if this happens, Amnesty international and others will begin banging their “human rights” drum, notwithstanding the fact that military service is legally compulsory in Russia for all males betweeen the ages of 18 and 27 and that draft dodging is as serious an offence in Russia as it is elsewhere, not least in the USA.

    See: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/may/07/vladimir-putin-inaugurated-russian-president

    • Misha says:

      In an emphasizing manner, the BBC’s Daniel Sandford reported that Putin’s formal entry into the role of president was kept behind closed doors, on account of Moscow’s population not being so supportive of him.

      One criticism of the Russia coverage pertains to the center of attention being Moscow, with St. Petersburg a distant second. When Western mass media gets away from these areas, they often do so in a way that looks for certain particulars to conform with a given agenda.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I’ve mentioned this in another post as regards the media attention on Lyudmila Putina and her noticeable absence from state events: she is not Russia’s “First Lady”!

        There is no such concept amongst Russians. She is simply the wife of the Russian head of state. She is not duty bound to traipse along with her husband everywhere he goes, holding his hand and gazing wondrously at him as he stands at a podium speechifying. This is what Nancy Reagan, an actress, used to do when her husband, also an actor, was head of state. Such theatrical fawning wouldn’t hold water with Russians because (“Read my lips!” as another US head of state once said) Russians are not US citizens and are of a different culture.

        As regards Putina’s absence from many public appearances that her husband makes in his role of president, it may well be true that she is a very “private person”. It is is not inconceivable that she does not like all the razzamataz associated with state occassions, which, I am sure, is very hard for most US citizens to comprehend. The former president’s wife, on the other hand, seems to have loved being in the spotlight, not only alongside her husband but also when organizing charitable events in the capacity of the president’s wife. In adopting this role of “First Lady of Russia”, Svetlana Medvedeva, already often criticized for her “snootiness”, caused plenty of comment amongst many Russians. Some columnists even accused her of being too much “peas above sticks”, that she styled herself as some sort of latter-day tsaritsa and that she acted as though she expected a bow or a courtsey off those introduced to her.

        Putina is clearly not like that. People are different. And I do suspect that a possible reason for Putina’s apparent ill at ease whenever she attends a public function is that she may be a sick woman. As I mentioned in another posting, the wife of the former German chancellor Helmut Kohle was very noticeable by her public absence during her husband’s chancellorship, a fact at first much commented upon by the German news media. The commentaries were quashed, presumably as a result of polite requests to do so from the government, as Hannelore Kohle increasingly became more reclusive. For many years she was never seen at all.

        Hannelore Kohle finally committed suicide after having lived as a recluse in her own home for many years. Her fear of daylight, a rare psychological condition that she had been increasingly suffering from over a period of very many years, was the official reason given for her suicide. There were some questions raised about this in some sections of the German press, but then there followed silence..

        Miriam Elder, as well as many other westerrn journalists, seems have focused her sights on Lyudmila Putina in order to open yet another possible line attack on that person whom she presents to western readers as the new Tsar-despot, that tyrant who was crowned in his stronghold yesterday safe from the gaze of the protesting and oppressed masses outside the Kremlin walls.

        • Misha says:

          First ladies as such at major foreign gatherings is relatively new. Back in the (very old) day, world leaders didn’t meet as often, due to travel not being as easy.

          Was Woodrow Wilson’s wife present at Versailles? If so, how high profile? Years later, note the meetings of the major world leaders at Yalta and Potsdam.

          On the other hand, the wife’s attendance at her husband’s formal introduction as head of state is something that’s understandably more expected.

          Great point about Kohl’s wife.

          I’ve referenced the 7:22 AM set of comments at this thread.

          For now, I’ll hold back on the spinning of the family lives of world leaders.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            During WWII Churchill used to have his daughter, Sarah, in tow. She was introduced to Stalin at the the Teheran conference. In 1945, Roosevelt’s daughter Anna accompanied him to the Yalta conference.

            It seems that both daughters functioned as their father’s personal assistant and confidant. Apparently, Mrs. Roosevelt was none too pleased about this, but she seldom accompanied Roosevelt anywhere in any case; likewise Churchill’s wife. Officially, Anna was taken along in order to help her partially paralyzed father, Roosevelt’s wife being considered too old for this task.

            Sarah Churchill was the British prime minister’s third child and, it seems, his favourite. She certainly took after her old dad: she was an alcoholic and was arrested on several occasssions for drunken and disorderly behaviour on London streets after getting bladdered in some swank London clubs. She even spent a short spell on remand in London’s Holloway Prison for women after one of her many arrests for drunkenness. Her brother, Randolph, was a piss artist as well. I remember well how my grandfather and father used to chunner away about the idle rich whenever Sarah and Randolph Churchill’s misdemeanours hit the headlines.

            • Misha says:

              Interesting.

              Here’s one:

              http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/world/europe/preparing-return-to-presidency-putin-keeps-his-private-life-off-limits.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

              The selectivity of seeking to monitor private lives.

              Mass media journos aren’t as likely to write a story of any of their peers ****ing a major subject of their articles.

              Decades ago, Geraldo Rivera hosted an ABC news show 20/20, which did a very partisan feature on Lebanese Phalangist leader Bashir Gemayel, who at the time was on good terms with Israel and some key American foreign policy politicos. Years later, one of the journos involved with that show acknowledged having a relationship with Gemayel, at the time of the 20/20 piece. She acknowledged this sometime after Gemayel was killed.

              • Misha says:

                Regarding the fluff piece on Gemayel:

                http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1P2-1190985.html

                Gotta figure that this isn’t the first kind of instance.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                That NYT article caused me to chuckle. One paragraph reads:

                “Lyudmila A. Putin entered a polling station on Election Day last month a half step behind her husband, Vladimir V. Putin, the once and future president. At one point, she touched his arm, but he never reached out in return”.

                So what did they want him to do? To lean over towards her and look deeply in her eyes? To respond by reaching out to hold her hand? To embrace her?

                Many Americans use the Yiddish term used to describe such displays of maudlin sentimentality, namely “schmalz”.

                Schmalz is not the done thing in the “former Soviet Union”; nor is it in the former British Empire for that matter: “stiff upper lip” and all that, old boy! In fact, I should go so far as to say that the extreme schmalziness that is often displayed in US popular culture is extremely off-putting for many non-US citizens. It is for me.

                • Misha says:

                  Can’t blame the man for wanting to keep his family life away from too much of a public display, given the smut element out there.

      • Presumably Miriam Elder thinks the Russian authorities should “play up” the protests.

        Seriously though, after what happened on Sunday it is hardly surprising that the authorities took precautions to prevent further trouble. It is important also to remember that Putin appeared with a crowd of 120,000 on May Day and that there was another supportive crowd of 50,000 that turned up on Sunday not that you would know about it from much of the western reporting and commentary.

    • marknesop says:

      Ms. Elder is a busy little bee this week. Here’s another typical Elder hack job, in which even most of the things she loves about Russia – she apparently feels obligated to say something pleasant after shitting all over it for 14 paragraphs – are mostly about how adorably backward and weird it is, so that Russians who were clever enough to live in America and become Americans are endlessly diverted by its peasant coarseness. An example is the crazy things Russians will wear in public. She starts out weeping over the trauma caused by all the paperwork she had to fill out to get her dry cleaning.

      Go home, Miriam. For Christ’s sake, go home.

      I loved the part about Lyudmila Putina making a rare public appearance, obviously drugged to the eyeballs as she “grimaced and swayed back and forth”. I saw another piece in the Grauniad which implied the sole reason there were not masses of people in the streets howling for Putin’s head was because the will of the people was thwarted by “unprecedented security”. They always have an excuse for why people won’t buy what they’re selling. And everything’s Putin’s fault. Even the wait at the dry cleaners.

      • Misha says:

        Just wait and see.
        ;)

        • Misha says:

          That Guardian article tying in the rapes committed by a Israeli political figure and British athlete had (on the day it was posted) a number one popularity rating in the Russia section of the online news gathering News Now service.

          Beware of establishment venues which sponsor panel discussions on what’s wrong with media.

      • kirill says:

        “Unprecedented security” could not over every square inch of Moscow. At best there could be a cordon around downtown preventing people reaching the demonstration venue. Maybe in Elder’s retarded imagination that would make the demonstrators go away, but in the real world we would be hearing about spontaneous demonstrations all over Moscow as frustrated “millions” fight back against the security measures. So, did anyone here anything about even a handful of demonstrators elsewhere in Moscow? I think not.

    • PvMikhail says:

      YEAH MONTY PYTHON DA BEST

      I wonder these people who always protest there, don’t have anything better to do? For example education or work. These people doesn’t work? Or all of them are in IT sector where people work at midnight or whenever they want to write algorythms.

      People protest systematically for two things only:
      1.A. they work hard, but they can’t live from their salaries
      1.B. they work hard, but they doesn’t get salary
      2.A. they can’t do anything, because state doesn’t let them relax even in their homes
      2.B. state doesn’t recognize one group of people as equals in the society

      All these are reasons for PERMANENT demonstrations, even riots. In Russia both reasons are solved. There were times, when people had these kind of problems. But now people get their salary, even can make savings from it. State lets you do what you want inside sensible boundaries and what you do at home, it is entirely your business. Everybody is equal, nationalities, religions.
      The problem is probably, that you can’t do truly ANYTHING, like publicly threatening a whole city with bloodshed or openly manufacture explosives at home…
      Of course corruption is a serious issue, but is it worth it to jeopardize the fragile stability inside the state and political system as a whole?

