The Iron Lady and the Young Reformer

Uncle Volodya says, "The way Boris Nemtsov believes in himself is very refreshing in these atheistic times when so many believe in no God at all."

Uncle Volodya says, “The way Boris Nemtsov believes in himself is very refreshing in these atheistic times when so many believe in no God at all.”

The last post is getting too comment-heavy for easy loading, I’m afraid, and while I don’t lack for inspiration for a new post – God knows there’s always enough material, from the strange please-everyone contortions of Michael McFaul to the possible avenues to be explored between the USA and Russia to avoid a takeover by China of Russia’s Primorye region. For those who like to laugh, comedy abounds, while I am still awaiting a debut from JLo on what it can be like to live as an American in Moscow if you view it as a positive experience rather than a sentence to purgatory and wonder what you might have done to be punished in this manner. I’m also interested in a possible joint project with Kievite to take apart the motives that might have been behind Michael McFaul’s appointment as Ambassador to Russia, given his previously-expressed views.

However, what I don’t have right now is time. This is our last weekend in the house, and next week is Moving Day; packing on Wednesday, loading on Thursday, and the shift from one property to another on Friday. I’m afraid that leaves no time for the research necessary to do a full-length post.

Still, the opportunity for a juicy field trip presents itself. The last one we did was a thoroughgoing success; although I worried my own traffic would drop because I was sending everyone to another site, it didn’t slump noticeably. The one improvement I would ask this time is that visitors try to leave a comment on the blog that we are going to visit. Especially this one; the level of commentary, at least at present, is far above “looks like the FSB must have stumbled across some money hidden in the cellar, because there are lots of paid trolls out today”, although it is strongly adversarial. I enjoy comments and discussion here, of course, but one of my main aims in dreaming up the field trip concept was the fantasy of unleashing some of the powerful intellects who regularly comment here against subjects I felt deserved a good whipping.

Without further ado, then, let’s go visit Vladimir Kara-Murza. Mr. Kara-Murza interests me; he is plainly a white-ribbonist liberal with deep sympathies for the opposition, as was his father before him. However, he appears extremely intelligent and sensitive: his written English is remarkably good, and he actually got into a fairly blunt argument with La Russophobe in an earlier post, in which he brusquely brushed off her insults against Russians with a spirited defense of “his country”; he seems a patriot according to his own lights, although I of course believe he is overlooking real progress in Russia in favour of a pie-in-the-sky vision of liberal utopianism, in which the much-admired western nations he admires as models would be altruistic friends rather than exploitative partners.

This particular bit features an adulatory look at the recently-toes-up Iron Lady, Margaret Thatcher, as a perceptive and visionary leader who knew just what would fix Russia. This, by extension, extolls the Russian leaders she intuitively saw as being those with whom England could do business – Mikhail Gorbachev, and Boris Yeltsin. Somewhere toward the middle, it goes into a queer little novelette about the “Economic Miracle of Nizhny Novgorod”, as delivered by that sexy Slavic dreamboat, Boris Nemtsov Of The Curly Mane.

It’s going to be fun. Join me, won’t you?

This entry was posted in Boris Nemtsov, Corruption, Economy, Government, Investment, Politics, Russia, Vladimir Putin and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,320 Responses to The Iron Lady and the Young Reformer

  1. cartman says:

    Carla del Ponte speaks truth to power. Her book was banned in Switzerland because it came out around the time Washington was seeking recognition for Kosovo from other countries.

  2. Moscow Exile says:

    Such sweet irony revealed in this MT article “Armed Robbery Suspect Linked to NGO”.

    Wonder what he said to his victim when he aimed his gun at her – “Relax ma’am! I’m on the side of freedom and democracy”?

  3. R.C. says:

    I’m skeptical of this story from FARS:

    http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=9107168122

    Putin may’ve made his displeasure known, but I’d be surprised if he openly threatened to deploy Iskanders and s300 systems in a conversation with Bibi.

    FARS has run sensational stories like this before. I also think that they continue to be the primary source for those who claim that Russia has sold Syria Iskanders – something the Russian government has flat out denied.

