A Good Servant, But A Bad Master: Follow The Money in Kiev

Uncle Volodya says, "If you've ever wondered what God thinks about money, take a look at some of the people he gives it to "

Uncle Volodya says, “If you’ve ever wondered what God thinks about money, take a look at some of the people he gives it to “

First, I just wanted to mention that this has been a great month for us here at The Kremlin Stooge; passing through 500,000 and 600,000 hits has been neatly bookended by Aussies, as Jen’s post on the Caucasus took us through 500,000, and next up is another guest post, this time by Ken M, just after we passed 600,000. March 2014 towered over all previous months like that amazing hotel in Dubai (the graphic on WordPress is a bar graph); there’s still a few days left of March, but we have already beaten our previous best month by 8,386 hits. You know what draws a lot of people? Guest posts, which represent fresh thinking, and comments by interesting people. We are blessed with both.

Anyway, yeah – Ken M. has put a considerable amount of effort into unraveling the money trail in Kiev, past and present, and the lucky man in the barrel today is none other than the current unelected weasel-in-a-drainpipe Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk – “Yats”, to those who know him well enough to choose his career path. Without further ado, Follow The Money, Part 1, by Ken M.

Ukraine – Follow the Money

While he tends to be overshadowed by his more colorful cohorts, the key figure in the group that have siezed power in Ukraine is Arseniy Yatsenyuk, first revealed to much of the world in Victoria Nuland’s now infamous ‘F*ck the EU’ tape as her man in Ukraine.

Operations such as what we have just seen in the overthrow of Ukraine’s government do not come from any one source these days – instead they come about when the vast array of western government linked NGO’s, think tanks, financial institutions, billionaire foundations & their various political action committees reach the necessary critical mass and an opportunity opens up for them to take advantage of (or is created).

The origin of the current seizing of power originally came from the attempt to salvage something from the ashes of the ‘Orange Revolution’ by some of its original backers. In 2007 Viktor Yushchenko, former IMF protege and hero of the Orange revolution, along with his government were in complete chaos, his popularity now in the single digits.

The core of the Yuschenko government’s policies were essentially the same as what the current unelected regime is attempting to push through – subordinate economic policy to the control of the IMF, mass privitazation of state assets; the outlawing of Russian language; the promotion of Ukraine’s entry into NATO; removal of the Russian fleet from Crimea & control handed over to NATO, etc.

However, with the complete chaos that came in the wake of the Orange Revolution very little of this program was achieved, despite the vast sums of money expended, intense political lobbying efforts and the enormous western style PR/media campaigns on its behalf (only some the privatization & IMF sponsored ‘reforms’ were successfully implemented).

A new champion for ‘Western Democracy’ had to be created, and so in 2007 the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation was born, and with it the career of Arseniy Yatsenyuk as a major political player.

Despite its brief removal from the internet, a clear picture of just what Arseniy Yatsenyuk is about can still be gleaned from the list of partners found on the Arseniy Yatseninuk Foundation’s website. They are – the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation (A Project of the German Marshall Fund); – Chatham House; – NATO Information and Documentation Centre; – State Department of the United States of America; – NED National Endowment for Democracy; – Horizon Capital; – Swedbank; – & the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.

While the few writers that have written about this have justifiably focused on the blatant brass of NATO, the US State Department & it’s subsidiaries promoting a foreign leader into power of a major country on Russia’s border, much of the deeper story is to be found in the details.

Follow the Money

Swedbank – Sweden’s leading bank, looking like the epitome of respectable banking on their main website, and their trading arm, Swedbank Markets.

“Swedbank’s Financial Markets Department is the leader in attracting risk and debt capital in the Baltics.”

The main types of services provided by Swedbank Markets are:

Consultations on attracting risk capital; Consultations on company mergers, acquisitions and takeovers; Consultations in case of privatization; Consultations on restructuring of companies, restructuring and optimization of capital, investigation and evaluation.

Swedbank Markets are in ‘Strategic cooperation with JP Morgan’.  Horizon Capital – an innocently named private equity fund formed in 2006, it is focused on profit potential in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.

This starts looking very odd when you take a look at its founder: Jeffrey C. Neal, Founding Partner and Chairman – prior to this, he was the Chairman of the Global Investment Banking Group of Merrill Lynch & Co.

So, what is a former Chairman in one of the world’s most powerful trading firms doing forming a company focused on two economies that can best be described as basket cases along with another essentially closed to western investors?

A look at the co-founder brings things into a little more perspective:

Natalie A. Jaresko, co-founder & Chief Executive Officer – the former Chief of the Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, a member of President Yushchenko’s Foreign Investors Advisory Council, Jaresko still serves on the board of another company called the Western NIS Enterprise Fund, an equity fund that is in partnership with USAID in Ukraine & Moldova. Among WNISEF’s partners are Whitney MacMillan, multi-billionaire & the former CEO of Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural trading company; along with the former Chairman of Sippican, a subsidiary of defence contractor Lockheed Martin.

Power and its Rewards

When Yatsenyuk came into power, his first move was to make two appointments: the new Governor of the National Bank & the new Minister of Finance. Stepan Kubiv, one of the senior leaders of the Maiden protests got the National Bank job. Kubiv had another job until this – he was the head of Kredbank, essentially a wholly owned subsidiary of Poland’s largest bank, with 130 branches in Ukraine (he might have the distinction of being the only bank CEO in modern times who turned street protest leader and helped overthrow a sitting government – they genuinely lead from behind, not the front…)

Kubiv’s first order of business was to resume “negotiations with external creditors, the International Monetary Fund in the first place, right after the country’s new government is formed and elaboration of a strict new plan for economic and financial reforms. “

As Zero Hedge points out, Kubiv “knows everything there is to know about all assets held within the Ukrainian banking system by the local population.”

The new Minister of Finance Aleksandr Shlapak is probably even more interesting – a political crony of Viktor Yushchenko – a long-time protegé of the IMF…upon Yushchenko’s defeat,  Aleksandr Shlapak joined a shadowy Bermuda based offshore financial outfit, IMG International Ltd (IMG), holding the position of Vice President. Based in Hamilton, Bermuda, IMG specializes in “captive insurance management”, reinsurance and “risk transfer.”

What we have here is the inside track – those players best positioned to take advantage of essentially the whole of Ukraine’s remaining assets along with its future earnings to pay off the vast debts – with the details being ‘negotiated’ between Arseniy Yatsenyuk (along with his team of former IMF & finance industry insiders) and the people who created his political career.

The information on Ukraine’s assets from Stepan Kubiv;

Swedbank Markets are positioned as the player to work out the terms of the deals to place most of Ukraine’s assets on the market;

Merril Lynch & JP Morgan are positioned to pick up the better parts of debt trade, with IMG International taking the lead for the vulture trade.

Other well positioned players are : Cargill for the management of Ukraine’s agricultural land & grain sales along with Lockheed Martin for still viable Defence Industries.

These players are looking to take Ukraine into a modern variation of the shock doctrine years of the early 90′s, with the countries rapidly rising debt (or the people of Ukraine’s future earnings) & remaining industries being traded away to vulture capitalists under the most dubious of legal circumstances, and full connivance of the major Western powers.

PART 2 Coming:

Victor Pinchuk, the vainglorious oligarch who midwifed the EuroMaidan.

 

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258 Responses to A Good Servant, But A Bad Master: Follow The Money in Kiev

  1. Warren says:

    Why the EU can’t ‘isolate’ Russia
    By Pepe Escobar

    German Chancellor Angela Merkel could teach US President Barack Obama one or two things about how to establish a dialogue with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

    As if Obama would listen. He’d rather boost his constitutional law professor self, and pompously lecture an elite eurocrat audience in the glittering Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels, like he did this Wednesday, on how Putin is the greatest threat to the US-administered global order since World War II. Well, it didn’t go that well; most eurocrats were busy taking selfies or twittering.

    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Central_Asia/CEN-02-270314.html

  2. yalensis says:

    Ken: Very good post. Very promising – I can’t wait to read the next part.
    (Or rather, I CAN wait, this is all very depressing…

    Anyhow, one point about Orange Revolution Part I. You write:
    The core of the Yuschenko government’s policies were essentially the same as what the current unelected regime is attempting to push through – subordinate economic policy to the control of the IMF, mass privitazation of state assets; the outlawing of Russian language; the promotion of Ukraine’s entry into NATO; removal of the Russian fleet from Crimea & control handed over to NATO, etc.

    To that, I would add one additional bullet point in the proto-Orange program, which is the rehabilitation of Bandera and his cohorts. This is the ideological spoonful of sugar offered to the far right so that they will willingly swallow the bitter pill of austerity forced down their throats by IMF and international bankers.

    Yushchenko toyed with Bandera/Shukhevych rehabilitation when he was in power. Yanukovych when he came to power put a stop to the Bandera nonsense because it upset his base in the East. Current neo-nazi lot in power will definitely return to rehabilitating Bandera, assuming they can stay in power long enough to pull that off, which is dubious.

    The 2 issues of (1) Bandera and (2) Russian language, are a red flag to Ukrainian citizens in the East, summoning a panicky reaction and impulse to escape to a safe place; hence, they will definitely try to secede from whatever failed Ukrainian state insists on those 2 points, and to escape to safety in Russia.

    • KenM says:

      Thanks yalensis,
      The embrace of the neo-nazi crowd & the building up of Pravyi Sektor into storm-trooper battalions to help overthrow the government is definitely one of the major features of today’s variation on the theme.

      • Jen says:

        I second Yalensis’s comment – this is a very interesting and detailed post about bankster shenanigans in Kyiv.

        I can sniff a Cyprus bank heist bail-in coming on too, seeing that Kubiv has access to information about Ukrainian bank deposits.

        • KenM says:

          Appreciated.
          Agreed on the likelihood on the ‘Cyprus solution’ & they’ll probably re-use much of the same propaganda – ie. ‘evil Russian oligarch money’ – & then proceed to rip off a vast amount of small/medium businesses who need to keep operating capital in the bank & everyday savers, especially pensioners.

          Saw an article (think it was at zero hedge) the other day that went into the the main reason this is the most likely play for the EU/IMF/US cartel (other than simply looting to make back their expenses).
          Apparently if Ukraine’s debt goes over 60% then an early repayment clause in the original Russian purchase of Ukraine’s bond is triggered – & it is set-up via a strict London based arbitration deal the West won’t be able to get around.

          • marknesop says:

            Yes, that is apparently true, which is why there was speculation the west would go for a “bail-in” whereby it would “haircut” depositors to recapitalize the banks. I think that scared enough people to withdraw their deposits that there can’t be anywhere near enough money left in Ukrainian banks, though, and there would never have been anything like billions anyway, so I think that source of raising revenue is probably closed now. And thanks again for a great post!

  3. yalensis says:

    What is the most humiliating thing that can happen to a conquered nation?
    When the conqueror loots them for trophies?
    No… there is one thing even more humiliating than that – it’s when the conqueror seizes a trophy, then sniffs at it, and decides it doesn’t want it.

    That is what happened to Ukraine’s one and only submarine. The submarine is named “Zaporozhie”. During the Crimean events, the sub started to fly the St. Andrew flag and defected over to the Russian Black Sea fleet.

    However, Russia decided yesterday they didn’t want the sub after all, and will give it back to Ukraine. The sub is and old model and runs on diesel. It isn’t really usable any more. In recent years the crew hardly ever took it out, and mostly just occupied themselves keepint it up in its moorings.

    If the sub is not needed, the crew is a different matter: Russia is eagerly accepting all the Ukrainian sailors who came over to their side. The sailors will be sent back to school and receive additional training. Of special interest are rescue and salvage crews.
    It is expected that everybody will get to keep their jobs, but may need retraining, since the level of training and education deteriorated so much in Ukraine over the past few years.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Apart from the return of their submarine by those Finno-Ugric-Mongol-Tatars who aren’t really Slavs, what will really cut the Khokhly to the quick is this action, as reported by MK in this shocking article:

      Железный занавес со смальцем. В России запретили украинское сало

      [Lard Iron Curtain: Ukrainian salo banned In Russia]

      In mid-March Rosselkhoznadzor banned imports of Ukrainian lard.

      Those who love Ukrainian “white gold” and realize how it differs from other fat have fallen on hard times. On the eve of the Crimean referendum, Rosselhoznadzor found on the Russian- Ukrainian border 10 shipments of potentially dangerous fat. Smugglers caught at the checkpoint ” Rovenky “, which is on the border of the Lugansk area and, which area has been registered as hotbed of African swine fever.

      Проклятые Москали!

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Just found this blog: The Raccoon Arms

    Nice link within to this one about the “Jeanne d’Arc de l’Ukraine”: Uk-raine Terrain

    and, in turn, within which linked blog article is a further link to this US indictment made against Pavel Lazarenko, which indictment contains the following paragraph:

    16. It was further part of the conspiracy that Lazarenko received money from companies owned or controlled by Ukrainian business woman Yulia Tymoshenko, including United Energy Systems of Ukraine (“UESU”) and Somolli Enterprises, Inc., in exchange for which Lazarenko exercised his official authority in favor of Tymoshenko’s companies, and that Lazarenko failed to disclose to the people and government of Ukraine that he was receiving significant amounts of money from thee companies.

    And she wants to be president.

    However, what connects “The Raccoon Arms” blog with this thread is that also contained within the aforementioned blog is a link to this (which, perhaps, may have already been posted previously on an earlier thread):

    Meet the Americans Who Put Together the Coup in Kiev

    which article traces money from the USA “that was flowing into ‘bringing Ukraine into the 21st century’”.

  5. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, the next hot spot is likely to be Transnistria. Recall that since the 1990′s, uneasy piece in Transnistrian conflict has been maintained via the format “5 + 2″: Moldavia and Transnistria, as the 2 parties to the conflict; plus Russia and Ukraine, as guarantors and intermediaries; plus OSCE, EU and USA as observers.

    The putsch in Kiev obviously threw all this out the window and made everything moot. Hence, the conflict has boiled up again. Kiev now actively takes the side of Moldavia and is engaged in an aggresive blockde of Transnistria. To get a visual of what is going on, check out the map : Transnistria is just a think strip of land along the Dnestr River, separating Ukraine from Moldavia. Recall that Transnistria is pro-Russian, anti-Moldavia, and in fact just yesterday her tiny parliament appealed to Russia to annex them the way they did Crimea.

    The problem is that Transnistria does not share a border with Russia. Any Russian “invasion” (about which American neo-cons are now howling) would have to go up the river from the Black Sea, via Odessa. This piece gives more details about the situation. But basically, Ukraine and Moldavia are really putting the screws to Transnistria. Just yesterday, Moldavia passed a law denying Transnistria any revenues from Moldavian budget. (The 20-year-old conflict has muddled along for some time with both parties still doing business and sharing revenues to some extent.)

    The goal of Ukraine and Moldavia is to put an end to this pro-Russian Transnistrian enclave once and for all, via economic starvation. America’s goal is to get Moldavia and Ukraine into NATO as soon as possible. They can do this without Crimea, but probably not without Transnistria.

    The situation is serious enough that Putin actually picked up the phone yesterday and called Obama, to complain about the Transnistrian blockade. The implied threat is that if Obama and the others try to crush Transnistria, then Putin will have to intervene again, to help Russia’s friends. However, as I noted, there is no direct route from Russia to Transnistria without marching through some Ukrainian territory, be it Kiev or Odessa. (Maybe that was Putin’s implied threat to Obama.)

    Putin has probably proposed that they go all international conference and return to the 5+2 format. If Obama were sensible, he would agree to that. Unfortunately, Obama doesn’t understand foreign affairs, and is surrounded by just awful foreign policy advisors.
    So, it will probably end up being war again, instead of some kind of negotiated settlement to this conflict.

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. I forgot to add the tidbit that most of the population of Transnistria are actually passport-carrying Russian citizens.

    • cartman says:

      I have heard that if Moldova tries to join with Romania, the Gagauz region (populated by Orthodox Turks who are very pro-Russia) will almost certainly try to break away.

  6. astabada says:

    Hi Mark,

    I hate to do this, but I haven’t found your address anywhere on the blog. There are a few mistakes in the article, e.g. campaigns on it’s behalf which I believe should be campaign its behalf. This is not the only instance of its ==> it’s.

    Given the profoundly deep contribution of the present comment, I would be glad if you could delete it after reading [if you don't delete this message in 10 s, your computer will self-destruct]
    9
    8

    • marknesop says:

      Hi, astabada; nope, in this instance “campaigns” is used as a noun rather than a verb, and the usage is as intended. However, I did miss multiple uses of “it’s”, which is probably the most common mistake in English and a very tricky one to catch, because it is perfectly correct as a contraction of “it is”. Typically people who pick up mistakes like these are either very, very good in English (I was not, and my entire vocabulary comes from wide interests in reading, I was a voracious reader when I was young) or people who speak it as second language and consequently know its mechanics inside-out because they do not have the advantage of hearing it in the street on a daily basis. When I first met my wife and was trying to help her prepare for her Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) (which she never took; she took the Citizenship Exam in English and passed it with no difficulty) it was astonishing – not to mention discomfiting – to me that she asked me questions about my own language at which I was clueless, like “what is an adverbial modifier?” Of course I could look it up now and appear as if I knew it, but I don’t and never saw it as any impairment to everyday conversation. I would have told her that probably 85% of Canadians do not know what an adverbial modifier is, and that if she didn’t know it, it probably would not prove to be much of an impairment. To be honest I don’t remember what I said in response now; I was on fire to present myself as serious husband material, and so I probably pretended I knew.

      Is English a second language for you? I remember the French Public-Service Exam (which is the standard you have to pass for a second-language profile in the Canadian Forces) is full of tricks like that; something your eye skips over and your brain does not register because it is correct in certain circumstances. For example, months of the year are not capitalized in French. Therefore, the exam (many questions in the format of “what’s wrong with this sentence?”, and in which choice (d) was regularly “no error” and sometimes there was none) would include “November” or something like that, and your eye would just slide right over it because your English brain was used to seeing it that way. Another favourite trick was “dance” – in French it is spelled with an “s”; “danse”.

      I will email you when I get back from dance class (for my daughter, not for me) so you have my address. Thanks for picking up the errors!

      • KenM says:

        I tend to get lost in the research side of things & not pay enough attention to the writing.

        Also slightly incorrect:
        “…Ukraine’s remaining assets, along with its future earnings to pay off the vast debts, with the details …” should probably read “…Ukraine’s remaining assets along with its future earnings to pay off the vast debts – with the details …”
        and
        “…Along with Merril Lynch & JP Morgan are positioned to pick up the better parts of debt trade…”
        should read “…Merril Lynch & JP Morgan are positioned to pick up the better parts of debt trade…”

        • marknesop says:

          It’s not a big deal; no matter how carefully I proofread the final edit before publication, there is inevitably another edit after publication and sometimes several.

      • maros says:

        Mark, your wife is from Russia, right? Is she an ethnic Russian? Ethnic Russians are Slavs and white, or am I mistaken? I heard there are over 100 ethnicies in Russia, the concept of “Russian-ness” is confusing for foreigners.

        • marknesop says:

          She is an ethnic Russian, a Slav and white, from Dalnegorsk, about 500 km northeast of Vladivostok. She is an ethnic Russian in that she was born in Russia of Russian parents, but to me Khodorkovsy is an ethnic Russian as well, although he is an Ashkenazi Jew. There are indeed many ethnicities in Russia, but they are all Russians to me as long as they were born in Russia to Russian parents. We have friends in Russia whose surname is Suleyma, which sounds as Arab as can be to me, and indeed all the girls look slightly Arabic, with strong-nosed faces (very attractive) and slightly olive skin. Still Russians to me, although they might have been something else, way back – we were all something else, way back. My family was English only a couple of generations ago. However, if you live in the Russian Federation but not Russia proper – like Dagestan, born of Dagestani parents – then you are Dagestani. That’s how I see it, anyway.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            This ethnicity thing is no problem if you speak Russian, though. When people start yapping to me here, I sometimes have to apologize to them, and say:”Ya ne rossiyanin” [я не россиянин - I'm not Russian], and not “Ya ne russkiy” [я не русский], which also means “I’m not Russian”, but an ethnic Russian.

