Warning: Explicit Same-Sex Content. Fifteen and Under Welcome.

"What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the Pope and follow the Pope. It is not a reflection of all religious people."

“What the Pope thinks of being gay does not matter to the world. It matters to the people who like the Pope and follow the Pope. It is not a reflection of all religious people.”

The recent hysteria over Russia’s latest legal introduction, a law which forbids the imparting of “homosexual propaganda” to minors in Russia, has all the familiar holier-than-thou hallmarks of manufactured outrage, and it very likely is – the Anglosphere perceives that a distinct group – homosexuals – might be split off from Putin and pushed into arranging advocacy marches and protest actions based on the belief that the west supports their recognition. Then western media can run loving coverage of angry rainbow-haired protesters carrying signs with irreverent slogans and unflattering pictures of Putin, and inflate the numbers by the usual factor of three or so in the comforting knowledge that viewers can’t count, or don’t care as long as somebody is protesting Putin’s freedom-strangling authoritarian rule. If it wouldn’t be indelicate to mention it, this comes at just the right time for fans of such spectacles, since Russian protest actions are not only pretty thin on the ground, but starting to become poorly-attended and are essentially just going through the motions. The upcoming March of Dozens arranged by Left Front leader-under-house-arrest Sergei Udaltsov was offered Sakharovsky Prospekt, but turned it down on the grounds that the large venue would make the leanness of their numbers painfully obvious.

Well, what does the law actually say? Hard to tell, really, because it’s still in draft form, but it recommends administrative punishments (fines) for “promotion of homosexuality among children”. The article cited points out that changes need to be made to the bill which will either define “homosexual” or eliminate mention of it, and more closely define “homosexual propaganda”. Note that report was dated January 25th. Yet, today and in past weeks, the Anglospheric press continues to label it an “anti-gay” bill (Thanks, Mike, for the link). Various world policymakers are appalled at this outrageous trampling upon the face of human rights.

Among them is Catherine Ashton – Baroness Ashton of Upholland – High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy. She apparently shares with Dutch Foreign Minister Frans Timmermans the conviction that the bill “could infringe on fundamental rights”. Parroting Hillary Clinton, Timmermans insists, “gay rights are human rights. Discrimination against homosexuals is unacceptable”.

Well, people certainly are wound up about this. Maybe we better go back for a minute and see what they’re negotiating for. According to the article the bill, “makes public events and dissemination of information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community to minors punishable by fines of up to $16,000.”

I’d have to see the actual text of the law, but I don’t believe events were mentioned in it at all. I imagine what they’re talking about is gay pride parades, which indeed have had a tough time in Russia. But the European Union is taking on quite a task if it believes it can force Russia to allow gay pride parades. As far as “dissemination of information about the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community”, what sort of information would you say was suitable to be pitched to children 15 years old and under? Because that’s what we’re really talking about here. The age of consent for sexual activity, both heterosexual and homosexual, is 16 in Russia. People aged 16 and over are not minors, so what the EU’s busybodies are arguing for here is the right of the gay community to appeal for understanding to children aged 15 years and less.

I realize children are sexually aware very early these days, but how are you going to explain  gay sex to a 15-year-old in terms that do not describe the sex act? Is that appropriate, do you think, really? Are a lot of hate crimes against homosexuals in Russia committed by minors? Why the sudden determination and urgency to explain homosexuality in positive terms to schoolchildren? Have there been a lot of requests from Russian children for information on gay sex? You don’t think 16 is early enough? Because that’s perfectly legal.

Oftentimes representatives of the international community like to strut about in high dudgeon, and throw around words like “unacceptable” when they are totally unaware their own country is unacceptable by the same criteria. Let’s look, shall we? We’ll start with Baroness Ashton’s England.

Dissemination of sexually explicit material in the UK is regulated by the Obscene Publications Acts of 1959. A major consideration in what constitutes “obscenity” under the law is “whether publication was made to a child or the possibility that such publication would be likely to take place.” The meaning of “child” in this context is anyone 17 years of age or under, as described below; “[T]he Crown Prosecution Service will not normally advise proceedings in respect of material portraying the following:

  • actual consensual sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal)
  • oral sex
  • masturbation
  • mild bondage
  • simulated intercourse or buggery
  • fetishes which do not encourage physical abuse.

However….

The principal factors influencing whether a prosecution under section 2 is required are:

  • the degree and type of obscenity together with the form in which it is presented: for example the impact of the printed word will be less than the same activity shown in film or photograph;
  • the type and scale of any commercial venture should be taken into account;
  • whether publication was made to a child or vulnerable adult, or the possibility that such would be likely to take place;
  • where children are likely to access material of a degree of sexual explicitness equivalent to what is available to those aged 18 and above in a licensed sex shop, that material may be considered to be obscene and subject to prosecution. This applies to material which is not behind a suitable payment barrier or other accepted means of age verification, for example, material on the front page of pornography websites and non-commercial, user-generated material which is likely to be accessed by children and meets the threshold. see R v Perrin, [2002] EWCA Crim 747;
  • where publication took place, especially if material can be readily seen by the general public, for example in a newsagents or market, or websites easily accessible to children;

But homosexuality isn’t obscene, is it? No, it’s not. Not to adults. But apparently even scenes of consensual vaginal intercourse are or may be obscene in the UK if they are disseminated to a minor, which for the law’s purposes is a person aged less than 18 years. Lest you think that is an unacceptable discrimination against human rights, the European Court of Human Rights is quick to remind you that while those regulated by its laws have “freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers”… Article 10(2) goes on to say that, “the exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of … public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, protection of the reputation or rights of other …”

Oh, my. The exercise of freedom of expression in the UK, and indeed throughout the European Union, may be subject to conditions, restrictions or penalties for the protection of morals.

This is the same country that ordered experimental chemical castration for a winner of the Order of the British Empire, a code-breaker who worked on the algorithms to crack the German “Enigma” encoding machine. Alan Turing admitted having a sexual relationship with another man, and for that he was given chemical castration, lost his security clearance and then his job, and two years later killed himself. Because he was gay. But hold on – the British government formally apologized…55 years later.

Just a little over three years ago, the Queen’s butler, Robert Wilson, was demoted and made to take a cut in pay because he was caught cranking himself to images of gay porn. What the hell? Were there any minors about? No? Well, then, the appropriate action would have been to hand the man a tissue – there’s nothing wrong with gay sex, even if it’s only one gay man by himself – what’s the matter with you people? This is…this is…unacceptable!

I have to say, this is just a big downer so far. I’m looking forward to visiting Frans Timmermans’ Netherlands: we’ll surely find a non-stop celebration of homosexuality there. Well, the age of consent is 16, just like Russia – looking good so far. Goedemiddag; could you tell me where I could find some homosexuals? Thank you.

Oh, dear. According to the Toronto Sun, Amsterdam is the gay-bashing capital of Europe! How can that be? I thought the Dutch were so tolerant! Well, they are, actually – the rise in attacks against gays is mostly being blamed on immigrant Muslim youth. The University of Amsterdam recorded 201 incidents of violence against homosexuals in 2007, and researchers believe that is far, far below the actual figure, as it captures only reported incidents. In 2008, 10 Muslim youths broke into a fashion show, dragged gay model Michael du Pree off the stage and beat him bloody. In 2010, lesbians marching in a parade to protest violence against gays – in Amsterdam!!! – had beer bottles thrown at their heads. By beer-drinking Muslims, apparently. In 2009, the founder of Amsterdam’s gay pride parade was attacked. Where the hell was Frans Timmermans when all this was going on? He was State Secretary for European Affairs. Must have been a busy job, that didn’t allow him to get out much and mingle with the gay crowd. Or maybe that article was just a one-off. No, no; I’m afraid it’s not. If anything, the problem was worse in 2012 – a Dutch gay newspaper created a hotline to facilitate reporting of violence against the gay community, and it was overwhelmed with calls. Over 50% of Dutch gays polled reported they had been the victims of homophobic attacks or insults. Gay rights are human rights, Frans – this is fucking unacceptable!!!

The rest of the EU did not invite critical examination by shooting its mouth off or mouthing syrupy platitudes about gay rights in Russia, but since the plane’s still gassed up on the apron, what do you say we do a quick tour? Guten tag, Germany….Oh, oh; maybe we came at a bad time, but it appears the German government doesn’t have a clue what’s going on in its gay community – an inquiry by an opposition politician brought a ministerial response that the government has no knowledge of suicide statistics for homosexual youth, although the response itself referenced a 1999 government study which placed it at 18%. Germany’s suicide rate for gays is four times that of heterosexual youth, while another study commissioned by the ministry itself found gay migrant youths were more likely to suffer poor physical health than heterosexuals. Actually, that’s kind of a cheap shot, because that happened in 2010 – maybe things have improved. Mmmm…nope. In 2012, a new website purporting to be a Catholic site rapidly garnered a million page views, although it ranted about homosexuality and said of a recently-deceased actor that he would “burn in gay hell”. Nice. Come on, we don’t have time for a pretzel. Bonjour, France. Mmmm…a similar problem to the Netherlands, looks like; a clash between gay rights and the beliefs of Islamic immigrants, which is odd, because the Koran prescribes that Muslims shall respect the views and beliefs of others. Che piacere vederti, Italy! Wow; in what has to be an unusual situation, a security camera at one of Rome’s popular gay venues is connected round the clock to the police station, owing to violent attacks on gay Italians. Jak się masz, Poland? No better here, I’m afraid; three bills to legalize civil unions in Poland and grant gay partners limited legal rights did not pass the first reading. The article suggests many Poles do not support unions that cannot produce children.

I think we’d better wrap it up; we’re getting low on fuel, and I can only go so far on a couple of little foil pouches of peanuts. Let’s head home. Summarized in a single word, that was unacceptable.

Let’s be clear – homosexuals deserve the same rights as everyone else. However, homosexuality remains a socially-polarizing subject in most of the world, and no amount of legislation is going to make it popular. Nor should it – if you start giving a social group special rights, it only incurs resentment in the rest of the population. The best any group that is significantly different from the norm can expect is acceptance, courtesy and equality, and I believe gay activists are going to have to settle for that, in Russia and elsewhere, Lady Ashton’s neighing and Frans Timmerman’s timorous squeaking notwithstanding. I’ve read that all gays want in Russia – which is allegedly legislated out of their reach – is equal time in sex education for children. Sex education for children 15 and under, in school, is focused in the most general terms on arousal, impregnation, gestation and birth. Perhaps you can tell me what role you see for homosexuality in that sequence, after arousal? The purpose of sex education in schools is to teach children the very basics of sexual relationships, with a view to the role of parents in the family – I believe they can wait until 16 to learn the joys of something you do purely for your own pleasure, in which procreation has no part. Besides, sex education is not “promotion of homosexuality”, or there is certainly no room in sex education for that aim. I also read, in a somewhat hysterical bit of hyperbole from either a Russian opposition politician or a gay activist – I forget which – that in theory, “if two men were holding hands and a minor was present, they could be arrested”. In a country where men kiss each other on both cheeks? Come on.

I’m going to let apc27 – another in our steadily-growing collection of Alexes – take us out, because I couldn’t express it better than he did.

“I don’t think Western officialdom per se is concerned about homosexuals in Russia, but it does come under great pressure from its own internal gay lobbies and, anyway, is always ready to blame Russia for anything, no matter whether it’s true or not.

Russia does not have a problem with gay groups because its government and its people, in general, do have a sensible view on homosexuality. For them it is not a separate cultural phenomenon, something to be protected, cherished and even encouraged, as happens in the West. In Russia it is just a sexual preference, on par with other LEGAL sexual preferences like BDSM and such; a private matter and a private personal choice, not discussed in public.

Most people do not approve of homosexuality and do not want to see it popularized, but they also do not wish to take that choice away from gay people or see them punished for it. Public opinion has remained pretty much the same on this matter for a long time, yet somehow Western gay lobbies managed to convince themselves that Russia is the next great battleground on this issue… how it happened is quite frankly a mystery to me, when even some members of the West-worshiping liberal opposition, not to mention Communists, nationalists and United Russia, have been known to very vocally oppose pro-gay measures.”

Gay is OK. But it’s not special.

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850 Responses to Warning: Explicit Same-Sex Content. Fifteen and Under Welcome.

  1. kirill says:

    @Moscow Exile

    Regarding the west’s propaganda about Nord Ost, it even ran into TV shows such as NCIS where they claimed Russian authorities used *poison* gas in the theater. I never heard about the young woman you mentioned (as I was following the anglosphere media). The real bungling at Nord Ost was the delayed arrival of paramedics into the theater. Use of the anesthetic gas in a non-controlled environment meant that dosage could not be controlled and many of the victims suffocated because they were not revived fast enough. But I can see how the paramedics could not move in until there was assurance that no bomb would go off or no terrorists were still active.

    In the wake of this operation you had western pundits and presstitutes going on about how 25% of the hostages dying was grossly unacceptable and would *never* happen if western special forces were involved. Hostage rescue statistics clearly prove otherwise. This sort of sanctimony was not in evidence after the July 2011 rampage by nutbar Breivik. It took *hours* for the police to respond to the situation on the island as if they had no boats and helicopters. One policeman with a gun would have stopped or slowed down Breivik’s rampage and reduced the death count well below 77.

    The same sort of sick lying was also rampant about Beslan. The CBC was bleating about how Russian special forces bungled the attack on the school, when in fact they were forced to move in when the terrorists attempted to exterminate every hostage with bombs, grenades and machine guns and managed to save many lives. One of the special forces covered a terrorist grenade with his body and paid the highest price to save hostages.

    Getting back to TV show propaganda, I noticed this pattern during the cold war when TV dramas would peddle politics of the day via some cheesy representation of real world events. This clearly continues to this day. So it is not only the news that is used to condition the sheeple. All of the information space is a tool.

    I wonder, do Russian TV dramas do the same thing today?

    • PvMikhail says:

      And that’s the reason because I can’t watch an average american TV show without getting angry over these false propaganda lies…

  2. Andrei Lugovoi has now quit the Litvinenko inquest saying that because the Coroner will not allow him to see the evidence against him he cannot get a fair trial.

    http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/673616.html

    As I said previously, Lugovoi is absolutely right. The refusal of the British authorities to make the case against him public or to allow him to see the evidence against him so that he can prepare his defence makes any trial of him in Britain automatically unfair and indeed a mockery. As I have repeatedly said, the criticism and ridicule of the Magnitsky trial in Moscow (postponed again to give the defence lawyers the court has recently appointed more time to review the 60 volumes of evidence) is completely wrong. That trial is at least being carried out openly and in public. It is the Litvinenko proceedings in London that are the travesty. I would add that even if the Russian Constitution permitted Lugovoi’s extradition to Britain (which of course it doesn’t) the refusal of the British authorities to inform Lugovoi or the Russians of the nature of the case against him would have been reason enough to refuse to extradite him.

    Incidentally Lugovoi also makes the point that he was right all along and that Litvinenko was an agent of MI6. So far no evidence that has been made public has contradicted anything Lugovoi has said. As I said before, that is not true of Litvinenko’s widow, who has completely reversed herself about Litvinenko’s connections to British intelligence, and it is certainly not true of Berezovsky, Goldfarb, Tim Bell and the rest of the unholy crew that have latched onto the case.

  3. Robert says:

    Today’s Guardian has a interview with Oleg Gordievsky on how the evil KGB is spying on Britain.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/11/russian-spies-britain-oleg-gordievsky?INTCMP=SRCH

    Gordievsky’s hardly an impressve source he’s been out of it since the 1980s why would he know about the acitivities of the FSB in 2013? That said no doubt the FSB is doing its best to penetrate Londongrad; if it wasn’t it wouldn’t be doing its job especially given the way Beresovsky and his ilk have been using London as a base from which to subvert Russia.

    • Dear Robert,

      What you say about Gordievsky is of course absolutely right.