  32. Misha says:

    For the past few hours or so, the RT site seems to be down. Trying different ways to click into it brought me to this:

    http://todayrussia.com/

    Reminded of some person named Nosik or Nossik, who at least one report describes as someone who left Israel for Russia, where he sets up various sites with a certain slant.

    I haven’t paid much attention to this particular.

  33. PvMikhail says:

    Ukrainian nationalist are so highly cultured people:

    http://en.rian.ru/culture/20120508/173302413.html

    I am not a cheerleader of Stalin, but come ooon. Even if Bandera was the topic, it would be tasteless…

  34. kirill says:

    After watching this video can anyone talk about Russian police “brutality”? How about the molotov cocktails thrown by the “peaceful” demonstrators. The OMON are not even trying to disperse the demonstrators (i.e. no tear gas and water cannon).

    • Dear Kirill,

      The use of petrol bombs (“Molotov cocktails”) is conclusive evidence that some people went to the protests looking for trouble and that the violence was planned in advance.

  35. PvMikhail says:

    OFF after a lot of OFFs

    Anybody noticed, that after 1/3th of this year passed, Russian inflation is below 2%?

    http://www.gks.ru/bgd/free/b04_03/IssWWW.exe/Stg/d03/93.htm

    1.8% for whole year… I think we will see a record in the end of this year.
    Highest birth rate and record low inflation after 1990 is my forecast for 2012.

    • PvMikhail says:

      And, of course, Putin should resign.

      • kirill says:

        I bet they don’t fudge the definition of inflation like is the common practice in the USA and elsewhere with “hedonics”. So in all likelihood a 4% CPI in Russia is like a 2% CPI in the USA.

        • PvMikhail says:

          Of course I wrote this as a joke. This is an internal joke in Hungary, I tell you the story.
          Our recently inaugurated Head of State, Janos Ader was main face of opposition in the parliament after the defeat of first right-wing Orban-government in 2002. I those days he ended almost all of his speeches in the parliament with this phrase: “Gyurcsány Ferenc mondjon le!” which means “Ferenc Gyurcsany (the social-liberal Prime Minister and the actual holder of power) must resign!” This was actually pointless, because everybody knew, that he will not resign. And he didn’t resign until his second term in office and a leaking of a serious scandal. So this reminds me the stubborn but pointless resistance against an ideological enemy, which has lost its meaning through the years. So whatever he does or not does, “Vladimir Putin must resign / Vlagyimir Putyin mondjon le!”

          • marknesop says:

            I guess it doesn’t hurt to try. As long as you can handle repeated disappointments. What would anyone think of a leader who was elected with over 60% support, who quit because the representatives of less than 10% said he must resign? For that reason, I have to suggest it will not happen. But if it makes them feel positive and empowered to say it every day, I guess it isn’t hurting anything.

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    С Днем Победы!

    It’s last year’s Victory Day parade shown above, I know, but it’s only 02:30 Moscow time here now.

    We shall all be watching this year’s parade live on TV later today at 10 a.m. Our Moscow flat is so situated that after having performed a fly past over Red Square, units of the Russian air Force do a U-turn, as it were, right over our Taganskiy district before heading off for their aerodrome, which, as it happens, is situated not far from our dacha. They fly so low over our rooftop in Moscow that we can clearly see the fighter pilots in their cockpits, which my children all find very exciting and every year they stand on our third floor balcony in order to wave at them. However, we’re still at our dacha at the moment because of the extra long Victory Day holiday that we’ve been given this year, so we’ll miss our annual free air show later today.

    The marching and deployment precision displayed by the troops on Red Square is something to behold, as is the Prussian-style march – better known in the West as the “goose step” – of the Honour Guard.

    My only criticism of the whole show is that the Minister of defence and the Moscow Garrison Commandant greet and address each other and the assembled troops from limousines, after which greeting each unit responds with a rousing Russian “Urra!”

    I do think it would be far more impressive if the minister and general could do this on horseback though. Of course, it would be highly impractible to do this, as I should think that few Russian ministers and senior army officers are accomplished horsemen now.

    The last time that a senior army officer rode a horse on Red Square was, I think, when Marshal Zhukov and other senior officers rode horses there at the original Victory Day parade held in 1945. Zhukov, a former country boy and civil war cavalryman, could handle a horse, but the story goes that the white stallion that he rode on that day was a gift to Stalin. It was an extremely feisty mount, and Stalin, having declined to ride it, expressed his wish that Zhukov do so – some say in the hopes that the marshal would be thrown. Came the big day, however, and Zhukov not only rode the beast magnificently but at a great pace along the square – some say because the horse was attempting to bolt. Zhukov stood up in his stirrups, however, and showed the stallion who was boss.

    You can see Zhukov and other mounted senior officers at 3:15 on this old film taken of the first Victory Day parade held on June 24th, 1945:

    Happy Victory Day!

    • Misha says:

      Regarding the 65th Victory Day ceremony –

      http://turkmenistan.ru/?page_id=8&lang_id=en&elem_id=16906&type=event&sort=date_desc

      The appearance of the Turkmen Horse in the Red Square is perceived by many as something extraordinary. Meanwhile, few people know that the Soviet Union Marshal, Georgy Zhukov, reviewed the Victory Parade on 24 June 1945 riding a thoroughbred Akhal-Teke stallion named Arab (military nickname Kazbek). Some sources claim that Stalin could not review the parade simply because he did not have sufficient riding skills. After all, all over the world the image of a great commander is presented as riding a horse, a true brother in arms, who is normally chosen from the light-gray breed to distinguish a leader from soldiers.

      It is noteworthy that Arab-Kazbek left his mark in history not only by participating in the first Victory Parade. During his equestrian career, he set many records for speed and high jump, and later was handed over to Dzhambul stud farm N 49. It was he who gave birth to legendary Absinthe – repeated champion of the USSR and the first Olympic champion, who maintained his primacy over 12 years and received the title “The best racing horse of the twentieth century”, who later became one of the main producers of the Akhal-Teke breed of horses.

      • Misha says:

        The crowd got a big kick when the Turkmen miltary contingent was led by an officer on the breed of white horse in question.

        • Happy Victory Day everybody!

          • Dear Moscow Exile,

            I am afraid I don’t believe the story about Stalin, Zhukov and the white horse. First of all there is no documentary support for the story, which is pure gossip. Secondly I have seen no evidence that Stalin ever rode a horse in his life and the idea that he would have wanted to start doing so in his late 60s seems unlikely to say the least. Thirdly had Stalin really intended to review the parade himself he could have done so from the back of a car as others did and as happens today. He would surely not have let the little matter of a white horse put him off when there was no need to ride one.

            All Soviet (and Russian) military parades are meticulously planned and choreographed and the Victory Parade in 1945 was no exception. Stalin had a central role in it as the Supreme Commander from the top of Lenin’s Mausoleum as films of the parade show. Stalin had only a short time before made sure that it was Zhukov not Koniev who had the glory of capturing Berlin so whatever may have happened later there are no grounds to think that Stalin was jealous of Zhukov at that time. It made perfect sense to have Zhukov review the parade as the Deputy Supreme Commander, Conqueror of Berlin and the Red Army’s foremost general but as the film of the parade clearly shows he did so as Stalin’s subordinate, Stalin maintaining throughout his position of leadership atop Lenin’s Mausoleum before which the Nazi standards were cast down. The decision to have Zhukov lead and review the parade riding a white horse was presumably made because at the start of his career Zhukov had been a cavalryman and (unlike Stalin) was a trained rider.

            Anyone who makes a serious study of Soviet history knows that there are more tall stories and fairy tales invented about Stalin than about any other figure in modern history. Just to give one example, he definitely never asked the famous question “How many divisions has the Pope?” I am afraid the story of the white horse is just another one, though that does not prevent western “historians” like Antony Beevor from reporting it as true.

  37. R.C. says:

    New article by Stephen Cohen via Reuters:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article31267.htm

    I can’t believe this article actually appeared on Reuters. Anyway, the article does contain some errors, such as the writer referring to the parliamentary elections in Dec 2011 as the “presidential elections,” and his insinuation that Putin ruled for the last 12 years, when in fact it was 8 (2000-2008). otherwise, it’s a pretty decent article, and a RARITY in the western mainstream press.

    • Misha says:

      Every now an then, the highly acclaimed make errors. On a PBS NewsHour telecast, I recall S. Cohen referring to 20 million Russians in Ukraine, which got a rise out of the Harvard Ukrainian Research Center panelist on that segment.

      All the more reason to not be overly crony and wonky when considering quality sources.

  38. kievite says:

    Full version of the meeting coverage


    Beginning was uneventful. You can probably skip coverage to 2 hours mark

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    I see Tymoshenko’s eating her porridge again.

    • marknesop says:

      To be fair, it is awfully difficult to maintain a facade of believing in something so strongly that you will die for it, slowly and a little bit every day, when you really don’t believe in anything but yourself and the form of protest means it is yourself that will be destroyed. Similarly, it’s hard to starve yourself to death when you formerly lived a life of privilege in which the big battle of will is to not eat too much of what you love so you won’t be fat.

