Shoshana Bryen Has a Chip on Her Shoulder. Perhaps it Came From Her Head.

Uncle Volodya says,”Ignorance, allied with power, is the most ferocious enemy justice can have.”

August, overall, was good to us. Here on the Kremlin Stooge, we had our second-best month ever in terms of hits, and sometime a couple of days ago we rolled quietly past a quarter-million – we now sit at 256,093. That’s not much compared with, say, Alexei Navalny and his million hits a day, but it’s not bad for a small blog. The weather here where I live finally turned for the better, and we got payback in spades for the lousy start to summer we saw in June and the first half of July. Best of all – for me – the last two posts were guest efforts which did extremely well, so I just coasted and racked up the hits with absolutely zero work; Kovane’s “Russia At The WTO Gate” drew 3,143 hits as of today, and 547 comments, while Yalensis’ “The KirovLes Case and the Navalny/Ofitserov Email Trail” pulled in 2,600 hits and elicited 494 comments. Great job, guys. Hopefully your tour-de-force performances will inspire some of those slackers out there.

Then, just when the genteel golden dying of summer in all its splendor brought tears to the eyes of the poets…the 3:10 from Ignorance pulled out of the station, with Shoshana Bryen shoveling on the coal (thanks to Mike Averko for the link). Figuratively speaking, of course; the only coal-fired steam trains left in the United States are novelties.

Is everyone familiar with the phrase, “to have a chip on one’s shoulder”? It is believed to originate from boys placing a small chip of wood on their shoulder, daring anyone to knock it off, whereupon there would be a fight. Shoshana Bryen’s ignorant blather is as full of casual and deliberate insult as a peapod is full of peas – I wonder who she’s challenging? Let’s see.

Well, she’s right that the Polish government did beg for a missile shield to protect it against Russian missiles. And that’s unfortunate, for a couple of reasons, from the western standpoint. One, it exposed the soothing official explanation that the missile shield was purpose-built to protect Eastern Europe from an attack by rogue missiles from Iran as the high-octane horseshit it is. Oh, no, said Brigadier-General John Hesterman of the Joint Staff; radars could be re-oriented and the missile shield could be adapted to thwart missiles coming from elsewhere. Precisely what the U.S. government said all along it could not do, or that it had no intention ever of doing. Other options which were eagerly discussed by the Polish government were a revolving deployment of  American F-16 fighters and a small support element – doubtless to guard against rogue fighter elements of Iranian aircraft which managed somehow to fly nearly 2,500 miles when the combat radius of the average fighter is a little better than a tenth of that – C-130 Hercules rotations from Ramstein AFB in Germany (perhaps to airlift Polish troops to meet a rogue element of the Republican Guard that had just run 2,500 miles with fixed bayonets to rape Polish girls and spear Polish babies), or a Naval Special Warfare unit to be stationed at Gdansk or Gdynia (to protect Poland from attack by rogue units of the Iranian navy who had sailed around Siberia to…well, you get the picture). Obviously, the pre-chewed nonsense about the missile shield being oriented against Iran was always specious, and the shield was specifically designed to weaken Russia’s nuclear deterrent capability. Which would hardly provide a direct benefit to Poland, by the way, as it is within easy reach of conventional forces it would not have a hope of stopping. Weakening the Russian nuclear deterrent would give the USA and UK more bargaining power, however.

Oh; and two, the installation of a missile shield in Poland has always been a government pet project that has been consistently opposed by a majority of the Polish electorate. Not that something like the public being opposed to it is going to deter a neoconservative Likudnik like Bryen. Still, it does make it difficult to sell the notion that America is all about spreading democracy and the religion of one man, one vote, don’t you think?

She also avers that Russia has “staked its position as the guardian and defender of Syria”. I understand why that might upset her if it were true, because there is nothing the United States could do to more clearly stake its position as the guardian and defender of Israel that would suit her – you could move the entire U.S. Armed Forces to Israel and she would still cluck with worry that Israel’s ambitions and activities were not sufficiently secure, while Syria is an objector to those selfsame ambitions and activities as well as being directly confrontational over the ownership of the Golan Heights. But where did Russia state its willingness to go to war on Syria’s behalf? I mean, there’s no shortage of such bellicose rhetoric on America’s part where Israel is concerned, is there? Prominent American media sources say President Obama not only expressed “rock-solid resolution” on the question of Israel’s security, he and the American people paid for and installed Israel’s Iron Dome short range anti-rocket system. Did President Putin ever express such guarantees on Syria’s behalf prior to American-led western efforts to topple the Syrian government using proxy forces which include international terrorists al Qaeda? Show me. Did Russia design, build and install a defensive missile system for Syria courtesy of the Russian taxpayer? Sure, most of Syria’s military equipment was supplied by Russia – all contracted for and paid for by the Syrian government. I hope we’re not going to imply some degree of equivalency there, considering the United States is the world’s biggest arms dealer by a wide margin, and you couldn’t swing a cat by the tail in Saudi Arabia without hitting an F-15 Eagle or an M1-A2 Abrams tank, despite Saudi Arabia’s rejection of the Camp David Accords, support for a peaceful solution to Palestinian sovereignty aspirations and absence of diplomatic relations with Israel. It is also, according to Freedom House, among the world’s 20 most repressive regimes.

What Russia – and China, as well – did was insist on adherence to international law, which prohibits initiating wars of aggression. The world had the example of  Libya to sample as a blueprint, and believe me, this would be exactly the same, extending even to the same actors – Abdelhakim Belhadj, a Libyan high in the ranks of al Qaeda, who was instrumental in the NATO-backed overthrow of the Gaddafi government in Libya, currently commands the “rebels” known as the Free Syrian Army, together with some 600 “volunteers” from al Qaeda in Libya.

What else you got, Shoshana? Oh, here we go – Putin is jailing rock singers for “hooliganism”, jailing businessmen (spelt “K-h-o-d-o-r-k-o-v-s-k-y”) for “corruption”, murdering journalists and dissidents, stealing elections and eviscerating civil and contract law which was just fine until he messed with it.

It’s difficult to describe how tiresome this is getting. Pussy Riot are not rock singers. They are not singers of any description, and have never released a record – although their special front-girl, Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, did participate with the “art collective” Voina in an impromptu performance in a Moscow courtroom (during a trial); an “action” they titled “Cock In The Ass”, featuring a song called “All Cops Are Bastards”. Nice. Want them for neighbours? They claim to be opposed to salaried employment, and live by stealing food and drink from stores. This enthusiastic review of the performance artists, by Forrest Muelrath, burbles on about “artistic cleverness” which is “breaking through the barriers of liberalism”: Americans love them – provided they stay in Russia, making trouble. I somehow can’t imagine the residents of Jesus Korners, USA welcoming their shenanigans with open arms, especially if they knew the “art collective” was planning on settling in the community. Hello, Steve? Yeah, listen; why don’t you and Shoshana come on over – a few of us are getting together in the back yard, and Pussy Riot’s going to come by later! Right; hey, maybe they’ll do “Cock In The Ass!!” Or paint a six-foot dick on our garage door; you just never know with those zany artists, do you? Bring the grandkids!! Oh, and don’t mention that you have a job, it makes the girls a little twitchy.

Any number of legitimate rock acts have played Russia, with no more problems than anywhere else – Monsters of Rock (AC/DC, Metallica, Pantera, Queensryche, Motley Crue and The Black Crowes) played Tushino airfield in 1991 in front of a half-million people, when Russia was still fresh from being the core of the Soviet Union. The vocalist from Pantera wore a full-face devil mask. Nobody freaked out, or suggested he should be jailed. Mind you, he didn’t do it in a church. Modern international rock acts play Moscow every year, without a murmur of protest from the public or the ROC.

And once again, the conversation turns to Mikhail Khodorkovsky, wrongfully-jailed businessman extraordinaire, political football in the cut and thrust of gutter politics in Russia. Say, did you know that after he was found guilty the second time and sentenced, he appealed to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR)? You’d sort of expect, you know, because they have “Human Rights” in their title, that if they could have found even the slightest pretext to rule in Khodorkovsky’s favour – given that he became overnight like one of those pictures of the little dog with the huge, sad eyes, and everyone just wanted to take him home and love him and give him all their money – they would have done so; take that, Putin, you lousy political fixer. Did you happen to catch the verdict? The EHCR ruled that Khodorkovsky had failed to prove his arrest and subsequent trial were politically motivated. They didn’t say they weren’t politically motivated – just that Khodorkovsky with his platoon of lawyers and the most sympathetic judicial ear this side of Samuel Alito had been unable to convince the court. I don’t know why we have to keep going over and over this. Khodorkovsky is in jail for “corruption” because his conviction for corrupt practices was upheld by an international court comprised of countries strongly biased in favour of the defendant.

Did Putin steal the presidential election? Well, of course the west would like to think so, and does think so. But this pretty much sums it up: “Monitors Say Vote Skewed For Putin“. You don’t say. The vote was skewed in favour of the winner. Hey, wouldn’t it be embarrassing if the vote was skewed in favour of the loser? Think you’ll ever see that? There were all kinds of allegations of fraud, like there always are, but there didn’t seem to be any stomach for pursuing them once it was established that they were not going to make the public rise up in wrath and chuck Putin out on his ear. Every time western “monitors” see a bus with people in it on voting day, they yell, “carousel voting” and “Putin is busing in supporters”. Nobody seemed to think it strange that the whole area to one side of Bolotnaya Ploshchad was shoulder-to-shoulder with empty city buses on the day of the “massive public demonstration”, so apparently it’s okay to “bus in supporters” as long as they are carrying anti-Putin signs. Nobody ever provided any real proof of carousel voting, and any allegations of ballot-stuffing were promptly dealt with by junking the whole box. But the real story is down at the bottom, under “in other developments” :

  • The UK acknowledged the Russian presidential election had delivered “a decisive result” in favour of Vladimir Putin despite “some problems”
  • French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said: “Despite some criticism… the re-election of President Putin is not in doubt”.

That would seem to be at odds with the title “Monitors Say Vote Skewed For Putin”, wouldn’t it? Unless that’s British for “Putin Won, Damn It”. What a spiteful bunch of nancies.

Winding up this broadside of bullshit, yet another “fact” that is unsubstantiated by anything – “The rise of the Orthodox Church – and its popularity with young people – is striking.”

Does “striking” mean “totally fabricated”? Yes, as so often happens when some Russophobe just pulls the information from their hindquarters, the opposite is true. Or is probably true – nobody could know for certain, because the Russian Orthodox Church keeps no membership rolls or parish registers. But Nationmaster – sourced from the World Values Survey – puts all church attendance in Russia at 2%: less than one-tenth the weighted average, bottom of the list at number 53 of 53 countries surveyed and less than one-twentieth the total of United States church attendance. If the rise in the influence of the Russian Orthodox Church is striking, what are we to make of those buggy-eyed zealots who are twenty times more in thrall to the church’s power?

This is nothing more than Shoshana Bryen slapping another coat of booga-booga scary nonsense on her conservative agenda. When I referred to her as a Likudnik, I wasn’t kidding. Her husband was a co-founder of the neo-conservative Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs (JINSA), and Shoshana Bryen succeeded him as Director for 10 years, from 1981 to 1991. When she was forced out of there (fired, actually; apparently there is such a thing as too conservative for JINSA) earlier this year, she took the helm at the Jewish Policy Institute.  She characterizes the notion that America’s one-sided support for Israel is harmful to national interests as “a fraud of the highest order”, although it has cost the USA the moral high ground it once owned, time and again. An aim of JINSA is assuring strategic cooperation between the U.S. and Israel, pushing U.S. – Israeli weapons contracts, nurturing military-to-military relations and pushing a hard line on Middle East peace negotiations. “JINSA”, writes journalist Jason Vest “relishes denouncing virtually any type of contact between the U.S. government and Syria and finding new ways to demonize the Palestinians.”

And, if you needed reminding, Shoshana Bryen is too conservative for JINSA. This is just more of Shoshana, unfortunately, being Shoshana.

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712 Responses to Shoshana Bryen Has a Chip on Her Shoulder. Perhaps it Came From Her Head.

  1. Misha says:

    Within reason, one can argue that a truer conservative would take issue with what PR did in the church in question, while lauding how the Russian legal system prosecutes against such behavior.

    On the subject of American Jews with a noticeably exhibited sympathy for Israel, note that Ed Koch supports the action taken against PR.

    Russia bashing has included elements on the left and right. Conversely, one can find constructive criticism of Russia among others on the left and right.

    Concerning Jewry and Israel, the left-right divide has a somewhat similar (though different) situation, where some conservatives seem to take a more moderate position from the neocons.

    • marknesop says:

      “…one can argue that a truer conservative would take issue with what PR did in the church in question, while lauding how the Russian legal system prosecutes against such behavior.”

      That might be true if all other Christian religions recognized the Russian Orthodox faith as a Christian faith, but they don’t. Therefore the American bible belt can deliriously support Pussy Riot, while brushing aside their sacrilege as having only interfered with a pagan religion anyway – why, in their own cute pixie way, they are missionaries as well as philosophers!!

      • Misha says:

        Many among the major denominations don’t challenge the legitimacy of the ROC-MP. You touch on how some suggest the ROC-MP to be a farcical denomination.

        Comparatively speaking to what’s evident elsewhere, that’s not the case. Someone gave me a mantra about how Stalin gave the ROC-MP greater freedom during WW II, followed by a period of (limited) freedom during the rest of the Soviet period as “proof” of a flawed denomination.

        For that matter, other denominations in the former Communist bloc operated with the knowledge of the governments in the nations in question.

        On suspect ties with an oppressor (Nazis), corruption (in one form or another) and greatly amassed wealth, the ROC-MP doesn’t come close to ranking at the top of the chart. Ditto the ROC-MP’s more zealous doing things like flying airplanes into buildings with the intent to kill many.

        The preceding isn’t intended to bash other denominations. Rather, it’s to bring levity to the exhibited bias against the ROC-MP.

  2. yalensis says:

    Kovane’s “Russia At The WTO Gate” drew 3,143 hits as of today, and 547 comments, while Yalensis’ “The KirovLes Case and the Navalny/Ofitserov Email Trail” pulled in 2,600 hits and elicited 494 comments. Great job, guys. Hopefully your tour-de-force performances will inspire some of those slackers out there.

    Thanks, @mark! And thanks also for giving me opportunity to do that last post on your blog. I learned that it takes a lot of work to do a credible post, and made me appreciate all the more how much effort you put into each one!

  3. yalensis says:

    Excellent post, by the way.

    I noticed there were some great debunkatory comments to Ms. Bryen’s article. I particularly liked the one which called the expression “American Thinker” an oxymoron. Sad but true, ha ha!

    P.S. “Jesus Korners, USA” – REALLY?? If there is such a town, is probably in West Texas. I laughed myself silly!

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks, Yalensis! It’s funny you should mention that “American Thinker” bit, because you would have had to see that on the WordPress site itself, inside the blog; it never made it into the final post. I was picking away at it on Friday, and left it open on a different computer when I left for home. Therefore, none of those changes were saved, and I couldn’t access them from home, so I reconstructed it as well as I could remember, and the jab at the American Thinker just got left out.

      Just as well, really; the American Thinker is a conservative publication, and it reflects American Conservative thought – might makes right, and everyone is jealous of the United States because it is wealthy and free. Government should be limited to controlling the borders and protecting Israel, while the economy should be left to the free market to run. But the “American Thinker” oxymoron bit might have been taken as a suggestion that Americans are stupid, and that is demonstrably not true. Not even all conservatives are stupid, and Shoshana Bryen herself is probably far from stupid. It’s very rare that an individual acts contrarily to the best interests of society as a whole out of stupidity, and much more often it turns out to be stubbornness and blind allegiance to a destructive ideology.

      I’m sure Jesus Korners is not a real place, and actually it is a riff on Stephen King, from a place he once called “Kleen Korners”; I think it was in “The Stand”. On checking, I learned that Kleen Korners is a real place, although it is not a mythical town as King intended, but a business in Lake Havasu City, Arizona.

  4. yalensis says:

    I saw this piece in RT about all the foreign jihadists pouring into Syria, like so much global filth all rushing into this unfortunate formerly advanced Arab nation, now the world’s toilet:

    According to informal statistics conducted by Doc without Borders Jacques Beres, of the wounded soldiers he treated in Aleppo, about 60 out of 100 were rebels (the other 40 must have been loyalists), and of those 60, 30 were non-Syrians. Some were even French. These were in fact the most fanatical jihadists were fantasized about building their global emirate.

    Add to this mix Turkish army officers and troops: As noted in the piece linked by Misha, Turkey is openly invading Syria from the north. In summary, Syrian army really has their hands full now, dealing with all these bad players.

    • AK says:

      They do get about a lot. Two days ago they were in Brazil. I wonder where they get the money for all this travel?

      • Leos Tomicek says:

        There is a speculation that a certain individual named Rabinovych, a wealthy man from Ukraine who supports hard left causes, is backing them. Google it, but it is just based on conjecture in my opinion. Then there is DJ Hell and Jed Sanden, those were confirmed by FEMEN themselves, one is German Techno DJ and producer, and the other one holds a media empire. From what I hear, FEMEN are not starved when it comes to money.

        • kirill says:

          That’s what I hate about these scumbags. They are not doing this “anarchism” on their own coin and have some sugar daddies to bankroll their soft terrorism. I think this sort of arrangement should be made highly illegal with 10-20 year jail terms. There is no free speech angle to it and its main function is to disrupt.

          If somebody wants to spend money to send a message, then put up a website or buy some political ads.

          • Misha says:


            On your point about outside funding/publicity, consider the assertion that there’s some kind of a Russian government funded “comrades of the internet”.

            From the looks of things, much of the constructively critical pro-Russian advocacy isn’t receiving such a compensation – a point leading to changing/improving some of what the Russian government involves itself with vis-a-vis English language media and PR efforts.

    • marknesop says:

      Brilliant!!! It only gets uncomfortable when it gets close to home; we’ll see how many nutbags feel like prancing around in the streets of Amsterdam sporting colourful balaclavas after that. Westerners only feel a little bit naughty about cuddling cheek to cheek with anarchy when the anarchists are wrecking stuff in someone else’s country, preferably a country they don’t like. I can’t wait until they’re painting giant dicks on the front of Westboro Baptist Church; see how many people punch the air for Pussy Riot then.

      Lest we forget, Pussy Riot’s appeal still has yet to come together as well, and none of this is doing it a bit of good. Perhaps it’s their defense lawyers who are circulating all the stories about foreign cross-cutting – they certainly seem disposed to lose the appeal, since a representative for the defense already gloomily forecast to the press that they would lose. Of course: how can you claim to be crushed under the heel of a brutal dictator if you win on appeal? What kind of candy-ass dictator would allow that? It’s absolutely essential for the overall cause of opposition liberalism that Pussy Riot go to jail, and otherwise they and FEMEN are just annoying hoodlums rather than Freedom Fighterz Inc.

      • kirill says:

        In my view, FEMEN and the Voina, “anarchists” are paid stooges. They will not bite the hands that feed them. They also have enough grey matter to realize that their racket is only going to last and garner them accolades from the west only as long as they do all their shitting in the “unwest”. Which, is your point and the essential one.

        • marknesop says:

          I tend to think of them as something you do for a couple of years, when you’re young and foolish and want the cool points of being associated with such an edgy crowd. But I doubt more than 5% do it out of any deeply-rooted sense of conviction. Quite a bit like the anti-war movement at Woodstock in 1969: if all the people who later said they were there actually were there, the state would not have been big enough to hold them. But of those who were there and, when Country Joe McDonald yelled at them, “What’s that spell??” and the crowd roared back “FUCK!!!” so loud you could feel it in your diaphragm on a good sound system even though you were only listening to the record…how many really understood the moral implications of America’s commitment to the war in Vietnam? How many had any understanding at all of the “creeping menace” of communism, and how many were just there because they saw an opportunity to catch a ride on a defining moment of their generation, get high and groove on some of the greatest music ever; to be part of an elite crowd at an event that would never come again?

          One of the comments here illustrates perfectly what I mean; “I want to watch a movie and really feel like im hanging out with a bunch of hippies at woodstock! Is there anything like that? I just wanna live the dream man. P.S: Loved Taking Woodstock and Revolution!”

          How many in FEMEN and Voina – not to mention their enthusiastic international supporters – are just getting off on being seen to run with a notorious crowd?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Neither the Voina mob or the FEMEN crowd are especially young though, are they? They all seem to be in their late 20s or early 30s. One of the founders of Voina, Natalya Sokol, is a “кандидат наук” (candidate of sciences) – in microbiology, I think – namely she’s roughly equivalent to a Ph.D in the Anglosphere, and she’s no kid, although that’s the revolutionary soubriquet that she answers to: Kozlyonok (козлёнок) – “The Kid”.

            Here she is photographed next to the other founder of Voina, her husband, Oleg Vorotnikov, who is holding their child:


            He’s no “kid” as well.

            And though she’s clearly academically smart, Sokol ain’t that clever really because she’s in hiding/on the run now, or whatever, as there is an international warrant out for her arrest:


            Nor do the FEMEN exhibitionists appear to be in the full bloom of their youth either. They all seem to be in their mid- to late-20s.

            I belong to that generation that protested in Europe in 1968. I was 19 then. One of the student protest leaders at that time, “Danny the Red” (Daniel Cohn-Bendit) was 23. He’s now a “respected ” Bundestag politician.

            Most of those 1968 protesting students whom I was acquainted with became respected members of the bourgoisie; “Danny the Red” mutated in the space of 20 years or so from a socialist “red in tooth and claw” into a boring old bourgoise German Bundestag Green, a centrist who in 1988 wrote a book, “Nous l’avons tant aimée, la révolution (We Loved It So Much, the Revolution), his nostalgic memoirs of his 1968 counter-culture activities. Oh what a grand lark it was! (Cohn-Bendit is the progeny of bourgeois German Jews who fled to France from Nazi Germany: he was brought up in France and has dual French-German nationality. His lawyer father must have had some pull in Vichy France because none of his immediate family were packed of to the extermination camps in Poland.)


            And while 28-year old student drop-out Tolokonnikova reads philosophical works in gaol and Natalya Sokol Ph.D is in hiding from the police, very many of the present student population of Moscow marched gaily through the capital’s streets yesterday in celebration of the start of the academic year.

            • marknesop says:

              Yes, I saw that photo on another Voina site, taken from a slightly different angle. Must’ve been at about the same moment, though, because her husband’s pyjamas or whatever he’s wearing are just about to drop to his ankles in both photos. Pleasant enough looking people, really (except for John-Dillinger-in-waiting there on the left), they look as harmless as Tom Good and his wife Barbara in that 70’s Britcom, “Good Neighbours”. Ha, ha; I loved that show – my Brit ex-wife made me watch, it but I quickly developed into a fan in my own right.

              You’re quite right that none of them – FEMEN included – are what you could call crazy kids anymore, but people seem these days to be still pursuing teenhood long after our generation gave it up; I still see guys in their early 20’s on skateboards. Maybe it’s just something people hang onto when they’re trying to put off the moment they have to get a job and settle into the harness of being an adult.

              I think Tolokonnikova is younger than that; about 22, isn’t she? Yeah, according to Wikipedia she was born in 89, so that’d make her 23. Still, a bit long in the tooth to be acting like she’s an 18-year-old rebel. Especially considering she has a child.

              • yalensis says:

                Some people are late bloomers.
                People say 30 is the new 20.

                • yalensis says:

                  I hate anarchists.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  More FEMEN copycat madness AND criminality!


                  In the Murmansk region people are being offered money to cut down revered crosses.

                  By means of this act of vandalism, FEMEN based within the Arctic Circle wants to show support for Pussy Riot.

                  From the stupid Pussy Riot event of staging a punk prayer in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, the circles have been expanding no less wider than they do on water, but ever more idiotically. First of all there was the Khamovnichesky Court splitting society into two parts by its sentencing of the “Pussies” to an inordinately cruel 2 years in a prison camp. Then activists of the Ukrainian movement FEMEN, made famous because of their topless events, cut down an Orthodox cross in Kiev – ostensibly in defence of Pussy Riot and in protest against repression. It is ironic that this shrine had just been installed in memory of those who were repressed in the 1930s. Following the Kiev crosses, sawing began in the Chelyabinsk, Vologda and Arkhangelsk regions. Now it looks like the sick fad has rolled northwards.

                  At least Murmansk citizen Karina Pankova, organizer of the Murmansk region FEMEN branch, had announced on her social network page that an attack directed against the Orthodox Church was being prepared. So far not one noticeable action has been undertaken by the arctic circle FEMEN members. They clearly aren’t demanding much, so Karina is ready to pay for acts – of vandalism. In Kandalaksha, where Pankova comes from, leaflets have already appeared with the appeal “Saw crosses down! Save Russia!” By the way, in this town there are two revered crosses, which seem now to be under police guard.

                  “Cross-cutting will cost 6 thousand rubles”, Karina Pankova unashamedly told a Komsomolskaya Pravda correspondent. “The inscription on it – 2 thousand rubles, and the inscription on the Church façade – 3 thousand. Participants are guaranteed protection and the ability to go abroad.

                  It’s crazy when fighting for freedom of speech and expression takes this form. Compared to this, even the punk prayer in the cathedral looks like innocent fun. And when they start paying willy-nilly so that such acts of vandalism take place, you begin to think that the world gone mad! And giving them a good spanking just won’t stop them.

                • marknesop says:

                  It still sounds like children to me; the proud boasting that it has split society when it has done nothing even close to that – unless they are talking about more conclusively dividing Russian society, which is against it, and western society, which is all for it as long as it’s happening in Russia. But I don’t think we really needed any more division there. It’d actually be a great moment for rapprochement – if, for example, a western church offered to send volunteers to Russia to guard religious property, or to donate a new cross to Kiev, hand-carved by their own congregation. Even the papers would have to grudgingly take notice of that. But it’s not likely anything like that will happen, because many denominations don’t recognize the Russian Orthodox Church as a Christian religion.

                  And in a way, FEMEN and the whole anarchist crowd are like bratty children; they keep feeling for a nerve, a button, and when they find one they hammer on it relentlessly.

                  They’re extremely shortsighted, both of them, because their guerilla warfare tactics can have only two outcomes, simplified. Society will recognize the justice of their complaint, and order churches not only to tone down their image so that nothing visible from outside should indicate a building is a church, but drastically reducing the freedom of worship so as to curb the power of the church – or the laws will be toughened to protect those same things and free up extra judicial power to treat actions such as those which are taking place as serious hate crimes, with punishments that are geared toward a society which is too stupid to police itself. History suggests that if you can’t police yourself, authority will do it for you. Did we need more authority and more laws, do you think?

                  And I wish they’d stop with the “Pussy Riot was sentenced to 2 years in a prison camp”, like it was Stalag 13 and they’re going to be made into lampshades or something. They’re in jail. Detention. Not hard labour.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Before I go back to work:

                  In any country where the rule of law reigns supreme, Pankova would now be under arrest. There are those that maintain that in Russia there is no rule of law and that Putin is a dictator who, together with his brutal secret police, controls every aspect of a person’s life there.

                  Makes me think of another tyrant – A VERY REAL ONE.

                  Just imagine if some protest movement had existed in Nazi Germany just long enough so that itsmembers could hand out leaflets offering money to those interested in hacking down flagstaffs from which were fluttering banners bearing the reviled swastika.

                  In fact, something similar did take place in Munich in the ’40s: an organization started by two students and an academic at the university there. The founding students, brother and sister (Hans and Sophie Scholl) in fact, started handing out leaflets demanding civil disobedience towards the regime. They, members of the “White Rose” – as the protest movement called itself – were promptly arrested and guillotined.

                  “On 18 February 1943, coincidentally the same day that Nazi propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels called on the German people to embrace total war in his Sportpalast speech, the Scholls brought a suitcase full of leaflets to the university. They hurriedly dropped stacks of copies in the empty corridors for students to find when they flooded out of lecture rooms. Leaving before the class break, the Scholls noticed that some copies remained in the suitcase and decided it would be a pity not to distribute them. They returned to the atrium and climbed the staircase to the top floor, and Sophie flung the last remaining leaflets into the air. This spontaneous action was observed by the custodian Jakob Schmid. The police were called and Hans and Sophie Scholl were taken into Gestapo custody. Sophie and Hans were interrogated by Gestapo interrogator Robert Mohr, who initially thought Sophie was innocent. However, after Hans confessed, Sophie assumed full responsibility in an attempt to protect other members of the White Rose. Despite this, the other active members were soon arrested, and the group and everyone associated with them were brought in for interrogation.

                  The Scholls and Probst were the first to stand trial before the Volksgerichtshof—the People’s Court that tried political offenses against the Nazi German state—on 22 February 1943. They were found guilty of treason and Roland Freisler, head judge of the court, sentenced them to death. The three were executed the same day by
                  guillotine at Stadelheim Prison.”


                • cartman says:

                  Is paying money to someone for them to commit a criminal act a criminal act in itself? Is there something about the constitution that allows one to hire hitmen (considering all the Yeltsin oligarchs got rich this way)? I do hope to see Karina Pankova in her own cage.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              And from from the very mouth of one of those persons whom FEMEN and the Western media and Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers and Sting etc., etc., etc. defend, namely the recognized leader of the convicted PR 3 leader, Tolokonnikova, as reported in one of a seriesof Moskovskaya Pravda articles that analysed the PR Trial:

              Дело Pussy Riot: Толоконникова объяснила, что значили её слова

              Состоялись прения сторон по делу группы Pussy Riot. Обвинитель отметил, что девушки попросили прощения за свои действия, но не за обиду, которую нанесли верующим, поэтому заслуживают по три года колонии. По словам же адвокатов, ХХС вообще не является храмом, а значит, выступление там никого не оскорбляет. А одна из обвиняемых рассказала, что означали слова «срань господня»…

              [The Pussy Riot Trial: Tolokonnikova has explained what her words meant.

              There took part a debate between the prosecution and defence in the Pussy Riot trial. The prosecution noted that the girls had asked forgiveness for their actions, but not for offending the believers, so they deserve up to three years in prison. According to the defence counsel, however, Christ the Saviour Cathedral was not a cathedral, and, therefore, their performance there offended nobody. One of the accused then said what the words "Our Lord's shit" meant"…]

              …девушки говорили о том, что и в мыслях не имели оскорбить верующих, их замысел был совершенно иным.

              «Платье из вещдоков и темные шапки не имеют отношения к выступлению в храме Христа Спасителя, – сказала Надежда Толоконникова. – Мы хорошие люди, которые несут в мир добро, поэтому надеваем яркие, радужные маски. Мы шуты, скоморохи, может быть, юродивые, но мы не несем зла. Если фраза “срань господня” оскорбила кого-то, я приношу свои извинения, но я не имела умысла оскорбить. Это выражение не является богохульством. Мы без сопротивления и агрессии покинули храм. Это видно на видеозаписи».

              […the girls said that they had not been of a mind to offend believers; that what they had in mind had been completely different. "The material evidence of our dress and our balaclavas are not relevant to our performance in the Church of Christ the Saviour", said Nadezhda Tolokonnikova. “We are good people who associate with the world of good, and we wear, therefore, bright, iridescent masks. We are jesters, buffoons; maybe we are foolish virgins; but we will not be evil. If the phrase "Our Lord’s shit′" offended anybody, I apologize, but I had no intention to offend. This expression is not blasphemy. We left the church without resistance and aggression. This can be seen in the videos”.]


              Well Nadya, please don’t be offended, because, believe me, I have not the slightest intention of offending you when I say that you are talking total, unadulterated shit. You are also a liar – again – no offence intended – if you, a mother, claim that you may be a virgin and that you are one of “good people who associate with the world of good” yet at the same time cannot deny that you have fornicated in public whilst 9 months pregnant. You are also a liar twice over, or, if not, then totally detached fronm reality, if you believe that saying “Our Lord’s shit” in a church and in the presence of believers was not intended to offend.

              • Just a few comments here:

                1. We are talking predominantly about very young people. Tolokonnikova is 22 and Alyokhina is 24. Samutsevich is 30 which makes her a bit older. Bear in mind however that Tolokonnikova and Samutsevich both became involved when they were even younger. Tolokonnikova was involved in the orgy in the Timiryazev Museum which happened in 2008 when she would have been just 18. Samutsevich was involved in the release of Madagascan cockroaches in a court room in 2010 when she would have been 28. As for FEMEN Inna Shevchenko who sawed down the cross is 22.

                2. Obviously this does not mean that all of the members of these groups are so young. The “leaders” are clearly older. I would add that a group like Voina which expects its women members to abuse themselves sexually in such a bizarre way is almost certainly dominated by its men, most of whom seem to be rather sleazy petty criminals, tramps and drop outs. I suspect that Verzilov (Tolokonnikova’s husband) is the true leader of Pussy Riot.

                3. By endorsing Pussy Riot the west has got itself a tiger by the tail. Sawing down crosses is straightforward criminal damage. If it has a religious hate motive it becomes more serious still. As I said previously the sentence for it in Britain is 14 years. What do the authorities in the west do if there is an epidemic of this sort of activity in the west after so many in the west have publicly endorsed this sort of activity in the Ukraine and Russia? What happens if church services are disrupted in the same way? At some point the authorities in the west will be obliged to clamp down at which point I suspect there will be attempts to “prove” that there is somehow something different between this sort of activity when it happens in the west and when it happens in the Ukraine and Russia.

                PS: I would like to thank Moscow Exile for his fascinating comment in the previous post providing more details of Russian criminal tattoos.

                • yalensis says:

                  Dear Alexander: Very pertinent comment. I suspect that you are correct, in your theory that Voina/Pussy, far from being a “feminist” collective, is more than likely a male-dominated anti-social cult (probably led by a single, charismatic alpha male), which has coercively brainwashed their followers. There is no other explanation why young people studying for doctoral decrees and having respectable futures, would forego all that, and even sacrifice the welfare of their children, for the sake of trivial criminality.
                  Fortunately, the criminality of this cult has so far limited itself to petty hooligansim, so is not nearly so bad as, say the Charles Manson cult. But the dynamics are similar, in that the cult followers, particularly the females, are expected to dissolve their individual personalities and sacrifice their futures to prove their loyalty to the cult leader.

                • marknesop says:

                  If it’s led by a “single charismatic alpha male”, he has yet to step into the light, because Peter Verzilov, it ain’t. Peter Verzilov is a nutjob who is charismatic like John Wayne was effeminate. Which is to say, not at all.

  5. yalensis says:

    FEMEN offering masters workshop (in Holland) proper way to saw down crosses:

    From POV of Safety Committee there are several pluses and minuses:

    (I used to be on Safety Committee at my last job. Then Evil Middle Management had me removed from Safety Committee because I took my duties too seriously; little did I know, it was only supposed to be a Potemkin Committee, just to have minutes of meeting to show to Inspectors when they arrived for surprise visit.).

    But enough about me, returning to FEMEN event, from Safety POV:
    (1) They have setup safety perimeter for spectators. Hopefully they did a measurement first to make sure cross cannot possibly mathematically fall outside of given perimeter.
    (2) They have a girl holding a rope (presumably with pulley) to make sure cross does not fall on top of anyone. Presumably there is a second girl on the other side (as we have seen from other such events), but it would be safer if they actually had 3 pulleys to triangulate the falling momentum of the timber.
    (3) One of the girls is wearing a mask to protect her face from splinters. (Nice tits, by the way)

    (1) Like I mentioned, 3 pulleys would be better than 2.
    (2) Second girl is not wearing a mask. She risks injuring her eyes with splinters.
    (3) Both girls should be wearing smocks or other safety gear. At the least, wear a lumberjack-type flannel shirt. Risk getting splinters in tender parts.

    • kirill says:

      Of course they are not cutting down a real cross at a real memorial. So all of this is pure, unadulterated propaganda shite. I’d like to see them go to a cemetery and knock down some grave stones. It’s all Christian symbols of oppression anyway.

      • hoct says:

        Yepp, that’s a big difference. This is more a re-enactment than a repetition of what they did in Kiev. There they vandalized a memorial belonging to the residents of Kiev, where here they cut some pieces of wood they bought at a local sawmill. One involves aggression against property, but one does not as only their personal property was involved.

        What I’d like to know is how come they are behaving better in the West than they did at home and how hypocritical and sick is that? You will spit on your own doorstep, albeit you know how to behave properly when you want to and do so when you go away. Some kind of inferiority complex?

        • hoct says:

          In fact let me answer my own question. It smells like a self-hate (auto-chauvinism) complex.

          • yalensis says:

            Good one, @hoct! You just invented a new pathology. Even with a new name = “auto-chauvinism”. Or, how about “xenophilia” ? Or,maybe “auto-phobia”? No, I take it back… that sounds like somebody who is afraid of cars.

            • hoct says:

              I’m glad you like it, but the credit is not mine. I picked it up from the critics of Serbia’s quislings in pro-western parties and cultural warriors in the NGO sector.

              I hit submit and then I remembered exactly what this reminded me of.

        • yalensis says:

          It was presented as a “how-to” workshop. But I’m not buying that, because they didn’t really teach anybody else how to do it, they just did it themselves while people watched. A workshop is supposed to be “hands-on”.
          Like, for example, I once took a workshop on CPR, and we all had to pound on that dummy.

          • marknesop says:

            I’m pretty sure what they’re doing is legitimizing and normalizing it – look, it’s a tough job we do, but we’re still concerned about safety. They are also announcing their intention to not only continue it, but to get into it in a big way; in some sense, this is their own Pussy Riot moment. They know they have struck a nerve as they never have before with running into public gatherings bare-tits and screaming about Putin, and they mean to make the most of it.

            I suppose they reason that they are getting attention and forcing people to think about their cause. But since what they want keeps morphing based on how much attention they’re getting, nobody really knows what that is. And so far as I know, while they are getting attention by being sensationalists, that attention is not translating into support for the disbarment of organized religion. In fact, it might be a shot in the arm for the church when it needs it.

            They’ll stop, when it becomes risky. Right now, it’s not. They gather and get out the chainsaw, and people just watch. When the law shows up, if they’re not already gone, they’re handled very carefully because they’re half-naked and no cop wants it to look like he’s getting in a free feel; the papers would go wild. Then the western press ensures they’re treated like martyrs. We should soon get a reprieve from at least the self-serving microshorts and bare tits displays, because it’ll soon be too cold for that in many parts of the world. But until you find what they really care about and start assaulting that, they won’t stop because they are having the time of their lives, everybody wants attention. For starters, their leader is well known; people have done interviews with her before. Why is she not a target?