    • marknesop says:

      I imagine your skepticism is well-founded. National leaders are usually quite a bit more subtle, and although Putin has a reputation for unusual bluntness he is also typically more nuanced. The west loves to talk about Putin as if he were some kind of Ghengis Khan character who came to power by a bloody coup, but he is in reality a very experienced politician and very experienced politicians seldom make overt threats – preferring to speak in oblique terms about disappointment and wouldn’t-it-be-a-shame-if-this-or-that-had-to-happen.

      Do reporters have any idea how big the Iskander system actually is?

      http://en.rian.ru/military_news/20101214/161766995.html

      If Syria is supposed to be stiff with them – easily dropped off in “Russia’s daily airlift to Syria” – why hasn’t anybody seen one? Pictures? Documentary evidence? Too much to ask, I suppose. I mean, just the missile itself weighs more than 4 tons and is 24 feet long, and it comes on a bloody great truck. Tough to miss, I would think. The Iskander is designed for precise strikes against land targets. Is that Syria’s biggest threat, do you think? Comes to that, why send troops in to winkle out pockets of flip-flop mercenaries when you can push the button over a hundred miles away and blast them to hell? Besides, Russia has consistently maintained it sells Syria only defensive weapons for its own protection, not weapons that could be used in an assault against the opposition.

      Syria’s biggest threat is air attack, against which the Iskander would avail them nothing. The S-300, though, would be a different story. The missile is hypersonic, providing very little warning, and the radar is a high-power phased array which is very difficult to jam. It would be a nasty surprise, but to the best of my knowledge Syria does not have those, either. Those sites which suggest Russia has, in fact, delivered S-300’s to Syria are almost exclusively of Israeli origin. I doubt Israel would be so eager to fly air bombing missions against Damascus if Syria really had the S-300.

      • Dear RC,

        I completely agree with Mark here. Putin would never make the sort of crude threats to Israel the Fars article says he made. As for the delivery of S300 missiles to Syria, I think that is a fantasy. Russia has ruled out the supply of S300 missiles to Iran. so it would be very unlikely to supply to Syria. Were it to do so it would be interpreted as a Russian commitment to Syria that Russia has neither the means nor a good reason nor the inclination to honour. Deploying such missiles to Syria would anyway take weeks if not months, giving the Israelis and the US all the time they need to carry out an intervention and a perfect excuse to do so and would make no sense at all.

        Russia and China have provided Syria with critical diplomatic help through the Security Council. Russian economic aid keeps Syria afloat. The talks between Lavrov and Kerry have ended in an agreement for a conference to bring the Syrian government and the rebels together to talk to each other apparently without preconditions. Since that has been the Russian position all along, if it happens it would be a triumph for Russian diplomacy. Why would Russia put all that in jeopardy and risk all by making crude threats to Israel and promises of protection to Syria, upon which it could never deliver?

          • marknesop says:

            That was very well said and, quite apart from providing excellent cutting-edge analysis, is probably the first call for respect to be paid the Syrian forces for their courageous battle in the teeth of daily prayers for their failure. Impressive insight.

            • yalensis says:

              Excellent point. The unsung heroes of this saga are the Syrian military. Despite many obstacles, these warriors totally got their act together and put the flip-flop Al Qaedas on the run. The use of sarin gas by the “rebels” was a last-ditch attempt to draw America in full-scale. The Zionist bombings were also a futile attempt to help the rebs regain some lost ground.

              But Americans finally realized their pet jihadis could not win on the ground without a full land and air support. America had two options: all in; or the face-saving negotiations that the Russian side proposed a year ago. Which Hillary/Obama rejected at the time because they thought they could go for a full win.

              • This is indeed an outstanding article and the point about the Syrian military is spot on.

                In truth the shift in US policy has been underway ever since the US Presidential election. It is quite clear that Kerry does not share Clinton’s regime change obsessions and is altogether a far more professional diplomat. The contrast in the mood music as between Lavrov and Kerry and Lavrov and Clinton was striking. Where it was obvious that Lavrov and Clinton were not getting on, Lavrov and Kerry were swapping jokes and even slapping each other’s backs. Kerry obviously is not the swivel eyed fanatic that Clinton was.