      I don’t mean to demean the cause of genuine martyrs, because they certainly do exist and we must respect their devotion even if we do not espouse their causes. But Tymoshenko is not a martyr and the west portrays her as one only because she is a convenient tool for its foreign policy objectives, one of which is getting rid of Yanukovich.

      • Dear Mark,

        An iron rule for anybody thinking of going on a hunger strike to make a political point is that if one does it one must be prepared to see it through. It is absolutely not something one should bluff because the bluff almost invariably gets called. I didn’t think Oleg Shein would see his hunger strike through. I never for a moment thought that a person with Tymoshenko’s ambition and reputation would see it through. I was right on both counts.

        Moreover amongst the people who actually matter, who are not the claque of western commentators and leaders and their local liberal stooges who can be counted on to applaud anybody who is opposed to the present Russian government, but the actual voters of Astrakhan and the Ukraine, all the hunger strikes have done is do Shein’s and Tymoshenko’s reputation harm. The pro Shein protests in Astrakhan (remember them?) seem to have melted away whilst the significant thing about Tymoshenko is that her popularity is continuing to drop.

  40. PvMikhail says:

    I have watched some of the linked stuff and I found this:

    http://www.cafepress.co.uk/+russian_empire_flag_classic_thong,13341971

    AHH COME OOON, REALLY? fashion is tasteless

  41. Moscow Exile says:

    According to RT, a hacker group calling itself the Russian branch of “Anonymous” has claimed responsibility for shutting down the websites of the Kremlin and the Russian President today.
    Several people have reported that the sites were indeed down, but when I checked several hours ago everything was up and running fine.

    Today is Victory Day, of course, and whether that fact caused the hackers to bring down the sites on this day is open to conjecture.

    One of the commentators to the RT story concerning this hacking action stated:

    “This power is illegal, any action against the illegal government that’s good. For the first time in this country united the entire opposition, but it’s still not enough. WhatAnonymus makes possible sense, but it raises morale”.

    Judging by the syntax of the above quoted comment, the writer is not a native English speaker, so I should think that he/she was very likely one of the “millions” that assembled in Moscow of late so as to show the world their dissatisfaction over the “illegality” of the present Russian government.

    The commentator quoted above and the perpetrators of this hacking job against Russian government sites clearly illustrate the flawed logic that Liberal-fascists spout.

    Liberal-fascist “logic”: Everyone else is wrong except us and even though we may be in the minority, we therefore have the moral right to shut everyone else up.

    One final point, when it was alleged that the Russian government had caused the hacking of Estonian websites there was worldwide condemnation of that action. Somehow, I should think the likes of Miriam Elder and friends, rather than condemn the “Russian branch of Anonymous” for their criminal action, will proffer nothing but praise for their outstanding daring-do in the cause of “freedom and democracy”.

    • Dear Moscow Exile,

      I too have just checked the Kremlin website and it seems to be operating normally. If there was a hacking attack it didn’t bring it down for very long.

      • kievite says:

        Related (sorry for trashing Vladimir Vladimirovich Mayakovsky :-)

        “Разворачивайтесь в марше !
        Словесной не место кляузе !
        Тише, ораторы ! Ваше
        Слово, товарищ БРАУЗЕР !!!”

    • Misha says:

      Regarding a recent Guardian article and some extended private discussion about it: over the past 25 years or so, I’ve come in contact with numerous married and single Western men and women (some being friends and family relations) who’ve lived for extended periods in different parts of Russia. They’ve had numerous complaints. I recall one having to do with sexual abuse.

      It concerns a woman in Gorbachev era Russia who was accosted by a soccer player of Caucasus origin, who made a provocative pass at her in a hotel, known to have been run by Chechen criminal elements (if I’m not mistaken), going back to pre-Gorbachev times.

      To my knowledge, the Guardian journos in Russia have yet to write about personal experiences of sexual abuse, while complaining about a number of other things

      A Russia bashing article on rape highlights a Welsh soccer player and Israeli president who were both accused of rape – along with hysterically written claims about RT.

      Fair and balanced.

  42. PvMikhail says:

    Параaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaд на Красной Площади в ознаменование 67-ой годовщины Победы в Великой Отечественной войне. Парад принял исполняющий обязанности Министра обороны Анатолий Эдуардович Сердюков, а командовал военным парадом генерал-полковник Валерий Васильевич Герасимов.

    С ДНËМ ПОБЕДЫ

    • Misha says:

      Using the time scroll bar below the RT video link, at about the 56:30 mark, this tune clicks in:

      This video clicks in at about the 38 second mark or so. It’s a bit outdated. The statue of Suvorov on a horse has essentially served as an unofficially second coat of arms in Prid.

  43. kievite says:

    NYT: protests follow Sharp’s textbook blueprint:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/10/world/europe/protesters-in-moscow-walk-softly-carry-no-sticks.html?_r=1&ref=world

    The evolving tactics in Moscow are not novel. In a primer on nonviolent protest, “Sharp’s Dictionary of Power and Struggle,” Gene Sharp, an American intellectual, described a “dilemma protest” as a performance of an action so inchoate and unorthodox that police are trapped. If they let it happen, they are encouraging it, but if they arrest people they risk looking either silly or arbitrary and unjust, which is the point.

    “This type of activity enables resistance to continue against opponents who are applying extreme repression,” Mr. Sharp wrote. Acts of resistance in small groups, he wrote, are effective when larger “bases for resistance have been neutralized, controlled or destroyed by the opponents.”

    The tactic has found wide appeal in Belarus, where activists gather to clap, eat ice cream cones, set their cellphone alarms to ring in chorus or simply stand silently.

  44. This says:

    We should not be ignorant of the designs of America and Germany, in their quest to Destroy Democracy, and have every Country, and that means every Citizen of those Countries under their Dictatorial Control.

    We either know, or we can research the Fact that Stratfor is known as the Shadow CIA, and we may have heard that Wikileaks published emails from Statfor showing how they recruit and how they work for American Interests, because they receive American Government Funding.

    Stratfor planted a network of spies around the world in companies, governments, embassies and used cheap methods for recruiting like blackmailing, money, sex, and psychological pressure.

    The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, promised to publish the private/detailed lives of the spies and show how they lie to the world, as well as reveal Stratfor’s methods used to track down their spies and journalists using blackmail, bribery, and sex scandals in order to make them do their dirty work.

    Julian Assange also explained that Stratfor intelligence buys information from staff in government and then resells them to other governments.

    The documents revealed that American intelligence pays its spies around the world using Swiss banks and Paid Cards that cannot be traced.

    The question that needs to be asked is; where exactly in the World is America not involved in Destroying Democracy and Human Rights?

    It is easy to be judgemental and want to seek punishment for certain wrongdoers who we will assume may be high up in a Puppet Country’s Governing Arrangement.

    I want to say that I am under no circumstances accusing any Serbian Politician of having succumbed to the proven methods of the CIA, but I am not so naive as to think that all are pure.

    This is because if this were true, then Anglo-America would have ceased seeking to Dictate to the World long ago, and the Serbian People must not be unreasoning, and they must forgive those that Confess and are Pardoned, because America and Germany play a Very Mean Game.

    I think that a United Nations General Assembly Motion, asking for the restoration of Democracy to Serbia should be submitted, along with a Pardon for those Politicians who Confessed to having been Voluntarily Filmed in Acts of Bestiality to provide a guarantee that they will can be blackmailed by America and Germany.

    I have heard that America and Germany bribe People with Money and Power, and that those Politicians who have been intimidated to be Puppets, then Volunteer to be Filmed in Acts of Bestiality to allow themselves to be blackmailed.

    It is better to have another Country put forward a Motion to the United Nations General Assembly that there should be Pardon for all Serbian Officials who have been pressured to be Puppets, and that they will not go to jail if America or Germany releases Film of them in Acts of Bestiality on the Internet.

    It should be a Disgrace for the Foreign Occupying Countries of America and Germany, but they are proud of what they have done, because they have a long track record in destroying Democracy and Human Rights, while Hypocritically pretending to champion Democracy and Human Rights.

    The proper course of action to restore Democracy and Human Rights is for America and Germany to order their Puppets to hold a fresh Parliamentary Election, but since America and Germany do not like Democracy, then they are unlikely to do anything to promote true Democracy.

    This is why it is especially urgent for this Motion along with the condemnation of America and German for rigging the Election in Serbia must be forwarded as soon as possible to the United Nations General Assembly.

  45. This says:

    This comment is a significantly modified comment that, and it provides information on the reasons for having such a plan.

    This is how I would handle the situation of a Missile Shield, and I have been rethinking my first plan that I wrote and published as soon as I thought of it, and so this plan is far superior, in my opinion, because I have had long enough to think about it.

    Russia needs to be Allies with China, because the Western Europeans are Nazis, they always have been, and they always will be Nazis.

    It is not as I would wish it to be, but every action has a reaction, and the World knows that America is the guilty one here, and personally I do not care who is guilty or innocent, but if I do not want a Missile Shield anywhere in my neighbourhood, then this is what I would do.