            We’ll see how the one in the Netherlands is handled. I’m sure people are a great deal less enthusiastic about it when it’s happening close to home, just like a madman throwing his shit everywhere is funny as hell when it happens at a party in the home of somebody you dislike. But you’d scrutinize your own guest list pretty carefully after that.

      • yalensis says:

        I’d like to see them go into a Salafist mosque and start tearing things up.

    • marknesop says:

      I recall when environmentalists not far from here were spiking trees to stop logging operations. Largely, I agree with them, and clearcutting in BC is not only an eyesore in some of the west coast’s most beautiful country, it is environmentally unsound and destructive as well, geared totally in favour of the logging company so they can maximize their profit. Alternatives were tried, including logging by helicopter, in which the Russian HELIX performed very well because it has no tail rotor. Spiking trees is extremely dangerous and potentially fatal to loggers, who are just average Joes doing a job for a salary to support their families; they are not preoccupied with the big picture, and the guys in suits who are really to blame are not on the ground cutting trees down.

      Anyway, what the environmental activists would do is drive a common spike almost all the way into the tree at about the height a man with a chainsaw would select to cut it down. When it was nearly all the way in, they would saw or clip off the head (so the nail would not be visible) and drive it in the rest of the way. Doesn’t do the tree any serious damage, but if you hit a spike with a chainsaw it will buck in your hands, and break the chain at the very least. At worst, if you’re not anticipating it, it could take your arm off.

      Just a thought.

  6. kirill says:

    Freedom House is funny! They count Chechnya as one of the 20 most oppressed places on Earth. Based on what? Their fevered imaginations. How about Iraq under US administration? How about Libya after its “liberation” by NATO with full AlQaeda support?

    But hey, its a ranking list and we all now how scientific these lists are! They don’t even have to give us the criteria and prove that they are measuring real observables and not just pulling the “facts” out of their asses.

    • Misha says:

      Among the more high profile of venues, there’s a significant lack of accountability out there on a number of global issues.

      All the more reason to welcome those offering a reasoned different take, which brings to mind this venue:

      From –


      “I am not a genocide “denier” because it is impossible to deny something that doesn’t exist. I am a Srebrenica ‘truther’ and the truth about Srebrenica encapsulates historical developments stretching from 1992 to 1995 that can in no way be limited to July of 1995. On the other side of the spectrum, we have the Srebrenica ‘mythers,’ whose version of events currently ‘prevails’ with the North Atlantic community’s interested public. The difference between the ‘truthers’ and the ‘mythers’ is in the fact the ‘truthers’ are willing to seek the truth, while the ‘mythers’ are only obstinate in defending the myth they have fabricated to favor their political agenda”.


      Another post from the above blog concerns the differences between some of the Yugoslav WW II era leaders/groups:


      Regarding Srebrenica, a PhD from a major university sent me this reply:

      “A denier denier. Several thousand men and boys were killed. Yes or no?

      After answering that question you can position the event in the spectrum of history.”

      My reply –

      On such an issue, a simple yes or no answer runs counter to carrying on in an intelligent manner.

      There’s no definitive proof that a figure of close to or greater than 7,000 Muslim males were rounded up and summarily executed at Srebrenica. Moreover, there’s a reasoned basis to second guess those big on the aforementioned claim, which is erroneously suggested as a fact.

      Such individuals typically accepted the now since acknowledged false Bosnian Civil War figures of tens of thousands raped and 200,000-350,000 killed – much unlike those such as myself who were proven right.

      Consider the number of people killed at Dresden, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Terms like “massacre’ and “genocide” aren’t used in these instances.

      Official Turkey doesn’t acknowledge what happened to the Armenians as a genocide. Comparatively, that instance looks more like a genocide than what happened at Srebrenica. Note that official Turkey isn’t heavily scorned as much for their stance on the Armenians, when compared to the Serb bashing bravado vis-a-vis Srebrenica.

      What happened at Srebrenica is a war crime. I’ve absolutely no problems with a legally and academically earnest approach in reviewing that matter – as opposed to what pro-Bosnian Muslim nationalist propagandists and some others seek.

      Utilizing facts and fact based opinions, feel free to show me where you think I’m wrong. Once again, I’m open to an earnest exchange on this topic, in contrast to heavy handed smear campaigns against such dialogue.

      Keep in mind that at the time of the publicized Srebrenica incident, there was a war that included involvement between Serb and pro-Iztebegovic Muslim forces. The latter considered males between the ages of 16 and 64 to be of fighting age. Collateral damage, fatality among armed combatants and the war crime of summary execution were evident during the Bosnian Civil War.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, they are pretty comical, but it’s hard to argue methodology with them when they’re imbued with the honest zeal of doing good for Truth, Justice and the American Way. I didn’t use their ratings because I find them particularly reliable, but because they are so pro-Western that if there were any possible way to leave Saudi Arabia off the list, they would have. But that would have looked even funnier.

      I imagine if you investigated you would learn that Freedom House’s oppression statistics are largely compiled from reporting they read in their own press. Quite a bit like the Ease of Doing Business Index, which essentially measures how simple it is for foreigners to go in and set up a business, and walk away with a big profit without having had to contribute anything to the local economy. Similarly, the Corruption Perceptions Index is mostly formed on the opinions of businessmen, and in some cases (like Georgia) they are given their statistics by the government.

  7. Misha says:

    Shifting gears a bit, this news item is one example of how the post-Cold War world has become more geopolitically complex:

  8. Moscow Exile says:


    And not one word (I think) about it in the Western media.


    (click photograph for more pictures)

    The demonstrators, estimated to have been 100,000 in all, were students, of which more than 40 thousand were representatives of this year’s freshers. Almost all the institutes of higher education in Moscow were represented in the parade. The march was in celebration of the inauguration of this year’s freshmen – Freshers’ Day in the UK.

    As demanded by the present repressive Russian regime, permission for the march would have had to be applied for in good time and its route agreed upon before permission for the demonstration was granted.

    There were no reports of incidents of brutality inflicted upon the marchers by law enforcement agents of Putin’s authoritarian regime, which is rather surprising because those 100,000 that assembled in the capital yesterday largely belong to that class and generation which, according to the Western media, forms the bedrock of the public disorder witnessed this year in Moscow and which has made the Evil Tyrant barricade himself behind the Kremlin, where he awaits in trepidation his inevitable overthrow.

    Of course, the 100,000 that marched yesterday could have all been Kremlin Stooges bused in for the event and paid handsomely by “the man without a face” for their display of loathsome servility towards a corrupt and criminal regime.

    • yalensis says:

      Well, these squares plan to spend the year hitting the books and studying, instead of running around half naked wielding chainsaws. That makes them un-cool.

      • kirill says:

        I refuse to have “cool” defined by retarded freaks. Vandalism and hooliganism is not cool. The perps may get a feeling of satisfaction but then they should eat some of their own medicine. It won’t taste so nice.

  9. yalensis says:

    On Navalny: As far as I know, his trial is still supposed to start this coming Thursday, Sept. 13.
    I have no idea, and cannot find, if the trial date is still on; also if Navalny is going to be tried alone, or with his 2 accused “gang members”, Opalev and Ofitserov.

    The stakes are fairly high: if and when Navalny walks into that courtroom, he may or may not emerge again as a free man; and he could be sent down for a significant numbers of years.

    Meanwhile, I have a hunch that Hillary and Putin discussed the Navalny case during the “secret” part of their recent meeting. It would be part of Hillary’s job to intercede for her employee, Alexei Navalny. Putin cannot affect the outcome of Navalny’s trial, but if Navalny is convicted, Putin possibly has enough power as Prez to pardon and/or exile him. Same as Chinese do to their most annoying dissidents.

    Western press is keeping strangely mum on the case, although I imagine they have a propaganda barrage all wrapped up and ready to go if and when the trial starts.

    Meanwhile, the other date to watch is Saturday, Sept. 15, that’s when “White-Ribbon” crowd are promising their next “March of Millions”. Navalny is one of the organizers, but he is also supposed to be on trial for embezzlement at that time, so he may have some time conflicts in his iPhone calendar app.

  10. yalensis says:

    More on Navalny: His latest blog foray is to advertise the claims of another blogger, Sergei Parkhomenko, who claims to have discovered even more mathematical irregularities in the Russian presidential election:

    According to Parkhomenko, “at home” voters were statistically skewed in favor of Putin. To explain: Russia has a set of complicated laws involving permission for “invalids” and cripples and so on, to be allowed to vote at home, since they cannot make it to the polling places. Helpers actually come around to their house to take their ballots. This also affects people in nursing homes, they are allowed to vote with the help of an assistant. Also, apparently, in some cases, even people who are not chronic invalids but simply ill at the time and not able to leave their house, are allowed to take advantage of this service. Parkhomenko claims these people were used to “beef up” Putin’s numbers in certain regions, and that he can prove this mathematically.

    I am not mathematically competent to analyze these claims. But I can point out the political conclusion drawn by Navalny. According to him, this proves conclusively that the recent elections were illegitimate, and that therefoer Putin is an illegitimate president. He therefore calls on his supporters to flood the courts with legal challenges, in a belated attempt to reverse the election.

    Obviously, the Russian presidential election will not be reversed. Putin IS President, at least for the next 6 years. However, Navalny is laying the ideological basis for his followers to declare themselves a shadow government-in-exile and attempt to solicit Western recognition as such. (Much like the NTC in Libya, or the Syrian equivalent.) Next step after this would be the violent uprising (of approximately 2,000 fanatical hamsters), followed by an inpouring of foreign mercenaries and a call for NATO airstrikes. Then a brutal civil war, capped with the capture and murder of Putin, and ushering a triumphal Navalny into the Kremlin.

    (In his imaginations, I mean…)

    • marknesop says:

      All he will be able to “prove” is that more of this group voted for Putin than for any other candidate. And what? So did all other groups except the snooty elites, who never vote for Putin and never will. This is just another “statistically skewed toward the candidate who won” story. Gee, sure sounds suspicious to me. Now I suppose some disabled person will surface who testifies she voted for Prokhorov, but the support worker grabbed her arm and forced the pen over to the “Putin” box.

      You cannot prove any sort of statistical trend in this manner unless people are going to come forward and suggest their vote was stolen, and that they saw it, because in order to prove grand fraud everyone is going to have to tell you – truthfully – how they voted. And they’re not going to do that.

      Are there really enough disabled people and housebound voters in Russia that it would have turned the tide in favour of another candidate if it was done fairly? News to me.

  11. kirill says:

    @Moscow Exile:

    “were promptly arrested and guillotined”

    My, that sounds appealing. I am in favour of stiff sentences for this violence. If these monkeys think they will gain traction out of attacks on the ROC they are deluded. The 2% church attendance rate demonstrates that the vast majority do not even have the ROC on their radar. And somehow it is supposed to be a problem? How? By wanting to get old churches back? This is what Russia needs saving from? Get f*cking real!

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Something that annoyed me in the MK article (linked above) concerning alleged payed for hooliganism and vandalism in the Murmansk region (which story is bound to be “exposed” by the West as an FSB put-up job) is that that newspaper stated that the PR verdict had split Russian society, thereby repeating an endless meme beloved by the Western press.

      MK is also described by that same Russia-hostile press as “Kremlin-friendly”.

      RT, whom the Western media always describes as “Kremlin controlled”, repeats the same meme as well in all its articles concerning the convicted PR 3.

      The Russian news media as a whole also continues to echo that other Western meme about PR, namely that that organization of decadent, spoilt-brat, bourgois anarchists is a feminist punk band. It is anything but: it is a front organization aimed at causing instability in Russia. Nobody seems to wonder what PR’s and its parent organization Voina’s source of income is. Have PR and Voina ever received payment for their “events”?

      Has PR ever released a record?

      In answer to that last question, officially “PR” has – immediately after the conviction of their “heroines”. But has anybody seen or heard them play their instruments – really play them, I mean, and not adopting a pose and going through air-guitar gyrations on top of buildings or rostrums; has anybody seen the “feminist punk band” perform?

      That Western propaganda is so powerful, it seems, that the Russian media accepts it for other than what it is – as fact. So do PR supporters in the West, many of whom having been persuaded that PR is just a bunch of “kids” (“teenagers” I have seen them referred to on occasion) having fun taking the piss out of a tyrant.

      As regards the claim that Russian society has been split over PR, polls taken concerning this matter maintain that this is not the case. The West just counters that Levada and others are inherantly untrustworthy because they are Russian organizations.

      Why do these Western memes appear in the Russian media ?

      Is the enemy already within the citadel?

      I fear that they are. And I’m sure Medvedev is one of them.

      • Misha says:

        Venues like RIAN and RT have Russians reared in English language mass media ways. In turn, they hire and promote Westerners exhibting similar slants.

        I appear to be first to question the notion that RIAN affiliated InoSMI posts idiotic anti-Russian pieces for ridicule purposes. Likewise, I’ve referred to instances of questionably presented English language mass media themes at RT and RIAN.

        Dugin critic Umland is associated with the RIAN affliated Valdai Discussion Club unlike Dugin.

      • yalensis says:

        PR did not split Russian “society” so much as generate a powerful backlash against the bogus Opposition. If Opps had even one brain cell among them, they would have disavowed these anarchists and piled on like there was no tomorrow. Instead of, insanely, embracing them.
        Above assertion will be tested this Saturday, Sept. 15. If I am right (and this isn’t just my opinion), then Opps demonstration will be small and dispirited, reflecting as one Russian blogger put it, that “Pussy Riot destroyed the Opposition.” If they really did that, then more power to them, although I am sure their service to the ruling party was unintentional. (Much like the fabled geese who saved Rome with their incessant and selfish quacking.)

        • Moscow Exile says:

          They’ve still not reached agreement over whether the next “March of Millions” will take place. Usual reason: Udaltsov and co. are demanding that his few thousand march where he wants them to march, namely through the city centre, and the Moscow city authority won’t allow that. And I should imagine that the vast majority of the remaining 13 million plus Moscow citizens, those that will not be participating in the march, will be none too pleased if the “millions” march down Tverskaya towards Red Square and thence to Bolotnaya Square as well.

          • yalensis says:

            @Exile: do you happen to know if KPRF is partciipating in march? If no, will be small. If yes, then somewhat beefed up with KP cadres.

            • Dear Yalensis,

              There was a report on RT a few weeks ago that both the KPRF and the SRs will NOT participate in the September 15th 2012 rally, which they both say is pointless. In other words the two big parliamentary parties that form the overwhelming mass of the opposition are not involved. This position may have changed and/or the RT report might be wrong but I doubt it.

              Personally I expect the same 15-20,000 largely young people that turn out to all of these rallies to turn out. This is the militant constituency that has been coming out regularly to all these rallies since the Garden Ring protest in February. I don’t think it supports either the KPRF or the SRs and I don’t think the KPRF and the SRs have been involved in any of the rallies since February (I don’t think the KPRF has been involved since the Sakharova rally in December last year) so their lack of involvement should not substantially affect the numbers.

              If I am right then you can be sure that the western media, the white ribbon oppositionists themselves and parts of the Russian media including people like Marc Bennets on RIA Novosti and even one or two commentators on ITAR TASS will pretend that the turnout is much bigger and will put it at anything between 50,000 to 150,000.

              If you are right and we are down to anything below 10,000 then that will prove that the protest movement is on the brink of total collapse. One possible reason for that (apart from the complete pointlessness of the whole exercise) is that in so far as these demonstrations depend on the support of the radical fringe of the student community there will be a new cohort of students coming to class this autumn with some of the more radicalised members of the previous cohort having now graduated and left. As anybody who has any knowledge of student protests knows (and as a student organiser I once did in abundance) the fact that students are such a fluid group of people makes it very difficult to sustain a protest movement that relies on them to any degree.

              One way or the other I doubt the Pussy Riot case will have any bearing on the turnout, We can assume that most of the people who have been demonstrating since March support Pussy Riot either because they are themselves ultra Leftists (such as Udaltsov’s supporters or some of the young anarchists who are supposed to have been involved in the violence on 6th May 2012) or because as obsessive anti Putin liberals they will support anybody who is opposed to Putin regardless of how unpopular, extreme or marginal they are. Bear in mind that the people who are going to turn out on September 15th 2012 are themselves pretty marginal already. In some ways the attitude of these liberals reminds me of the Russian liberals of about 1900 who also supported pretty much anybody who opposed the tsar with consequences we all know.

              • Here is an article in Moscow Times of all places which puts its finger on the white ribbon opposition’s problems


                These can be summed up as follows:

                1. An inability to unite. This article refers to a roundtable meeting to unite the opposition chaired by Kasyanov and Ryzhkov but Navalny, Udaltsov, Nemtsov and Yashin failed to turn up.

                2. The long shadow of the 1990s. Whilst Russian liberals consistently remain in denial about the disaster they caused to the country in that ghastly decade the Russian people will never trust them. If they want people to start listening to them they have to admit that things went badly wrong in the 1990s, accept responsibility for the disaster caused by their mistakes, offer some sort of apology and explain what in future they would do different. It goes without saying that whilst old workhorses like Kasyanov, Nemtsov and Yavlinsky remain around that is not going to happen. Even if it does the disaster was so great that it is going to take a very long time (if ever) before people do start listening to them. However making an admission and an apology and offering some sort of explanation of what went wrong and what they would do different next time is a vital first step. Needless to say there is no sign of them ever taking it. On the contrary the way they talk about those times would make one think they were a golden age.

                3. Beyond that even if they were to do 1 and 2 they still face the overwhelming problem that there simply is no mass constituency for pro western liberalism in Russia. As one of the people interviewed for this article rightly says the only viable challenge to Putin for the foreseeable future would come from the left. That surely explains the ephemeral emergence of such dodgy characters as Udaltsov. The liberals cannot lead such a challenge because ideologically with their Ayn Rand style economic philosophy they are by Russian standards on the extreme right and as slavish admirers of the US and everything western they are unpatriotic as well.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Here’s the report that Alexander mentions above:


                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The decision of the CPRF to disassociate itself from Udaltsov and co’s “March of Millions” on September 15 contrasts starkly with what they were saying one year ago:

                  As they say where I come from: There’s nowt as queer as folk!

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  And now they say the CP is taking part, but then they say it’s the Mosacow section that is going to be there:


                  CPRF will take part in the “March of Millions” on Septemer 15

                  As announced by Aleksandr Yushchenko, Zyuganov’s Press-Secretary.

                  Moscow representatives of CPRF will take part in the “March of the millions”, scheduled for 15 September, reported State Duma Deputy and Gennady Zyuganov’s Press-Secretary, Aleksandr Yushchenko, on Wednesday.

                  He also refuted reports that this was the first time that the party would be taking part in such an action. On March 6 the Communists took part in the protest March to Bolotnaya Square, RIA Novosti reports.

                  “The CPRF takes part in all protest actions. Moscow City Communist Party Committee has decided to participate in the ‘March of the Millions’. They will hand out literature and put up their tents”, said Yushchenko.

                  Yesterday evening, the city authorities and the opposition agreed on a route for the September 15 ‘March of the Millions': it will start off from the Pushkinskaya metro station, then proceed along the Boulevard ring to Sakharov Avenue, where a meeting will take place”.

              • marknesop says:

                I’ll be curious to see if anyone turns out in those stupid colourful balaclavas, in support of Pussy Riot. It’s as good a way as any to gauge their support among the “protest movement”, and it also would hammer on the point that you’re not allowed to demonstrate wearing a mask in the west. Anyway, probably not because I believe that’s now illegal under Russian law as well.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Rumour has it, though I’m not one to gossip, that the march of a few thousand that is called the march of a million is on!


                  Prospekt Sakharova is going to be the venue for the “white condoms” meeting (белогондоные).

                  And there is going to be a CPRF presence after all, but only of the Moscow section of that party.

                  So that means the CPRF has split from the bulk of the “oppositionists” and the Moscow section of the CPRF has split from the CPRF over this matter.

                  Meanwhile Putin is trembling behind the Kremlin walls – I don’t think,

                • Dear Moscow Exile,

                  This is so typical of the KPRF. Trying to run with both the hare and the hounds. We oppose the demonstration because it is pointless so we will stay away but at the same time we will look the other way if our Moscow section turns up and supports it. So much for “democratic centralism”. Lenin must be spinning in his mausoleum.

                • marknesop says:

                  Also a powerful contributing factor in the opposition’s failure to unite solidly behind a single charismatic candidate. Apart from the absence of one, that is.

                • yalensis says:

                  To show his solidarity with Opps, Ziuganov needs to march on Saturday wearing colourful balaclava, and naked above the waist. This will attract a younger, hipper crowd to an aging Communist Party.

              • yalensis says:

                Dear Alexander: Actually, I just saw several news report today that KPRF IS going to participate in the September 15 demonstration. This is considered a big coup for Navalny/Udaltsov, that they somehow convinced KP to join in. Given this, the demo may actually be pretty big, because KP is able to enforce party discipline to bring out their (numerous) cadres.
                I personally think it is despicable that KP is joining in this rotten Popular Front. But, hey, that’s what Stalinists do. They never could resist the lure of a Popular Front, the rottener the better. Ugh!

                • Pathetic.

                  The party that claims to be the “vanguard of the proletariat”, which fought against the tsar, stormed the Winter Palace, won a great civil war, established the world’s first socialist government, industrialised the country and led the Soviet people to victory against Hitler and which in the words of the Soviet national anthem was going to lead the people to Communism’s victory, is now led by the nose by the likes of Navalny and Udaltsov.

                  How are the mighty fallen! Truly as Marx said history repeats itself the first time as tragedy and the second time as farce.

                • PS: I still don’t expect the demonstration to be especially big. I gather the permission was given for 25,000. This suggests that even Udaltsov and Navalny don’t expect more than the usual 15-20,000 to turn up. Now that the KPRF are involved that might be increased by a little but when the KPRF hold their own rallies they are rarely that big so I doubt that they’ll bring more than 2-3,000 people to the rally at most.

                  PPS: I remember that the KPRF were grumbling after the Sakharova rally in December last year that their speakers were never allowed on to the platform. It will be interesting to see whether they have any more luck this time. If not more fools they.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  According to the report linked below, the CPRF participation in the rally is just Twitter talk:

                  Компартия приняла решение об участии в “Марше миллионов”, намеченном на 15 сентября. Об этом сообщил в своем твиттере руководитель фракции КПРФ в Мосгордуме Андрей Клычков по итогам совещания секретарей райкомов партии. Центральный аппарат КПРФ пока не делал заявлений по этому вопросу.

                  [The Communist Party has made a decision about taking part in the "March of Millions" planned for September 15. The leader of the the Moscow City Duma, Andrei Klychkov, gave this information in his Twitter after a meeting of the regional partty secretariat. The CPRF central organ has still not made an announcement concerning this matter.]


  12. Misha says:

    *Gessen’s spin on getting canned:



    Excerpt –

    “Georgian policy toward the North Caucasus could be described as schizophrenic. On the one hand, there is a recognition that the region to the north is a source of instability and needs to be handled responsibly. On the other hand, there is a temptation to use it to poke the Russians in the eye and remind them how vulnerable they are (surely never a good tactic with Russia).
    So the government in Tbilisi unveiled a perfectly sensible policy to grant visa-free travel for North Caucasians to Georgia, thus giving them an outlet from their claustrophobic region. But the Georgians spoiled it by springing the policy as a surprise-provoking predictable anger in Moscow. And last year, the Georgian parliament recognized the mass deportations of Circassians from the Russian empire in the mid-nineteenth century. Despite the genuine historical claims of the Circassians, it was a highly politicized and not very clever jab at Russia over a very sensitive issue.”


    An incomplete and inaccurate accounting, which has been evident elsewhere.

    The Georgians aren’t free of combatting those Circassians who showed a preference for the Ottoman Empire. The Circassians are by no means monolithic. A good number of them remained loyal subjects of the Russian Empire until its demise. There were Circassians who fought on the White side during the Russian Civil War. In exile, this grouping of Circassians and Russians fraternized with each other at cultural events. The Circassian community in Syria has respectfully sought Russian assistance.

    Regarding the Circassians, the upcoming 2014 Sochi Olympics has been marred with hypocritical propaganda that wasn’t evident during the 1996 Atlanta summer Olympics. Refer to what happened to the Cherokee in a good portion of present day American Georgian territory. Some have noted a similar issue that could be raised in relation to previous Olympiads in Canada.

  13. Dear Mark,

    Another exceptional post you have written. As I said in a comment to your previous post, I find Shoshana Bryen’s remarks straightforwardly racist.

    I notice that Shoshana Bryen is Jewish. Though I find it difficult to say it much of the most ferocious criticism of Russia seems to me to come from Jewish people who it seems cannot forget or forgive the discrimination Jews suffered under the tsar. That the Russian people overthrew the tsar and through their sacrifice saved the Jewish people of Europe from extermination during the Second World War seems to count for very little with these people. By the way I get the impression that this is a strong element in the Guardian’s coverage of Russia and I suspect it is also a strong element behind much of the western support for Pussy Riot with many of the most extreme anti Orthodox Christian comments in their support coming from western secular Jews.

    • Misha says:

      Dear Alexander,

      History exhibits that worldwide conditions have had numerous unfortunate instances. Consider what African-Americans in the US faced during the period you refer to. The history of Jews in pre-Soviet Russia showed instances of discrimination and violence, with the chance for Jews to nevertheless advance.

      As one of numerous examples, I recall a long time Israeli foreign policy professional with the last name of Gisin (pardon any misspell) say on the RT CrossTalk show that his family relations left a good life in pre-Soviet Russia to fullfill their Zionist desire.

    • Misha says:

      As a follow-up and as I noted in the thread (just before this one) where I brought Bryen’s article to Mark’s attention, Bryen seems to be living in a 1970s neocon time warp, fast forwarded to the present.

      The neocon “Russia Hand” (if you may) has been Richard Pipes, who has had a negative view of Russia/Russians. It’s wrong to assume that the likes of Pipes and Bryen reflect the views of all Jews and/or are always foolproof. This point relates to which views get propped over others in a way that can subconsciously influence others – not always so well versed on a given subject. Consider the kind of Ukrainian views (diaspora and otherwise) typically getting the nod in English language mass media and venues influenced by such spin.

      At last notice, Solzhenitsyn’s book on the Jews in the Russian Empire isn’t available in the English language. The much criticized Russian culture minister Vladimir Medinsky has included a broad comment about his claim (as paraphrased) that the mistreatment of Jews in Imperial Russia isn’t what some depict.

      BTW, one can find complaints in the Jewish community about the Soviet period. If I correctly recall, Bryen has acknowledged anti-Jewish trends among some non-Russians in eastern and central Europe.

    • Robert says:

      Nick Cohen’s piece in the Observer about a tyrant and a man of God being a classic example

      • Misha says:

        A series of inaccuracies which have been discussed and debunked at these threads.

        Like “the paper of record” with “all the news that’s fit to print”, Cohen and Guardian/Observer don’t provide a full translated transcript of what PR said in the chapel in question.

        • Misha says:

          Despite considerable disagreement, at least that piece has a consistency in terms of exhibiting an across the board slant against the major denominations.

        • marknesop says:

          I love the way he closes with “Yes; let us be brave enough to go all the way…” See you in a couple of weeks, Louis, when you’re living in an abandoned building, sleeping in your clothes and stealing food from supermarkets to feed yourself. How existentialist!! Thus spake Zarathustra, indeed.

          What Pussy Riot is advocating is a return to tribal living, to a hunter-gatherer relationship with a loose, predatory nomadic group that drifts with the food supply and the opportunity for diverting mischief – something like “Doomsday”. A country which adopted it wholesale at this stage of human development would be easy pickings for even the weakest of organized nations, and it is just maudlin and stupid to suggest the United States with its closely-intertwined corporate government structure would dump all of it in favour of living hand-to-mouth in burnt-out basements and scavenging for food. Louis needs to find a hobby. So does everyone who pretends to be inspired by Pussy Riot’s value-free vagabond existence. They’re trying to turn this into the new free-love generation against the rigidity of the Vietnam war establishment, and anyone who buys it is a fool.

    • Misha says:

      I’ll once again note that Ed Koch (who has described himself as “a liberal with sanity”) has come out in support of the arrest, prosecution and sentencing of PR.

      After initially being influenced by the standard bias against Russia, a Fox News conservative I know came around to expressing likewise.

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, I agree, Russian/Soviet people sacrificed millions of their soldiers to save European Jews from extermination, and this was the thanks they got, being slimed and shit in the eye by today’s crowd.

      As a noted British philosopher might say (3:40 in), “Cor, there’s gratitude…”

      • Misha says:

        For all his rhetoric, Begin acknowledged the Soviet role in defeating Nazism. This aspect has become more pronounced in post-Cold War Israel. Bryen is by no means an expert or representative of Jews at large.

        Getting back to some recent comments at this thread, czars as opposed to the czar governed Russia. The policies of these czars differed. The last Russian czar abdicated in favor a Provisional Government that lacked a good deal of popularity. I recall Peter Lavelle expressing the view (on RT) that the Bolsheviks staged a coup – a perspective shared by a good number of others over the years.

        WW I and how Russia chose to fight that war arguably served to greatly influence what was to come about in that country. I’m glad to see post-Soviet Russia showing signs of taking a more positive look of the pre-Soviet Russian past. This should ideally include looking at the negatives in a complete and accurate a way as possible.

    • cartman says:

      Russophobia is not shunned by the politically correct, so they still have a target for all their racist feelings. And the ROC is oversensitve and has a persecution complex. Hmm, why don’t they open a history book to see why? Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, and Atheists have not experienced persecution on such a scale. In fact they were the ones dishing it out over the centuries.

      Notice that liberal NPR hints at Russian (and maybe Serbian) culprits behind the violence. Because I guess the weapons may have been made there (though many would argue that weapons are not at fault). NPR does not mention that the ballooning Muslim population is most associated with gang violence.

    • marknesop says:

      I’ll let The American Conservative field that one in my behalf: “The government of Israel, along with ardently pro-Israel Americans like Michael Gerson, may view the convergence of U.S. and Israeli national-security practices with some satisfaction. The prevailing U.S. definition of self-defense—a self-assigned mandate to target anyone anywhere thought to endanger U.S. security—is exceedingly elastic. As such, it provides a certain cover for equivalent Israeli inclinations. And to the extent that our roster of enemies overlaps with theirs—did someone say Iran?—military action ordered by Washington just might shorten Jerusalem’s “to do” list.”

      And to Shoshana Bryen – at least insofar as their roots and their venomous hatred of Russia go – you can add Miriam Elder and Julia Ioffe. Oops! Masha Gessen, too.

      • Misha says:

        Once again cautioning that they don’t reflect the views from all of that tribe.


        What such an uncaring society can produce:

        • marknesop says:

          Don’t worry, Mike; I’m not going on an anti-Semitic rant. I don’t have anything against the Jewish people wherever they may be, or Israelis in Israel. I do have some major differences of opinion with Zionism and with the Likud government of Bibi Netanyahu, though, not to mention Israel-firsters like Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson and Shoshana Bryen. And there are plenty of people in both Israel and the USA who are vehemently opposed to them as well.

          • Misha says:

            Mark, my comments were meant for some others who might take it differently. There’re also those who specialize in twisting.

            I previously commented on this piece:


            It starts off with the kind of preferred wise ass delivery that’s periodically noticeable in English language mass media/English language mass media influenced venues.

            In the US, there has been a history of violence and discrimination against Blacks. If America can elect an African-American president, the referenced (in the above piece) poll findings should come as no surprise.

            As for prejudiced views against Jews: over the course of time, I’ve heard my share of comments from within the Jewish community, which don’t list the Russians at the top of the chart of anti-Jewish attitudes. Never mind the numerous individuals of “mixed” (if you may) Russian and Jewish backgrounds.

            • Misha says:

              I’m also reminded of what I thought was an irresponsible piece by Stephen Cohen which appeared in The Moscow Times a few years back. In that article, he said that Khodorkovsky couldn’t become Russian president because of his Jewish background. A few points, which you haven’t seen or heard among the court appointed. FACT!

              Since the Soviet breakup, Russia has had two prime ministers of known Jewish background. Contrast that with the number of American presidents and vice presidents.

              I’ve had plenty enough experience with people of a patriotic Russian and Russian Orthodox Christian background to sense that the overwhelming majority of them aren’t ethnocentric loons. These folks will readily accept people of different backgrounds, whose views they agree with over ethnic Russians, who break bread with anti-Russian leaning elements.

              Multiple sources tell me that a number of folks of Jewish background have become ROC. Awhile back, I recall reading that Khodorkovsky was seeking to become ROC.

              Note this chap:

     – for whatever reason, you might’ve to click further to get to this Wiki bio.

              and the org. he became affiliated with:


              AMINUK has him listed among the famous people from Ukraine:


              Prior to the Soviet breakup, Novoye Russkoye Slovo had established itself as the largest Russian language news publication in the US. Its slant was from a pro-Russian/anti-Communist view with a considerable Jewish staff. Since the Soviet breakup, that paper has taken more of a tabloid makeup, in addition to being oligarch owned with a noticeably changed content.

              One can go on and on, inclusive of noting that the USSR had a Jewish Olympic men’s basketball coach (Alexander Gomelsky), with the post-Soviet Russian men’s basketball team having been coached by a Jewish-American with Israeli citizenship (David Blatt). I’m not offhand sure if the US has had a Jewish men’s Olympic basketball coach.

              • yalensis says:

                @misha: Soviet Union and Russia have always (mostly) been tolerant of Jews. With a few exceptions, to be sure, there were some government-intigated pogroms in early 1900’s, like you see in “Fiddler on the Roof”; and there was a (brief) period of time when Stalin got anti-Semitic; also a brief period under Brezhnev; but these were just temporary phases that were motivated by political expediency and the search for scapegoats.
                Anti-Semitism is not currently a significant force in Russia, and I could easily see a Jew becoming Russian President, following Putin. A Jewish man, that is. Russians are still not ready for a woman president! It would have to be a Jewish man who is non-religious, and who speaks fluent Russian and is patriotic. Of course, there would be lots of improper jokes, and people would say improper things, especially in the blogosphere, there is no getting around that.

                • Misha says:


                  The Fiddler on the Roof movie is based on the writings of Sholom Aleichem, who is considered by Russia to be part of Russia’s literary tradition. A few years back, someone in The NYT bizarrely criticized Russia’s honoring of Aleichem, which I take to essentially mean that Russia can do no right, no matter what its stance.

                  I suspect the Fiddler on the Roof movie has some add ins. Regardless, the pogroms appear to have involved a mix of some with ties to the Russian government either supporting or not caring about what was happening, some locals (to a good extent non-Russian at that) not tied or so tied to the Russian government. In addition, some on the opposition left were said to be involved for the purpose of seeking to create greater instability. The Russian government made efforts to stop the violence because of the kind of instability that was occurring by such action. There was no master plan from the top along the lines of Nazi Germany – which isn’t to say that discrimination didn’t exist.

                  Like I said, there was also the chance for Jews to advance in society despite the obstacles they faced – once again noting what the world was like back then – treatment of African-Americans and Indians in the US as an example.

                • Misha says:


                  On your woman point, I respectfully take into consideration what has been evident elsewhere. Many Russians have a high regard for Catherine the Great, who was an ethnic German in addition to being a woman. Much of the sexist commentary about her comes from Western sources.

                  Once again reminded of a Miriam Elder piece:



                  At last notice, the top executives at RIAN and RT aren’t men.

                • I don’t consider Russia to have ever been an anti semitic society. There was discrimination against Jews under the tsarist government though this varied greatly in intensity. However what is always overlooked is that if this was intended to mobilise support for the tsarist government then it was a complete failure. Not only did the Russian people overthrow the Russian government but they did this under the leadership of a revolutionary movement in which Jews were disproportionately represented. By “revolutionary movement” I do not of course refer only to the Bolsheviks.

                  As for my views about anti semitism in the USSR I set these out in the following comment which Anatoly Karlin very kindly posted on his blog. Anatoly Karlin also posted the counter argument from Leo Lentz


                  I would just add to the catalogue of prominent Jews of the Stalin era I mentioned in that post Lavochkin the aircraft designer, Marshak the writer of children’s stories and Maya Plisetskaya the prima ballerina assoluta of the Bolshoi Ballet. Of course the catalogue is actually so enormous it could be extended almost indefinitely.

                  I would also say that the claim that Stalin had died 8 weeks before he did the claim he was an anti semite would never have gained traction. It rests almost entirely on a particular (and in my opinion mistaken) interpretation of the Doctors’ Plot, which happened in the very last weeks of his life.

                  Incidentally I notice that Misha says that two post Soviet prime ministers of Russia have been Jews. Mikhail Fradkov is presumably one. He is half Jewish and is now the head of the SVR, which makes many people think he began his career in the KGB in which case his Jewish origins (which he has never concealed) have never held Fradkov back. I am not sure who the other prime minister is who Misha has in mind. If it is Yevgeny Primakov then rumours he is Jewish are longstanding but I have never been able to prove them and actually I doubt they are true. However Zhirinovsky is half Jewish and the fact has never done him the slightest harm.

                  To my mind what conclusively buries the idea that Russia is an anti semitic society is that so many of the original oligarchs including Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky. Guzinsky, Fridman and Abramovich are Jewish as was Berezovsky’s henchman Patarkatsishvili. Given how widely hated these unlovely people are one would have thought that if Russia was a strongly anti semitic society the fact that so many of the oligarchs are Jewish would become the focus of public protest. It never has. The oligarchs are hated because they are oligarchs not because they are Jewish. Claims of the kind one might have expected eg. that the 1990s were a Jewish/Zionist plot to despoil and destroy Russia seem to belong strictly to a lunatic fringe. Compare this with the sort of things that were popularly said about Jews in Weimar Germany and you see the difference.

                • Misha says:


                  As a follow-up to what you said, Kiriyenko and Fradkov are 2 post-Soviet Russian prime ministers of a known Jewish background. Regarding Primakov, there’s a basis to believe that his family roots have a not so distant and noticeable Jewish background. Upon a quick perusal, I’ve come across info along the lines that he hasn’t been outgoing in discussing his family past – no confirmation or denial, but indications that he has a Jewish background.

                  How people identify themselves is an interesting topic unto itself. I’ve been told that Yul Brynner fluctuated what his ethnic identity was. Rudolph Nureyev stressed his Tatar background. If I’m not mistaken, he’s buried in an ROC cemetery.

                  On the matter of “Jewish sounding” (if you may) names being dropped, this is something that’s by no means foreign in the US and a number of other countries.

                  I think this thread has done a great job at providing additional thoughts on the subject of Jewry in the Russian Empire, Soviet Union and post-Soviet Russia.

                • Dear Misha,

                  Thank you for this.