            The only way I could accurately translate this difference in to English is to say “Russian citizen” and “Russian” respectively.

            It’s the same with the adjective “Russian”: the “Russian Empire” in Russian is “Rossiiskaya Imperiya” [Российская Империя] and not “Russkaya Imperiya” [Русская Империя], the adjective for “Russian” meaning “of the state of Russia” being “rossiiskiy”.

            This is rather like saying the British Empire and not the English Empire.

      • astabada says:

        Hi Mark, yes English is my second language, after Italian. I’m working to make it fourth, after a couple other languages.

        By the way, he who draws the sword, dies by the sword: I decorated my correction with a typo myself, “campaign” should have been “campaigns on”.

        On the other hand, I’ve seen that you did not delete my message, and my countdown aborted at 8 seconds. I have to stop buying counterfeit timers.

  7. yalensis says:

    Also in Ukrainian news:
    Everybody wants to know, What ever happened to Tetiana Chornovol?

    Well, she has been busy,
    In her new post as “Anti-Corruption Minister” in the self-proclaimed Kiev putsch government, a week ago she appeared on television debating Evgeny Chervonenko. (A Eurasian-leaning politician with ties to Yanukovych government.)

    So, things got ugly.
    Tetiana accused Chervonenko of flying Yanukovych out of Ukraine on his private helicopter.
    Chervonenko warned her not to shake her finger at him, and then thoroughly trashed her and the “robbers band” that she belongs to. Tetiana got really mad and stormed out of the studio.

    In other Tetiana news, apparenly was questioned as a witness in the matter of Muzychko’s death. Dubious that she helped to kill him: the two were actually very good friends, and Tetiana is known to have warm relations with Muzychko’s Right Sektor party, probably even a card-carrying member, if they carry cards in addition to baseball bats.

    Tetiana admitted that she had met Sashka Muzychko not long before his death, and had advised him to leave Ukraine. She warned him he should continue the glorious fight (against Russia) somewhere in Dagestan, Ingushetia, Chechnya, South Ossetia, Gruzia… anywhere but Ukraine.
    She warned him that things were getting too hot for him in Kiev, that the FSB would try to take him out. [However, it wasn't really the FSB that whacked him, no? wasn't it Avakov?]

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Definitely a head banger.

      Doktor Freud

    • marknesop says:

      She has bounced back nicely from the multiple facial surgeries she needed after her skull was nearly crushed, I guess she is lucky to be alive.

      Sometimes when you have terrible facial injuries, even if the doctors are able to more or less save your face, you look nothing like you used to. I knew a girl once who was involved in a terrible traffic accident; she drove her car off the road and hit a bridge abutment, and her face went into the steering wheel. She probably could not afford an expensive plastic surgeon, I don’t really know the details as she was just a casual acquaintance I only met once. Whatever the case, her face looked like a jigsaw puzzle that had been carelessly put back together and glued in place; heavily seamed with scar tissue to define the sections, and with the illusion that one eye was slightly lower than the other. Coincidentally, she was a young zealot like Chornovol, although her cause was the environment and nuclear power – I remember she continually referred to the New Brunswick nuclear power generating station (which survives still) as “Pointless Lepreau”.

      Anyway, if you look at Chornovol, she must have had a remarkable plastic surgeon. Either that, or her “injuries” were exaggerated to a fare-thee-well, because she looks exactly the same as she did before the accident, and her ability to make that incredulous smirk when others are speaking, as if to say, “Have you ever heard so many lies??”, is unimpaired. My sister used to make that same face when we argued when I was a teenager, and it used to make me want to send her to the moon. I can see why Chervonenko struggles with his composure, although to be fair he is continually shaking his finger to make his point himself.

      Either they are speaking a mixture of Russian and Ukrainian, or it is striking how much the languages are alike, because it sounds exactly like Russian until I hear a word that means the same in both but is slightly different between the two – a good example is the Ukrainian “skelki” for “how much” where it is “skolka” in Russian. But they share common expressions like “ne znayu” (I don’t know) and many others.

      I started a post on Chornovol some weeks ago, but never finished it because we were overtaken by rapidly-moving events. This would be handy to help me finish it, perhaps. Meanwhile, Chevonenko should watch himself – at the very least the honourable Minister from Kansas (I can’t help that, the horribly unflattering dress she is wearing makes her look like Dorothy in the original The Wizard of Oz) will have him at the center of an anti-corruption audit before he can say “I didn’t do it”, and at worst some Right Sektor goons will drop ’round to kneecap him.

      • yalensis says:

        Ha ha! Yes, I was going to make a crack about Tetiana’s prim schoolgirl dress, but then decided that would be unchivalrous. If she had parted her dark hair into 2 braids, she would have looked exactly like Dorothy, just without Toto.

        Chervonenko starts out speaking in (somewhat stilted) Ukrainian, but the angrier he gets the more he switches to pure Russian. For a while I couldn’t figure out why I was only understanding about 25% of the conversation, until I realized that Tetiana was chattering away in Ukrainian, and Chervonenko responding in Russian; I personally only understand about half of the spoken Ukrainian; and yet, the two of them understand each other perfectly!

  8. Moscow Exile says:

    Has anyone ever seen such historical dog’s bollocks as this, an article from the BBC Russian service?

    Как сдерживали Россию: прошлое и настоящее

    How Russia has been contained both in the past and the present day.

    “We have every reason to believe that the notorious policy of Russian containment, which took place in XVIII, and XIX, and in the twentieth century, still continues to this day”, said Vladimir Putin in a speech on the annexation of Crimea.

    The president spoke correctly: for 300 years Russia has been expanding and the West has trying to contain it.

    The European powers, especially Britain and France, also created an empire. But they conquered lands far, far away across the seas, which lands, from the point of view of Europeans living at that time, belonged to nobody and had the light of civilization brought to them. Today we look at colonialism differently, but contemporaries looked upon it in that way.

    In old Europe, borders were formed mainly in the XVI century. The transition from one party to another of several hundred square kilometres of territory or border fortresses was regarded as a grand event.

    But Russia was moving to the west like a steamroller and seizing whole countries: the Baltic States, Poland, and Finland. In the XVIII century, the border moved more than a thousand kilometres.

    In memory of some heroic melée, one of the imperial army regiments received a special distinction: boots with red facings.

    “Why should they be only allocated to one military unit, when the whole nation had fought throughout its history, standing knee-deep in blood?” exclaimed contemporary writer Fyodor Nesterov.

    As regards the endless wars, he is undoubtedly right. But who attacked whom and who fought back is the issue.

    The Northern War with Sweden and all the numerous Russian -Turkish wars except one Russia “had the honour to start.”

    Apart from Hitler, no one during the past 300 years has attempted to divide up the Russian land.
    The Interventionist pressure of 1918-1920 was caused by the unilateral withdrawal of Russia from World War I, which was regarded as a betrayal by the Entente allies, and the interventionists, having very limited powers and without any clear purpose, had their own individual reasons for taking action on the fringes of the country. The task of regime change was only publicly uttered once: in a letter to the French Premier Georges Clemenceau on October 27, 1918 by the Salonika Front commander General d’Espere. Clemenceau immediately replied that he considered regime change impossible.

    British Prime Minister David Lloyd George in the House of Commons expressed doubts as to whether to support Kolchak and Denikin. The commander of the American Expeditionary Force in the Far East, General Graves, publicly stated that he did not understand he and his boys were doing in Russia.

    Napoleon did not plan to conquer Russia and manage it from Paris: he wanted to defeat and weaken her so as she not interfere in European politics: in his own words, he wanted “to board up the window out of which their Tsar Peter poked his head”.

    At the initial stage of the war, he was thinking of occupying that part of Poland that had been newly attached to Russia, together with Lithuania and Belarus, so as to create there a state allied with France, and to go no further.

    At one time the Corsican tried very hard to make friends with Alexander I, considering him the sole ruler with which he could divide the world, promising Russia Romania, Bulgaria, all of Turkey except Constantinople, Persia, and the partition of India. However, Alexander stubbornly wanted to play an important role in Europe, which Napoleon just could not understand, for what kind of prospective partner, who had been offered half of Asia by him, could at every turn throw a spoke in the wheel as though it were some petty German state.

    It’s just unbelievable, total, historical crap!

    And when Napoleon invaded Russia in 1812, the tsar was not “Peter”.

    Another thing, Poland always gets a mention – you know the score: wicked Russia partitioning it.

    Key word: “partitioning”.

    There were two other partners to this devilish plan: the Austrian Empire and Prussia.

    And no mention,of course, of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and its expansion westwards and the Polish-Lithuanian occupation of Moscow 1610-13, and Swedish imperial ambitions which ended in defeat at Poltava, which is now in the Ukraine.

    I mean, no mention of why a Swedish army was deep in Salo-land in 1709.

    And the claim that the interventionists didn’t know what they were about!

    Bollocks!

    One of the British interventionist forces was at a place called Baku – guarding its interests there.

    And I’m bloody sure they knew what it was.

    Clue: it’s black and smelly.

    • Drutten says:

      Russia didn’t start the Northern War either. Really, the masterplan originated in Denmark, where the Danish king decided to approach Sachsen, Poland and Russia in an attempt to gather some allies in order to launch a large attack on Sweden and her subjects.

      Denmark and Sachsen started it off, with Denmark (Fredrik IV) attacking Swedish and Swedish-allied fortifications in northern Germany, and Sachsen (August II, later king of Poland too) attacking Livonia in 1700. Russia was very reluctant to start warring, and both Fredrik and August noted that it was difficult to persuade Peter the Great to join in the fun. He eventually did though, about half a year later, by attacking Swedish fortifications close to the Russian border in what is now Estonia.

      So yeah, bollocks in excess.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Yeah,I know. I got interested in the Swedish Empire and the Great Northern War and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth years back. This part of European history is just not dealt with in the UK: you know, it’s just Tudors there, then English Civil Wars (nothing in comparison of scale with the 30 Years War, which led to the Lion of the North embarking on imperial adventures), then the British Empire, WWI, WWII and finally the US Empire and the end of history (ROFL). Anglocentrism in other words.

        My interest in Swedish history was first triggered when I was about 12. I’d spotted in the school library an article in “History Today” about the mysterious death of Carl XII of Sweden, who got shot in the head by a lead-filled brass military tunic button when he popped his head up during the siege of a Norwegian fortress in 1718.

        What attracted my attention to this article was a gruesome picture of the King’s skull taken during a post-mortem undertaken in 1916 on his disinterred body.

        Nobody knows who fired the shot. Some think a Swede did it. Whatever, that finally put paid to his Swedish Imperial ambitions and Sweden, bankrupted by Carl’s wars, then set off on the path that led to armed neutrality. So whoever pulled that trigger and put a bloody great hole in Carl’s skull did Sweden a great favour.

        He was a star man, though, was Carl: didn’t booze, didn’t fornicate, never had time to get wed, no children and died doing what he liked doing best. I suppose he made a lot of folk unhappy though.

        • marknesop says:

          It is quite possible he was hit by shrapnel fired from an artillery piece; it was common in battles of that age to shovel whatever scrap could be found, including kitchen flatware such as forks and spoons, into the mouth of the cannon. It’s hard to visualize a tunic button being fired from even a smoothbore shoulder-fired weapon, because of its shape; too much force would have passed wastefully down its uneven sides, and the gun would have had to have quite a large bore to even accept it. It would have been impossible to aim due to its uneven shape. It’s also possible the owner of the button was the one shot, and the button flew off, although it’s hard to think it would have had sufficient force to do such damage. Made a hell of a hole, didn’t it?

        • Jen says:

          “… Whatever, that finally put paid to his Swedish Imperial ambitions and Sweden, bankrupted by Carl’s wars, then set off on the path that led to armed neutrality. So whoever pulled that trigger and put a bloody great hole in Carl’s skull did Sweden a great favour …”

          It’s my understanding that Sweden fought Russia in the Finnish War (1808 – 1809) and lost Finland as a result. For its stand against Napoleon I though, Sweden later received Norway as a colony from Denmark (Denmark being punished for supporting the French) in the Treaty of Kiel. The Norwegians objected to being handed around without their consent, declared independence and rose against Swedish rule but the Swedes put down the revolt.

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

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

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I said “put paid to his Swedish imperial ambitions”. Sweden still had occasional wars following Carl’s death, but never again embarked on imperial expansion.

            Sweden fought against the annexation of Finland – not out of any ideas of expansionism, but defensively, and rather half-heartedly at that.

            Buonaparte had appointed, as it were, one of his generals to be the next king of Sweden as a condition of Swedish neutrality during his imperialistic wars. The general, Bernadotte, had fallen out of favour with Napoleon. Finland had been a Swedish “colony” since the middle ages – rather like Ireland was to England – and the Russians, fully aware of Napoleon’s displeasure over Russian breaches of Napoleon’s Continental System, knew that the Corsican was planning to teach them a lesson that they wouldn’t forget in a hurry. They also had sufficient information from agents in Paris about the French emperor’s plans. So Russia seized Finland to guard its flank – rather as it tried to do in the Northern War of 1939-40, when Finland was very pally with fascist Germany.

            After Napoleon’s 1812 Russian disaster, under Russian leadership, his allies one by one deserted him. Bernadotte and the Swedes were asked to show their support and did so, only again, very, very sluggishly.

            The other small-scale wars that Sweden got involved with after Carl XII’s death were against a Norway, which Sweden claimed as its own. The Norwegians begged to differ.

            Sweden was neutral in both World War I and World War II, even though Churchill in the latter conflict had a typical for him crazy plan of marching an armed expedition of the British army from the Norwegian port of Narvik to the Swedish iron ore exporting ports of Luleå and Oxelösund in order to block the export of such material to Nazi Germany.

            Despite Swedish persistence in maintaining its neutrality in WWII, some think that this neutrality was, in the long run, beneficial to Hitler: he didn’t need to waste time attempting to subdue the Swedes and occupying that wild country.

            I think many do not realize how big Sweden is: its coastline is longer than that of the eastern seaboard of North America, but most Swedes live in the south, in the Stockholm-Malmö- Gothenburg triangle, the rest of the land to the north being wild an inhospitable, filled with forests and lakes.

            Well, that’s the impression I had of the place when I lived there for a spell before embarking upon my Russian adventures.

            • Jen says:

              Interesting little footnote is that from 1784 to 1877, Sweden held the Caribbean island of Saint Barthelemy as a colony. The French traded the colony to Sweden in return for trade privileges in Goteborg and Sweden gave the colony back to France in 1878 after an 1877 referendum in which the islanders voted 350 to 1 to return to France. Fortunately for everyone, Sweden treated the referendum and its results as legal.
              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saint_Barth%C3%A9lemy_status_referendum,_1877

              It’s my understanding that though Sweden was technically neutral during WW2, the Swedish govt clandestinely collaborated with Nazi Germany and this collaboration caused some bad feeling between Sweden on one hand and Denmark and Norway, both German-occupied nations, on the other for a long time afterwards. In particular, the Swedish govt allowed the Germans to travel through Swedish territory in the north to reach mines in Narvik and other nearby areas in Norway from the Baltic Sea.

              • marknesop says:

                It never ceases to amaze me how the west claims to have always eschewed Naziism in as natural a repellent as oil and water; that its fundamental evil was immediately evident and the west’s reaction was as spontaneously horrified as that expressed in Moscow Exile’s new “Nyet!!!” icon. In fact, plenty of evidence exists as to cautious flirtation between the west and the Nazis, not so much because the west actually espoused their cause – which in general it most emphatically did and does not – but because it looked for a while like they might go far, and the west always likes to have friends among the winners.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        That’s right. Old Peter got absolutely banjoed by the Swedes at Narva as soon as his attack on the Swedes in Estonia had kicked off. However, that notable feature of Russian arms was revealed, in that although they had got a good hammering right at the very start at Narva, they didn’t give up and slogged on until Charles XII had overstretched himself at Poltava 9 years later.

        Charles was one for never saying die as well. That’s why I reckon it’s a fair bet that someone eventually “fragged” him, to use modern terminology.

        I’ve been to Narva a few times. Interesting place.

    • marknesop says:

      It is striking also that the perspective which allows that Napoleon “tried very hard to make friends with Tsar Alexander” (who was the leader when Napoleon attacked) – when history substantiated with plenty of documentation of the era showed Napoleon was determined to attack regardless Russia’s official overtures and attempts to stave it off – survives to this day. Russian diplomats were still very much part of Napoleon’s court at the time, and the intelligence they passed back – priceless – showed that Alexander was convinced war was inevitable a year before it happened and had begun to take counsel on the best course of response to pursue. This sort of revisionism is what contributes to silly myths such as the French Grand Armée having been defeated by “General Winter” rather than by the only strategy which would have worked. Napoleon knew his own strengths better than perhaps any military leader then or now, and constantly sought to draw the Russians into a single cataclysmic battle while his own forces were still fresh and well-supplied. Foreknowledge of Napoleon’s intentions allowed the Russian ruler and his generals to avoid the trap, else they would in all probability have been crushed at Smolensk.

      Modern leaders also appear to have convinced themselves that they continually extend the hand of friendship, only to have it spat in, while savage Russia lunges at its leash in its overpowering lust to smash and destroy and conquer. I honestly do not know how such a feat is possible, as it requires the complete suspension of disbelief.

  9. yalensis says:

    This photo appeared on the internet; it supposedly shows (from Left to Right):
    Vladimir Klichko, Sashko Biliy (aka “Muzychko”), Viktor Rybalko (aka “Vic the Fish”), and Vitaly Klicho.

    One source is this.

    It doesn’t really look like Muzychko to me, but I dunno maybe that was before he put on so much weight and got the double chin.

    The point that internet people are making is that both Muzychko and the Klichko twins used to work for the gangster “Vic the Fish”, who is, like, a huge Ukrainian mobster.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yeah, I’ve seen a few blogs about this crime connection. Wonder what Tante Merkel would think of all of this if she were ever to find out, she being a Lutheran pastor’s daughter an’ all?

    • marknesop says:

      That’s definitely the Klitschko brothers, although they look like they might be in their late 20′s there. I could believe the short fat one who looks a little like Patrick in Spongebob Squarepants (except with a beard) is Muzychko; his truculent stance is the same and softness under the chin is disguised by the beard. Was he really that short, though? I got the impression he was a bigger man, although it’s hard to tell with the Klitschkos in there because they are huge.

      • cartman says:

        Actually, the man’s face is clearer in this picture.

        Sasha Bely? How did they get from Billy to Bely?

        • cartman says:

          The people on the thread say it is him. I guess I forget that he was a tiny man.

          The funny thing is that -when asked about working for the mob and being shown in photograph with the thief-in-law – the Klitschko brothers defense was “So? We take photos with lots of people?” But there are multiple photos with the exact same set of people in them.

          • cartman says:

            Sorry to add more, but…

            The younger one that’s dating a Hollywood actress. There were a lot of rumors they broke up because he was Ike Turnering her. They got back together, but not because Hollywood starlets are smart creatures.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              What’s “Ike Turnering”?

              Is that something that falls within the parameters of what is called “traditional sex”?

              • yalensis says:

                What is “Ike Turnering” ?
                I believe that means he was beating the crap out of her.
                The way Ike Turner used to beat Tina.
                However, I am not understanding who is meant by “the younger one” – the younger Klichko? Being a boxer, I imagine he could do some real physical damage to his date.

                The date’s only recourse might be to do unto him as Jael did unto Sisera.

        • marknesop says:

          His name means “Alexander the White”, “Sasha” rather than “Alex” being the Russian diminutive for Alexander, and Biliy or Bely being “White”. The Russian “E” is pronounced “yeh”, so variations in spelling are attempts to capture that sound. Neither spelling is exactly correct.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            The spelling of “beliy” [белый]in Russian is also different in Ukrainian [білий].