                Having said this, the article is also absolutely right in introducing a big note of caution. In my opinion everything that has been going on since the US Presidential election has been intended to torpedo the process that Lavrov and Kerry started (or to be more precise restarted since as the article says this is simply a return to the principles agreed in Geneva a year ago). Thus in the autumn we had the forced resignation of the head of the rebel council who appeared to agree to talks with the Syrian government, we had the constant drumbeat of demands for the US to arm the rebels (ie. to provide them with heavier and more sophisticated weapons since they are heavily armed already), we had the British and French attempt to get the EU to lift its arms embargo to enable supplies to be provided openly to the rebels (blocked by Germany, whose position on Syria is actually very close to Russia’s), we had the extraordinary decision of the Arab League to give Syria’s seat to the rebels, we had the totally bogus and concocted claims about Syria’s use of chemical weapons and we had the recent Israeli air strikes, which were obviously a further attempt to escalate the crisis and to force the US hand. In the event, because the Syrian military has held firm but also because Assad has played a shrewd game, none of this has achieved its objective. However the hardliners and regime change advocates have not gone away. If the Lavrov/Kerry proposal begins to bear fruit they will look for new ways to torpedo it.

                • Misha says:

                  Following his meeting in Moscow, Kerry said in Turkey that Assad will have to go.

                  His meeting in Moscow indicated a similar stance. The Moscow meeting said that Syrian peace talks can begin begin with Assad still in office. This doesn’t negate the stance that Assad can’t be part of an interim government.

                  Lavrov was realistic in saying that many Syrians see Assad as the best of some not so good options. Lavrov continues to leave open Assad’s future.

                  Kerry is part of the same Dem Party establishment. When he ran against Bush for the presidency, Kerry accused Bush of being too soft on Russia. I’d therefore not get too gah gah over Kerry. Granted, his manner doesn’t seem as provocative as H. Clinton and S. Rice.

              • marknesop says:

                Oh, they’re still committed to a full win – they just have to go about it differently, politically rather than militarily. Now the game will be to steer the negotiations so as to put the Muslim Brotherhood in a position to hold greater power than Assad, after which they can just cook up a reason to arrest him. Don’t imagine they have given up, they’re just belatedly acknowledging reality. Their refusal to take seriously the myriad “rebel” provocations which have killed Syrians in their attempts to draw the west into battle on the “rebels” behalf, as well as their willingness to acknowledge the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights as a competent source for NATO casualty counts when it is run by activists tell you all you need to know about the seriousness accorded to what the Syrian people want.

  4. R.C. says:

    Another yawner from Reuters predicting imminent doom and gloom in Russia. But wait! Perhaps future president in waiting, Navalny can save Russia! What tripe…………..

    http://news.yahoo.com/column-russias-reckoning-192651005.html

    I think I see why the western MSM always claims that the communist party is “Kremlin controlled” – an absurd claim not supported by any facts. It’s because they are the REAL opposition in the country unlike the Navalnys whom the west would like to see as the “real” opposition. The communist party is probably less acceptable to the west than Putin, so they simply write them off as ‘Kremlin controlled.” Hence, the west are able to dismiss 20% of the Russian electorate outright and instead prop up Nemtsov & Navalny – neither of whom have any real traction in Russia.

    BTW – Fred Weir has also published another pro-NGO screed & anti-Putin hit-piece at the CSM. Is this all that he does is write these hit pieces?

    • Dear RC,

      The Reuters article is the same recitation of the same tired clichés I have been hearing for the last 10 years. One wonders when we start to hear anything new.

      The one thing that really puzzles me is that if Russia really is as weak and insignificant as the writer of the article says, then why does it get so much attention?

      • marknesop says:

        Indeed.

        Perhaps it’s time to take on the “all you have is oil, I feel so sorry for you” twaddle head-on. The USA is riding high right now and feelin’ groovy, because the stock market just keeps going higher and higher in defiance of indicators that suggest the recovery is stalled. GDP shrunk in the fourth quarter of 2012, for the first time in 3 1/2 years. Yet the market spirals higher and higher. Consumer confidence is up, so I guess that’s all that matters – spend, spend, spend, consumers!!! Oh, wait – the USA’s personal savings rate is half what it was in the summer of 2011. And consumer spending is 70% of the U.S. economy. And the government’s debt is over 100% of GDP.