                  I’d no idea that Kiriyenko had a Jewish background but you are quite right he does. Not only is his background Jewish but it turns one of his Jewish ancestors was an Old Bolshevik who was personally close to Lenin. Kiriyenko is now of course head of Rosatom. So far as I am aware his Jewish roots have never been an issue. Kiriyenko was of course the Prime Minister during the financial crisis of 1998. If Russia was an anti semitic society that would have been the perfect moment to bring the subject up. So far as I know no one ever did.

      • yalensis says:

        Precisely. The common thread is very clear to see: pro-Israeli hegemonists (which includes both Jewish and non-Jewish proponents) in very tight alliance with American hegemonists. With tail wagging dog in usual manner; hence the U.S. focus on targeting all of Israel’s regional enemies.
        Also, since today is September 11, I might point out the sick irony of American people being attacked in such a brutal manner by Saudi Arabian terrorists, with the result of … America entering into ever tighter alliance with Saudis and wiping out or trying to wipe out THEIR regional rivals, one by one (Iraq, Libya, now Syria…). Seems like Saudi terrorists were able to successfully blackmail Americans, those boasters who claim that “These colors never run.” If Americans were the tough guys they claim to be, they would have bombed Riyadh, instead of helping Saudi terrorists expand their brutal empire.

  14. Misha says:

    More sophisticated than Bryen, while overlooking some key variables that stand in the way of the preferred image:

    IMO, the Russian government didn’t spend its money wisely by hiring Angus Roxburgh. Russia’s image improves by properly utilizing reasoned pro-Russian advocacy, which directly points out and addresses English language mass media/English language mass media influenced biases against Russia.

    • Dear Misha,

      What an incredibly patronising article. Russians are naughty children who won’t grow up or do as they are told.

      Two points I would make:

      1. I totally agree with you that it must be Russians not hired westerners who must argue their country’s case. I am glad to say that there are increasing signs of that.

      2. The writer repeats the standard claim about how Russia’s image is damaged by its poor conduct of public relations and cites as an example the Pussy Riot case. Up to a certain point I agree. I don’t think Russia is good at public relations. However what the writer of the article (and some Russians) don’t seem to understand is that no government can in the end survive if it sacrifices the country’s essential interests in pursuit of good public relations. If the choice is between enforcing the law and pleasing the west then the duty of the Russian government is to enforce the law not please the west.

      At the end of the day the Russian authorities had no alternative but to prosecute Pussy Riot. Had they failed to do so they would have surrendered enforcement of the law and granted the likes of Pussy RIot licence to behave with impunity, which is something that no society can allow and no government can permit. The same is true of the unending demands for the release of Khodorkovsky. If Russia were to free Khodorkovsky simply because the west wants it to then any fraudster knows that provided he can raise a big enough stink in the west he can behave in Russia with impunity. Similarly if Russia is going to remain an independent country it has to have an independent foreign policy and that sometimes means doing things (eg. over Syria) the west doesn’t like.

      The constant sacrifice of Russian national interests and of the basic duties of Russia’s government to appease western opinion was the single most important mistake Gorbachev made and what led him in the end to disaster. Putin has never made that mistake, which is an important reason for his success.

  15. Misha says:


    There seems to be a greater cover-up on the massive fatal mistreatment that captured Red Army personnel faced as prisoners of Poland.

    In contrast: during WW I, Imperial Russia took large numbers of prisoners from the Central Powers. By and large, there doesn’t seem to be a mass suffering of these individuals. Relative to this point, the Habsburg run concentration camp at Tarcin is another example that contrasts from the kind of comparative imagery that’s out there.

    • kirill says:

      Regarding Katyn, the Poles forget that 100,000 “Soviet” POWs died in Polish concentration camps in the wake of the 1920 invasion by Poland of the USSR where they grabbed western Ukraine and Belorus. So please spare the endless bleating about Katyn, you have your own Katyn which is five times greater.

      Katyn is a propaganda trope. If it’s OK for the USA to slaughter tens of thousands of Iraqis in full retreat out of Kuwait, then Stalin’s extermination of Polish officers was acceptable too. They were legitimate military targets after all. If people disagree with this logic then they should start dishing out the criticism in ALL cases.

      There are too many excised pieces of history in the western narrative. It is basically a collection of 1984 style nonsense. Again, if it was OK for Poland to grab western Ukraine and Belorus, then it was more than OK for the USSR to grab those lands back later. But of course whenever you hear about the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact all you hear is how they divided “Poland”. Whenever you hear a westerner go on about events around the world you have to be careful not to take anything they say at face value. Major facts are totally excluded. Facts that the change the meaning in a fundamental way the major events being discussed.

      • Misha says:

        In earlier history, the Russian takeover (within reason seen more as a liberation by some) of Polish occupied land that was predominately Slavic Orthodox Christian inhabited and had been part of Rus serves as another example.

        Just prior to the Mongol occupation, the northern area of Rus was showing signs of gaining greater influence. In the aftermath of the Mongol decline, that northern area became the strongest and most independent of Rus territory. It’s within reason to view Russia as the closest match to a successor of Rus. Among most Belarusians and Ukrainians, Russia is noticeably more popular than Poland.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    Why these seemingly never ending demands from some Poles that Russia apologize for Katyn? Are those that make such demands suggesting that such an apology has never been forthcoming?

    In fact, the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev belatedly apologized years ago for the crime. He gave Polish President Wojciech Jaruzelski cartons of documents from Soviet archives that revealed Soviet responsibility for the 1940 Katyn Massacre. This was the first time the Soviet government had officially and publicly taken responsibility for the Katyn Massacre. An official statement released to the public stated that the Soviet Union expresses “profound regret over the Katyn tragedy”.

    Yeltsin also apologized for Katyn in 1992 on behalf of the Russian state .

    Putin acknowledged Soviet guilt for Katyn several times in 2002 and President Medvedev did in 2009, and there have been other statements made since concerning Soviet guilt for the Katyn executions.

    Yet there is still a constant litany of criticism concerning the Russian position as regards the Katyn executions and steady accusations that the Russians have still not done enough to apologize to the Poles.

    It seems that these critics want an apology every year off every Russian president that happens to be in power.

    Are similar apologies demanded by some Polish politicians off the representatives of present day Germany year in year out for the horrendous crimes committed by the Third Reich in Poland during WWII and which resulted in the deaths of 2.9 million Polish Jews and about 2.8 million non-Jewish Polish citizens? Compare these figures with the estimated 150,000 Polish citizens (22,000 at Katyn) that died at the hands of the Soviets.


    Two wrongs don’t make a right, that’s for sure, but the Nazis were responsible for far more deaths in Poland than were the Soviets.

    Since the end of WWII there have been 11 German presidents and one acting president. How many demands have been made by certain sections of Polish society that each or any of these German presidents apologize to the Polish people for the deaths at the hands of German Nazi occupiers of an estimated 5.82 million Polish citizens?

    Has German President Gauck, who came into office in March of this year, apologized yet on behalf of the German people to the Poles for this horrendous crime committed in the name of the Third Reich some 70 years ago?

    Did his predecessor, President Seehofer, apologize? And before him, Presidents Wulff, Böhrnsen, Köhler, Rau, Herzog, Weiszäcker etc., etc., etc?

    If not – why not?

    President Gorbachov of the USSR did. So did President Yeltsin of Russia, and Putin and Medvedev.

    (Partly taken from a comment in RTmade by Moscow Exile’s alter ego.)

    • peter says:

      An official statement released to the public stated that the Soviet Union expresses “profound regret over the Katyn tragedy”.

      Regret and apology are not quite the same thing.

      • marknesop says:

        How many statements of regret on the same subject equal one apology?

      • Dear Peter,

        This is one occasion when at least on the narrow point of the difference between regret and apology I agree with you.

        What bedevils a resolution of the Katyn issue is that the sort of apology some (though by no means all or even I suspect most) Poles want is an apology from Russia that acknowledges the Katyn massacre as an act of genocide. The idea would then be to use such a Russian admission of genocide to promote the idea of the Soviet regime as a genocidal regime identical and equivalent to the Nazi regime. That is of course something Russia and Russians will never freely agree to and the latest opinion polls I have seen (conducted if memory serves me after the Smolensk air crash) show that most Russians are not willing to give such an apology.

        I would add that if Russia were ever to give such an apology it would not only concede the principle that Communism and Nazism are moral equivalents but would open the door to a flood of compensation claims not just from the families of the victims of Katyn but from anyone with a grievance against the USSR real or imagined.

        Of course Katyn also serves a purpose in Polish domestic politics where it is invoked by certain politicians who want Poland to dwell on its past rather than its present and who do not want a re examination of the disastrous foreign policy of the pre war Polish government if only because it is the same foreign policy these politicians are trying to get Poland to follow now.

        • kirill says:

          Yes, 22000 = 3000000 in the new chauvinist Polish math. Russia must demand that Poland apologize for and admit that the 100000 dead Soviet POWs were an act of genocide.

      • AK says:

        Not in my name.

    • yalensis says:

      Actually, like most people I grew up believing that NKVD did Katyn, but then I came out of the closet as a Katyn agnostic a couple of years ago, ever since I read this piece:

      It doesn’t really matter to me what Putin/Medvedev say about this issue; Thanks to Yeltsin, they have been locked into that version of reality and their hands are tied. These recent revelations are also bullshit, the only “revelation” is that Nazis took American POW’s on a propaganda tour to show off their version of Katyn. Big deal.
      I still lean toward version that Nazis did it, then framed Stalin. This version of reality does require “conspiracy” on the part of Yeltsin team to gild the lily, but is that really SO difficult to believe? That they would forge a few documents in order to curry favor with West and pound another nail into Communist coffin? Actually, quite plausible….

  17. Moscow Exile says:

    By expressing regret over something that one has done, one is stating that one wishes that one had not done something.

    By apologizing for doing something, one is expressing one’s guilt over a wrong doing.

    If one makes an apology for a wrong doing, thereby admitting one’s guilt for a wrongful act, then one may have to compensate the wronged party or parties. That is why states are often reluctant to apologize for, though they may be willing to express regrets over, their actions.

    This is not an infrequent occurence in diplomacy, e.g. several years ago the then Australian prime minister expressed the Australian government’s regtrets over the mistreatment of Australian aboriginals, but, to great criticism from many, he declined to apologise for those wrongdoings.

    On Friday, 26th November 2010 the Russian State Duma made the following announcement:

    Заявление Государственной Думы
    // о Катынской трагедии и ее жертвах

    Семьдесят лет назад были расстреляны тысячи польских граждан, содержавшихся в лагерях для военнопленных НКВД СССР и тюрьмах западных областей Украинской ССР и Белорусской ССР.

    В официальной советской пропаганде ответственность за это злодеяние, получившее собирательное название Катынской трагедии, приписывалась нацистским преступникам. Эта версия долгие годы оставалась предметом подспудных, но от этого не менее ожесточенных дискуссий в советском обществе и неизменно порождала гнев, обиду и недоверие польского народа.

    В начале 1990-х годов наша страна совершила важные шаги на пути к установлению истины в Катынской трагедии. Было признано, что массовое уничтожение польских граждан на территории СССР во время Второй мировой войны стало актом произвола тоталитарного государства, подвергшего репрессиям также сотни тысяч советских людей за политические и религиозные убеждения, по социальным и иным признакам.

    Опубликованные материалы, многие годы хранившиеся в секретных архивах, не только раскрывают масштабы этой страшной трагедии, но и свидетельствуют, что Катынское преступление было совершено по прямому указанию Сталина и других советских руководителей.

    Осуждая террор и массовые преследования граждан своей страны и иностранных граждан как несовместимые с идеей верховенства закона и справедливости, Государственная Дума Федерального Собрания Российской Федерации выражает глубокое сочувствие всем жертвам необоснованных репрессий, их родным и близким.

    Копии многих документов, хранившихся в закрытом архиве Политбюро ЦК КПСС, уже переданы польской стороне. Депутаты Государственной Думы уверены, что эта работа должна быть продолжена. Необходимо и дальше изучать архивы, выверять списки погибших, восстанавливать честные имена тех, кто погиб в Катыни и других местах, выяснять все обстоятельства трагедии.

    Разделяя скорбь с польским народом, депутаты Государственной Думы помнят, что Катынь является трагическим местом и для нашей страны. В Катынских рвах покоятся тысячи советских граждан, уничтоженных сталинским режимом в 1936–1938 годах. Именно на них отрабатывалась технология массовых убийств, которая затем в том же месте была применена в отношении польских военнослужащих. Рядом находятся и могилы советских военнопленных, расстрелянных гитлеровскими палачами в годы Великой Отечественной войны.

    Наши народы заплатили огромную цену за преступления тоталитаризма. Решительно осуждая режим, пренебрегавший правами и жизнью людей, депутаты Государственной Думы от имени российского народа протягивают руку дружбы польскому народу и выражают надежду на начало нового этапа в отношениях между нашими странами, которые будут развиваться на основе демократических ценностей.

    Достижение такого результата будет лучшим памятником жертвам Катынской трагедии, которых с исчерпывающей очевидностью уже реабилитировала сама история, воинам-красноармейцам, погибшим в Польше, советским солдатам, отдавшим свои жизни за ее освобождение от гитлеровского нацизма.

    Председатель Государственной Думы Федерального Собрания Российской Федерации.

    The key paragraphs in the above declaration are paras. 1, 2, 3 and 4:

    Seventy years ago, thousands of Polish civilians were murdered in the camps for POWs in NKVD prisons and the western regions of the Ukrainian SSR and the Byelorussian SSR.

    In official Soviet propaganda, the responsibility for this crime, which was called the Katyn tragedy, was attributed to Nazi criminals. This version remained for many years a closed subject, but in Soviet society there were discussions about this matter that were nothing less than intense and which have generated anger, resentment and mistrust in the Polish nation.

    In the early 1990s, our country made important steps towards establishing the truth about the Katyn massacre. It was recognized that the mass extermination of Polish citizens in the USSR during the Second World War was an act of repression carried out by a totalitarian state, repression that was also applied to hundreds of thousands of Soviet people because of their political and religious persuasion, social, and other characteristics.

    Published material that had been stored away for many years in secret archives has not only uncovered the scale of this frightful tragedy, but has also given testimony that the criminal act at Katyn had been executed on the direct order of Stalin and other Soviet leaders.

    End of translation.

    Surely an admission of guilt, but not an apology on behalf of the Russian people, which is what some Poles demand; for how can the Duma and the head of state apologize for an act on behalf of a nation, millions of whom were not alive when that act was committed.

    Amongst those millions of innocent Russian citizens – innocent of any guilt whatsoever concerning the Katyn murders that some wish to associate with them simply because they are Russian – are my three children, who are 13, 11 and 4 years of age.

    Or do some Poles wish that as regards the Russian people “The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son” – and in my children’s case, the sins of their Russian grandfathers?

    • Dear Moscow Exile

      “The sins of the father shall be visited upon the son” is exactly what some (not all) in Poland wish.

      I do not think there is very much about the general outline of Soviet and Russian history that is left to disclose. The Russians have (let us remember of their own volition) been settling accounts with the Stalin era from the moment of Stalin’s death. Literally on the day he died the Politburo shut down the investigation into the so called Doctor’s Plot and within a month declared the doctors innocent. Within a few months Beria and other senior NKVD officials were tried and executed, hundreds of thousands of people were freed from the camps and the process of rehabilitating Stalin’s victims had begun. The Politburo then appointed a series of commissions to review the crimes of the Stalin headed successively by Molotov, Shvernik and Shelepin (all Politburo members) and of course Stalin was formally and publicly denounced at the Twentieth Party Congress in 1956. The three Politburo commissions did a very thorough especially the one headed by Shelepin and I do not think it is realised to this day to what an extent what we know about the dark side of the Stalin era depends on the work of these commissions. It was Shelepin for example who finally established the truth of the Katyn massacre. In the 1960s this process slowed down but it resumed again with a vengeance in the 1980s with perestroika when the reports of all three commissions were made public. Today I simply do not think there is much left to reveal.

      Poland by contrast still remains bitterly divided about its history. There is no recognition in Poland of the fact that the war Pilsudski launched against the USSR in 1920 was a war of aggression or of the atrocities committed by the Polish army during that war or of the repressive and frankly fascistic policies of interwar Polish governments or of the extent to which Pilsudski and his associates pursued during the 1920s and 1930s policies that aimed at the break up of the USSR and the Polish annexation of the Ukraine (Pilsudski’s so called “Promethean policy”) which poisoned relations with Stalin and the USSR and which led Poland into an unwise and very dangerous and ultimately fatal association with Nazi Germany which was sealed by a Non Aggression Pact in 1934 and which continued right up to the Munich conference of 1938 during which Poland sided with Nazi Germany and even seized Czech territory in alliance with Hitler. There continues also to be great resistance in Poland to accepting that the Polish government’s anti Soviet foreign policy in 1939 left Poland completely exposed to German attack when the Polish government spurned a Soviet offer of an alliance and that the insistence on the part of a section of the Polish leadership during the Second World War on holding on to Pilsudski’s conquests in the east even after the allies had agreed to compensate Poland for their loss with German territory made the setting up of a pro Soviet regime in Poland inevitable. Instead there are people in Poland who insist on Poland being always represented as the passive and totally innocent victim of the misdeeds of others. Katyn separated from this context fits in perfectly with this picture, which is one reason why some people in Poland stick with it so stubbornly.

      • kirill says:

        Whether Poland accepts them or not, the facts speak for themselves. If they want to bring it down to the irrational emotional level, then I say they did it first and revenge is justified. If they want to remain civilized then they should get off the chauvinist crack pipe.

      • Misha says:


        As I’ve previously noted at this blog and elsewhere (seeing how you’ve referenced discussions involving some others):

        Under Pilsudski, Poland attacked former Russian Empire territory where Poles weren’t the majority. At the time of this attack, Pilsudski refused an alliance with the Whites who recognized Polish independence within boundaries where Poles were the majority. It was later revealed that during the Polish-White talks over such matter, Pilsudski had secret dealing with the Reds which touched on not supporting the Whites. Pilsudski wasn’t sympathetic to Russian identity. In contrast, the half Polish-Catholic Denikin showed a sincere willingness to try to east the historical rivalry between Russians and Poles.

        When the Reds became stronger, they attempted to takeover Poland. At that point, Pilsudski sought cooperation with the Whites as a means of offsetting the Red advance. Pilsudski refused an alliance with the Whites at a time when their position in the Russian Civil War was pretty good. Hence, this idea that Pilsudski saved Europe from Communism is somewhat suspect, given what was to happen.

        On the matter of forgiveness – HELLO! At this thread, I recently noted the claim of a fatally massive mistreatment of Red Army POWs, under Polish captivity (At this blog, Kovane earlier made mention of this matter,) The specific claim is that tens of thousands of these prisoners were killed under grossly inhospitable conditions. Russians sources appear sincerely insistent on this matter, which (comparatively speaking) has been noticeably downplayed in the West.

        • Misha says:

          Pilsudski’s forces attacked into former Russian Empire territory, which wasn’t primarily inhabited by Poles in 1919. The Soviet offensive towards Warsaw came in 1920.

          This piece elaborates further on some of the points raised in the set of comments direcetly above:

        • wanderer says:

          “At the time of this attack, Pilsudski refused an alliance with the Whites who recognized Polish independence within boundaries where Poles were the majority. ”

          This is probably Pilsudski’s greatest positive contribution to history, since the Whites were utterly incompetent organizers, economists, politicians, and war leaders.

          With White leadership in Russia, Hitler would have plucked Russia like a ripe tomato.

          • Misha says:

            I seem to recall a custom made moniker at one or more of these threads posting such broad rubbish.

            Time for a reality check in the form of how post-Soviet Russia has drifted away from such inaccurate spin.

            The Whites are credited with significantly growing on the job (so to speak), inclusive of improving on the above issues raised. Moreover, the Soviet period wasn’t such a pie in the sky.

            The Germans of WW II didn’t prove as smart as the Germans of WW II when it came to properly utilizing Russians with a discontent for the given government in place at the time. Stalin was far from being such a genius as some out there seem to suggest.

            • wanderer says:

              “Time for a reality check in the form of how post-Soviet Russia has drifted away from such inaccurate spin.”

              What is so inaccurate about it?

              “The Whites are credited with significantly growing on the job (so to speak), ”

              By whom?

              “inclusive of improving on the above issues raised.”

              Prove it.

              “Moreover, the Soviet period wasn’t such a pie in the sky.”

              In terms of winning big industrial-era wars, it was a huge improvement. Imperial Russia went 0 for 2 in 20th century wars against Japan and Germany.

              Soviet Russia crushed both.

              “The Germans of WW II didn’t prove as smart as the Germans of WW II when it came to properly utilizing Russians with a discontent for the given government in place at the time.”

              Once again, Averko wrestles with the English language, and loses.

              In WWII, the Nazis crushed the Western armed forces in six weeks in 1940.

              In WWI, the Germans were stopped short of Paris.

              ” Stalin was far from being such a genius as some out there seem to suggest.”

              Nicholas II lost his wars. So did Denikin, Wrangel, and Kolchak.

              Stalin won his.

              • Misha says:

                Once again a troll (“Wanderer) is full of himself/herself.

                If you don’t really know the history (which seems to pretty much be the case), there’s no need for me to discuss such matter with a tailor made moniker for the one specific instance of exclusively addressing (as in trolling against) yours truly.

                As usual, you’ve come up empty, while disingenuously blowing over what was previously mentioned. No, I’m not going to take the time and effort to check back for a blow by blow replay which left you flat.

                America lost in Southeast Asia. Big powers can lose in situations where such matters as geography and indirect foreign involvement can play a key factor.

                Russia played the lead role in defeating Napoleon and was recognized as the major land power in Europe for a period thereafter. This included the Habsburg request for Russian military assistance, which successfully put down a revolt – something that (in retrospect) was arguably not in Russia’s best interests. Russia also played a great role in helping to liberate Serbia and Bulgaria – a facet readily acknowledged in both countries. Previous to the Napoleonic era, Russia had military victories against Germany (Prussia) and Sweden and Poland, when the latter two were major powers.

                Regarding WW I, Russia did well against the Habsburg and Ottoman forces. Germany was another issue, which had to do with how Russia initially struck into German territory – instead of letting Germany come to them. I previously noted how catastrophic it would’ve been if the USSR immediately counterattacked against the Nazis. In the early part of WW I, the Germans were making impressive gains on the Western Front. Russia’s Western allies greatly sought a Russians advance to curtail the German offensive. The Russian action greatly assisted their Western allies.

                Concerning the Russian Civil War, Wrangel is credited with undertaking socioeconomic policies that were pragmatic. The Whites lacked the political education of propaganda of the Bolsheviks. This didn’t mean that the Whites were unable to learn for the betterment of their interests. Pilsudski felt like it was better for his imperial mindset to trust the Bolsheviks into accepting a larger Poland from what the Whites wouldn’t do from the get go.

                Russia’s economy was growing before WW I. The idea that the Soviets were needed to see a continued growth is wrong. WW I and how Russia fought it greatly influenced what was to come in that country. Unlike in WW II, German intelligence greatly took advantage of using Russian opposition to the government. There’s good reason to believe without WW I or a change in how Russia fought WW I, significant political changes would’ve occurred without a noticeable Bolshevik influence.

                As for present realities, Putin and some other key Russian officials have been involved in honoring such Whit figures as Denikin, much unlike how Lenin has been treated of late. The not too distantly released movie on Kolchak is opposite the Soviet propaganda against the Whites. I’ve yet to see that movie myself. Like a good many historical movies (including the one on Patton), it probably is off on some historical points.

                • wanderer says:

                  “America lost in Southeast Asia. Big powers can lose in situations where such matters as geography and indirect foreign involvement can play a key factor.”

                  The key factor in Southeast Asia was political, for as Clausewitz says, war is the continuation of political intercourse. One need only compare Ho and Diem as politicians to know how the war would turn out. And the Whites were about as politically competent as Diem was.

                  “Russia played the lead role in defeating Napoleon and was recognized as the major land power in Europe for a period thereafter. This included the Habsburg request for Russian military assistance, which successfully put down a revolt – something that (in retrospect) was arguably not in Russia’s best interests. Russia also played a great role in helping to liberate Serbia and Bulgaria – a facet readily acknowledged in both countries. Previous to the Napoleonic era, Russia had military victories against Germany (Prussia) and Sweden and Poland, when the latter two were major powers.”

                  All of those victories were pre-industrial era. Once war became dependent on railroads, engines, and automatic weapons, Russia’s losing streak began. And the Soviets broke the losing streak.

                  “Regarding WW I, Russia did well against the Habsburg and Ottoman forces.”

                  The Habsburgs and Ottomans had also lagged in industrializing and modernizing their societies.

                  “Germany was another issue, which had to do with how Russia initially struck into German territory – instead of letting Germany come to them. I previously noted how catastrophic it would’ve been if the USSR immediately counterattacked against the Nazis.”

                  And in technological terms, Imperial Germany was in the top two in terms of the effectiveness of their industrial economy. The Imperial Russian economy was nowhere near as effectively run.

                  “Concerning the Russian Civil War, Wrangel is credited with undertaking socioeconomic policies that were pragmatic. The Whites lacked the political education of propaganda of the Bolsheviks. This didn’t mean that the Whites were unable to learn for the betterment of their interests.”

                  Alas, once you have wasted time, you can never get it back. Especially in war.

                  “Russia’s economy was growing before WW I.”

                  So was Argentina’s. At the time of WWI, Argentina was one of the richest countries in the world, due to her agricultural productivity. But Argentina’s elites bungled the transition to an industrialized society, mostly by ignoring the necessity of doing it, so when the post-WWI global crash in agricultural prices happened, Argentina was screwed, and has been ever since. Argentina has never recovered.

                  And Imperial Russia was on that path.

                  Robert Allen’s “Farm to Factory” covers this.


                  “The idea that the Soviets were needed to see a continued growth is wrong.”

                  The most recent scholarship, Allen’s, disagrees, and has significant evidence behind it.

                  “WW I and how Russia fought it greatly influenced what was to come in that country. ”

                  Yup. Imperial Russia tried to fight one of the most effective industrial societies with an economy and an army still stuck in the 1880s.

                  “Unlike in WW II, German intelligence greatly took advantage of using Russian opposition to the government.”

                  And if the Imperial Russian forces had not suffered three years of unremitting defeat, with only Brusilov’s offensive being a major victory, and if the Russian railroad system hadn’t been collapsing under the strain of the war effort, the Germans would have had little to work with politically.

                  And note who Brusilov, the only Imperial Russian general to win a major victory, ended up with. The Bolshies. Not because he was a Bolshie himself. He was a patriot for Russia. He joined up with the Bolshies because he could see they had a better understanding of the modern world than the Whites, and were more effective at running things.

                  “There’s good reason to believe without WW I or a change in how Russia fought WW I, significant political changes would’ve occurred without a noticeable Bolshevik influence.”

                  Tell us those reasons.

              • hoct says:

                Some revisionism you have going there. Actually you will recall the Bolsheviks lost The Great War for Russia. They took over the country amidst war and then promptly lost it, signing the humiliating and catastrophic Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, to the chagrin of Whites and SRs.

                In return for their service they (the Bolsheviks) were then bailed out by Kaiser’s Germany in the summer of 1918 when they would have almost certainly folded against Whites and Czechoslovaks, but for the fact they were propped up by the Germans.

                They were then bailed out from the would-be disastrous consequences of the moronic and needless Brest-Litovsk Treaty by the fortunate circumstance of their sponsor, Germany, being defeated by the Entente (which is to say by the Bolshevik’s enemies).

                The Bolsheviks’ started their reign by massive capitulation and sacrifice of Russian national and state interests for party and movement interests, they then presided over the deaths of 40 million of their citizens in WWII, Stalin’s famines and Socialist repression and then finished this brilliant streak by having their state shatter.

                Let’s talk facts here. Take out a historical atlas. Take a look at Russia in 1917. Take a look at Russia after 70 years of Communist stewardship in 1991. Now tell us, which one looks bigger? I know, maybe we could have the Bolsheviks back for another 70 years so they can lose Siberia and the south and set-back Russia to the borders of Muscovy?

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  I always felt that the Bolsheviks were propped up, albeit unwillingly, by the western allies, though the Bolsheviks never conceded this point, prefering to dwell on western interventionism.

                  The main thing that the western allies did, though, was to continue fighting against the Central Powers after the Russian republic under the Bolsheviks had thrown in the towel. The western allies had by that time already experience demands from various quarters that they make a negotiated peace with Germans; likewise the German Empire with the western allies.

                  If, in 1917, the war had ceased on the Western front, I’m quite sure the full might of reactionary forces would have been unleashed in former imperial Russian territory and the German Empire would have expanded its sphere of influence eastwards by means of its client Ukrainian and Baltic states so as to abut onto what is now the western frontier of Russia.

                  In other words, the situation in 1917 would have become as it is now as regards eastwardly NATO expansion into territory that borders prent day Russia.

                • wanderer says:

                  “Some revisionism you have going there. Actually you will recall the Bolsheviks lost The Great War for Russia.”

                  No, Nicholas II got Russia into a war that Russia lacked the capacity to win.

                  “They took over the country amidst war”

                  Yup. And Kerensky should have made peace as soon as he took power, since he was in a war Russia couldn’t win.

                  “and then promptly lost it,”

                  Why did Nicholas II abdicate? Because of bread riots caused by the fact that Russia’s railroad system was collapsing, to the point that it could either supply the front with munitioons, or the cities with grain, but not both.

                  “signing the humiliating and catastrophic Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, to the chagrin of Whites and SRs.”

                  It would have been better if Kerensky had done it, but Lenin was able to face ugly facts, not Kerensky.

                  “The Bolsheviks’ started their reign by massive capitulation and sacrifice of Russian national and state interests for party and movement interests,”

                  Getting out of a lost war is often expensive.

                • Misha says:

                  Once again, the Russian economy was in the process of growth, with or without the Bolsheviks. The latter included a brutal fear factor and cronyism which weren’t plusses. Such manner included driving many talented folks into exile.

                  The point having to do with how Russia fought WW I wasn’t successfully refuted. As previously noted, an immediate Soviet counterattack against the Nazis would’ve very likely been catastrophic. The early Russia strike into German territory was a plus for the Western allies – something acknowledged by Western and German sources. WW I and how Russia initially fought that war, combing with German Machiavellian were the key determining factors in the Bolshevik takeover. Up to WW I, the Bolshevik leaders and their views were of no great influence as Russia was in a process of change.

                  On the aforementioned patriotic point, Pilsudski favored the Bolsheviks on account of how they (Lenin in particular) deemphasized Russian identity in a negatively inaccurate way, while showing a willingness in late 1919 to agreeably approve of Poland having more territory than the White position – the land in question being largely non-Polish inhabited.

                  The Soviet Union didn’t have as long an historical run as the Russian Empire. For good reason, the Russian tri-color and two headed eagle are officially back. Likewise with other instances such as the change back in name to St. Petersburg from Leningrad.

                • wanderer says:

                  “Once again, the Russian economy was in the process of growth, with or without the Bolsheviks.”

                  So was Argentina’s economy, before and during WWI. Argentina’s wealth was based on agriculture, as was Imperial Russia’s. And at the time that made Argentina a wealthy place, one of the richest countries in the world.

                  Then the price of agricultural commodities crashed worldwide, and Argentina was screwed, and has been ever since. And Imperial/White Russia was on the same path as Argentina. Industrial growth under the Soviets was massive. You don’t make 105,000 tanks, 500,000 artillery pieces, and 143,000 combat aircraft in six ears off of growing grain.

                  “The latter included a brutal fear factor and cronyism which weren’t plusses. Such manner included driving many talented folks into exile.”

                  Based on the outcome of the war, I’d say that cronyism and lack of talent was more prevalent among the losers of that war than among the winners.

                  “The point having to do with how Russia fought WW I wasn’t successfully refuted.”

                  Says you. I showed that once warfare became dependent on industry, railroads, engines, and automatic weapons, Russia stopped winning wars and started losing them.

                  “As previously noted, an immediate Soviet counterattack against the Nazis would’ve very likely been catastrophic.”

                  Actually, that’s precisely what the Soviets did in 1941. And those counterattacks failed promptly and catastrophically. But here’s the difference between Soviet Russia and Imperial Russia: Soviet Russia had the industrial capacity to build a new, modern army while the war was on. Imperial Russia had no hope of doing the same.

                  “Up to WW I, the Bolshevik leaders and their views were of no great influence as Russia was in a process of change.”

                  At a rate that would have utterly failed if continued to 1941.

                  “The Soviet Union didn’t have as long an historical run as the Russian Empire.

                  It did far better in industrial-era warfare, which would be important in 1941. The survival of Russians/Ukrainians/Poles in WWII is due to that.

                • Misha says:

                  It’s erroneous to assume that industrial growth in Russia was exclusively a byproduct of Soviet action versus Russia’s growing economy prior to WW I.

                  The “massive” Soviet growth was the result of better machinery developed worldwide for the purpose of mass production. Note how the US suddenly and rapidly cranked out great amounts of light and heavy military armament during WW II, without the kind of grossly oppressive state that existed elsewhere at the time.

                  Over the course of time, people/teams/countries win and lose for reasons that aren’t simple matters of being right/ethical/efficient or bad/wrong/inefficient.

                  The point on the difference between how Russia fought WW I (attacking early on in Germany) versus the Soviets in WW II (withdrawing and holding back as the Germans extended themselves and the Soviets developed and received more arms) is quite valid and hasn’t been successfully refuted. Yes, there was some Soviet counteroffensive activity which doesn’t negate a withdrawal phase. Consider how close the Nazis were to Moscow at one point. By 1917, Russia’s arms situation was better than in 1914. Unfortunately, the heavy toll of the earlier planned offensive and German propaganda efforts served to greatly bolster the Bolshevik effort.

                  The Soviet victory in WW II is greatly the result of the effort of the people combatting Nazism, plus Nazism’s pure evil, as opposed to the brilliance of Soviet strategy.

                • wanderer says:

                  “It’s erroneous to assume that industrial growth in Russia was exclusively a byproduct of Soviet action versus Russia’s growing economy prior to WW I.”

                  Who said “exclusively”? Not me. Don’t put words in my mouth, Averko.

                  What I have said is that Imperial Russia was industrializing at a rate insufficient to transform Russia into a great industrial power in time. Imperial Russia was based on agriculture, like Argentina. In the pre-WWI period, Argentina was a wealthy country, one of the top ten in the world in GNP per capita. But after WWI, agricultural prices crashed, and Argentina was screwed. Argentina is now a middle-income country, with pretty much insoluble economic and political problems. Imperial Russia was on that path.

                  “The “massive” Soviet growth was the result of better machinery developed worldwide for the purpose of mass production.”

                  Absolutely. The Soviets went shopping for the best industrial plants in the world, and they did it on a scale that utterly dwarfed the efforts of Imperial Russia.

                  “Note how the US suddenly and rapidly cranked out great amounts of light and heavy military armament during WW II,”

                  The United States had been the largest, most powerful industrial economy in the world since about 1900, and the US continued massive investments between 1900 and 1941, retaining that position.

                  ” without the kind of grossly oppressive state that existed elsewhere at the time.”

                  “We are 50-100 years behind the advanced industrial countries. We must make good that distance in ten years. Either we do it, or they crush us.” J.V. Stalin, 1931.

                  Add ten years to 1931, and see what you get, Mike.

                  Doing 50 years of industrial development in 10 years was never going to be pretty.

                  Unfortunately, the consequence of failure was extermination for Europe’s Slavic populations.

                  “Over the course of time, people/teams/countries win and lose for reasons that aren’t simple matters of being right/ethical/efficient or bad/wrong/inefficient.”

                  Say a guy obsessed with “…how on some venues some get propped (over more deserving others)”

                  “The point on the difference between how Russia fought WW I (attacking early on in Germany) versus the Soviets in WW II (withdrawing and holding back as the Germans extended themselves and the Soviets developed and received more arms) is quite valid and hasn’t been successfully refuted.”

                  Utterly false. STAVKA Directive #3 of 22 June 1941 ordered Soviet forces to undertake a general counteroffensive. That means “Everybody counterattack now!”

                  “Yes, there was some Soviet counteroffensive activity which doesn’t negate a withdrawal phase.”

                  Soviet forces at the border counterattacked on a massive scale on the first few days of the war! And it was a massive, catastrophic failure.

                  “Consider how close the Nazis were to Moscow at one point. By 1917, Russia’s arms situation was better than in 1914.”

                  Unfortunately, by February 1917, the “bread in St. Petersburg” situation was massively, catastrophically worse than it had been in 1914. That is because Russia’s railroad system was collapsing under the strain of the war effort.

                  Compare to 1941, when the massively more powerful Soviet railroad system was able to supply the army, get food to the cities, AND move a huge number of factories behind the Urals.

                  And Kerensky was an idiot for not recognizing that the situation would not improve until Russia had peace. Lenin was not such an idiot.

                  “Unfortunately, the heavy toll of the earlier planned offensive and German propaganda efforts served to greatly bolster the Bolshevik effort.”

                  Well, well, well… the first indication in this discussion that you have a clue about something, though you still understate the gravity of Imperial Russia’s situation in 1917.

                  One of Imperial Russia’s biggest problems in WWI is that Russia’s best-developed ports were on the Baltic and Black Seas, which were closed by the enemy in 1914. Economically, Imperial Russia died of strangulation, due to a lack of critical imports from her allies. The ports and railroad system to Arkhangelsk, Murmansk, and Vladivostok weren’t developed enough to take up the load left by the idle ports on the Baltic and Black Seas.

                  This was fixed by 1941.

                  “The Soviet victory in WW II is greatly the result of the effort of the people combatting Nazism, plus Nazism’s pure evil, as opposed to the brilliance of Soviet strategy.”

                  I have the Chief of the German General Staff, Colonel-General Franz Halder, commenting on the brilliance of the Soviet strategy from the first days of the war in 1941. He noted the Soviet plan to break up the German combined-arms team, to separate the German infantry from their supporting tanks and artillery, and beat the German infantry bloody. It was the Soviets who figured this out, not the Poles, or the Anglo-French. The Soviets.

                  And it worked.

          • yalensis says:

            Dear @Wanderer: I have been reading your comments, and I like your style. Therefore I found this musical introduction for you:

    • Misha says:

      The earlier brought up (at this thread) Srebrenica issue comes to mind.

      • Misha says:

        Comment directly above this one concerns the varying interpretations of what actually happened there and how what happened there has been used for the purpose of trying to get a political advantage.