            And then there’s the problem of transliterating both words into the Latin alphabet, especially the letters ы, й and і, the two latter often being transliterated as an “i” or й not being transliterateded at all, or as a “y”, albeit that ы usually appears as “y” in transliterations.

            Take the well-known Russian name Чайковский, for example: its various transliterations can be: Tchaikovskii, Tchaikovsky, Tchaikovskiy, and even Chaikovskii, Chaikovsky and Chaikovskiy.

      • marknesop says:

        He was actually quite a nice-looking man in the 90′s, although there was apparently nothing nice about him at all – prosaic images of him pottering about in his garden or collecting mushrooms notwithstanding – and in fact he was an evil son of a bitch that the world is a better place without.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Not “so that they have to live on the streets” but so that they take to the streets” and protest.

      Note the flaw in their argument: PR say that because of their cushy lives, Russians have become indolent and unwilling to protest.

      Remember, these are the same Russians that according to PR and the rest of the liberal shits suffer under the yoke off Putin’s tyranny.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Pussy Riot demands that the European Parliament worsen the lives of ordinary Russians so that they take to the streets (Estonia)

        “…I hope that those sanctions that are applied in relation to Russia, will be more stringent”, said Alekhina. Explaining her words about the toughest of sanctions, Tolokonnikova noted that “only if the European Union introduces economic sanctions in Russia that will worsen the lives of all Russians, will they then they come out to rallies and demonstrations”.
        The Pussy Riot members believe that now “Russians have become couch potatoes and live so comfortably that no one budges in order to take part in protests”. In their opinion, a deterioration of the living standards of ordinary Russians is the only chance for a change of power in Russia
        .
        Isn’t there something of a contradiction in PR’s reasoning there?

        1. Life is such a living hell in Russia under the tyrannical yoke of Putin and his “regime” must be overthrown by means of mass demonstrations.

        2. Life is so cushy for Russians that they can’t be arsed to protest?

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Shit! Italics should have stopped after “change of power in Russia”.

          • marknesop says:

            Ha, ha!!! I did it!!!! I’ve tried to fix that error for people I don’t know how many times, but WordPress wouldn’t let me do it. Turns out, as usual, that there is a way to do it if you just keep trying different things. I brought up your comment in “Edit” mode, removed the italics altogether, saved it without italics and then edited it again to put them back as you described. And it worked.

        • Jen says:

          I seem to remember that Natalia T used to complain about working long hours in the shop making army uniforms. Wasn’t she transferred to another prison after fussing about the conditions in the Mordovian prison where she was holed up with Evgenia Khasis?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Police uniforms, I think. Her work in the colony sewing room was the first job she’s ever had. Well, the first acknowledged work, that is. She gets paid for what she’s doing now, but not by the Russian government.

    • cartman says:

      Very Leninist. Note that sanctions come from the ideas of Lenin – the worse, the better, (Okay, actually Chernyshevsky through Lenin.)

      You should try accusing Republicans and Democrats of being Leninists.

      • yalensis says:

        I don’t think Chernyshevsky ever said that.
        His writings were more about people improving themselves and those around them.

  10. yalensis says:

    This piece is along the same lines as the one where Tetiana Chornovol “expropriated” Chervonenko’s helicopter, on the grounds that he (Chervonenko) was a corrupt supporter of Yanukovych. There is one immutable rule among the Right Sektor types:
    If you are with them, then your private property is sacrosanct.
    If you are against them, then your private property is subject to expropriation.

    Case in point: The politician and oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk. He owns a lavish estate called “Medvezhia Dubrava” (something like “Bear Glen” ?).
    Anyhow, Medvedchuk over the years accrued much ill-gotten loot, including ikons and priceless works of art.

    So, on 23 March, Right Sektor moved in (a group of around 70 armed men) and took over his estate for a few days.
    Eventually, they were forced to leave.
    When Medvedchuk moved back in on 27 March, he discovered that countless paintings and ikons had disappeared.

    Among the inventory of stolen goods was a priceless collection of 28 paintings by Carpathian artists, and also 6 ancient ikons. In addition, a lot of the furniture had been busted up, and the computers hacked into.

    So, this art heist took place under cover of a supposed political action.
    Medvedchuk and others point out the obvious fact that Right Sektor are a gang of thieves.

    • marknesop says:

      The truly shocking part of it is that he may not know; he may have received a briefing from his staff which assured him that was true and accurate, and just have gone with it because he didn’t know any better. Bush was profoundly ignorant, but it is frightening to think that in his own way, Obama may be just as ignorant of happenings outside America and American politics, which he does appear to know well for the most part.

      I was previously sure that his error was deliberate, and his aim was to mislead, but now I am beginning to waver. Maybe he is just as much of a bonehead as Bush was, only with a better vocabulary and a flair for public speaking so long as he has a teleprompter to help him marshal “his thoughts”.

      Nobody knows everything. But on such a critical point, you would think he would take the time to research it, because he is implicitly recognizing the legitimacy of a referendum; he is just saying, ours was done right, the one in Crimea was not. But there was no “ours”; as Stockman has confirmed, Kosovo simply declared itself independent, likely with no end of behind-the-scenes western encouragement.

      • Al says:

        He f!”é!ing knows. He simply doesn’t care. The whole point is to glide over the complicated bits but sell an simple, clear, straightforward message. Anything more would have been a dilution.

        For me, the most shocking is how badly the US propaganda has become. It used to be quite good, but it has become so tired, repetitive. Or is that simply because we can refresh our memories at a few clicks. It seems to me that it’s almost as if they no longer really have their heart in it. Is this how Rome fell?

        • yalensis says:

          No! Rome had better propaganda!
          They had Cicero.

          Quo usque tandem abutere, Catilina, patientia nostra? Quam diu etiam furor iste tuus nos eludet? Quem ad finem sese effrenata iactabit audacia?

          or maybe the propaganda just sounds smarter when it’s in Latin…

          • Moscow Exile says:

            USA neo-cons say: RUSSIA DELENDA EST

            • marknesop says:

              And they pursue this goal with an unflinching determination that is almost admirable given how new fads are picked up, embraced manically and then discarded in a surprisingly short period of time – like popular diets. But the goal of subduing and crushing Russia is the work of generations.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Kissinger’s wrong when he says Timoshenko is the “Western part”. She’s from Dniprpetrovsk, a Russian mother-tongue speaker, Russian mother (possibly Jewish), and Armenian father – Armenian-looking name, anyway – but some say Estonian. She pretends, though, that she’s a flaxen-haired Ukrainian-Nationalist and only speaks Ukrainian in public now, albeit that she threatens on the telephone in Russian to nuke Russians.

      And Khryshchev was not a Ukrainian, though he lived and worked there during his formative years.

      The “Khryshchev was drunk” meme comes up. The handing over of the Crimea to the Ukraine took part as part of the celebration of the 300th anniversary of the Treaty of Pereyaslav, 1654.

      • marknesop says:

        Funny you should say that, because The Independent has a piece up in which Tymoshenko is casting herself as The One who will confront Ukraine’s Number One Geopolitical Enemy – Russia. They say she has abandoned the pizza-braids look, but if so they must have used a file photo because she still has them in the picture which accompanies the article.

        Yooolia is very accomplished at walking the thin line; she acknowledges her traditional support base is in the west and center, but plays up her birthplace in the east: “I will be the candidate of Ukrainian unity,” Ms Tymoshenko said. “The west and centre of Ukraine has always voted for me, but I was born in the east, in Dnipropetrovsk.”

        She’s a good politician, and it shows now because I doubt there is anything like the degree of western support for her candidacy there once was, and she is viewed as a bit of a has-been. Consequently, she has to make her own way without a lot of western support and publicity, although Europe still views her with much more fondness than does the USA, which likely worries she will split the vote – as indeed she may. A lot can happen between now and May, if the election even takes place then, and it is decidedly in the interests of the present phony government that it does not.

        Yoolia covers all the bases, promising to shoot Vladimir Putin in the head with her machine-gun (although she now says her statement was altered, and thanks the FSB for fucking with it), eliminate corruption and be the “candidate of Unity”.

        Didn’t George Bush use that one, too? I’m a Uniter, not a Divider? And proceeded to be the most deliberately divisive president in American history? Not that I think Yooolia will actually win. But she might carve off a much more generous market share of the vote than many presently think.

        • yalensis says:

          Yooolia can stress her Eastern origins all she wants, but I doubt if many ethnic Russians there will vote for her, after she threatened to nuke them.

          I personally doubt that any elections will take place in May.
          When fascists come to power, they don’t allow elections. That’s the general rule.
          I could be wrong, in which case I will purchase, and then consume, a hat.

          If elections DO take place, then opinion polls say Chocolate-Guy will win.

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, I have recently completely changed my own views on the Khrushchev “Crimea” thing. I grew up (and this was partly from listening to my father’s opinions) believing the standard meme about Khrushchev just being pro-Ukrainian and handing over Crimea for no good reason while on a drunken bender.
        Well, to be sure, Nikita behaved somewhat autocratically, but I have come to believe there were actually 3 good reasons for him to do what he did:
        (1) to celebrate the Pereyaslavl treaty and stress the good will and “friendship” between Russian and Ukrainian peoples,
        (2) to undercut the Banderites and UNA-UNSO, who were still conducting guerilla raids in parts of the country, and
        (3) as has become more clear recently, for certain logistical/geograpical reasons, i.e., it is cheaper to build roads, electrical grids, pipelines, etc. overland than bridges, etc.; hence, given that Russia and Ukraine were parts of the same federation, moving the administrative border actually made logistical sense, in terms of the overall infrastructure.

        In short, Nikita was maybe not as drunk and crazy as he was made out to be, and there were some solid reasons to move Crimea into Ukrainian administrative sphere.

        • KenM says:

          Kind of funny how Khrushchev is portrayed by many people, as he always struck me as a forward-looking leader capable of brilliant leaps of insight, but a habit of going further in the real world than it was quite ready for.
          Fascinating character in many ways, especially considering his extremely humble origins – a poor working-class background yet he became one of the most sophisticated leaders on the world stage. He was an idealist with a strong practical streak, and history would of been much poorer without him.

          • yalensis says:

            Khrushchev having lived and worked many years in Ukraine understood very well the ins and outs of Ukrainian politics and the mentality of the people. He was constrained by the factor that Stalin (who usually had a knack for drawing national boundaries) made a mistake when he he included Galicia/Volhynia in Ukraine; those provinces should have gone to Poland. Then they would have been Poland’s headache, instead of Ukraine’s (and Russia’s) headache. But anyhow, there was nothing Nikita could do about that, and his job was to try to get everybody to make nice and pretend they all liked each other. The “gift” of Crimea was supposed to make all Ukrainians feel warm and fuzzy inside, and take pride in being Ukrainian, while still good loyal Soviet citizens.
            .
            Nikita was also constrained by the fact that Soviet researchers and historians were not allowed to mention the inconvenient truth that so many Western Ukrainians supported the Nazis. (and continue to support, and will continue to support, unto all eternity…)

            If only Stalin had just cut out those pro-Nazi Western provinces like a cancer and handed them over to Poland… !

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Yes, there are regular comments from the West that Russian statements concerning the existence of fascists on the Maidan that hailed from Western Ukraine is sheer “Kremlin propaganda”.

              Harding has suggested this in his articles.

              “Where have these so-called fascists suddenly appeared from?” they ask.

              They never went away.

      • Jen says:

        According to Tymoshenko’s Wikipedia entry, Tymoshenko’s father was Volodymyr Abramovich Hryhyan. The surname is apparently a contraction of Grigorian which looks very Armenian. His father (and Tymoshenko’s pops) was Abram Kelmanovich Kapitalman.

        • KenM says:

          Kapitalman!?! Kapitalman!!!
          Maybe Yulia’s fate was pre-destined – the endless hunt for Kapital, deep in the bowels of Kapitalism!
          (sorry, couldn’t help it…)

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    Here’s an NTV exposé on the braided one. In Russian, of course, but if you don’t catch all what is said, you can see how the Jeanne d’Arc of the Ukraine progressed from being a Dniprpetrovsk business woman to occupying a position of great political power and amassing immense wealth – which wealth she is still in possession of.

    • marknesop says:

      She has certainly had some unsavoury associates over the years. She was cute as a button when she was still a brunette without that silly braid, but you could see her rear end was starting to spread even then.

      On the plus side, look at that sporty wheelchair/cart thing she is driving now – you would guess from the tires on it that she was planning to do a little off-roading with it on the way home. Speaking of home, where does she hang her hat these days? Before she went to the jug she was living in “a friend’s” luxury mansion, supposedly rent-free, and claiming to own only a smallish apartment in the city of her birth.

  12. Al says:

    Ok, I don’t believe in conspiracies, but it really looks like Sashko Bily was whacked deliberately. Why? Because he had dirt to spill. He never struck me as particularly bright, but that is not the point. He is a link in a chain and I think that chain is that Pravi Sektor is essentially the armed wing of Svoboda (like the IRA was of Sinn Fein) and he was truly committed. Somewhere in that link is certainly the Americans – through a Polish link?, possibly the Germans but with at least two burnable links (the nazi thing making it extremely risky) but more likely kept in the loop as third parties. There is certainly a small, very high level working group US-PL-De(?) and possibly one or two others who at least started running this. I know that this may sound a bit nuts and conspiratorial, but I would argue ‘Fat kid in a sweet shop’ syndrome. They simply can’t help it. The idea of standing back and letting events unravel however it may turn out is unthinkable. How deep and how nasty is anybodies guess.

    Moving on, I accidentally watched CNN and they are banging on about Russian troops on the Ukranian border. So it seems to me fairly clear that the US has decided that this is a pressure point worth pursuing, at least for propaganda value in place of substance.

    A strategic point or two. Why was Obama so cool on riding to Europe’s rescue and left a bit of a sour taste in the mouth on his recent tour of Europe? Because they don’t pay and expect the cavalry to ride in at the last moment. Ad nauseam The US is trying to ‘Pivot’ to Asia, i.e. contain China, but if they cannot rely on the savings they will make from a European draw down and their NATO allies don’t pick up the slack, the the US is always paying. When it comes to war stuff, most people don’t understand that without proper logistics, it doesn’t matter how good you are, if the enemy can hold on, they can wait you out and you will be fu’!ed. Game over. It’s about resources and my take on Obama is that he is trying to lessen US commitments (and spending) without being accused of betraying loyal allies. Foreign policy is simply amoral. Just look at how the British do it and their reputation that they should never be trusted because you’ll get a knife in your back. The US actually tries to be honest by comparison, but no es tengo dinero.

    A German minister, NOT Merkel, announced that there is no viable alternative to Russian gas. This is a massive FU to the US. There is simply no doubt about in my mind. She could simply have gone public and said, “OK, everyone keep their pants on” which would have been a statement from a position of strength “friends talk honestly to each other”, but she chose to do it thorough a minister. Merkel may err on the side of caution, but she is not weak.

    I have the impression that Merkel has deliberately kept her powder dry until the gunsmoke has sufficiently cleared and not only does she realize that ignoring the voice of German business means political suicide, that she is under immense pressure from the US, Poland, the Balts, the UK and France. At least. To pressure such a partner so, is not only disrespectful, but means that they don’t trust you and you need help to make your mind up. Not only that, but remember that not only does Germany still underpins the EU economically (PL received 12billion euros in EU funds for 2012 for example) .

    On a last note, relations between the US and Germany have been pretty bad since the mid-90s and never recovered, they’ve just never had a major bitch fight in public. I think that Germany is nominally within NATO but they have consistently refused to spend the minimum 2% GDP. They won’t pull out of diss it as a dinosaur because that wouldn’t be diplomatic, but their actions speak volumes. Gemany has just announce they are cutting their NH-90 tactical helicopter & Eurocopter Tiger orders. They’ve already announced that they will not take any more Eurofighters. War is simply bad for business. We’ll really see who is an American poodle when the gravity B-61 nuclear bombs are returned to the US for upgrade (into stand off weapons) and which European countries will accept these essentially new nukes back. That’s the biggie.

    Ending with a good one, will loyal poodles, the Polish government get anything out of this, like the long dreamed of visa free travel to the US? Nope.

    I guess each ‘Western’ state (ideologically speaking) is at its own place in the five stages of grief. What is undeniable is that the future architecture of relations between East and West is only just now starting to fall in to place. Slowly.

    • marknesop says:

      The bit about yammering on regarding the buildup of Russian forces on the border ties in with Parubiy being the USA’s man, because he never shuts up about it and has recently declared that Russia has 100,000 troops ready to invade.

      I don’t know what Obama’s game is, but there is a huge gap between American military readiness and the assessment of how important the wresting of Ukraine from Putin is to the United States. All indications are that they will stop at nothing to get it, but there is no appetite whatsoever for a military clash. Can the USA be deliberately provoking war between Russia and the EU? That makes no sense, because the USA’s treaty obligations would then require it to fight. For its part, the EU yawned that it was above getting into a tawdry bidding war with Russia – right after Yanukovych drove his now-notorious bargain with Putin for a big loan and a cut in gas rates – and that it was too principled to get involved in “buying” Ukraine, and then turned around and did just that.

      Incidentally, I wonder how much of the Naftogaz deficit could have been made up if Yanukovych had remained in power, accepted the Russian cut in gas rates, but then left his own domestic rates where they were rather than lowering them?

      • KenM says:

        Apparently there has been a number of international missions to the border to check Russian troop movements & they have found nothing out of the ordinary:
        West ignores results of int’l missions that found no troop build-up near Ukraine borders – Moscow
        http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2014/03/29/west-ignores-results-intl-missions-that-found-no-troop-build-up-near-ukraine-borders-moscow.html

        So is is hard to see the propaganda is anything other than a quite deliberate conscious act.

        • marknesop says:

          I seem to remember seeing quite recently – maybe it was here, I can’t remember – about American media and the U.S. government yammering about Iraqi troops massing on the border of Kuwait, ready to strike, and some agency offering to show them satellite photography of the border area with no such troop concentrations and being told to shut it.

          Anyway, I’m sure we all remember the Bush neocons claiming to create their own reality by acting, while it would be left to everyone else to just study what they did.

      • Al says:

        I think they are trying anything that can do to get some sort of leverage on the Russians. It’s desperation. Stop. Regroup. Attack (not literally). But as always, who pays and do they really expect Russia to continue to subsidize the Ukraine regardless of what the West threatens Russia with? A fine line to tread indeed.

    • Southerncross says:

      Muzychko could probably have given the names of the Maidan shooters, as well as who directed them. Not long before he was killed he said publicly that his life was in danger – that the Interior Ministry was going to kill him.

      It’s no wonder Tyahnibok was unreceptive to the idea of banning the Pravies. He and his men are nearly as disruptive and embarrassing to the new authorities as Yarosh and his cohorts. Next after Hector is thy fate prepared…

    • Fern says:

      Al, I have no doubt Sashko Billy was a targeted killing and the manner of his death was ‘pour encourager les autres’. He and others like him have served their purpose. Without their violent input, Yanukovich’s government could not have been driven from power – theirs was an essential role. Now, however, they have become surplus to requirements. Sashki Billy’s killing was a way of explaining to these guys that they have three career choices – fade away quietly and return to ‘civilian’ life; get incorporated into the new police and military that’s being created or risk the same end as Billy. Hopefully, the National Endowment for Democracy will include another module on its ‘Media Manipulation’ training course for aspiring democrats called ‘The Wisdom Of Not Posting Videos Of Yourself Beating Folk Up To YouTube’. Had Sashko Billy attended such a course, he might still be with us.

      • Al says:

        That’s exactly what it looks like not to mention that there was no soft approach to bring him in would mean that when they did come for him with armed police his only option was death and glory. There would be no need to order the police to execute him because the ground had already been prepared for a single outcome. It’s standard playbook. Clean hands from everyone directly involved.