    At the same time, if NATO Leaders do not want to be embarrassed by climbing down from any nonsense statements that they may make, or if the People of other NATO Countries want to continue to live, then this is the plan that Everyone in the World should be thoroughly acquainted with.

    It is best if Countries should remain totally Neutral to all Countries in the World, but they should have trade and friendship with any Country that wants the same.

    It is best to let Everyone know how to act sensibly by not wasting Money on projects that could easily get Euro-American Politicians killed, in order to save the Planet from possible total destruction.

    We have heard Russia has warned of a pre-emptive strike against the American missile shield in Europe.

    This is the right Policy for Russia to tell everyone that if you build it we will bomb it.

    It might be good to let NATO waste their Money and see what a Missile Shield will look like just in case Russia ever wanted to one, but Russia should know that if a Missile Shield is not possible, then America will waste Money on the scam just to deceive others, and to have Continental Europe foolishly ask America to continue to stay on their soil.

    The important thing to realize is that the People of NATO Countries will think that the Missile Shield is a danger to the Planet, and so they will kill all of those Politicians who remain part of NATO.

    I would go further and tell China not to waste Money lending Money to America, because Euro-America may soon be finished.

    I would advise Germany to have evacuation plans for all humans in a sufficiently large City, because Germany has not paid sufficiently for the Millions of Russians they have murdered, and one day that German City might have to be completely destroyed with a nuclear weapon.

    That one German City would not be Berlin, but it that is significantly large and have significant Real Estate Value so that Big Monies as Reward Money to kill NATO Politicians will be readily available if they are needed, and that one German City would be the only target on Continental Europe, unless the conflict escalates.

    America and the rest of NATO will do nothing to Russia if they are smart, and Germany will pass legislation that if it should be hit by a Russian nuclear weapon, then this was not a part of NATO for that day just to help the situation, and Germany should say that that is where Germany wants it to end, and I would call NATO’s bluff, because I know that they will do nothing to Russia.

    The People of Europe will be more receptive that the target is just one German City, and that City is evacuated, and People have had plenty of time to be notified of possible future events.

    The People of that German City will be given one moth to evacuate, and that is why that German City should not be too large, and it should not be too small because of the Real Estate Value, and perhaps the Possible City could be a City in one of the German State during their State Elections, so that Germans will Vote for Politicians who will leave NATO, and ask America as a friend to leave Continental Europe completely and permanently.

    I would set up a Website in Russia that is called American Government in Exile, and only a selected group of educated Americans will have access to the Website, because they are the American Government in Exile, and I would do the same with all the other NATO Countries and give them a Government in Exile.

    The American Government in Exile would say to the American People who have access to American President to assassinate him, and any others that need killing, like the Vice President etc.

    This is if the American People love their lives, the lives of their families, friends, and neighbours, and if they truly have the wisdom to understand what Thomas Jefferson said.

    Thomas Jefferson said that the tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    The America People would see this situation as a great necessity to refresh that tree of liberty by killing all the America Federal Politicians.

    If this is what the future holds, then that is not a time to Debate between Good and Bad Federal American Politicians, because while the American People are squabbling over that it could easily cost them their lives, but it is a time where the only good Federal American Politician is a dead American Federal Politician.

    It might be essential that a National of all NATO Countries living in Russia, and they are the President in Exile to be the Public Voice of each NATO Country, who also have their own Government in Exile Website, and it could that the People of NATO Countries might conclude that the Penalty for Internet Censorship in all NATO Countries Must be Death.

    There are two signals for the American and other NATO People to save their lives, the lives of their families, and their friends and neighbours.

    The first safety signal is if they start building the missile shield, the American and NATO People will be given their opportunity to save their lives, but they must kill every Federal America Politician and every NATO Countries’ Federal Politician to be certain of saving their lives.

    Russia should repeatedly tell the America People to Act quickly, because once Russia gives Germany one month to start evacuating their Citizens from that one City, then those body guards of American Federal Politicians and NATO Countries’ Federal Politicians will need to kill the American Federal Politicians and the NATO Countries’ Federal Politicians if they wish to live.

    The final signal, and let us hope it never gets to that, but if it does, because Russia should not relent, then the signal will be the bombing of American Missile Shield Facilities.

    This will be a final chance for the People of America and European NATO Countries to kill their Politicians so that they may live.

    The time has come for Continental Europe to ask America as a friend to leave Continental Europe completely and permanently.

    The American People and the People of other NATO Countries need to know these things, because American Foreign Policy affects them, and Americans should Vote for who will act in the interests of their People.

    • marknesop says:

      Forgive me if this sounds a little manifesto-from-the-basement extreme to me. I’m quite sure that killing off all the west’s leaders and politicians is all the way across town from a reasonable solution. This sounds a little jihadist to me, and I think you need to go back and think this one through some more. There are plenty of good and reasonable and clever people on the western side, and it’s just a matter of getting the reasonable voices heard rather than the angry let’s-kick-their-ass voices. The west does not realize that it is not in a very good position to kick anyone’s ass unless it can do it in a matter of days, and it is the duty of the reasonable and responsible to bring about that realization. More war is exactly what we do not need.

  46. This says:

    I should have added that Anglo-America is very deceptive, and some of their sayings reflect this, and they have known them to be deceptive.

    The term MAD, or Mutually Assured Destruction is a Deception, because the NATO Federal Politicians know they will be the only one dying, because their Citizens would be MAD to have it any other way.

    Germany should pass Legislation that it will not be a part of NATO on that day, which is a day that if Russia ever destroyed one of Germany’s City, then it would not be part of NATO.

    Germany should also pass Legislation that that is where Germany wants the conflict to end for all of Europe.

    We have seen how German States have been Voting for those Political Parties that are less enthusiastic about being part of NATO.

    A German City that would be the target of a possible future nuclear strike makes logical sense for many reasons.

    Germany has Historical reasons for making it a possible target, and Germany is basically NATO in Europe, and Euro-America, and to harm Germany sufficiently is to put an effective end to Euro-America and an effective end to NATO.

    This would put an end to Euro-America, and as we have seen, NATO will do nothing to Russia, and so they can either put and end to NATO, or there might be an end to Euro-America, and with an end to Euro-America, there will be an end to NATO.

    I do not have access to climate information, but I think that Anglo-America does not want excess Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere, because it will cause cooling of the planet, rather than heating, and this will increase floods, and snow blizzards, and tornadoes, which are powerful weapon with no enemy.

    I have my suspicions that they are deceiving People over Carbon Dioxide, but I could be wrong on that.

    This is because I do not have the real scientific information, but only the words of Anglo-American Politicians, and we know how misleading it can be at times, and that is the main Principle to Fully Understand and to Know with regards to Anglo-America.

    The lies associated with are of a top shelf variety, and the Politicians of Anglo-America are very cunning, and much of what they say are lies.

    Concerning the Presidents in Exile for each NATO Country, and the Government in Exile Website for each NATO Country, there should be a summit, and Russia should write to every Politician, Federal, State, and Local Government Politician of all NATO Countries to tell them these things.

    If the plan is to succeed, then Everyone Must know of these things Far In Advance, because A Problem Shared is a problem reduced or even eliminated.

    Talk Back Radio, and Full Page Newspaper Advertisements are also good ways to provide information to People.

  47. This says:

    This comment is a continuation of what I would do if I did not want a Missile Shield, in my neighbourhood.

    This comment follows on with my other comment, and clears up some ambiguities and it provides some additional information, and I will just write the correction, rather than referring to what I had written.

    However, before I do that, it is important to understand that such a plan would to a Committee to improve it where possible, and it would be examined to make sure there are no inconsistencies, and the purpose of my plan is not to provide every minute detail, but to give a broad framework of the plan, if such a plan is ever used.

    I would set up a Website in Russia, which the entire World has access to, and that Website would be called American Government in Exile, and only a selected group of educated Americans will have access to placing material on that Website, because they are the American Government in Exile, and I would do the same with all the other NATO Countries and give them a Government in Exile.

    It would be helpful to Everyone if a National of all NATO Countries would reside in Russia, and they are the President in Exile to be the Public Voice of each NATO Country, who also have their own President in Exile Website, and it could that the People of NATO Countries might conclude that the Penalty for Internet Censorship in all NATO Countries Must be Death.

    If America and the rest of NATO are Smart, they will nothing to Russia, and Germany can help itself, and Germany can help the other NATO Countries and the rest of the World, by passing legislation that if it should be hit by a Russian nuclear weapon, then Germany was not a part of NATO for that day just to help the situation for America and the rest of NATO.

    The point of saying that Germany should pass Legislation that they are not part of NATO on the day that they are hit by a Russian nuclear weapon, is not to help Russia, but to help America and the rest of the NATO Countries.

    Germany should say that one nuclear strike on a German City that was given sufficient time to be evacuated is where Germany wants this matter it to end, and that Germany will never seek another German Reich.

    I would call NATO’s bluff, because I know that they will do nothing to Russia.

    This should be discussed in the United Nations Security Council, where is can and will be Vetoed, but Vetoes can be bypassed, and the purpose is to inform the World, that if America and the rest of NATO is Bluffing, then Russia can proceed with destroying that German City, if it decides to.