  18. yalensis says:

    An interesting and surprisingly upbeat take on the APEC summit:

    Russia just finished hosting APEC nations summit on the island of “Russki” in the remote Primorye region.
    Russia invested a small fortune building infrastructure to support this summit (including a couple of bridges and an entire dorimitory village, which will now become the basis for a new university).
    Surprisingly, it all seemed worth it, as the summit produced some unexpected successes. Political leaders from leading Pacific nations (China, Russia, USA, Japan) signed off a whole series of economic and cultural exchange deals.

    • Dear Yalensis,

      Not surprising at all. One should not be influenced by western sneering. The key country in the Asia Pacific is China. For China Russia is a vital ally if only because China has no other allies. Beyond that Russia is in a position to supply China with precisely the kind of energy products and raw materials China needs. As Kirill rightly says what is astonishing about the Russian Chinese economic relationship is that trade turnover between Russia and China is already at half the level of the European Union and is increasing rapidly all the time. If the recessionary crisis deepens in the west and China’s external surplus starts to decline the importance for China of its economic relationship with Russia will increase even further.

      Given the strength of the relationship between Russia and China and given China’s importance it was a certainty that the APEC summit would be a success and western and Russian liberal commentary to the contrary is just another exercise in denial.

      Incidentally I understand that there are now proposals for the two countries to pool efforts in aircraft production. If Russian experience in designing and building aircraft can be combined with Chinese resources then given the already immense size of the Russian and Chinese civil aviation markets a successful joint programme to build civil aircraft could rapidly challenge Boeing and Airbus.

  19. kirill says:

    Another piece of evidence to throw in the faces of the anti-Russia propagandists. I wonder how many FSB visits there are to all of the foaming at the mouth liberasts. Has Novodvorskaya ever been visited by the FSB for her hate speech? And it is hate speech with the Russian people as the target. She deserves a long term visit to the slammer.

    • Misha says:

      Ultimately, Novodvorskaya shouldn’t be viewed as such an important person.

      Effective Russian government involved (in one form or the other) English language PR and media would highlight the freedom evident in Russia, relative to the kind of censoring restrictions that have existed in the West – which isn’t to say that Russia is perfect.

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Berezovsky linked to Pussy Riot scandal. Pussy Riot and associates described as revolutionaries with a revolutioary programme. Interesting film of police interviews with arrested and later convicted PR members. Note how when one of them, Maria Aleksina (the nice, quiet one who claims that she is a “believer”), when asked if she considered that her actions in the cathedral may have caused offence, looks at the camera and apologizes – with a snigger.

    From today’s Komsomolskaya Pravda



    Sorrry, not enough time to translate. Have to dash off back to work.

    • yalensis says:

      Thanks for very interest link, @Moscow..
      Fascinating… so, according to this film, Berezovsky tried to blackmail ROC officials into denouncing Putin, and when they wouldn’t, he carried through on his threat to disrupt their services, using his salaried artistes “Pussy Riot” as “Pusheshnaya M’asa” (=“Cannon Fodder)? Sounds kind of like crazy talk, but when it comes to Berezovsky, crazy IS the normal. As Dame Judge Gloster learned, to her irritation.
      If the ROC patriarch had played ball and denounced Putin’s tyrrany, then he would have been lionized in every capital of Europe, and nobody would have ever heard of the Pussycat girls.
      As someone who takes an unhealthy interest in Navalny, I was particularly intrigued by the bit starting at 21:30 where the interviewee (blogger Dmitry Beliaev) explains why Navalny (who claims to be a follower of the Orthodox Church) HAD to come out in support of Pussy Riot. Very simply, as Beliaev explains, because the people (implying Berezovsky among others) who finance him (Navalny) do not tolerate any deviation from their “plan”.
      Ridiculous as it sounds to me (because I am used to living in a Marxist world where the imperialist powers attempt to impose religion, not atheism, as the preferred opiate for the oppressed masses), and yet even I cannot deny the overwhelming evidence that this is precisely what is going on here. We have all seen the very disciplined propaganda barrage which ties together Pussy Riot with all the other Opps causes (ranging from ousting corrupt Putin to supporting Syrian Wahhabist rebels) and does not permit any partitioning of this meal into “cutlets” and “flies”. The imperialist platform is now all big mushy mess that doesn’t even make any sense any more, from an ideological point of view.
      Hence, Navalny, however uncomfortable it might have made him feel, was forced to stand out on the street corner wearing a “Free Pussy Riot” sandwich board around his neck (at 22:30). Because Berezovsky and McFaul told him he had to. Poor Navalny! But that’s what happens when you strike a deal with the devil. He should have read his “Faust” more carefully, or he would know that an ordinary mortal can never outsmart the devil.

      • Misha says:

        Just look at how Filaret in Ukraine covered since breaking away from the Moscow Patriarchate.

        • Dear Yalensis,

          If this is true then it explains a great deal. In particular it explains why the case received so much coverage in the west and why so much of it has been directed at the Orthodox Church.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Berezovsky says on Ekho Moskvy that he would have been proud if he had thought up the Pussy Riot in the cathedral performance:


            And out-of-the-closet liberast Medvedev gets his two-penn’orth in as regards the PR conviction:



            The PR story grows ever murkier!

              • marknesop says:

                What a carnival of crap. I swear, I am so tired of hearing about Pussy Riot, Pussy Riot, Pussy Riot everywhere you turn. They are three talentless slags (of an group of unknown size of talentless slags) who squat in abandoned buildings and disdain paid employment, who are being used as political symbols by special interest groups – the one side to make them appear much worse than they are, the other to make them seem much better than they are. Dmitry Medvedev just cannot stop making a fool of himself by trying to please everybody. He should actually get himself a lime-green balaclava and join Pussy Riot – perhaps he will be a better punk screamer than he is a politician. Oh, well, if nothing else, this should nurture a whole new round of speculation of a rift in the power vertical; Brian Whitmore and Open Democracy won’t have to dig for new material for a few weeks, maybe even a few months.

                I would agree Pussy Riot should be freed immediately, provided they immediately got on a plane to America (not Canada; I hope Immigration revokes Tolokonnikova’s permanent residency, and that’s the main reason I hope she stays in the jug for her full sentence), never to return to Russia. The USA loves anti-Putin activists and would fete them as celebrities for awhile, until they did something bizarre over there. And if they didn’t, and became model citizens, Russia’s loss would be America’s gain and I’m sure Russia would somehow get over it.

                • Misha says:

                  “What a carnival of crap. I swear, I am so tired of hearing about Pussy Riot, Pussy Riot, Pussy Riot everywhere you turn.”


                  Likewise with the hoopla some raise over the likes of Adomanis and Ioffe.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  “Russia’s loss would be America’s gain…”

                  Reminds me of that wonderful riposte off former NZ premier Robert Muldoon back in the 80’s after his being asked his opinion concerning the increasing exodus of New Zealanders to Australia. His comment was: “New Zealanders who leave for Australia raise the IQ of both countries”.

            • Misha says:


              Excerpt –

              “Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has spoken out against the verdict handed to controversial punk band Pussy Riot, saying he believed the time they spent behind bars before and during the trial was punishment enough.
              ‘I feel that extending the prison time [for the band members] in this case is counterproductive,’ Medvedev said at a United Russia Party meeting in the Russian city of Penza. ‘In my opinion, probation would have been sufficient punishment, considering all the time they’ve already spent behind bars’.”


              The views expressed in the above excerpted appear to be along the lines of what Putin and the ROC were expressing before the sentences were handed out.

              The judge in question and apparently (based on some polling) much of Russia’s population differ somewhat. Who says that diversity is lacking in Russia?

  21. rkka says:

    This just in…

    A number of news outlets are reporting that the US Ambassador to Libya and three of his subordinates were killed in the storming of the US Consulate in Bengazi.

    Note to Hilliary:

    “They came, they saw, and four US diplomats died.”

    I wonder if Gadaffi would have permitted it.

    • yalensis says:

      Of course Gaddafi woult NOT have permitted this kind of chaos and disorder on his watch. Gaddafi kept the Islamists on a very tight leash, and would not tolerate any Al Qaeda penetration into Libya. Now that he is gone, the Al Qaeda monkeys are out of their cage, they run wild and do whatever they please.

      Here is RT on this breaking story:

      American media have CONFIRMED the death of the U.S. ambassador.
      Some American political pundits already talking about this event serving as “October Surprise” (although to be sure it is only September) that may hand the presidential election to Mitt Romney. ‘Cause, see, all this makes Obama look like a weakling, like the second coming of Jimmy Carter.
      Also some claims that the youtube video that provoked the mobs was crafted by American Pastor Terry Jones, who is a known Republican supporter. So Repubs might try to make a lot of hay out of this. But all this still at the level of conspiracy/speculation…

    • Misha says:

      Regarding Syria, let’s see if the dots gets connected.

      • The US has now confirmed that it was none other than the US ambassador who was killed in Libya.

        On the subject of whether this could have happened under Gaddafi, the short answer is no and we have conclusive evidence that proves this.

        In February 2011 when the uprising against Gaddafi began the US and other western powers evacuated their citizens from Tripoli. There was considerable unease in western capitals that Gaddafi would try to hold on to these people as hostages. He did nothing of the sort. On the contrary he made sure that the Libyan authorities assisted with the evacuation, which could not of course have happened without their cooperation. Nor at any point during the fighting were any western journalists or diplomats who visited the part of Libya that remained under Gaddafi’s control any time threatened and harmed. I can only remember one incident when a British television returning from the rebel town of Zuwiyah after it had been recaptured by Gaddafi’s forces claimed to have been detained and beaten by Gaddafi’s security forces. For various reasons I had strong doubts at the time that this was true.

        I happen to know various people who visited Libya whilst Gaddafi was in power. One was a Greek woman who bizarrely ran an estate agency there. The opinions of Gaddafi held by these people vary widely but all described a country that was very safe and very relaxed. Now that is “free” it is no longer either.

        • The media here in Britain is being extraordinarily careful about how it reports the story. I believe the same is true in the US. There is obviously a direction out not to allow criticism to appear of the campaign to overthrow Gaddafi or to suggest that the murder of the US ambassador by a Salafist mob points to the campaign having been a mistake.

          To me the moral of the story is that Hillary Clinton is none other than the young lady from Riga:

          There was a young lady from Riga
          Who smiled as she rode on a tiger
          They returned from the ride
          With the lady inside
          And the smile on the face of the tiger.

        • yalensis says:

          I heartily agree, @alexander. All my research on Libya indicated that Gaddafi ran an extraordinarily safe, “law and order” type state. Diplomats and journalists were especially protected. At the level of everyday life, any person, even a woman, could walk down the street in any neighborhood in the middle of the night and not be attacked.
          Things are very different now, with the combination of anarchy, rampant crime, and Islamist warlords battling each other for each neighborhood.
          As far as Benghazi is concerned, Benghazi and Cairo are almost identical, in terms of culture, and are now both ruled by Muslim Brotherhood gangs. It is not surprising that these criminal gangs behaved as they did, they are violent criminals, after all. Although it cannot be a coincidence that they launched this attack on September 11.
          One speculates now: what will America do to respond to these attacks? They must respond in some manner, but how? It is too late to bring Gaddafi back to life!

          • Jen says:


            There are two US warships already stationed with hundreds of marines near Libya. The Americans either anticipated that the fall-out from the Benghazi consulate attack would be much greater than it has been or they have other plans and the consulate attack is a false flag excuse to take direct control of Libya from the TNC.

            Strange that this attack took place in eastern Libya as Benghazi was the city most opposed to Gaddafi’s rule and it was here that the rebels launched their attacks against him. The weird thing also is that the rebels established the Central Bank of Benghazi as competent to make monetary policy for Libya while in the middle of fighting and while they were trying to sort out their leadership which makes you wonder who was funding and helping them and dictating their agenda.

            Is it possible Nakoula Basseley Nakoula is being set up as a patsy to take the blame for the anti-Islamic film? He’s got a history of fraud and he’s a Coptic Christian. Why would he deliberately make a film to antagonise Muslims against Christians in Egypt? He must still have friends and relatives there. Who really put up the money to make the film?

            There is now news coming out that the film was merely an excuse for militants to attack the embassy. They apparently had help from Libyan security inside the embassy. I wonder whether this is retaliation of the “green-on-blue” type in Afghanistan (Afghan allies turning “rogue” on US and other Coalition soldiers) or if these guys are being paid and supplied by the same people supplying arms to the FSA in Syria.


            • yalensis says:

              Hi, @Jennifer,
              You make a lot of good points, as always, and raise a lot of questions.
              Before this incident occurred, there was a report that Western powers, especially France, have put forth a plan to partition Libya into 3 parts. There is a Benghazi-Cairo axis which may be worrisome to Americans, since both cities are controlled by Al Qaeda warlords! And yet, the West also used this same axis and allied itself with these very same warlords (such as Belhaj) to funnel anti-Assad militants and weapons into Syria. So in a way it doesn’t make sense if allies of the Syrian FSA would turn against the Americans, since they were counting on Americans (and NATO) to provide them with more weapons and more mercenaries. UNLESS Obama made a turn-around behind the scenes and decided to stop supplying them, in which case this incident could be their revenge against him? Very confusing!
              I agree with you that the anti-Muslim video was probably a planned provocation. Also agree that the terrorists had most likely infiltrated into the American embassy. Were probably working as janitors or electricians, or something like that, and nobody noticed that they were disciplined cadre from some Al Qaeda cell. It could even be female employees (maids or cooks) who stealthily worked within and supplied the Intel to Al Qaeda. Technically, embassies are supposed to give all staff lie detector tests and background checks, but sometimes they cut corners. In any case, the attack on the embassy, and certainly on the safe house, seems to have been an inside job.

            • marknesop says:

              Hello, Jennifer, and welcome. I’ve seen your commentary on Anatoly’s blog: I like your style, and was hoping you would stop by.

              Westerners seem to enjoy poking fun at Mohammed, under the rubric of “religious freedom” and freedom of speech, but I think few realize how inflammatory it is to Muslims and how their culture reacts to deliberate insult. I suppose at least some Americans reason, who cares, let them come – we can just kick their ass. But probably those who think that way also don’t realize how many of “them” there are, or how drawn out the American forces are following pretty much a decade of constant war. Western audiences don’t really pay much attention to who is who in the Middle East, and it’s enough for them if they’re told they just freed another nation of millions from a brutal dictator and that the people are dancing in the streets with their arms full of candy and flowers. Witness to that, the piece you linked still pursues the fiction that the west freed Libya from Gaddafi’s cruel dictatorship, when in fact he enjoyed a comfortable degree of popular support among Libyans; just as Assad does among Syrians. Replacing secular leaders with the Muslim Brotherhood means a return to sharia law and curtailment of personal freedoms.

              Anyway, the present problem is one of logistics. If all these areas revolt at once, America does not have enough forces to cover them all. Not unless it wants to conduct its policing actions from seaward via cruise missiles, which kill friend and foe alike. In this case, it’s important to note, the west will not be attacking the government and so will not be able to just bomb infrastructure and government compounds until the government collapses. The enemy is Everyman.

    • marknesop says:

      I wonder how this will be spun to look like an accident, something forgivable (in the interests of the higher purpose of attacking Syria, which of course is under attack by the same group of people; it wouldn’t look good to call them ungrateful pricks and savages) so the Middle East agenda will not be derailed. Because the west will never admit it made a terrible mistake supporting Gaddafi’s ouster in favour of a loose association of radical tribesmen whom Gaddafi would have easily put down had NATO not stepped in and won the battle for them, like a Mama lion who cripples a gazelle and lets the cubs go in to finish it off so they will learn to kill.

      Perhaps the official analysis will reflect that it was done by pro-Gaddafi militant holdouts.

  22. apc27 says:

    I know that people on this blog have been following Mark Adomanis for quite some time, so maybe someone would know what is up with him lately. I have not been really paying attention to his blog for the past 6 months, so it was a surprise to see him in more recent posts channeling his inner liberal so much, that many traces of his former objectivity are all but gone. Is he slowly pulling another Julia Ioffe on us?

    • Misha says:

      Such matter has been discussed at this thread and some other recent ones here. There were previous indications of such manner as well.

      • apc27 says:

        Seems so. A pity then. His Pussy Riot posts, while annoying, were still somewhat consistent. He knew of the opposing arguments, but simply chose to disregard them. His posts on the church demolition and his following discussion with Mark were far more grating in that he did not even seem to bother doing his usual research before launching another stream of accusations towards Russian authorities and the ROC.

        Its getting increasingly difficult to find those with whom one can have an Honest disagreement with. Maybe its the world getting more messed up or just me getting older, either way its just sad.

        • marknesop says:

          “…it was a surprise to see him in more recent posts channeling his inner liberal so much, that many traces of his former objectivity are all but gone. ”

          It is a continuing source of bemusement to me that “liberal” and “conservative” have such different meanings in different countries; they are like chalk and cheese. A liberal-leaning individual by Russian standards – western inclined, business friendly and a payer only of lip service to the social contract with the electorate while negotiating constant legal reforms which ultimately benefit large international commercial interests – would be a hardcore conservative by Canadian standards, and pretty much the same by American standards. According to Mark Adomanis’s writing for the Harvard Crimson – when he was a student – he was as conservative as they come; supportive of the G.W. Bush “Freedom Agenda” for the Middle East, tending toward materialism and ready with his trademark contempt for what would be considered liberal values in North America. To be fair, he did address this in the Pussy Riot disagreement, suggesting he had changed his mind about many things since he was a student and a part of such an insular environment, and that’s a plausible explanation. I, for example, used to be a vocal defender of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF). While I still think they’re quite a professional outfit in terms of acting as an instrument of government policy, I have gradually become disillusioned with that government policy and have withdrawn all my support for it in as complete a change of opinion as can be imagined. The emerging Mark Adomanis when La Russophobe used to pour withering scorn upon his head was the scourge of written western commentary on Russia, eviscerating The Economist’s coverage of Russia with savage glee and describing Paul Goble as a whore who crawled through the garbage in the Russian press, and translated wildly biased items, thereby giving them the weight of authoritative testimony. In an odd development, La Russophobe has been just as contemptuous of the newer, more liberal (Russian type liberal) Mark Adomanis, spitting on any suggestion that demonstrations are likely to bring about social change and mocking the impact of Alexei Navalny, in a bizarre reversal of roles.

          People change, but their core beliefs rarely move very much. I suggest that how you write when you’re free to channel your core beliefs is quite a bit different from how you write when it has to go through an editor. That said, the shrill response on the church-demolition issue suggests I am either arguing against a core belief, or he simply doesn’t care for disagreement.

          • kirill says:

            The label confusion comes from the corruption of the term neoliberal into liberal. Usually one applies the term describing a political movement’s social interests and not their economic ones. Liberals in the west are social liberals and not economics liberals. For some reason the liberasts got an economics tag. I guess they have nothing of note when it comes to social policy. I don’t know why anyone who is honest would expect such a movement to succeed at the ballot box. The voters aren’t a collection of corporations.

          • Misha says:

            “The emerging Mark Adomanis when La Russophobe used to pour withering scorn upon his head was the scourge of written western commentary on Russia, eviscerating The Economist’s coverage of Russia with savage glee and describing Paul Goble as a whore who crawled through the garbage in the Russian press, and translated wildly biased items, thereby giving them the weight of authoritative testimony. In an odd development, La Russophobe has been just as contemptuous of the newer, more liberal (Russian type liberal) Mark Adomanis, spitting on any suggestion that demonstrations are likely to bring about social change and mocking the impact of Alexei Navalny, in a bizarre reversal of roles.”


            The above excerpted mentions sources that are substantively lacking on a number of key subjects unlike some others. For quality control purposes the latter grouping should be given greater attention.

            A repeated thought in reply to a contant harping on the undemocratically and questionably selected.

          • apc27 says:

            What I meant to say by “channeling” inner liberal or conservative or whatever, was to describe someone going all absolutist ideological on you. That is a conversation killer, no matter what the topic. What can you tell someone who argues for an absolute right to free speech? You could tell them about the danger and hatred it would spread, you could tell them about its infringement on other rights e.g. religious, property and all you will hear in response is “I don’t care”. So essentially, there is nothing to say to them.

            It’s the same with Israel supporters like Shoshana Bryen. You could show them all the possible evidence, you could argue with them for hours, trying to illustrate a simple point that, past a certain stage, their blind advocacy becomes too costly and eventually counter-productive, and it would still all be for naught.

            What I actually like about Putin is the fact that there is so little, especially compared to Western politicians, ideology and absolutism in his actions. The man would use either conservative or liberal policies, work with Americans or Chechens, do, pretty much, whatever is needed to get the job done. Its so refreshing. Seeing incessant ideological fighting between Labour and Conservatives here in Britain… it just makes you want to puke.

            And now with Adomanis going the way he is, there seems to be one less sensible person out there. Sad.

            • marknesop says:

              I agree. The last few times we have sparred over one point or another, he has started out right away with the sarcasm and mockery. I don’t know, maybe he expects me to back away, be confused. If so, that’s a pity, because I am an admirer of sarcasm and mockery and am quite comfortable with it. But I’ll tell you what I don’t get – a reasonable argument substantiated by facts, against which I would be helpless, because I’d be wrong. In the example over the destruction of the church, I just got tired of it, although I was going to respond to the last comment with an account of destruction of mosques in Bahrain – trusted American ally and home of the Fifth Fleet. Mosques bulldozed, often in the middle of the night, for no reason but ideology. But that whole argument began with an angry denunciation and the implied accusation that I will tolerate any outrage provided it is perpetrated by the Russian government – and that, consequently, there is something wrong with me – and wound up with world-weary exasperation at not being able to make me see the light – unrepentant dunce that I am. Nowhere – nowhere – an attempt to counter any of my arguments with facts, just a lot of wounded screeching. And the original article, apart from being poorly researched, was much the same – indignation and choler, one point of view, virtually no facts or attempt to obtain them.

            • kirill says:

              This is why the current “regime” in Russia is such a good thing for Russia. There is nothing to shove down people’s throats and no pretext to send millions to the gulags for not getting with the social engineering program. Putin manifests this pragmatism and gets 2/3 of the votes. Russians are attacked by liberast maggots and their western patrons as pining for the good old days of totalitarianism but this characterization is complete fiction not supported by any observational evidence. It is clear that most Russians are sick and tired of dogma. This is why the liberast zealots and their ideological platform get little support at the ballot box.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            In Russia, “conservatives” are left wing; “liberals” are right wing.

            That’s because conservatives are considered to support the status quo pro ante, and in Russia that’s what, in the eyes of many, the Communist Party and other socialists appear to want: a return to a centrally planned economy and the good old days of cradle to grave state care.

            Those who are not viewed as conservatives in Russia, namely those who wish to embrace full-blooded capitalism and allow “the invisible hand of the free market” to determine the direction of the economy, are considered to be liberal in their ideas if one compares these ideas of the “conservative” left.

            Hence, in Russia the communists are “conservative” and the free marketeers are

            It is therefore very ironic for me to see increasingly more readers’ comments in the Russian on-line press in which some Russian citizens wax elequent over Margaret Thatcher. I presume this is because of the story that appeared here concerning T-shirts on sale at the Trades Union Congress that recently took place in the UK, which T-shirts bore a slogan that expressed joy at Thatcher’s imminent demise. (She’ll pop her clogs any time now.) This fulsome praise for Thatcher comes from those that consider
            Thatcher to be a liberal in the Russian sense of the term, whereas in the UK she is considered to be a conservative.

            Those Russians whom I know and who idolize Thatcher are always very surprised when I inform them that there will be very few tears shed over her death in that part of England where I come from.

            • kirill says:

              Thatcher’s success is mostly due to the development of North Sea oil reserves. Without this bonanza there would have been more the 1970s economics stagnation. All the yapping about “commanding heights” and the triumph of monetarist policy is utter rubbish.

        • kievite says:

          May be the real reason is that as Vespasian noted long ago, money does not smell.

          PR agency, which previously worked with the fugitive businessman Boris Berezovsky, offered western stars of the music scene to 100 thousand euros for the support member punk band Pussy Riot. This was reported by the American political scientist William Dunkerley in the program “special correspondent” on the TV channel “Russia 1″ on Wednesday night.

          “In New York, I met a well-known expert on Russian affairs Alex Goldfarb, who has been collecting funds to support Pussy Riot. He told me that he had received e-mail from a friend of music agent, who has told him that there is a PR-agency offering to 100 thousand euros every rock star, who will speak in support of the Pussy Riot “, – said Dunkerley.

          He noted that “it was the agency, known by the fact that it was engaged in public relations Berezovsky.” “So I saw this relationship. Berezovsky has repeatedly said that he would like to change the Russian government and is ready to start a riot” – was quoted as business newspaper Vzglyad (“The View.”)

          • AK says:

            The media is misquoting Mr. Dunkerley.

            I have it from William that he did not meet Goldfarb in NY, and there are numerous other conflations of what he said which create a false report.

            • Dear Anatoly,

              Thanks for this. I did wonder. It didn’t seem like him. I am afraid there is a spin operation underway. We should be careful of them wherever they come from.

              • Misha says:

                “I am afraid there is a spin operation underway. We should be careful of them wherever they come from.”


                Be surprised where some of it comes from and against whom.

                Then again…

            • kievite says:

              Misquoting or not, the money trail is extremely important. I wonder who financed PR? Who specifically financed their last action (with press involved, etc). To what extent? What is the source of funds for Versilov & Tolokonnikova family ? None of them work. Those are the questions.

              There is very little on the Net about Pyotr Versilov adventures in Russia. Those few bits that I found mostly present him as a spokeperson for PR. No words about his exclusion from Voina and reasons for that. The only reference I have found is “temporarily excommunicated from their parent art group, Voina”


              …Pyotr Versilov – Tolokonnikova’s husband, and thanks to his fluency in English, one of Pussy Riot’s key spokespeople …


              Tolokonnikova’s husband, artist Piotr Versilov, said he was surprised when armed Federal Security Service (FSB) agents stormed his home and detained him and his wife in early March. They later freed him.
              … … …
              Versilov says Putin is using Pussy Riot as an example to others not to challenge his rule. “To him [Putin], it was basically a landmark point in the evolvement of Russian protest. After 100,000-plus people demonstrated against him and public rallies, which began happening in December, he saw that people are protesting in really creative, really bright, really strange ways, and it’s probably went through his mind that a stop must be put to this.”


              Pyotr Versilov, Tolokonnikova’s husband, is caring for Gera and tells Der Spiegel that she has been telling people that “Putin has locked her mother in a cage and that we must find a way to free them.” She has also been drawing pictures about how to tear down the prison walls and free her mother and the band members, who have been detained since March.

              BTW while seraching about Versilov activity I have found some information about “chicken” episode


      • Misha says:

        There were other instances at this blog where the not so great commentary of “The Russia Hand” was addressed. Pussy Riot, the Olympics and Jewry (discussed further up this thread) being among them.

        The issue isn’t so much as him as the venues that have promoted him over some other input which has been comparatively muted.

    • yalensis says:

      @apc: You only need to look who signs his paycheck nowadays.

    • AK says:

      I don’t foresee him ever being as bad as Julio Ioffe.

      I guess the issue with Mark Adomanis is that he seeking “respectability.” I.e., writing for Forbes, and probably in closer contact with some of the Russia watching world, I think he is simply no longer willing to wantonly burn bridges like you would if you were to regularly write Worst Russia Watcher series.

      I am not really sure he has changed cardinally. He was always kind of liberal (and as he himself said, he was also something of a neocon in his university days). It’s just that when he was an up n coming blogger, he emphasized the contrarian take to get attention (and because True/Slant probably gave writers more leeway); whereas now that he is a blogger at Forbes, there is more of an incentive for him to include more attacks and ritualistic denunciations of the Kremlin / Putin.

      And of course there’s the commentators many of them who are WSJ-reading troglodytes. You gotta give em a sop too.

      • marknesop says:

        You’re probably right, and I’m certainly willing to concede that people change. But if you admire writing skills, and I know you do, you get a kind of feel for when the author is backing a viewpoint he or she agrees with, and further defense of that viewpoint tends to confirm it, when the author is reluctant to let go of it even in the face of evidence. Fred Weir’s self-defense that his stuff has to get by an editor and be fact-checked speaks poorly of his editor, I’m afraid, since a lot of nonsense gets through or perhaps errors introduced by sampling too small a group whose opinions are already well-known. But you still get a sense when he puts the knee in the government’s goolies that this is the real Fred Weir, that he writes it because he feels it.

        I feel Mark likes to be agreed with – you know, Harvard and Cambridge and all that – but I get the same sense when he takes a swipe at Russia as an unregenerate autocracy with a sheeplike population that just keeps pulling the lever for Putin because they are unenlightened and don’t know any better. It feels like you’re hearing his real voice. So either it is, or he’s simply written that way for long enough that it has become a groove of which he is unconscious.

        • AK says:

          But what’s ironic and funny is that for all that Mark Adomanis still regularly gets called a Putin fan and Kremlin stooge. This just goes to show how totally, completely Western commentary is out of whack.

        • Misha says:

          Qaulity control wise and from the point of a constructive criticism of Russia, the ongoing hoopla over the likes of Weir and Adomanis over some othersw serve to hinder what can be otherwise be done at the more high profile of venues.

      • kievite says:

        I think AK hit the nail stating

        I guess the issue with Mark Adomanis is that he seeking “respectability.” I.e., writing for Forbes, and probably in closer contact with some of the Russia watching world, I think he is simply no longer willing to wantonly burn bridges like you would if you were to regularly write Worst Russia Watcher series.

        Adomanis impressed me with in the past with pretty high for a westerner understanding of socio-cultural dynamic of Russian society. Which positions him within the top 10% of Western commentators whether we like him or not, as most are just repeating worn-out cliché and are real pain to read.
        If course money talk and his current drift is to certain extent inevitable for the reason AK stated so well. If he wants to continue to write for Forbes, he needs to write like “forbsian”. Such venue as Forbes are tightly controlled, not unlike Pravda and Izvestia were in the USSR. You either adhere to party line or you became heretic and as such is pushed out.
        A person has a much easier career path if he adopts the organizational standpoint, and vise versa his career can come to a screeching halt if deviation is such that he no longer “belongs”. In a way views of such commentators as Mark Adomanis are not only weighted on true/false scale but also on acceptable and unacceptable for the particular organization. There is always political struggle of rank-and-file vs. brass for the level of freedom in adhering to the ideology of organization but it’s pretty narrow limits.
        Honesty and truthfulness are virtue for individuals. While unity and common ideology are virtues for the organizations. So there is an immanent conflict here and each person resolves it in its own way.

        • marknesop says:

          I guess that’s fair enough: however, if he’s just “being honest” – and here I admit to having a bit of “Russia defender” blindness myself – why does he fall back on sarcasm and withering mockery when confronted on social issues such as his defense of Pussy Riot and the somewhat unreasonable stance that anyone has the freedom to do anything one likes in America? Even when he is responding to idiots with an agenda like Kief or spooky bomb-bomb-bomb-them-all-into-paste-or-be-thought-a-coward nutrockets like that Sonndergard or whatever his name was, he takes the time to explain his rationale to some extent, such as that it is against international law or this precedent or that protocol. What do I get? “Oh, we must clutch our pearls very, very tightly”. No links, no arguments, just a dismissal of the point as if it’s no longer worth discussing: I’m right, you’re wrong, nothing more to see here. Oh, or “What’s the matter with you?? Isn’t there anything about the Russian government you would oppose”?

          Russia has its problems – I think we all acknowledge that. However, pretty much any other nation in which the standard of living as measured by average wage buying power had more than tripled or while poverty and unemployment were halved in less than a decade, all under the same leader, that leader would be hailed as some kind of Messiah. All that took place in Russia between 1999 and 2008 when, for reasons that had nothing to do with Russia, the bottom fell out of the world economy.

          At this point, by a couple of cleverly accidental keystrokes, I wiped out about two paragraphs of carefully-crafted text in which I compared the economies of the USA and the UK (and had just started on France) in terms of GDP per capita PPP, unemployment rate and inflation rate. All gone now, and I don’t feel like doing it all again. The vehicle I used was Trading Economics, which I like because you can easily adjust the timescales to cover the relevant period. Anyway, suffice it to say that while both the USA and UK experienced quite respectable GDP/PPP growth between 1999 and 2008, varying between about 25% and 35%, the unemployment rate was stagnant in the UK (misleading because there were some impressive reductions, but it started the period at about 6.2% and ended at 6% even) and its inflation rate nearly quadrupled. For America’s part, its unemployment rate rose by more than 50% while inflation quintupled. Oh, what the hell, let’s do France now, then. I’d love to blame it on that toad Sarkozy, but he was only president for 1 year of that period. He still has really big ears, though. So France’s GDP/PPP rose from around $23,200 (all values are in USD) to about $33,000; not bad, about the same performance as the UK. During the same period, France’s unemployment rate fell steadily from about 10.75 to around 7.75: still very high, but overall, très bonne, Monsieur Chirac. Hopefully you didn’t hang around to see what Sarkozy did to it. Inflation, however, more than quadrupled, from about .2% to 3.3%.

          The point, I think, is that no country matched Russia’s economic performance during that period. Yet the Russian oligarchy did not expand at anything like the same rate, and while there were some new billionaires the circumstances of their wealth were rarely as shady. If Israel had achieved the same performance, we would never have heard the end of it. Russia did, and was almost universally reviled for it once the brief bloom was off the rose of the new relationship and it became apparent Putin was not going to continue Yeltsin’s bumbling privatization nightmare. All we heard in the English-speaking press was Vladimir Putin, authoritarian repressive freedom-stifling opposition-crushing journalist-murdering grandstanding secret-bank-accounts tyrant.

  23. kirill says:

    Yep, Medvedev is a closet liberast. Hooliganism/vandalism needs legal sanction and not coddling. The west’s propaganda is not a reason to suspend the Russian justice system.

  24. yalensis says:

    More information coming in indicating that attack on American consulate in Benghazi was NOT the work of a random mob, but rather a masterfully organized terror attack. Reports that attackers carried sophisticated weapons, including RPGs.

    Also, according to this, report, American diplomats had a safe house in Benghazi that was compromised:

    According to above, Ambassador Stevens plus one other diplomat was killed in the initial rocket attack on the consulate. Other members of the consulate were evacuated to a safe house.
    The safe house, whose existence was considered top secret, was shortly thereafter attacked, and two other diplomats were killed there.

    • Thanks for this Yalensis.

      I have to say that it does look planned in which case the film was simply a cover.

      In passing, since we are all having a bash Adomanis moment, I just read this comment on his blog on the ambassador’s death.

      There was one particular comment in this post which took my breath away: “No one forced them to riot, no one gave them weapons”. Really? Where was he in 2011? Asleep presumably.

      • marknesop says:

        I wrote a fairly detailed rebuttal to his comments on Mubarak, in which he suggests stagnation does not describe the Egyptian economy under Mubarak. He’s right about that, but I doubt in the manner he meant. Egyptians’ per-capita GDP as Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) – what you can buy for the money you get, essentially – rose steadily and reliably throughout Mubarak’s tenure, while Mubarak took government debt as percentage of GDP from 103% to around 76 before he got the push. The USA during the same period (I believe it was 2002-2011, nowhere near all of Mubarak’s reign, but as far back as that particular statistic went) took its government debt per GDP from around 56% to 103%. Adomanis speculated Mubarak and his cronies had a lock on worst government of the late-twentieth century. The amazing thing is that he said “the numbers” showed this. It seems clear he did not look at “the numbers” at all before making that statement. Egypt under Mubarak was a long way from progressive, a long way from tranquil (since the Egyptians tried 6 times to assassinate him, none of which – oddly enough – caused the U.S. government to intone that he must step down) and there was never any worry that Egyptians’ living standard would surpass that of the USA. However, that living standard grew measurably while Americans experienced the worst broadening of the income gap in their history, and their debt soared while Egypt’s was cut by a third. Economic stewardship was not Mubarak’s greatest failing by a long shot.

        I’m repeating that comment here in truncated form, because it was not published. The Russia Hand seems to have switched to moderated commentary. Much like The Guardian, and the resemblances are increasing rather than decreasing.

        • yalensis says:

          The thing about Egypt is that one of their main economic assets is tourism. Because everybody wants to see the pyramids That was a major source of income for many, many Egyptians.
          Will any tourists want to risk going there now, with all this violence going on? No matter that things might be completely tranquil out in the desert, but this is what potential tourists will see on television.
          Another reason why Mubarak was not such a bad guy, because he kept things more stable.

          • marknesop says:

            Oh, he was a bad guy, I’m not disputing that. But there was no progressive reformer waiting in the wings to take control and “restore democracy”, for lack of a better term. There was – obviously – no leadership candidate at all, since it was not a crisis of leadership which inspired the “Twitter Revolution”, but an outburst of rage at a senseless death which was built upon as a magnifier, an accelerant. Which is why it’s puzzling to me that the west jumped on the freedom bandwagon with flags a’wavin’ where on every other occasion they had supported Mubarak. They nudged each other and sniggered over what a roaring success the social-networking revolution had turned out, then backed away from it and suggested Twitter and Facebook had really had almost nothing to do with it as soon as things started to go bad, which was almost immediately. And they enthusiastically supported a revolution which drove from power an autocrat who had seized power at the head of a military junta, to force power to be handed over to a military junta just like it. Until the Muslim Brotherhood took over, which was all the way across town from an improvement.

            The Arab Spring has turned out to be as much of a Chukchi fire drill as was the invasion of Iraq, which was meant to turn it into a prosperous, western-leaning market democracy. Which makes me wonder if, rather than the President of the United States being a secret Muslim, it is not his foreign policy advisers who are secret Muslims.

          • cartman says:

            Greece and Spain are seeing a surge of tourism because they still seem safe and cheaper. If they could put the euro back in the bottle, they would be much better off. Egypt and Turkey are out.

        • AK says:

          It’s probably not moderation, they just have an assholish spam filter. I was effectively “censored” from there for about half a year.

          But I wrote something similar:

          AK: See this is why everybody is wrong on this, with the exception of myself, ranging from crazy people like michaelsondergard to mindless PC liberals and even yourself.

          Had I been in power, I would have done everything possible – sending in special forces, cruise missile strikes, etc – to support friends, i.e. Mubarak, an intelligent, friendly, and enlightened leader, well, at least as enlightened as the backward Egyptian population could let him be.

          To paraphrase a wise sentence from the Vekhi, “Thank God for the prisons and bayonets, which protect us from the people’s fury!” In other words, unapologetic reaction is the only sane political course in a country where 82% favor stoning for adultery.

          So how’s that Arab Spring working out now, eh?