      • marknesop says:

        It’s hard to say in his case, because he was such an aggressive prick and made so many people want to kill him. But what is really telling is that there was no almost-immediate arrest, and the investigation seems to be perfunctory at best. If some poor mope he fucked over walked into the restaurant and blew him away, he would likely drop the gun and surrender immediately afterward. Besides, the storyline already says it was the cops who killed him, although I didn’t notice if they said what they were planning to arrest him for before he “made a break for it”. I suspect you are right, and he crossed a line when he started mouthing off about taking out members of the current government if it did not turn out to be what “the people” needed. The numerous videos of him working out his short-man complex on helpless victims, to the drooling enjoyment of his followers, are merely the pretext for his removal. It really speaks to what a shitty government it is that they can take time out of their busy day to rub out a maggot like Muzychko, but they can’t do anything that looks like governing to save their lives.

        • Al says:

          I know I shouldn’t be annoyed but F the F BBC!

          Ukraine far-right leader Muzychko dies ‘in police raid’
          http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-26729273

          “…The shooting of Muzychko happened just hours after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov had held talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Deshchytsia – their first meeting since Russia’s move into Crimea triggered a diplomatic crisis…”

          How do they get away with this shit? No name to go with the piece either.

          • marknesop says:

            What was Cameron doing around that time? Perhaps he ordered the hit. If his whereabouts cannot be accounted for, perhaps he even did it himself.

            It would be an illuminating and highly educational experience, and an initiative that I would strongly support, if for 3 consecutive days each month the Anglospheric press could be transmitted the randomly-chosen name of a western leader (the same person for three straight days, I mean, then somebody different the next time), and then without any other public announcement, the press would treat that person in their reporting the way they do Putin and his/her country the way they do Russia.

            I remember hearing once, many years ago, of an experiment conducted with children in a junior high school, to teach them what it felt like to be a victim of racism. They were divided on the basis of their eye colour, blue and brown, and the brown-eyed children became the “other”.The teacher was part of it, and informed the class that they were free to do as they liked but that she personally would not play with a brown-eyed child, or be seen eating lunch with a brown-eyed child. It caused quite a stir when it took place, this was years ago, and I believe it was mostly condemned, but it was certainly effective – the brown-eyed children were traumatized and resentful, while some of the blue-eyed children took the opportunityto feel superior and “put the boot in”. I think I may have mentioned this before in discussion.

            I am confident western leaders would be baffled and furious at the unsubstantiated assault on their leadership, and that in some cases it would profoundly affect their chances of re-election, while the people of the country would be livid at their mostly-unjustified condemnation.

  13. marknesop says:

    I’m not sure if this was posted before (it’s dated March 19th) – or if not, why not – but this is a Komsomolskaya Pravda piece featuring an interview with the refugee-in-Russia former head of the SBU, Alexander Yakimenko. In it, he makes a number of astonishing accusations. We have read elsewhere (and maybe this is where it came from, I seem to recall Moscow Exile mentioning it) that the plan to topple the Yanukovych government was actually laid for 2015, but with events unfolding as they did, there was a decision to spring it early. One of the several reasons was to head off the European plan to do a deal with Yanukovych.

    Anyway, Yakimenko points the finger at Parubiy for bringing in the snipers and the weapons, and suggests the shooting took place from the roof of the Philharmonic, which was stormed by the “peaceful protesters” but was under the control of Parubiy’s people. Another video posted here some time ago suggested at least some of the firing was coming from a window in the Kiev Hotel, but it might have come from several directions. He suggests the two people who were killed first, before the radical push really took off and before the Maidan was almost exclusively peopled with fighters, were also shot from above, and that in that action the Berkut were pushed back before they ever got anywhere near where the two fell; when the protester wave withdrew, it was discovered two among them were dead and that they had been shot. He points out that a weepy eulogizing bio was ready to go on the Armenian only 40 minutes after he died – suggesting his death was preplanned – but that would also presuppose he was selectively killed, which would have been near-impossible in the surging crowd, although the picture may have looked differently from above. He also reports some other details I had heard nowhere else, such as that deliveries of diplomatic pouches to the Embassies of the USA and Poland had risen by a factor of 10 just prior to the big radical push, and that a flood of new dollars was observed at currency exchanges at about the same time. It might be worth translating by someone competent to ensure subtle meanings are not overlooked; just the relevant parts, because it is a lengthy interview.

    • astabada says:

      Hi Mark,

      I admit it is impossible to pick a person in a crowd of hundres or even more. But don’t forget that modern technology can do miracles in this sense, as can do (much more trivially) a man following you in the crowd, and communicating with the sniper via radio.

      If what Yakimenko sais is correct, the question arises: what was he doing while this mayhem took place? Why did he not stop Parubiy (among others)?
      Perhaps he sought a place in the new cabinet? Or was the state of the Ukrainian Secret Service completely “bananised” (that is, much like the military in South America, it was more loyal to Washington than to its own people).

      • KenM says:

        Just checked out the victim list of the sniper attack and none of them appear to be members of Pravyi Sektor – there is a couple of minor Svoboda activists & one Belarussian UNSO member – the rest just a cross-section of ordinary protestors.
        I gather that none of the major protest leaders were shot…

        In regards to possible SBU involvement, I can find nothing mentioning that Oleksandr Turchynov was its head during an extremely turbulant time & it is very likely he built up a core of loyalists within the organisation (very standard oligarch practice – Berezovsky comes to mind attempting the same thing in Russia).
        While it was a while ago, I remember looking into a couple of key murders that looked like SBU work when there was a power struggle going on within the Orange ranks while Turchynov was in charge.

        • marknesop says:

          That’s a valid point that has been generally overlooked – real snipers always try to take out the leaders, and leaving an untrained mob leaderless is even more effective than killing an officer in charge of trained troops – they have had at least some practice acting on their own as a group at the platoon level. In this instance the leader carried a bullhorn and would have been fairly easy to pick out from a rooftop or a high window anyway, except in darkness and by firelight. But the people who were killed appeared to have died more or less randomly or because they were in an exposed position rather than for any strategic value.

  14. reggietcs says:

    It’s good that RT is now starting to cover the “Prosecutie” phenomenon:

    It’s time that Russia learned to flex some muscles in the soft power department.

  15. marknesop says:

    Very interesting; it looks probable that a deal has been struck between the Candy King and Klitschko, in which the latter will withdraw from the presidential race – which it was dubious he would be legally allowed to enter anyway – and throw his support to Poroshenko in exchange for his support when Klitschko runs for mayor of Kiev. One of the intents of this union is to keep Tymoshenko from gaining any significant portion of the vote; removal of Klitschko as the second-most-popular choice will leave a tremendous gulf between the Candyman and Pizza Braids, and most middle-of-the-roaders who would otherwise vote for Klitschko will likely throw their support also to Poroshenko – especially if Klitschko endorses him, as he likely will if this deal is a reality.

    Speaking of endorsement, it is amusing to me to read Bonner claiming virtuously that as an American with no personal stake in the election, he would not dream of endorsing any particular candidate – nor would the Kyiv Post (although it is vituperatively anti-Tymoshenko, or at least it is this time around), and then proceeds to give his detailed breakdown of the credibility and chances of success of each candidate, with Poroshenko naturally coming up trumps for his courage and his support for the Maidan before it was cool to be pro-Maidan.

    I was interested to see that Inna Shevchenko might be interested in throwing her hat – which is frequently almost her only item of apparel – into the political ring. Far be it from me to make any endorsement myself, I am far too virtuous for that, but she certainly has the nicest tits of any of the candidates. Yes, I have seen them, and so have you. Lots of times.

    • kirill says:

      We have the kangaroo legislature and now we will have the kangaroo elections. According to Canadian TV news Poroshenko and Tymoshenko are the two leading candidates vying for office. Yeah right. Only six months ago we had more than half of the legislature controlled by two parties practically destroyed by the coup regime. If this election was legitimate there would be a replacement for Yanukovich who would represent the 51% of Ukrainians who have no interest in joining NATO.

      The staged sniper incident is not enough to change people’s political orientations. A UPA hater does not become a UPA lover because Yanukovich was corrupt and allegedly ordered police to kill “innocent protestors”. A UPA hater would, like me, be highly skeptical of all the obvious nonsense being peddled about the events in February.

      Also, we have two corrupt oligarchs being the two leading contenders in these sham elections. This takes the cake for frothing at the mouth hypocrisy. Yanukovich did not steal anywhere near the money that Tymoshenko stole by reselling siphoned Russian natural gas on the European “grey” market. What do we have here? Some dial-a-crowd who can’t even recall what they were demonstrating for three months ago?

  16. Fern says:

    KenM, thanks for a great post – very interesting. I’m looking forward to Part 2 and, yet again, wondering why this sort of analysis is left to bloggers to do rather than being undertake by the MSM.

    On what lies ahead for Ukraine economically, this article by Michael Chossudovsky is worth reading – it’s quite long but stick with it. Although it has a 2014 preamble, it was actually written in 1996 and looks at the economically disastrous policies forced upon Yugoslavia at the tail-end of the 1980′s and beginning of the 1990′s which pauperised much of the country, worsened ethnic tensions and divisions and played a major role in the violent break-up of the country into the various constituent republics. Of particular interest is the use made by the IMF and outside western powers of an economic tag-team called the ‘Foreign Investment Act’ and the ‘Financial Operations Law’. The former removed all restrictions on foreign investment while the latter mandated enforced bankruptcy for companies when certain conditions were met. The way it worked was that foreign investors made loans to Yugoslavian companies. Those companies were under huge pressures because of all the other IMF ‘reforms’ going on and increasing numbers of them met the very loose criteria laid down for enforced bankruptcy thus putting the company essentially under the control of its creditors which were invariably western corporations who then were able to seize assets. It’s not hard to see how this could be made to work in Ukraine – for example, businesses are supposed to owe something like $13 billion in taxes. A company struggling with increasing costs, particularly energy, coupled with declining demand could well be unable to pay a tax demand and thus find itself forced into bankruptcy.
    http://www.globalresearch.ca/dismantling-former-yugoslavia-recolonizing-bosnia-herzegovina/370

    As proof that a day, never mind a week, is a really long time in Ukrainian politics, Yatsenyuk has announced that the IMF deal he was pushing only a day or so back, offers nowhere near enough money to get Ukraine out of its economic black-hole. Why do I think he may be regretting all the anti-Russian rhetoric? http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_03_29/Yatsenyuk-admits-that-IMF-bailout-is-too-small-to-shore-up-Ukraines-finances-9750/

    Ukraine’s slightly strange energy minister has announced that the country will run out of its stocks of gasoline in 29 days – kinda worrying I would have thought. http://voiceofrussia.com/2014_03_26/Impendent-fuel-crisis-in-Ukraine-will-crash-countrys-economy-9119/

    Poroshenko was interviewed on a BBC current affairs programme, ‘Hard Talk’, last year. He was very pro-Maidan and pro the signing of the EU Association Agreement and during the interview he said something along the lines of once the Agreement was signed, it would open the door to the IMF who “give you billions of dollars to modernise your industries’. Now, I’m assuming he understands this isn’t how IMF funding works but he may well have been peddling that line in southern and eastern Ukraine which could account for why he’s proving to be a popular candidate for the Presidency. As someone observed on an earlier thread, a government can run on for quite a long time on the promise of ‘jam tomorrow’. By the time people realise that not only will there be no jam, but the butter and the bread have now disappeared, their societies and economies have been irrevocably changed.

    • marknesop says:

      Very well said, Fern; I once again appeal to you to consider doing a post of your own, because you not only offer excellent research, you have a very reader-friendly way of stringing it together so that logical conclusions are arrived at by virtue of having been led to them. This comment, for example.

      Boy, I’ll sign that: you are absolutely right that journalists of the day do little to no research, and it is indeed only bloggers like Ken – and Tony Cartalucci at Land Destroyer is another good example – who expose the rotten underpinnings of international deal-making. The press is thoroughly implicated in what’s happening in the world, by its silence as much as its active involvement. There simply is almost no good investigative journalism any more, it seems to have died sometime in the 80′s, since there was still a lot of it to choose from during the 70′s, especially on the Vietnam War.

      Symptomatic of your intuitive connections is the linkage of Yugoslavia’s privatization with what lies ahead for Ukraine. The re-makers will want to ensure that it remains out of Putin’s orbit, or that of his successors, forever; by making it dependent on Europe and by breaking it into parts which are ethnically diverse and suspicious of one another. I note the west made no screams of protest when Moscow proposed Ukraine’s federalization, and I assess that is because their aims are similar, only with different goals. The west sees “divide and conquer”, while Moscow perceives that its best chance of exercising greater influence over the East of Ukraine is to partner with it exclusive of a central government. The Yugoslavianization of Ukraine will be expedited if it loses its Russian markets, because companies in the East will then collapse – perhaps that provides a glimpse of western strategy – to compel Russia to shore up the East by continuing to trade with it so it will not collapse, because if it does it will fall victim to western repossession action. I note also the looming crisis which confronts Prodan in the immediate term is tailor-made for the western press to scream that “Russia is starving Ukraine” because it won’t continue to give it free gas and oil. And that doubtless will be the narrative when Ukraine goes belly-up – that it is all Putin’s fault.

      I remain flabbergasted that Poroshenko is apparently just going to step into the presidency without even campaigning, more or less – it seems to me simply a case of his name being put forward, and enough people immediately seizing upon it to catapult him instantly to the front-runner. With Klitschko out, it looks as if he will stroll to the finish line, especially with all the interests aligned against Tymoshenko. It’s depressing to see that the electorate is once again going to plump for an oligarch, a billionaire with no more in common with them than chalk has with cheese. I imagine that has a lot to do with a general assumption that a rich man wants to get more rich, and that the rest of the country will just naturally be carried along with him on his trip to ever-greater prosperity. Poor fools; they do not realize that much of his wealth is outside Ukraine.

  17. Fern says:

    One further point – the Pussy Riot harpies really are nasty pieces of work. it’s not hard to find out what life was like for Iraqis under western sanctions and still is for Iranians – wishing this on your fellow citizens is just disgraceful. Hopefully, their western sponsors will recognise this is an own-goal in the propaganda stakes and cut off the money funding these professional layabouts. Your tax dollars at work.

    • reggietcs says:

      Yet, I still run into people who deny these girls are fifth columnists backed by various western NGO’s.

      If what they’re doing isn’t a text-book example of fifth columnist activity, I don’t know what is. Justin Raimondo from antiwar.com got it right when he said:

      “After all, how do you think “Pussy Riot” manages to travel all over Russia posing for Western photographers without any visible means of support? How does a political movement with more fans outside of Russia than inside manage to survive in spite of being held in contempt by most Russians?”

    • rkka says:

      Yeah, nothing new about that sort of thing.

      I well recall Anglosphere commentators in the 2009-2010 timeframe regretting that the global financial collapse failed to cause sufficient destitution among the Russian people, so that they failed to rise against eeevul Putin and all his works, and allow political space for FreeMarketDemocraticReforms.

      Which of course would have impoverished the Russian people further…

      • KenM says:

        They do seem to making a good job of making the majority of the Russian population loathe them (those that bother to notice them anyway).
        Like most of these characters they seem so utterly narcissistic that the utter contempt they generate in the people they’re supposedly trying to rally/preach/shock(???) doesn’t even register.
        Good match for their western patrons.

  18. reggietcs says:

    A good article from Frank Furedi:

    http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article38103.htm

    Furedi:

    Double standards

    The self-deception of contemporary Western diplomacy can be most clearly seen in the casual way that it applies double standards in its assessments of global affairs. The naïve, almost child-like self-delusion of the modern Western attitude to Russia was brought home to me last May during a visit to Budapest. Following a series of meetings on the role of young people in civil society, I had an opportunity to talk with a group of youngish Americans who were employed by US-based NGOs to work in Russia. During our chat, one NGO worker, from Seattle, said she was surprised to discover that some Russian officials treated her as if she were an ‘agent of a foreign power’. Several of her colleagues also expressed astonishment at the fact that they and their NGOs were treated by Russia as… well, what they really are: American organizations promoting American values in a foreign land.

    When I voiced amazement at their reaction, and asked ‘Don’t you see that you are employed by a foreign organization, and what’s more by one that is critical of your host country’s government?’, they simply could not see my point. When I asked, ‘How would the American government brand a Russian NGO that was promoting Greek Orthodox values on the streets New York or Chicago?’, I got no response. It was only after I asked what would be their government’s reaction if a group of Russian NGO operatives had financially and politically assisted the Occupy movement or the Tea Party that one of my interlocutors conceded that I might possibly have a point.

    What my Budapest experience showed me was that the presumption of self-righteousness now runs so deep among those who promote Western values that even highly intelligent young people could not see that they were clearly applying double standards, where they think it is okay for Americans to promote American values in Russia, but not vice versa. Why do they think this? Because the double standard of modern diplomacy is built on an implicit assumption of moral inequality.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Well here’s a Western superior “value” that Russia refuses to accept – clear evidence for all thinking and sensitive members of the International Community that Russians are Untermenschen and will forever remain isolated from the rest of the civilized world:

      В Норвегии прошел детский гей-парад

      A Children’s Gay Parade in Norway

      When I posted up a description of a children’s gay parade that was held in Norway, there were those who did not believe it, saying in the comments that this was not true and that there was no such parade. More precisely, it was one commentator in particular. The argument he made was the absence of photographs of this parade. However, he himself confirmed the existence of a “Gay Kids” project. (There is a link to it in the comments to that post.) I, however, having lived in Norway long enough to have become acquainted with their culture and society (I have even been on a special course called Samfunnskunnskap – Social Studies, the basics of Norwegian society – that deals with gays and mandatory tolerance) to know that this is quite possible here. So now, here are photos of the children’s gay parade. Enjoy! :)

      Originally posted at В Норвегии прошел детский гей-парад [A Children's Gay Parade in Norway]
      It seems that Norwegian gays, lesbians and transgenders find the promotion of their unconventional values ​​at the numerous gay parades that are regularly held in the major European cities to be insufficient. Therefore, adult gay movement activists have decided to gradually involve their children in such events. Residents of Bergen were recently able to confirm this fact when along the streets of that city drove wagons full of kids holding banners promoting homosexual values and ​​gay marriage. Same-sex marriage was legalized in Norway on 1 January, 2009, after the approval of a bill by Parliament . Thus, Norway became the sixth country in the world to take such a step.

  19. yalensis says:

    Lavrov went there :

    У Москвы есть информация о том, что действиями снайперов, расстреливавших людей в Киеве, занимался «Правый сектор».

    - Я не могу утверждать на 100%, но есть очень много фактов, которые указывают на это. Конечно, нужно перепроверять, — сказал он в интервью программе “Воскресное время” на “Первом канале”.

    Лавров также выразил надежду, что расследование дела снайперов будет доведено до конца и не будет «заметено под ковер».

    TRANSLATION
    Moscow has information that the actions of the snipers who shot people in Kiev were directed by “Right Sektor”.
    “I cannot affirm that 100%,” [said Lavrov], “but there are very many facts which point to that [scenario]. (…)
    Lavrov also expressed the hope, that the investigation of this sniper matter will be thorough, and that it won’t be swept under the rug.
    END OF TRANSLATION

  20. yalensis says:

    Crimean Tatars starting to “get with the program” :

    The Crimean Tatar community have been all abuzz since Crimea’s annexation to Russia. Many are unhappy, or worried, about the new situation. Worrying if the Russians will be mean to them. They have been meeting in their traditional gathering called the “Kurultai”.

    Lots of debate whether to cooperate with new (Russian) authorities, or take up oppositionist stance.
    In the end, the Kurultai took the practical approach and decided, by majority of votes, that it was okay for Tatars to take up positions in the new government. In turn, Russian Federation has promised a fixed quota of government positions (in Crimea) to ethnic Tatars, Tatar will be an official language; and in general, Russians are bending over backwards to placate the Tatars.