    If America and the rest of the NATO Countries insist that they are not Bluffing, then this only gives the Citizens of America and the rest of the NATO countries that the only good Federal NATO Country Politicians are dead Federal NATO Country Politicians, and this matter should be debated and publicized long enough so that Everyone is thoroughly familiar with the matter.

    This is because if it is a choice between a German City, that has been given ample opportunity to evacuate all humans, and if it is the entire Planets that is to be destroyed, then the choice is easy that the NATO Countries Federal Politicians Must Be Put Death, and the Citizens of NATO Countries with the help of the Websites, and NATO Media will know what to do to save their lives.

    I do not care what America and the rest of NATO say, because I will say that they are Bluffing, and I will act on my belief that they are Bluffing, and if they are not, then execution by their own Citizens awaits them, and that would not be my preference, but it will be the Vital Necessity to the all the People of the World.

    There needs to be some brief indisputable unchangeable facts given concerning Germany to understand what I wrote.

    Any straying from the Facts because of good lies from Germany or from gullibility of the listener, does not change the facts, but only puts People in peril.

    Germany has always wanted to rule of Continental Europe, and it always will to the extent possible given the circumstances of the present day.

    Any German Reich, and we are in the Fourth German Reich wants to completely dominate and Militarily occupy Continental Europe to the extent possible.

    A German Reich is generically described as where Germans are thrive, dominate, affluence, healthy, happy, safe, and secure, and as much of the rest of Continental are been killed, subjugated, poor, sick, and insure.

    Germany cannot occupy France of Russia again, because these Countries have nuclear weapon, but the German Army can be in places where NATO is on Continental Europe, and only Britain, America, and France can offer the Germans crumbs as to their cravings to occupying Continental Europe, and Germany is happy with that.

    Russia does not want to and cannot offer that to Germany, and so the Neo Nazi part of Germany that wants to be part of NATO, and they are more represented with the Right of German Politics.

    There would be many Continental European Countries who are part of NATO who would want Russia to a German City that was given sufficient time to evacuate all humans from it, because they remember German War Crimes that were committed and that are continuing on Serbia’s Province of Kosovo.

  48. This says:

    I have already mentioned a weapon system that I called a beached whale, and it is a torpedo that carries a nuclear weapon, or biological weapon, or chemical weapon and it launched by a submarine and it lands on the beach where it is activated.

    Such a weapon would bypass all missile shields, and cartoons of what those weapons are can be played during the Election Campaign of every European Country, even those without a coastline, but especially to those People on Coastal Cities.

    The People of that German City will be given at least one month to evacuate, and that is why that German City should not be too large, and it should not be too small because of the Real Estate Value.

    Perhaps the Possible City could be a City in one of the German States during their State Elections, so that Germans will Vote for Politicians who will leave NATO, and ask America as a friend to leave Continental Europe completely and permanently.

    Another possibility is for Russia to use small jets that have great manageability to evade the missile shield, and they could be silver plated and highly poshed if this will reflect laser beams away from the jets.

    The reason is that mobile anti-missile systems could be used by NATO, and that why beached whales and jets might be considered, unless they are already in service.

    The comments I wrote can be put together, and it can be understood what my plan would be, if I did not want a missile shield in my neighbourhood.

  49. This says:

    We have seen how America could easily have Bribed Seep Blatter and the FIFA Executive Committee with Money and a Harem to try to Steal the Serbian Land of Kosovo.

    There can be no friendly games by Albanian Muslims with the Normal and Decent Non Albanians.

    The FIFA decision to allow for friendly games to take place came despite the fact that Kosovo is not a member of the United Nations; a requirement for full membership in the International Federation of Association Football or FIFA, and the following News Item shows the Secret Agenda.

    Serbian investigative reporter, Marko Lopusina, tells me that Washington strategists are in advanced stages of planning to form a unified large Albanian state in the Balkans and anoint it with the most modern navy so that it will control the Adriatic sea. Sources tell Lopusina that the large Albania is to be comprised of captured Kosovo and, eventually Macedonia which could be completely absorbed by the Albanian criminal entrepreneurs. Once formed, Albania will be armed and its navy strengthened so that it could control the Ionian sea. That, sources say, is so that Montenegro and Croatia could be cut off and made dependent on Germany, while Greece would be surrounded by the Turkish military from all sides, including to the north, in the Albanian held territories of Kosovo and Macedonia. Tells Lopusina: New Year’s headline that got the attention of the Serbs were media reports that Americans are leaving Kosovo by the end of 2012 as part of the general austerity measures in the U.S. armed forces. The report came from the Albanian NLA agency, quoting sources from the high U.S. administration and confirmed by the Albanian lobbyist in Washington, Joe DioGuardi, and the Congressional House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon. NLA also said that Washington plans to hand over Bondsteel to the Turkish military, termed by the NLA as “loyal allies” of the independent Kosovo. US military denied the pull out and the hand over but noted that the US military will not remain in Kosovo forever but will, one day, pull out. The grand idea here is to carve up Balkans so that Russian influence is contained inside rump Serbia which will be kept under tension of violence, threats and ultimatums so that the US presence in the Balkans could be justified. Once Albania and Turkey establish land and sea domination, sources tell Lopusina, then Serbia will be made member of NATO and the EU so that Russia will be, once and for all, kicked off the Balkans. But what will be done with the massive military site at Bondsteel? Lopusina says that sources tell him that Kosovo Albanians and the Turks are lobbying Washington to hand over Bondsteel, and in return, the Turks will help US to overthrow Syria’s Assad.

    I use the term Modern Day Nazi, or Neo Nazi to refer to all those Europeans who Oppress and want to Eradicate their fellow Europeans, and they would include several Countries in varying degrees in Europe, especially Germany.

    America and Modern Day Nazis have the same objectives as the World War 2 German Nazis and Hitler’s European Puppet Allies had, and technology has improved since then.

    Hitler implemented the Final Solution against the European Jews, using the latest Technology of those days in order to Oppress and Eradicate their fellow Europeans.

    The final solution for Europe will be for those Countries who will not submit to Modern Day Nazi Domination of Continental Europe, or if it is a Historic enemy like the Serbs who are the new Jews.

    These Neo Nazis with and Utter Contempt for Humanitarianism and Democracy could put cancer causing chemicals, contraceptives, and radioactive materials in food and drink products.

    The Non Albanian People need to be vigilant to make sure that the batches of supplies that are destined for their shops are randomly and properly tested.

    The same random distribution to different Countries should also be done randomly after the packaging process, but the random distribution should be done only after the packaging process has been completed.

    The Price of Liberty is eternal vigilance, and that has proved to be true up till now, and it will prove true in the future.

    This testing can be done at the Universities, or Private Companies who deal with Chemical Testing, and it should be tested for radioactivity.

    Kyrgyzstan had dangerous radioactive coal enter its Country, and every Household in Europe should have their own Geiger Counter, because even imported clothing should be tested for radioactivity.

    These food and drink products should be randomly tested for radioactivity, and for contraceptives, and for cancer causing chemicals; and there must be no corruption with the methods of testing, which should be done randomly with different groups chosen by lottery on each different day to do the testing.

    Many Non Albanian People of the Balkans think that they should change their Constitutions to gain Substantial Autonomy as part of the Russian Federation, if this is Voted for at a Referendum.

    “Whoever is filled with hate disguises it with his speech, but inside he holds on to deceit. When he talks charmingly, do not trust him because of the seven disgusting things in his heart. His hatred is deceitfully hidden, but his wickedness will be revealed to the community. Whoever digs a pit will fall into it. Whoever rolls a stone will have it roll back on him. A lying tongue hates its victims, and a flattering mouth cause’s ruin” (Proverbs 26: 24-28).

    To make a long story short, it is that the Albanians are Evil, they are Racist, and they are the troublemakers, and just like their American and German Masters, the Overwhelming Majority of them are Rubbish.

    If the Albanians want to play friendly matches, then they need to Confess to All These Things As True.

    There could be a Majority of Non Albanian People of the Balkans who see that the solution is to come under the Russian nuclear umbrella, before it is too late.

    We all know that if Russia gives an Albanian City one month to evacuate because that City is to be destroyed with a nuclear weapon, then America or the rest of NATO will do nothing.

    This will mean that the Albanians retreat back to Albania from surrounding Countries, and Albanians as a People eventually end up Destroying each other.

    It is time for that that Nazi Cow Merkel, to tell the People the truth of their Nazism, and the Nazism of Britain, America, and France.

    The Website http://members.tripod.com/~sarant_2/ksm.html, has the sentence: “Background material about Kosovo, especially the material disseminated by mainstream channels, is deficient in many aspects, but perhaps the most startling feature of many such articles is the singular way of examining the history of the region”, and I provided it is case you had difficulty finding one of many Websites with Old Article on Kosovo.

    The time has come for the European Union to ask America as a friend to leave Continental Europe completely and permanently.

    Other Countries should leave FIFA if that Filth posing as Friends to other Races is allowed to play football, except as a Province of Serbia, and Only If The Serbian Army Is Allowed By A United Nations Security Council Resolution To Go To Any Part Of Its Province OF Kosovo.

    It would be Good and Long Overdue for the United Nations General Assembly to have a Motion on FIFA, and on other matters to do with Serbia’s Province of Kosovo.

  50. This says:

    The Website B 92, which is owned by Americans does not want to publish this comment, and I suspect that it could be correct analysis, and I would like it recorded.