          But it’s too late for intervention. Now we have to suck up the consequences of folly and liberal idiocy. The Embassy’s response was perfectly calibrated between the twin priorities of defending free speech and condemning the violation of American diplomatic space; and continuing relations with Egypt, an import ME partner even if it is now ruled by Taliban lite.

          MA: I think you let Mubarak off the hook way way way too easily. Look up Egypt’s record of economic growth or social development under his rule: “stagnation” doesn’t even come close to describing it. Based on the numbers, Mubarak is in the running for “worst ruler of the second half of the 20th century,” and he and his military cronies did a shockingly (almost unbelievably) poor job of running the show.

          AK: GDP was growing by 7% in the years prior to 2008, and 5% before the revolution. Not too shoddy.

          Of course one can compare Egypt with China, or Korea two decades ago, but Egyptians are quite simply not Chinese or Koreans, and it is bizarre to pretend otherwise.

          The appropriate basis of comparison is with other Arab states such as Syria, Tunisia, Morocco, or Algeria, and by their standards, as a cursory look via Google’s Public Data would show, Egyptian growth under Mubarak hasn’t been shabby at all.

      • yalensis says:

        I was just able to post a comment on Adomanis blog, expressing my thought that Al Qaeda Islamists were put into power in Libya by USA/NATO. Forbes accepted my comment, even though I included a link.

        • marknesop says:

          Did you get a message that said comments were moderated, or that your comment would be visible after approval, rather than what there used to be (your comment will be visible after about 30 seconds)? I submitted my comment and it came up onscreen as usual, but there was something else written at the bottom of the screen that I didn’t quite catch as I closed it, and my comment never appeared. Perhaps I am making an unfair assumption, but I’ve never had that happen before. I’ll try again a little later, and see what happens; thanks for the update.

          • yalensis says:

            Yeah. After I posted, there was this little message, something like, “Please wait for moderation, this may take 30 seconds or so before your comment becomes visible..” I don’t remember the exact wording. A few seconds passed, and then my comment was visible.
            I think Forbes hires this little Moderator, he sits there inside the box all day and night and reads peoples comments. He is a fast reader, so it only takes him 30 seconds to scan each comment.
            He saw my comment, and exclaimed, “Oh, that was a good one, what a compelling and logically argued point of view!”
            Then he saw your comment, and shook his head sadly: “Pathetic and illogical!”
            Ha ha! :)

            • marknesop says:

              Nope, that’s the usual message and indicates the site is unmoderated. It’s something like, “Comments are typically visible after about 30 seconds”, something like that. But before that, when you select “submit”, your whole comment comes up in review, with a “done” button at the bottom. Even if you change screens without selecting “done”, the comment is still on its way and will be posted, but my point is if you get that far, everything’s good and it should go through. I’ve never seen an error message beyond that point. Oh, well, probably just me. If I get time today (very busy) I’ll try again.

    • marknesop says:

      I’m very sorry for the deaths of those people, as I’m sure you are as well. I agree with you that the incident would not have occurred under Gaddafi, which makes me wonder if those who worked so hard to engineer his overthrow and murder do not feel a little guilty for their single-minded zealotry and their high-fiving joy in pursuing The Great Game, for they must share the responsibility. The violent thugs currently in power in Libya would most certainly not be were it not for their tilting of the gameboard. Benghazi was on the verge of falling to government forces when NATO stepped in.

      Have a look here for a photo of the now-deceased Ambassador, accompanying the devilishly-clever foreign policy analyst John McCain on a tour of Benghazi in 2011; a visit which so inspired Mr. McCain that he was moved to report, “I have met with these brave fighters, and they are not Al-Qaeda. To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it.” From your lips to Allah’s ears, John.

      • yalensis says:

        I agree, @mark, I do not believe diplomats should be murdered by mobs. That is wrong and uncivilized.
        I also do not believe that heads of state should be tortured, sodomized, and lynched by mobs:
        The one comfort that Ambassador.Stevens’ family can take away is that their loved one did not die as horribly as Gaddafy did, most likely he was killed instantly by the RPG.

        • yalensis says:

          P.S. did the Americans really believe that these animals were going to build a just society?

          • Misha says:

            They don’t seem to be such great long term planners.

            Also keep in mind that (BS aside) they’re actually more concerned about building subservient societies than just ones.

          • yalensis says:

            I just read an update today that Ambassador Stevens had died of smoke inhalation. Some Libyans managed to sneak him off to a hospital, but he was DOA.
            A rotten death, but still not as bad as Gaddafy’s.

            • marknesop says:

              Ummmm….not exactly. I read a comment on Mark Adomanis’s blog that suggested he had been brutally tortured before he was killed. I was going to post a sarcastic comeback, along the lines of “And only you know this???” when that little voice that sometimes saves me from an ass-kicking whispered “google it”. I did, and here’s what came up.

              You tell me: is this the same guy? I have to say it sure looks like him.

              So, what’ve we got here? Is he really being dragged through the streets by a mob, or does the first photo capture an attempt to save his life after dragging him from a burning building? Let’s see. The guy dragging him appears to have his own cell phone in his mouth. Was that from making an emergency call, or from filming his buddies beating the shit out of the Ambassador? Looking at the second photo in the first link, it looks like everyone has a cell phone out, which certainly suggests they’re taking pictures of mischief, as those scabby militants are wont to do. Also, all the guys who are holding him and surrounding him are clean – doesn’t look to me like they just came out of a burning building. The Ambassador does look to have been beaten around the face, at a minimum, although if he was actually killed in an RPG attack, you’d expect some swelling. But in that case, where’s the other damage to his body? Also, he is not being carried in the way you would expect of people who are trying to hustle him to a hospital. Just one guy is dragging him while his whole lower body is on the ground, or maybe even just holding his body up for souvenir snaps, while everyone else appears to be clicking away, In fact, there’s no sense of motion at all; it appears the guy who is holding him up is not taking him anywhere.

              This is shaping up to be something even a spin-happy media will not be able to keep a lid on. If America’s Ambassador to Libya was brutally and deliberately murdered by militants who killed him with their own hands, the same militants whom NATO just finished putting in power….a punitive military mission is going to be pretty hard to turn off. And Mark’s defense of anyone who wants to make and publish films that mock Islamists’ religion is going to have a few holes in it.

              • yalensis says:

                Hm… That really does look like Ambassador Stevens. And no, those street mobs do not look particularly friendly, like they are trying to help the guy out and make him feel better. Your analysis of the photographic evidence proves overwhelmingly that he was lynched and, no, they are not all using their camera phones to dial 911.
                As Hillary would say, “Wow!”
                Stevens sharing the fate of his arch-enemy Gaddafi, at the hands of the very same guys that he put in power to oust Gaddafi… is like something out of a very bad Hollywood action film. It’s horrible. You can’t even make this stuff up. Does this prove that some kind of cosmic KARMA really does exist?

                • marknesop says:

                  Romney has already gotten his fingers slapped for trying to use it to play politics, but I am afraid the temptation for the Republicans to imply it happened on Obama’s watch will be overwhelming. Never mind that it was Bush who put the whole Middle East in a ferment – and to be fair to him, leaders before him of both major parties. I don’t think this will turn into some kind of “uniting of the clans” among the Arab peoples, but it might give NATO pause in its zeal to hand everything over to the Muslim Brotherhood.

                • Misha says:

                  Among establishment Republicans, Romney seems to have been staying away from the wiser foreign policy hands (like Scowcroft, Baker and Kissinger).

  25. cartman says:

    Sweden promised no further charges against the Pirate Bay founder. They lied.

    I guess any assurance from Sweden that they will not extradite Assange to the US is a load of crap.

  26. yalensis says:

    I have been following American media somewhat to see how these embassies attacks are playing out in the presidential campaign. Obama/Clinton are clearly downplaying the events because (a) these bad things are happening on their watch, so makes them look bad, and (b) not much they can do about it anyhow. So, they have accepted apologies from the governments in question, Libya (pretending that there is a government there), and Morsi in Egypt. “We are so sorry about this, Mr. Obama.” “Oh, that’s okay. Boys will be boys.” See, since this was just mobs not government, no need for Americans to declare war. Just send a few extra marines to protect embassies. “Move it along, nothing to see here.”
    Republicans could have made a HUGE deal out of this. This could have been the thing that handed them the election. But they blew it by focusing on the wrong things, like that stupid video, and how Obama “apologizes” to other countries. If I were Romney, I would be blowing trumpets about Obama bringing Muslim Brotherhood to power in these countries. But, of course, Repubs can’t say a word, because they were in on that whole Arab Spring mess themselves. (Especially guys like John McCain, but also pretty much the entire establishment, both Dems and Repubs.)
    Actually, what I am predicting might happen in a few days, after the dust settles, is Romney campaign to whip up American patriotic rage and come out with something like this: “Obama is weak, and doesn’t give enough support to Israel, our only ally in the region. These events prove that we need to help Israel attack Iran, because we simply need to teach those Arabs a lesson.” [American public might well buy this, not knowing the difference between Arabs and Persians.]

  27. yalensis says:

    More details on the military aspect of the attack on American consulate in Benghazi:
    “..armed Libyans… organized into units equipped with grenade-launchers and mine-launchers, covered all the entrances/exits to (the consulate) and stormed the building. The attack continued all night, but the Americans never received any reinforcements from their own. In the attack … participated two groups of militants: rebels from the “February 17 Brigade” (date of the armed rebellion against Muammar Gaddafi), and the “Full Shariat Brigade” («Бригады последователей шариата»). The diplomats inside the mission, which was under fire, were not able to get out, as they found themselves inside a trap crafted by the militants. In the end the building was taken and burned….”

    This actually doesn’t sound to me like a random mob. Sounds more like a competent and well-planned military target. Well, these guys WERE trained by the best NATO trainers, after all, so I guess they know what they’re doing…

  28. yalensis says:

    On Navalny: Today was supposed to be the start of his KirovLes trial, but I can’t find anything anywhere in the media indicating the trial is still on. What’s up with that???
    Speaking of Navalny, on his own blog, he has announced a new strategic alliance between himself and a British think tank called “The Henry Jackson Society”. Their mutual aim is to go medieval (i.e., short the stocks of) the Russian state-owned banking/financial/oil/gas conglomerate (?) VTB Group.
    Please don’t ask me to explain VTB, I don’t know anything about high finance. All I know is that Navalny has been going after them for years and trying to short their stocks. A couple of weeks ago he launched an ideological attack on them, accusing of lying about some oil and gas drilling sites (co-investors with China) way out somewhere in Siberia.
    VTB had to respond by organizing a junket for its minority stock-holders, they visited the sites and verified that actual drillings were going on, so it wasn’t a Potemkin village.
    As a result, Navalny had to eat his words; but now he is going after them again, this time with the help of this dodgy British think tank:

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Gessen at it again! Last week she claimed that Putin had fired her. Now she says he has invited her back to the job from which she claims he dismissed her, but she – the self apoonted scourge of the “man with no face – has refused his invitation to start back again because – (wait for it!) – she doesn’t want to work for a magazine whose editor is appointed by Putin!


    Putin invited Masha Gessen to remain editor-in-Chief of “Around the World”

    But she refused

    Journalist Masha Gessen writes in her article “In the Big City” that Vladimir Putin has invited her
    to return to the post of editor-in-Chief of “Around the World”, which she left after her refusal to send reporters to write about his mission to rescue Siberian cranes.

    Hesse writes in her article that after her her dismissal, Putin invited her to a meeting which was also attended by the owner of “Around the World”, Sergey Vasiliev, where a proposal was made that she return to the post of editor-in-Chief. The journalist turned the proposal down because she cannot “work for a magazine where the editor-in-Chief is appointed by Putin”.

    The article does not say when the meeting took place.

    According to Hesse, Putin told her that he personally came up with the campaign to rescue the cranes. Furthermore, he knows that his previous actions to rescue animals were only for show. (The tiger which he put a collar on came from a zoo and the polar bears had been under sedation for several days.) The journalist also claims that Putin admitted that his taking amphora from the sea was also a put-on job, but that, according to him, the main thing was to draw attention to the problem.

    Masha Gessen became head of “Around the World” in January 2012 years. Prior to that, she worked at “Snob” and is the author of the book “The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin”

    End of translation

    I think she’s a nutter.

  30. Dear Moscow Exile,

    Let me see if I have understood this correctly: Masha Gessen is saying that Putin (the President of Russia no less) took time off from his other work (the APEC summit, the economy, Syria etc) and personally invited her to a private meeting at which he personally asked her to resume her work for a magazine and that the editor of that magazine who fired her was personally present at this same meeting. Moreover at this same meeting Putin personally confessed to her that all his other actions with tigers etc were stunts.

    I agree. She is actually mad. How can anybody believe her or take her seriously after this?

    • R.C. says:

      Sadly, PLETY of pundits in the west will jump all over this as if it’s fact.

      Whenever I’ve asked someone who claims that Putin was involved in the Pussy Riot trial to supply evidence, they immediately accuse you of being on the “Kremlin payroll.” What it really ACTUALLY means, is that they have no evidence and are just hiding it with hyperbole and ad hominem attacks. Apparently, when the target is a leader whom the West disapproves, no evidence is required.

      They’ve swallowed Gessen’s garbage (including are very tabloid-like & unscholarly “Man without a Face”) up to this point, why should they stop now?

    • cartman says:

      I think she is just a liar and not crazy. Someone at the exile bought a broken exercise bike and she would not refund their money. This tells you a lot about how she deals with people in general.

    • yalensis says:

      In any case, even if the tigers/amphoras things WERE stunts, so what? Heads of state perform these stunts all the time, in order to use their position to draw attention to various causes that they believe in. (In this case, conservation and archaeology.)
      For example, when American First Lady Michelle Obama shows off a carrot that she grew in her garden, is this not a stunt too? We know damned well that she won’t eat the carrot. But she is promoting vegetables, which are good for children. And so on.
      This is harmless, and nothing wrong with it. The anti-Putin crowd are simply pathological in finding fault with everything that Putin does. And by the way, this is not simple pathology. For example, Navalny held a contest on his blog, with a cash prize for the best sarcastic response to Putin’s “crane” stunt. This type of mockery is straight out of the Gene Sharp playbook. The general idea is that you mock the “tyrant”, dehumanize him, make the masses despise him, so later they will be amenable to overthrowing and killing him. It’s all part of The Plan.

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Dear Alexander Mercouris,

    No, the editor was not present: she, Gessen, was until last week the editor and had been so since January of this year. The other persons present at this meeting that she claims took place was the owner of the magazine and the president of Russia..

    Last week she asserted that Putin had told the owner to fire her.

    Now she maintains that both the owner and Putin have asked her to come back, and she won’t – because she doesn’t want to be a Putin appointee: point of principle, you see.

    As soon as she got the elbow last week, she wrote in her blog: “Я покидаю вокруг света #спасибопутинузаэто” (I’m leaving Vokrug Sveta #thankputinforthat).

    Evidence by assertion, which is the usual, thing for Gessen and her ilk.

    Tolokonnikova’s husband, for example, says on his YouTube video “my wife is now in prison on Putin’s orders” and that statement of his, it seems, is sufficient evidence for the western media to bay in agreement with that which Verzilov simply asserts is true.

    By the way, speaking of “feminist punk rocker” Tolokinnikova, here’s the latest in Russian kitsch:

    That’d go down a bomb if they tried to hang it in the Christ the Saviour cathedral!

    PS Noticed that I have called Gessen “Hesse” above. Freudian slip, perhaps. I used to live in the German state of Hesse (Hessen). Presumably, that’s where her forebears wandered from, accopmanying Teutonic Knights in their Drang nach Osten some 700 years ago. They probably were some robber baron’s book-keepers and bagmen.

  32. peter says:

    Moscow Exile: I think she’s a nutter.

    Alexander Mercouris: She is actually mad.

    Not according to Putin’s press secretary:

    Бывший главный редактор журнала “Вокруг света” Мария Гессен пересказала встречу с президентом Владимиром Путиным корректно, заявил пресс-секретарь главы РФ Дмитрий Песков…

  33. Moscow Exile says:

    Where, in his statement concerning a meeting between the Russian president and Gessen, does the presidential press secretary counter my statement concerning Gessen’s mental health?

    My comment above concerning my doubts about Gessen’s sanity was not founded on any belief that I had as regards the veracity of her claim that she had had a meeting with the Russian president, but rather on the fact that she had very recently complained publicly about her dismissal from employment, strongly asserting that the president had ordered it, without presenting any evidence whatsoever to support this accusation; and now, after having announced that the president had expressed his wish that she be re-instated as editor of “Around the World”, she refuses categorically to return to said post on the grounds that if she were to do so, she would be accepting employment by a publisher that complies with the president’s wishes, an act that would, apparently, be extremely distasteful to her.

    It seems to me that Gessen is obsessed with what she believes are the machinations of the Russian president, whose evil intent directed towards her was, by her impaired reasoning, the cause of her dismissal from the editorship of “Around the World”. The fact that that magazine which she had until quite recently edited is in extremely dire financial straits, its drastic sales having continued their downward curve unabated since Gessen’s apointment as its editor in January of this year, has, of course, absolutely nothing at all to do with Gessen’s dismissal last week.

    • peter says:

      My comment above concerning my doubts about Gessen’s sanity was not founded on any belief that I had as regards the veracity of her claim that she had had a meeting with the Russian president…

      Sorry, my bad, please consider my comment directed at Alexander alone.

      … strongly asserting that the president had ordered it…

      I must’ve missed it, could you please post the exact quote?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Gessen Twittered:

        «Я покидаю вокруг света #спасибопутину­­заэто»

        I presume the # means “expletive deleted”.

        For those with little or no command of Russian, I should think the qoted Gessen Twitter comment would probably fully read in English something like:

        “I’m quitting Around the World and I can fucking well thank Putin for that”.

        I somehow don’t think that her # replaced “darn well” or something similar.


        • peter says:

          I presume the # means “expletive deleted”.


          • Moscow Exile says:

            Now I know what a hash tag indicates in a Twitter message.

            So she goes through life categorizing certain events as being the results of Putin’s machinations and the tag is a way of creating a community of Twitter users who also like to categorize events in the same way?

        • yalensis says:

          I don’t use Twitter, but I think in English it’s call “hashtag” and is used for “trending” statistics.

          • I have to say that I still find the whole thing completely bonkers and I think this is an occasion when Putin’s judgement was completely even preposterously wrong,which is why I could not believe it when I heard about it. What on earth did Putin think he was doing meeting with someone like Gessen in private or choosing to involve himself in journalistic appointments to a natural science magazine? I am completely stunned. Even if the idea came from some idiot spin doctor I would have expected Putin to be sufficiently experienced by now to know that as President of Russia one simply does not meet in private with people like Gessen and certainly not to discuss such matters. As a matter of fact the President of Russia should not involve himself in journalistic appointments at all especially not for a natural science magazine. It is not as if Putin is the CPSU General Secretary choosing the editor of Pravda. Gessen and her crowd will (rightly) make hay from this and for once Putin has no one to blame but himself. I hope he learns his lesson.

        • AK says:

          Yes, it’s a hashtag. I’ve been intermittently trying to start this one: #IfThisHappenedInRussia.

          A really famous one, apart from #спасибопутину­­заэто, is #сурковскаяпропаганда.

  34. Moscow Exile says:

    It is interesting to note that the full text of the Russian president’s press-secretary has not been given above, only its opening paragraph. The full text reads as follows:

    Бывший главный редактор журнала “Вокруг света” Мария Гессен пересказала встречу с президентом Владимиром Путиным корректно, заявил пресс-секретарь главы РФ Дмитрий Песков.

    При этом он признал, что Гессен в своем пересказе все же допустила ряд неточностей. В частности, Песков подчеркнул, что президент не назначает главного редактора журнала, этим занимается владелец издания.

    По словам Пескова, Путин сожалеет о том, что Гессен отказалась работать главредом “Вокруг света”. “Высоко ценит ее профессиональные качества и сожалеет, что Гессен отказалась работать главным редактором, хотя и не сомневается, что журнал будет дальше жить и развиваться не менее динамично и творчески”, – цитирует РИА Новости заявление пресс-секретаря.

    На прошлой неделе стало известно, что Гессен покидает пост главного редактора издательства “Вокруг света” и одноименного журнала, который занимала с января. Журналистка связала это с разногласиями по поводу редакционной политики. В издательстве причиной назвали управленческие разногласия.

    The former chief-editor of the magazine “Around the World”, Maria Gessen, reported correctly that she had had a meeting with President Vladimir Putin, announced the chief press-secretary of the RF, Dmitry Peskov.

    He also declared that in her account Gessen had nevertheless allowed some inaccuracies. In particular, Peskov stressed, the magazine chief-editor is not assigned by the president: the owner of the publishing house does this.

    In Peskov’s words, Putin regrets that Gessen has refused to work as the chief-editor of “Around the World”. “With her high professional standards, he regrets that Gessen has refused to work as the chief-editor, though he does not doubt that the magazine will continue to live on and develop no less dynamically and creatively” – RIA-Novosti press-secretary announcement.

    It became known last week that Gessen had quit her post as chief-editor of the publisher of “Around the World” and, at the same time, of its magazine, which she had been editing since January. The journalist said this was because of differences in opinion concerning editorial policy. The publishing house has said it was because of differences in opinion concerning management.

    • yalensis says:

      In alluding to Gessen’s “high professional standards”, one has to remember that Putin has a wicked and sometimes subtle sense of humor.

      Putin is also known for a Machiavellian tendency to “court” his worst enemies. In the sense of “keeping your enemies closer to your bosom”.

      • AK says:

        I believe Putin and Peskov are just really bad at PR.

        • apc27 says:

          Well, for them to be good at PR, Putin would have to play ball i.e. there would have to be a certain amount of ass-licking and false smiles involved. Putin, to me, always gives an impression of someone who recognizes that he will never be good at it and so cannot be arsed to do that stuff. No amount of PC bull on the part of his PR guys can change that, though I certainly agree that they should, at least, try not to look completely incompetent while doing it.

          As for his at times strange courtship of liberals, I always felt that throughout his stay in power Putin always struggled with maintaining a balance between the nationalist-conservative-siloviki and liberal-europhile-siviliki wings of the Russian elite. Obviously the first group is naturally more powerful and considerably less screwed up than the second one. Keeping it from overpowering all opposition is a difficult task that at times requires unpleasant decisions to be made.

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    Note in the MT article it reads:

    “She [Gessen] was initially suspicious when Putin telephoned her to express regret that he had been the cause of her dismissal from Vokrug Sveta on Sept. 3…”

    I should imagine that not a few MT readers, having read the above quoted line, would imagine that Putin was admitting that he had ordered her dismissal, whereas he was only expressing his regret that an argument between Gessen and her boss over her refusal to cover the Putin story had led to her dismissal and that he, therefore, was indirectly the cause of her losing her editorship.

    All in all, by what I can read in this story, Putin has acted like a perfect gentlemen and tried to help the woman get her old job back.

    She, being full of hate for Putin, refused his offer of help and, after this “most unlikely of meetings” proceeded to give, according to MT, a “scathing assessment” of what took place in the Kremlin between her and the Russsian president.

    I don’t think she’ll get another invite.

    In my experience at least, people who are burned up with hatred tend to become “nutters”.

    • AK says:

      Sounds about right.

      As I pointed out on my Twitter, Gessen is essentially being REWARDED for her Putin Derangement Syndrome.

      This is the opposite of what happens in the free, civilized, and normal West, where journalists of her “professionalism” wouldn’t see the White House lobby in a hundred years.

      And then those same Gessens will go off their blogs in the NYT to rant about how they are being repressed in totalitarian Russia. It’s Kafkaesque.

    • AK says:

      ^ I guess the liberals do get one thing right though: Stupid Rashka.

      • Dear Anatoly,

        This is exactly why Putin should never have met her.

        Is it possible that Putin doesn’t know who Gessen is and what she writes about him? Are we perhaps too ready to assume that because we spend so much time discussing people like Gessen on this and on your blog that Putin is as familiar with her as we are? Could it be that Putin (who obviously takes a sincere interest in nature conservation questions) merely thought she was the editor of the Vokrug Sveta who had lost her job because of a falling out with the owner for which Putin might have felt indirectly responsible and which he therefore tried to put right? I know this sounds farfetched but I find this whole episode bizarre and it is obviously impossible for Putin to read everything that is written about him. I have to say that if this explanation is the correct one (and I am not saying it is – I am only guessing) then Putin’s staff on this occasion totally let him down.

        Anyway we should not overdramatise this episode. No real harm has been done. Putin is not going to lose any votes because of it. However Gessen has been given an unnecessary boost to her credibility and has also been given an opportunity to strike a pose. There was absolutely no need for this. If someone other than Putin is to blame for this fiasco then I hope this person has been given a severe talking to. If Putin was himself to blame then I say what I said before, which is that I hope he’s learnt his lesson and won’t do something like this again.

        • marknesop says:

          I would have tended to disbelieve the meeting ever took place, since a lot of things Masha Gessen writes have no basis in reality but are born from her own perceptions. A good example of that was her rhapsodizing over the great advances Ukraine would make as a result of the Orange Revolution. Well, actually, no; that’s not such a good example, since it was only a prediction and Gessen is no more able to see the future than anyone else. But it does go to what a lousy forecaster she is.

          In any case, yeah, I would have immediately thought she made the whole thing up, just like that tying-trees-to-stumps thing: who would believe that? Unless you got back the same tree that used to belong to the stump, the offcuts would not match and the tree would have no solid base to support it, or would be leaning on a drunken angle and the diameter would not match the stump. And you can’t tie a tree to a stump and expect it to stand up. Masha either made it up or was too eager to believe somebody who did. But although my immediate reaction would be disbelief, I would have checked Putin’s calendar as Peter did.

          I am totally with Yalensis on this, and I think it was characteristically clever of Putin. If Gessen really were completely disinterested in anything Putin has to say, she would have refused the invitation. Gessen has not been given a boost to her credibility at all, but has been maneuvered into a position in which it is clear she didn’t really care too much about the job – which she didn’t, she has plenty of work scribbling for a western market that can’t get enough Strashniy-Putin stories, but at least the pseudo-regret over losing her job is exposed as a fraud – and made it likewise clear to everyone that she prizes a position whereby she has something to bitch about over employment. I don’t think Putin meant it in any way as an apology, since he can be completely inflexible on points of principle. I think, as Yalensis says, he’s just playing a sardonic game. You lost your job: sorry ’bout that. Can I do anything? Want your job back? No? Well, then, nice talking to you. It also completely shuts down the Putin-got-me-fired avenue. Listeners will say, but didn’t he offer you your job back? Well, then, why didn’t you take him up on it? The I-stood-on-principle argument will cut no ice with the wage slaves, and will make it clear Gessen didn’t really need or care about the job.

          Maybe Putin will invite Latynina to a meeting, see if she’s interested. Now that would be funny.

          • AK says:

            According to rumor, Latynina is actually friends with Kadyrov. Make of that what you will.

            PS. Still think it was a cock-up on the part of the Putin PR team.

            • marknesop says:

              That is hard to believe, since she practically bursts into sobs every time anyone mentions Natalya Estemirova, and Ramzan Kadyrov is the most likely killer, probably indirectly.

              I don’t think Putin would have gone along with it if it was someone else’s idea, and he thought it was stupid. I think it caught Gessen off-balance, and those people who believe she is a principled candidate for journalistic canonization are people who would never vote for or support Putin anyway, the snooty elites and limousine liberals who fancy they know better how to run the country but have no plan they feel like sharing on how to accomplish it. No loss there, and Putin is in an excellent position – if there is further criticism – to fling down whatever he has in his hand at the time and shout, “Jesus Christ!!! What do you want from me?? It was never my fault she got the chop in the first place, and when I pulled strings to get her job back for her, she wouldn’t take it!! Is that the kind of dizzy scatterbrain you admire?? Maybe you remember, during the Bush administration, the purge of attorneys who were deemed not sufficiently loyal to the Republican brand. Even though that caused a major political scandal, did anyone offer them their jobs back??”

              If Gessen is upset at the idea of working for media where the editor’s job is controlled by the president, she may as well get comfortable where she is, because it certainly isn’t better elsewhere.

          • yalensis says:

            Yeah, I personally think that is what happened, because I (a wage-slave myself) have seen some of the bosses (the better managers, actually) use that same psychological ploy on a disgruntled employee: “Well, you have been going around expressing that you are upset about not getting a promotion. well, suppose I give you the promotion, but that means you have to assume more responsibilities and work longer hours?” Then they’re usually, like, “No, never mind.” The boss basically calls their bluff, in other words.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, yes, although I don’t imagine Putin put any conditions on it, or she would have been right to refuse. Nobody knows what was said, and we only have Masha’s take on it, but it seems likely to me he simply said it’s too bad things have come to this, I certainly did not intervene to get you kicked to the curb, but I’m willing to do so to get you rehired, and she said no thanks, or words to that effect.

      • kirill says:

        Much ado about nothing. The west always wins the PR war because there are no rules and decency. Lie, lie, and deny propaganda is the norm for the western “free” media. Putin at least looks like he tried to do a good thing to most people without an agenda. Her version of the story is secondary and given her obvious foaming at the mouth anti-Russian bias, totally irrelevant.

    • Misha says:

      From a point of view of improving Russia’s image, Putin should spend more time interacting on behalf of some others – instead of giving further attention to someone who carries on like a coddled brat hack.

      • AK says:

        The passive-aggressive is strong in this one…

        Tell you what, why don’t you write a post on how JRL, etc are keeping out more deserving others in favor of “coddled brat hack”, why this is bad, and what you want to be done about it. I’ll be interested in reading it, and will also publish it on my blog so it will have publicity.

        • Misha says:

          Regarding the comments directly above, the BS factor is strong.

          • AK says:

            But I’m quite serious, no BS involved. The guest post offer still stands,

            • Misha says:

              There’s nothing “serious” about an instance where someone transfers his moniker (of a knight behind a two headed eagle shield) to someone else in an erroneous presentation of a so called “kvas patriot” – as if to suggest that he (you) is somehow more competent. Inclusive in that JRL promoted horseshit was a belittling comment with a link to a discussion on Pridnestrovie. Show me someone who has offered better settlement options for the former Moldavian SSR and former Azerbaijan SSR disputes.

              Regarding JRL: at another thread at this blog, you were notified of an Ames piece on how JRL has muted a given source. In another instance at this blog, you linked an Ames article on Motyl which was substantively lacking from two articles of mine which provide greater detail on Motyl’s anti-Russian biases.

              In short, you appear to be about your own self promotion, even if it sacrifices a quality pro-Russian point of view. The track record seems clear enough. The changes in characterization from “brilliant foreign policy analyst” to “troll” serve as one example.

              Some people prefer lobbing pot shots via venues such as blogs and Twitter accounts. I prefer direct point-counterpoint exchanges, in frank and reasonably well mannered discussions.

              • AK says:

                Which is why I’m offering you a guest post where you can have “direct point-counterpoint exchanges” in the comments with its 500 daily visitors.

                • Misha says:

                  I prefer venues such as Mark’s and Leos’.

                  Your track record appears suspect.

                • AK says:

                  I would be equally (more so, actually) happy to see you make a post on these issues at Mark’s or Leos’ blogs.

                • Misha says:

                  There has been discussion on such matters at those venues. They’ve also been brought up elsewhere.

                  On a number of topics, I seek intelligent discourse at the more high profile of venues:



                  This includes live appearances at the WRF and on the BBC. My daily private exchanges with academic, media and other interested parties is another analytically activist endeavor of mine.

                  The dilettante sucking up (in one form or another) to existing establishment flaws is something I shun.

                  I’m not an on/off switch.

                • marknesop says:

                  Seriously, Mike, I think you should do it. It’d be a great opportunity to reach a wider audience than here (although I’m catching up, Anatoly; don’t get too comfortable!), and you could really have your say – I’m confident it wouldn’t be edited and would reflect exactly what you wrote, and you love to write. What do you care about the politics of the host? If you were offered an opportunity to appear on al Jazeera, wouldn’t you jump at it? Surely you don’t agree with everything the BBC says and does, but you were ready to go with that interview that La Russophobe punked out of; for my part, if I was invited to do a guest post at the Jamestown Foundation, I’d be delighted even though I despise almost everything they stand for. I’m sure Anatoly would print it exactly the way you wrote it, and it would be a fantastic chance to drive your message straight to the heart of the Russia-watchers blogosphere (in English, anyway). Anatoly would only be the vehicle. Show him what you’ve got!!

                • Misha says:


                  I don’t have “to show” what I’ve got because it’s already evident and has been acknowledged:



                  He hasn’t shown himself to be particularly sincere. I’m not at the level of some afterthought project. BS was said about me as some others were positively propped. There’s no need for me to give him positive propaganda.

                • peter says:

                  I seek intelligent discourse…

                  Sorry to hear you still haven’t found yourself a proper job.

                • Misha says:

                  “Peter” serves as a reminder that things could be much worse for oneself.

      • kirill says:

        I guess he thought that helping out a “victim” in a “repression” of journalism case to which his name is associated was the best option. Gessen is the long term loser in this incident. Her coddled brat hack drivel has no “gravitas” and no one honest can accuse Putin of trying to get her fired under the table.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Further to the above, she wasn’t, in fact, dismissed: she resigned. What she Twittered was: Я покидаю вокруг света – I am quitting Around the World.

      Interestingly, she uses a verb formed from the Russian verb кидать, meaning “to hurl”, “to chuck” and what I would say in my English dialect is the same as Gessen has said: I’m chucking Around the World.

      But the story of her leaving “Around the World” was originally peddled as though Putin had given the order for her dismissal: he hadn’t – more exactly, there is no evidence that he had. But just take a look at this from yesterday’s UK Daily Telegraph:

      “Masha Gessen, who recently published a fiercely critical biography of Mr Putin, was sacked as editor of Vokrug Sveta [Around the World] magazine for refusing to send a reporter to cover the Russian president’s photo opportunity …

      “…she said the Russian president unexpectedly rang her soon afterwards to express his regret at “inadvertently becoming the cause” of her sacking and invite her to the Kremlin, where in an unexpected frank admission, he acknowledged many of the stunts are stage managed”.

      But she, on her own admittance, resigned! And Putin’s confesssion that his wildlife photo shoots were staged managed gives licence to the baying mob of Russo- and Putinophobic Telegraph readers to make offensive comments such as: “Putin is a little turd”; “Has anybody noticed how similar Putin and Anders Behring Breivik look? Are they by any chance related?” “Russians are mostly nuts. Long winters, poor food, alcohol, and ugly women. Who wouldn’t go nuts?”

      And at the end of the Telegraph article is the statement: “Mr Putin’s spokesman said on Thursday that Ms Gessen had recounted the meeting generally accurately, but had “missed out” a few details”.


      In reporting Putin’s press-secretary’s statement about the Gessen meeting, RIA-Novosti has stated: При этом он признал, что Гессен в своем пересказе все же допустила ряд неточностей. (At the same time, he acknowledged that Gessen in her retelling of what happened still allowed ​​a number of inaccuracies.)

      I think it is ironic that the Telegraph and its readers find the stage managing of photoshoots involving politicians and celebrities so risable. After all, this is the newspaper that not so long ago gushed rapturously about the British head of state’s “soldier” grandson “doing his bit” at the front line in Afghanistan. And lo and behold, there were presented photographs of the prince sat behind a heavy machine gun situated in a sandbagged emplacement on the front line, where, it seems, a bevy of photojournalists just happened to be passing by and happened to notice him patiently waiting to mow down his murderous foe.

      Shortly after these photographs had appeared in the British presss, the prince was summoned back to the UK, as the journalists in exposing his presence in Afghanistan had exposed him to life threatening danger.

      As I said, they must have just been passing by the machine-gun emplacement when they caught sight of the prince and in their eagerness to get “good copy” forgot the possible consequences of their actions.


      What really interests me, though, is why hasn’t Putin ordered Gessen’s “liquidation”? After all, that is what she and many others maintains he does to those journalists who rub him up the wrong way.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And further to Gessen’s posturing, in today’s MK it is reported:

        «Гессен упамятовала написать о том, что в заключение беседы, отвечая на вопрос Путина, согласилась бы она поработать дальше главным редактором, если на это согласился бы владелец издания, она ответила: «Да, согласилась бы», — сообщил пресс-секретарь главы государства.

        «На следующий день она отказалась. Так тому и быть, — заключил Песков.

        The chief state press-secretary stated: “Gessen has forgotten to write that in closing the discussion, when replying to a question by Mr. Putin whether she would agree to work again as editor-in-chief if the owner of the publishing house were also in agreement with this, she replied: “Yes, I would”.

        “On the following day she refused. So that’s it “, concluded Peskov.


      • marknesop says:

        “Further to the above, she wasn’t, in fact, dismissed: she resigned. What she Twittered was: Я покидаю вокруг света – I am quitting Around the World.”

        Perhaps Masha just likes to keep her options open so she can choose a different narrative later, but in her article in the New York Times that Mike linked – she is of course fluent in English as well – she says, and I quote “…and I was fired on the spot”. If she had actually resigned there would have been little point in the publisher being present at the Putin/Gessen meeting because it would have been just Putin and Gessen, and he would have tried to persuade her to take the job back.

        But in either case, you’re right; she and Latynina and Alekseeva and Nemtsov and Albats must have a series of safe houses and pay-as-you-go phones, sleep in a different place every night and take a different route to work every morning.

        • Misha says:

          Someone else (overhyped at that) has been able to find his way to an event in Yalta.

          • Dear Moscow Exile,

            This business of Gessen having been dismissed when she actually resigned in a huff brings back weary memories of what happened with Yeltsin in the autumn of 1987. He too resigned unexpected in October 1987 in a huff from his post as First Secretary of the Moscow Communist Party organisation after having promised Gorbachev that he would not do so at least until after the celebrations of the Seventieth Anniversary of the October Revolution. Within days the BBC and other western news agencies were reporting Yeltsin’s resignation as a dismissal. As I remember the word “sacked” was the one that was commonly used. This was how the news was then reported back to Russia in news broadcasts by western radio stations where of course it quickly gained for Yeltsin a sympathy that was entirely undeserved.

            Another example of the same trick was the endless repetition by western propaganda on the eve of the 2003 Iraq invasion of the claim that Saddam Hussein had “expelled” the weapons inspectors from Iraq in 1998 when in fact Saddam Hussein did no such thing. I remember losing count of the number of times this lie was repeated by supporters of the war (including by Jack Straw who was the Foreign Minister and who certainly knew the truth) and noticing how they continued to repeat it even after its falsity was pointed out to them.