    The Tatars, as is their wont as a practical-minded people, are responding to this wooing. A powerful speech was delivered by Tatar businessman Lenur Islamov. Islamov warned the dissidents that if they continue to oppose Russians, then they will set back the Tatar cause by 30 years.

    Quote from Islamov’s speech:
    “One man can be a dissident. Two… five… But not a whole people. [If we're not careful], we could find ourselves outcasts, in our own land. If we refuse to cooperate with the [new] government, then how are we supposed to go on living in Crimea? How will we solve our most basic problems [of life]?”

    Islamov’s speech was met with thunderous applause from the Kurultai delegates.
    They voted to start cooperating with the new authorities, and to start nominating prominent Tatars to fill their quotas in the new government.

    • Drutten says:

      Speaking of which – how are things on the separatist front in Tatarstan these days? I know of some quite vocal Tatars outside of Russia that still call for an independent Tatar state, but what’s the situation like on the ground? There was a surge in separatist attitudes post-USSR, but it seems to have been rather short-lived?

      Of course, the Russian constitution also foiled that, which may or may not be seen as hypocritical vis a vis contemporary Crimea.

  21. yalensis says:

    This comment speaks to some comments above, people trying to figure out what Western MSM is up to.
    There is a whole lot of schizophrenic coverage going on, in which Western MSM is hyping the Russian troop build-up and possibility of Russian incursion into Eastern Ukraine. Not that that couldn’t happen (it could, and many people in Eastern Ukraine probably wish it would happen), but Western MSM don’t seem to have a clear message on how people should respond to that message. On the one hand: “The Russian horde is approaching, and it’s all hopeless.” On the other hand: “The plucky Ukrainians will fight back and save the day, with their improvised weapons.”

    One of the spooks I have been following recently is this CNN “reporter” named Karl Penhaul. He has a German name, a Cockney accent, and everything about him reeks of “CIA”. For example, in addition to covering Ukraine, he has also been bopping around the world and covering other hotspots like Venezuela. Anywhere the U.S. is engaged in regime change. In Venezuela Penhaul’s job is to hype and humanize the opposition to the Maduro government.
    In Ukraine, Penhaul’s job seems to be to hype the “Svoboda” types who are forming “self-defense” militias on the border, to beat back the Russian bear; ’cause, see the regular Ukrainian military can’t be trusted to not defect over to the side of the Russkies.

    In other broadcasts, Penhaul hypes the numbers of Russian troops massing on the border, and “reports” that Ukrainian radar is detecting massive helicopter movements, etc.

    In short, the invasion is really going to happen, according to Penhaul.
    The regular Ukrainian military can’t be trusted to fight the Russian army.
    Only Svoboda/Right Sektor volunteers will fight back and defend the Motherland, using their trademark molotov cocktails and burning tires.

    Again, it’s a highly schizophrenic message.
    The only logical sense I can make of it is this:
    Penhaul’s CIA masters want to see some kind of provocation on the Russian-Ukrainian border.
    Somebody will shoot somebody. A war will erupt.
    The war between Russia and Ukraine will expand, until NATO has no choice except to jump in.
    And Penhaul and his ilk will be to cover the ensuing carnage.
    I think this is the plan.
    It’s the same playbook as Maidan, but just on a larger scale, this time.
    Well, that’s my theory….

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Burning tyres!!!!!

      How can the Russians army hope to win when faced with the acrid black smoke coming from old, burning tyres?

      And those dumb Russkies, of course, on approaching this “strongpoint”, would not consider going around it by way of the open fields on either side?

      What a load of bollocks “news” report!

      Karl Penhaul

      • yalensis says:

        Burning tires is the doomsday weapon.
        Against which no human army can withstand.

      • marknesop says:

        Ha, ha!!! More like “CNN’s News Orifice” than “edifice”. And almost all the comments refer to how “hot” he is, as if that had anything to do with the quality of his reporting. I seem to recall that Tom Cruise was once quite “hot” in his own right, and look what an abandoned nutbar he is today.

        Those burning tyres will be devastatingly effective providing the helicopters travel by road. I feel compelled to point out, though, that this is not their customary mode of travel. I hope the Russians are sufficiently conscious of the potential for Ukrainian embarrassment that they will time their attack for a window when the wind is blowing into their faces rather than back into Ukraine.

    • marknesop says:

      Who is manning “Ukrainian radar”? Have those “Survivorman” mooks an air-defense radar complex of their own made out of cans, broom-handles and old Pontiac grilles, or are they getting that information from the untrustworthy may-defect-at-any-moment Ukrainian military?

  22. Moscow Exile says:

    Latest from the Lebedev rag:
    Vladimir Putin ‘wants to regain Finland’ for Russia, adviser says

    And judging by the comments, the Independent readers believe this – because Putin is just like Hitler, see.

    The Russian “advisor” is none other than Andrey Illarionov , former economic adviser to the Russian government from 2000-2005.

    In 2005 he declared: “This year Russia has become a different country. It is no longer a democratic country. It is no longer a free country”.

    Illarionov is a liberast. In 2006 was appointed senior researcher of the Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity of the US libertarian think tank Cato Institute in Washington, DC, and in that capacity has stated that “[Russia's] new corporate state in which state-owned enterprises are governed by personal interests and private corporations have become subject to arbitrary intervention to serve state interests” as well as “new ways in which political, economic and civil liberties are being eliminated.”

    In 2007, Illarionov took part in “opposition” marches in Moscow and Saint Petersburg.

    Illarionov is one of the 34 first signatories of the on-line anti-Putin manifesto “Putin must go”, published on March 10, 2010.

    However, Lebedev’s Independent states in the article headline that Illarionov is an “adviser”.

    To whom?

    A few days ago the same rag described Zhirinovsky as a close adviser to Putin.

    • kirill says:

      Illarianov is the lunatic who compared the Kyoto protocol to Auschwitz. He was agitating for Russia not to sign the UN agreement. In hindsight he was playing the role of foreign agent since Russia not signing onto Kyoto would have killed it and Russia would have been stuck with all the blame. Illarionov as with every other liberast hates a Russia that does not conform to his narrow set of beliefs and spews bile at it for daring not to conform. He and the rest of these maggots can go f*ck themselves.

    • Al says:

      That headline is deliberately misleading. Probably not the journalist’s fault but it gives the impression that the advisor is to the Russian government. Certainly not something you would expect from the Independent. It looks like they think scraping the barrel is a competition they want a chance of winning. And journalists wonder why their profession is held in such high esteem as politicians & prostitutes. Or in this case, ‘presstitutes’ as they are known.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Someone has bounced back in the comments to that Independent article that labels Illarionov as Putin’s adviser with this linked article:

        How Andrei Illarionov fakes economic statistics and gets a job at the Cato Institute

        which response led to this comment:

        Russian embassy troll.

        Figures!

        There are several comments that point out who Illiaroniv is – and he’s most definitely not Putin’s economics adviser. However, there still appears in the comments such shite as this:

        The Nashi Putinic trolls from RT (and their tail of occidentophobic useful Western idiots) are out in force to try and protect the reputation of their Führer.

        Off topic but but has anyone noticed how Russians have a certain Asian look about them? That’s the admixture of the Mongol. Google “Pravda Chingiz Khan is to blame for Russian drunks”.

        And it’s not just the genes. It’s their culture too. Like their brutal and tyrannical ancestor Genghis Khan, they lust to expand their territory and oppress weaker nations.

        Despite the Russian women’s fondness for blonde hair dye, their Mongol ancestry is undeniable in the face region. These semi-Asian savages are the Nazis of the 21th century!

        So Russia is full of bottle-blondes and I’m seeing things when Iook upon my three blond-haired, blue-eyed children?

        Bear in mind, I couldn’t care less whether they had dark curly hair and were dark complexioned (my wife is, in fact, dark haired and has dark eyes), but this racism directed at Russians is something that bugs me intensely.

        Whenever this racism towards Russians is criticized in readers’ comments, the usual response is “Russians aren’t a race” – so quit moaning.

        I beg to differ: Russians are a race – they’re part of the human race, and it’s the racist attitude towards Russians that bugs me so and that these dimwits feel that they can categorize Russians as a separate race when compared with the oh-so-superior Western Europeans and North Americans.

        Auf gut Deutsch sagt man: Untermenschen – slawische Untermenschen!

  23. yalensis says:

    More Ukrainian Fascist News !

    So, there is this “militant” fascist group called “White Hammer” which operates in the Ternopol region of West Ukraine. White Hammer is actually a component cell of “Right Sektor”, which in turn is a component of “Svoboda” Party.

    So, White Hammer was active in fighting against Ukrainian traffic police (=GAI = State Auto Inspection) during the recent unpleasantness.

    Recall that one of the most militant armed fascist factions on the Maidan was the so-called “Auto-Maidan”, which occupied itself with automotive issues and engaged in selective assassinations of Auto Inspectors and Traffic Police.

    So, anyhow, several Auto Inspectors were assassinated during the recent unpleasantness.
    Self-proclaimed Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov (he’s the guy whom Sashko Bily threatened to hang like a dog) finally cracked down on these auto-murderers. Avakov announced that he had arrested a suspect in one of the murders.

    Physical evidence: When a 9-member cell of White Hammer were raided, cops found in their possession, in addition to their own arsenal of weapons, a small pistol that used to belong to one of the inspectors who was murdered.

    The theory is that White Hammer killed this guy and took his pistol as a trophy.

  24. yalensis says:

    Lavrov says: A unitary Ukrainian government just isn’t working out.
    Solution: It’s time to federalize the Ukraine.
    Lavrov points out that every time there is a presidential election, Ukrainians change their constitution: now it’s a presidential republic; now it’s a parliamentary republic; they just can’t make up their minds what they want.

    Lavrov suggests that each region of the country have the right to pick their own governor and legislature; have the right to determine their own economic policies, culture, official language; and the right to form their own relationships with neighbouring countries and regions. For example, Western regions could form meaningful cultural relationships with Poland and Lithuania; and Eastern regions could form meaningful cultural relationships with Russia.

    Each region will feel comfortable and that their rights are being respected, while still unified at the federal level in terms of foreign policy and defense.

    Sounds like a great idea! and no doubt Lavrov will propose this idea to Obama and Kerry; but dubious they will agree with it, since American policy is to see ALL of Ukraine groan under the heel of the Banderite minority.
    .

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Annexation by stealth!

      Guaranteed response from the State Dept.

    • marknesop says:

      Not to mention that a NATO base in West Ukraine is not as close as they would like to get, nor is even the centre. They want to be where they can look over the border and see the enemy in direct line of sight; to wake up, like “A Few Good Men’s” Colonel Jessep, “300 yards from 4000 Russians who are trained to kill them”. A federalized Ukraine would likely result in a steady drawing-together of the east and Russia. However, as I pointed out earlier, it would likely make Russia responsible for carrying its economy while it would in turn subsidize the rest of Ukraine, a western project. And as this map shows, it would not be easy to decouple west from east in the pipeline network. Hopefully all that will be rendered moot by the opening of South Stream and a potential large gas deal with China.

      I cited the article for the map, not its content, which is mostly watch-out-Russia happy talk about how Halliburton is going to start fracking in Poland and Royal Dutch Shell is looking for gas in Ukraine, bla, bla, bla, although it did include the interesting fact that the current head of the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Energy Resources is Carlos Pascual, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine.

      • Hunter says:

        Well if you look at that pipeline map you can see that the one major pipeline in the south and east enters Ukraine near Kharkov, runs through Dnipropetrovsk and exits in Romania around the Odessa oblast. In essence if Ukraine were to be peacefully and voluntarily or forcefully and violently split along the traditional voting lines of 2004 and 2010 then the south and east would have a pipeline network that could perhaps function separately from central and western Ukraine and it would have a railway and road network that would be self-contained (without a need to go into central or western Ukraine to get to another part of southern or eastern Ukraine) but at the same time connected to the rest of Ukraine.

        I think as well though that South Stream coming into operations around 2018 will make a Ukraine potentially irrelevant for shipping gas to western Europe. At that point there won’t be any concerns over Russo-Ukrainian gas disputes over the price of gas and the price of transit fees.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, it’s true that South Stream has the potential to be a game-changer, which is why Europe is making noises about it now. It wants Russia’s gas – well, it doesn’t want it, but needs to have it – but would prefer forcing Russia to come to terms with a European Ukraine as well as maintain a trading relationship with it by making Russia send gas through Ukraine, knowing Russia will be much more reluctant to shut it off to Ukraine if it knows doing so will affect its entire European customer network.

          Yes, now that I look at the map again, a portion of the pipeline could be decoupled, although that would have to be sorted out on a national level. But if Ukraine federalizes, that will make it easier for Russia to refuse to do business with the west and centre which hate it so much, while retaining the southeast as a customer and transit point if needed.

          • kirill says:

            I think Russia could solve the Ukraine problem by forcing its customers to pay at the Russian border and then deal with Ukraine for delivery/transit costs. That it does not do this indicates to me it is trying to use gas as a lever on Ukraine’s political evolution. But now this policy will probably have to be dropped since the NATO-installed regime in Kiev is not even trying to engage Russia or most of Ukraine (in the GDP sense) constructively.

            • marknesop says:

              Funny you should mention that, because the recently-concluded talks between Lavrov and Kerry suggest the USA might be warming to federalism of Ukraine as a solution to the crisis, although Kerry still insists that no solutions are possible unless “the legitimate government of Ukraine is at the table” – a continuing clumsy effort to force Russia into recognizing the Kiev clowns as Ukraine’s legitimate government – and that Russia “pull back its troops” even though they are in their own country. You can only imagine how quickly NATO would decide it needed a base in Ukraine to guard against Russian incursions if Ukraine were a European protectorate, since they get the vapours now while Russia is in its own territory.

              Mind you, Kerry will only get instructions to cut a deal if the USA thinks it can exploit federalism to its own advantage. It will not consent to a deal which will increase Russian influence in Ukraine.

              • yalensis says:

                Yesterday there was this extensive interview with Lavrov laying out his opinions on Ukrainian federalization and lots of other issues.

              • yalensis says:

                The 40K (alleged) Russian troops massing on Russia-Ukraine border are only one prong of the 2-pronged fork. The other prong is the activities of pro-Russian demonstrators and activists in the Eastern regions. This piece lays out some of the activities that happened over the weekend, namely:

                -Demonstrators in Donetsk trying to block railroad
                -Demonstrators in Kharkiv demanding local autonomy, chanting “Russia! Russia!”
                -Meeting in Luhansk, also demanding autonomy. Here, things got ugly, and several demonstrators trompled on Ukrainian flag.

                These regional demonstrations (which so upset Yulia Tymoshenko that she threatened to nuke the pro-Russia demonstrators) combined with Russian showing of armor on the other side of the border, are meant to encourage NATO into thinking about this whole situation in the correct way.

                Correct solution = FEDERALIZATION of Ukraine!

                Speaking of Yulia, if you read Lavrov’s extended interview (link above), surprisingly he excuses her rant; says she was just upset at the time and didn’t really mean it when she said she wanted to slaughter 8 million people.

                • marknesop says:

                  Lavrov is perhaps the most exemplary diplomat available today; he consistently presents discussions in their most positive light even if it was a complete waste of time, and excuses egregious faults by saying the individual was probably not in his/her right mind when he/she said/did them. I am sorry he was channeled into meeting with the phony Foreign Minister from Ukraine because now westerners will shout that even Russia recognizes the Kiev government, but since the meeting was initiated by Ukraine it would be churlish to refuse, although I doubt anything constructive will come of it. The western-inspired coup has achieved its purpose anyway, by making some Russians and some Ukrainians hate each other enough to kill the other if they were given the opportunity; it has legitimized that hate. But I doubt there are very many Ukrainians now who would say it was worth it, looking at what it has done to the country, and the tough times are just beginning. I am sorry for Sergey’s parents, who will return to Chernihiv when the father is out of hospital, because I think they will see big changes and I wish they could stay. His Mom is an angel.

  25. yalensis says:

    Ukrainian army receives its first shipment of American MRE’s – yay!

    I was mistaken in an earlier comment when I said Americans would deliver 25,000 boxed lunches to Ukrainian troops. Turns out it was 25,000 CRATES, containing a total of 300,000 boxed lunches.

    That is a much bigger number of MRE’s, and this fact obviously negates my prior assessment that American government is gratuitously INSULTING the Ukrainian people….

    Especially given the terrible famine underway and that Ukrainians are simply STARVING to death, just like the Holodomor…
    [sarcasm, in case there is any doubt...]

    • marknesop says:

      I think that shipment was meant to supply only the army in the field, in the event it should confront Russia militarily, and was never intended for general civilian distribution. In its own way it was generous, as it addresses a logistic concern – how to feed the army so it can keep up its strength for fighting – that planners will now not have to worry about. But I think there was never going to be any attack anyway, except for the highly unlikely event that Ukraine attacks Russia, and it gave the USA an opportunity to get rid of a bunch of rations it would otherwise have had to destroy.

      • yalensis says:

        Yup, the MRE’s had passed their expiration date and would have had to be destroyed.
        So, better to feed them to Ukrainians than into the dumpster.

        So… I just did the math. Since Ukraine admits it only has 6,000 battle-ready soldiers in the army, and they now have 300,000 box lunches, then each one of these soldiers gets 50 meals. Assuming they eat 3 meals per day, then each soldier can go on fighting against Russia for about 2 and a half weeks.

        Okay, with a combination of burning tires and delicious MRE’s, Russkies becould be defeated in that amount of time, so maybe the MRE’s are worth it after all… On behalf of the Ukrainian people, Thank You, America!

        [I'm not Ukrainian, but why shouldn't I speak on behalf of the Ukrainian people? Everybody else does it...]

      • Kulobi says:

        Hi Mark, please note that as of March 29 fresh MREs are available on Ukraine’s eBay-like platform for Parents Who Want the Best for Their Children: http://www.kidstaff.com.ua/tema-1713082.html .
        Yum-yum.
        This batch may or may not be related to the singular act of US generosity described above, yet the fact that it is half the price of the French rations (and the British ones are not available) could be an indication of an upward change in the supply dynamics.

        • yalensis says:

          Are you implying that the Ukrainian Quartermaster immediately turned over this generous American gift to put the MRE’s up on e-bay?

          Shame on you!

          • yalensis says:

            P.S.
            Ensign Titushkin [the Russian spy who was captured in Kiev, in video posted above] would have literally killed for such delicious rations. As the video shows, all his handlers gave him in the way of rations was a bar of salo and a bottle of vodka.

            Not that those aren’t good, but Ensign Titushkin would have also liked to include the peanut butter and jelly sandwich and HOOAH! bar that American soldiers get. Just for some variety.

        • marknesop says:

          Ha, ha!! Well done; the lot numbers would be fairly easy to track, and the fact that they are labeled in English suggests that probably is the source. There’s enterprise for you!

          If fact, the heading describes them as American, and there is a handy description , just below the item, of American MRE’s, to which I see you have alluded along with the French and British ones. I suppose European rations would be easier to get, but I wonder how they acquired French ones? Generally they are strictly unavailable in the country which produces them, and are only for use by other than military personnel in an emergency.

  26. Warren says:
  27. Warren says:
  28. Al says:

    OK, we need some jokes and a soundtrack about the upcoming Presidential elections.

    In one corner we have Miss Orange.
    In the other corner we have Mr. Chocolate

    I propose Def Leppard’s ‘Pour Some Sugar On Me’
    Because the next line is ‘You got the peaches, I got the cream, Sweet to taste, saccharine’

    • marknesop says:

      I think Yalensis already proposed Sammy Davis Jr’s “The Candyman”, and it’s a tough call. Then there’s Electric Six’s “Chocolate Pope” – the implications of which I think are obvious – Tay Zonday’s “Chocolate Rain“, (some stay dry while others feel the pain: I don’t know how much more Freudian than that you could get without trying cocaine), Isaac Hayes’ “Chocolate Salty Balls” (unlikely to push many in Poroshenko’s direction as he is not black, not to mention the over-the-top innuendo, consequently a non-starter), and Hot Chocolate’s “You Sexy Thing”. The latter would only highlight how un-hip and unsexy Poroshenko is, so that too should be dropped from consideration. I must confess I am a Def Leppard fan (I met the guitarists once, Phil Collen and the brilliant and now-deceased Steve Clark, in Tokyo) and that would likely prejudice my vote, but “Chocolate Pope” and “Chocolate Rain” are strong contenders as well for their giddy senselessness (which has its parallel in the presidential election itself) and the implicit prophesy in the latter. Indeed, Poroshenko is likely to stay dry no matter what happens, while the pain is likely to cut a wide swath.