        But never mind that. Although western reporters – mostly Americans – continue to weep crocodile tears for “poor Russia”, because it put all its eggs in the energy basket and now is faced with declining energy revenues because of an energy glut that is driving prices down….in the background, the U.S. government is singing a different song. Quietly, it has directed the U.S. Energy Information Administration to produce a report every 60 days on the global availability of petroleum and petroleum products produced in countries other than Iran. Forget for a moment that this boldly suggests the USA is making plans to do without Iranian oil – as it would in the event it was planning to attack it or to enforce an oil embargo, and the latter would be stupid since nearly all the region’s oil passes through the Straits of Hormuz and if they were shut, quite a few countries other than Iran would not be shipping any oil – and concentrate on the conclusions the report draws. Is there an energy glut? There is not – consumption outpaced production in March and April of 2013. But crude prices drifted lower – why? A global slackening in development, inspired by a weakening in global growth. Still, although global consumption retreated .2 million bpd from the average during January and February, this is consistent with seasonal patterns, and the average in world consumption was 1.1 million bpd higher than the same period last year and the three-year average. Getting further to the heart of the matter, nearly all the growth was from non-OECD countries, and the European OECD countries saw a .3 million bpd decrease over last year.

        Whose growth is in the toilet? Whose is not?

        How many times do I have to say this? In order for the west to starve Russia of its energy revenues and throw its economy into catastrophe, it is going to have to keep its own members in recession for a period of years. Is it going to do that? Not unless the recession is not artificial, in which case the situation in Russia is going to be the least of the west’s worries. The world remains wedded to a petroleum-based economy, and as soon as growth resumes, energy prices will rise. No growth, low prices. Growth, higher prices. The west is still not in a position to regulate world price because it does not control world supply, so the only thing it can do is reduce growth. Is that a sound strategy, do you think? And if the west attacks Iran, as it seems hell-bent on doing no matter how stupid an action it would be, world energy prices will return to their previous levels on alarm over the global supply.

        Your move, Obama.

    • marknesop says:

      “Is this all that he does is write these hit pieces?”

      Yes, sadly, despite his protests that he was a “red-diaper baby” and he continues to live in Russia with his family, it’s rare to see a positive piece about Russia come from his pen – or typewriter, or laptop or whatever. And when he comes out with another cliche-riddled piece of cheese replete with assurances that the population is nosediving and the nation’s best brains are fleeing to the west where they are oh, so happy…he says, “I just report what people tell me”. Oh, and that it’s “hard to interview people in the Kremlin”. So I guess if you can’t talk to anyone in the government, there’s always a Navalny or a Udaltsov or a Yashin hanging about without anything much to do who will be happy to fill your ear – and your notebook – with venomous denunciations of Russia that make very salable copy, and it always seems to sail past the editors without any trouble.

      I see this piece of schadenfreude reports that Navalny is “the closest thing the opposition has to a leader”. Comically, that’s true.

  5. Moscow Exile says:

    Поздравления с днем Победы 2013!

    Nice to see that that pillock Serdyukov is not addressing the troops on Red Square this bright and sunny Victory Day morning.

  6. peter says:

    … I have not been keeping track of things.

    Yes Alexander, it seems you missed my last comment. I’ll repost it here for your convenience:

    You have already provided a definition of market value.

    No, that was “market price” — but the definition of “market value” is essentially the same, of course:

    market value n (Economics) the amount obtainable on the open market for the sale of property, financial assets, or goods and services

    The market value of the car is the price I paid for it in a free commercial bargain.

    No, for the umpteenth time, that’s not what the definition says. Do you still not grasp the difference between “the price I paid” and “the amount obtainable”?

    • Dear Peter,

      Apologies, I did miss your comment. My parents are still here (they are staying until 18th May 2013 – Heavens help me!) and I have not been following things closely and our thread is buried far up in the upper reaches of this comment now.