            It is of course a standard propaganda tactic to go on endlessly repeating the same lie until through endless repetition it crowds the truth out.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I shouldn’t have worried so much about the penury that Gessen would have had to endure thanks to the Evil One’s machiations, that she would be reduced to begging for alms at metro station underpasses: it’s been announced that she’s been appionted head of Radio Free Europe.


              A big reason why I think Gessen is irrational – or a “nutter” if you will – is that when, about 20 years ago, I first came across her incessant anti-Russia rants, she was scribbling for the Moscow Times. She had emigrated as a 14-year-old to the USA with her parents in 1981 to escape the anti-semitism of Russia and the Russians, something that she continuously claims exists.

              When I first read her columns in MT, she was then an earlier version of the Moscow Time’s present “native-born Muscovite” scribe, Meyer, a former Jewish citizen of the USSR, who, like Gessen, had also left Russia in his teens and is now in his late 50s. However, Meyer is a Russo-US citizen living in the USA; his MT column, like Gessen’s had done, also consists of endless diatribes agains Russia, the Russians and “the regime”. Meyer, however, throws the shit at Russia from the USA; Gessen, her apparent detestation of Russia and the Russians notwithstanding, chose to return to Russia, where she continues to throw the shit at her “motherland”.

              Gessen’s incessant allegations of Russian anti-semitism notwithstanding, not long after the end of the USSR, she came back to Russia, where she became editor of the newly launched “Cosmpopolitan”, if I remember rightly. Furthermore, she returned to Russia with her homosexual partner, with whom she still lives with her natural born child and another one, adopted in the USA. Her homosexual partner she “married” in the USA, though she too is Russian. Needless to say, one of Gessen’s other regular accusations against Russians is that they are inveterate “homophobes” – yet she chose to return to Russia, to live in the land that, according to Gessen, hates Jews and homosexuals, both of which categories Gessen indisputably belongs.

              I don’t think she had returned to her “motherland” at the time when I first saw her anti-Russian rants in the MT but I clearly recall that one of her regular accusations at that time concerning the open anti-semitism that she claimed existed in the USSR and Russia was the fact that she had “Evreika” (Jewess) in her Soviet international passport.

              Soviet passports used to have their bearers’ nationality displayed within; so did the first RF passports. So, if you were a Soviet citizen and had, say, Tatar nationality, you would be categorized as a Soviet citizen of Tatar nationality; likewise if you were Estonian, Ukrainian, Chechen, Armenian, Georgian, Tajik etc., etc. Gessen is a Jewess, but she made great objection to having this noted in her passport.

              Came the day, however, when the new style RF passports appeared in the late ’90s. Lo and behold! No categorization within of one’s nationality.

              Gessen then wrote a column in which she complained about the fact that her nationality no longer appeared in her passport and that she now felt that the Russian state, in removing her national identity from her passport, had in some way robbed her of her identity.

              Last week she complained that the Russian president had ordered her dismissal from her post as editor of a Russian magazine: she claimed in the NYT that she had “been fired on the spot”; in other sources, including her own Twitter, are statements that she had quit.

              Dismissed or resigned? Who knows? There was also no evidence offered to support her claim that the Russian president had ordered her dimissal, just her assertion that her dismissal (or retirement) was “thanks to Putin”; whether she meant that her dismissal/resignation was the result of Putin’s direct action or that her unemployment was indirectly attributed to the Russian president is a moot point. Be that as it may, what now remains indisputable is that the Russian president suggested to Gessen that he would strive to have her re-instated in her former position from which she was dismissed/chose to resign. Gessen refused this magnanimous offer off the president.

              Well, it’s a free country! She was free to accept or refuse.

              The president’s chief press-secretary, however, says that she at first agreed to resume her former post if her former employer offered her re-instatement and then, on the day following her agreement to accept re-instatement if she were offered it, she then gave notice that she had chosen to refuse any offer of re-instatement.

              Anyway, not to worry. I’m sure she’ll feel more than at home at Radio Free europe.

              • Misha says:

                Moscow Exile,

                I’m in general agreement with what you’ve said.

                One of the more inaccurately negative comments about the Soviet Union was the horseshit about Jews having Jew stamped on their passport. (I make this comment as someone who is the opposite of a sovok.) Actually, the Soviets were in line with the Zionist view that being Jewish is a national identity as opposed to a strictly religious one.

                The non-Russian owned, Moscow based English language Moscow Times spins in the way you describe in contrast to the non-Ukrainian owned, Kiev based Kyiv Post, which has no person of Jewish background railing about how anti-Jewish the Ukrainians are – even though among Jews, the Ukrainians are generally considered more anti-Jewish than Russians. Mind you, I caution against such generalities.

                I know the Gessen mindset all too well, while knowing other Jews (who left the USSR in the 1970s, as well as others with different experiences) who think more coherently.

              • yalensis says:

                Masha sounds like the kind of person whom there is simply no pleasing. I wonder how her girlfriend can stand living with somebody who has such a negative personality? And, speaking of Masha’s girlfriend, did Russia allow her (the partner) an entry/residence visa? I would be curious about her residence status, because currently Russia does not recognize civil unions, let alone gay marriage.
                Here is the wikipedia page summarizing current status of gay rights in Russian Federation:


                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The legality of Gessen’s “union” is questionable here. But her partner, whom she met and “married” in the USA, has Russian citizenship.

                  As I said earlier, Gessen has two children: a boy and a girl, who are both US citizens. The boy, born in 1997 in Russia (not in the USA, as I think I might have said above), was adopted from an orphanage in Kaliningrad. Gessen bore her daughter in the US in 2001 (I presume as a result of artificial insemination); ten years after that birth she returned to live in Russia, the country of her birth and which she emmigrated from to the USA in 1981. Three years after her daughter’s birth Gessen “married” in the USA Svetlana Generalova, a Russian citizen.

                  In the English Wiki there is sparse information about Gessen, her employment and her toing and froing between Paradise and the Evil Empire.

                  There is more information about her in this Russian blog “Кто такая Маша Гессен?” (Who is this Masha Gessen?):


                  An interesting thing that is revealed in the above linked blog is that Gessen had ditched her Russian citizenship but re-applied for it in 1993. She got it, and at the same time kept her US citizenship.

                  Why was such an open and virulent critic of Russia allowed Russian citizenship, I wonder.

                  And another thing, I remember this fact being published in English, but now, as I’ve said, there’s precious little on English web sites bout this.

                  Another thing, unlike many of her fellow Jews, whom I generally respect because of their intelligence, industriousness, diligence and, not least of all, for the way they help and support each other, Gessen hasn’t really shown such great academic aptitude. She failed the grade twice when trying to get a scholarship to Harvard, but when she was hanging around academia in Massachusets, whom does she meet but Navalny.

                  There’s much more in the Russian Wiki about Gessen:


                  where there’s a link to an article published by Radio Ekho Moskvy that describes the Family Generalov – that’s what Gessen calls her family (Семья Генераловых) – in an endearing little piece about “Mummy + mummy + two children” (Мама + мама + двое детей), the two women (Masha and Svenya) in her “Family Generalov” only being “mums to be – Masha and Svenya” (Будущие мамы – Маша и Свеня) at the time the article describes, namely when Gessen first met Generalova one St. valentine’s Day in the USA:


                  More (in Russian) on Gessen here:


                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Error, I wrote “ten years after that birth she returned to live in Russia”: I should have written “ten years before that birth, she had returned to live in Russia…”

                  Her daughter was born in the USA in 2001. She returned to Russia from the USA in 1991 almost immediately after the USSR had ceased to exist.

                • Misha says:

                  Coddled brat hack – well worth repeating.

              • marknesop says:

                “Anyway, not to worry. I’m sure she’ll feel more than at home at Radio Free Europe.”

                I’m sure she will. What a piece of work. Curiously enough, her story has at least something in common with those of Julia Ioffe and Miriam Elder, also of Jewish descent, although I don’t recall Ioffe complaining of anti-Semitism in Russia (although she may have done). Racism, yes; she did a lengthy rant on an incident of perceived racism on a city bus in which some football fans were chanting “Russia for Russians, Moscow for Muscovites”, and drew ominous parallels between the red and white scarves they were wearing and “the colours of Nashi”. It was reprinted by La Russophobe, and was one of the first instances of one of my lengthy comments full of links getting immediately deleted. One of those links was a list of schools and colleges in the United States which featured red and white as their colours, including Harvard.

                I didn’t really notice Gessen until later, my being somewhat new to the Russophobe scene. But as you say, she will find something to bitch about no matter what Russian policy says. Her basic complaint seems to be that Russia is not America, and I don’t see why she doesn’t simply move there. There would be no citizenship issues, Russia would be glad to see her go, America would welcome her with open arms, and her vision of Russia would be totally unchanged at a new location just as her vision of Russia from its heart does not reflect reality. It’s not like she’s standing at the barricades leading the charge, because she isn’t changing anyone’s mind to any significant degree. I guess the only explanation is that she simply enjoys it, and getting paid to do what you en joy is everyone’s dream, isn’t it?

                • Misha says:

                  Ioffe does seem to pick up on some (what should be blatant) faults. One of her pieces on Katyn referred to “Russian murder”. A later one of hers (perhaps the same that was edited) said “Soviet murder” on the same topic.

                  She seems better suited as a copy editor and/or translator. Does she face the music in the form of criticism like some others? How intellectually solid are her views in contrast to some others?

                  Keep feeding sources like her with publicity unlike some others. That’s really serving to improve the coverage. No surprise that the likes of “The Russia Hand” and a former AEI wmployee and Global Voices staffer have propped her unlike some others.

                • marknesop says:

                  For Christ’s sake, Mike!! I’m not fucking PROPPING her, whatever that is. I mention her now and again, often in a derogatory context, and even more rarely, when she says something worth repeating.

                • Misha says:

                  IMO, seems too often than warranted, which is your choice Mark.

                  I’ve to remind myself that a regular highlighting of such a propped establishment source has a counter-productive aspect to it; which is why I make the effort to promote quality others not getting the establishment nod, while presenting more originally thought out and valid ideas than the likes of Ioffe.

                • yalensis says:

                  @mark: you actually SPEAK Averko? Kudos to you. I had no clue what he was talking about when he goes on about somebody being “propped up”, or similar verbiage.

                • Misha says:

                  What’s the big deal!?

                  “Propped” is a valid word realtive to its definition.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Yes, I remember that Yeltsin “dismissal” well. In fact, he resigned from the Politburo, something up to then unheard of. More accurately, he asked for permission to resign and permission was granted, but only after Gorbachev had lambasted him for being “politically immature”. This granting him permission to resign was interpreted by the Western media as a dismissal. And Yeltsin was staggering around drunk even in those days. That was when I first arrived in Russia. I remember well when it was reported that he had fallen off a bridge into a river when he was “tired and emotional” and on his way to friend’s “state dacha” (a bloody big wooden country mansion) for a piss-up. Yeltsin said he was crossing the bridge when a car pulled up and two KGB men got out and threw him into the river. The drunken criminal claimed it was Gorbachev’s doing in order to discredit him. And the “West” loved him!

  36. Misha says:

    Re: US State Department Hypocrisy



    The comparison is in line with the arrogantly ignorant commentary promoted at English language mass media venues (including Forbes), that belittle the offensive manner of the Pussy Riot (PR) “performance” in the chapel of a Russian Orthodox Church, which has a history of having been victimized by discriminatory manner.

    Among its peers, the “paper of record” (The NYT) with the byline of “all the news that’s fit to print” wouldn’t dare to print a full unedited translation of what the PR exhibitionists said in the chapel in question.

    SHAME on the seemingly alternative and high profile to relatively high profile English language news sources that fall short in substantively addressing such matter in the English language mass media establishment.

    On this issue, English language mass media at large isn’t solely responsible for what has been evident.

    • marknesop says:

      Notice how this story repeatedly refers to Ambassador Stevens as “the American” and “an American” and a “State Department Officer”, obviously going to great pains to avoid drawing attention to the fact that he was the Ambassador. It certainly does look like the initial reaction was to downplay it.

      “Sam Bacile” claimed to be an Israeli Jew in this story, but that was quickly exposed as a fabrication according to other sources, which suggest he is actually an Egyptian. I’m afraid I don’t know, although it would be awfully convenient to pin it on the Jews. But by the same token, if it were true it would whip up hatred in the Arab countries to an unprecedented degree. And where he is now, nobody seems to know. I suggest he will soon have people looking for him who look for people as a profession, and when they find him, he will have some ‘splainin’ to do.

    • Misha says:

      Concerning the set of comments above this thread, which is headed under the title of US State Department Hypocrisy:

  37. yalensis says:

    Extry, extry! Arab Spring turns ugly! Wasn’t it just, like a week ago, Americans were crowing about how the Arab “street” loved them (for their “principled” stand on Syria), and depised Russia and China (for their correspondingly “unprincipled” stand)?

    Courier: Sire, the peasants are revolting!
    Ambassador Stevens: But … but … the Arabs love me.
    Courier: But Sire, they’re getting violent!
    Ambassador Stevens: I abhor violence.

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    If the interest in the whitecondomists’ car rally “White Stream” is any reflection on the interest that will be shown in tomorrow’s “March of Millions”, only one man and his dog will be there at Prospekt Sakharova.


    • yalensis says:

      Hm… Much as I would love to believe anythiing bad about Berezovsky, this still sounds kind of tenuous, especially given Vishniak’s lack of credibility.

      According to this article, Vishniak murdered both his parents, and then threw himself on the mercy of the court, pleading for leniency on the grounds that he was an orphan.

      • cartman says:

        “Undermining Vishnyak’s credibility, Orthodox theologian Andrei Kurayev wrote on his blog Wednesday that Vishnyak had served a prison term for beating his parents to death with a dumbbell. He cited undisclosed sources.

        Vishnyak told Dozhd that the accusation was “nonsense.””

        How can something like that be a secret?

        • yalensis says:

          If Vishniak was a minor at the time, then his conviction could have been sealed or even expunged. Like, he could have been only 10 years old when he killed his parents. (Could have been a strong little bastard.)

          • marknesop says:

            Were you thinking of “By Reason Of Insanity“, by any chance? The fictional tale of Thomas Bishop, driven serial killer, by Shane Stevens? If not, I recommend it, you’d like it. I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t read it, but it is a classic study (considering it’s fiction) in the eye of the mad for detail, and a spooky glimpse of what a madman might be like if he were incarcerated when still a boy – and learned everything he knew about how the world worked from watching television.

            • yalensis says:

              No, Mark, I hadn’t heard of that book… It’s just that I have been waiting patiently my whole life to use that old gag about “the boy who murdered his parents then pleaded for leniency on the grounds he was an orphan”, then Exile finally gave me the opportunity; and then nobody appreciated how funny it is! Boo hoo.

              P.S. That book looks great! I must read it. I love to read books about serial killers.

              • marknesop says:

                Although it was written a long time ago (late 60’s/early 70’s), it does a good job making the point that crooks who watch TV have a good chance of avoiding at least the most obviously stupid mistakes criminals make in management of how many markers the crime scene is going to give the police. A fine example is the “Free Pussy Riot” miscue left by the Kazan professor in the recent murder case: it did a good job fooling all the breathless reporters, but fooled the police not even overnight. Anyway, although there are some extremely violent episodes in the book, what makes it chilling all the way through is Bishop’s single-minded focus on what he sees as his destiny – to kill as many women as he can before he dies. He does not acknowledge the possibility he will be caught, as he believes throughout that he is too smart for the police.

                • yalensis says:

                  @mark: If you enjoy movies about mass murderers, have you seen the film “Five Fingers”, starring Ryan Phillipe and Laurence Fishburne? If you haven’t seen it, I won’t give away the big twist at the end; but I will merely indicate that the terrorist comes up with an extremely clever plan to murder something like one billion people all in a single day. The plan is foiled, of course, but it actually sounds plausible enough to be scary!

                • marknesop says:

                  I haven’t seen it; I’ll look for it. You not likely will be able to find “By Reason of Insanity” anywhere except on Amazon or a similar site, because it has been long out of print. I’ll speak to you offline and maybe get your address, then I can send you my copy and you can send it back when you’re finished. Although if you live in the USA it would be fairly economical to get your own, I guess; the international shipping rates are murder. I remember finding 4 books I’d been looking for, on Amazon, for less than a dollar each and in relatively good condition (I’m not a snob about that, I don’t care as long as all the pages are there). The total was less than $4.00. When I went to complete the order, shipping added another $45.00, so I cancelled the order.

  39. Moscow Exile says:

    As regards Walker’s description of tomorrow’s street protest as being a “major” one (see Misha’s link above), let’s just wait and see how “major” it will be. Or perhaps Walker thinks that tomorrow’s “March of Millions” really will have millions of participants?

    At a conservative estimate of the present Moscow population, in order to get even just 1% of the population demonstrating tomorrow, one would have to persuade 104,641 people to participate

    The population of Moscow on September 14th 2012 is approximately 10,464,111. (Extrapolated from Russia populations of 142,000,000 in 2006 and 141,927,297 on February 3rd 2010, 20:03, and a Moscow population of 10,470,318 on January 5th 2009, 00:00:00.)

    • Misha says:

      I’ll stay tuned.

    • kirill says:

      If ten people show up they will claim it was ten thousand. Facts don’t get in the way of the western media propaganda narrative on Russia. Meanwhile massive demonstrations in Spain weren’t even covered. I guess Spanish political-economic discontent is not newsworthy but the whinging of some 5th columnist liberasts in Russia is.

      It is funny how brainwashed western media consumers are. I routinely see posters at various fora repeat the silly lie about Putin being loaded with billions. The number has experienced rumour inflation and is now 150 billion dollars. This crap myth was fed to them by some tenth rate sources and they think it is the truth. Either they are idiots or they are projecting all their fears onto Russia and Putin. Funny people either way. I don’t recall ever projecting my fears onto foreigners. By all rights and experiences Russians should be completely xenophobic about the west. It’s been drang nach osten for over 1000 years. But we aren’t.

      • marknesop says:

        The “Putin’s Billions” myth started with Stanislav Belkovsky; I’m sure there was the odd mention over the years that old Putin must really be socking it away, considering how much power he has, the same as idle gossip says about any national leader. But as far as I’m aware, Belkovsky was first to put numbers to it – Putin owns this many shares of GAZPROM, this much of Gunvor, this much of RosNeft, and so on. It encouraged people who dislike Putin intensely to figure how much that many shares was worth, without bothering to learn if the share ownership was real or not, but for the most part they simply adopted Belkovsky’s figures in toto. Nobody ever asked him how he knew, yet he was treated as some kind of liberal savant, and it must have been a pretty sweet gig while it lasted. Curiously, he never made it onto the Putin murder list.

        Now that Belkovsky has disavowed everything bad he said and apologized for hanging around with liberals, even going so far as to volunteer for the Putin Royal Guard (think how great he’s going to look squeezed into a leather tunic and a sparkly gold kilt, with his rusty bayonet in hand!!), there is no basis at all – not even the pure-fantasy psilocybin hallucinations of Belkovsky – for such allegations.

  40. Misha says:


    Excerpt –

    “­Control of the media means control of the world, as they say, and I’ve noticed that Russia as a country, and various patriotic groups within Russia are just terrible at PR and combatting the mainstream media.
    Even back when the Tsars were around Russia never managed to control the political dialogue of the time. Western Europe was very good at depicting Russia as backward barbarians as they themselves engaged in the slave trade and countless wars with each other. Again this isn’t just Russia as a whole, there seems to be plenty of patriotic groups doing well on the internet/social networks but they don’t seem to understand the true power of mainstream media.”


    Fascinating, when considering the venue where the above excerpted is coming from. It sections of columnists included, RT can’t be doing more to level the playing field? One way is to promote folks who’re up front in providing specific examples of English language mass media biases by presenting facts and fact based opinions.

  41. kirill says:

    Is this ever thick and rich! The US media is actually spouting that the Egyptians should be grateful for the US liberating them during the Arab Spring. I can’t even respond to this utter nonsense in a rational way, it is so overwhelming in its intellectual toxicity. Mubarak was propped up by the USA and the USA had zero to do with his ouster. That Hillary ‘Cornuta’ Clinton jumped on the bandwagon when the facts on the ground had asserted themselves in no way gives the USA the moral high ground. It’s pure opportunism and it looks like the South American junta model of power applies to Egypt with the military being the main power broker that the newly elected president has to kowtow to. I am sure that US advisers similar to Doctor Deathsquad Negroponte implemented this system during Mubarak’s dictatorship.

    So there is a reason why the Egyptian *people* are upset and that is because their *will* is being stymied by US stooges in the military. Hey, maybe some liberast analogue will write a piece on how backward Egyptians are for not kissing Uncle Sam’s testicles. Even the Pizda Bunt clowns invoked the Arab Spring as a model of US benevolence and demanded that Russia be subjected to regime change from abroad.

    • marknesop says:

      Comical – droll, in fact. The U.S. publicly championed the uprising in Egypt, with not a single leadership figure suggesting Mubarak should stay on as leader, although the west did indeed prop him up for almost 30 years. And, lest we forget, Mubarak appeared on the leadership scene as the head of a military junta, just like the one that took over Egypt until the Muslim Brotherhood terrified the opposition into defeat. Egypt now has possibly the worst leadership it could have, with the possible exception of that which would prevail if Clinton herself announced she would be Queen. Is there anyone who has yet to absorb the lesson that if you allow western meddling to designate your leadership for you, calamity will result? Why is that, do you suppose? Does the western population really wish the Arab nations ill? Of course not. But it is not the western populations which pick leaders suitable to western interests rather than to national interests – it is the political and business elite. If western media sources speak glowingly of a new hand-picked leader as a true reformer whose heart is filled with love for his people and who has, oh, just so many wonderful ideas, it is a sure sign that he will be a weak patsy who lets the west tell him what to do and how to run the country.

      The west only backed away from responsibility for the Egyptian revolution when it became clear it was not going to be a feather in their cap, a prosperous, western-leaning market democracy. Instead, the situation is steadily worsening. Someone else pointed out on another blog, I think it was one of Charles Clover’s stories for Time Magazine, that the USA frequently claims proud authorship of colour revolutions when they work, or when you can still spin them as a success, like Georgia. But when everything turns to shit, they won’t make eye contact and just mumble, “wasn’t us”.

      • marknesop says:

        As usual, Simon Tisdall sees through the smoke and mirrors. Expect him to be writing for someone else in a year or so, because he certainly doesn’t fit at The Guardian.

        • Misha says:

          The Guardian reminds me a bit of Foreign Policy Journal (FPJ) – criticism of Western policy in the Middle East has been evident, along with some noticeably negative commentary about Russia. A good portion of Umland’s commentary has been picked up by FPJ.

          On Russia, Tisdall fits in quite well with The Guardian.

          Here’s one of several samples:

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Tisdall is an inveterate Russophobe and his repeated diatribes against all things Russian appeared with predictable regularly in the Guardian, usually on Tuesdays, which gave rise to CiF contributors posting : I see it’s Tuesday again!

            I stopped reading the Guardian earlier this year, but by that time Tisdall seemed to be writing fewer russophobic articles, his mantle presumably having been donned by “Tin-Tin in the USSR” Harding.

            Harding has left the brutal mafia regime and become “Tin-Tin in the Levant”, it seems, and I think Miriam Elder must have been granted the privilige of becoming the Guardian’s resident scourge of Russia.

            • Misha says:

              ME having been debunked in an ER piece of mine that Pravda.Ru picked up for those who feel that something needs to be shown.

              What actually needs to be shown is a more earnest disclosure and criticism of what is and isn’t highlighted.

              One case in point is a Mark Teeter JRL promoted MN article on Romney, which Moscow Exile noted with ridicule awhile back. An earlier mentioned eXile article on JRL muting isn’t evident elsewhere on account of the kind of suckup (lack of) culture that’s out there.

              A number of English language Russian Russia watchers and others put too much stock in InoSMI and JRL material.

            • marknesop says:

              Really?!!? I must have misjudged him – I’ve read only a few of his articles, all linked to me if I remember correctly, as I am not a regular reader of the Guardian either. As I best remember in each case his opinion appeared to be the opposite of the thundering herd, and the comments reflected both surprise and support from many readers. I can’t remember exactly what the last was before this one, but I’m almost sure it was a positive review of Russia and China’s vetoes of the west’s let’s-remake-Syria adventure game.

              You’re probably right, and I was likely making my assessment based on too small a sample; I haven’t seen much of his work. But what I saw, I liked. Although you’re also right that people don’t really change, perhaps the support he’s received in the comments section will cause a reexamination of his beliefs. Then again, The Guardian simply edits out comments it doesn’t like.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Some Tisdall Russia related articles:

                • Misha says:

                  Mark’s link of a Tisdall article on another global issue highlights the bias against Russia. Reminded that over the years, Brzezinski’s foreign policy views have had a tendency of being more reasonable when Russia isn’t the primary focus.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Something went wrong there!

                  Here’s Tisdall on Russia:





                  And on and on…

                  Tisdall’s weekly spiel about the Evil Empire and its Dark Lord made many CiFers comment that he must report regularly to Chatham House, London, at weekends for briefings, after which he’d knock out some good, blood-curdling copy about Russia in order to please his masters.

                  I don’t think that’s far from the truth actually. As a matter of fact, I think many British “journalists” – Tisdall and Harding being prime examples thereof – primarily work for the British not-so-secret secret service, that they were recruited at university and were slotted into journalist employment to do their business of propagandizing. That might explain why Harding is such a god awful journalist that has had on occasion to take recourse to a spot of cut and paste plagiarism.

                • marknesop says:

                  “As a British Moscow watcher put it, if Mr Putin were subject to the juvenile courts, an Asbo would have been slapped on him long ago.”

                  What would the British courts slap on an American leader – or a British one, comes to that – who made up a bunch of fake reasons to attack a country which had never attacked them, substantiated it with reasons plagiarized from a student thesis written years before and ignored all the good advice of those who said it would end in tears, which it did after thousands upon thousands (real figures, not opposition counts) of needless deaths? I’d say there would be somebody who’d be doing hard time someplace where their sunlight had to be mailed to them. Is that what happened? Ha, ha. In the American case he was allowed to retire with all the honours of a two-term president, and to pick up juicy fees for public speaking on the condition he learn how to do it. In the British case, he was made special envoy to the Middle East, which I’m sure comes with a lucrative salary plus expenses and perks.

                  You’re right, this is a different Simon Tisdall than the one I’ve seen, and I was naive to believe otherwise. There are a lot of qualifiers in there. like “of course what Russia does is its own business, but…” and a few reasoned statements about Putin’s determination to restore Russia to a great power (for which it’s hard to imagine his people should condemn him), but on the whole it is smug and patronizing.

                • Misha says:

                  Somewhat related to the linked piece on Nagorno-Karabakh:


                  Kudos to Global Research, Eurasian Home and Russia Blog.

                • Dear Moscow Exile,

                  Your speculations about the secret intelligence service affiliations of some British journalists are almost certainly well grounded in fact. I believe the profile the eXile did of Luke Harding actually mentioned his close connections to the secret intelligence service. That doesn’t of course prove anything. Still it makes one wonder.

                  Anyway that some British journalists are intelligence agents is an indisputable fact. I don’t know whether you remember Sandy Gall, the journalist who was the biggest cheerleader in the British media in the 1980s for the anti Soviet jihadi rebels in Afghanistan? Some time ago he finally admitted that he had been a member of MI6 (the British secret intelligence service) all along. I am pretty sure that some of the “journalists” who have been prowling around Syria in flashpoints like Homs and Aleppo are also intelligence agents. I am sure the woman Sunday Times journalist with the eye patch who was killed in Homs (I forget her name) was one.

        • yalensis says:

          The American “liberal” media (such as MSNBC) are coming off as the most clueless of all. They are vigorously pushing this counter-intuitive logic that all this proves just how great Obama is (because he looked stony-faced and gave a speech), and how he should win his re-election as a “strong foreign-policy president”. They are even saying how great Hillary is, and how she should run for Prez in 2016.
          Don’t they see how all this makes Hillary the WORST Secretary of State EVER? Even worse than Condoleeza Rice, and who knew that was even physically possible?
          It also makes Obama look like a terrible commander-in-chief, he made every wrong decision possible, the whole Middle East just blew up on his watch!
          It’s also coming out now how the so-called U.S. “consulate” in Benghazi had no security whatsoever, except for maybe one Blackwater goon and a night watchman. Where were the marines? The rest of the staff consisted of a skeleton crew that did not seem to be engaged in any useful work.
          it isn’t even clear that “Ambassador” Stevens himself was engaged in any activity there except for a gun-running and cash-laundering operation to help the Syrian terrorists. Before he became “ambassador”, Stevens was appointed liaison to the Libyan Al Qaeda terrorist “government” in Benghazi.
          Hence, the street-smart guys who captured, tortured and killed Ambassador Stevens were the exact same crowd with whom he was “liaison” during the anti-Gaddafi rebellion. It’s clear that he trusted them, and probably depended on them to provide his security, instead of relying on American marines, like he should have. So, when Stevens Al Qaeda posse turned on him, I imagine that the last emotion he experienced was one of astonishment.

          • marknesop says:

            I see it somewhat differently: Obama allowed himself to be pressured into a more hawkish foreign policy than his nature might have dictated in an attempt to win Republican support. Because as much as the Republicans may shriek now that Obama fucked it all up (which he unquestionably did), the Republicans never met a Middle Eastern war they didn’t love at first sight (now including North Africa, evidently), and Romney is constantly making veiled promises to give Iran a good shitkicking before he’s even president (which will be never). The Republicans are only playing the time-honoured game of pretending support for exactly the opposite policy the ruling party followed. You’d have to do some pretty heavy pick-and-shovel work to convince me the Democrats are more hawkish than the Republicans, or that a Republican president would have waved off a chance to smash Gaddafi or participate enthusiastically in the “Arab Spring”. On that subject, now that it is an obvious and catastrophic failure, can we look at finding some other metaphor and stop calling every demonstration anywhere a “insert-nation-or-nationality-here Spring”?

            According to a news item I read just before I went to bed last night, two of the dead Americans were ex-Navy-SEALs. And many news outlets are still pushing the line that Stevens became confused in the melee and ran someplace where he died of smoke inhalation; all a big misunderstanding that might have been prevented with more frequent Embassy fire drills.

            • yalensis says:

              Yeah, Ambassador Stevens security was EX navy seals. As in private security firms. I wonder why thy weren’t REAL navy seals, or at least marines, on the government payroll? I’m not trying to make some conspiratorial point. Just that Hillary is a really bad Secretary of State and didn’t take very good care of her staff.

              • Misha says:

                Concerns a person who grossly bloated the threat she faced upon her landing in Sarajevo. Her current position is that of a political appointee, who is all too willing to uncritically go along with the Democratic Party foreign policy line.

              • Misha says:

                Great piece on the subject from someone who was politically denied entry into Canada:


                • yalensis says:

                  This is interesting. Apparently Hillary Clinton sneaked Chris Stevens into Benghazhi on a cargo ship when it was a “rebel” city, in order to build relationships with the insurgents.
                  “As an American liaison to insurgents who had just started to fight Qadafy’s forces, Stevens was instrumental in turning a local revolt into a fully-fledged rebellion. (….) A remarkable aspect of Mrs. Clinton’s statement is that in her scheme of things, it is perfectly normal for U.S. Government agents to sneak into a foreign country that the United States recognizes as a sovereign state and with which it has normal diplomatic relations in order to incite rebellion against that country’s government.”
                  This indicates the guy was more a military/special ops type liaison, not so much a diplomat. Like I commented above, it seems that “Ambassador” Stevens did not even perform any diplomatic functions; after Libya fell to insurgents, he was all about gun running and spreading even more insurgency (to Syria). Based on this, I suspect that the “safe house” that he and his staff attempted to escape to, was probably one they had used before during their Benghazi insurgency phase. Hence it goes without saying that its location would not be so secret from Stevens’ erstwhile Libyan friends, who, after they turned on him, found him there, dragged him out into the street, and killed him.

                • Misha says:

                  The irony in what happened to Khadafy and Stevens is something that’s very much downplayed in the coverage/commentary I’ve seen on the major American TV news networks.

                  For shitz and giiggles, I checked to see if there’s any connection between the recently slain Stevens and Cat Stevens. There’s no apparent relation between the two.

            • hoct says:

              So you still blame the Republicans more in the end. Of course Democrats are more hawkish than Republicans, it just has to be the right war. Freaking John McCain was a dove on Bosnia, and John Bolton still is on Kosovo. Libya, like Bosnia, Kosovo, Syria, Darfur, Tibet, etc fits the bill for a Democrat-friendly and Democrat-driven war.

              Sure the Republicans may have intervened in the Arab Revolt themselves, but they would have done it differently than what Obama did in Libya — that one has a liberal interventionist touchy-feely stamp on it and is fully the Democrat’s war.

              • Misha says:

                At one point, was John McCain actually ever a “dove” on Bosnia? I don’t offhand recall that. Could be wrong.

                • hoct says:

                  Yes. He was publicly opposed to the idea of US intervention at the time.

                  His stated reasons for opposition had to do with the military-technical problems such an intervention would entail (a concern shared by the top brass at the Pentagon which was equally averse to intervention), rather than with a philosophical disagreement on the justice of such an intervention with the White House, but that is still a dovish position on the American political landscape.

                • hoct says:

                  “Would like to see just how McCain explained his Bosnia position at the time.”

                  A few links I have been able to find for you quickly:


                  All this talk of U.S. troops in Yugoslavia alarmed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), a former Navy pilot who spent seven years as a prisoner of war in Hanoi.

                  “I have yet to meet a single military expert who tells me how we can get in, what we do when we get in, and how we can get out,” Mr. McCain told Mr. Aspin. “I know you are keenly aware as I am that 30 German divisions during World War II were unable to pacify what was then Yugoslavia.”

                  Mr. McCain, the Vietnam War pilot, was just as skeptical about Mr. Aspin’s suggestion that precision air strikes might punish the Serbians.

                  “I heard about the great improvements in the use of air power in 1965, too, how a surgical strike into North Vietnam would somehow dissuade the North Vietnamese from continuing their support of South Vietnam,” he said. “Bombing a communications site or a power grid somewhere in Serbia — does that mean that somehow that would dissuade the Serbians from carrying out the incredibly fervent, atrocious acts that they’re carrying out today?”




                  Something about the political climate at the time: “Over the next several days, selective engagers in the Bush camp and within the Joint Chiefs intensified their public campaign to sell their beliefs about the potential dangers associated with direct U.S. involvement in the conflict. On August 11, [1992] Lt. Gen. Barry McCaffrey, a principal deputy to General Powell, publicly discussed the Joint Chief’s views with ABC World News Tonight, saying emphatically that, despite the tragedy, “there is no military solution.” Earlier that day, senior military planners told a congressional hearing that between 60,000 and 120,000 ground troops would be needed to break the siege of Sarajevo and ensure uninterrupted relief. Other commanders suggested that a field army of at least 400,000 troops would be needed to implement a cease-fire.”

                  This I think is notable. What McCain was saying followed closely what the Pentagon which was averse to any intervention that would not be done in conformity with the Powell doctrine was saying. In his opposition and critique of idea of careless intervention in Bosnia McCain may not have been as much of a Republican partisan as a partisan of the Pentagon.

              • marknesop says:

                I suppose you’re right. I just don’t like Republicans. Really I only took an interest in American politics with the election of Bush The Younger, and few would argue that administration reflected well on Republicans. But since then Republicans have appeared more nakedly aggressive by far, while Democrats have seemed the voice of reason in comparison (not counting Hillary Clinton, who seems permanently to be auditioning for the part of Elizabeth Bathory the “Blood Countess” in some imaginary casting call in her mind).

                John McCain’s position on Bosnia sprang far more from opposition based on party lines than any moral conviction; ditto John Bolton, who never met a non-American he didn’t want to kill. The Republicans only turn all international-institution-building when the Democrats are talking war, and vice versa – there’s always a good chance what the ruling party is doing will turn out disastrously, whereupon you will look a visionary for having opposed it. Examples of John “Jukebox John” McCain saying things that are completely opposite to his character abound.

                • Misha says:

                  Thanks for the follow-up HOCT and Mark.

                  Would like to see just how McCain explained his Bosnia position at the time.

                  On Kosovo, McCain went along with Clinton as did a good number of Repubs including Peter King. I sense this was influenced in part by Albanian-American lobbying efforts that included Joe Dioguardi’s Repub ties.

    • yalensis says:

      Stroll down Memory Lane:
      When NATO-baked Al Qaeda terrorists took over Benghazi, one of the first things they did was start lynching ethnic Africans. This guy was lynched right outside the Benghazi courthouse.
      Well, you know what they say, “Democracy is messy.”
      What followed, in Benghazi, and then throughout the rest of Lybia, was a systematic genocide of ethnic Africans, most of them Libyan citizens.
      Ambassador Stevens was appointed liaison to these murderous mobs, he thought they were great people … up until the day they turned on him.

      • kirill says:

        So if democracy is messy and it’s OK if some blacks get lynched, then why are hooligans and violent, trespassing protesters in Russia who get 15 day slaps on the wrist, or horror of horrors two years in jail, not OK?

        It’s all animal hypocrisy. Nothing the west says has any intellectual weight. It’s schoolyard punk “might makes right” trash talk.

  42. Moscow Exile says:

    The “March of Millions” was scheduled to start 18 minutes ago at 2 o’clock. This “March of Millions”, though, looks like it’s going to be a “March of Hundreds”. A very sparse turn-out is being shown live on TV at the assembly point at Pushkin Square. “Hundreds” are reported to be gathering there, not hundreds of thousands and certainly not millions.

  43. Moscow Exile says:

    Live video here from Moskovskaya Pravda:

  44. Moscow Exile says:

    That should be Komsomolskaya Pravda above.

    The Moscow section of the CP are there with banners reading “Down With Oligarchs”.

    So why the hell are they marching with liberasts who all have dreams of becoming immensely wealthy in a “free” capitalist economy?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      By the way, it has eventually turned out that only the Moscow section of the CP is taking part. The CP as a whole is having its own march on September 22nd and the Moscow section of the CP that is participating today is, according to the CP cental committee, only doing so to show its support for the other oppositionist factions, even though I should think that very many of the supporters of these other factions have in their heart of hearts secret dreams of becoming oligarchs, and the CP supports such people albeit that the it demands that oligarchs should be done away with.

      My enemy’s enemy is my friend even though he is my enemy as well?

      • kirill says:

        Zhyuganov the good for nothing leader-for-life wannabe and his grotesque policies. He is busy killing off the KPRF by preventing any healthy generational change and sucking 5th columnist ass.