      • Al says:

        Ooh, a couple I don’t know, Chocolate Rain & Chocolate Pope. Will check out on Youtube. Chocolate Salty Balls, epic! I bought the South Park album ‘Chef Aid’ and it is almost all entirely genius (Master P – Kenny’s Dead, Chef – Simulaneous, Wycliff Jean – Bubblegoose, Chef & Meatloaf – Tonight is Right for Love)… Cartman singing ‘Come Sail Away’. After that, hearing the original by the Sytx seems positively anaemic.

        Meanwhile, what do I see when Champions League games are on? ‘Sponsored by Gazprom’.

        https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSNB6S1i6_aQcmVSLMFoXLKNZAq12LIoliMxlwN4FwKiKPBEIjR

        http://www.uefa.org/mediaservices/mediareleases/newsid=1839755.html

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I’m a Chocolate Hare

        • marknesop says:

          Perfect!! Now all we have to do is photoshop a navy pinstripe suit jacket onto the rabbit, a gold crown on his head, then rewrite the lyrics so they are in Ukrainian and say “I’m the King of Ukraine”.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            As it happens, the singer of “Chocolate Hare” is an African called Pierre Narcissse. He hails from Cameroon, a former French sub-Sahara colony, studied here and is quite a popular entertainer.

            RFE/RL makes a big deal about this here:

            Russia: African Pop Star Tries To Show Russians Sweeter Side Of Racial Diversity

            As a matter of fact, in recent years I have see more and more African students in Moscow and nobody goes into hysterics when they walk by.

            • marknesop says:

              “Years of entrenched racism”, bla, bla, bla. Straight to you from people who usually don’t live there; I didn’t stay on the article long enough to note who wrote it, but Robert Coalson’s former partner at RFE/RL (I forget his name now) used to move about and frequently blogged from Prague. The last time I looked that was in Czechoslovakia. No wonder westerners hate Russia; the press provides an endless litany of what a horrible place it is, full of racist alcoholics who die in their early 60′s, whilst the youth are all in Nashi or some other Putlerite youth-kommando organization and the women are all whores.

              I don’t doubt there are those in Russia who make impolitic remarks in the presence of blacks, but not likely any more so than in some states in the USA, while European countries are no better.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Quite!

                And as it happens, this Pierre fellow is well liked here.

                But Russia is racist, xenophobic, alcoholic, its menfolk brutal sadists, its women – whores.

                Love it!

    • Jen says:

      I was going to suggest something along the lines of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”. The presidential candidates are the kiddies (Charlie Bucket, Augustus Gloop, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregard and Mike Teavee) who find or earn the golden tickets. Of course in our new film adaptation of the Roald Dahl book, Bucket won’t necessarily be the one who inherits the chocolate factory.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    Russians at the US embassy say “Thanks for the Crimea!”

    • Moscow Exile says:

      It’s not the US embassy in Moscow and not the US embassy in Kiev, that’s for sure: if it were the one in Kiev, those Russians making the spoof presentation would have been seriously risking their health – if not their lives.

      It puzzled me where it was and then I noticed: it says US consulate on the clip.

      Must be in Simferopol.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        But there isn’t one in Simferopol.

        It must be in Moscow, but I just don’t recognize the entrance.

        This is the main US Embassy building in Moscow.

        That entrance where they’re giving a “thanksgiving pie”, so to speak, must be at a “tradesman’s entrance” of sorts.

        The place where Chirikova (remember her?) and Ponomarev (père et fils), Nemtsov and that awful woman boss of an NGO (can’t remember its name now – it was supposed function was to monitor election procedure) used to sashay into when McFaul came to town is a recent state of the art annex and not that place where the bemused embassy employee accepts that huge pie.

        Remember how they all used to repeat ad nauseam after meeting McFaul: “You are all Surkovsky propaganda!” [Вы сурковская пропаганда! Вы сурковская пропаганда! Вы сурковская пропаганда! ... ]“?

        She really was full of herself, was Chirikova.

        Wonder what she’s doing now?

        Still hugging trees?

        Anyway I hope those consulate employees ate that pie: it looked tasty enough.

        More than likely not, though.

        I don’t think most Pindosi are able to digest with any comfort anything other than Big Macs and pizzas.

        Am I being “racist”?

  30. Fern says:

    As a perfect example of the US’s plateau-shaped learning curve in foreign policy, Washington has just announced that it ‘supports’ the territorial integrity and independence of all post-Soviet countries and is despatching a Department of State official on a mini tour of two of the stans – Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan with, no doubt, the aim of steering them away from relations with Moscow. The announcement includes more of the upside-down, inside-out thinking that seems to characterise Obama – a solemn statement that countries have the right to choose their political and economic playmates. Apart from, it would appear, when countries choose to enter into agreements with Russia.
    http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/28/us-ukraine-crisis-usa-centralasia-idUSBREA2R1UQ20140328

    • marknesop says:

      I’m sure that’s exactly the childish playground point they’re trying to make – if you take Crimea, we’ll agitate your satellites to break away and give you something to keep you busy. I don’t expect the initiative to come to anything, but the U.S. State Department has always had trouble distinguishing between activity and purpose.

    • Jen says:

      Kyrgyzstan might be hard to convince. That country has already told the US to vacate Manas airbase this year – the lease expires in July. Kyrgyzstan was concerned that having US forces on its territory was inviting terrorism and violence.

      There was news in the past that China was going to lease farmland in Kazakhstan to grow crops like soy but I’ve seen no updates on that news so perhaps nothing came of that idea.

      • marknesop says:

        There were a couple of items in the news describing joint ventures between China and Ukraine for the same type of cooperation – leased farmland to grow crops for China. Apparently Ukraine has huge belts of rich black loam which is ideal for agriculture. I’m not sure what will now come of that venture either.

  31. Moscow Exile says:

    Freedom of speech and right to protest Lvov-style . Anti-EU picket in Lvov.

    Note the Roman Catholic nuns (or Greek Uniate – not sure, I think the former) in the small crowd.

    Paging John Kerry, Barrack Obama, Catherine Ashton etc. … and AP.

  32. Warren says:

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    Dr Taras Kuzio gives a very interesting and objective analysis of the 3 main Presidential candidates. I especially liked and found enlightening Poroshenko’s colourful background, I was not aware what flip flopper he is. Surely Poroshenko’s shady background will be brought up?

    NB, I noticed Poroshenko’s factory in Russia has been closed, it seems the Russians have taken a leaf out of the US playbook by targeting hostile or disobedient oligarchs.

    • Fern says:

      I wouldn’t regard Dr Taras Kuzio as objective when it comes to assessing Yulio Tymoshenko. He has been publishing pro-Orange, pro-Tymoshenko articles for years. He’s very much in the pro-Europe, pro-NATO camp and laments the (alleged) lack of US leadership in Eurasia and Europe. Notice the number of times he says Tymoshenko hasn’t got that much ‘baggage’ and the glossing over of her own corruption. Both Tymoshenko and Poroshenko can be reliably depended upon to deliver what the West wants so from that perspective it’s win-win.

      • KenM says:

        Agreed on Kuzio. I remember reading an article by him complaining that Yuschenko hadn’t done enough to bring Ukraine into NATO membership…
        I would of thought that of the many things you can complain about Yuschenko, that wasn’t one of them – the guy spent large amounts of Ukraine’s quickly diminishing treasury promoting NATO membership & essential headed a massive PR campaign trying to sell the idea to a mostly very unresponsive public – didn’t seem to phase him though, he just kept plowing ahead.

  33. Warren says:

    For those of you that understand French, an interesting article challenging the accepted anti-Russian narrative on the Holodomor by an eminent French historian, Annie Lacroix-Riz.

    http://www.historiographie.info/holodomor08.pdf

  34. Reblogged this on EU: Ramshackle Empire and commented:
    I of course knew about Swedbank, one of Sweden’s big international banks, originally responsible for Latvia’s spending bubble. I didn’t know about Ukraine though, or the prime minister being built up by the bank.

  35. Moscow Exile says:

    NEWS FLASH!!!

    На конспиративной квартире в центре Киева задержан агент ФСБ, обвиняемый в подрывной деятельности против демократического выбора народа Украины.

    [Accused of instigating subversion against the democratic choice of the Ukrainian people, an FSB agent has been arrested In a centrally located Kiev safe house.]

    • yalensis says:

      Concealing the grenades inside matroshki was a clever ruse!

      But still, Ensign Titushkin was quite careless to allow himself to be apprehended with all the disguises and loot. He definitely deserves a demotion.

    • marknesop says:

      You could tell in the first few frames that he is FSB; he is wearing a leather jacket, which is the dead giveaway according to Tin-tin Harding. That’s just funny.

      Which reminds me – what ever happened to the investigation of the alleged retired FSB Colonel from the “Main Directorate” who supposedly masterminded the Berkut attempts to push the “peaceful protesters” off the Maidan, and who was so careless as to leave his maps (annotated in English) in a building which was captured by peaceful protesters? Remember? He was supposed to have been holed up in the Kiev Hotel with his tab being picked up by the SBU, and some kangaroo minister or other – maybe it was even Parubiy – was going to take it straight to the International Criminal Court.

      Then, silence.

  36. yalensis says:

    So, now we know the real reason why Putin annexed Crimea:
    He wants to move into Stalin’s old dacha at Yalta!

    So, once again, Western propaganda is fudging the issue of private property.
    Does one have to be a Marxist to know something about the difference between private property and nationalized property?

    As with Yanukovych’s lavish dacha at Mezhhiriya. Maidan propagandists fudged the issue of whether the property belonged to the MAN or to his POST. For years they implied that Yanuk personally owned the dacha as the kind of private property that he could pass on to his son when he died. Marxists like me, while not endorsing corruption, wanted to know the exact legal status of this property. Would the next President move in? Or does Yanuk get to take it with him when he leaves his post? (if he had left in a normal fashion, and not driven out)

    We didn’t know the answer to that question. We asked the question, and nobody seemed to know the answer. Not even Tetiana Chornovol, who was a self-proclaimed expert on everything Mezhhiriya.

    An analogy is Camp David, in America. It is a lavish country home that is USED by Presidents in office. When they leave office, they don’t get to take the dacha with them.

    So, we kept demanding to know: Did Yanuk actually OWN Mezzhiriya? Or did he just live there temporarily? But the Maidanuts could not give a coherent answer, and the Western media was no help either, as they don’t even seem to know the difference between the two concepts.

    (Or rather, they DO know the difference, but they fudge this for propaganda purposes, in order to create an impression among the masses of overwhelming government corruption and injustice.)

    Along these lines, suppose Putin DOES move into the Yalta dacha.
    Does that mean he will own it as his personal property, and pass it along in his will to his biological daughters when he dies?
    Or does it mean that the President of Russian Federation gets to USE the dacha for official functions (or even residence), but only the guy who is in office at the time? Hence, if there is a President Abram Kaganovich Titushkin in 2016, then will President Titushkin spend his summers in Stalin’s Yalta dacha, even though Putin might still be alive?

    Or will President Titushkin arrive in Yalta and discover that Putin is still living in the dacha and owns the title to the place? and waves a deed in his (Titushkin’s) face and tells him he cannot enter the property?
    .
    And if the Western MSM cannot answer simple and silly questions like that, then they should just keep their mouths shut and stop spewing B.S. !

    • marknesop says:

      Everyone – especially The Grauniad – knows that Putin loves and ceaselessly glorifies Stalin. He would love the opportunity to starve millions of Ukrainians to death just like his hero, and now in his surpassing cleverness he may achieve his goal by manipulating Europe into doing it for him, but everyone will know Putin is actually responsible because The Grauniad will tell them.

  37. Moscow Exile says:

    Odessa

    “Take your suitcase to the railway station!” says one woman to an anti-Maidanite early on.

    One commenter below the clip on the You Tube site writes:

    С чего это Одесса русская земля? По моему фашисты те кто пришел с русскими флагами, причем там проплаченные путинские сепаратисты. Россия объявила Украине войну а они ходят с флагами врага! У путина их бы давно к стенке поставили, в их любимой россии. Молчали бы в тряпочку.

    [How come Odessa is on Russian land? As far as I am concerned, the fascists are the ones that came with the Russian flags and are paid Putin separatists. Russia has declared war on the Ukraine and they are walking around with enemy flags! They would have been stood against a wall long ago by Putin if this had happened in their beloved Russia, not to mention their carrying of enemy flags.]

    An estimated 3 million Ukrainians live and work in Russia at the moment.

    I’m quite sure that the commenter quoted above is some unemployed shit-kicker from Ivano-Frankovsk or wherever, brought up to hate Katsapy.

    Then again, he could be of high intellect and believes that a land of milk and honey exists westwards beyond yonder hills…

    • Warren says:

      How can the Police tolerate and permit these Banderite thugs to carry weapons? Surely walking with a mask and carrying clubs is illegal? What are the Police afraid of?

      It boggles the mind how passive and obedient the Police in Southern and Eastern Ukraine are. They blindly follow orders of an illegitimate regime, this is in stark contrast to the Police in Western Ukraine that mutinied and disobeyed a legitimate and democratic government and sided with the rioters.

      How can you explain this? Are Police in Southern and Eastern Ukraine devoid of courage and intellect?

      • East Ukrainians are more easy to manipulate and they lack the drive and determination that the Western Ukrainians have.

        • marknesop says:

          Oh, is that what it is? Drive and determination? And there was me thinking they were Nazis!

        • yalensis says:

          That’s not true, Karl. “Passivity” is not an attribute of any particular people. Ethnic groups can be suppressed or dormant for years, or even decades; just like individuals can be passive or depressed when they are put in intolerable situations and have little hope of changing things for the better.

          East Ukrainians didn’t have any real options for the past 25 years or so; they weren’t happy with the Yanukovych government, but they felt like so long as Party of Regions was in power, then their actual physical lives were not in danger.

          Once the fascists came to power, this changed the equation. They felt like they were in danger, and the fight-or-flight reaction kicked in. A sleeping giant was awakened. Especially after Crimean annexation, and they saw how things could change for the better.
          Having said that, they still realize that they cannot just secede, the way Crimea did; nor can Russia just rush to their rescue. Their situation is more complicated. Nonetheless, they have become active, after many years of dormancy.

          It is a natural process.

        • Jen says:

          @ Karl: We simply didn’t hear anything much in the Western mainstream media about eastern Ukraine until after the putsch in Kyiv and the rescission of the 2012 language law that permitted Russian and some other minority languages to be used in local government in the areas where communities wanted to use their own languages not long after. And even if we did, that news went through an ideological filter that denigrated the Russian minorities in even minor ways, such as portraying them as somehow older than the Maidanites and their supporters, and therefore nostalgic for the past and backward-looking.

          Incidentally Czech and Hungarian-speaking minorities in Ukraine are as much bothered by recent post-putsch events to the extent that some are seriously considering repatriation to the country of their ethnicity. At the same time these minorities are not exactly pro-Russian so they can’t be dismissed as elderly, uneducated or nostalgic for Communism. So they are ignored instead.

          http://praguemonitor.com/2014/03/24/czech-pm-kiev-must-be-sensitive-ethnic-minorities

          http://www.politics.hu/20140310/on-the-plight-of-the-hungarian-minority-in-ukraine/
          http://digitaljournal.com/news/world/ukraine-s-hungarian-minority-nervous-as-crisis-rages/article/374332

          Incidentally one of links above states that the Hungarian community voted for Yanukovych in the last presidential election on the basis that he was the best of a bad lot and was the least likely to bother Hungarians.

    • yalensis says:

      It’s that’s old Banderite slogan that came out of the 2004 Orange Maidan:
      Чемодан – Вокзал – в Россию:
      “Suitcase – Train station – to Russia”

      In other words: Go back to where you came from…
      Or: Ukraine for the Ukrainians…

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. hard to tell from just this one video, but the pro-Russian crowd looks larger than the Right Sektor crowd.

  38. Moscow Exile says:

    Россия Крым Весна
    [Russian Crimean Spring]

    Song: And it’s spring on our streets!

    Not, I should imagine, the spring, that the addled McCain tweeted to Putin about though.

    (Counter propaganda, I know, but I’m just sick of seeing the same-old from the West.)

  39. Drutten says:

    And Crimeans hit the jackpot:
    http://eng.kremlin.ru/acts/6941

    At the very least, it’s a doubling of their salaries, though I seem to recall some chart indicating that it could be more. This will cost the RF a lot for the time being, but hopefully they can get Crimea to break even in the near future.

    I saw elsewhere that in lieu of a direct connection (land, bridge) as for now, numerous maritime enterprises in Russia are mobilising in Rostov, Taganrog, Novorossiysk etc to establish regularly scheduled ferry connections with Crimea to/from mainland Russia. That is, apart from the one that already exists in Poti.

    • Drutten says:

      Don’t know where I got Poti from, totally wrong Black Sea port (though I guess there are/were passenger services there too). I meant Port Kavkaz.

    • yalensis says:

      Yeah, Crimea is a huge development project, will require big investments and a ton of money. But in the end it is such an invaluable prize. Russia will see her ROI many times over. The human resources even more so than the real estate.
      And I’m not even talking about the oil and gas treasures on the underwater shelf, I’m only talking about the future real estate and construction boom.

      If done right, this development can revitalize the entire maritime area and coasts along both sides of the Isthmus. It could be a waterfront renaissance that builds up the area and creates numerous jobs and wealth. If done right.

      • Kulobi says:

        Drutten and Yalensis, you’re so wrong – Crimeans have hit a dead end, and the peninsula is being robbed rather than developed according to a courageous investigation by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting (proudly sponsored by the USAID, Soros et al) http://iwpr.net/report-news/life-crimea-takes-surreal-turn
        This is a fascinating example of gonzo journalism:
        Take one young mother of two, a self-employed Ukrainian who is open-minded (some of her best friends are Russian, you know). Make her think whether she has a future in Crimea. Uncritically extrapolate her answers to become the vox populi. Summarise in terse sound bites:
        - Ukrainians are harassed and beaten up when they dare to speak Ukrainian (NB the Double Proxy Narrative here: ‘My friend told someone he supported Ukraine, and he was followed home by around 20 people who then tried to break in’);
        - people display Russian flags although they don’t support Russia (must be out of fear, right?);
        - pensioners are short-changed by the Russian government (not a word about the doubling of pensions and salaries in a month’s time, of course);
        - the Russian occupants are forcing Ukrainians to leave.

        My favourite bit in this ‘Report News’ section is the opening line: “In Yalta everything seems normal, children go to kindergarten and school, we go to work, and there are no Russian soldiers. The weather is nice. IF YOU DIDN’T READ THE NEWS, you would think everything was great.” Yep, that’s right, unless you read the RIGHT kind of news your perception of the reality out there is horribly misplaced.

        A note about IWPR – it’s big in Central Asia running training programs and camps for local journalists (What We Do: Identify Issues, Build Journalism, Report News, Raise Awareness, Make An Impact).

        • marknesop says:

          Guess they weren’t around for the epic exodus of Ukrainians from Crimea, when they all chose freedom over slavery – a few hundred of them. Two-thirds of the Ukrainian military deserted to Russia. How does that square with the we-pretend-to-be-happy-but-inside-our-hearts-are-breaking narrative? If there is anything more vindictive than the western press, I’ve never seen it; if they can’t have it, then they’ll piss all over it so nobody else will want it.