      Anyway, to come to your point, there are two points which you do not understand or which you resist (since – forgive me – I think you do understand them). This is that market value is determined by price, to be precise the price an item fetches or would fetch in a bona fide commercial transaction carried out at arm’s length. If I buy a car in a bona fide commercial transaction carried out at arm’s length then the price I pay is the market price of the car.

      Of course I may choose to buy an item for a non market price and many people do. For example we might agree between us because we know each other that you will sell me your car for much less than it would realise in a proper commercial sale (ie. in a bona fide commercial transaction carried out at arm’s length) or, in the alternative, I might agree to pay much more than the market price for your car because it may have some special emotional value to me that goes beyond the price it would fetch in a commercial sale. However the market price of the car would in that case still be what it would fetch in a bona fide commercial sale and not the higher or lower amount I actually paid for it.

      The key determinant of the market price is therefore that it is determined through a bona fide commercial transaction carried out at arm’s length. Once the car is in my possession the car’s market value (and its monetary value to me) is determined by its market price and if it is stolen from me that is the value I have lost.

      Now once you have grasped the point that market value derives from market price (ie. the price for an item determined by a bona fide commercial transaction carried out at arm’s length) and that value belongs to the owner of the item in question, then you will understand both my previous answer and the definition you have quoted. You will also see that I did not confuse “the price I paid” and “the amount obtainable” in the way that you appear to think. My words were not “the price I paid” but “the price I paid for it in a free commercial bargain”.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Alexander: Forget about your parents. They are unimportant. You must stop everything and appease a cranky troll who is squawking for attention!

      • peter says:

        Many thanks Alexander, but i’d rather appreciate it if you could give a concise and direct answer to my question.

        Once again, what, if any, is the difference between “the price I paid” and “the amount obtainable”?

        • Dear Peter,

          The price I paid is the price I paid when I bought an item. The amount obtainable would be the sum of money that would be paid to me in the event of its sale.

          • peter says:

            Thanks.

            Now, suppose you’ve just bought a Cadillac for $50,367 and for whatever reason want to sell it right away. Question one: is $50,367 is an obtainable amount?

            a) Yes, $50,367 is an obtainable amount.

            b) No, $50,367 is not an obtainable amount.

            Question two: how about $50,366?

            a) Yes, $50,366 is an obtainable amount.

            b) No, $50,366 is not an obtainable amount.

              • peter says:

                Just in case, question three: how about $50,369?

                a) Yes, $50,369 is also an obtainable amount.

                b) No, $50,369 is not an obtainable amount.

                • peter says:

                  On to you neighbour.

                  He too has just bought a Cadillac of exactly the same model as yours, but at a slightly better price, $49,718. He too wants to sell it right away on the open market. Are the amounts of $49,718, $49,717, and $49,720 obtainable for him?

                  a) Yes, all three amounts are obtainable.

                  b) No, at least one is not.

                • yalensis says:

                  My neighbour came home the other day to discover his Cadillac up on blocks, and some miscreant had stolen all the wheels and brand new tires. I’m not kidding this actually happened. They never caught the thief. Maybe it was Peter? He seems to be obsessed with Cadillacs.

            • peter says:

              How about $50,369?

              a) Yes, $50,369 is an obtainable amount (for your neighbour’s car).

              b) No, $50,369 is not an obtainable amount (for your neighbour’s car).

                • peter says:

                  Can we go a little further and say that any amount in the range from $49,717 to $50,369 is obtainable for both cars in question?

                  a) Yes we can.

                  b) No we cannot.

                • peter says:

                  Can we go yet further and say that if there are two identical goods for sale at the same place and time, any amount obtainable for one is also obtainable for the other?

                  a) Yes we can.

                  b) No we cannot.

                • Dear Peter,

                  Apologies but WordPress refused to publish my answer because it treated it as a duplicate comment.

                  The answer is (a).

                • peter says:

                  And so, what does that mean in terms of “market value”*?

                  a] Identical goods (same goods, same place, same time) have the same market value.

                  b] Identical goods do not necessarily have the same market value.

                  * market value n (Economics) the amount obtainable on the open market for the sale of property, financial assets, or goods and services

              • The answer of course is (b).

                Market value is not determined by whether or not goods are identical or are offered in the same time or place but by free operation of supply and demand.