      My own cynical take on what has been happening over the last few weeks is that we have a concerted operation underway here to try to draw attention away from what has happened in the Litvinenko inquest. It is clear that the British government is not prepared to make public the evidence it has in the case. Rather than acknowledge the simple truth, which is that this makes a fair trial of Lugovoi and Kovtun impossible, we have had a farrago of preposterous commentary insinuating that this is all somehow Russia’s fault, that it has happened because of a British desire to “improve” relations with Russia and that Litvinenko’s widow has been “betrayed” (no mention of the far more negative repercussions for Lugovoi and Kovtun), when the reality is that Russia’s consistent position throughout the case is that it wants all the evidence to be made public and when it is the Russians and specifically Lugovoi and Kovtun who suffer from the decision to keep the evidence secret. Meanwhile the ancient warhorse Gordievsky is trundled out to send shivers down everyone’s collective spines with lurid talk of Russian spies, Russian poisoning of spies (including not just Litvinenko but it turns out Gordievsky himself) and Russian wickedness and brutality generally.

      • kirill says:

        If anything highlights the fact that Gordievsky was a real traitor and not some “dissident” it is this. Being used like some tool to bash Russia long after communism has disappeared. Even only a few real Brits would volunteer for this crap.

  4. marknesop says:

    And, in a from-fucking-in-public-in-the-museum-to-straight-reporter kind of feelgood story, Masha Gessen takes us through a saccharine visit by Porky Pete Verzilov and daughter Gera with Mummy the Convict. Gera – who cannot remember when she last saw her mother and refers to her as “Nadya” unless corrected – when asked who put her in prison, replies, “Putin”!!! A five-year-old child who does not even know her own mother believes the president of the country put her in prison. No coaching there, or anything.

    If there is a nastier piece of work than Masha Gessen, I’ve never heard about it.

    • Misha says:

      Way to go RBTH.

      Going “beyond the headlines”, in a certain way. Some noticeably more decent pieces there as well – an observation which nevertheless notices its overall tilt.

    • yalensis says:

      “A loss of freedom is when you lose the right to choose your own company. Andrei Tolokonnikov, Nadezhda’s father, has already spent a whole day and night in the company of his son-in-law Verzilov; he has almost another 24 hours to spend with him, and he is finding it difficult. ”

      Both Nadezhda and her father have no choice except to put up with Verzilov, because, as the putative biological father, he has possession of the child. There is nothing that Nadezhda can do about this situation until she gets out of jail. Until then, she must bide her time and play nice.

  5. yalensis says:

    On Browder-Magnitsky thread: Here is that NTV piece alluded to above, expose of Browder raider scheme.

    Fast-forwarding to 20 minutes in, here is the Stas Apetian/Politrash interview and the piece (exposed by kovane) about the corporate seals. I had not quite understood this bit before about the stamps, here is my understanding of it after re-watching the movie and trying to pay attention:

    When the heat was on, and sensing that the gig was up, Browder was forced to pay a huge tax bill as the price for escaping Russia. When he and his entourage fled to London in 2007 (following a police search of Firestone Duncan premises which, among other things, confiscated documents and corporate seals), Browder left Magnitsky behind in Russia. Presumably to clean up after the mess they had left behind. Browder was sick at heart about having to pay so many taxes, so he wanted Magnitsky to at least attempt to get a rebate.

    Magnitsky turned to his friend Gasanov and another guy named Korobeinikov for help in trying to get some tax rebates for Browder. In order to write official company letters, they needed to get the Firestone corporate seals back from the police. But the police had them in the evidence locker and wouldn’t cough them up. Hence, Magnitsky had duplicates made of the stamps so that he could write up some official documents.

    Later, Browder accused investigators of using the confiscated corporate seals in order to steal money from Hermitage.
    However, expertise (21:25 minutes in) of the stamps and inks shows that the seals used in this (scheme to defraud Hermitage) were the DUPLICATE stamps made by Magnitsky. Whoops!

    In the end, Magnitsky’s attempt to negotiate for Browder a tax rebate failed. Then everybody involved in the scheme started dying like flies. Magnitsky tried to flee to Europe, via Kiev, but he was nicked by Russian police. Then he died too.

    THE END.

    http://www.ntv.ru/novosti/505996/video/

    • marknesop says:

      Can you find any evidence at all that Magnitsky intended to flee through Kiev? I noted that kovane mentioned that before in his piece, but I have not been able to find any confirmation anywhere in English, and kovane didn’t have a reference for it either.

      • Dear Yalensis,

        This is a VERY interesting take on the Browder/Magnitsky imbroglio. I am not saying it is true (we don’t yet know that it is) but at least it is plausible and straightforward. Certainly it is a lot more straightforward than the Browder/Magnitsky account of Russian mafiosos, corrupt policemen and corporate raiders cunningly stealing company seals to use them for their own nefarious purposes. That always looked to me too complicated for real life. Wherever there is a choice between a simple account and a complicated one my instinct is always to prefer the simple account. Also the virtue of this explanation is that it should be possible to verify its truth through forensic tests of the impressions left by the seals. Of course if the forensic tests bear out this account Browder is going to say that the documents have been faked and are not the actual original documents with the original impressions from the original seals. What that will however do is add a further layer of complexity to his story. Anyway hopefully all will become clear at the trial.

        Incidentally I too have read somewhere that it was Magnitsky’s intention to flee via Kiev. Whilst I remember reading it in Kovane’s accounts I am sure I have also read it elsewhere.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          re. Magnitsky’s flight to Kiev

          From МИФЫ «ДЕЛА МАГНИТСКОГО» (Myths of the Magnitsky Case):

          Статус подозреваемого, который был у Магнитского, запрещал ему покидать Москву, однако Магнитский заказал билеты в Киев и сфотографировался в фотоателье, где на вопрос: «Какие фотографии ему нужны?» Магнитский ответил: «Фотографии для оформления визы».

          [Classed as a suspect, as Magnitsky was, he was forbidden to leave Moscow. Magnitsky, however, booked tickets to Kiev and had his pictures taken in a photographer’s, where, in answer to the question, “What kind of photos are needed?” Magnitsky replied: “Pictures for a visa”.]

          The above quoted sentences are situated above the Magnitsky visa photo in the linked article and below the embedded videos of the exploited invalids that figure in the case.

          The very first of the myths dealt with in the article is that of Magnitsky being a lawyer: his accountancy qualifications are shown.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            And there are typical comments from white-ribbonist types below the text, including one that says that it’s clear Kremlin propagandists are hard at work trying to distract attention from the fact that Magnitsky uncovered corruption in their “corrupt Kremlin lair” and was murdered in prison because of this; the idiot begins his harangue by confessing that he’s too lazy to check out the text and then offers no evidence for this accusation of murder, just the usual proof by assertion,

            Same as the mincing, slimy Verzilov does: “My wife was put in prison on Putin’s orders”.

            It’s true because he believes it to be true, so who needs evidence?

          • kirill says:

            Where are the vaunted investigative journalists in the west? Are there any left? Why does it take some bloggers to get to the truth. This business with the seals pretty much kills off any of the BS about Magnitsky being some sort of “whistleblower”. He was crook just like his boss.

            • Misha says:

              “Where are the vaunted investigative journalists in the west? Are there any left?”

              *****

              A previously expressed point that was answered by noting what views the decision makers prefer over others.

              Overall, investigative journalism has limits. This thought pertains to the biased against Russia slant and (to a good extent) the crony lavochka setting at venues which suggest an opposition to that tilt.

              Without meaning ot belittle life, dead journalists can rhetorically refer to the ones not permitted to make a living in journalism, much unlike Latynina, among some others. I wonder if she has to do things like drive a cab or waiter tables to support herself. Manhattan restaurants and those located elsewhere have a good share of talented people playing out of position from their talents.

              With these thoughts in mind, certain professions seem less corrupted. Note the “pressititute” term out there.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Latynina earns a few bob on the side writing novels: she’s churned out about 20 so far – all fiction of course, like much of her “journalism” is, I should imagine.

                Here’s her latest MT piece: “Warning for Putin in Chavez’s Hospital Stay” in which, amongst other things, the fantasist writes:

                “Take, for example, the well-known case of when President Vladimir Putin’s friend, who heads a huge state corporation, suffered from kidney stones. He decided to be a true patriot and seek treatment in Russia. Through his Kremlin connections, he instructed an elite hospital for state officials to purchase the latest equipment and then sent the doctors abroad for training on how to use it. The equipment was installed, the doctors returned home and the first operation on a human guinea pig was successful. Not surprisingly, the Russian doctors tore up his kidney along with the kidney stone, and the patient barely survived”.

                Now try as I might, I cannot find any reference to this above “well-known case” she writes of.

                Perhaps another contributor to this august site can help?

                • Misha says:

                  Suspect she didn’t pay for her gig in the US not so long ago.

                  As I think was mentioned before, several years ago, I had a face to face discussion with someone who at the time was a news executive for a major Russian based venue. I sense he came over to my place to give me a piece of his mind. (Physically, this person could rock my world several times over.) Afterwards, I unofficially heard back from his friend that he came to respect my positions as being against the kind of BS that’s out there.

                  This media person was quite frank in the off record telling of the rights and wrongs of the business he was in at the time. At one point, I brought up Latynina and the “freedom” point of having her on. He told me that she demands a noticeably higher than average fee, which knocks her out of appearing on a certain station and perhaps other stations.

                  I’ve no reason to second guess this claim. This media person seemed quite earnestly frank on a range of media issues.

            • yalensis says:

              Yes, if I am interpreting the NTV piece correctly, I believe they are alleging that Magnitsky had the duplicate set of seals made for a completely practical purpose, namely he needed to stamp some documents, and the originals were being held in police evidence. But then Magnitsky and his posse may have tried to use these duplicate seals later to do some other business on the side, maybe at Hermitage’s expense. Is that other people’s interpretation?

              • kirill says:

                The seizure of the seals implies that the operations of the company are frozen by legal order. Using duplicates to carry on company business is breaking the law in itself. Aside from any additional fraud perpetrated with these forged seals.

                • marknesop says:

                  Curious that you should mention that, because it was my impression as well. What would be the point of seizing seals if it were only a matter of getting some stamp company to make you up some more? Also, what are we to make of the allegation that the investigators offered to return the seals and that they were refused by employees of HCM?

                • kirill says:

                  I am sure there would be a legal paper trail. It is only in the anti-Russian propaganda narrative that the corrupt police does as it pleases (even in 3rd world corruption paradises there is at least some pretense of due process). So the allegation would only have merit if there was a court order restoring the suspended operations of the company. I don’t know enough about this to say anything. But it looks to me like Hermitage Capital went rogue and tried function regardless of court orders, it was game over for them anyway. So such claims appear to be standard excuses designed to feed the propaganda machine in the west. They don’t have any face value credibility.

          • marknesop says:

            Beautiful; that seems very definitive. Some of it is the same stuff kovane used as references in his post, but that’s the first time I’ve seen the diploma, which more or less puts the “lawyer” argument to bed. Sad to see – from the photo attached to the diploma – what a handsome young man he was once, with a bright future ahead of him in which everything was possible.

            I would point out here, for those who reacted with disdain and ridicule to the accounts of Magnitsky’s death, in which he allegedly appeared to fall into some kind of paranoid delusion and to struggle with medical staff, that it is considerably more believable than the adoptive mother’s account of Maksim Kuzmin’s death, yet any refusal to take that at face value is met with outrage.

            • kirill says:

              These double standards are just too rabid to be treated as merely some misunderstandings. There is a deep malice behind them. Such malice is usually associated with bigotry and racism. You have this phenomenon manifest itself during war time. The west is once again in an information war against Russia. Thankfully Russians are learning that the west is not out to bring them freedom and prosperity, but to rape their country like some banana republic. While the west did not really win the Cold War as the USSR collapsed from within, this time around it has no chance of winning at all.

              • Kirill is absolutely right. If the company seals were impounded then any activity by the companies is illegal and any fabrication or use of duplicate seals for whatever purpose is also illegal. Kevin Rothrock is also right that this is the key to the whole case. I actually found his editorial summary fair. Incidentally he says that Kovane has already mentioned the forensic tests that show that duplicate seals were used in the articles Kovane wrote for this blog. It is some time since I read those articles and I must now do so.

                What I think is new (and Kovane must forgive me if I am wrong and have forgotten some of what he said) is the suggestion that it was Magnitsky (and Firestone Duncan?) that fabricated the duplicate seals. That it seems to me opens up a very interesting possibility that no one so far as I know has considered. This is that if Browder did not know that Magnitsky had fabricated duplicate seals he might genuinely believe that the transactions with the companies were carried out using the original seals that the police had impounded. In that case Browder might honestly believe that the Russian authorities are guilty of a fraud that unknown to him was actually carried out whether in whole or in part by Magnitsky. Let me stress that this theory is at the moment no more than that ie. it is just a theory. There are obvious problems with it, which anyone can see. However I mention it as one possible explanation of what might have happened.

                As for Kevin Rothrock’s query about why the forensic examinations have not so far been made public, the short answer is because they are evidence in a Court case and should not be produced except to a Court. Here we have yet another reason why the much ridiculed Magnitsky trial that is happening in Moscow is absolutely necessary and in the public interest.

                • Misha says:

                  Re: “Last week, on March 6, 2013, the national television network NTV (notorious for producing sensationalist documentaries against the anti-Kremlin protest movement)”

                  ****

                  What’s not “fair” is how the source stating the above chooses to editorialize some venues unlike others.

                  We’re entitled to preferences. Global Voices are quite clear.

                • Misha says:

                  Re: http://globalvoicesonline.org/2012/12/23/prank-reveals-the-depths-of-anti-american-propaganda-in-russian-media/

                  Excerpt –

                  “Revealing something about the hierarchy of Russia’s media landscape, Sungorkin took his case to Margarita Simonyan, chief editor of the (largely anti-American, pro-Kremlin) RT (formerly ‘Russia Today’) television network.”

                  ****

                  From the source of the above excerpted, show me characterizations of The Moscow Times.

                  The above piece serves to what’s IMO a cogent point on how Tweet exchanges with the likes of Michael McFaul is perhaps taking attention away from more substantive issues that include improving RT as a better counter.

                  I prefer more prolonged give and takes of a substantive manner, minus sheer trolling.

                • yalensis says:

                  Dear Alexander:
                  It would have been helpful if NTV had published a printed transcript of their show (especially considering how explosive these allegations are), then I could have translated the transcript into English for you, but no such luck.
                  Instead, here is a partial summary/translation of just that portion of the video that alleges (no ambiguity) that it was Magnitsky himself who forged the duplicate seals:

                  19:20 – In Kalmykia, a criminal investigation against Browder ensues. Eight times an investigation is launched, and eight times the investigation is squelched. Finally Investigative Committee takes over. Browder is ever hopeful that he can come out of this ordeal smelling like a rose. He is so good-hearted that he even pays his taxes for 2006: to the tune of 11 billion rubles.
                  19:55 – Nonetheless, Hermitage and Firestone are subjected to police searches, in the course of which company documents and official seals are confiscated. There is talk of prosecution for tax fraud.
                  Alarmed, Browder along with his family and entourage evacuate and escape to London. He takes everybody with him. Except for Magnitsky.
                  20:30 – Why leave Magnitsky behind? According to one version, Browder is now kicking himself for paying the 11 billion rubles in back taxes. He wants to see if he could get some of that $$$ back. So he asked Magnitsky to take care of that for him.
                  Magnitsky then turned to his friend Gasanov for help in trying to get some the $$$ back from the federal budget.
                  20:55 – Gasanov in turn sought help from a guy named Korobeinikov, who owns the “Universal Savings Bank”. In order to carry out their plan (to get the tax rebate), Magnitsky-Gasanov-Korobeinikov needed to put together a packet of documents with (Hermitage) official seals. But the seals are in the property of the police now. They ask the police if they can get the seals back, but police say no.
                  15:30 – This is where it is directly alleged that Magnitsky made the duplicate stamps himself.

                  http://www.ntv.ru/novosti/505996/video/

                  P.S. I never realized that corporate seals were so important. I mean, can’t anybody just stroll into a craft store and have rubber stamps made? Or even make themselves at home with a wood-etching kit? What’s the big deal here?

                • Dear Yalensis,

                  As always your translations are immensely valuable.