    There could be People who may be wondering if there could be a Fresh Election for the Parliament, and I cannot answer that question, except to say that it is a possibility, even though it would seem unlikely at this time.

    We know that the Serbian Parliamentary Election that occurred on 21 January 2007 came close to being a Repeat Election, because of the complexities of the Election Results.

    We need to remember that the last Parliamentary Election was mired in controversy with allegations of Widespread Election Fraud, and so there would be Voters who would like a Repeat Election, as long as this one can be honest.

    We know that the Constitution gives the Political Parties up to 13 weeks to form a Government, or else there must be a Fresh Election.

    I use to think that 6 weeks was enough, but I now realize that such an arrangement can be abused, and is not sufficient time.

    The evidence for this is with the last Election, where the Parliamentary Election was held 2 weeks before the second round of Presidential Voting, and with the inauguration of the Elected President, this will add an extra week, making it three weeks.

    While the Political Parties can have informal talks among themselves, it is only Proper that the Formal Talks to form a Government are held with the new President presiding over the Talks.

    This is because these Talks should take place decently and in order, and by arrangement and that would necessarily mean waiting until after the New President has been inaugurated.

    There could be People who think that there could be one or more Political Parties that actually wants a Fresh Election, because they can improve their Parliamentary Position within those 13 weeks, rather than waiting 4 years, and who knows what their Vote will be then.

    It could be that if they wait years for another Election, they might lose all their Parliamentary Seats, and we see that this is what happened with the Serbian Radical Party, while I am conscious of the 20 known bags of Ballot Papers, and who knows the real widespread scale of Votes that were Stolen, and that have been swept under the carpet.

    The Political Parties that are of the Caretaker Government have the advantage here, depending on how they handle that Caretaker Government, and if there is a Fresh Election, then All Political Parties will get the blame for that equally, and so there is no disadvantage to any Political Party to have a Fresh Election.

    It cannot escape our attention that the SNS has said that they want a two Party System in Serbia, and it could be that the DS wants the same, but they will not confess, because they cannot upset their Coalition Partners until Serbia becomes a Two Political Party System like much of the West.

    It would not surprize me if the European Union also wants a Two Party Political System in Serbia, because Puppertship is much easier that way, if their preferred Political Party has a Parliamentary Majority, and does not need to form complex and possibly unstable Coalitions.

    The longer the Caretaker Government stays in Power, then the greater the likelihood that the European Union or NATO could give the DS something on which to go to a Fresh Election, and where the European Union would hope that the DS wins a majority on its own, and does not need any Coalition Partner to complicate matters as far as the European Union is concerned.

    It could be that a Fresh Election is the best way to handle the Election Fraud, because no one wants to investigate it, and to talk about it could alienate the DS and the SPS as potential Coalition Partners for the SNS, and so it will not be mentioned by the certain Political Parties.

    We can see that if the Constitution only allowed 6 weeks before a Fresh Election, then Political Parties would abuse it, but with the way it is, it gives them sufficient time to negotiate a Democratic Coalition Government.

    • marknesop says:

      There probably is nothing wrong in holding fresh elections provided, as you suggest, no political party is disadvantaged thereby. However, calls for fresh elections are usually loudest where an opposition party propped up by outside intervention has almost succeeded, and where a new election accompanied by a smear campaign against the winner might be enough to put the opposition over the top. That’s more or less the way it happened in the Orange Revolution, and it was a mess for Ukraine.

      If that’s not the situation here, and new elections might actually be perceived as legitimate, then it’s probably worth trying, but I can’t claim to have a lot of familiarity with the circumstances.

  51. This says:

    I think that B 92 did not want that comment that did not contain the first sentence published, and the cunningly disguised it.

    If we look at the News Articles for 24 May 2012, we can see that I published two comments there with the Moniker of Yet Another J S.

    One was with the News Item “Slovak foreign minister arrives in Belgrade”, where that comment had over 2,500 characters at 11:57 Belgrade time, because B 92 would even take lengthy comments, but they did not want to publish my comment that I published here.

    I repeatedly sent B 92 my comment, but after hours of trying and they only allow comments of 1,500 characters, because they think that I do not realize that if they do not want publish some of my comments, then I will not realize that the West wants it a secret, because of having a possible scheme, or wanting the option of a possible scheme.

    I was able to publish a shortened version of that comment at 15:45 Belgrade time, on the News Item “Talks on government after Nikolic’s inauguration”, but they probably took one sentence to see if it was published elsewhere on the internet, and if it was, then it makes sense to make a virtue out of necessity, in order to deceive me, and to make someone think that I am a liar if they should read the B 92 comments.

    America and Germany wants an Independent Kosovo, and they want a Serbian Government to their liking, but they have not found one sufficiently to their liking, even with the Election they rigged, and so the West may want a repeat Election, because they want Serbia to join NATO on top of recognizing Kosovo.

    The West is thinking the same way as they used to, and so those are familiar will know that the West wants the DS to be the Government, because they want to join NATO, and be the Puppet of the America and of Germany, that is Euphemistically called the European Union.

  52. This says:

    The Democratically Elected Honourable Deputy Prime Minister is right in saying that the Largest Coalition Partner should select their Leader as Prime Minister.

    We have undeniable Historical Proof of this, and we only have to look back to the Serbian Parliamentary Election of 21 January 2007, and see how there was almost a Repeat Election, because the smaller DSS insisted that their Leader Vojislav Kostunica be the Prime Minister.

    This proved to be an unstable Government, because the Prime Minister should be of the Largest Coalition Partner, and the natural consequence of this Undemocratic Principle was that there was another Election only 1 year later, and we saw that the DSS was not part of the Government that was negotiated after the 2008 Serbian Parliamentary Election.

    The Democratically Elected Honourable Deputy Prime Minister Ivica Dacic and the SPS, want to provide the Serbian People with stable Government for the next 4 years, and would like to avoid a Repeat Election if possible.

    In most Democracies, Voters do not like unnecessary early Elections, and President Boris Tadic paid the price for going to that unnecessary early Election.

    However, if there is proof that there was Election Fraud, then there could be a Repeat Election if the Serbian Electoral Commission or the Serbian Supreme Court determines that a Fresh Election be announced.

    We can see so far that the informal talks are delicate and complex, and they could go on for some time, and there is more than enough time before People should even speculate on the possibility of a Fresh Election.

  53. This says:

    We can see why America is the conducting global Jihad against Democracy, and why Germany is conducting European Jihad against Democracy, and America and Germany should be called the Taliban.

    We can see how the Muslims in the Balkans always use false accusations against those who are not Muslims, and we have seen this on a Grand Scale in the Balkans with the help of their Anti-Democratic Euro American Taliban Allies who are Anglo-America and the European Union.

    I class PACE, the OSCE, the EU, NATO, EULEX, the ICTY, and the ICJ, and most things that come from Euro America as the Taliban that is waging Global Jihad against Truth, Justice, and the Human Way of Decency.

  54. This says:

    The following are what I would do if I were in the situation described in this comment, and would act with wisdom, because I do not have a PhD which is sometimes worthless to a Person.

    The West did this to Vojislav Seselj PhD because they want to make, Serbian interests a target, and Serbia a target, by making Seselj a target by making him a Seljak or a Seseljak.

    The logical and patriotic thing for anyone in that situation is make themselves as small a target as possible especially when others are affected by a Person’s Self Centered Attitude, and especially when the scheme is fully reliant on the Leader being in Jail and on Trial on Trumped up charges.

    If Seselj would resign as Leader, or the SRS would replace him as Leader, then the scheme breaks down.

    I would never be Leader under those circumstances, but I would be Environment spokesman if my Party was in Opposition, and Environment Minister if my Party was in Government, and I would have written one very book on the Environment, Conservation, and Recycling.

    I would say that the Environment is suffering a Perversion of Justice and is imprisoned by those who are destroying the Planet, and all the other Environment Movements would advertise for my just cause, and the injustice committed by the American Left who need the Environmental Votes in an Election year.

    The definition of insanity is doing what Seselj and the SRS have been going, and hoping for a different result.

    This is what would do if I were in the position of Vojislav Seselj and the Serbian Radical Party, then the SRS would be foremost an Environmental Political Party, because everyone should care about the Environment, even those who are considered to be of the Right Wing (Genesis 1: 31).

    I would not allow My Global Political Party to be called the Right Wing, but only the Global Good, Correct, and Wise Wing, or GGCW Party, because I do not consider Policies to be Left Wing or Right Wing, but only good or bad, correct or incorrect, or foolish or wise.

    My book on the Environment would be in Many Languages, especially English, French, and German, and I would have a Movie or Video made like Al Gore did.

    I could write more, but I am sure that those with sufficient incentive could set up a Committee to devise a plan, and they must not listen to what their Enemies are saying, but to what Wisdom is Saying.

    I will exaggerate here, and if the British, American, French, or German Governments knew that if releasing someone innocent would ensure their reelection, then they would probably do that.

    Vojislav Seslj should know that those who put him in Jail; and on Trial on Trumped up Charges will Never be influenced by Truth, Legality, or Justice, but only by Political Considerations, and by their own Selfish Self Interests.