        • I agree. The KPRF remains a force despite its leader not because of him. Back in the 1990s Zyuganov had a role to play. He is now utterly exhausted morally and intellectually. He talks and acts as if it was Yeltsin not Putin who was President and he fights every election as if it was still 1996. The impression one gets is of a vain, angry and bitter old man.

  45. Moscow Exile says:

    The CP slogans are “An Early Election Against Repression” and “Russia Shall Be Free!”
    From what I see from the turn- out so far, it looks like the attendance is going to be the lowest ever at such a “March of Millions”. The turn-out won’t be reported as such, of course

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    11,000 there according to the cops.

  47. Moscow Exile says:

    RIA- Novisti man in a chopper estimates 20,000.

    Any more offers…?

  48. Moscow Exile says:

    The RIA-Novisti man might be suffering from double vision.

    11,000 is the number popping up on websites now.

    That’s one tenth of one per cent of the Moscow population and a much smaller percentage if one accepts some claims that the real population of the capital is as high as 16 million.

    That monster Putin must certainly instil such dread into the vast majority of Muscovites if only so few turn up to protest against his tyranny.

    • Misha says:

      From the Elder described Russian government propaganda venue:

      • marknesop says:

        Not very inspiring public speakers, I’m afraid. They’re trying to get a chant going, but there’s no power in it and it seems to be just a few people in the immediate vicinity of the microphone. Could this indicate the “protests” are losing western support? Such democracy shows usually have state-of-the-art audio support (the PA system is not very good either). The whole spectacle just seems kind of mechanical, colourless and bland. I don’t see a lot of either enthusiasm or unity of purpose.

    • Dear Moscow Exile,

      Thanks again for all this.

      I agree the Novosti estimate of 20,000 is certainly too high. However even if it was correct it would still be less than the 25,000 City Hall authorised. A demonstration of 20,000 in London would go unreported. Some demonstration is happening in London every weekend and any demonstration of 20,000 or less would be so unremarkable it just wouldn’t be news.

      The other thing is that there is no unity amongst the protesters with anarchists fighting nationalists and Communists alongside liberals. This is not a single movement with a common purpose. It is better understood as a gaggle of many tiny demonstrations which happen together to make it all look more impressive than it really is. The whole is certainly less than the sum of its parts. In fact the parts do not even make a whole.

      Nor is there a political strategy. There is no plan beyond the next demonstration. They could for example have used this demonstration as an election rally to support Chirikova’s bid to be elected Mayor of Khimki. The idea if it existed never took flight probably because Navalny and Udaltsov and Nemtsov hate Chirikova as much or more than they hate Putin. Of course if the protest had become an election rally for Chirikova no one from the KPRF would have come and because the protesters are so divided the whole protest would have disintegrated as the potesters split into their separate factions.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Dear Alexander Mercouris,
        As regards today’s “March of Millions”, it has been licensed for 25,000 participants. if there are more than that number present, the organisers are fined. That’s the law here. The other day the organisers of today’s march told the city authorities that they were more than willing to pay the fine if more than the allocated number turned up. Sheer bombast on the oppositionists’ part, I should say, because when they made that statement they knew full well that the turn-out would be low. The ludicrous tactic of naming their events as “Marches of Millions” causes much comment here now as well. I suppose Udaltsov and co. would say that the thousands of white-ribbon wearing marchers represent the millions who would join them if they could but the vastness of this immense land prevents them from doing so.

        The ironic thing about this paying of a fine if too many turn up is that, as far as I am
        aware. the only time that has happened was when the organisers of the so-called pro-Putin demonstration at Poklonnaya Gora were fined. And that rally was studiously ignored by many Western journalists, even though the numbers present at it were
        greater than that number that assembled at Bolotnaya on the same day.

  49. Moscow Exile says:

    From today’s UK Independent (owned by a ,former-KGB spy, thug and oligarch):

    “Tens of thousands of people marched across central Moscow today in the first major protest in three months against President Vladimir Putin – a sign of the opposition’s strength despite the Kremlin’s efforts to muzzle dissent”.


    From today’s UK Daily Telegraph – sorry, there’s nothing so far in today’s UK Daily Telegraph.

    I wonder why?

    Oh, right! They are all in apoplectic rage over the fact that some damned Frog photojournalist has taken pictures of the Duchess of Cambridge whilst she was frolicking topless with her husband, king in waiting Prince William. And those scurrilous French knaves have dared to publish pictures of our princess’s tits as well!

    • The report was actually taken from the Agence France Press news agency. I suspect whoever wrote it wrote at least parts of it before the protest happened.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        There’s a Telegraph article now about the march. It’s tone is quite different to that of Lebedev’s Independent. The Telegraph rightly says that many of the issues and protests that were addressed to the crowd had little to do with the the demands made earlier this year for “fair elections” and an immediate re-election of a duma and members of the executive; they complained about increases in the cost of living, of rents, cost of schooling etc. – which is all Putin’s fault, of course. And he’s a thief.

        I read a couple of hours ago that there were still about 1,000 hanging around the stage at Prospekt Sakharova. It seems that Udaltsov was trying to organise a sit-in or whatever, just as he has tried to do at the end of every march. I’m sure it’s because he wants to get arrested and therefore gain some brownie points for getting banged up for a fortnight or so. “Don’t bother about it being uncomfortable here, that there are no toilets here”, he was telling them through a bullhorn as he tried to persuade them to stay (and get arrested),

    • marknesop says:

      Actually, he’s right that it is a sign of the opposition’s strength. Just not in the way he’s trying to slant it. When something is getting weaker every time it exhibits itself, it could be said to be a sign of its strength. Failing strength, that is.

      • Udaltsov finally got what he wanted. The police got sorry for him and eventually arrested him. Mark Sleboda who was there describes a scene straight out of Monty Python in which Udaltsov continued addressing the invisible thousands (or was it millions?) after everyone else had gone home and whilst workmen were busy dismantling the speakers’ platform and crowd barriers and were clearing up the mess.

        Not only is Udaltsov’s behaviour becoming increasingly bizarre but his appearance looks totally absurd. Presumably he wants to look scary. Actually he just looks silly.

        • marknesop says:

          Perhaps he still saw millions.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Udaltsov was the only one out of 14,000/250,000 participants (reader’s choice of number) to get arrested.

            Perhaps he’s going all out for an entry in the Guinness Book of Records?

            • Misha says:

              The Pussy Riot approach to fame.

            • marknesop says:

              Pointing out once again the bullheaded bias of the western media. If that were a “pro-Putin” rally and whoever the big cheese is now of Nashi were still up there ranting to an empty parking lot after only the old babushkas sweeping remained, CNN would break in on a 300-car interstate pileup to go live with footage of it. Wait and see if any of the networks mention what a ridiculous jackass Udlatsov is. Instead, some opposition fluff will be neatly bookended by, “Udaltsov spoke” and “Udaltsov was arrested”. Jail is not teaching him anything; he ought to be sedated and smothered. How to pick ‘em, western-regime changers.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Dear Alexander Mercouris,
          Wearing aviator sunglasses and a black jacket, Udaltsov himself told the crowd yesterday why he was dressed the way he was”

          “They ask me, ‘Why are you in black? Why are you wearing black glasses?’” he said. “It’s difficult to wear a white ribbon. The white ribbon represents kindness. But today, I’m full of rage: rage against the crooks, rage against the murderers and the bandits. I can’t be kind anymore. Today, I’m angry.”


          • marknesop says:

            Ahhhhhh….I see. Udaltsov was nice before. But now, no more Mr. Nice Guy.

            Udaltsov has no more awareness what the white ribbon represents than he knows how to read the Voynich Manuscript. He’s just making it up as he goes along, which more or less sums up his leadership technique – he is a classic illustrative example of what results when you give power to somebody whose ambition far exceeds his capacity. Man’s reach must always exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for, and all that.

            Here’s some great shots of the “March of Millions”, and earlier protests, along with titillating tidbits such as that the previous “March of Millions”, back in June, was split into two columns – Udaltsov and his nationalists in one, and everybody else in another, to keep them from fighting. Mmmm…offers promise for future alliances, what? Udaltsov acts as a blunt instrument the opposition uses to threaten Putin, but he would be dropped like a hot brick if the opposition ever gained any real power, because he is a loose cannon. Meanwhile, he and his nationalists are just there to pad the numbers, while the pure liberals probably resent the fact they have to hang around with such an assrocket. This site also offers the opinion that Alexey Navalny is “an intellectual”, which was news to me. Perhaps they meant in comparison with Udaltsov, in which case they are correct, although that’s a bit of a backhanded compliment considering there are many such intellectuals among the invertebrates.

            Here’s an epiphany between two slices of bread for you, the key to Sergei Udaltsov: an essay he wrote entitled “Four Years Without Egor“. A tribute to Egor Letov, violently anti-establishment punk pioneer leader of Grazhdanskaya Oborona. Pussy Riot with a beard in his politics, although he actually had talent. Udaltsov extols his virtues as “the brightest figure in our counter-culture”, a “goldfish diving into the revolutionary river that then overflowed across the dying Soviet empire”. But the real Sergei Udaltsov is glimpsed in passages like “Egor exited right on time. He slipped out of the mousetrap” (he died of a heart attack); “Generally, it seems to me that it’s better (more to the point, more beautiful) to have a bright, biting, incinerating and victorious single moment of light, rather than a long, sluggishly despondent, prosaic and paralyzed life. Berdyaev famously remarked: … for the sake of freedom one can and should sacrifice his life, but for the sake of life no one should sacrifice his freedom.”

            This is Udaltsov’s incinerating and victorious single moment of life. Right here, right now. He wants to burn out, like Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, in a single bright flash that will make everyone wonder for all time what he might have been, had he only lived. This makes him unstable and dangerous. But if we are lucky, he will blow up like a suicide bomber among the opposition. Not literally, of course – metaphorically.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              From the “Voices of Russia” blog linked above:

              “Aleksandr Tsipko, senior researcher at the Institute of International Economic and Political Studies, said, ‘The opposition still failed to present a concrete programme and a decent leader. The current leaders are insignificant in terms of their life experience. Chirikova’s a weird lady; Udaltsov’s a typical Russian revolutionary… Navalny’s an intellectual, but he’s reticent about his plans…’ ”

              On September 15 Navalny looked as though he thought he was a rock ‘n’ roll or gospel singer. He posed behind the mike, his legs apart, and grasping the microphone with his right hand he pulled it close towards his mouth whilst with his left hand he held the shaft of the microphone stand half way down so as to steady it. He shouted a slogan to the crown, then, letting go of the mike and its stand, he turned almost sideways on to them and clapped his hands three times waist height, apparently in order to get them to clap as well and to rythmically repeat his slogan. Most didn’t follow his lead. Then he turned back to the mike, resumed his pose, repeated another slogan, turned half away again and clapped three times. If he had had a a guitar slung across his back and started singing: “Now it’s one for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and it’s go man go…” I shouldn’t have been surprised. Pure showbiz Navalny style! He was reticent about his policies because he has none.

              Kasparov chose lack of investment in education as his theme, asking how there could be a future for a country that chose not to invest in education. The same question could be asked of governments all over Europe.

              I don’t think Chirikova is a lady, weird or otherwise: I think she is a conceited harridan.

              The image that Udaltsov is trying to project is that of a hard man, a street fighter. I should think he would have loved being a member of the German Weimar Republic Communist Party “Roter Frontkämpfer-Bund” (Red Front Fighters’ Union) RFB, which organization I am sure is what Udaltsov’s Vanguard of Red Youth is based on:



              The vanguard of Red Youth is in its turn part of Left front:


              which is part of Kasparov’s Other Russia:


              What a motley crew!

              And they say that Putin and his “regime” tremble in fear before them.

              • Misha says:

                So young to be a harridan.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Yes, if you believe that a harridan is by definition old; it depends on one’s definition,though: I don’t consider all harridans to be by necessity old. For me a harridan is an aggressive nagging bitch, a scold, a nag – often old and therefore experienced in the use of her barbed tongue, but not necessarily so.

                  In the English “Dictionary of the Canting Crew” (1700) a harridan was even defined as “one that is half Whore, half Bawd”; in the same century, Samuel Johnson defined a harridan as “a decayed strumpet”. Now I wouldn’t dream of calling Chirikova a bawd or strumpet, but when she starts off wagging her finger and glaring at those whom she despises, namely the Russian “cattle” (her term – быдло) who do not agree with her point of view and do not support the “opposition”, namely the vast majority of Russians, then for me the term “harridan” seems appropriate.

          • yalensis says:

            Politrash has a different theory about Udaltsov’s sunglasses.
            He claims that Udaltsov was totally high on drugs the whole time of the demonstration, and needed to hide his buggy eyes:


            • I seem to remember that Lenin once wrote a pamphlet with the catchy title “Left Communism: an infantile delusion”. That just about sums Udalstov up.

            • marknesop says:

              That certainly would fit with his determination to keep on talking long after everyone had left, as if he were not really aware of his surroundings. Then again, he is extremely stubborn, so perhaps it was only that. Udaltsov does attach a great deal of importance to symbolism, so his explanation about black representing anger (although it just sounds like something he made up on the spur of the moment) is vaguely plausible. But his explanation for the significance of the white ribbon sounds like he just pulled it out of his ass. The explanation, I mean.

  50. Moscow Exile says:

    The Moscow plods have upped the attendance figure to 14,000 now.

    The party’s over and they can all go home and plan their next event. Looking at their faces though, it’s the same old story as far as I am concerned: the huge najority of the demonstrators were teenagers in the ’90s, many of them must have been even younger. That’s the impression I get anyway: I’ve had that impression since day one of the protests. Of course, there are representatives of all age groups there, but the thirty-somethings dominate.


    There have been some outbreaks of violence reported by the Moscow plods: nationalists and anarchists getting stuck into each other. Can’t say I’m deeply saddened by that news.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And now the battle of the figures: the organizers claim that there were over 100,000 there; the authorities maintain that there were ten times fewer people participating.

      So somebody must be telling porkies!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        According to Komsomolskaya Pravda, various reports give figures of between 14 and 50 thousand.

        The picture below shows again the, in my opinion, mostly 30-somethings that took part in the “March of Millions” walking along the Petrovsky Boulevard on the Garden Ring after having left Pushkin Square, with the trees of Strastnoi Boulevard behind of them.

        When Boris Nemtsov was first deputy prime minister in 1997, many of those in the picture would have been in their mid- to late teens. When the White House was being bombarded in 1993 on Yeltsin’s orders, when Berezovsky was the Kremlin Godfather and when Khodorkovsky and many others were plundering Russian resources, many of them in the picture would have not even been in their teens.

        All their opposition leaders want Khodorkovsky out of prison – even the CP has this as policy – and many of their leaders want a return to the unbridled free-market days of the ’90s where everybody would have the opportunity to make a bundle but only a very few would succeed in doing so.

        Oh yes! And it seems that the anarchists amongst them wish to fight the nationalists and vice-versa.

        • kirill says:

          This is all f*cking pathetic. It’s not a freaking technological challenge to take some photographs and parse them through software to count the nodular features called humans. Colour and texture of their clothing don’t matter. You can run the image through some fine filters to make the image grayscale and smear these fine features out leaving only the coarser texture of the demonstrator mass.

          Even sampling patches of the demonstrator cover and counting heads with your eyes will give a reasonably accurate count since the density of protesters does not vary too much. Certainly enough to determine if it was less than 20,000 or over 50,000. These f*cking journalists and their high school dropout knowhow (i.e. they don’t even have the right intuition how to do the size estimate) are not worth the time of day just like the protest organizers who just lie.

          • Dear Kirill,

            They don’t want to do an accurate estimate. If they did it would merely prove that the size of the demonstration was below 20,000 not 50,000 or 100,000 which is what they want to say. I have seen now a number of pictures and in my opinion there were certainly fewer than 20,000 people all told.

            • yalensis says:

              Not coincidentally, 20,000 was the number who responded on the organizers Facebook page and committed to attending.
              As in any undertaking, if you can get people to RSVP, then they are more likely to show up.

            • Misha says:

              The Beeb puts it in the “tens of thousands”, while noting an expressed support for Pussy Riot (PR):


              From a distance and with a limited (at this point in time) review of the story in question, one wonders about the tens of thousands claim and the degree of support for PR.

              • kirill says:

                The KPRF of Moscow is probably responsible for most of the participants. I doubt they are hooligan supporters. The association of the KPRF with liberasts is obscene.

                • yalensis says:

                  I think you’re right, @kirill, KPRF is the only force capable of bringing that many people into the streets. (Through party discipline and good organizing skills.) If only they would use their power for the cause of good!

              • marknesop says:

                As far as I can make out, the “support for Pussy Riot” consisted of a couple of large balloons which read “Free Pussy Riot”. I have no trouble visualizing such “support” dying out in a couple of weeks. There’ll be another big spike for the appeal, but after that, hello, obscurity.

                • yalensis says:

                  Before the event, some organizers had announced that they would ask all the marchers to don balaclavas. But that didn’t happen. Maybe because public balaclava-wearing (or masks in general) are now illegal in Russia.
                  Another example of one of those things people used to have the right to do, but now cannot, thanks to Opposition a**holes.

                • marknesop says:

                  It might always have been illegal to participate in a demonstration masked. It is here in Canada, and the fine for it was upped dramatically after the Russian demonstrations. It stands to reason; in a crowd of thousands you would be able to actually shoot a police officer, drop the gun and escape unscathed if you and some others were masked. Police count on surveillance video to identify rioters among otherwise peaceful demonstrators, and insistence on being allowed to march masked would be so unreasonable – by putting the police at such risk and disadvantage – that demonstrations would simply not be allowed at all. If you as a police officer are going to have to get out there with a few thousand angry people, they can’t be allowed to conceal their identity.

      • marknesop says:

        There’s no pie that big – that’s a porky washtub. By rights that should be the subject of mockery everywhere: nice car – how fast will she go? Oh, this baby will hit 160, easy. That’s a million opposition kilometers per hour, you know. Oranges on for $2.29 per pound? Better let me have 10 opposition pounds – wait a bit until I bring the truck round. You know if a “pro-Putin” rally were exaggerated to such a ridiculous degree, the western press would be all over it, making fun of it like there was no tomorrow and the government would be the laughingstock of the English-speaking world. But that same media simply reports the figures the oppo organizers feed it, uncritically and without examination. Their bias could not be more obvious, but bias does not make silly claims true. I don’t imagine it puts the Russian government’s nose out of joint much, although it must be exasperating sometimes to be the only adult on the playground.

        • cartman says:

          Why not billions? I watched the BBC to hear them say these protests are the biggest, most brutally suppressed ones since the 1980s. Then it occurred to me that mentioning the events of 1993 must be blacklisted in the Western media like Tienanmen Square is in China. The protester body count outside the Russian parliament might have been ten times bigger than the one in China.

          • Dear Cartman,

            Viz the 1993 crisis you are quite right. It has been completed deleted from the western narrative of recent Russian history. The March 1991 referendum when the people voted to preserve the USSR is another similarly deleted fact. It is many years since I saw an article in a mainstream western newspaper that mentioned either.

            • cartman says:

              Clinton’s responded to the attacks on the embassies by first emphasizing that it is only a minority involved and the rest of the population loves America. I am pretty sure that second part is a baldfaced lie because polling in Muslim countries show overwhelmingly negative views of the US.

              Now compare that to these protests of maybe 10-20K people. Suddenly those are the true voices of Russia because they happen to agree with liberals in the West on at least one thing. Suddenly the minority opinion is at the forefront – at least in Russia.

  51. Moscow Exile says:

    And no reports of the “brutal” Russian cops and OMON animals beating the living daylights out of anyone as is usually expected of them by western hacks. And no reports of provocation from some sections of the protester eithers – nothing chucked at the cops at all, it seems.

    Very pleased to hear that.

    • …..though no thanks to Udaltsov who was again calling on people to stay and do a sit in. According to Mark Sleboda (who’s there on the spot) when people started to drift away Udaltsov started asking where they were going. He’s been trying to get sit ins started since March. The dismal failure of the Occupy Abai protest (remember that?) has taught him nothing. The man has a one track mind. Possibly because he hasn’t two brain cells to rub together.

      • cartman says:

        He also held a march with some anti-Russian activists in Tatarstan, as well as with Islamists. He’s sealed his place forever on the margins.

        • Misha says:

          A modern day Leninist of sorts.

          • yalensis says:

            Except that Lenin had a high IQ and wrote books.

            • Any comparison of Udaltsov with Lenin is absurd. Try and imagine Lenin addressing an empty square after everyone else has left.

              • Misha says:

                The valid comparsion pertains to Lenin saying/doing some (from a pro-Russian POV)suspect things to the delight of anti-Russian leaning elements.

                Agree that the intellectual divide between Udaltsov and Lenin is vast.

                • Misha says:

                  Rewritten as –

                  The valid comparsion pertains to Lenin saying/doing some suspect things (from a pro-Russian POV) to the delight of anti-Russian leaning elements.

                • yalensis says:

                  Oh come on, Misha, Lenin never even PRETENDED to be pro-Russian. He was an internationalist. That was the whole point. (As in “proletarians have no country, etc etc….”)
                  Lenin made a big point out of being un-patriotic. He rooted for the Japanese to win the 1905 war. He opposed Russia entering WWI on the side of the Allies, and tilted more to Germany. Some people find all that reprehensible. (I don’t, but that’s just me, and I know I’m in the minority on this.) Either way, you can’t reproach Vladimir Ilyich for not being something that he never claimed to be.

              • marknesop says:

                Here’s a pretty good timeline of the rise and fall of the protest “movement”. It provides a good review of the consistently comical wide gaps in attendance between what the police claim and what organizers claim. Kirill is right, there ought to be some scientific way of enumerating the crowd at its height to provide a number that cannot be reasonably contested.

              • wanderer says:

                “Any comparison of Udaltsov with Lenin is absurd.”

                Cut Misha some slack. He’s still a little sore about Lenin being a more effective war leader than Deniken/Wrangel/Kolchak as well as having a better understanding of Russia’s desperate need for peace with Germany than Kerensky.

                He’ll get over it.

                • yalensis says:

                  “He’ll get over it” ? Dubious. It’s been almost 100 years now… Some wounds never heal!

                • Misha says:

                  Wanderer’s theatrics didn’t successfully refute my follow-up regarding Lenin and Udaltsov.

                  Wanderer needs to be cut some slack, seeing how he had a tough time acknowledging in what year of WW I did Russian forces enter into German territory, versus what year during WW II when Soviet forces entered into German territory.

                  Lenin had a Machiavellian support reason to deal with the likes of WW I era Germany and Pilsudski.

                  FYI, I’m not particularly fond of Kerensky as a leader.

                  To each his own Yalensis. Lenin was willing to deal with Russia’s adversaries. You substantiate the gist of what I said on this matter.

                  Putin and a good number of other Russians as well as non-Russians concur with me.

                • Misha says:


                  Your “some wounds never heal” comment arguably applies more to yourself. Post-Soviet Russia at large has exhibited a different outlook from the USSR at reviewing the past instances under discussion.

                • wanderer says:

                  In 1917, Lenin was able to distil the solutions to Russia’s biggest problems into 3 words. He clearly saw what Russia needed at the time, something few others did.

                  Udaltsov has nothing.

                • Misha says:

                  Once again, the initially stated Lenin-Udaltsov comment concerned a willingness to engage with anti-Rusian leaning elements as a method for activity against the existing Russian government.

                  Yes, Lenin had a realist side to him from the vantagepoint of his desires.

    • yalensis says:

      I think people learned their lesson about chucking things:
      If you chuck it, they will hurt you.
      Simple Pavlovian conditioning.

  52. Moscow Exile says:

    The figures have now seemed to settled at 14,000 for te lowest estimate to 150, 000 at the highest.

    The highest estimate comes from the organizers, of course.

    I wonder if they’re going to get fined then, and if they are, will they pay it as they said they would?

  53. yalensis says:

    Apparently, in an amusing screw-up, during their national convention to nominate Barack Obama, during a “salute the veterans” segment, Democrats inadvertently showed images of Russian navy ships, mistaking them for American boats:

  54. The Guardian has so far failed to provide a report from its own correspondent on today’s protest. Instead it is reproducing a later version of the same report by Associated Press (not Agence France Press as I wrongly said previously) that earlier appeared in the Independent (when it caused Moscow Exile justified annoyance). I wonder whether whoever was covering the protest for the Guardian (Miriam Elder?) was so bitterly disappointed that he or she has either failed to produce a report at all or the report he or she has produced is so negative that the Guardian is not printing it.

    • marknesop says:

      I saw in the Christian Science Monitor (someone linked it, further back) that our old pal Fred Weir is up to his usual tricks. Under the headline “Anti-Putin Protests Waning?” he stoutly maintains that today’s was “an energized crowd as large as many of those from last winter and spring”. That’s actually true – but he has pitched it to suggest all were large when in fact only one was big enough to actually give the opposition hope the movement was snowballing. All the rest were pretty weak. As this one was.

      Fred should be given a job shilling in stores for fruit and vegetables – step right up, ladies and gentlemen; these peaches are as fresh as any we’ve ever sold.

      • Misha says:

        That was me who linked it Mark. In addition, I earlier noted casution whern you went a bit soft on him after he appeared here.

        For its part, RT is lacking when they’ve him on (unlike some others) in a softball kind of way. I’m not suggesting he get rudely treated. There’s such a thing as a substantively challenging hard talk.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, he had his chance to defend himself here, and I thought he did a fairly good job of it, except he suggested his editor fact-checks everything he says before it’s printed. Does his editor read English? I have to wonder. And despite his allegation that he gives Putin his due and frequently praises initiatives that are honestly good for Russia, I’ve never seen one. They seem to have a uniform weaselly tone that says one thing but slyly suggests the opposite.

          • Misha says:

            Some people are better than others at giving snow jobs.

            He has a track record before and since his brief appearance here.

            • If you read Fred Weir’s article properly it is obvious that the person he is trying hardest to convince is himself. As an ex Marxist he has bought in heavily into the “middle class turning on Putin” thesis and is now struggling to come to terms with the fact that the “middle class revolution” he both predicts and wants just isn’t going to happen.

              Having said that there are two very revealing admissions in the article. First there’s the one that alleges on the strength of reports from “independent journalists ” (which reports? what independent journalists?) that the turnout at Saturday’s rally was around 25,000. In my opinion that is certainly too high but (a point Fred Weir fails to make) even if it is true it is a lot closer to the police’s estimate of 14,000 than to the protesters’ own of 100,000. Besides for a city the size of Moscow and for a country the size of Russia 25,000 just isn’t impressive.

              The second is the admission by Ilya Ponomariev that the protests have failed to attract the great mass of the Russian population. This is of course true as is the admission that the protest has never up to now said anything that remotely touches on people’s lives. However it is now far too late for that or for any “left turn”. A demand for a freeze on utility prices when it comes from the KPRF is believable. When it comes from a protest movement that gives a platform to the likes of Kasyanov and Nemtsov it is so obviously opportunistic that no one is going to take it seriously.

              • yalensis says:

                A lot of commenters on Navalny’s blog are making the same sarcastic point: “What, all of a sudden you’re a left wing socialist now?” (As Navalny gamely switches tack and discovers how economically oppressed are the masses.)
                Some other dim-witted hamsters are starting to chirp, as a tiny lightbulb goes off in their tiny skulls, “Ya know, we’re not going to be able to really make a revolution and seize the Kremlin UNLESS we can convince the working class to go on strike.”
                That’s true, but somehow I can’t see the proletarian masses of the Russian Federation chucking their paychecks to follow behind a gaggle of schoolboy hamsters who only discovered yesterday that some people actually work for a living!

                • Dear Yalensis,

                  The idea of the working class uniting behind Navalny is farcical. We saw what he really thinks of the Russian people in the violent protest he led last December just after the parliamentary election result of which you provided us with videos. As you remember he called them “cattle” or some such nice word. Contrary to the arrogant opinions of the liberals working class voters are perfectly capable of seeing through that kind of arrogance and dishonesty.

                  As for Udaltsov the man and his ideas are just wierd. He may have some support from some sections of the Moscow student population which doubtless helps to make up the numbers at the demos but any idea that his sort of freakishness has any appeal to working class voters is for the birds. If he stood for election tomorrow in a working class constituency I would be surprised if he got more than a few votes. Besides the fact that he spends so much of his time hanging out with the likes of Navalny and Yashin must make him suspect to working class voters to the extent that they know him at all. I suspect (and Moscow Exile can correct me if I’m wrong) that if you went into a working class district of Moscow and asked them what they thought of Udaltsov you’d find that most of the people there have never heard of him and have no idea who he is.

                  As for Chirikova, my impression of Russians is that they love nature and care about the environment and if she had focused on creating a Green movement separate from the rest of the radical opposition she might have got a surprising amount of support though again probably not from the working class. She has from time to time shown some glimmers of political understanding. For example she was clearly opposed to the plans for violent direct action at the rally on 6th May 2012 and her plan to try to form a base in local government is a sound one. Alas she is however no Petra Kelly and she’s blown it. Accepting invitations from McFaul, setting fire to images of Putin and joining a protest movement led by the likes of Navalny, Udaltsov, Nemtsov and the rest exposes her not as a genuine Green activist but as a just another anti Putin liberal oppositionist. I don’t think she going to win the vote in Khimki.

                  I am not even going to even discuss the prospects of the older generation of liberal leaders like Kasyanov, Yavlinsky, Mitrokhin, Nemtsov and the rest leading a working class revolution. The idea that the working class would support the men of the 1990s is too fantastic to discuss.

                  We all criticise the KPRF and I do but the only conceivable opposition to the current government of Russia that might win over working class voters in plausible numbers would have for the moment to come from the KPRF. Clearly that is not going to happen whilst the KPRF is led by Zyuganov. However (and Moscow Exile can again correct me if I am wrong) the same working class Russians who have probably never heard of Udaltsov will surely know who Zyuganov is even if they don’t like him and won’t vote for him. That is the difference between a real party with real roots and a fabricated one.

                  I would just finish by pointing out that all this belated talk of a “left turn” also exposes the stupidity behind the protest movement’s support for Prokhorov in the Presidential election campaign. Prokhorov’s “success” in the Presidential election has been wildly exaggerated. He was able to scoop up all the liberal vote (say 4-6%) and won some of the protest vote that had gone in the parliamentary elections to Just Russia. However an 8% vote in a Presidential election on a 60% turnout is actually risible for such a well resourced candidate. Even in “liberal” Moscow he only just outscored Zyuganov and got fewer than half the votes that went to Putin so that four fifths of Moscow voters in the end did not vote for him. Moreover as Anatoly Karlin has pointed out he was outvoted by Putin even in the richest and most middle class areas and (more pertinently for this discussion) polled disastrously in the working class areas. The idea that working class Russians would support an oligarch like Prokhorov is anyway absurd and the idea that he would want to lead them in a general strike or would be interested in supporting the sort of things they want is fanciful to say the least.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      In order to earn a decent crust, the Guardian’s former Moscow correspondent, the plagiarist Harding, as a side line, it seems, gives lectures to those willing to hear his take on Russia and Assange and Syria and whatever Chatham House has briefed him to propagandise about.

      Earlier this year Harding was at Leeds University, England, where, after his lecture on the thoughts of Luke, he was interviewed by a member of Leeds University Students’ Union. The interview was published in the Students’ Union magazine, which article wrongly described Harding as “the only journalist to be deported from Russia since the Cold War”. (He was denied entry.)

      There follows an extract taken from that students’ union article concerning the Harding interview:

      “Putin’s regime is again in the spotlight for all the wrong reasons. Earlier this month, Russia, along with China, vetoed a UN Security Council resolution backing an Arab League plan for President Assad to step aside, following the violent attacks on his own people in Syria. I asked Luke whether Russia’s latest move on the world stage would undermine Putin’s legitimacy. ‘In terms of their international reputation I think it was disastrous’, he tells me, ‘when the whole world is watching civilians, children, women, being blown up in Homs, it looks absolutely terrible. But in the domestic context it works – Putin is reflexively anti-American, he sees this as an opportunity to both frustrate the West and assert Russian interests in Syria, and to show that Russia is a power that can’t be taken for granted. But it also shows how increasingly disconnected the Russian elite are from reality’.

      “Despite this controversial move, Putin was still given webspace on Comment is Free the week before Luke’s visit. ‘It was just so amusing and I immediately tweeted it. He didn’t say anything that was remotely credible’. So is all Putin’s talk of democracy as a fundamental right of the people a sham? ‘I don’t think anyone’s listening anymore. During his first presidential term he could at least claim to be a liberal reformer, but I think now after 12 years, 8 as President and 4 as Prime Minister, it’s a joke. This has been one of the most falsified elections in Russian history, and now there are unprecedented protests in Moscow’.”

      First point: the student interviewer expresses her surprise that Putin was allowed to comment in the Guardian. The student interviewer will more than likely be studying journalism. Whether that be the case or not, why does she express her surprise that Putin, who, “despite his controversial move” in vetoing the UN Security Council proposal to depose President Assad of Syria, “was still given webspace on Comment is Free…”?

      It seems that for this student at least, the concept concerning the right to express one’s opinion seems to have flown out of the window when the person who wishes to express his opinion is Vladimir Putin.

      Second point: at the time of the interview, namely February 2012, Harding stated: “This has been one of the most falsified elections in Russian history, and now there are unprecedented protests in Moscow”.

      Harding apparently believes that Russian history began in 1991. I am sure that between the years 1917 and 1991 one can find evidence of greater examples of ballot falsifications than those falsifications that allegedly took place in the duma and presidential elections of December 2011 and March 2012 respectively. Come to think of it, I should think that Yeltsin’s elections were not all that squeaky clean.

      The protests that Harding describes in the interview as “unprecedented” are those that took place in Moscow in December 2011 and in the winter months of the following year. None of those demonstrations that Harding states had “unprecedented” attendance were as large as this one shown in the photograph linked below:

      The link below shows a large, full-size image of the same photograph:

      The caption to the AP photograph read as follows:

      “Hundreds of thousands of protesters pack Moscow’s Manezh Square next to the Kremlin, Sunday, March 19, 1991, demanding the Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and his fellow Communists give up power. The crowd, estimated at 500,000 was the biggest anti-government demonstration in the 73 years since the Communists took power, and came a week before the nationwide referendum on Gorbachev’s union treaty. (AP Photo/Dominique Mollard)”

      As it happens, that same photograph taken in 1991 started doing the rounds again this year, when it began to appear on Facebook and other social network sites. The photograph was posted by persons maintaining that it showed the scale of popular disconsent in Russia against “the Putin regime”.


      That picture of demonstrators on Manezh Square in March 1991 shows an estimated 500,000 people.

      The spokespersons for the “opposition” claim that yesterday in Moscow 150,000 plus assembled at Prospekt Sakharova in order to protest against Vladimir Putin and his “regime”.

      The photograph linked below was taken on Saturday, September 15th, 2012, from the stage were speakers addressed those 150,000 protesters that are claimed to have assembled at Prospekt Sakharova:

      I rest my case.

      • kirill says:

        Interesting. So young British journalists are foaming at the mouth zealots like Harding. I guess presumed innocent until proven guilty is selective. This twit assumes Putin killed Litvinenko, Politkovskaya, every other journalist in Russia, and of course imprisoned democracy advocate Khodorkovsky for trying to run for office. Talk about your Mickey Mouse view of reality.

        These clowns take themselves seriously. Most Russians don’t. The world is not about what the west wants or believes.

      • marknesop says:

        Not only were Yeltsin’s elections not all that squeaky clean, there were persistent rumours he did not even win re-election in 1996; that election (legend has it) was actually won by none other than Gennady Zyuganov, who was so terrified at the prospect of actually having to form the government that he passively allowed the results to be falsified. In this article, by fun-loving Russophobe Simon Shuster, Boris Nemtsov gets lots of free copy blabbering his ridiculous theory that if Yeltsin was an illegitimate president, that makes every president after him illegitimate as well. You have to wonder how some people get to be sufficiently high in politics to get noticed.

        • Dear Mark,

          There is no doubt that the 1996 election was neither free nor fair. I remember it well when it happened. Putting aside obvious questions about vote rigging (of which there was certainly plenty – much more than now) the following facts are in the public domain and by themselves suffice to discredit the result:

          1. The extraordinary bias on the part of the news media. This was of an entirely different order from anything we have seen in any Russian election recently. In 1996 all the big television channels and all the big newspapers were controlled by the oligarchs first and foremost by Berezovsky and Guzinsky who made sure that Zyuganov not only failed to get proper coverage but that such coverage as he got was entirely negative. Yeltsin of course did not have only the support of the domestic Russian media. Unlike Putin the western media gave him unswerving support as well.

          2. Zyuganov lost votes because of the appearance of a third candidate in the person of General Alexander Lebed. It subsequently emerged that Lebed’s campaign was partly (and illegally) funded by Yeltsin’s campaign. The liberals in Russia today rightly complain about the practice of creating fake parties that are in reality simply Kremlin creations to draw support away from the opposition. It was however the liberals who invented and first used this tactic in 1996. It is also fair to add that far and away the biggest victim of this tactic not only in 1996 but ever since has been the KPRF.

          3. Yeltsin suffered a heart attack after the first round but this was kept from the people when they voted in the second round.

          In themselves these three factors would be enough to invalidate the 1996 result. In fact things were surely worse than this. There was for example surely extensive vote rigging in 1996. I think I am right in saying that Chechnya for example declared its usual impossible 90%+ vote for Yeltsin. This was even more absurd then given that Chechnya was at that time literally a war zone. The official percentage difference between Zyuganov and Yeltsin for the first round was very small. In contrast to Putin’s victories in 1996 fraud therefore undoubtedly changed the result of the first round, which Zyuganov must have won. Had that fact and Yeltsin’s heart attack been admitted Zyuganov would surely have won the second round and become the President of Russia. As it happens many (incuding apparently Medvedev) believe that Zyuganov did win the second round and that the declared result was a fraud.

          It is however completely nonsensical for Nemtsov to cast doubt on Putin’s legitimacy because he was appointed Prime Minister by Yeltsin. First of all as we all know Nemtsov was also appointed to a senior government position by Yeltsin and was much closer to Yeltsin and for much longer than Putin ever was. Secondly Putin’s legitimacy does not stem from his appointment by Yeltsin but from his repeated success in winning one Presidential election after another. Moreover Putin was not involved in the fraudulent election campaign of 1996 whilst several of Nemtsov’s friends were.