                • peter says:

                  Oooooops, looks like you’ve never heard of the Law of One Price — but never mind, let’s concentrate on our practical example.

                  Is the market value* of your Cadillac (a) greater than, (b) equal to, or (c) less than the market value of your neighbour’s identical Cadillac?

                  * market value n (Economics) the amount obtainable on the open market for the sale of property, financial assets, or goods and services

                • Dear Peter,

                  I am familiar with the so called law of one price. It is not however related to the question of market value but rather to that of the supposed laws that supposedly determine market behaviour. As such the two belong to different conceptual planes. It’s not even a case of comparing apples with oranges since at least apples and oranges are both fruit.

                  The market value of my Cadillac derives from the price I paid for it in a bona fide commercial transaction carried out at arm’s length. The market value of my neighbour’s Cadillac derives from the price he paid for it in a bona fide commercial transaction carried out at arm’s length. I have already answered your question many times and have explained that the market value of the two cars in so far as they form a class of car is in the range that we each paid for them.

                • peter says:

                  Many thanks Alexander, but could you please answer my question explicitly?

                  Once again, is the market value* of your Cadillac (a) greater than, (b) equal to, or (c) less than the market value of your neighbour’s identical Cadillac?

                  * market value n (Economics) the amount obtainable on the open market for the sale of property, financial assets, or goods and services

  7. yalensis says:

    More interesting information coming out about the Benghazi attack. American Republicans are holding hearings, because they see a (valid) way to really nail Obama/Hillary on this issue:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-22459439

    Repubs motive, of course, is to discredit Hillary and prevent her from running for Prez in 2016. Whatever their motive, it is good that they are bringing this all to light, although it would have been even better if they had opposed Hillary’s Libya war in the first place.

    Testimony of a veteran diplomat named Gregory Hicks who was demoted and demeaned by the Hillary/Rice clique and who now gets some payback by pointing out in front of Congress what a couple of crusty lying bitches they are.

    To me the most interesting bit is Hicks testimony about the fact that Ambassador Stevens may have been kept alive by his jihadi captors for a while:

    After the disrupted phone call with Ambassador Stevens, Mr Hicks said he received calls from Libyans using the ambassador’s phone who said they had the envoy with them.

    But Mr Hicks decided not to act on the calls, fearing an ambush.

    This proves that the Belhaj jihadis invaded the embassy and took Stevens hostage, before roughing him up and killing him.

    Hillary lied about all of that, she said Stevens died heroically inside the building, battling the flames, just like the boy on the burning deck!

    • Dear Yalensis,

      The extraordinary thing about Benghazi, the city the west rushed to “save”, is that as I understand it, it has now become a no go area for westerners. By all accounts it’s not much fun for the Libyans who live there either. Of course when Gaddafi was in charge it was one of the safest cities in the world (not to mention in Africa, where hardly any city is really safe). As I am sure you know armed militias have recently been laying siege to government ministries in Tripoli. Calling them “ministries” is perhaps an exaggeration since in reality it seems they barely function and do not administer anything. Truly the cause of freedom in Libya is making startling progress. Freedom Mad Max style.

      • Incidentally, if Stevens was tortured before he was killed then he received the same treatment as Gaddafi. Given his role in engineering Gaddafi’s fall that would be richly ironic. Further proof if any were needed that he who sups with the jihadi devil is in need of a very long spoon.

      • kirill says:

        And not attention to this from the precious western media. Libya has been “saved” so let the media consumers imagine how good things are there.

    • marknesop says:

      “Hillary lied about all of that, she said Stevens died heroically inside the building, battling the flames”.

      Although I am no fan of Hillary, he very well might have done for all the evidence we have. Hicks does not ever mention speaking to Stevens or hearing his voice, just Libyans using his phone. How hard would that be after he was dead?

      • yalensis says:

        Because the youtube videos of the dead Stevens did not show him with any burn marks on his body? He looks pretty beat up, but not burned.

        • marknesop says:

          Maybe he wasn’t burned. Maybe he died from smoke inhalation. Lots of people die in fires who are not burnt to a crisp. For the record, I think the flip-flops killed him. I’m just saying that a call made from Stevens’ phone featuring a conversation with an activist who said the envoy was there with him does not mean Stevens was alive at the time and offers no clue to how or when he might have died; the track record of the flip-flops suggests they will say anything they think will serve their own interests and that they recognize no friends or allies, only malleable assets.