    The SRS should firstly give Vojislav the dignified opportunity to voluntarily resign as Leader of the SRS and to Announce his Environmental Credentials within the next month, because that is what they are looking for from all Jailed Members of the SRS to keep their Membership of the SRS.

    We know that the West have said that they will make life more Comfortable for Vojislav Seselj if he and the SRS do Full Puppetship to America and Germany while deceiving the Serbian People of their Loyalty to Serbia.

    Yes, American and German Governments are Filthy Dictators, and they know that Compared to them the People of their Puppet Countries are Disgustingly Inferior to them Intellectually, and they can be reduced to those who have no moral fiber, and unless a plan exists to kill all the British, French, American and German Politicians, then this Planet will die.

    Death for this Euro-American Rubbish is the only cure, because they will Never listen to what is Right or do what is Proper and Decent; Never in a Million Years.

    Vojislav Seselj is in Jail and on Trial with Trumped up Charges, and it is all Political, and it is nothing to do with Truth, Legality, or Justice.

    What this means is that Only Political Considerations of the American Left who need the Environmental Votes especially during an Election year can help him, and the rest of us.

  55. This says:

    The West did this to Vojislav Seselj PhD because they want to make, Serbian interests a target, and Serbia a target, by making Seselj a target by making him a Seljak (villager) or a Seseljak.

    The logical and patriotic thing for anyone in that situation is make themselves as small a target as possible especially when others are affected by a Person’s Self Centered Attitude, and especially when the scheme is fully reliant on a Leader being in Jail and on Trial on Trumped up charges, helped along with a Corrupt Western Media.

    If Seselj would resign as Leader, or the SRS would replace him as Leader, then the scheme breaks down.

    I would never be Leader under those circumstances, but I would be Environment spokesman if my Party was in Opposition, and Environment Minister if my Party was in Government, and I would have written one very book on the Environment, Conservation, and 100 % Recycling.

    I would say that the Environment is suffering a Perversion of Justice and is imprisoned by those who are destroying the Planet, and all the other Environment Movements in the World would advertise for Our just cause, and they would make people aware of Injustice committed by the American Left who need the Environmental Votes in an Election year.

    The definition of insanity is doing what Seselj and the SRS have been going, and hoping for a different result.

    The SRS should have gone on a Joint Ticket with Dveri, because if they did, then both would have Seats in Parliament.

  56. This says:

    There is talk of friendly games, but there cannot be anything friendly by the Albanians when they and the Americans are deliberately slandering another the innocent Serbian People in order to continue the genocide of all Non Albanians.

    Increasing numbers of People realize that the friendliness of Albanians consists of land theft, murder, lies, crime, slander, racism, genocide, blaming their victims, and Only a few Albanians are Ignorant of these Facts.

    The Decent Countries of the World must leave FIFA of Fiendish Individuals’ Football Association, and join HIFA or Honest International Football Association.

    This must be the subject of a United Nations General Assembly Motion, and the numbers of Countries joining HIFA will increase with time, and Europeans will learn about Albanians, and Economic Genocide for Albanians may be the consequence of this, because Actions have Consequences.

    We know that President George Bush ordered Britain and France to Vote with America and Russia and China to pass the United Nations Six Point Plan for Kosovo.

    The reason was not because Euro-America would respect it, but because Kosovo could be the way for the American Republicans to regain the Presidency.

    If the Republicans win the Presidency, then America’s Policy concerning Kosovo will not change, but the Democrats and the Republicans know that they both have used and will use hypocritical and dirty tricks to win Elections, both Congressional and Presidential.

  57. This says:

    I think that HIFA should be started, even if FIFA is doing everything properly according to their Constitution and Charter.

    This is in protest of the Illegal and Immoral War in Kosovo, that began in 1999, and that is continuing to this day.

    Even if a dozen Countries begin HIFA, then the numbers will increase, because dissatisfaction with Euro-America can only increase, and this will help accelerate the decline of the West.

    A Kingdom divided cannot stand, and FIFA and HIFA will be that division, always be a constant reminder to almost Every Citizen on this Planet, on what the issues are, and this is the Divide and Rule Method.

    American Citizen should send a copy of this to their Congressperson who represents them, and tell that Americans do not want to waste Money on Evil Causes.

    America is soon to implode because of the Global Financial Crisis, and savings where possible in the War budget must be made, and unless the Democrats announce that America is leaving Kosovo with accompanying evidence, then we will Vote Republication every way possible at the next Election.

    If we look at History, we really should acknowledge at least privately that Anglo-America is the most intelligent Empire that has ever existed, and that exists.

    What this means is if you want to be Successful, then Copy Successful People.

    Obviously, there will be some occasion where Anglo-America will deceive, but the History is so extensive so that a person can sift the wheat from the chaff, and know what methods, tactics, and strategies worked.

    This consideration needs to begin with the England a few hundred years ago, where Anglo-America began.

    I really think that an Environmentalist Ruler in Any Country will gain the support of enough Greenies, who know that the American Government is more Corrupt and Evil than anyone they are Criticizing or even Slandering because they Love to do Evil, because Anglo-America is the Evil Empire.

  58. This says:

    There are Serbian People who think that if Kosovo ever became Independent, or if there was ever a Greater Albania, then there could be a very smaller Russian Country in Southern Serbia under certain circumstances.

    That area of Southern Serbia should be sold to Russia for a fair price, and it would not be more than 100 square kilometres, and it could be in the corner of Bulgaria and FYROM.

    Obviously, Russia would have unimpeded access to their purchased land, by means of International Law, and a United Nations Security Council Resolution, etc.

    This way Serbia can have some Money, and Serbia needs to be Militarily Neutral, and if the Albanians want any United Nations Security Council Resolutions in their favour, then they will tell America to consent, or for America to leave the Balkans Completely and Permanently.

    We know that one day United Nations Security Council resolution 1244 will need to be replaced or improved to secure Negotiated Autonomy for the Albanians, and all the cluses for the small Russian Country to be part of that new Resolution, or the Albanians can stay in limbo.

    We know that if America says that United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 does not exist, then America should leave the Balkans, and just leave things to Serbia’s Constitutional Arrangements, and then there does not have to be that small Russian Country in the Balkans.

    In the meanwhile, the United Nations Six Point Plan for Kosovo should be Fully Implemented, because it is the Law.

  59. This says:

    The reason for creating HIFA should Only be to highlight Proper and Reasonable Opposition to a Greater Albania.

    The Evil Scheme for Greater Albania became Publically known with 1878 League of Prizren Public Declaration by the Albanians.

    The Albanians have used Evil Dictators like the Ottoman Empire and Hitler’s Third Reich, and lately they are using the American led NATO.

    There should Only be one proper cause for HIFA, because it is important for the World to focus on the Balkans.

  60. This says:

    I think that HIFA should have its own Website, stating that it was created to bring Peace to the Balkans, and it is the Greater Albania Movement that is preventing this.

    As a Natural Consequence the HIFA Website will have much information on the History of the Greater Albania Project.

    The goal of HIFA is to provide Public Information that leads to the Rehabilitation the Majority Albanians who support the Greater Albania Project, in order to incorporate Albanians as Allies of the Balkans, and Allies of the Human Race.

    There should be a Charter or Constitution for HIFA and it should be an improvement of the FIFA Charter or Constitution, and HIFA should be to refer to the Honourable International Football Association.

    We know that the Albanians have committed injustices on all of the Neighbours, and they might all want to switch from FIFA to HIFA.

    It could be that Germany is concerned that some European Countries will join HIFA unless Germany helps them with their Debts.

    It will be against the HIFA Constitution to join for Commercial Reasons, and that would be obvious after known the Facts.

    Countries would join HIFA Only for Reasons having to do with Truth and Justice, and America and Germany will put Great Pressure on HIFA Countries not to do the Right Thing.

    The HIFA Website will also have information like FIFA, and the concerned Nations are using Football to help resolve an issue to make Albanians the Allies of the Human Race, and Albania will be encouraged to join HIFA, but only after they have given up on the Evil Greater Albania Project.

    After the Albanians join HIFA, then the World can all join HIFA, as it will be a superior Organization, and it will only deal with Football, and no longer with the Greater Albania Project, because the Albanians will have become Allies of the Human Race.

    We know that Kosovo is approximately 11,000 square kilometres, and to sell Russia 10 % of what they helped save, would give over 1,000 square kilometres of land.

    That could make several corner bits with 130 square kilometres as new Russian Countries just in Serbia.

    Those corners are Croatia and Republic of Srpska, Croatia and Hungary, Hungary and Romania, Romania and Bulgaria, Bulgaria and FYROM, Serbia and Albania, Serbia and Montenegro, and Montenegro and Republic of Srpska, and then there are other Balkan Countries.

  61. This says:

    I realized that I did write al the corner bits of Serbia correctly, and I should have said that I include Kosovo as part of Serbia, and I hope I list them correctly in the next sentence

    Those corners are Croatia and Republic of Srpska, Croatia and Hungary, Hungary and Romania, Romania and Bulgaria, Bulgaria and FYROM, FYRON and Albania, Albania and Montenegro, and Montenegro and Republic of Srpska, and then there are other Balkan Countries.

  62. This says:

    If HIFA is to be a success, the Russia has to be in it, and preferably start HIFA.