      • Leos Tomicek says:

        He will be speaking in my old university too. Does this mean that British universities now allow plagiarists to be role models to students?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          He’s definitely doing the rounds and spreading the word about the Evil Empire. The lecture theatre at Leeds University was packed when he spoke about the Brutal Mafia State.

          Here’s Harding’s announcement on Twitter concerning his speaking engagement at Leeds Uni:

          Here’s the Leeds University information board announcement concerning the plagiarist’s coming lecture:

          Harding’s Leeds Uni lecture was on February 9th of this year.

          He was back there again the following month:

          The person to contact as regards the Leeds Uni conference on “Russian Art and
          Culture” was given as:

          Dr Sarah Hudspith
          Director of Russian
          School of Modern Languages and Cultures
          University of Leeds

          I graduated in modern languages (German and Russian) in 1991. The modern language departments in British universities have long been contracting, principally because the learning of a modern languages in British schools is now no longer compulsory. The chairs in Russian at British universities are now few. So what does one do if one is a UK modern languages graduate, especially if one’s modern language is Russian? Teaching is Russian in British schools is out; the vast majority of those that chose to study a modern language at school in the UK have usually only one option: French.

          However, there is one employer that is always interested in employing Russian language graduates: the organization known as GCHQ – the Government Communication Headquarters, which is the British intelligence service eavesdropping centre near Cheltenham, England.


          In fact, my old lecturers (all in the great eavesdropping centre in the sky now) had worked there. During the time when 2 years of military service was compulsory in the UK, some of them had been selected to undertake intensive tuition in Russian at the Joint Services Language School:


          My own former tutor in Russian, having been called up for National Service in the ’50s, was selected for the RAF and then further selected to study Russian at the Joint Services Language School.

          After he had reached the required degree of proficiency in Russian, he was sent to Berlin, where he spent the rest of his military service listening to “Russkies” chattting away on the airwaves.

          Shortly before I graduated, I and my fellow modern language undergraduates were all urged by our lecturers to consider a career at GCHQ.

          The top and bottom of all this is that I have long suspected that UK university modern languages departments are closely monitored by British intelligence. I should even go so far as to say that not a few academics in British university departments of modern languages are even members of British intelligence.

          And that is why, I believe, Lukie Boy gets an invite to speak at Leeds University by the modern languages department there. In any case, I’m pretty sure Harding works for British intelligence as well.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I should add that my suggestion that Harding is employed by British intelligence is based on no evidence that I have at hand concerning this matter; I only make this suggestion as a riposte to that made directly by him and addressed to me under my nom-de-plume on the Guardian “Comment is Free” feature, namely that I work for the FSB.

          • marknesop says:

            Can Luke Harding actually speak Russian? How would you rate his ability, if so?

            • Leos Tomicek says:

              I doubt that. My opinion about British and American journalists is that they run around liberasts because those have a good command of English.

              • Dear Leos,

                Harding says he does speak Russian but I have never seen him do so. He may speak it but perhaps not very well.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Yes, I’m sure that Harding conducted his interviews with the white-ribbon brigade in English. I should think most Western journalists do. Amongst the Russian liberasts there are very many who have an excellent command of English, not least their “leaders” because some of them spend a great deal of time in the USA. I saw a few weeks ago an interview on BBC-TV World Service with an appropriately balaclava-masked alleged member of Pussy Riot who had not taken part in the cathedral caper but who told her interviewer in almost accent-free British English received pronunciation (“posh” English): “If I had been able to take part with the others, I would have done so and would do it again”. In my experience, that type of sentence with conditional clauses is a nightmare for even the most accomplished Russian speakers of English (making conditional sentences in Russian is one of the few features of Russian grammar that is much simpler than English): they usually screw it all up and give something like “If I would be there I would do it and will do it again”. In fact, I was quite sure that the masked “PR” girl being interviewed was some Russian that had been living most of her life in London before having been “discovered” by the BBC.

                Several people on the net have commented that Harding speaks little or no Russian. There was evidence for this in the way he cocked up place names and real names in his reports. (Bear in mind, he used to do this when he was Guardian correspondent in Germany.) Several people noticed that he used to give Russian diminutive forms of the names together with their patronymic, something, I should think, that most with only a minimal knowledge of Russian would not tend to do. For some reason or other, Harding was fond of naming his interviewees “Sasha” (diminutive of both Alexander and Alexandra). There was one instance where he interviewed in the Bryansk region a drunken pensioner whom he called “Sasha Ivanovich”. Unless Harding was a life-long friend of said Sasha, not to mention the fact that said Sasha was many years Harding’s senior, it is hardly likely that a foreign journalist would talk to a stranger almost twice his age using the familiar form, let alone adjoining the drunkard’s patronymic to the friendly diminutive of his name.

                Anyway, it became so frequent this suggestion that Harding could not speak Russian that he was finally drawn out of his lair at Guardian HQ, London and stated on Comment is Free that that was not true, and to prove it, he added a link to an interview that he gave in Russian at Radio Ekho Moskvy.

                So, ladies and gentlemen, I proudly present to you Luke Harding talking in Russian during a Radio Ekho Moskvy interview held on 16th of February 2011:


                I should like to invite native Russian speakers to assess Harding’s command of the Russian tongue.

                • marknesop says:

                  I can’t really sort out which is him, although I am assuming the one stumbling the most – who is asked at the outset if he speaks Russian well enough to go on – is Harding. But there’s so much background noise or perhaps sidebar conversation that it’s difficult to make out who is speaking. The one contributor who might be Harding actually says very little, while there is at least one male voice which appears to be that of a native Russian speaker. That’s in the first interview, about the demonstrations.

                  The only evidence I have seen of Harding’s grasp of Russian is his mockery of Berezovsky’s judge for mispronouncing “krysha”, which had absolutely no impact on the trial, no more than if she had mispronounced his name.

                  Incidentally, although the term “posh” is often attributed to the English, it is an American acronym, the result of an abbreviation relating to cabin assignments on the transatlantic liner run on behalf of those who would be the “jet-setters” of today. Although luxury travel of the era before the passenger jet ensured the passengers would be coddled to a fare-thee-well in terms of appointments and service, there was still the weather to be contended with. The gulf stream and the prevailing winds were and are extremely predictable in most seasons, and interior ventilation depended on being able to have the portholes open. Therefore, “Posh” is the abbreviation for “Port Outbound, Starboard Home”.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  It’s loud and clear for me. Must be because you’re so far away in Vancouver or wherever. :-)

                  Have you clicked on the headphones symbol next to the date: 16.02.2011 15:35 top left? Next to the headphones symbol is written: слушать (25:13).

                  Harding is the one with the British (London) English accent: he most noticeably does not pronounce the letter “r”, so instead of saying “здравствуйте” (zdrast-vui-te) he says something that sounds to me like “zdwah-stye”; and instead of saying “Россия”
                  (ra-see-ya), he says something that sounds like “wah-see-ya”.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, that’s what I’m listening to; the one recorded on the 17th. The initial female speaker is extremely clear, but after she says “Izvinete, parusskiy ne govoryu?” what I hear is the voice of the male I presume to be Harding speaking while a female voice discussing the demonstrations rides right over top of him, so that he seems to be muttering in the background while she speaks at the same time. Maybe I’m getting two vocal tracks overlaid on each other.

                  In any case, what I got from my initial impression is that he speaks Russian about as well as Michael McFaul does; not bad for a westerner, but nobody is going to take him for a Russian. I support Alex’s point, though, that his language abilities have nothing to do with the rubbish he writes. That comes from a loathing and contempt for the country he’s writing about.

                • apc27 says:

                  His Russian is actually pretty decent. He is by no means an expert, but its quiet apparent that he writes crap not because of language limitations. He writes crap because he is simply delusional.

                  The whole thing about the language is really a non-story. You do not need any language skills or extensive knowledge of Russia to see and understand the data underpinning its current conditions: GDP, disposable income, life-expectancy, approval ratings and so forth. Interpreting these figures is a much more difficult task, but so far Western journalists appear to be unable to even turn on their PCs and read official statistics.

                  Demanding greater expertise and knowledge would make sense once we see the evidence of even the most basic level of literacy among that crowd. So far the evidence is still lacking.

                • Misha says:

                  Vedomosti has an editor with Yale ties that appear akin to Navalny’s.

                  The Vedomsoti editor in question appears well trained in sound bite English language media propaganda delivery – something that he exhibited on the BBC.

                  No suprise to see him featured at openDemocracy.

                • Misha says:

                  That’s surprise.

                  The coddled brat hack class includes a great emphasis on their negative experiences – real or hyped, in a way that has missed a more complete accounting of a given subject.

                  There was a good deal of coverage accorded to Harding initially being denied entry into Russia for apparent stated reasons having to do with improper administrative form filling manner on his part as well as how he’s said to haven’t followed a media guideline for a foreign journo. He was eventually allowed back into Russia.

                  The Elder termed Russian propaganda network RT covered that news item on Harding, unlike what Trifkovic experienced in Canada – something that was clearly a politically motivated denial of entry into a country.


                  Besides Harding, the coverage accorded to Gessen and her editor position serves as another coddled brat hack moment.

                • yalensis says:

                  Luke’s Russian is pretty good, but not nearly as good as Arnold’s in Red Heat:

                • marknesop says:

                  And his accent is perfect. I didn’t realize he was Russian; I thought he was Austrian or something.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              As regards Harding’s posh accent, it should really be described as Received Pronunciation (RP). It’s the British “non-regional” accent that was once associated with the BBC. In fact, it is sometimes called BBC English. It’s also called Oxford or “Standard” English. Fact is though, it has been estimated that no more than 4% of the British population has ever spoken RP.

              I’m pretty sure, though, that Harding’s from Birmingham, where most certainly do not
              speak RP; but he studied at Oxford, not modern languages but English, and he edited the Oxford Uni newspaper.

              The rest is history.

              I reckon he started talking posh at Oxford – talking as though he had half a pound of plums in his mouth, as they say where I come from and where RP is also not that common.

              I reckon British intelligence recruited him when he was editing the student rag at Oxford.

              That’s my theory, anyway

              • marknesop says:

                That reminds me of one of my favourite English jokes. A Newfoundlander is in a bar in Toronto, when he overhears two women nearby speaking in plummy accents that sound clearly English to him. He sidles over, brimming with the disarming friendliness that characterizes Maritimers no matter where they are in the world, and says, “Excuse me, are ye two ladies from England?”

                One of them gives him a freezing stare and replies icily, “That’s Wales, ectually”.

                Undeterred, the Newfoundlander responds, “Aye, pardon me. Are ye two whales from England?”

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  After I had been cast off into the wilderness by the powers that be one month after my having arrived in Moscow in 1988, I spent a great deal of time explaining to the inhabitants of the fair city of Voronezh that I was not German. The majority of foreign students studying at that time at Voronezh University were from “friendly socialist countries”, mostly from the German Democratic Republic. My not having a “plummy” British English accent made it difficult for Voronezhers to believe that I was English. For a full academic year I was greeted almost every morning by a “Guten Tag!” off the srteet sweepers there. In Moscow I’m usually taken for an Estonian. Again, very often my interlocutors refuse to believe that I am English because I don’t sound to them like an Englishman speaking Russian. And in Germany they always thought I was a Dane. It’s my Northern English accent creeping through my Russian that baffles them. My children also speak English with my accent, which at school enrages their old bat of a Russian teacher of English because the rest of the kids in the class copy my kids’ accent because for them its the real MacCoy and “круто” (cool).

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  No, Christie is not the originator of chin-chin, which is apparently derived from the classical Hebrew “Chayyim” (life) and is also used, I believe, in Portuguese and Italian derivations, but Christie wrote over 80 years ago when “chin-chin” was a common toast in “polite society”.

                  Many, many gallons of beers, wines and spirits went down my hatch over the years that I lived in the UK though, and I never once heard anyone, in my company at least, say “chin-chin”. The toast had become very much outmoded by the time I had started drinking. The English that Russians read in Christie’s works, however, was taken by many Russian students to have been the same as contemporay colloquial English, and it isn’t. I remember how one of Christies thrillers starts with the chance meeting of two old friends, a young man and woman, on a London street in 1920. whereupon the man addresses the woman with “What ho, old thing!” Slightly dated, don’t you think, old bean?

                  On this topic, I still hear many Russians that pronounce the word “suit” as though the letters -ui- in it rhymed with “you” thus /sju:t/. This was how the word was first
                  pronounced in the UK, it being derived from the French “suivre”, but I have never heard anyone in my part of the UK pronounce that word that way: in my old part of the world, the letters -ui- in “suit” rhyme with a New Yorker’s pronunciation of the letters “e” and “w” in New York, thus /u:/.

                  Not a few Russian speakers of English have corrected me for my “mispronunciation” of “suit”. The way that they have been taught to pronouce that word at school is very likely how Agatha Christie did in the 1920s. It’s how my children’s teacher of English at the state school which they attend pronounces it. And in the Oxford dictionary two pronunciations for “suit” are still given, namely /sju:t/ and /su:t/, but the former version is, in my opinion, very dated.

                • marknesop says:

                  One of the things that remains the most endearing to me about my wife is her accent; although her English is fluent, she will never completely lose that East-European accent, which I love to hear. She doesn’t actually mispronounce anything; it’s more an intonation she gives to words, like pronouncing the word “box” slightly like “books”.

                  She could already speak English when we met (or we likely would not have, since I knew no Russian), but with nothing like the facility she does today, and early in our “courtship” – if so it could be called when we were in different countries – I sent her the current edition of the TOEFL, the Test of English as a Foreign Language along with its cassette tapes and supporting material. Much of her augmented ability comes from that. But I saw some of the material she was using before to teach kindergarteners and a lot of it was indeed archaic.

                  We did have some English friends during the Years of the Dragon (those I spent married to my English wife), they were older and were fond of saying “chin-chin” at the appropriate moment, but as I said, I always thought it was just a polite-society obscure anglicism and never knew what it meant. I’m glad I never formed the impression it would make me sound sophisticated, as I did travel widely among the English at the time; what a prat I would have looked.

              • Misha says:

                “As regards Harding’s posh accent, it should really be described as Received Pronunciation (RP). It’s the British “non-regional” accent that was once associated with the BBC. In fact, it is sometimes called BBC English. It’s also called Oxford or ‘Standard English’.”


                Was told that In the US, there’s something like that vis-a-vis a standardized accent considered most appropriate for a national media audience. According to the source, the New York accent (of which there’re different sub-types) isn’t as preferred.

                During the Cold War, I recall world service Radio Moscow English language broadcasts typically having a Brit accented influence. The North American English language Radio Moscow broadcasts were more likely to have the Adamov and Pozner American accented English, with Pozner and Adamov sounding New Yorkish.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  In the USSR, British RP was considered to be “standard” English and US English, quite wrongly of course, as “substandard”. It was “British English” that was taught in schools and institutes of higher education throughout the Soviet Union.That is why most Soviet English speakers of English spoke with this strange version (to my ears, at least) of Russian accented British RP, e.g. “thenk you” and “e beg of epples” for “thank you” and “a bag of apples”. Furthermore, because Soviet Russian students were only allowed to read prescribed English literature, their English vocabulary – even sometimes their English syntax – sounded dated as the bulk of their English reading seemed to me to have been mostly confined to the works of Dickens, Galsworthy and Agatha Christie. As regards Christie’s influence on Soviet English, whenever I drank with Russians as a student in the late ’80s, they nearly always said “chin-chin” to me, thinking that this was what all Englishmen said before downing a drink.

                  It’s very different now, of course: some Russians – though I should think not the majority – choose to study “American English”. In fact, there was a huge marketing of US English courses in Russia in the ’90s, when US English was sold to Russians by some newly arrived in Russia language schools as though it were a different language to “British English”.

                  When I was studying German in Germany, however, it was noticeable that most young Germans preferred to speak “American English”; in fact, the English language departments of German universities consist of “Anglistik” and “Amerikanistik” sub-departments. In my experience, at least 70% of German students of English chose to study “American English”. Furthermore, in Germany one can see on the frontispiece of books translated from English into German: Aus dem amerikanisch übersetzt – translated from American. I used to tell them that in the USA they speak English and that foreign works there are not translated into “American”.

                  I suppose they thought I was just being “ein typischer kleiner Engländer”.

                • marknesop says:

                  Is Christie the origin of that “chin-chin” thing? I always thought it was polite-society English myself, and never knew where it came from or what it meant.

              • yalensis says:

                @MoscowExile: Posh Brits are not the only people who have problems with Russian “R”s, many Russians themselves cannot pronounce that beautiful rolling “R” of standard Russian dialect. (I can, but my father could not.)
                Lenin himself was completely hopeless when it came to his “R”s, notice in this speech how he pronounces the word “pogrom” as “pahrom”, and “rabochii” as “gabochii”.
                This wasn’t just Lenin’s German Volga accent either. A lot of people simply cannot roll their tongues!

                • If you want to hear pure unadulterated “plummy” Received Pronounciation English then I’m your man. I was taught English in Greece as a child and that of course was the sort of English I was taught. To give you some idea of how archaic the teaching was, one of the first books I was made to read was Robinson Crusoe written by Daniel Defoe in the Eighteenth Century. Being a small child I assumed that was how people in England actually spoke. When I finally arrived and settled in London in the late 1960s most people found the way I spoke completely hilarious. Remember I was just seven and I spoke not only with a Received English accent in a very high voice but used an Eighteenth Century vocabulary and grammar. Surprisingly enough this never provoked any bullying on the part of other children. They just thought it terribly funny. Today my grammar and vocabulary has caught up with the modern world but my accent is as “plummy” and pompous as always.

                • Misha says:

                  Some interesting accents out there. Among them being speakers of a Slavic language who learn English via Australia, as well as speakers of a Slavic language who learn English in Germany before becoming fluent in German.

                • Misha says:

                  I’m sorry should read as:

                  Among them being speakers of a Slavic language who learn English via Australia, as well as speakers of a Slavic language who learn English in Germany after becoming fluent in German.

  55. Misha says:

    More on the “tens of thousands” (I can’t help but be reminded of the BS numbers that had been uncritically accepted on the Bosnian Civil War – something that I correctly questioned from the get go – no Yalta ot Valdai appearances for such intuition):

    Agree with one view on the opposition lacking that certain spark as a good counterweight to the status quo.

    The one on the media greatly influencing the lack of substantive protest is IMO crock.

    The referenced Tom Balmforth used to be at the now defunct RIAN affiliated Russia Profile. No surprise to see him with RFE/RL.

  56. Misha says:

    Down memory lane is this piece from FW, with the arguably snide title of:

    Russia’s ‘rational’ and ‘moral’ stance on Syria

    Excerpt –

    “The fixation on sovereignty is rooted in self-interest, and comes with its own healthy dose of hypocrisy. The Kremlin harbors a deep-seated fear that authorizing outside military force to support rebellious populations might one day be used to license intervention in Russia. And the principle does not seem to apply when Moscow is dealing with its own neighbors in the post-Soviet area; after defeating Georgia in 2008, Moscow effective dismembered its southern neighbor by granting independence to the breakaway republics of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.”


    Note what is and isn’t highlighted. The above excerpted is in line with what Edward Lucas (at an RFE/RL sponsored panel in DC) and Andrei Zolotov (on a Wide Angle program that PBS used to air) said about the Russian recognition of South Ossetia and Abkhazia serving to encourage separatism in Russia.

    Where’s there any noticeable evidence of this, relative to the separatist movement in Scotland? Some are of the belief that the American southwest might someday be ripe with the idea of separating from the US. The ramifications of the Anglo-American advocated dismemberment of Serbia gets overlooked, unlike the Russian position on the former Georgian SSR. Also downplayed is how a number of territories outside Russia would rejoin that country if given the opportunity.

    As previously noted, the Russian independence recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia came after the 2008 Georgian military strike into South Ossetia. Up to that point, Russia didn’t recognize any of the disputed former Communist bloc territories. Since the wars of the 1990s, Azerbaijan, Moldova and Serbia haven’t militarily struck into the respective disputed land that they seek.

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t know why the west keeps bringing up Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, since the west ignored it and proceeds from the viewpoint that it never happened – only the west is permitted to legitimately recognize new countries or republics. And the suggestion Russia fears legitimizing a sweeping policy of military intervention by coalitions to overthrow the nation’s leadership because it might one day apply to itself is a legitimate one, because it might apply anywhere. Does the United States believe itself so popular that a coalition to overthrow its leadership and remake it could not be found? If that is the case, why does it need the world’s most powerful military?

      • Misha says:

        Sorry to bring up their names: Ioffe and Weir have each belittled the Russian stance on disputed territories, while not doing likewise with the lead Western countries.

        I prefer journos who bring out valid points going against the preferred establishment line.

  57. yalensis says:

    On the issue of how to count people in a crowd:
    A commenter named “stop_hamster” posted on Navalny’s blog and shows in this comment (need to scroll down a bit to see comment) something called the “Jacobs Method” of crowd-counting, and comes to the conclusion, based on this method, that 11,000 persons participated in the “March of Millions”:

    • yalensis says:

      It’s been a while since I saw a “Radio Erevan” joke:

      У армянского радио спросили, отчего расходятся данные по численности митингующих у полиции и оппозиции.
      Армянское радио ответило, что все дело в формулах измерения.
      Полиция считает количество ног и делит на четыре, как при пересчете баранов.
      А оппозиция считает массу толпы и делит на средний вес хомячка.

      “A caller to Armenian Radio asked, why police and opposition diverge so much estimating number of crowd at the meeting?
      Armenian Radio replied that it all depends on which formula is used.
      Police count the number of feet and divide by four, as when counting sheep.
      Whereas opposition calculates the mass of the entire crowd, then divides by the average weight of a hamster.”

      • A point that is always missed in discussions about the size of these protest crowds in Moscow is that one shouldn’t need to make elaborate calculations about their size because the police in making their estimates have as their starting base an exact figure, which is the one of the number of people who pass through their metal detectors. These have been used in almost all of these protests and were certainly in use on Saturday. It beggars belief that the police do not keep a count of the number of people who pass through their metal detectors and that must mean they have as a starting point an exact figure. That is not the total number of people who participate in these protests. The 14,000 the police gave on Saturday was for the total number of people on Sakharov Avenue at the time the figure was given. The total number of people who participated in the protest must have been greater as people came and went at different times. Nonetheless the figure of 14,000 should be seen for what it was, which is a good minimum base figure and the total is unlikely to have been much bigger than this.

        In saying this of course I realise many people think the police are lying. I see little reason to think this given that the figures they come up with seem to me to be roughly in line with other plausible estimates. For example the police estimated the size of the Garden Ring protest to be 11,000 This was protest when the police would have had to make an estimate because as a result of the nature of the protest metal detectors could not be used. Novosti which claims to have done a head count came up with a figure of 18,000, which though higher than the police’s figure is still much closer to the figure given by the police than to the 30-50,000 claimed by the opposition.

        I suspect the figure of 18,000 for the Garden Ring protest is roughly in line with the number of people who protested on Saturday, which would put that protest squarely in the region of 15-20,000, which has been the size of all of these protests since March. That is the irreducable core of protesters who can be relied upon to turn up to any authorised protest. As previously discussed even this figure is only reached by aggregating together everybody on the political margins (anarchists, monarchists, fascists, communists and liberals) who opposes the government in all their myriad little groups.

        The number who would be prepared to turn out for an unauthorised protest, which was the radical opposition’s preferred tactic before last year’s parliamentary elections, is much smaller and would not number more than a few hundred at most. When Udaltsov tried to get protesters to stay and join him in an illegal and unauthorised protest after the main authorised protest the protesters refused and left leaving him on his own. If the opposition were to return to the tactic of holding only unauthorised protests the number of people who would turn up to such protests would again dwindle to the microscopic numbers we used to see.

        I would just add that one should not anyway be mesmerised by the size of crowds or make the mistake of thinking that even a very large crowd is representative of popular opinion. A little known fact about the large crowd that assembled in Manezh Square in March 1991, which is supposed to have numbered half a million and of which Moscow Exile has provided us photos, is that it was brought out by Yeltsin and the liberals to oppose the proposed Union Treaty. In the referendum that followed in just a few weeks around 80% of the Russian people including a clear majority of the people of Moscow voted for the Union Treaty.

        • marknesop says:

          The site I linked for the photos of the demonstrations reported that the parallel protests on Saturday in St Petersburg, Saratov and Kazan drew about 800, 100 and 100 respectively. Pretty hard to inflate those numbers. therefore nobody is paying any attention to what’s going on outside Moscow.

          Although nobody is particularly motivated to be accurate on this issue, the police have far less reason to low-ball the figures than the opposition has to pump them up. The police are going to have a law-enforcement task unless no people show up at all, so it’s pretty much all the same to them, while the very existence of the protest movement depends on the impression that it is alive and gathering momentum.

          I further imagine that even if confronted with evidence that the protests are drawing about a quarter the numbers the opposition activists claim, the response by both the activists and the western media would be that the evidence was suspect and the claimant was motivated to lie.

          Never mind, they’re not deceiving anyone that matters in the long run.

  58. kirill says:

    Violence and hooliganism are “free speech” according to the sanctified west so all the worms are coming out of the woodwork. The proper response to these vermin is to throw the book at them. The law is there to create certain incentives to behave and not as some optional discussion club that can’t get in the way of “free speech”. I say this clown should get 7 years so that others of his ilk take a hint. If they aren’t happy they can all bugger off to the precious west. There they will learn the real meaning of law and order. It’s quite different from their cloistered Soviet fantasies.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Somebody threw ink over an icon in Christ the Saviour Cathedral yesterday. He has been arrested.

      Work of artistic expression?


      Criminal damage?

      According to the report linked below, the arrested person is a 62-year-old man from St. Petersburg but resident in Germany. He was protesting against the ROC position as regards the convicted Pussy Riot members.


      • Misha says:

        If not already done, you bet that some will essentially blame the ROC for (supposedly) nurturing an anomosity towards it.

        • kirill says:

          Hooliganism is OK as long as the hooligans attack Putin. The typical special pleads morality of the west. There are universal justice principles. The ROC is not Putin and the PR maggots were free to chirp their drivel elsewhere. Like I said before, would PR be OK if I went into their apartments and started screaming about the hypocrisy and bloody criminality of the liberasts (e.g. Berezvosky)? I bet not.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            By means of the link below, in the middle of the front page of an online edition of KP can be seen a video of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot performing in the cathedral. It’s the latest release, so to speak, and probably done on a mobile phone.

            Anyway, defenders of PR’s actions and PR themselves say that what they did was not intended to annoy or insult anyone.


            They’re jumping up and down saying, among other things, “Shit,shit, shit Our Lord’s shit!”. (not “Our Lord is shit” but “shit of Our Lord” – “срань Господня”) but nothing about Putin.

            One old man says: Fools!

            Somebody passing by and unseen, possibly a PR member or one of their helpers, says: You’re a fool yourself!

            Defenders of PR have also said that there were few people in the church at the time of the “performance” and that no service was in progress, so few if any could have been upset.

            There was no service underway: true; there were plenty there though and many seemed

            And the Western media still portrays those women as feminist punk rockers and as


          • marknesop says:

            I call your attention once again to the recent incident in which photographers from a news team attempting to take pictures of Ksenya Sobchak and Ilya Yashin at a public restaurant were confronted by “security” (restaurants have security guards??) and had their film erased as well as the news team themselves allegedly being roughly handled. The cited reason for this was Ms. Sobchak’s and Mr. Yashin’s right to privacy. See? You’re entitled to privacy in a public restaurant, but not in a church.

      • kirill says:

        When one gets into high school philosophizing then everything is subjective. First degree murder can be considered a work of art and free speech. We already had one maggot murder a mother and daughter and scribble “Free Pussy Riot” with their blood on the wall. I wonder if the FEMEN “femenists” consider this murder to be a good thing. Society by its very nature requires limits on freedom of action of the citizens. For those that don’t subscribe to fundamental rules of behaviour there is the slammer.

      • yalensis says:

        I assume these ikons are old and priceless?
        Article doesn’t mention if technicians will be able to repair the ikons. I guess they will now have to start guarding them in every cathedral, or put them behind glass, similar to works at Tretiakovsky Museum.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Reports say that the icons can be repaired. Two were damaged. Reports aren’t clear whether ink or water soluble poster paint was used. In any case, the person that did, Yuri Piotrovsky, is turns out to be a right head-banger who calls himself a child of the Internet.


          Part translation:
          The person being held is more than an eccentric. In Soviet times Piotrovsky was convicted for robbery and speculation. He spent 10 years in prison, including the prison psychiatric hospital, where, he said, he had “catharsis- vision and received indulgences from the Holy Spirit”. After the citizen-visionary hd been released from prison, he studied for a while in a St.-Petersburg Orthodox Theological Seminary and then illegally crossed the German border. In his biography, Piotrovsky has written that while bumming around for a long time in Germany, he managed to get by with the help of monasteries until he married his ballroom dancing partner from America and was not granted German citizenship. In recent years Piotrovsky has taught ballroom dancing and “naked Yoga”. Yuri has written a book in which he tries to prove that Christ was a false Messiah. Piotrovsky even wanted to make a film about the this topic and started looking for sponsors on the Internet. (According to his calculations, the shooting would cost 20 million dollars). This summer, Piotrovsky has been actively commenting on social network sites”.

          • marknesop says:

            All this is going to be just excellent for PR’s appeal, innit? I mean, had the Defense not already publicly resolved to lose it. But a defense attorney who was actually trying to get the judge’s sentence overturned would have an uphill battle proving the sentence was unjustly harsh, given the outbreaks of hooliganism and the rebirth of popular anarchy that have followed in their defense. Government has little choice but dig in for a fight or cede the rule of law. I can make a pretty good guess which option will be exercised.

            In fact, PR’s hapless defense lawyers would do well to abandon the appeal, to my mind. That way, they could still make absurd public statements about being unable to get a fair trial in the brutal land of crooks and thieves and rampant injustice. Consider that when the three latter-day Pauline Murrays were sentenced, the ROC seemed shaken by the turn of events and asked for mercy for them. A bunch of cross-sawings and graffiti-sprayings and icon-desecratings later, and the mood has definitely hardened.

            • yalensis says:

              Latest news is that ineffectual Pussy lawyer Nikolai Polozov is begging Moscow court to let his girls stay in their Moscow cell to serve out their 2 years, instead of going out to the colony. He doesn’t think their delicate health can survive the colony for 2 whole years. He even isn’t talking appeal any more, he must have given up on that, now it’s just, “Let them stay in their Moscow cell.”
              Hey, if this guy had played his cards right from the get-go, like Mercouris advised, he could have gotten them off with a suspended sentence. All they had to do was throw themselves on the mercy of the court and ROC. Patriarch desperately wanted to be christ-like and forgive them, but they wouldn’t give him a chance. So, now they will have to traipse in rags and chains out to the gulag and chop down timber, or whatever it is they do out there.


              • Moscow Exile says:

                That’s right! He has requested that they not be sent to a “colony” but that they remain for the duration of their sentence in Moscow Pre-Trial Remand Centre №6 – СИЗО №6 (Следственный Изолятор №6), which is a bit rich because they are still only being held on remand because of their appeal. Now their lawyer might be conceding that they will lose the appeal or admitting that there isn’t going to be one, yet he’s asking that the feminist punk-rock musicians be treated for the next 18 months or so as though they were still on remand. Furthermore, their 4-month detention on remand before their trial was largely the result of their lawyers arsing around making appeals and objections.

                In England, if you decide to make an appeal you are warned that if the appeal court turns it down, you might get more time addded on – especially if the appeal judge
                considers your appeal frivolous.

                Here’s the official web site of Moscow Pre-Trial Remand Centre №6:


                The young woman in the first two pictures is clearly not an inmate! The pictures were taken on “open day” (in a prison?) and she is participating in the Miss Prison Officers’
                Service competion 2012.

                Other pictures show contraband found in parcels for prisoners – the bottle contains some awful looking, cloudy booze; the slippers contained dope, I should think.

                Picture 7 shows a human rights inspector visiting what looks like the prison nursery.

                Picture 8 shows prisoners on the eve International Women’s Day.

                What a pretty and jolly bunch of female remand prisoners!

                I wonder if next International Women’s Day the feminist punk musicians will give their fellow inmates a concert?

                Perhaps not: they might be in a camp then somewhere at the back of beyond in Siberia.

                • yalensis says:

                  Wow! I don’t blame the girls for wanting to stay there, that place looks great! They have cute guards, they get flowers on Women’s Day, and they even get their own inmates’ fashion show. I imagine the Pussy girls could really shine, they could do some punk get-up at the fashion show and OWN the medals stand.

                • marknesop says:

                  Just be sure to eat somewhere else on the days they have chicken.

                • yalensis says:

                  p.s. I LOVE the name of the fashion show — «Красота вне закона». “Outlaw Beauty” — That’s damn good marketing.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  And here’s another example of western hypocrisy: Remember how the western media was bleating about how awful and inhumane etc, it is to send two young mothers, such as two of the convicted PR members are, to prison?

                  From today’s UK Independent: Imprisonment separates around 17,000 children from their mothers every year.


                • One of the many ironies of the Pussy Riot case is that they held one of their impromptu “concerts” on the roof of a pre trial detention centre. Presumably they wanted to protest against the “oppression” of the place where they now want to stay.

                  Given the horrible noise they make I always thought that inflicting a Pussy Riot “concert” on prison inmates was a peculiarly hideous form of torment. It’s not as if the poor prisoners can escape.

    • Misha says:

      Different from how the Hillary Clinton led US State Dept. called the film in question “disgusting”, while being uncritical of Pussy Riot, with a broad note about supporting artistic freedom.

      The aforementioned film was produced and released en masse, in a way different from uninvitingly entering a house of worship to produce a clip that’s disrespectful towards the denomination observed in that building.

      • kirill says:

        For some reason the USA feels it needs to appease Muslims probably because it believes the BS that OPEC controls most of the world’s oil. At the same time they think Russia is some sort of pushover that needs to be browbeaten to “conform”. These people are clowns as exemplified by the recent assassination of the US “ambassador” to “free” Libya. Saudi Arabia will never amount to anything and will fade away once its golden egg, the Ghawar oil field, starts going the way of Yibal in Yemen, i.e. a catastrophic collapse in production due to the nature of the reservoir (when the oil amount falls below a certain level the emulsion inverts and water starts to flow leaving the oil trapped in the rock matrix.) This will happen in under 20 years given condition and age of the field. None of the other Middle Eastern states amount to much either, sorry to say. So sucking up to them at the same as raping them is just perverse. Russia refuses to be raped and as time goes on will become stronger. It always does the unpredictable. I am quite sure that in the 1990s the west was licking its chops waiting for it to disintegrate into some easily manageable banana republics.

  59. Misha says:

    Just released piece on Udaltsov:


    Looks like the KHL will benefit from what could be a prolonged NHL strike:

  60. kirill says:

    A new arms race? Probably some in the USA think they can pull a Reagan and bankrupt the new USSR. Too bad for them but reality is different. Russia just doesn’t have to blow hundreds of billions on useless conventional forces. The cost of nuclear weapons programs is tiny compared to the bulk of military spending. Spending a few billion on new heavy launchers that can pepper the mythical ABM shield with dozens of maneuvering warheads is quite cheap. The WII era of industrial wars and trenches is over. MAD makes all large scale wars obsolete. The trick is not to cut the nuclear forces too much to point when one of the sides starts to plan for ABM invulnerability and thinks winning with a first strike is feasible. So Romney will castrate his own chauvinism by killing off arms control.

  61. Misha says:

    Latest from TMT:

    Upon quick glance, the chance of success for the hypothetically mentioned “energy efficiency” doesn’t seem to be discussed.


    Wonder if Valdai has invited Dugin to speak at their gatherings? There’s such a thing as taking out of context a colorfully stated remark for the purpose of underscoring a valid point.


    Another rally:

    • marknesop says:

      Our old friend Alexei Bayer, native Muscovite!!!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        From the MT article linked above by Misha:

        “On Friday, a German member of the European Parliament nominated Pussy Riot for the annual Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, Interfax reported citing European media”.

        So I wonder what that same German member of the European parliament suggests be done as regards the three German PR wannabes that disrupted a mass in Cologne
        Cathedral recently?

        Last I heard, the RC was intending to press charges that could result in up to 3 years imprisonment.

        What does Madonna think about this, I wonder?

        From the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger:

        Wie die Kölner Polizei mitteilte, wurde gegen die Störer Strafanzeige wegen Verstoßes gegen das Versammlungsgesetz, Hausfriedensbruch und wegen Störung der Religionsausübung gestellt. Außerdem wurden ihnen Platzverweise erteilt.

        [As the Cologne police have announced, charges have been made against the disturbers because of non-compliance with the law concerning assembly, trespassing and disturbance of worship.]


        • Misha says:

          If the protesting Germans don’t get something close to or greater than the PR sentence, look for propaganda on how oppressive things are in Russia.

          Never mind that the protesting Germans weren’t as offensive in the manner of PR, as well as instances in other Western countries like:

          – arrest and convict for what’s said in a Tweet
          – extreme libel laws
          – deny entry into a country because the law abidng person in question from another country has a valid but politically incorrect view.

        • cartman says:

          PR will get the Sakharov Prize for desecrating a cathedral. The guy who made the Innocence of Muslims trailer will be condemned by Western MSM, governments, and possibly imprisoned for insulting Muslims.

          • marknesop says:

            PR is being nominated (or is nominated to be nominated) for an art prize only to poke Russia in the eye. Nobody genuinely thinks it’s art.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              If the proposed Sakharov prize for PR is a metaphorical poke in the Russian eye, into whose similarly metaphorical balls was the kick intended for when President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize?

              • marknesop says:

                The difference, of course, is that it was not Russia who nominated Obama for the Nobel. However, it certainly achieved a similar effect in the USA, and gave rise to many bitter, angry conservative headlines, some of which were actually quite funny. One of my favourites was “Obama Attends Football Game Over Weekend, Wins Heisman Trophy”.

                • Misha says:

                  “The difference, of course, is that it was not Russia who nominated Obama for the Nobel.”


                  Interesting what some more seemingly neutral venues will promote. In contrast, it’s more understandable why the Kyiv Post (KP) runs rabid nationalists with an anti-Russian lean like Riabchuk than Brit based openDemocracy (oD).

                  If KP and oD were closer to objective, they’d run reasonable pro-Russian rebuttals to Riabchuk. Among Ukrainians, there’s a pro-Russian perspective. In addition, much of what Riabchuk says is (put mildly) questionable. He’s by no means alone in exhibting such a slant at KP/oD.

                  The Moscow Times (for an obvious reason) and RT (for not as obvious a reason) fall short in levelling this situation.