          • yalensis says:

            I think Hicks had the right instinct, that the flip-flops were trying to lure him into a trap!

          • Jen says:

            Having been a fire warden at previous places of work, I’ve seen enough short films about fire and how smoke inhalation, and even inhaling toxic fumes from burning furniture, can knock people out permanently. Plus you don’t even have to have external burn marks; you can suffer internal burns in the lungs from inhaling hot air and smoke.

            • marknesop says:

              Yes, that’s absolutely true, although I’m quite sure that is not what happened to Stevens. I believe his captors did kill him, probably beating him to death. I was just pointing out that a call from his cell phone by an activist was not evidence that he was still alive, and that the flip-flop activists have a very poor record for true recounting of events. Anyone could call from his phone and say, oh, sure, he’s right here with me, the same as anyone could set his wristwatch to whatever time they wanted and break it and say there, that’s the exact time he died. And the eyewitness testimony surrounding the incident is so interspersed with self-contradictory activist gibble-gabble that the world will likely always have to guess what happened. But no matter which way you look at it, the west’s new al Qaeda friends come off in a very bad light.

              • Misha says:

                I haven’t been so closely following the controversy over what the US State Dept. did or didn’t do regarding the incident at Benghazi.

                Fox News is making a big deal of it. Regardless, something seems shady in terms of how the threat to US diplomatic personnel was approached. Nuland appears to be in this matter as well, in a way that suggests some personal action on her part. I get the impression that she carries on in a way that’s beyond being just a mouthpiece taking orders.

                Upon leaving office, don’t be surprised to see Nuland increase her negativity against Russia – akin to Nicholas Burns.

  8. kirill says:

    http://rt.com/news/china-japan-okinawa-ownership-018/

    This is good. Japan needs some flames under its testicles for its arrogance and denial of its own dirty history. The Russian Empire was too timid. It should have grabbed Hokkaido when it had the chance. Japan was grabbing everything it could even during the late 1800s. It’s claim on the “Northern Territories” is utter BS which basically denies that Japan was the aggressor during WWII and that it *lost*. I know it is Uncle Sam who makes Japan feel brave in its territorial claims, but ultimately it is Japan’s own revisionist BS view of itself as some sort of victim that is the problem. While Germany had to face up to its role in WWII, Japan just publishes Mickey Mouse history books that omit all the nasty parts about the 1930s and 1940s.

  9. R.C. says:

    http://news.yahoo.com/israel-asks-russia-not-sell-syria-advanced-300-110131634.html

    What’s so hilarious about this article is that near the bottom a ‘defense expert’ claims it wouldn’t change anything even if Russia sold the system to Syria because they can ‘easily take it out.” Obviously, the Israeli’s don’t share the smugness of this defense hack and are “concerned.” It’s interesting that this defense “expert” says the exact opposite of what Mark said earlier about the s300’s radar capabilities. If the s300 was such a pushover, they wouldn’t be all that concerned about it being sold to countries they want to bomb.

    This reminds me of the Russia-bashers always screaming how insignificant Russia is, but nonetheless continue penning the same drivel day after day.

    I know some will disagree with me here, but I still think the US military’s capabilities are often over-stated since we have no idea how they would fair in a major conflict against someone like Russia, China or India. The US is accustomed to battling enemies who have little capability to fight back. Eric Margolis told Scott Horton of antiwar.com radio last Monday that the US military has not fought a real war since Vietnam and that the US military today battling a major state (he was talking about China and their dispute with Japan over those islands, and how the US is treaty bound to defend Japan if war should erupt) would have problems since the US has a militray accustomed to fighting insurgencies with a emphasis on drones and special forces. All of the advanced hardware would be at risk in a war with China, something that would never happen with with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya or even Syria. If the Chinese took out several US cruisers/destroyers (soemthing they’re fully capabe of doing) and an aircraft carrier, they could not be easily replaced and that it would take months to replenish their losses if that happened. While the US militray is certainly powerful and the greatest on Earth, this does not mean that it’s invincible or can’t be defeated.