                  This is the key to the case. If Magnitsky duplicated the seals and the impressions on the documents are from the duplicates then Browder’s narrative collapses and Magnitsky looks more and more like a suspect. As I said previously Browder will no doubt say that the documents are fakes, which have been substituted for the real ones to “prove” the authorities’ case against Magnitsky. However that will be a very difficult claim to sustain.

                  As for the importance of seals, in law a company is a person. Though the parallel is inexact it might help if you think of the impression left by a company’s seal on a document as the company’s signature to a document. Some (though not all) documents produced by a company have to have been impressed with the company’s seal in order for them to be legally valid. Duplicating a company’s seal and using the duplicate to create an impression on such a document is basically the same as faking a person’s signature on a document. It is not necessarily a criminal offence (at least in Britain – Russia may be different) but it may be a criminal offence depending on what the document is for and how it is used.

  6. kirill says:

    http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/houston/article/Homeless-man-ticketed-for-looking-for-a-meal-in-4346621.php

    On the topic of US and Texas in particular and their value of “human rights”. BTW, to preempt the standard BS that there is plenty of food being given by charities. Clearly that is not the case otherwise the homeless would not be rooting through trash cans and dumpsters for food. These BS charity feeding events are media propaganda events and it is obvious that the information is not reaching the actual homeless who do not have TVs, radios and newspapers to get notified.

    As noted in the comments section on the board where I dug this up, in Texas the mentality is “I got mine. Fuck everyone else.” So sending Russian children to be adopted by Texas families is not some self-evident improvement over them staying in Russia.

    • Misha says:

      On the subject on how some born outside the US have been treated in that country:

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/12/have-it-your-wayat-mcdonalds/

      A Fox News preferred follow-up typically stress the points on how many foreign workers in the US often have it much better than in their native countries – which is why they come to the US.

      In contrast, that point tends not to be made regarding a good number of foreign workers in Russia.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        My standard of living and, more importantly, the quality of my life here, is higher than that which I enjoyed when I lived in Merry England.

        I could even say that I lead a healthier life here as well, for had it been possible for me to continue in my former employment in the UK, I quite likely would have died before now, or suffered serious injury or be suffering from an industrial disease: moving to Russia has, so far, I reckon, added about 5 years to my life.

    • yalensis says:

      This whole incident “stinks” (pun intended, though not intended as a slur against hungry homeless who are just trying to survive on the streets). Come on, people, if you can’t help the homeless, well, at least leave them alone!


      Get the full text for California vs. Greenwood, the Supreme Court decision that has been said to determine the framework for federal privacy rights as they relate to garbage (see Resources below). The text of this case outlines why the Fourth Amendment does not protect the contents of garbage under the Constitution

      http://www.ehow.com/how_2040847_determine-garbage-protected-privacy-laws.html#

      In conclusion, according to U.S. Supreme Court, “California vs. Greenwood”, discarded garbage has no privacy rights and, hence, in theory, could be eaten by the homeless.

      (That last bit is my extrapolation, but I think it could be successfully argued in a courtroom.)

      • kirill says:

        Your are quite right. Once it is no longer property then the owners cannot control it. This actually applies to the municipality since it does not automatically become the owner.

    • Jen says:

      @ kirill, yalensis: Houston is one of a number of cities in the US that have either banned outright or “restricted” the ability of charities and individuals to feed homeless people. The restrictions come in the form of laws supposedly regulating the issue of permits to feed the homeless or laws on public hygiene and sanitation, the use of public space or the enforcement of food quality and nutritional standards. If all this was happening in a movie, we would think it Kafkaesque: charities aren’t allowed to open soup kitchens and individuals are prevented from donating food because the relevant city authorities can’t test the nutritional quality or safety of the food or allow people to set up a stall so the end result is that homeless and hungry people must root about in unsafe and unhygienic rubbish dumps, perhaps in crime or violence-ridden areas, to find discarded fast food items like french fries cooked in industrial oils or horse-burgers.

      • kirill says:

        Thanks for the information. It is indeed Kafkaesque. I guess the city governments are trying to pull a New York and coerce the homeless out of downtown areas and send them out of sight and out of mind. Social welfare, US style.

        Texas has been perverse for a while now. That case with the Japanese student who was killed by some trigger happy homeowner during Halloween even though he was unarmed and the homeowner got off without any punishment. Even the case of Bonnie and Clyde. Clyde was raped numerous time when he did his first stint in a penal colony for rather minor crimes. He killed his rapist but became a hardened criminal in the process. His whole crime spree was an effort to get revenge on the Texas penal system. It’s funny how the murder of various police officers did not bring about the extreme response of his raid on a Texas jail. It’s as if the life of a typical cop was worth much less than the honour of the Texas prison system. Today, Texas is a jail paradise.

  7. Misha says:

    Sova is at it again:

    http://www.rferl.org/content/russia-racism-nationalism-rampant/24927664.html

    Awhile back, someone relatively well known in English language Russia watching circles privately said that Sova never seems to find instances of violence and discrimination against ethnic Russians in Russia and elsewhere.

    So there’s no misunderstanding, this set of comments shouldn’t be meant to read as a belittling of violence and discrimination against some non-ethnic Russians in Russia. For accuracy sake, be wary of some of the claims made. The Russia of past and present has exhibited a considerable degree of multiethnic tolerance.

  8. R.C. says:

    Does Fred Weir ever give up with this?

    Has this man EVER written anything on Russia that wasn’t a hit piece? Also, Putin didn’t win by 65%. Also, he doesn’t even care to point out that Putin had such a far lead over his contenders in the presidential election, it would’ve been completely superfluous & illogical for him to attempt to “cheat.” How can you read his article with any assurance if he can’t even get basic facts right?

    http://news.yahoo.com/report-leaked-putin-ally-says-ruling-party-actually-163200483.html

    It seems to me that the more important Russia becomes in the emerging multi-polar world, the more “pieces” like this surface. I also noticed that the western press is now presenting Putin’s massive effort to confront corruption as a “political crackdown.” Naturally, had he done nothing about corruption, they STILL would’ve complained. The coverage of Putin is a carbon copy of the Anglosphere’s campaign against the late Hugo Chavez.

    • marknesop says:

      Come on, you guys; stop clowning around. We’re on the eve of some essential political shift, here. Nikolai Petrov says so, and it’s not like the Moscow Higher School of Economics comes out with cockamamie predictions every week.

      Oh, wait – they do. Sorry; carry on.

    • kirill says:

      It’s an all round insult to the intelligence. Who exactly was cracked down upon in the name of corruption? I have not heard of single case. Saint Khodorkovsky was cracked down upon long before this but what are the names of the new saints? I wouldn’t call Serdyukov’s treatment a crackdown. But perhaps he was a western stooge and so there is wailing and gnashing of the teeth at the lost chance to suck some more billions of dollars out of Russia.

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    Weir came on here not so long ago to defend himself.

    He really, really does try to be objective you know.

    Really.

    He only writes about what he sees and hears.

    Honest.

    • marknesop says:

      Speaking of “objective”, a piece on the same report which was astonishingly close to objective appeared in – of all places – the Moscow Times.

      http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/kremlin-rebuffs-report-questioning-duma-vote/476891.html

      Oh, I know it had the same old Kremlin-bogeyman tone overall, but it did point out (1) Vladimir Yakunin did not write the report or endorse it, which Weir implies and without which his “bombshell” is downgraded to a popped balloon, (2) that the report did not actually question Putin’s victory, (3) that analysts are divided in their opinion of the report’s validity, (4) that Yakunin might give up his position as co-chair of the organization over this report, and (5) Even the organization itself is backpedaling on the report and saying its release might be delayed, seeing as the deliberate leak has not had the desired effect; quite the opposite, in fact.

      It also points out that Sulakshin used “statistical analysis” to arrive at his conclusions, which makes him no different than the rest of the post-election theorists. He does not – surprise!! – have any proof.

    • Misha says:

      Without specifically naming him, I made it a point ot hyperlink one of his articles under “corruption claim”:

      http://www.eurasiareview.com/06032013-overview-of-the-2014-sochi-winter-olympics-analysis/

      In terms of all around journalism (objectivity and the rest), I’ll match the above with what he and the propped others have written.

      To quote Dizzy Dean: it aint bragging if you’re good.

  10. Robert says:

    Indeed it is. Putin and Chavez are very different figures in many ways. I consider myself pretty left wing and Putin is not my ideological soulmate but both he and Chavez have succeeded in hugely improving the welfare of most people in their country against terrible odds and both had to take on a totally ruthless comprador elite in the process. The oligarchs and their contacts in the Anglosphere have done their best to subvert the governments of Putin and Chavez, most dramatically in the case of Chavez but even with Russia Berezovsky was allowed to openly call for the otherthrow of the elected Russian government while under the protection of the British government. There’s a saying that you can tell a lot about people by their friends; you can also tell something by looking at who their enemies are.

    • kirill says:

      I think that Chavez pulled a South American Putin by cracking down on the comprador politics and economics in his country. I don’t know if Putin was a model or not since they both arrived on the scene at roughly the same time. But I have a strong impression that Latin America is not following some Washington prescribed recipe for “success”. What makes me think that events in Russia are affecting the political evolution in Latin America is that there is none of the old style socialist economics being pushed. Chavez was very pragmatic when it came to the economy regardless of some nationalizations he carried out. Putin is also not forcing any socio-economic ideology onto Russia. But both Putin and Chavez refused to pander to the oligarchy and its western (1st world) sponsors and for this they were reviled in the western media.

      The western media propaganda exposes the true nature of western policy towards the rest of the world. It is neocolonial exploitation using local comprador elites. These scumbags dare not be touched like Khodorkovsky lest the popularly elected leader be demonized as a tyrant.

      • yalensis says:

        In his recent comment about Hugo Chavez, Mercouris made an extremely perceptive point about the Latin American elite class (the comprador bourgeoisie) feeling a sense of entitlement, that all the nation’s wealth should go to them, and nothing to the underclass. This class struggle has been going on in all the Latin American countries, of course, and for centuries, in a very naked form. USA did not cause or induce this vicious class struggle, but often intervenes on the side of the elites. Never on the side of the poor..
        For example, before Chavez democratized Venezuela, vast majority of Venezuelan poor had no health care whatsoever and in fact had NEVER in their lives even seen a doctor. To see a doctor was almost an impossible dream. And the elite ruling class thought that was just fine.
        It reminds me of that Mitt Romney remark that was captured on secret tape, when he said that 47% of Americans (poor or working class) feel (How dare they!) that they are “entitled” to things like food, health care, and housing. So, I would say that Mitt Romney has a very Latin American type comprador attitude too:

    • Misha says:

      Robert,

      Very interesting in that Venezuela has a White Russian population, which generally appears to like Putin more than Chavez. The Venezuelan White Rusisan view of Chavez seems to be in line with most Venezuelan whites – at least a good number of them.

      As for yours truly, I sense there’s some legitimate middle ground in assesing Chavez, with the plusses having an arguably upper hand.

    • Dear Robert,

      You are right that though Putin and Chavez are very different people they share the same enemies and provoke the same unreasoning hostility. Obviously the main reason for it is their policies. However it is striking that even many people who would consider themselves as being on the left in the west don’t like them. In another comment I posted in response to another article on Venezuela on Anatoly Karlin’s blog I touched on the “culture war” aspect of this. Both Putin and Chavez have aggressively masculine even macho personas that are strongly attractive to their own domestic political bases but which many westerners find off putting. Here is the link to Anatoly’s article where I made that comment. You have to scroll some way down the thread to find it.

      http://akarlin.com/2012/10/07/a-quick-note-on-venezuelan-elections/

      • kirill says:

        Western leftists don’t like them not because of their testosterone but because neither was/is a western style leftist. Putin is actually more center-right than center-left. He is not pumping every rouble of government revenue into welfare and social programs. This is not surprising since even in the USSR, welfare was looked down upon. Few people in the west really know about the social values in the USSR. They were not those of western leftists.

        This ignorance of Russian reality extends to today. I bet most westerners think that the liberasts are leftists and not comprador oligarch bootlicks, aka fascists.

        • Misha says:

          Comparatively speaking to some other world leaders, Putin seems to have been more successful in getting a good amount of support across the left-right political spectrum, as a kind of consensus leader.

  11. Robert says:

    Speaking of expat White Russians latest piece from Vineyard of the Saker on developments within the Russian government, implications for Russia’s relations with the Islamic world and disturbing details about the tragic events of 1993.

    http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.com/2013/03/russia-and-islam-part-six-kremlin.html

    • marknesop says:

      That certainly is a powerful and impressive piece, very articulately expressed and thoroughly believable.

      • yalensis says:

        I agree with all Saker’s main points. To me, the proof of the pudding (that the Putin-Medvedev years basically continued the system that the Yeltsinites had set up) is the fact that they buried Yeltsin with honors after his liver exploded. For years the masses have clamored for them to dig up Yeltsin and toss his rotting corpse over the fence for the crows to pick at. But the Putinites won’t do that.
        I don’t see real change happening until the Communists come back to power. But that won’t happen either, so long as they have that old dinosaur Z’uganov in charge of the party.

        • Misha says:

          Not to be ruled out is a scenario of another option to United Russia (UR), with that political grouping and the KPRF changing from their present makeup.

          In the distant future, there’s the possibility of UR and the KPRF remaining the two dominant parties, albeit with some hopeful changes for the better.

          Russia definitely changed from the Yeltsin era. It’s nevertheless true that vestiges from the Yeltsin period remain in that country.

        • kirill says:

          If Putin was such a western stooge there would be little of the anti-Russian propaganda we see in the western media today. This is rather clear from the pattern with Yeltsin during the 1990s. Yeltsin will be judged by history and most of the Russian people know what he was. Putin was not even fully in charge during his first term and had to have that monkey Illarionov as an adviser. He could only consolidate his power enough by 2003 to take down Khodorkovsky, which unleashed the wrath of the west. The best time to have the trial would have been in 2000 when events were still fresh on people’s minds. But there were more urgent matters and what would Yeltsin’s charge be? That he had bad advisers and was incompetent?

          At least in the case of Timoshenko there is actual fraud and murder perpetrated by her. With Yeltsin you do not have this. Some bank accounts in Switzerland? Who has access to such bank accounts and how do you prove they are Yeltsin’s. Any trial would have looked like a 1930s show trial and would have been a gift for the western propagandists.

          • Misha says:

            All things considered, I think the Yeltsin to Putin change went relatively well.

            There’s a school of thought that up to a point, Gorbachev and Yeltsin served a constructive purpose. Some say the same of Putin. That last thought should also consider present day Russian realities, in terms of what the people want, relative to what’s out there as a realistic option to Putin.

      • yalensis says:

        Saker is also absolutely correct that Russia lost the Cold War and became an American colony in 1991. Some people are still in denial and try to refute that harsh but basic fact. Such Deniers need a Gregers Werle* to point out this obvious truth to them and jolt them out of their historical complacency.

        *[footnote] allusion to Ibsen’s play “The Wild Duck”

        • Misha says:

          Some spun it as the USSR losing the Cold War, with Russia being among the winners.

          Spoiling that view was the Russia/Russians can’t be trusted mantra, that found its way in support for the first wave of post-Soviet NATO expansion.

          There’s a good basis for believing that pro-Western (particularly pro-American) sentiment has declined in Russia, since the Cold War’s end.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Note in the above linked prisoner’s help site the bit about prisoners’ letters in the UK. As I’ve mentioned in other threads, it always amazes me how busy these “political prisoners” of Putin’s “regime” are with pen and paper. Nary a month seems to go by without some lengthy missive off Khodorkovsky and others who have been crushed by the Putin “clampdown” on free speech.

        As a convict, you are strictly forbidden in UK prisons to make written notes and observations, to keep a dairy etc. and your written communication is restricted and painstakingly censored. A prison letter consists of one small notebook-size sheet of paper. If you are a convicted prisoner, you can send one letter a week paid for by the prison. You may be able to send more than these letters if you pay for the postage yourself but this is a privilege that can sometimes be taken away. In view of the fact that you can only earn enough to buy 2 ounces (25 gms) of rolling tobacco and one box of matches a week, buying stamps, if one is granted the privilege to do so, would stop you from buying “snout”.