          The Russian government should immediately offer to give that woman a fair price for all her property in Crimea, and to pay to take her and her children to Kiev by limousine, and put them out on the street and leave them. Doubtless she will feel so much happier and more free and safe in Banderland.

          Once the Make-Believe Government considered a nation-wide referendum on how Ukrainians felt about the possibility of Crimea returning to Russia, as well as the peoples’ opinion on language issues and dual citizenship, but that idea died in a hurry. In politics, never ask a question if you can’t stand all the possible answers.

          From that same source – you’ll love this – American pushback to the released telephone conversation between Lady Ashton and the Estonian Foreign Minister regarding the snipers who indiscriminately killed police and protester alike. As you must have suspected, they were a Russian-trained Alfa Team, just like the Maidan activists were squawking about. Actually, here’s the Beast story; the pictures are better, and you can read the whole blabbering story. According to the Daily Beast, Bogomolets completely withdraws her statement as we heard it from the Estonian Foreign Minister; he must have been drunk or something, must have imagined she said “the opposition” when she really said, “Russian killers acting to prop up Yanukovych”. Only protesters were being shot by snipers, she is now quoted as saying. The Berkut members killed must have shot themselves, because the peaceful protesters had no weapons.

          And yep, IWPR’s sponsors reads like a list of The Usual Suspects: the Canadian International Development Agency, the Carnegie Corporation, Department for International Development UK, the European Commission, The International Republican Institute, various Ministries of Foreign Affairs for European countries, our old friend the National Endowment for Democracy, George Soros’s Open Society, The Rockefeller Family Associates, the Samuel Rubin Foundation, UNESCO, USAID and the U.S. State Department, to name some.

          Oh, and International Partners includes more: wouldn’t want to leave out Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and Transparency International.

        • Fern says:

          I’ll bet that it’s been at least 11 years since most Iraqis could say “…everything seems normal, children go to kindergarten and school, we go to work….” and they don’t need to read the news to learn that everything is not great. I suspect Iraqis would be baffled by Obama’s apparent inability to spot the difference between their country and Crimea.

          The IWPR has form, particularly in reporting (aka ‘controlling the narrative’) of the Balkan conflicts and in bigging-up the role of the ICC. During Milosevic’s trial, there was one incident when a witness’ admissions strongly suggested that the court was coaching witnesses and offering them attractive deals in order to testify against Milosevic. This was potentially very damaging to both the court and the trial. Luckily, however, a document suddenly fell into IWPR’s hands which purported to tie Milosevic personally to the Srebrenica killings and all the western media’s attention was on that. Once it had served its purpose in directing attention away from the court coaching and bribing witnesses, the document mysteriously disappeared from the narrative.

        • yalensis says:

          Yeah, it’s only been a couple of weeks since Russians took over, and already the place is a hellhole!

          Anyhow, when this thing first went down, I read in one of the pieces that Russian government promised Crimean Ukrainians they could keep their Ukrainian citizenship/passports, if they chose; or they could have dual citizenship. So, if that is still the case, this lady can keep her Ukrainian passport and doesn’t have to switch.
          I don’t know if that decision has changed.
          In any case, Russia and Ukraine still have a no-visa policy, so in theory people can live and work in each other’s country without a problem.

  40. Warren says:

    ____________________________________________________________________________

    As I have said previously Jobbik are allies against the Banderites, Russia should strengthen its relations with Hungary.

    To repeat what I have said before a Ukraine free FROM Russian interference, will be a Ukraine free FOR Polish, Hungarian and Romanian interference!

    The Hungarians sent Roman Shukheyvch’s Sich packing in 1938 and ended the Carpatho-Ukraine Republic annexed in one day!

    The Magyars won’t take any nonsense from the Banderites.

  41. marknesop says:

    The alternative press is abuzz with the story – many postings shaky machine translations from Russian – that the Kiev Pretenders have contracted with Greystone, a mercenary oufit affiliated with the former Blackwater Security and which is based out of Barbados, for protection of the Kiev-appointed officials in the Southeast of Ukraine and to pacify anti-Kiev demonstrations.

    http://www.whenthenewsstops.org/2014/03/us-mercenaries-greystone-limited.html#!/2014/03/us-mercenaries-greystone-limited.html

    http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_03_31/Ukraines-plans-to-recruit-foreigners-to-restore-order-may-be-attempt-to-suppress-civil-protest-Moscow-2451/

    • Jen says:

      The Greystone connection to Academi Services (the former Blackwater Inc) is a bit murky – it may be a subsidiary or it may be an independent company but with the same directors or managers – but I guess that’s what you expect with firms that try to operate in secret by basing themselves in tax havens. Former Bush govt official John Ashcroft is on the Board of Directors of Academi Services.

  42. yalensis says:

    KP is now reporting a shoot-out between Right Sektor and the special forces police.

    Special forces police are now called “Sokol” (=Falcon), and serve the Pretender Government in Kiev.

    So anyhow, the Pretender Minister of Internal Affairs, Arsen Avakov (=he who whacked Sashko Bily) is saying that a Right Sektor “activist” shot and wounded several people, including the Deputy Mayor of Kiev, Bohdan Dubas. Avakov says the wounded have been taken to the hospital.

    So, Avakov gave the order to round up Right Sektor. Thus begins “Nacht der langen Messer”.
    So, Right Sektor took cover and holed up in a restaurant aptly named “Mafia”, which is apparently inside the “Dnipro” Hotel.

    So, one of the Right Sektor goons was wasted and was trying to bring his alcoholic beverages out onto the Maidan. After that, he was trying to hide in the bathroom of the restaurant.
    Sokol has these drunken goons surrounded.

    (I read somewhere that the Sokol forces originated as a soccer club.)

    • yalensis says:

      Oh wait! Here are some more details about that shoot-out.
      So, this happened Monday night, March 31.

      So, these two Banderites walk into a bar near the Maidan. One of the Banderites is Right Sektor, the other is from “Maidan Self-Defense Committee”.

      So, these 2 Banderites were having an intellectual debate. The topic of debate was whether or not it was time to take down the tents from the Maidan. It was also said that a topic of debate was whether or not the Right Sektor guy was allowed to bring his alcoholic beverages out onto the Maidan. The other guy said he wasn’t allowed to.

      Suddenly the two debaters whipped out their guns and started shooting at each other. Five shots were fired in all.

      The deputy Mayor of Kiev, Bohdan Dubas, just happened to be walking by, and took a bullet in the spine. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

      Two other guys were wounded as well.

      “Maidan Self-Defense” activists immediately surrounded the restaurant and called the police. Right Sektor activists, led by a guy named Iranets, rushed to save their comrade and spirited him out of the Mafia Restaurant and across the street into the Dnipro Hotel. Where he tried to hide out in the toilet. But the police, “Sokol” surrounded the hotel, and this is where the story gets murky.

      The shooter is said to be a guy named Orestes. (These are all aliases, it goes without saying. These guys usually wear masks, so nobody knows their true identity.)

      • Kulobi says:

        Yalensis, I nearly cracked up laughing. “Orestes”!!! Two Stoic Banderites locked in an intellectual debate, with gentle Nachtsprache giving way to Langen Messer as the lights dimmed at the Mafia Restaurant. Perhaps, they disagreed over whether Philippe de Lara’s treatment of Euromaidan as the harbinger of liberty, dignity and truth is ontological or teleological in nature http://ukrainianweek.com/Columns/50/106250 .
        Hiding in the toilet is a venerable technique practiced by Cynics and Gnostics, and now Right Sektor activists, to accentuate their withdrawal from the corporeal world.
        The shooter, Adrei Koziubchik aka Orestes, acted as the Right Sektor’s toastmaster in the past – in 2011, he was invited by Savik Shuster to Ukraine’s Channel 1 to comment on the holy martyrdom of Bandera http://3s.tv/programs/shuster-live-21-janvarja-2011/ . The clip is 3 hours long, and I don’t have the patience to locate his Chrysostomos-like performance mid-way.

        • yalensis says:

          Upon further research, it turns out some Greek guy named Aeschylus wrote a play about Orestes. Here is a visual approximation of what he looks like, without his mask on, when he’s not out drinking with his friends in the Mafia Bar or hiding out in the bathroom of the Dnipro Hotel.

  43. marknesop says:

    In other news, the French government got wiped out today as the Socialists were driven into the weeds. The Prime Minister resigned, although Hollande’s unpopularity likely had as much to do with the thrashing as anything else (although he himself is not up for dismissal at present), while Marine Le Pen’s far-right Front Nationale party took 11 towns and the 7th district of Marseille.

    • KenM says:

      Utterly bizarre that a character like Hollande can call himself a socialist. Language has utterly lost it’s meaning for the Western elite, the media & the chattering class.
      PS. Congrats to Le Pen. Might not agree with some of her positions, but she looks light years beyond a corrupt incompetent like Hollande.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, it’s a mystery how he bamboozled the French electorate into thinking he was a wise leadership choice – I suppose it was simply Sarkozy fatigue, and it’s never a good idea to congratulate yourself too much when you are elected over a singularly unpopular incumbent, since it suggests a baboon might have had a reasonable chance of success. I’m afraid I disliked Hollande immediately because of his conformist-European stance on Russia.

        • Jen says:

          It most likely was a case of Sarkozy and Carla Bruni playing her guitar fatigue. The French should have known what sort of character Hollande was once he became leader of the Socialists and his living arrangements with Segolene Royal and Valerie Trierweiler became known. Now he’s calling quits on his marriage to Trierweiler after his affair with Julie Gayet became public.

  44. yalensis says:

    More news on situation of Crimean Tatars:

    Rustam Minikhanov, leader of Russian Tatarstan, met with Putin yesterday and requested that the same rehabilitation be applied to Crimean Tatars that was applied to Russian Tatars.
    Minikhanov has been travelling around Crimea meeting with the local Tatars, who are cousins to the Russian Tatars. Minikhanov is the man with a plan to integrate Crimean Tatars into the Russian Federation, and at the same time wean them away from their erstwhile Orange allies.

    When Yeltsin came to power, various anti-Communist decrees were issued condemning Stalinist repressions, including the repression and exile of Tatars from Crimea. In 1991 was passed a law “On the rehabilitation of repressed peoples”. This law apparently applied to regular Tatars, but not to Crimean Tatars. (Because the latter were now part of Ukraine.)

    So, up until now the Crimean Tatars have been living in somewhat uneasy status, depending more on Ukrainian government goodwill towards them. They felt somewhat comfortable with the Banderites, who coddled them if they expressed anti-Russian views. (As in “Oh, look how terrible we were repressed in Stalinist times!”) Nonetheless, they still did not have a defined status as a fully legitimate ethnic minority within Crimea. As a community they weren’t even 100% sure that they were fully kosher and couldn’t be deported again.

    Now that Crimean is part of Russia, the local Tatars got more nervous and felt the need to have their status codified. So, the thought is that Russia can include them in the general amnesty, declare them to be a repressed people from 70 years ago, and then rehabilitate them.

    [yalensis: Even though the "repressed people" thing is just Yeltsinite B.S., because the ancestors of the Tatars actually DID collaborate with Nazis, but never mind, let's all just make nice and forget about that. Tell them they were unfairly repressed, give them some reparations, rehabilitate them, everybody make nice, let bygones be bygones, and everybody breathe a sigh of relief. It's win-win.]

    So anyhow, Minikhanov urged Putin to do this, saying it would really give Crimean Tatars a morale boost and help them get over their 5 stages of grief, what just happened in Crimea. Minikhanov told Putin that the Crimean Tatars want to meet with him (Putin) and lay out to him their vision of the future for their people. They need to have their residence (in the peninsula) formally legalized, and not just at the whim of whoever happens to be the ruling ethnos, be it Ukrainians, or Russians.

    They also want money and investment in infrastructure.

    Putin’s response to Minikhanov’s initiative:

    “Обязательно поручу все это проработать, все вопросы, все три”, — ответил Путин. Президент также предложил Минниханову присоединиться к совместной работе юридических служб, администрации президента и Госдумы по законодательным актам.

    “Without a doubt I will assign (somebody) to work through all of this, all of these three issues,” Putin responded. The president also proposed to Minikhanov to join the committee which is working this out, along with legal specialists from the presidential administration and the legislature.

    • Fern says:

      It’s a sensible way to go. Disaffected Crimean Tatars are obviously likely candidates for the role of Trojan Horse – I’ve no doubt friend-and-NATO-ally Turkey has already been busy developing a jihadi frequent flyer programme for the peninsula. Every democracy-building, freedom-loving, free-market-worshipping NGO that Washington can muster will be thrown at Crimea so it makes sense to ensure that as many Tatars as possible are on board from the get-go. I would have liked to have seen some sort of resettlement package on offer to those in Crimea, both Ukrainians and Tatars, who are opposed to recent events so that they could relocate to Ukraine without suffering too much personal loss.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The line the Grauniad russophobes give is “there’s a large minority that didn’t vote to join Russia”.

        They never say how large and how they know this and, more pointedly, they conveniently seem to forget that “democracy” means the majority decision rules.

        This is hard for liberasts to swallow, because individual freedom for them means “fuck the rest – I do what I want!”

      • KenM says:

        The Republic of Tatarstan is a real economic powerhouse in Russia – excellent living standards, high level of industrialisation, and Tatars have their own language recognised along with many Tatars in high positions in Government & industry.
        For the West to be harping on about repression compared to their own treatment of minorities is farcical.

  45. Al says:

    FYI, new Mozilla CEO is under attack because he donated $1,000 to an organization that lobbied for California’s Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage in 2008. This story has snowballed. 3 of Mozilla’s board members have resigned.

    http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2336520/mozilla-defends-ceo-over-homophobic-claims

    Is this just part of the slippery slope that is the cull of anyone with un-PC views or a different opinion? As they have repeatedly said over at sp!ked, it is only free speech for people who agree with you?

    The OK cupid website has asked its users to consider another browser! These kinds of people are nuts. Don’t interfere with us but will will interfere with you.

    • marknesop says:

      That is just the sort of bullshit that turns my teeth sideways. I use Firefox, and now I’m going to use it twice as much – I will do searches for stuff I’m not even interested in. “Advocates for inequality and hate”; did you ever hear such foolishness? If you ain’t for us, then you’re agin’ us. The demand that he immediately make a statement in support of marriage equality is outrageous, and those who are pressuring him would denounce him as a hypocrite if he did it, and petition for his removal on those grounds.

      However, it is nice in a backhanded way to see my prediction vindicated that unconditional support for homosexuals solely for the purpose of using them as a blunt instrument to hammer Putin and try to force a boycott of the Sochi Games was going to come home to roost in the countries that started the controversy. Most unfortunate for Firefox’s CEO, but otherwise it serves them right because this is exactly what they asked for – out of control, over-the-top gay activism.

      If I were that guy, I would hack their site and have it automatically redirect to a kiddie-porn association.

      • Al says:

        If users like Chrome but not Google they should use Opera based on the open source Chromium before it gets googlecized. Opera used to make a great browser before they killed it and were reborn with Chromium but the new one will make up the great features again, eventually.

      • Al says:

        FYI & follow up.

        OK Cupid backed down and “..did get some criticisms, notably from homosexuals in the IT industry..”

        http://www.theinquirer.net/inquirer/news/2336520/mozilla-defends-ceo-over-homophobic-claims

        But then he resigned anyway!

        http://techcrunch.com/2014/04/03/brendan-eich-resigns-as-mozilla-ceo-following-criticism-of-his-support-for-prop-8/

        “..Recent Mozilla CEO pick Brendan Eich is no longer CEO, according to a new blog post from Mozilla itself (via Re/code). The post, penned by Mozilla’s Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker, explains that the company felt it didn’t “move fast enough” to properly address the issues the community had with Eich as they arose, and resolved to “do better.” Eich stepping down is described as his own decision, in order to help Mozilla and its community…”

        Rather looks like he was forced out. So, another scalp claimed. So if you do not agree with gay marriage or have opinions contrary, are you supposed to keep quiet or not have any view (lie) to keep your career safe? What a curious reversal of roles with the extremist wing of the LBGT crowd now relentlessly hounding those who don’t agree with them, even if those people have not acted in any discriminatory way! It’s Thought Police.

        • marknesop says:

          Wonderful. Cupid mentioned in its list of demands that he could assuage his guilt by making a supportive statement in favour of gay marriage, but he would still have been forever guilty of thoughtcrime. Enjoy your brave new ultra-gay world, western democracies. If you think it doesn’t have consequences, check this out.

          http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/27/oregon-mom-gay-son-murder_n_5044807.html

          I realize this happened in 2012, before the Gay Wars of 2013, but the issue has become more polarizing, not less. One way or the other, there is going to be an epitaph – either gay rights will win and you will have to consider how anything you are about to say or do will be regarded in a homosexual context, or it will be driven back underground. Either way, we will not be able to go back to where it was generally accepted by the majority so long as it was not militant on the part of the minority. And that epitaph will read, “Tolerance Was Not Enough”.

          • Al says:

            It’s positively Stalinist (& McCarthyite). Renouncing your views even if you do not believe it to save yourself.

            http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9247429/Controversial_Mozilla_CEO_Brendan_Eich_resigns_

            “…but the pressure mounted as the news went mainstream, as an online petition calling for Eich to renounce his views or face dismissal accumulated more than 70,000 signatures,…”

            What’s next, pre-filtering at job interviews? Well, everyone lies at job interviews so no real biggie but this is seriously crazy.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, you kid, but consider that U.S. presidential candidates already have to talk the talk on Israel before they are considered seriously for office, and while it would be stretching it to suggest nobody who was not pro-Israel could get elected, I think it’s fair to say significant stumbling-blocks would be placed in such a candidate’s path to the campaign that he or she would drop out.

              Look at the percentage of the global population Israel makes up. Is it really so hard to imagine the militant gay-rights movement could achieve influence out of all proportion to its numbers? Providing it never crosses Big Business, that is. And even at that, so long as it only butts heads at the Company level, it can get away with it. You can imagine, for instance, the glee with which Microsoft viewed Mozilla’s troubles.

  46. Fern says:

    This is an interesting snippet. In Russia, Chernobyl nuclear disaster veterans will receive additional compensation starting in April and many more will be designated as veterans following a decision by Russia’s Constitutional Court. In Ukraine, however, the IMF has long had money paid to those affected by Chernobyl within its sights, wanting to end what it sees as a blanket payment to all irrespective of need. It may just be an accident of timing but it looks awfully like Russia is saying “hey, you’d have been MUCH better off with us”.

  47. Al says:

    From SP!ked: Ukraine: another fine mess EU’ve gotten us into

    http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/ukraine-another-fine-mess-euve-gotten-us-into/14844

    “…According to one source who was present at the meeting: ‘Van Rompuy told Putin that the EU was not playing geopolitics with Ukraine, the Maidan protests and the association agreement [with Russia]. Putin asked him if signing the agreement would be “a step to EU membership”. “Yes, Ukraine can have a European perspective if it chooses”, replied Van Rompuy. “Does that mean you think Ukraine would join NATO?”, asked Putin. “Yes, that could well be part of the process”, replied Van Rompuy. “Then that is playing geopolitics”, replied the Russian leader. “No, we do not do geopolitics”, insisted Van Rompuy. Barroso added that the EU was opposed to a bloc-against-bloc view of the world. Putin was not impressed: “It’s geopolitics”, he said.’…”

    • Al says:

      These EU bureaucrats are in fact part of the West’s plausible deniability of fiddling in the Ukraine and do nothing without the agreement of EU foreign ministers who actually run EU foreign policy. How convenient it is to blame Brussels.

      Did they honestly think that they would fool Putin that it is a bunch on naive Brussels bureaucrats behind the mess? The article’s author, Bruno Waterfield, always looks for ways to blame Brussels regardless of who is truly to blame, but with this in mind, his articles are useful.