    The Countries that that should be in it Russia, Belarus, Serbia, and preferably one other Balkan Country.

    The Countries will have to pay each Football Player 1 Million Dollars a years, and this Money should be viewed as Defence Spending.

    It is better to wish for a lot and strive for a lot, and to receive even a small percentage of what was wished for and strived for, that to wish for nothing and to strive for nothing and receive 100 % of that.

    Russia is an Ally of the Human Race, and a Greater Albania is not an Ally of the Human Race, but the Albanians can be made to become the Allies of the other Neighbouring Balkan Countries, but only, and only because they fear, and they wish to Avoid Economic Genocide that HIFA could guarantee.

    Russia should finance a few Continental European Teams for 1 Million Dollars a year to play for HIFA in an Unofficial Capacity, in order to provide some bulk, and to provide publicity and news, and the Money spent here is a pittance and is Defence Spending, and it is in Russia’s Interest to have Albanians as the Allies of the Human Race, and we know that America can never be the Ally of the Human Race.

    I know that if the Americans were doing it, they would make a profit on it, and I think if it is done professionally a profit can be made on it, although, any Money to have all Continental European be the Allies of the Human Race would be Money that is wisely invested.

    People will buy a range of HIFA products, and for 1 Million Dollars a player per year, with the contract reviewed every year, would ensure some quality players who may be wanted by FIFA one day, because these players receive very good coaching, and they train a lot.

    These players are those who have talent, but there is only a few places on the National FIFA team, but they will take the 1 Million Dollars a year, and receive coaching and training, and publicity.

    The definition of insanity is doing the same things over and over, and hoping that you will get a different result, even in the Balkans, or much of Continental Europe.

    If Russia and Belarus were the only ones in HIFA then it would be effective, and it would be an Opportunity Duty, yes Opportunity Duty to reveal some Dirt on the European Union Elites to the Citizens of the European Union, rather than just let them continue to Maliciously Slander Russia and Belarus, and others.

    The following News Item shows the Secret Agenda of America with their Greater Albanian Project.

    Serbian investigative reporter, Marko Lopusina, tells me that Washington strategists are in advanced stages of planning to form a unified large Albanian state in the Balkans and anoint it with the most modern navy so that it will control the Adriatic sea. Sources tell Lopusina that the large Albania is to be comprised of captured Kosovo and, eventually Macedonia which could be completely absorbed by the Albanian criminal entrepreneurs. Once formed, Albania will be armed and its navy strengthened so that it could control the Ionian Sea. That, sources say, is so that Montenegro and Croatia could be cut off and made dependent on Germany, while Greece would be surrounded by the Turkish military from all sides, including to the north, in the Albanian held territories of Kosovo and Macedonia. Tells Lopusina: New Year’s headline that got the attention of the Serbs were media reports that Americans are leaving Kosovo by the end of 2012 as part of the general austerity measures in the U.S. armed forces. The report came from the Albanian NLA agency, quoting sources from the high U.S. administration and confirmed by the Albanian lobbyist in Washington, Joe DioGuardi, and the Congressional House Armed Services Committee Chairman Howard P. “Buck” McKeon. NLA also said that Washington plans to hand over Bondsteel to the Turkish military, termed by the NLA as “loyal allies” of the independent Kosovo. US military denied the pull out and the hand over but noted that the US military will not remain in Kosovo forever but will, one day, pull out. The grand idea here is to carve up Balkans so that Russian influence is contained inside rump Serbia which will be kept under tension of violence, threats and ultimatums so that the US presence in the Balkans could be justified. Once Albania and Turkey establish land and sea domination, sources tell Lopusina, then Serbia will be made member of NATO and the EU so that Russia will be, once and for all, kicked off the Balkans. But what will be done with the massive military site at Bondsteel? Lopusina says that sources tell him that Kosovo Albanians and the Turks are lobbying Washington to hand over Bondsteel, and in return, the Turks will help US to overthrow Syria’s Assad.

    The Slogan for the HIFA Website could be: The Price of Liberty is Eternal Vigilance, and that has proved to be True up till now for Continental Europe.

    The Price of Liberty is eternal vigilance, and that has proved to be true up till now for Continental Europe, and it will prove true in the future, and HIFA along with the HIFA Website with provide this vigilance for Continental Europe, and make the Albanians the Allies of the Human Race, which is the goal of all Decent People of Continental Europe to be Allies of the Human Race.

  63. This says:

    The Present Government Croatia falsely claim that they want good Relations with Serbia, but the Present Croatian Government should have said that they want good Relations with the Serbian People.

    We know that Croatian Leaders in the past have long wanted good Relations with the Land Territory of Krajina, and they found their way to do that.

    This was done by means of American approved genocide that is Celebrated as a National Day of Great Importance with a Public Holiday in Croatia on the 5 August of every year.

    I am certain that Croatia would like some more Serbian Land in order to have good Relations with Serbia as Represented by its Soil.

    However, if Croatians want to start to have good Relations with Serbians, then the first step is to withdraw support for the Illegal and Immoral unilateral declaration of independence by the leaders of the Albanians of Serbia’s Province of Kosovo, and another thing is for Croatia stop lying telling so Many Lies to Themselves and to Others.

    Another thing for the Present Government of Croatia to do is to remind America to scrap the Kumanovo Agreement, because there Could be Some People who might think that America and some NATO Countries are Fifth and Evil to restrict a Country Militarily even on its Territory that is undisputed even by the Rubbish that is America and NATO, and we know that Croatia is a Glad and Compliant Member of that Evil Organization called NATO.

    If this is not done soon, then the Present Government of Croatia should put forward a United Nations General Assembly Motion to this effect, to prove that it wants good Relations with Serbia.

    The Croatian President Ivo Josipovic will not attend the Inauguration of Presideny Tomislav Nikolic, because of President Tomislav Nikolic’s Patriotic Policies.

    According to Media Sources, Josipovic mentioned that President Tomislav Nikolic said that Vukovar is a Serbian town, and that there was no genocide in Srebrenica, and that this against European Values, or as Many People see it; it is against the Fourth Reich Values, or more precisely, their Lack of Values.

    We know that Hitler wanted to have good Relations with Greece, as long as Greece was his Puppet, but that Retard Mussolini attacked Greece without Hitler’s permission or knowledge, and the Greeks won against the Italians, but the Germans soon occupied Greece.

    Hitler was furious, because this delayed his plans to attack the Soviet Union, and we see that Hitler’s Good Neighborly Relations was only a Lie for an Ulterior Motive.

    The Croatian President said that Croatia has made significant progress in the past two to three years with the Puppet Tadic who dropped the Genocide case against Croatia and he knows that there is no Statute of Limitations on Genocide.

    Slovenia is a Member of the European Union, and Croatia will soon be, and that could not have happened to two nicer Countries, yet Slovenia disputes that the Gulf of Piran is Slovenian.

    As a Typical Hardened Hypocrite, the Croatian President uses Tactless words concerning Serbian Kosovo, the Serbian People, and Serbia, and Actions Speak Louder Than Words.

    I am more than convinced that the Croatian President would have invented some other Pathetic Excuses not to want good Relations with Serbia, because he uses the Stock Standard Pathetic Excuse that those who want to keep what is theirs are Nationalists.

    The truth of the matter is that those who only want what is theirs are just Normal and Patriotic, and not Puppets or Traitors to their People who were betrayed with some Election Lies, in order for the Traitors to enrich themselves at the expense of their own People, and guess why the Croatian President likes Tadic and Clique, rather than the Patriotic People.

  64. This says:

    The Kosovo Albanian Politicians must First Confess that they are Terrorists and Thieves, and they Must Confess this in an International News Conference that just the Albanian Politicians will attend and be Filmed for Global News, because there can be no Reconciliation without Truth.
    The Kosovo Albanian Politicians must renounce their Terrorisms, their Thefts, their Murders, their driving others from their Homes and Land, and from their Slanders against Serbia, and they Must Confess that they are Serbian Citizens of Albanian Ethnicity.

    As Serbian Citizens they will know to keep away from people who do not want your Company, and that is the Human Right of Every Human Being on this Earth.

    The Serb in the North have nothing to Negotiate, because they will not Compromise with the Law, or with their human rights, but it is up to others to show that they wish to join the Human Race.

    The Kosovo Albanian Politicians will Lobby Hard for the Kumanovo Agreement to be scrapped, and these are the first things that must be done by the Kosovo Albanian Authorities.

    The Kosovo Albanian Politicians will ask the Americans to leave Kosovo Completely and Permanently, but only if it is in Serbia’s Interest.

    After these things, the Kosovo Albanian Politicians will Fully accept the United Nations Six Point Plan for Kosovo, as it a reasonable and Sensible interim Compromise, and it will cover the Shame of America’s fake Humanitarian Mission in Kosovo, and its fake democratic Mission in Serbia.

    I wonder if the European Commission will deny that Lithuania is under orders by Germany to block the implementation of the SAA Agreement.

    Lithuania, as a Traditional German Ally, and as the last Country to withhold the implementation of the SAA Agreement promised to Implement the SAA Agreement sometime this Month.

    People are wondering if this will happen on 9 June 2012, as definite symbolism that Nazism has been Conquered once again in Europe, with the approval of all European Union Countries, but this Decision is Secretly Entirely up to Germany.

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