  12. marknesop says:

    And in yet other news – the Moscow Times is quite the shopping-basket today – the “Birdman of Irkutsk”, our old friend Leonya “Lead Bum” Razvozzhayev, has disappeared!!! According to his lawyer, nobody knows where he is who should know where he is. I see he has also been given the de rigueur promotion to “opposition leader” as well, although he really hasn’t done much other than act as a stooge to stir up trouble – by that standard, Joe the Plumber should probably be a senator.

    The real story is somewhat more pedestrian and not nearly so exciting; Raz has been transferred to another prison – unofficially, in Khabarovsk.

    Those boobs in Irkutsk failed to note that it is the prison’s responsibility to notify his lawyer that he is being transferred, like they do in free countries. Oh, wait; they don’t.

  13. kirill says:

    http://en.rian.ru/politics/20130314/180000297/Report-Claims-Russias-Communist-Party-Won-2011-Polls——–.html

    “Sulakshin said the United Russia party had gained 20-25 percent of the vote at the 2011 State Duma polls, compared to the official figure of 49 percent, while the Communists had gained 25-30 percent, significantly more than the 19 percent announced by election officials.”

    Even though some think the Duma elections in 2011 were some big fraud the above report is just rubbish. The pre-election opinion polls were consistent with the voting results. So the above numbers are simply rubbish, unless wants to believe that *every* opinion poll was a fraud.

    Note that the claim here is not that UR lost its majority but that one of the opposition parties won. Sorry, but the KPRF is in long term decline and does not have more support than all the other parties.

    It is also a fact that most of the Duma “fraud” controversy was in Moscow and not in places like Vladivostok where the opposition managed to get even less of the vote. If this report had claimed that the combined opposition vote was closer to 60% in Moscow then it would have been plausible. But to have a gap between exit polls, pre-election polls and the claimed vote result of as large as 25% (i.e. 100% error) is just nonsense.

    • marknesop says:

      This is just a riff on the election that Zyuganov allegedly (and believably) won against Yeltsin, but in which he was purportedly so terrified at the prospect of the tremendous responsibility he had to assume that he passively allowed Yeltsin to steal the election by falsifying the results. Yeltsin, the great democratizer and idol of the west, I’d just like to point out, if the legend is in fact true. Medvedev seemed once to have suggested it is. The thing that made me doubt it is that it is inconceivable to me that he would still be leading the Communists if he had ever actually won a presidential election, and been too shy or too afraid to seize the levers of power. How could he possibly get a party to follow him after that?

      Anyway, it’s supposed to make people think, hey, it happened once; it could have happened again. But the real objective is to shake confidence in the electoral process and reduce turnout. That would be pointed to as evidence that Russians are fed up with Putin and his party and in having no choices. Nobody should be so dazzled by this sleight-of-hand that they do not notice all the bitching about having no choices takes place when a party or a candidate who has nothing going for them, and cannot win the people’s confidence, cannot win. When people say, “Russians have no choices” and “there is no alternative to Putin”, what they really mean is I want change even though my candidate can’t get enough votes.

      How is that democratic? It isn’t. It’s “Wahhhhh!!! Putin keeps winning!!!”

      • R.C. says:

        Everybody claims to love “Democracy” until the person they dislike is elected. Listen to all the bitching and moaning over Chavez – someone who fairly won what..13…14 elections including a recall. Also, the very anti-Chavez, anti-Putin (It’s interesting that they both have the same detartctors in the corporate press despite being two different leaders) press does not want to be placed in the precarious position of explaining WHY and the REASONS they actually win their elections. It’s easier to imply that they didn’t really “win” and go into tirades about them being “strongmen.” The last thing they want is to say anythign positive about them, which is what they would be forced to do if they honestly covered why people voted for them.

        • Obviously I don’t take this report seriously especially when it hasn’t been properly published and when we know so little about its methodology. However it does for me have one big advantage, which is that it shows who to the extent that there was electoral fraud in the Duma elections in December 2011 was almost certainly the ones who were actually defrauded. Unless one believes that people in the northern Caucasus and the other ethnic regions are stalwart supporters of Yabloko, which is unlikely to say the least, the major victims of the fraud almost certainly were the Communists who it seems do have some support in these regions. In other words the people who were grumbling most loudly about electoral fraud in 2011 – Navalny & co and the liberals – were the ones who were least affected by it.

          As for Fred Weir and his “liberal middle class dawn” theory, not only is there no support for it in this report but there is no support for it in any election result. It gets consistently overlooked that Prokhorov’s 2012 result (8% nationally and 19% in Moscow) is only very marginally better than the result in the last Presidential election when there was a strong single well known liberal candidate who was able to unite and bring out the liberal vote. That was Yavlinsky in 2000 when he got 6% nationally and 18.5% in Moscow. Moreover it’s likely that as a fresh face and as someone with the enormous resources that come from being a billionaire Prokhorov would have been more successful in reaching beyond the traditional liberal constituency than Yavlinsky was. Of course if Yavlinsky had stood in 2012 the liberal vote would have split and Prokhorov’s vote would have been less. Comparing the results in 2000 and 2012 does not show any sign of a great liberal middle class rise or surge or any trend within the Russian electorate towards greater liberalism. What it shows is a liberal vote that is at worst falling back or at best standing still.

          • kirill says:

            That’s a very good point. But in the case of the KPRF there is not enough fraud for it to have lost anything. Following the Duma fraud analysis on the defunct sublimeoblivion.com it was rather clear that Chechnya and some other ethnic enclaves were basically irrelevant to the national performance of the KPRF, UR, Just Russia, Yabloko, etc. If the KPRF was on some sort of roll it would have done much better across the country.

            AK makes the point that the Venezuelan elections were squeaky clean partly because the results agreed with opinion polls. Well, the exact same thing can be said about Russia. It is in the western propaganda narrative that opinion poll results are systematically ignored and only invoked in the ex-USSR as in the case of the fraudulent exit “polls” organized by British, American and Canadian embassies in Ukraine during 2004.

            This report only does the Russia haters a favour. The grotesquely exaggerated numbers are simple nonsense. I was going to highlight that it was the KPRF and not the liberasts who were the “victims”, but the KPRF were not “victims”. Massive fraud requires a corresponding lack for the governing party. This report does not override the various opinion polls and exist polls. It’s some ridiculous attempt at smear. If the KPRF had real leadership it would distance itself from it.

            • Dear Kirill,

              Let me make it absolutely clear that I don’t for one moment believe that the KPRF “won” the Duma elections or came anywhere near winning 30% of the vote. The idea that it did is beyond fanciful. It’s precisely because I struggle to believe that the KPRF came first in Moscow that despite Anatoly Karlin’s painstaking arguments I am still skeptical about some of the claims of electoral fraud there. In my honest opinion the fraud that did take place shaved the KPRF’s vote share down by a couple of percentage points at most. The one thing I would say is that without the fraud the KPRF would probably have passed the psychologically important 20% barrier. Whether that would have had any larger consequences I don’t know. If anything I suspect that such a result if it had been announced might actually have served as a dampener on the protest movement. It’s precisely because the KPRF failed to visibly pass the 20% barrier that the white ribbon opposition and the western commentariat are able to ignore it and pretend that the fraud affected them when of course it didn’t.

              I would just add that I don’t take Chechnya into account in any discussion of Russian electoral dynamics. The results there speak not of fraud but of straightforward and brazen rigging. One can no more construe the true state of political opinion in Chechnya from these results than one could from the results in a Soviet constituency in an election held in 1950.

              I would finish by saying that what this report shows is yet again why it is in Russia’s overwhelming interest to have fully fair and transparent elections. It is because the white ribbon opposition is able to play on the legitimate doubts and concerns Russians have about their elections that it is able to pretend that it and the liberals have far more support than they actually have. If elections in Russia were fully fair and transparent it would be the white ribbon opposition and the pro western liberals who would be the big political losers as the marginal extent of their support would become fully exposed. Of course precisely for that reason the white ribbon opposition, the liberals and their western backers will never admit that any elections in Russia are fully transparent and fair. However that makes it all the more important to give them no actual grounds to make that claim.

              • kirill says:

                My theory is that Putin does not control the UR like Stalin controlled the KPSS and UR does not control the country like the KPSS controlled the USSR. So the source of the electoral fraud is quite murky. I do not see it being in Putin’s and UR’s interest to give their enemies the sort of ammunition you describe. So why would they stage the fraud when they do not need it to be elected? So the real question is who was perpetrating the fraud?

                I will go back to my point that I made at sublimeoblivion: there are way too many polling stations in Russia which require too many humans to operate thereby giving lots of possibility for shenanigans. I am in favour of electronic ballot machines which have no network capacity (unlike the US Diebold machines which can be hacked and the results altered) distributed over several times fewer voter stations. Of course, it would be a bad idea to force people to go for miles to reach a polling station, but having one in practically every residential complex is excessive. (However, I can see how it is a way to get higher turnouts).

                • Misha says:

                  In point of fact, I recall Leon Aron saying that the voting fraud issue is motivated by local politicos padding the tally with the hope of getting a better payback for themselves. In that partcular segment, Aron suggested that the center isn’t so pleased by this manner, when it appears overly gross – especially with UR coming out on top regardless.

                  For sure, Putin/UR don’t have full control of Russia – something that’s disconcerting to a good number of Russians, who either seek such, or a less corrupt situation, which doesn’t require the center to be so interventionist.

                • Dear Kirill and Misha,

                  I agree with both of you. I too think that responsibility for electoral fraud rests largely with local political leaders. I am sure that Putin and Medvedev far from wanting it are embarrassed by it. I suspect that the reason electoral fraud happens is because in some regions local bigwigs associate a high vote for the ruling party with their own political positions. Specifically they fear that a fall in support for the ruling party in their own locality would be seen by the people locally as a sign of a loss of control and support on the part of the local political leaders.

                • Misha says:

                  Hi Alexander,

                  Back in the day when Nassau County, Long Island was Republican dominated in somewhat the way that the USSR was CPSU, (in terms of one party ranking supreme), the neighborhood Republican Party point man, rang door bells on election day, with follow-up visits to remind folks to vote.

                  During the Richard Daley politcial machine era, some unique voting trends were evident. I can’t vouch for everything here:

                  http://www.defendthevote.com/election-news/50-election-news/14-jfk-winning-election-s-the-chicago-way

                  Didn’t Uncle Joe say that the most important thing about elections is who counts the votes?

                • kirill says:

                  They did not have opinion polls by multiple independent agencies back in Uncle Joe’s USSR so the only poll that counted was the ballot one. However, he did have a point and voting fraud has been a tool around the world.

                • Misha says:

                  I think that Joe might’ve been referring to the lip service bit about allowing elections in his sphere of influence outside the USSR.

                  As you might know, post-WW II Poland had at least two politically active parties. At least one other Warsaw Pact nation might’ve had the same.

            • AK says:

              It’s not defunct, all the posts have been moved to either Da Russophile or AKarlin. Here is what you’re looking for, I think.

              That’s one of but not the main argument there; that polls concur just means that fraud was not on an extremely distorting level. In reality, Venezuela’s election system is far more technically transparent than Russia’s, so fraud is virtually impossible there period.

        • marknesop says:

          Exactly, and let’s dispense right now with this canard about “strongmen”. The absolute last thing anyone wants in political power is a ditherer who can’t make up his/her mind; a persuader who won’t go through with anything until everyone is onboard. But a leader who is decisive and quick to react firmly will be portrayed as a “strongman” if his decisions do not fit the pattern the western powers lay out for that country, regardless whether they are in the interests of its people and its progress. Saddam Hussein was a “strongman” and a “tyrant” (he was, in fact, both), but his western-handpicked successor Ayad Allawi was never spoken of as a “strongman”; no, conservative pundit David Brooks of the New York Times gushed, “Administration officials smile when they talk about Allawi, then marvel at how aggressive he is. Allawi believes that his government has to establish its authority if it, or any future government, is to do its job.” Got it? He’s “aggressive”, and “establishing his government’s authority”. But not “a strongman”, despite numerous accounts of his personally executing prisoners by shooting them in the head, and when he finally went his way the western coverage was regretful for what might have been, describing him as “Iraq’s Last Patriot” although he acted as an informant and – according to some accounts – an assassin for the Mukhabarat, Iraq’s secret police.

          The liberal party in Canada was decimated in recent elections after choosing ditherer Stephane Dion as its leader, and then Michael Ignatieff after that, and has been reduced to a shadow of its former power. The electorate does not like consensus-builders.

          • kirill says:

            To be fair, it is the Candian media that leads the sheeple around by the snout. The ridiculous attempts to portray Harper as some charismatic, decisive leader playing the piano vs. the typical BS about dithering egghead Ignatieff. If it was 1981 and Trudeau prorogued parliament he would have been skewered by the media. But Harper does not even trigger a controversy (in the media). The absurd 2006 Gomery inquiry that should have never been carried out was neocon Harper’s ticket to success. This farce also created a bureaucratic nightmare at Canadian government labs and Universities where every penny is now tracked with dollars worth of paperwork and time. Naturally, there is no evidence all of this bureaucratic farce has saved any money. Why would it? The Quebec “ad scam” of 1995 had nothing to do with University operations and was a racket run out of the PMO. Harper is still running rackets from the PMO and also running an inquisition as in the case of the fisheries research scientist who was gagged from presenting her scientific findings at a conference.

            • marknesop says:

              That’s mostly true, although the importance of perception cannot be overstated. Jean Chretien was regarded as a good leader because the country went through a long period of relatively-uninterrupted prosperity under his rule. But basically, he just didn’t do anything much to dick it up, while most of the credit belongs to his finance minister, Paul Martin. Likewise, Chretien made a very sensible and defensible decision for Canada not to join the rush to invade Iraq. A strong argument can be made that that was a very principled decision, and so it appears today. But how would it be regarded if the USA had actually made a powerful functioning market democracy of Iraq, as it declared its intention to do? How would Chretien’s decision look then, particularly to the business community, who were on the fence at the time as to whether it was stupid pandering to the peaceniks?

              While I don’t care for Harper personally, I don’t have too many objections to how the country has been run by his government, in the sense that it has not been disastrously worse than some of the stupidity visited upon us by the liberals, whom I almost always support and would have continued to do had they not fallen apart. Many of the rotten things Harper does are in reality just part of how politicians operate in general, while his tickling the ivories to look sensitive is no more snort-worthy than Putin driving a racecar. Neither is a very accurate reflection of the man.

    • AK says:

      As I said in a few places, the conclusions of that report – that KPRF beat UR – are as much propaganda as the idea that UR actually won the stated 49%. Its real numbers were 40%-42%.

      The real question is why that report is coming out now, for what reason, and who is behind it.

  14. SFReader says:

    Ukrainian journalist Anhar Kochneva who escaped after being kidnapped by Syrian rebels for five months writes about her ordeal.

    One of the revelations – a journalist worklng for the American “Time” magazine named Rami Aysha had called to her captors on Skype and asked them to kill Anhar!

    http://anhar.livejournal.com/1933054.html

    I think this is the guy

    http://world.time.com/2012/09/15/a-journalist-behind-bars-the-dangers-of-reporting-in-lebanon/

    • kirill says:

      Now we see what the true face of some of these “bringers of the truth in the face of adversity” is. May Ayasha step on a land mine.

    • yalensis says:

      On the topic of Syria, I saw this video in ROSBALT today, from the Abkhazian News Agency. They seem to have some journalists embedded in the Syrian army, and go into a lot of detail about individual skirmishes.

      Narration is in Russian (with Abkhazian accent!):

      http://www.rosbalt.ru/video/2013/03/14/1105254.html

      WARNING: In some frames there are extremely grisly images of dead people. Make sure children aren’t around if you watch the video.

      Quick summary:
      200,000 Syrians used to live in Daraya, a suburb of Damascus. 7,000 rebels entered Daraya, took it, and began to kill people. Upon which the bulk of the population fled in terror.
      In December, the Syrian army finally was able to re-take Daraya, in the course of which killing around 1500 rebels. The rebels are gone now, but the town is destroyed in the process.