  48. Fern says:

    Here’s another interesting bit of news. Sergey Lavrov has announced that Russia plans to switch to more targeted assistance for foreign states and has given the barest hint, just a slight smidgeon of a suggestion, that Russia may well cut back on or pull out altogether from international ‘donors’ such as the IMF and the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
    http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_04_01/Russia-plans-to-switch-to-more-targeted-assistance-for-foreign-states-Lavrov-4436/

    The world has long needed a genuine Development Bank that actually helps develop countries with job and wealth creation (for the citizens of the country) as goals. Just a warning from history – both Saddam Hussein and Colonel Gaddafi had similar ideas – using their oil wealth to help other countries develop outside the western proscribed path and neither, of course, are still around.

    • marknesop says:

      “[S]upport for international development frequently becomes a kind of “soft power”, which may be used by a certain country to pursue its interests” really is suggestive, isn’t it?

  49. Al says:

    DW: Germany, France, Poland call for new EU approach to eastern neighbors

    The foreign ministers of Germany, France and Poland say eastern neighbors of the EU should not have to choose between Moscow and Brussels. The call is a response to the crisis in Ukraine.

    http://www.dw.de/germany-france-poland-call-for-new-eu-approach-to-eastern-neighbors/a-17534667?maca=en-rss-en-all-1573-rdf
    -

    A mea culpa if I’ve ever seen one. Too little, too late. Their gambit failed and they now realize that the costs to be borne will be immense so they are expecting Russia to continue the subsidies regardless. This is only a pause until they see the opportunity to try again.

    • marknesop says:

      Watch as German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter (parents couldn’t make up their minds, I guess) Steinmeier reels off how far we are from World War I, the start of World War II, the end of World War II and the end of the Cold War and uses those statistics as a springboard to suggest that we have passed the point where “border corrections which could develop into new conflicts” are acceptable.

      http://news.ca.msn.com/canada/video/?videoid=4a40c330-2296-4e57-88a9-f8fb9ee95d2e

      Unfortunately for Russia – Ohhhh….too bad – we just passed that point, because in 2008 we were still doing it. But that was OK, because the International Court of Justice (the principal judicial body of the United Nations) ruled that it did not contravene international law.

      http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/322726/Kosovo

      Something that should give NATO pause – as a combination of factors appears to have done; I note that this broadcast reports that there is general (if not official) recognition that Crimea is now under Russian control – would be that if it were OK for Ukraine to take Crimea back by force after a unilateral declaration of independence, it would be just as OK for Serbia to re-take Kosovo and it would be just as irresponsible for NATO to interfere in either action.

      Also, I seem to remember a time not so long ago when the Weiner Triangle were all about forcing Ukraine to choose between Russia and the EU, and it was the EU – supported by the Weiner Triangle – which made it clear that Ukraine could not choose to be part of both the EU and the EuraU. That kind of seems like a “rigid decision” to me. In that light, I agree it’s hard to view this as anything other than an admission of failure. Unfortunately, that’s all it is, and the statement which evolves out of it seems to be “We failed, but we should get what we wanted anyway”.

    • yalensis says:

      “We perhaps underestimated how Russia would react…”

      No shit, Sherlock!

  50. KenM says:

    A couple of very important pieces of news that have relevance:

    This is the big one – “Bank of England agrees Chinese London currency clearing hub”
    http://www.bbc.com/news/business-26750990
    A big nail in the coffin of dollar hegemony…

    Another one – “Russia’s Gold Ruble Payments System Delinked from Dollar?
    …Russia announces that it will sell (and buy) products and commodities – including oil – in rubles rather than in dollars. The move is towards the development of bilateral…
    … In fact, the officials are very clear on their intention to punish the western speculators that have been looting their country for a long time:

    “Russia, at its present stage of development, should not be dependent on foreign currencies; its internal resources will make its own economy invulnerable to political wheeler dealers.”

    This is only the first step, declared Andrei Kostin, the president of VTB, another bank previously sanctioned:
    “We have been moving towards wider use of the Russian rouble as the currency of settlement for a long time. The ruble became fully convertible quite a long time ago. Unfortunately, we have seen predominantly negative consequences of this step so far revealed in the outflow of capital from this country. The influx of foreign investments into Russia has been speculative and considerably destabilizing to our stock markets.”

    According to Itar-Tass, Kostin was very precise and concrete:
    “Russia should sell domestic products – from weapons to gas and oil – abroad for roubles and buy foreign goods also for rubles….Only then are we going to use the advantages of the rouble being a foreign currency in full measure.”

    Putin himself lobbied for the new siystem in meetings with members of the Upper House of the Duma, the parliament, on March 28, overcoming the last doubts and indecisions: “
    “Why do we not do this? This definitely should be done, we need to protect our interests, and we will do it. These systems work, and work very successfully in such countries as Japan and China. They originally started as exclusively national [systems] confined to their own market and territory and their own population, but have gradually become more and more popular…”
    —-

    And yet another milestone – an actual reporter was found actually reporting in the MSM!!!
    “Tour of Ukraine-Russia Border Finds No Signs of Military Buildup – By Jim Maceda
    http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/ukraine-crisis/tour-ukraine-russia-border-finds-no-signs-military-buildup-n67336
    Apparently a reporter actually did the bloody obvious and drove up & down the Russian-Ukrainian border to see for himself these ‘massive buildups of Russian military forces’.
    He couldn’t find any and then he honestly reported the trip!
    I’m quite genuinely shocked…

      • marknesop says:

        Extremely interesting information, Ken. I am reminded again of Adomanis’s laughter at the thought that Russia could ever hurt the might American economy. The consensus, simply explained, is that indeed it could, because since Nixon took the dollar off the gold standard and it became a fiat currency, its real strength resides in its evolution as the “petrodollar”; the currency in which all energy transactions are conducted. Losing the world reserve currency status is important, because although the dollar would still be a very important currency and the USA would still likely have special drawing rights, they would lose the ability to simply print more money to service their own debt.

        Some sites, such as Forbes – I have pointed this one out before – insist the petrodollar is a myth, and that you do not need to own dollars to trade in oil. But the same article points out that 30% of the U.S. debt is owned by foreign countries in the currency reserves. Why do other countries hold on to large reserves of dollars if it is not to purchase energy futures? The other most likely expenditure of reserves is to shore up one’s own currency – in the event of sanctions, for example.

        http://www.forbes.com/sites/billconerly/2013/10/25/future-of-the-dollar-as-world-reserve-currency/

        Several commenters challenged the assertion that only having to own dollars “for a millisecond” is itself irrelevant; that the fact a currency conversion must be done at all constitutes the power base of the dolar, and that direct transactions not requiring conversion would take huge numbers of dollars out of circulation, and I am inclined to agree with their reasoning. Direct transactions specifically excluding the dollar would be a step further again.

        Others warn that the time to man the lifeboats will be if OPEC shifts away from the dollar. And a couple of factors point to that being a real possibility; one, the Saudis are pissed at the USA, although that is because they believe it allowed itself to get taken to the woodshed on the issue of Syria, but although that does not in any way argue in Russia’s favour (the Saudi Royals do not care much for Russia), it makes a powerful statement about the USA’s former swaggering about the world doing as it pleased, unchallenged. That sort of influence is what the Saudis think they are getting out of their cuddling with the USA, as witnessed by their offer to pay the USA’s costs if it would only obliterate Syria.

        http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2411806/Offer-table-Arab-countries-pay-scale-U-S-invasion-Syria-says-Secretary-State-John-Kerry.html

        If that kind of playground-bully clout is gone, well, friendship is fine but we have to think about interests, right? Which leads me to the second reason OPEC might kick over the apple cart – China has surpassed the USA as the world’s largest consumer of oil. And, like in union battles, the smaller you are, the less bargaining power you have.

        http://www.infowars.com/the-real-reason-for-saudi-arabias-shift-away-from-u-s/

        Western media pundits constantly yap about Russia’s over-reliance on energy, but you’d be hard-put to substantiate it being more dependent on oil for its wealth than Saudi Arabia is.

        http://www.infowars.com/the-real-reason-for-saudi-arabias-shift-away-from-u-s/

        There has been talk for decades about a decisive move against the dollar, but my favourite collector’s item comes from back in 2007.

        http://www.businessweek.com/stories/2007-11-20/will-opec-dump-the-dollar-businessweek-business-news-stock-market-and-financial-advice

        “The obstacles [to dumping the dollar] are overwhelming” claimed energy economist Edward Morse…from Lehman Brothers, who was out of a job himself only a year later when Lehman Brothers augered itself into the ground under a load of bad debt.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/6173145/The-collapse-of-Lehman-Brothers.html

        Interestingly, Soros threw millions into Lehman stock the day before to try to prevent the collapse.

      • yalensis says:

        Once again, Putin has played Obama like a violin!
        According to that piece, Putin has been waiting patiently since 2007, just watching and waiting for a pretext to put his plan into action. (To trade oil for rubles instead of dollars.)
        And that fool Obama just handed him the pretext on a silver platter.

        This will ruin the American dollar.
        Once Wall Street realizes what has gone down, they will go ape-shit!

      • Hunter says:

        Hmm….I dunno. Abandoning the dollar as payment for oil doesn’t seem to be in the interest of the Russian government (or more specifically the Russian ministry of finance). Here’s why:

        Currently Russia obtains US dollars (or in a few cases euros) for its oil and gas exports. Russia can then use these dollars to purchase foreign goods and to provide foreign currency reserves to the central bank and commercial banks (for example any commercial bank with which Gazprom does business). These foreign currency reserves allow private Russian businesses to obtain these dollars to purchase necessary imports in exchange for rubles being given to the banks in return.

        But now with the recent depreciation of the Russian ruble, imports have become more expensive (and so any unnecessary imports will probably be discouraged BUT on the flip-side, necessary imports will become more expensive) and Russian exports have become cheaper (provided the private exporters have not raised their price to match the depreciation of the ruble). However, not all Russian exports have become cheaper. Some Russian non-energy exports (i.e. not oil and gas exports or exports derived from those two products) have become cheaper (if they are normally priced in rubles) but Russian gas and oil exports would retain the same US dollar price. Only now Russian gas and oil would be getting more rubles for the US dollars they in turn obtained as a result of the sale of oil and gas. In the case of state-owned companies it means the public coffers of Russia will see increased revenue simply from the depreciation alone.

        So IF Russian exporters normally price their goods in rubles and IF those exporters haven’t raised their prices to match the depreciation then Russia would be entering a win-win-win situation IF it was that Russia aimed to limit imports, boost exports and boost the revenue obtained from exports: the depreciation would discourage imports and make the price of Russian non-oil and gas exports more competitive in terms of pricing AND Russia’s government would see increased revenue in rubles from the sale of oil and gas even if the price of oil and gas remains unchanged in US dollar terms.

        Sticking with the dollar but making noises about possibly abandoning it might actually be what Russian officials are doing so as to ensure they can get that win-win-win scenario described above AND give certain people in the western world a scare AND test the waters for support for alternatives to the Dollar System…….

  51. Al says:

    Two Bulgaria related stories:

    Reuters: Exclusive – Bulgarian nationalists may topple government over Russia sanctions

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/exclusive-bulgarian-nationalists-may-topple-government-over-russia-153431198.html

    “…Bulgarian leaders’ position in relation to the Ukraine crisis is especially precarious. On the one hand, the country has pushed for closer ties with the EU bloc, which it joined seven years ago. On the other hand, it is almost entirely dependent on Russian energy supplies, and many Bulgarians feel a deep affinity for their giant neighbour across the Black Sea…

    …The Socialist party is a direct descendant of the communists who governed Bulgaria before the fall of the Berlin Wall, when the country was seen as Moscow’s most pliable ally. Many of its core supporters are pro-Russia…”

    Being NATO and the EU causes problems itself.

    &

    Reuters: Bulgaria wary as Russia steps up military flights over Black Sea

    https://uk.news.yahoo.com/bulgaria-wary-russia-steps-military-flights-over-black-165951374–sector.html

    “SOFIA (Reuters) – Bulgaria has put on high alert or deployed its air force about 30 times in two months in response to a recent spike in Russian military aircraft flying near its aerial borders on the Black Sea, its defence minister said on Tuesday….

    …At the moment, one Russian air plane forces the take-off of two Romanian, two Bulgarian and one Turkish planes. This is quite ineffective,” Plevneliev said….”

    It looks like Russia is deliberately stretching NATO partners to show that being in the club is not as cheap or safe as they think it is and that Russia, depending on how it is feeling that day, can send planes whenever it wants and NATO countries will have to respond.

    I think that the Russian strategy is deliberately to force NATO to spend significantly more money ‘just in case’ and stretching the resources of of their poor eastern members which also imposes much bigger costs on other countries. Russia may be selectively punished by economic sanctions, but it can hit back by costing the West militarily. It only needs to do a few flights or move tanks to and from the border and NATO has to use expensive resources regardless of the intent.

    • cartman says:

      Bulgaria never had a referendum to join NATO because the voters would have rejected it. NATO needed them to close airspace to the Russian military during the Kosovo War.

  52. Warren says:

    Published on 30 Mar 2014
    Derek Monroe – The Ukrainian far right, backed by local oligarchs, the US and the EU – hijacked the peaceful protest against corruption

  53. yalensis says:

    More news on Crimean Tatars:

    Wow, they are really getting with the program.
    The Tatars are becoming valued team players in this new, exciting project called Crimea!

    They have a totally positive attitude. !

    To be more specific, the mejlis (which used to be pro-Orange Kiev) has made a turn of 180 degrees and announced it wants to cooperate with Russian authorities. It wants to send its quota of 2 delegates into the new Crimean government.

    This all came about yesterday (Tuesday — things are moving very quickly nowadays), when the leader of the mejlis, Refat Chubarov, announced that he wanted to cooperate with the new authorities in Crimea. Mejlis is appointing 2 delegates to Crimean parliament, their names are Lenur Islamov and Zaur Smirnov. This is part of the new quota system: Tatars will get a guaranteed quota of delegates in government of Crimean autonomy.

    The turning point was when Crimean Tatars got some major sugar from Moscow. There is a deal in the works (broked by Mr. Mini-Khanov) to declare them a “repressed” people and then rehabiliate them and give them some money for reparations, plus a quota in the government.

    Hey, whatever works to make peace and can’t we all just get along?

    P.S. I love it! This will drive NATO crazy, because they had pinned their hopes on Tatar leaders declaring jihad against Russia. Once again, Russia outsmarted them.

    • marknesop says:

      Russia could put the cap on it by pointing out that the flagship of the Ukrainian Navy, the HETMAN SAHAIDACHNY, is named for Petro Konashevych-Sahaidachny, Hetman (civic, political and military leader) of the Zaphorozian Cossacks, whom he led against the Crimean Tatars and the Turks.

    • marknesop says:

      The entire Crimean peninsula will be one big Easter-egg basket of soft power. This is how the EU enticed former Soviet satellites away – by offering the seductive promise of a better life, good jobs, security. There is no reason the same mojo will not work for Russia in Ukraine, especially the east. If the hope of escaping EU austerity is not enough for eastern Ukrainians to demand federalization and a closer association with Russia, then Russia could strip it bare of inhabitants.

      Which reminds me – 2014 is going to be a good year for Russian demographics! How many new citizens did the Russian Federation just gain? About 2 million?

  54. Warren says:

    1) Tetiana Chornovol is a fanatic!
    2) Oleh Lyashko is a publicity seeker!

    • marknesop says:

      Pity they would not just militarize Right Sektor, give them uniforms and personal weapons and maybe some light infantry fighting vehicles and send them down the road to take Crimea back. Not one would return, and Ukraine would be well shut of them.

  55. marknesop says:

    According to Ari Rusila’s “BalkanBlog”, Transdniestria’s Supreme Soviet has sent an official request to Moscow, asking to be allowed to join the Russian Federation. Talks within the 5+2 format (Russia, Moldova, Transdniestria, Ukraine, the OSCE and observers from the EU and the US) are scheduled for 10-11 April 2014.

  56. Moscow Exile says:

    Interfax: 04/01 23:21 Rheinmetall AG will comply with contract on building combat training center in Russia – CEO

    Sanctions?

    What sanctions?

    • marknesop says:

      Interesting. Rheinmetall AG builds our new MASS (Multi-Ammunition Softkill System; “soft kill” is an expression which refers to the destruction of any homing weapon which is seduced away from its target by a decoy rather than being shot down by gunfire or an anti-missile missile, which is a “hard kill”) for the frigate upgrade; they’re reckoned to have a very good reputation for quality technology.

      There are a lot of defense companies out there and new startups every year or two, and they’re all scrambling for market share against the giants like Lockheed-Martin and General Dynamics. The notion of sanctions against a customer who pays on time must be ludicrous to them (defense companies being among the less scrupulous of occupations).

  57. Hunter says:

    So apparently we shouldn’t expect to see the results of any survey polls on federalization in Ukraine from the KIIS anytime soon…:

    http://www.dw.de/would-a-federal-ukraine-be-viable/a-17404541

    Quote: “How the population would react to a federalization of Ukraine is also unclear. Sociologists have avoided carrying out surveys, in order to “let sleeping dogs lie,” as Volodymyr Paniotto, director of the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, put it. There are therefore no numbers available.

    So the director of the KIIS admits that surveys on the topic have not been carried out in order to “let sleeping dogs lie”. That’s not sounding like an unbiased or neutral sociological institute since such an institute shouldn’t care if the surveys themselves stir up opinion in favour of federalism. It’s basically an admission that they don’t want to publish any results on the issue and that the KIIS seems to be very satisfied with the status quo.

    ——————————————————————————-

    Also, it occurred to me that the announced 50% hike in the price that Ukrainians will have to pay for gas at home might only be partly due to the IMF pushing for a gradual removal of the subsidies. A larger factor behind the government doing this might be the devaluation of the Ukrainian hryvnia over the recent weeks. Ukraine’s hryvnia has gone from around 8.24 to the US dollar in November and December to around 11.07 to the US dollar at the time of the announced 50% hike and 11.22 to the US dollar now (well, that’s the National Bank of Ukraine’s average; the National Bank of Ukraine puts the weighted average to purchase US dollars in exchange for hryvnia at 11.53 and the weighted average to obtain hryvni in exchange for dollars at 11.02).

    So by the time the announcement was made for the hike in late March the Hryvnia had devalued by 34% (it has now devalued 39.9% since November/December 2013). This would have made Naftogaz suffer even more losses because it has to pay for gas imports in dollars and it receives payments for household gas usage from Ukrainians in hryvni. So whereas in November/December Ukrainians were only paying on average a quarter of what it really cost for the gas (for example’s sake, let us say they were paying US$100 worth or UAH 824), by the time of the announcement they would have still been paying the same price in hryvni (UAH 824) but this would now only be worth US$74.43. Thus instead of paying a quarter of the real cost for fuel, they would (by late March) have only been paying less than a fifth (actually around 18-19%) of the real cost of the fuel.

    This 50% hike in household gas prices would mean Ukrainians would once again be paying around a quarter of the price of the gas (so only moving a few inches beyond being back at square one). So instead of paying 25% of the cost they would have been paying perhaps 27-28% of the costs at the exchange rate at the time of the announcement but only 26-27% of the costs at the most recent exchange rates.

    This might mean that in the future we may not see Ukraine adhering to the IMF recommendations of removing the subsidies as Ukraine instead may end up playing a game of catch-up to the UAH:USD exchange rate just so that the current rate of pay (a quarter of the price) can be kept up with. Actually pushing through with the planned removal of the subsidies would probably require more drastic price hikes to take into account the depreciation of the local currency and to move substantially beyond that…..

    • marknesop says:

      If they do not adhere to the terms of the fiscal reforms that they will sign, the IMF will not hesitate to freeze further payments – they did it to Yushchenko, and the west loved Yushchenko, Orange Revolution and all that. Over exactly the same issue too: he would not take any meaningful action toward reducing/eliminating the gas subsidy. Ha. ha!! where’s your “tools of coercion” now, Jay Carney??? But that’s not coercion; no, of course not. That’s just “expecting your partner to adhere to the terms of the deal they signed.”

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