  15. yalensis says:

    Also on the topic of Middle East, this piece from IZVESTIA about Egyptian Coptic Christians protesting in front of Libyan Embassy:

    http://izvestia.ru/news/546513

    Egyptian Christians are protesting Benghazi militias detention of some 100 fellow Christians in Libya.
    Libya is sharia nation now, and Christians were arrested for being Christians and/or owning bibles.
    One of the arrested was a man named Ezzat Hakim, who perished in jail after allegedly being tortured for almost one month, according to his brother.
    Libyans counter that Hakim died in prison as a complication of diabetes and a heart ailment. (Sounds like Magnitsky!)
    Egyptian Christians are demanding that the Libyan ambassador be expelled from Egypt.

    • Misha says:

      Some years back, I ran into some Egyptican Coptic Christian youths, who said they visited this seminary:

      http://www.svots.edu/team/albert-s-rossi

      My understanding is that the Coptic Christians are closer to the OC than the Vatican.

      They noted a Muslim extremism issue in Egypt – mind you this was in the 1980s. Just today, someone at my gym mentioned an Egyptian Coptic Christian co-worker, who raised the same issue.

  16. It’s just been announced here in London that the Litvinenko inquest has been adjourned to October. This comes shortly after the Coroner’s decision to exclude government documents from the inquest proceedings and Lugovoi’s decision to withdraw from the inquest because of that decision. The reason given for the postponement is to allow more time for evidence to be provided to the inquest. Litvinenko died 6 years ago, the British demanded Lugovoi’s extradition within a few months (they are now also demanding Kovtun’s extradition) and the inquest proceedings got underway more than year ago. How is it possible that the case is still not ready? Frankly I see this as more evidence of difficulties with the British case and a further possible sign that it may be close to collapse.

    Meanwhile the lawyers who represent Litvinenko’s widow (apparently for free) have made a thinly veiled demand for the Russian Investigative Commission to be excluded from the inquest on the grounds that it takes its orders from Putin and that the 60 volumes of evidence it wishes to produce is supposedly worthless because it assumes Lugovoi’s and Kovtun’s innocence.

    Needless to say that is not a valid reason to exclude the Russian Investigative Commission from the inquest. If bias is a reason for exclusion from the inquest (and there is no reason at present to think that the Russian Investigative Commission is biased) then Berezovsky who is also an interested party in the inquest (why by the way?) should also be excluded. Besides what the lawyers who represent Litvinenko’s widow are basically saying is that the Coroner should assume Lugovoi’s and Kovtun’s guilt even before any evidence is produced. With that sort of comment who can doubt that Lugovoi and Kovtun will not get a fair trial?

    • marknesop says:

      If it meets the threshold of evidence, it should not be excluded suppose it came smoking sulphurously from the desk of the devil himself. It is up to the judge to decide if it is admissible, and I never heard of evidence being disallowed based on its country of origin.

    • kirill says:

      The real question is what relevance does Litvienenko’s widow have to the case? Is she a witness? Sound like that is not the case. Her hate for Russia is not reason enough for her lawyers to be demanding anything. Participation of interested parties has to have limits. Maybe I should participate “as an interested party” and have my lawyers demand assorted BS such as who should participate and who shouldn’t based on my whims. What a farce!

      • The fact that she is Litvinenko’s widow entitles her to participate in the inquest. Indeed it is largely because of her that the inquest is taking place at all. But Berezovsky? He has no family connection to Litvinenko and according to the British authorities he is not even a suspect. On what basis then is he an interested party?

        • kirill says:

          OK, so this is her attempt to get a “trial” of Russia and Putler in the UK. Hence the farce. I thought it was an inquest initiated by the British government. Berezvosky must be her ally in this venture and Litvinenko is spinning in his grave. The timing of this inquest must mean something. I am thinking it is a tool to raise anti-Russian hysteria before the Sochi Olympics and/or to flog this dead horse to smear Russia some more lest the sheeple forget. There was plenty of time to hold this inquest in the last six years.

          Anyone without bias would find the reluctance to release documents to the inquiry very suspicious. The can redact any secret information. I would also think that the autopsy report would be central and not top secret.

        • marknesop says:

          According to the Financial Times, the fundamental fault lies with translation requirements; that all 60 bound volumes of evidence from the Russian side must be translated – is it possible they were supplied in Russian only, knowing the inquest would be held in England, or are the British just suspicious of Russia’s English translations? – and some UK government departments who waited 10 months before commencing their search for documents and are now not ready.

          The coroner to the inquest, Sir Robert Owen, says that none of the evidence will be heard in secret, and that Lugovoi must have misunderstood, because an inquest is not a trial. I note, however, that there is still an international warrant for Lugovoi. Oh, and that an earlier story in the same paper reported William Hague was energetically trying to keep some of the evidence secret and that the coroner was mulling it over but had already agreed to “examine some of the evidence in private”. Meanwhile, Goldfarb is still busily running his mouth about the “killers in the Kremlin”, like a good button-man.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        In defence of her deceased husband’s good name, Litvinenko’s widow simply wants to nail all lies and suspicions that the uxorious Saint Sasha, noble and true “KGB” defector and scourge of the Evil One, after having downed his polonium laced tea and before arriving home to his doting wife, did not first pop into a lap dancing joint to oggle nubile nymphs who were willing to perform in private lewd and lascivious gyrations in his presence, which visit of his to such a salacious den of iniquity led to the discovery therein of traces of polonium-210; rather she wishes to prove that the isotope traces found in the joint were left there by Putin’s murderous KGB thugs Lugovoi and Kovtun.

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Moscow Exile:
          “Uxrious Sasha” – you used my favorite word in a sentence. vivat!

          Thanks to you, I see clearly now that this whole unpleasant international incident was just a way for Litvinenko’s grieving widow to remain in her state of blissful denial about hubby’s addiction to lapdancers and strip joints.

          Not one to mix metaphores, but this modern-day Blanche Dubois* is badly in need of a Gregers Werle** to slap her in the face with a dose of Reality. Stella-a-a-a-a-a!

          * Tennessee Williams, “A streetcar named Desire”
          ** Henrik Ibsen, “Vildanden”

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Should read above:

          … after having downed his polonium laced tea and before arriving home to his doting wife, did first pop into a lap dancing joint …

          • Dear Kirill,

            The essential point to understand about Litvinenko’s widow is that she has been living on Berezovsky’s charity in a house owned by Berezovsky (as was Litvinenko before he died) and that until recently Berezovsky was paying her legal fees. Berezovsky withdrew his financial support for her legal case (which brought about the inquest) shortly after the Berezovsky v Abramovitch trial. Since then the widow has been trying to fund her case herself. She applied for financial support with her legal fees to the British Government, which refused it, and according to what I have heard her lawyers for the moment are working for free.

            Anyway on the principle that he who pays the piper calls the tune, since it was Berezovsky who until very recently was funding her case we must assume that it was Berezovsky who was largely controlling the direction her case was taking. It may be going too far to call her Berezovsky’s catspaw but it’s not altogether wrong.

            By the way it is surely not a coincidence that the widow completely reversed her position on whether Litvinenko was working for MI6 after Berezovsky withdrew his support and after the British government refused her request for financial help with her legal fees.

            • Dear Mark,

              I found the Financial Times article deeply depressing since it shows how even officials involved in an inquest have taken to being misleading,

              First of all, here we have yet another attempt to blame the Russians for procedural problems that are caused in Britain. The reason the Russian evidence has not been officially translated is because the British authorities have consistently refused to cooperate or speak with the Russian authorities on the subject of the Litvinenko case and have up to now refused to look at or consider any of the evidence the Russians say they have. Bastrykhin and Chaika have repeatedly complained about this. Far from the Russians being to blame they have been anxious to share information with the British for years. Had this happened years ago there would be no problems with translation now (legal documents in a foreign language have to be translated by specially qualified translators before they are accepted as evidence in a court hearing).

              Secondly, it is simply not true that it is the need to translate the Russian evidence that has delayed the inquest. The reason the inquest was delayed is because despite repeated orders by the Coroner (or to be more precise, the previous Coroner who was somewhat mysteriously replaced) the British authorities have still not disclosed all the information they have been ordered to disclose in the case. We are not talking here of the evidence that the British authorities have given to the Coroner but which will not be made public at the inquest. We are talking of entirely different evidence that the British authorities have so far failed to disclose to anyone. It beggars belief that more 6 years after Litvinenko’s death and after repeated delays in getting the inquest started and after repeated orders from the previous Coroner and the present Coroner for the disclosure of this evidence it has not so far been produced. Had this evidence been produced the inquest could have started in May as it was scheduled to do, and the Russian evidence would have been translated over the summer so that it could have been presented to the inquest in the autumn after it resumed following the summer break (something everybody knew was going to happen).

              Lastly, I am afraid (and I am amazed at myself for saying it) that the Coroner is being completely disingenuous in what he is saying about Lugovoi’s decision to pull out of the inquest. When for example the Coroner says that all the hearings in the inquest will happen in open court, the answer is of course they will and Lugovoi has never said otherwise. What Lugovoi is objecting to is not that parts of the inquest will take place in secret but that some of the evidence will not be made public to the inquest but will be read in private by the Coroner. Lugovoi, quite rightly, objects that since he cannot see this evidence he cannot prepare a defence that refutes it. It is irrelevant for this purpose whether the inquest’s hearings take place in public or not if the evidence is not to be made public produced at them or shown to the parties in the case. As for the Coroner’s other point about Lugovoi, that an inquest is not a trial, that of course is also true and again Lugovoi has never said otherwise. Lugovoi’s point, which is again perfectly reasonable, is that if the evidence the Coroner reads in private is not going to be made public in the inquest then it is not going to be made public in any future trial making it impossible for Lugovoi to clear his name whether at the inquest or at the trial.

              Generally speaking I am a staunch believer in and defender of the British legal system (I don’t say the same for the police). I hope and trust things will not continue like this in this case.

  17. R.C. says:

    Something I’ve heard several of you discuss: the “Shale Oil” boom scam:

    http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/14/the-great-shale-oil-swindle/

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Only yesterday I was discussing the much crowed about in the Western media viability of shale oil with a Russian TNK-BP (now Rosneft) geologist. No leading questions, mind you, and he repeated pretty much what has been said by others here, namely that shale oil is just so much pie in the sky.

      • yalensis says:

        That pie in the sky made from shale oil sounds delicious! Here is Donna’s grandmother’s recipe for “Shale Oil Crust Pie” – “Crust can be rolled out a second time if necessary and it won’t get tough.” —

        http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Oil-Pie-Crust/

      • SFReader says:

        It gets even better. The largest shale oil reserve in the world is in Russia – 126 trillion barrels

        See http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/06/126-trillion-barrels-of-oil-equivalent.html

        Now, if this technology will turn out to be actually useful, a prime beneficiary will be evil Putin’s regime….

        • kirill says:

          No, it will mean climate change apocalypse and the near extinction of humanity along with most of the other mammal life on the planet.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, I’ve seen that, too. The previously-linked Counterpunch article lays out most of the drawbacks to shale oil production, and so far Russia has not gone for the bait of rushing off to throw money into production. If shale gas is to be the world’s savior, it makes sense for Russia to watch quietly until somebody else solves the production-method blues.

          • Jen says:

            Another issue too which the Counterpunch article hints at is that once again the global financial industry seems incapable of drawing any lessons from previous bubbles like the dotcom bubble and the subprime mortgage bubble. Hence the over-investment in searching for and exploiting new shale oil deposits, often just to cover the debts incurred when a previous shale oil deposit delivered less than projections made out and the investment on that was over-subscribed to by investors. There appears to be a kind of hysteria that obliterates all rational thinking in the current shale oil bubble.

            • marknesop says:

              Because most bubbles play to a deep desire in those to whom they are pitched – an online business for next to no investment which will allow the timely investor to clear thousands per week doing next to no work, from home. A five-bedroom house that is within the reach of an average mill worker, because the interest rate is less than 1% and will remain there so long as he holds the mortgage; although the housing market is white-hot and shaking all over with its momentum, it’s always going to stay that way, the banks and the ordinary worker have finally come together in a magic synchronicity of perfect understanding. And now, after decades of having to sometimes back down and eat crow or walk softly and choose its allies carefully, the United States is going to free itself from the iniquitous grasp of those dirty towelheads in the Middle East, and become a net energy exporter – not only will gas for your car be cheap like borscht once again the way it was in the 60’s, America will walk tall and choose its friends on its own terms, being beholden to no one. In the end, you can’t beat good old American know-how. Take that, you fur-hat-wearing Putinoids!!

              It’s a powerful dream, hard to deny. And when it’s peddled by the host industry – the techies for the dot-com bubble, the smooth-talking bankers and even that geriatric talking walnut, Alan Greenspan, for the subprime-mortgage debacle, and now energy-industry executives for the shale-gas “boom” – it’s hard to say, “I don’t believe it”. Because you want to believe it. And its always those who believe America is not getting its fair share of worship as the chosen land of God who are the first to jump gloatingly on board, and say, “Just you wait”.

    • marknesop says:

      And yet. Nearly every story on the subject to which you choose to go, if it allows comments, will have some ardent defender of the shale gas boom parroting the propaganda that the USA is going to be a net exporter by 2030 or 2050 or whatever, forecasting so far out that it is essentially meaningless, we could all be running our cars on chocolate by then for all anyone really knows. It staggers the imagination that people could be so easy to fool, and there seems little choice but to put it down to willful ignorance; people believe because the illusion gives them comfort, while reality is distasteful.

      I had some great references on this recently, but I don’t think I posted them here; it related to a disagreement on Adomanis’s blog. In any case, Poland has been left almost in tears of disappointment with the constant hype from the English-speaking press that Poland is going to be the dominant energy producer for the European market by, oh, next Wednesday, cutting out the bolshie Russian bear, who will have no choice but to negotiate for terms since all their oil wealth will now be as dust in their mouths. And I have to admit, it would be a comforting fantasy, if you were one of those Poles who believes the Russians shot down the Polish president’s plane at Smolensk or broadcast fake positions in the fog to lure them into the trees or whatever, and that Russia is leering only a couple of borders away and licking its chops, waiting to subjugate Poles into slavery again. But the reality is that Poland’s shale gas boom is already a colossal bust. That’s not to say it will always be that way; there is a lot of recoverable energy there, and shale gas is not a myth. It just is not anywhere near as viable as the hype suggests, and since there is not a lot of money to be made on it by…well, anyone, since even the underwriters of new ventures lose money, it’s hard to conclude otherwise than that the deception is deliberate.

      • kirill says:

        Interesting how the failure in Poland is *completely* ignored by the MSM. I find this to be further evidence of the MSM’s role not being honest information purveyors but propagandists.

    • kirill says:

      As coined elsewhere these plays are like the Red Queen from Alice running just to stay in place. Only suckers would believe that tight shale gas deposits are just like conventional gas deposits. They are not for the trivially obvious reason that the pore spaces in shale are much smaller than in sandstone and other sedimentary rock in which conventional gas deposits occur. This is why the shale has to be fracked and why the production from a well collapses much faster. With conventional gas wells the porosity allows the gas to flow from a larger area around the well bore and there is much more of it.

      The decline pattern from fracked gas wells is now quite clear and the need for many more wells to be drilled per year from a play is clear as well. It is a swindle and the swindlers are still pushing their racket by denying that there is any difference in production from fracked shale wells and conventional gas wells.

      • “Interesting how the failure in Poland is completely ignored by the MSM”.

        Because that is the nature of a bubble. Since a bubble is not based on reality until it bursts reality cannot affect it. The classic case is the South Sea Bubble in England in the 1720s. That was a stock market bubble driven by expected profits from the exploitation of gold mines in Australia. At that time Australia had not been discovered, it was no more than a guess that it existed and no one knew whether there were any gold mines there. The amazing thing is that as it turns out Australia does exist and there are gold mines there. Somehow I doubt the shale gas/tar oil fantasies will come true in quite the same way.

  18. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, on the Navalny Front (and this bit ties together Navalny, Bastrykin, and Magnitsky List):
    Two days ago, March 13, Fake-Attorney Alexei Navalny took a Fake Case into Moscow court. More like a nuisance suit. Against Bastrykin: Accusing a tipsy and bad-tempered Bastrykin of threatening to cut off the head of a Novaya Gazeta journalist a few years back. (But didn’t actually cut off his head.)

    http://navalny.livejournal.com/778831.html

    Navalny’s case was dismissed with contempt by Moscow Judge Artur Gennadievich Karpov, who is the same Karpov as the headliner of the Magnitsky List. Navalny bitching about it in his blog yesterday.
    Recall that Navalny and his followers are HUGE fans of the Americans Magnitsky List, they think it is the greatest thing since the invention of a bread slicer.

    White ribbonists published this “scathing expose” of Karpov, calling him a “butcher” and revealing all his nefarious deeds:

    http://bolotnoedelo.info/participants/butchers/652/karpov-artur

    Namely: Karpov first earned his stripes going after Khodorkovsky ally Andrei Leonovich.
    Karpov had ordered Leonovich arrest, but the latter escaped to Great Britain.
    Karpov also had something to do with Udaltsov’s arrest, and is known to be a tough judge against Bolotnaya types.
    Later, Karpov had some dealings with the Firestone case. As a result of which he ended up on the Magnitsky List.

    So, in summary, Navalny and Karpov encountered one another for the first time in Basmanny Court two days ago, and it was NOT love at first sight. They did not move in together and adopt kittens.

    Also notable is that when Navalnyites read Karpov’s biography, the recoil in horror that somebody could be so evil as to oppress Khodorkovsky and arrest Udaltosv, whereas other people read the same biography and think, “This guy sounds like a good egg.” These two groups of people will never agree on the definition of reality!

    • kirill says:

      Thanks for the info. This confirms that the Magnitsky Act is an attempt to coerce Russian jurisprudence. There is simply no evidence of Karpov engaging in any wrong doing. In fact, he is acting like a solid, upstanding citizen of Russia enforcing the law and not some bootlicking stooge pandering to western interests.

      BTW, how is Karpov involved in Magnitsky’s death? “He had some dealings with the Firestone case” is Kafkaesque obscenity.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Kirill:
        Here is White Ribbonies beef against Karpov, and their reason for putting him on Magnitsky List. I add translation for those who don’t read Russian:


        Помимо «дела ЮКОСа», в 2011–2012 годах Артур Карпов поучаствовал и в «деле Магнитского», отказав в нескольких жалобах на бездействие следственных органов юристу Джемисону Файерстоуну. В частности, судья Карпов признал законным отказ СК РФ возбуждать уголовное дело в отношении замгенпрокурора Виктора Гриня и ряда сотрудников МВД, по утверждению Файерстоуна, сфабриковавших дело против его погибшего коллеги. В результате имя Артура Карпова оказалось в списке 14 судей, «отказавших в правосудии матери Сергея Магнитского» (опубликован Hermitage Capital в декабре 2011 года).

        TRANSLATION

        Aside from “Yukos Affair”, in the years 2011-2012 Artur Karpov participated in the “Magnitsky Affair”, having rejected several suits brought by the lawer Jamison Firestone against the investigative organs (accusing them of inactivity). In addition, Judge Karpov ruled as lawful the refusal of the Investigative Committee of Russian Federation to initiate a criminal case with regard to Deputy General Prosecutor Viktor Grin and a series of other officials of the Ministry of Internal Affairs who, according to Firestone, had fabricated a case against his (Grin’s) deceased colleague. As a result (of this), the name of Artur Karpov appeared on the list of 14 judges “who refused justice to the mother of Sergei Magnitsky”…

        END OF TRANSLATION

        In other words, Judge Karpov did not rule his case the way Firestone wanted him too. So OFF WITH HIS HEAD!!!!

        • yalensis says:

          Correction: should read “had fabricated a case against his (Firestone’s) deceased colleague.

        • kirill says:

          Thanks again. By this logic they should put everyone in government on the Magnitsky list since they did not do everything to exonerate Magnitsky or whatnot. The notion that Karpov rule on the evidence presented before him is of course completely alien to the Russia haters both within and outside its borders. That they trot out the “Yukos Affair” discredits them. Running tax fraud scams in Russia and the west is actually a crime and not “freedom of expression”.

          • yalensis says:

            Something just occurred to me. Isn’t Magnitsky List supposed to be super-double-secret list? So how come little-ole-me knows that Karpov is on the list? I guess because I read about it in Navalny’s blog. So, how does Navalny know who is on the list? I guess he must have inside knowledge. Maybe his real name is Niedermeyer – ‘You’re all worthless and weak!”

            • cartman says:

              Can you link flash videos in this thread from now on? It’s rather pointless to post the urls to the videos and let them embed because the sheer volume of linked flash videos under this post always crashes Shockwave Flash and makes the browser hang for a very long time, while also making the origin of the video difficult to determine.

              • kirill says:

                I use flashblock and it seems to prevent what you describe. Flashblock does not interfere with anything else from my experience.

              • yalensis says:

                I don’t know what a flash video is. What would that link look like, and how is it different from a regular youtube link??

                I never experienced what you describe, and if I had I would not want to cause anybody that kind of distress.

                • kirill says:

                  Flash is a video format that has taken over the web. Youtube videos are Flash format. I have had Flash player crash on certain webpage. It can bring down the browser too. The source of the problem is most likely with the webpages and not Flash.

                • yalensis says:

                  Thanks, kirill, I think I understand. I always wondered why pasting a link to a youtube URL behaved differently in WordPress than pasting a regular URL. The fact that the video is automatically embedded and rendered must be a feature of WordPress. It does not happen in, say, Disqus.
                  So, if individual clients disabled the flash feature on their PC’s, then hopefully they would just see the reference to the link without the embed. Then they could choose to click or not click on the video link. That might solve the problem of slowness or low memory.

          • marknesop says:

            They won’t put everyone in government, or even in the judiciary, on the Magnitsky list. Not only because some choices would be indefensible even though they fudged the criteria from those who had a part in the killing of Magnitsky to those who abuse human rights, impede the political opposition and what not, but because a certain core who are amenable to a change in leadership must always be preserved to smooth the transition when regime change is successful.

            • Dear Yalensis,

              The fact that the Magnitsky list is supposed to be super secret makes it even more objectionable since the US government is taking it upon itself to pronounce individuals guilty of a crime supposedly committed in another country and is doing so in secret giving these people no opportunity to refute the allegations made against them. Of all the laws that have been passed in the west over recent years I struggle to think of one that is juridically speaking so outrageous.

              As to how Navalny knows that Karpov is on the Magnitsky list, my guess is that he actually doesn’t since I cannot believe the US is that stupid that it shares secret intelligence with Navalny of all people. However the reality is that it can’t be very difficult for someone like Navalny to guess who is on the list and who isn’t. Bear in mind that the list is supposed to be drawn up with the assistance of Russian informants and NGOs. That means that the white ribbon leaders will have have had input in drawing it up and it should not be difficult for them to know who is on that list and who is not.

              • kirill says:

                The only thing this list will achieve is economic losses for the US. But US politicians are too full of themselves and their fanatical delusion that the USA is number 1 forever in everything. These are the same idiots who oversee the transfer of *millions* of high paying US jobs to China.

                On the subject of “hyperpower” USA, here are some interesting figures:

                (the article is at: http://www.theoildrum.com/node/9871#more).

                So the US has been sliding in terms of domestic employment since 1999 going from over 46% to 42% and this pattern has nothing to do with the post 2008 recession. As the article states, correctly in my opinion, this slide correlates with the China joining the WTO. (It joined in 2001 but was effectively part of it before then in terms of free trade). So even with all the low-paying service sector jobs, the total workforce is shrinking in the USA even as its population grows.

                This pattern is not some gain in efficiency. It is raw impoverishment as the average wage shrinks and the total number of workers shrinks. If it was some sort of magical prosperity then the average wage would be going up and rapidly. People still talk about 8 dollar an hour jobs when I clearly recall these being minimum wage in 1990. After adjusting for inflation, these wages are $4 per hour in 1990 terms.

                The USA is not headed for the commanding heights of civilization, it is heading into the toilet. Pompous anti-Russian laws are idiocy.

  19. kirill says:

    http://en.rian.ru/politics/20130315/180035843/Deputies-Seek-Probe-Into-Gudkov-For-Supporting-US.html

    Wow, English RIAN has outed itself as a liberast nest. “One of the few dissenting voices”, what a joke! Giving anti-Russian talks at anti-Russian venues is hardly “dissent”. A good word for it is treachery. Mr. Gudkov was elected like the other members of the Duma and does not get to be some extra-special voice of the people. In fact, he was kicked out of the party that he used to win his seat.

    • Misha says:

      It’s asking way too much for a reasoned and rock solid pro-Russian advocate, who doesn’t fit the establishment court appointed mode.

      As used, the issue of “hero journalist” is rather Orwellian.

    • Misha says:

      Re: http://valdaiclub.com/politics/56220.html

      Excerpt –

      “According to Konstantin Kosachev, Head of the Federal Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Cultural Cooperation, the Global Russian World project would unite not only compatriots but all Russophiles on a global scale.”

      ****

      To date, this effort has been noticeably lacking, with numerous examples to serve as s proof.

  20. kirill says:

    http://en.rian.ru/crime/20130315/180036563/533-Mln-Misspent-on-Russia-Defense-Deals—Watchdog.html

    Clearly somebody is doing their job. Much more value in this than all the poser bleating from Navalny and company.

  21. yalensis says:

    In Nazi news, tomorrow (Saturday) is annual “March of the Waffen SS” veterans and supporters in Riga:

    http://www.dni.ru/society/2013/3/15/249821.html

    • Misha says:

      http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2010/03/19/6444.html

      Excerpt –

      Latvian SS men were also guilty of killing POWs including women. On August 6, 1943 soldiers from the Latvian 19th SS Division killed 15 POWs from the Red Army 65h Guardian regiment of the 22nd Division taken captive near the Bobryn village in the Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic. The fact was listed in the verdict of the Nuremberg trial stating that executions of unarmed POWs were routine SS practice. Latvian SS forces were in fact known for particularly ferocious extermination of POWs.

      Latvian Legion soldiers also committed gross crimes in Poland. They were employed in the operation against the Warsaw ghetto. The death toll in Warsaw totaled 56,065.

      As a conclusion, below is an excerpt from the report submitted by Vlasov army lieutenant B. Baltins to the Russian Liberation Army envoy in Riga: “In the middle of December, 1943 I visited the Knyazevo (Krasnoye), Barsuki, Rozalino villages and other places in the former Vitebsk province of Belarus. Initially they were occupied by the German forces who were tolerant to the local population, but later Germans were replaced with Latvian SS forces who subjected the population to unbelievable terror without any reason… There were mountains of corpses around the village and I was told by the locals that the people were killed by the Latvian SS. On April 23, 1944 I visited the Morochkovo village. It had been burned down completely, and Latvian SS men lived in the basements… I asked one of them why there were corpses of women, senior-aged people, and children scattered around the village, and also many killed horses. The reply was that they wanted to kill as many Russians as possible”.

      • kirill says:

        Explains their rabid denial of their own dirty history. Victimizers weeping tears of victimhood.

      • kirill says:

        Russia is really dropping the ball on these obscene parades. It should:

        1) Slap harsh sanctions on Latvia for as long as this sick circus goes on
        2) Condition its dealing with the EU on:
        2a) treatment of the Russian minority in Latvia
        2b) clear condemnation from the EU of the actions of its member, Latvia.

        The EU has much more to lose from ignoring Russia and/or spitting in its face.

  22. yalensis says:

    In Belorussian news: Putin and Lukashenko met in Petersburg to sign a bunch of agreements, including joint exploration of Arctic. Belorussia plans to build an Arctic base, with economic help and investment from Russia. Almost 5 billion rubles has been allocated to next year’s budget for joint economic projects of the two states, including some nuclear energy projects.
    Nice to see Putin and Lukashenko getting along better. Luk even gave Putin a medal (Order of Friendship). It’s time these 2 leaders put their egos aside for the common good. And it WOULD BE NICE if Lukashenko would finally recognize South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Come on, Luk, it’s time!

    http://izvestia.ru/news/546795

    • Misha says:

      Reminded of his anti-Russian propaganda bit, which a good number of “Russophiles” are probably not offended by:

      http://www.rferl.org/media/photogallery/24918811.html

      Excerpt –

      “When it comes to firebrands of the 19th-century Belarusian nationalist movement, few are held in such high esteem as Kastus Kalinouski, the leader of the 1863 uprising against the Russian Empire.”

      ****

      The aforementioned person was a fan of the Polish dominated Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and someone who wasn’t Orthodox-Christian. Most Belarusians are of an Orthodox Christian background and (if anything) view the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth as being more imperialistic than the Russian Empire. Among the Belarusian majority, the Russian Empire tends to be viewed more as a liberated continuation of the Rus legacy. In contrast, the greatest admirers of the Polish-Lithuanian Union are prone to deemphasizing that perspective.

      At last notice, the Wiki bio of Kalinouski is full of chauvinistically inaccurate anti-Russian overview.

      There’s a reason why the place in question is known as “Belarus” and beforehand “Byelorussia” instead of “Belapol” or “Belapoland” and it’s not because of some imperialistic Russian suppression.

  23. yalensis says:

    In Transnistrian news:
    Transnistria (=Pridnestrovie) now accepts the Russian ruble as legal currency. Moldavian officials are not happy about this. (No doubt because their own currency is practically worthless.)

    http://www.rosbalt.ru/exussr/2013/03/15/1106323.html

    • Misha says:

      Over the years, I’d chuckle at the establishment commentariat suggesting that a former Moldavian SSR settlement was near, on account of upcoming meetings between the two parties in dispute, with Russia factored in. Likewise, with the suggestion that Shevchuk might turn into another Yushchenko:

      http://www.eurasiareview.com/10012012-pridnestrovies-present-and-future%c2%a0-analysis/

    • SFReader says:

      Trans-Dniester Moldovan Republic has the best looking foreign minister in Europe.


      http://pics.livejournal.com/stalker_grin/pic/0008zzw0/s640x480

      http://moldnews.md/thumb.php?id=52404&mode=3

      • yalensis says:

        Those cheekbones – wow!
        Her name is Nina Viktorovna Shtanski. I looked up wiki page for Trans-Dniester Republic:

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

        Nina appears to be the only woman in the top-level cabinet (is small government, though), but there are a couple of other females at the level of Prime Minister Departments.

        Anyhow, this new thing, which is allowing the ruble to be used freely as currency, should probably help Trans-Dniester economy. I am no economist, but I imagine most local people will prefer the ruble as opposed to the Moldovan/Romanian “leu”. Not that the “leu” isn’t nice looking, with that King Whoever on the front, but it is only backed by a very impoverished government.

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

        On the other hand… I just looked up currency converter on Google:
        As of today, the Moldovan “leu” is worth .08 US$
        The Russian ruble is only worth .03 US$

        WTF??

        • Moscow Exile says:

          “Where shall we three meet again in thunder, lightning, or in rain? When the hurlyburly ‘s done, when the battle ‘s lost and won…”

          The three women who have served as US Secretary of State:

          1997-2001

          2005-2009

          2009-2013

          Bear in mind, a pretty face does not necessary correlate with pretty policies.

          • marknesop says:

            That picture of Hillary looks quite a bit like your avatar, with simply the addition of a pair of smashed glasses and a little ketchup.

            • Jen says:

              This is a more alarming view of Hillary Clinton:

              We should be glad that this is not in Flash format so people have the option of clicking on the link if they want to see it and not have it thrown in their faces.

              • marknesop says:

                Invests her with a nobility she does not possess, in my opinion, not to mention subtracting about 5 kilos of turkey wattles. She might not have been the worst secretary of state ever, but it would be a damned close race.

        • marknesop says:

          On the other hand, giving up your national currency is abdicating your ability to exercise your will over your own monetary policy to some extent. There is a regular ebb and flow of talks – mostly instigated by the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (CCCE), an elite group of businessmen and women who (and here we are stepping off into my opinion and not something I can prove, and I confess I am going somewhat on instinct) are interested in getting even richer but use the cover of “building a stronger Canada” to make it more palatable to the consumer – on the NAFTA countries adopting a “common currency”. Considering we live right next to not only the world’s biggest economy (for another couple of years, maybe) but to the owner of the world’s reserve currency, what denomination do you think that currency would be? I’m going to go out on a limb and predict both Canada and Mexico would bury their currencies and throw their weight behind the American dollar. In a way it would be good, chiefly for trade, and it would provide a wild profits ride for those businesses who got in on the ground floor (which, forgive me if the CCCE is comprised largely of selfless patriots, I believe to be the CCCE’s main motivator), but the two countries who ceded their sovereignty to that extent would quickly realize that monetary policy was going to be set in Washington, just like always, whereas our own national interests would gradually erode in favour of supporting the dollar’s continued strength and well-being until the lot of us were, for all intents and purposes, Americans.

          So far the idea has never got past the proposal stage, and to be fair, Americans don’t seem any more enthusiastic about it than anyone else. Mind you, I recall the last time the “currency union” was proposed was prior to the global financial crash. Canada’s relative economic strength might look a little more attractive now, not to mention its natural resource base and – most of all – its water. It should be noted it is consistently the CCCE who pushes the agenda of a Common North American Security Perimeter (which would be followed by a dropping of tariffs and harmonization of things like immigration policy and movement of goods and services until internal borders became more or less meaningless) and ever-stronger ties with the United states.

      • Misha says:

        On the brought up beauty, which current FM comes closest?

  24. Moscow Exile says:

    Navalny’s been hard at it again exposing lawbreakers in the legislature.

    This time it’s upper house member Maklin, whom the Basketweaver says in his blog has dual Israeli/Russian nationality and business interests in Canada, where he has also applied for a residence permit. Navalny is demanding that the senator be dismissed from office as it is against the law for members of the upper house to have business interests.

    After this this rogue has been dismissed, Russia, I am sure, will be a much happier and safer place and Putin that much weaker.

    When the mob finally arises and storms the Kremlin at Navalny’s behest, following which democratic revolution “opposition leader” Navalny, becomes President of Russia, I should dearly like to know what his and his democratically elected government’s policies will be.

    I wonder if he has thought them out yet?

    • SFReader says:

      Some info from old Exile about this character.


      Vitaly Malkin

      Age: 55

      Genesis: Head of Bank Rossisskii Kredit, Russia’s third-largest bank until the 1998 collapse and official member of inner circle bankers. Malkin was a member of the Gusinsky-created Russian Jewish Congress. According to Versiya magazine, he has Canadian citizenship and strong ties Israeli financial organizations. The magazine also charges that his bank was used by Chechen criminal groups to launder and transfer money off shore through the Rossisskii Kredit’s accounts in Citi Bank, Bank of New York and other major American banks.

      Exodus: After the collapse of his bank in ’98, Malkin reportedly hid in Israel and then quietly snuck back into Moscow. He wasn’t heard from until 2002, when he was implicated in a long-forgotten debt scandal involving Angola and the Soviet Union. Aside from pursuing various investment project, he’s now serving as the Representative of the Republic of Buryatia in the Federation Council. His term expires next year. Forbes says Malkin spent $1.4 million buying apartments for handicapped police officers. He’s really trying to ingratiate himself with charity and public service.
      —-
      http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:QnTMGNVR6PIJ:www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php%3FARTICLE_ID%3D8575%26IBLOCK_ID%3D35+&cd=3&hl=en&ct=clnk&client=firefox-a


      5. Vitaly Malkin.

      Status: RETIRED IN DISGRACE

      Malkin rivaled Smolensky and Berezovsky for sheer balding Jewishness. As head of Bank Rossisskii Kredit, the third largest bank until the crisis of 1998, Malkin was big-time enough to be an official member of the Semibankirshina, which meant formal invitations to Yeltsin tithing pleas.

      After the collapse of Bank Rossisskii Kredit, Malkin first reportedly fled to Israel, then later returned to Moscow, where he quietly worked in the banking sector and government sphere. Although BRK disappeared, oddly enough on its same properties a new bank, Impex, appeared, leaving creditors with nothing to liquidate.

      Little was heard of Malkin until 2002, when he was named as a key figure in a Soviet-era Angolan debt scandal in which then Prime Minister Mikhail “Two Percent” Kasyanov reportedly profited.

      In 2002, many Russian papers, including kompromat.ru, reported that Malkin opened up his own “zakriti klub,” essentially a large, grotesquely decked-out casino-club. One of the rooms is apparently called the “Hell Hall,” and on its walls are large murals depicting the oligarchs paying for their various sins in Hell. No one knows what the “Paradise Hall” was supposed to depict.

      Malkin was a member of the Russian Jewish Congress.

      Best Quote: “60% of Russian capital belongs to Jewish business.” Speaking on Israel TV’s Second Channel, October 3rd, 1996.

      Transformation: From oligarch to nightclub owner.

      Accused: Of arranging a Soviet-era Angolan debt swindle.

      Personal fortune bombed by: Unknown. Put it this way, he went from being an oligarch to a club director.

      Silver lining: Because the eXile predicted the banking collapse in August, 1998, we only lost a few hundred dollars in our BRK account.

      http://www.exile.ru/print.php?ARTICLE_ID=7482&IBLOCK_ID=35

      I must add that he for a very long time was a junior partner of another oligarch, Boris/Bidzina Ivanishvili, former principal owner of Bank Rossisskii Kredit and current Prime Minister of Georgia

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Sounds like Malkin’s not got a lot in common with the Buryats and the Republic of Buryatia that he represents in the upper house. Maybe this girl and other members of her nation are descendants of the Lost tribe of Israel?

        • kirill says:

          I agree, time for a real Buryat to be a representative.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Don’t forget that for 7 years Abramovich was governor of Chukotka, which is the end of the bloody world in my opinion.

            Some tend to romanticize about that vast, empty place and the reindeer herder and hunter Chukchis, and this Chukchi girl certainly is pretty (heap pretty squaw?), but the reality of life for most Chukchis is not so idyllic.

            Apparently, Abramovich, who is, of course, of the same tribe as is Malkin, and who, just as Malkin had little or nothing in common with the Buryats, had little or nothing in common with the Chukchis, soon wanted out of his Chukotka governorship, but it seems he was persuaded to tough it out there by the Evil One.

            I have always suspected that Putin’s literal sending of Abramovich not only to Siberia but to by far the most inhospitable part of that forbidding landmass, where he should serve as governor of Chukotka, was the proud KGB president’s way of testing that oligarch’s loyalty: Putin “gave” Abramovich the Chukotka governorship in 2001 before the shit hit the fan with Khodorkovsky. Abramovich could, I suppose, have made a run for Alaska, but the golden boy didn’t – and I’ll give him his due: if all accounts are true, he pumped a lot of his dubiously acquired money into that wasteland over which he governed.

            Nevertheless, Abramovich took the first opportunity he could in order to resign his Chukotka governorship as soon as Medvedev had become president.

    • yalensis says:

      To be sure, in recent weeks Navalny has been a blur of whistle-blowing exposes of corruption and hypocrisy of Duma members. Most of his allegations are probably true, and this life of the Great White Crusader is the life he should have been living all along. But it’s a bit late for him to regain his virginity and become Sir Parsifal the Holy Spear-Carrier. A lot of his frantic exposes now just comes off as “what-about-ism” since he himself has been charged with grand theft of government property.

      In fact, some of this stuff he is scraping up now is probably just blackmail, trying to buy his way out of his own jail sentence.

      Anyhow, if it was somebody new coming out with this explosive stuff, everybody would be, like, “Wow! Great whistleblowing, dude!” Because this is Navalny, and everybody knows that he is a CIA agent, people are, like “yeah yeah, just shut up and go away…”

      P.S. on the corruption of United Russia Party: This is probably the reason (and the Saker of Vineyard also stressed this point) that Putin is seriously considering building a new party for himself, this so-called “Grand Popular Front”. Remember that United Russia is the product of the Yeltsinite system, so it goes without saying that many of its members are corrupt tossers of the first degree of Tosserhood.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I’m pretty sure Navalny has a list provided courtesy of the CIA which he can refer to at regular intervals so as to cry out “faul!”.

        Methinks the Basketweaver protesteth too much.

        I reckon plenty of others think the same as well.

    • marknesop says:

      A lot of his waving and shouting of “crook” is going to look a little silly when he is proven to be a crook himself. Meanwhile, all this “anti-corruption whistleblowing” is of course designed to make his prosecution look politicized, to shut him up so he will stop “cleaning up Russia”.

      I hope people are not still looking at Navalny’s accusations as if they come from a lawyer, because he is not.

  25. yalensis says:

    New Pope = Great Guy, right? Named after St. Francis of Assisi, kind to children and small animals.

    (This comment ties in to above thread about Latin American class struggle, comprador elites, and the role of Hugo Chavez.
    Only in this case it’s about the new Latin American pope.)

    The inimitable Alex Jones exposes how Mr. Nice Guy Popey used to be a murderous thug who assisted Argentinian death squads:

    http://www.infowars.com/new-pope-tied-to-argentinas-dirty-war/

    • Misha says:

      This article touches on that as well:

      http://www.counterpunch.org/2013/03/15/pope-ratzingers-war-on-social-justice/

      Contrast how these Roman Catholic figures get covered at venues like RFE/RL, in contrast to those in the Russian and Serb Orthodox Christian hierarchy.

      • yalensis says:

        This new pope sounds like an even greater tosser than Ratzinger. Sure, Ratzinger was a Lederhosen wearing Hitler Youth, but he was just an innocent young Knabe at the time. Bergoglio was a fully formed adult when he assisted the murderous Argentinian junta.

        Speaking of Ratzinger, I have a huge conspiracy theory as to why he resigned. (Based on nothing, I am not exactly a Vatican insider…) My theory is Rat was forced out by blackmail, because somebody (maybe Bergoglio) had the goods on him. Rat was at the very center of the whole pedophile conspiracy. He knew every name, date, incident, and covered up all of it for decades. Beware the all-powerful file clerk! Rat probably used those files to secure the papacy for himself. But them somebody more clever then he turned the tables on him?

        And it seems that Rat did not go willingly into that good night. Even though he was probably forced out against his will, he still had enough clout (or blackmail moxy) to secure himself a cushy golden parachute!

      • Misha says:

        An example of sleazy anti-ROC propaganda:

        http://russialist.org/new-pope-a-mixed-blessing-for-the-kremlin-and-the-patriarchate/

        Note the suggestions given for why the ROC isn’t (according to the above piece) so pleased with the new Pope.

        Where has the ROC shown any inclination of being displeased as claimed? Ukrainian-Greek Catholic and Moscow Patriarchate relations aren’t a simply suggested good versus evil situation and ROC-Jewish relations are quite good, with both its representatives sitting in the same area at Duma gatherings.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Drang nach Osten?

      Lebensraum?

      Nach Moskau?

      • One needs to be very careful of Timothy Garton Ash. He is extremely skilled in cloaking what is in reality a militantly anti Russian agenda behind a reasonable sounding pro European cloak. When you examine his articles carefully (including this one) it’s quite obvious that his agenda to drive Russia out of Europe. Thus he wants every country in Europe including the Ukraine to join the European Union but he wants Russia banished to farthest Eurasia. Moscow Exile has hit on the nail since what Timothy Garton Ash wants to achieve by peaceful methods is what Hitler tried to do by violent ones.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          I’ve mentioned this before, but in the Western media there is a constant, subliminal underlying denial of Russian membership to the “family of nations”.

          For example, I always check out the BBC World Service weather bureau for European bulletins: Europe, according to BBC weather maps, seems to end at the Ukrainian-Belorussian/Russian frontier. Only occasionally does the BBC give indications of weather conditions in European Russia, and then only if extreme conditions exist there – and I mean really extreme! They also never use the term “European Russia”, but they do sometimes say “in European Ukraine” and always state the weather conditions in Kiev but only occasionally those in Moscow.

          For example, earlier last week there was a heavy snowfall in northern France, Belgium, and northern Germany, which was, of course, duly forecast and reported. The snow thawed and vanished after a day or two. Here in Asiatic Russia warnings were given by the Moscow meteorological service earlier last week of imminent heavy snowfalls caused by warm, moist air coming from the Mediterranean that would meet last Thursday evening high pressure air sitting over central European Russia that was cooler than than the the balmy Mediterranean air by 50C. Result: it has been snowing for three days and we have experienced the heaviest March blizzards since 1947. Meteorologists here say temperatures will remain sub-zero until April.

          Not a word of this from the BBC, though London reports that it’s warm and sunny in Turkey.

          • Misha says:

            Reminded of how RFE/RL treats Kosovo as if it’s a fully accepted independent nation.

            Nerver mind it’s not considered such in the IOC, UN and most, if not all, major international orgs, with at last notice roughly 50% of nations recognizing Kosovo’s independence, which has a considerable foreign troop presence.

            Athletically, Russia participates in the European zone of major competitions, unlike Kazakstan, Uzbekistan and some other former Soviet republics.

            On this matter, I share the view of Russia’s human rights omdundsman Lukin, who greatly appreciates Russia’s relationship with Asia, while emphasizing that Russia is more European than Asian. IMO, one shouldn’t let the modern day EU suggested/influenced definition if “Europe” be confused with with the actual meaning.

        • kirill says:

          The idiot can keep on dreaming. Even if Ukraine and Georgia and even Belorus joined the EU and NATO it would not mean the end of Russia. It actually might mean the end of the EU since these basket case may the straws that break the proverbial camel’s back.

          People like Ash have a schizophrenic overvaluation of the self and of their “tribe”. The flip side of this egotistical bubble is rabid hate for “them” who are “not us”. Every year that passes means that Ash’s cloud kingdom slides farther and farther down. Russia does not need the west, but the west needs Russian resources. In fact, the country most likely to weather the coming energy sh*t storm is Russia. Russia has plenty of fossil fuel reserves and is smart enough to actively develop, with plans to deploy, fast neutron breeder reactors (the BN-800 is being completed and will power up next year and the BN-1200 will be the commercial version that will be deployed 10 years from now).

          Southern Europe is in a full blown depression, while Russia’s GDP is growing. Ash can shove his retarded chauvinism up his a**.

          • marknesop says:

            Unless you are censoring yourself because you fear going to hell, I feel bound to point out that you are allowed to say “ass” here, and considerably worse if you can substantiate it and its use is not just gratuitous profanity. I don’t know your situation, and perhaps your babulya is looking over your shoulder, but otherwise it is okay to say “ass” and you will not turn into a pillar of salt.

        • marknesop says:

          What continues to mystify me is the apparent willingness – if not eagerness – of the western alliance to push the world’s largest energy provider deeper into the orbit of the worlds largest developing economy. You would think the United States in particular would be paralyzed at the prospect of around 10% of the world’s energy needs – or more – passing through China’s pipelines before being redistributed in accordance with the policy imperatives of its rival, assuming the American drive continues to be toward unipolar power and global domination. If it does, it is inevitable that China will come into conflict with the west.

          Many analysts thought at the outset of the Iraq invasion that the American motivator, rather than cheap gas for Americans and their friends (dream on, folks, for that happy day will never pass this way again), was a control mechanism whereby America could regulate the development of emerging economic giants China and India. But if that were the case, does it make any sense at all to encourage a partnership between a huge energy provider and a giant energy consumer – the pace of whose development depends largely on its access to energy resources – when they are already geographical neighbours, simply by continuously narrowing the options of the former?

    • marknesop says:

      I agree with him insofar as his point that Ukraine is trying to have its cake and eat it, because I have said so on several occasions – whenever Yanukovich is trying to wring concessions from Russia on gas prices, he makes noises about Ukraine’s eventual EU membership, but he has really done little or nothing towards satisfying their list of conditions. And rightly not, because one of them is the freeing of Tymoshenko and apologizing to her and the world for wrongfully incarcerating her, doubtless to be followed by a huge civil lawsuit from Team Tymoshenko. He should just stop dancing and drop the EU happy talk.

      • kirill says:

        Russia does not need this basket case around its neck demanding free energy and endless political concessions. The threat of joining the EU is really the threat of joining NATO and shoving some US bases into Russia’s face. Interesting how Ukraine, which is alleged to be more democratic than Russia (until Yanukovich was voted in), ignores the opinion of 70% of its population and keeps pressing towards NATO membership. I would say that the Ukraine is acting like a good and proper banana republic.

        Russia should keep on engaging the Ukraine constructively but not at the expense of its own well being. US bases on Ukrainian soil are no different from the same bases in Poland. They are WWII irrelevances in the modern missile era.

        • marknesop says:

          “Russia should keep on engaging the Ukraine constructively but not at the expense of its own well being.”

          That’s the ticket, I think. Russia should continue to make reasonable overtures, because it would be undesirable to have representation by declared hostile nations on its doorstep. And whatever you may thing about the irrelevancies of foreign bases on Ukrainian soil, if they are missile defense stations furnished with interceptors capable of taking out a ballistic missile in the boost phase, they would go a long way toward removing Russia’s remaining fortress wall; its nuclear deterrent. If the west had nothing to fear from nuclear retaliation, it would be considerably more aggressive than it is already.

          Russia does not really need Ukraine, true, except to bolster its population, because Ukraine’s chief value at present lies in agriculture while Russia certainly does not lack for agricultural land itself. But you have to think also of the strategic value in denying to an enemy use of something you do not really need, but they do, or will do. Besides, even if your declared enemies do not need the product of the disputed land, somebody will, and that somebody will pay for it. Someone will always need grain somewhere, for example, so if that is what the land is ideally suited for, it’s worth holding on to.

          • kirill says:

            ABM bases in Ukraine are just as useless at taking out Russian ICBMs as the ones in Poland, if said ICBMs are launched east of the Urals. Russia can send ICBMs over the pole and Russian ICBMs are evolving. Ballistic MIRVs have been replaced with dynamic propelled “MARVs”. The US boost phase interceptor sites are going to be targeted for preemptive strikes via Iskander type regional missiles with nuclear warheads. This seems to have sunk in and there is plenty of discussion and planning to place ABM interceptors on ships.

            The only way Russia would lose the next arms race is it was still in the Yeltsin toilet. But big, bad Putler has saved it from this fate and it already is demonstrating that it has the technical capacity and financial resources to give NATO military planners such a hard time that they are even backpedalling on the ABM deployment around Russia’s western borders:

            http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-21812161

      • Misha says:

        There’s a practical side to Yanukovych, which considers the Ukrainian oligarch class and its simulateneous ties in the West and apprehension with quite possibly not always having its way in a Russian involved customs union.

        Yanukovych and the Ukrainian oligarchs likely sense that EU-Ukrainian relations can only go so far. Meantime, the likes of Chatham House’s James Sherr (pardon any misspell) have given Yanukovych some credit for not bowing (as spun) to Moscow’s preferences – something that doesn’t contradict the minority, but nevertheless relatively influential (in terms of their actual numbers) nationalist anti-Russian slant of some Ukrainians.

        Meantime, it’s not sophisticated propaganda for VoR to uncritically prop the historically challenged idea of Russia rejoining Ukraine – a matter that has been informally discussed at length under Leos Tomicek’s recent Auster Insomniac piece under the title of “Ignorance”.

        • marknesop says:

          Yes, reference Yanukovych and his own oligarchy, that’s a fair point – and since they are credited with controlling directly as much as 70% of Ukraine’s GDP, the disposition of their assets under any future agreement has to be something that is much on his mind, considering he himself is not among them to the best of my knowledge. That certainly would account for some amount of dithering, but I would think the thing to do in such a case would be to seek advice from prospective partners without the participation of the oligarchy, and then choose the path which seems best for Ukraine. Not to do Yanukovich’s thinking for him, since the decision obviously has nothing to do with me, but I would have seen all I needed to see already in (1) Putin’s bringing of his own oligarchy largely to heel without crashing the country’s economy, and (2) the insistence of prospective EU partners that Yanukovych free Tymoshenko, thereby putting at liberty one of Ukraine’s most prominent oligarchs, as well as one who contests him directly for political power and has already displayed her complete ignorance of how to manage an economy. If you’re listening, Viktor Feodorovych, don’t be rushed into anything stupid, is all I’m saying.

          I think it might have been James Sherr who wrote a series of foreign-policy pieces on Ukraine during the Orange Revolution years, and whose phrase – describing the fiscal machinations of Tymoshenko, specifically her enormous pay raise to civil servants without anything at all to back it – of “flying in the face of fiscal reality” stuck with me even to now.

          • Misha says:

            The Ukrainian public appears wary enough of the oligarchs to support a restriction on their influence. This issue gets complicated with an inner oligarch rivalry.

            It has been said that In some ways, Ukraine is a more extreme version of Russia. Putin has arguably felt freer to clamp down on the oligarch element. The latter is still very evident in Russia, albeit more restricted from the Yeltsin era.

            On the clamping down of oligachs, Yanukovych’s presidency has seen the arrest of Tymoshenko – something which Russia and the West haven’t been so keen on supporting. Yuschenko has given credence to the Yanukovych position that Tymoshenko didn’t properly negotiate a gas agreement with Russia.

            The political situation in Ukraine is a murky mess, which Rusisa and the West seem aware of.

  26. Aleks says:

    Hi Mark,
    Is there anything you can do about having over 800 comments on one page and make it a little bit more friendly to handle, i.e. pages of ~+50 (or do I have a messed up browser?). I know I could simply copy a phrase from the last comment I read and Ctl+F Ctl+V when I want to catch up, but it is all a little unwieldy. Loving all the comments!

    • marknesop says:

      Hi, Aleks! that’s just my own laziness, I’m afraid, in failing to introduce a new post in time to shift the commentary elsewhere. I had struck a deal with JLo to write a story about why he loves living in Russia, and hopefully it will inspire others like Moscow Exile to do the same, because there’s nothing like local interest from the viewpoint of someone who is technically a foreigner, regardless how long they have been in Russia. But JLo is kind of busy right now, and although the project is still forthcoming it will be a little while longer; I’m really looking forward to it.

      I agree the comments are great, and consider myself fortunate indeed to have such a group of thinkers to draw upon for opinion, as well as their generally agreeable temperament, so that things rarely descend into a counter-productive “flame war”. I am frequently humbled by the clumsiness of my own understanding of international affairs alongside that of some of the bright people here. But, hey; it’s like skiing, and if you’re not falling down you’re not learning, as my ex-brother-in-law used to say.

      There is a tote on the right-hand side of the blog which is for “recent comments”; it holds 10, if I remember right. That’s about the only way to stay current, because as far as I know the entire list of comments is displayed regardless of what browser you use. Mine are cut up into 20 per page or so, but that’s on the WordPress site that I use to build and manage the blog; if I look at it from the browser, I see the same thing you do.

      • cartman says:

        My earlier post wasn’t specifically to Yalensis. If you could get it to stop embedding YouTube videos automatically it would help this loading problem a lot.

        • marknesop says:

          I’m afraid I have no idea how to do that. Are you very computer-savvy?

        • yalensis says:

          No offense taken, @cartman. But I personally like the way WordPress automatically embeds the videos, because then you get a kind of graphic/picture that makes the comment page look livelier. Especially since commenters are not allowed to attach images. (Only the blog owner can embed images.)

          One suggestion I have, and this is a variant of of a previous suggestion I made, but with a twist: Mark, I realize you don’t want to stoop to posting a “stub” without content, but how about a pseudo-stub that is basically a continuation of the current post, like a “Continued…” page, and then comments could start to migrate to that new continuation page?
          This might help with the loading/slowness problems some people have on their computers. I had those problems too, until a couple of weeks ago. Then I finally coughed up the money for a brand new computer (after my old one died), and I noticed my browser got way faster.

          • marknesop says:

            I agree with both; I would not want to disable the capability, but I have gone to the blog before from outside WordPress and noticed those entries with a lot of comments – particularly those with a lot of embedded videos – are very slow to load. Although I’ve never had the computer crash, I have had it freeze for a minute or two while it’s busily downloading all that stuff. For some reason, perhaps a script associated with the page, I also have the same problem with The Moscow Times and RFE/RL sites.

            I’ll consider a stub in order to continue the comments, but what I really should have is a new post. That usually takes me about two days, depending on how much research I have to do – something that apparently does not impede journalists like Georgy Bovt and Alexei Bayer – unless somebody has something ready to go that they would like to run with.

      • Misha says:

        Keeping it as real as possible is the earnestly best route to take, as opposed to a phony blowhard ass kissing to the establishment, which includes a restricted overview of some otherwise noticeable fault-lines.

  27. R.C. says:

    Another series of Navalny-sponsored “opposition” rallies are on the way this spring:

    http://en.rian.ru/russia/20130316/180061042/Russian-Opposition-Plans-Two-Mass-Rallies-for-Spring.html

    I’m trying to figure out what the topic is this time since the article isn’t really clear. I really like the comment of the poster named “Bielec” in the comments section:

    “Of course, this is being done in the name of “democracy”, while in fact, it has nothing to do with democracy. These people are not willing to accept the choice made by the majority of Russian voters across the country. Just like the rebels in Syria, they serve their Western masters. Some for Soros’s money, some for expected careers, some to kill the boredom of everyday life, some out of naivity, some out of stupidity. There is no democracy anywhere in this world. In the West, there is plutocracy and imperialism. In Russia, there is a national government that opposes globalization and neo-colonialism. It’s that simple. Russians should choose whether they want to live in their own homeland or in a colony exploited by Western bankers and investors”.

    • Misha says:

      I was looking for the title of this article to substantiate itself in the article’s content:

      http://www.eurasiareview.com/17032013-putins-rough-term-deepening-divide-between-kremlin-and-the-street-analysis/

      • marknesop says:

        Oh, dear. The Russian people’s frustration with Putin’s refusal to do anything about giving them the civil society (really become a new buzzword, that) they demand is making them “growly and unpleasant”.

      • kirill says:

        The 5% of the street. All of these articles are total jokes. How many articles are there about the powerful impact of 5% in Aghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, USA, Canada and pretty much every other country on the planet? I don’t see any. Maybe I should look under some rocks.

    • kirill says:

      It’s a nice comment but easily dismissed as tin foil. You can slaughter this propaganda for the so-called opposition and its street theater with a few key facts. Like the fact that they are 5% of the population. Nobody is stopping the so-called opposition from hiring Gallup to do some opinion polls. But they don’t even bother since they know the results will be the same as from all the other polling agencies. So some tin foil crock about “rigged, state-run polling” can be dismissed out of hand. Talking about Soros and banker cabals detracts from the point. It raises convenient straw men for the supporters of the so-called opposition to tear down. But these supporters will not be able to fob off the fact that the so-called opposition treat killer oligarch Khodorkovsky as some sort of hero and consider the gangster’s paradise of the 1990s Russia as some golden era. What sort of democrats pine for 3rd world oligarchy? What moron would believe that the majority of Russians support the 1990s oligarch mafia and the clown Yeltsin?

      The western media does not want its audience to even know about the facts above. These facts kill its narrative stone cold dead. We need people to hammer these points instead of looking for masonic conspiracies and other automatic self-discrediting nonsense.

      • R.C. says:

        Soros was mentioned briefly as one of a few reasons, but I did not get the impression that the poster was being conspiratorial at all in tone The overall gist of the comment was that he didn’t believe that the protesters were serving the best interests of their country. We know that the western opposition DOES receive some funds from US-backed NGO’s, so pointing this out is not tin-foil hay stuff, imho.

        At least that’s how I see it.

        • The further protests that have been called are simply another case of what is left of the protest movement marching in a circle. These protests serve no purpose other than to highlight the white ribbon opposition’s political bankruptcy and ineffectiveness. As for the article by the Turkish writer, it is simply a rehash of the tired old anti Putin cliches that appear every day in the western MSM from whence he has obviously got them.

          As for the protest movement, they do not represent 5% of the population. 5% was more than the combined vote of the two liberal parties in the parliamentary elections in December 2011 and is only a few percent more than the 8% Prokhorov got in the elections. Neither of the two liberal parties nor Prokhorov are any longer involved in the white ribbon opposition or in the protest movement. In fact they cut their bridges to it long ago. The elections to Navalny’s Coordinating Council are a better measure of the extent of the white ribbon opposition’s support, which is certainly less than 1%.

        • marknesop says:

          I think what Kirill is getting at is that a reasoned comment such as that one will be airily dismissed as made by the tin-foil-hat nutters who always see the shadowy hand of America guiding the Russian protesters, when in fact it is a true grass-roots movement which demands social change and reliable civil-society institutions and does not need prodding from anyone. I don’t dispute that Russia needs some work on its civil society, but street demonstrations have already been shown to be a completely ineffective way of getting it and the demonstrators are just going for cheap attention by the Anglospheric press. The government has already shown it is willing to listen to reasoned comment rather than a milling mob, not that the organizers are ever able to draw enough to be described as a “mob” anyway.

  28. Moscow Exile says:

    Hot off today’s Guardian press, the latest shock-horror article about the beastly nature of those wicked Russians in “Are Russian killers on the streets of Britain?”.

    The article is about the death of Russian jogger “Perepilichnyy” in the affluent Surrey stockbroker belt, where he had chosen to live in “political exile”.

    (Actually, the man’s name was Перереличный (Perepelichny): not only does the Guardian journalist misspell his name – Harding does this as well in a linked article – but also, for some reason or other, chooses to transliterate the masculine nominative singular adjectival ending of this particular surname [-ый] into “-yy” and not the more usual “-y” or “-iy”.)

    Anyway, notwithstanding the fact that two post-mortems concerning the jogger’s death have already proven inconclusive, it seems that in Merry England they are determined to get their man or men, who indubitably was or were acting on the orders of the Russian “mafia” or was or were KGB murdering thugs ordered by the Evil One to undertake a “wet job” in Weybridge, Surrey.

    Furthermore, the Guardian tries to link Perepelichny’s death with those of St. Sergei of the Cooked Books Magnitsky and even with that of St. Alexander of Polonia Litvinenko’s, no matter that it has long been reported that the Russian Foreign Office had stated that Perepelichny had had no connection whatsoever with the Magnitsky case.

    After a series of non-sequiturs and tenuous connections to Perepelichny’s activities in Russia, e.g. “… on the other side of Moscow, across Red Square and the brown Moskva river, a rival investment fund to Perepilichnyy’s had become engulfed in crisis. Hermitage Capital … had discovered itself to be the victim of a huge and sophisticated scam” – note: no alleged scam; “Hermitage” was a “victim” (and the Moscow River is not brown, just as the Danube ain’t blue!), the article closes, conceding that:

    “Publicly, at least, no one is any wiser as to why Perepilichnyy dropped dead at the end of his jog” but then continues with: “The ongoing police investigation is liaising with MI5, and Swiss and Russian authorities – but the latter relationship has been particularly difficult since Alexander Litvinenko’s murder in 2006 in London. Perepilichnyy himself allegedly owed money to Dmitry Kovtun, one of the prime suspects wanted by British prosecutors over the poisoning. But senior Whitehall sources are keenly aware that the cause of Perepilichnyy’s death has potentially seismic ramifications. If it is proven that Perepilichnyy was murdered, then no one is safe”.

    No readers’ comments to the article of course, but here’s what mine would be if comments were allowed:

    My theory concerning the death of “political exile” Perepelichny is that the 44-year-old Russian fat-cat (on the right in the linked photograph) was a fat bastard whose heart gave up on him whilst he was trying to rid himself of some the blubber that was rapidly accumulating on his frame whilst living the good life in the land of milk and honey that offers succour to Russian criminals.

    • Dear Moscow Exile,

      These articles on the Magnitsky case that now constantly appear in the British press are so similar even to some of the words used and to some of the turns of phrase that I suspect that they are simply edited versions of Browder’s press releases. This article is just another in the series.

      For what it’s worth this article is very fractionally more balanced than most. It mentions for example that Kluev denies that there is a “Kluev gang” and that Browder is now the subject of criminal charges in Moscow. As for the attempt to link Perepilichnyy to the Browder/Magnitsky case, the link looks pretty tenuous to me.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And I misspelt it as well in Russian through mixing my Latin “p” with the Cyrillic “п”. His name in Russian is Перепеличный (Perepelichny).

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