    • kirill says:

      I do not think the US is a pushover for large scale conflicts, but there would not be any of the current “sit back and relax” warfare. The US parks a carrier group in the vicinity of the target and then pounds it (e.g. Iraq and Libya) with missiles and bombing raids. If these ships had to worry about hypersonic surface skimming missiles like the Yakhont then none of this attack pattern would be possible.

      The S-300 system also highlights the vulnerability of fighter jets. A serious SAM system can pick these jets off one by one, so there would be none of the 1999 Kosovo style sortie theater. It is interesting that the US deployed Apache helicopters to northern Albania in 1999 but gave up on using them. Part of it was terrain, but part of it was that Serbia actually had some effective countermeasures. But Serbia lacked S-300 type systems.

      Russia is not a pushover even for the vaunted USA. But US leaders have the typical arrogance dementia associated with too much power. They start to believe they can do anything. Couple this with the weird western cultural pathology of treating Russia like some banana republic and you get a recipe for world wide disaster.

      • R.C. says:

        The story appears to literally be all over the western news cycle now.:

        http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/kerry-warns-russia-against-selling-high-performance-missiles-to-syria/2013/05/09/273f8d68-b8c5-11e2-aa9e-a02b765ff0ea_story.html#

        Kerry is supposedly “warning Moscow” that the anti-missile system is a threat to Israel’s existence – a ludicrous claim since the s300 system is for defensive purposes only. If Israel doesn’t attempt to bomb Syria, then they have nothing to worry about. At least this article did acknowledge the kick ass capabilities of the s300 unlike the hack in the last article I posted who attempted to write it off.

        I’m still skeptical since the original Wall Street Journal article only quotes Israeli sources. I don’t think Moscow has responded to any of the claims. I’m of the opinion that s300’s in Syria are possible since it is a purely defensive weapon (it can’t be used against the rebels), but I simply don’t trust these Israeli sources who may simply be attempting to preempt (even if Russia has no plans to sell it) any sale of the system to Syria since they know it would make bombings over Syria far more dangerous.

        • marknesop says:

          I did write a lengthy reply to your previous comment, but WordPress is capricious. My time for remaining logged in (it’s days, but I’m never sure how long exactly) expired while I was writing the comment, and when I sent it it just deleted itself and said I was not logged in.

          Anyway, just to quickly recap, it is quite possible to “take out” the S-300 – it just isn’t easy. It will engage 12 targets simultaneously, and track about 100, but if the USA sent its most survivable and countermeasure-capable fighters against it, backed up with heavy jamming against the acquisition radar, they would simply overwhelm it. A fighter-bomber element would follow on their heels, and bomb the launcher and radar before the launcher could be reloaded.

          The trouble with that is you would need a swarm of aircraft, and each would not know whether he was personally being engaged or merely tracked until either the missile missed him, or he was smashed out of the sky – or the launcher was destroyed and he was still flying. Very few like those odds, and as discussed, the USA has become used to “liberation missions” which are turkey shoots or walkovers.

          Anyway, similarly to the Iskander, the S-300 is a truck-based system, typically in groups of 4 vehicles, each with a launcher and radar. You would probably need close to 70 aircraft to be confident of taking out this battery, and then you could expect to lose 10-12 of them each time. And they’re mobile, so the Syrians would move them around to complicate detection. But they don’t have any, or someone would have seen them or the signal from the acquisition radar would have been intercepted. The truck units are not as big as those for the Iskander, but they’re still pretty big, and somebody would have taken a picture.

          If it were the Syrians saying they had the S-300, that’d be good strategy – I’d say I had a vaporizing death beam if I thought it would make the enemy cautious. But it’s not – it’s the west, leaking information to its own news agencies and then citing the reports as evidence, just like the reviled Bush administration perfected. Syria does not have any S-300’s. The west has been watching Syria like a hawk, and the S-300 is too big a system to slip in undetected; besides, the west has plenty of agents on the ground, funneling weapons and ammunition to the flip-flops. Someone would have seen it. It’s just the west, making up shit and inserting it in the news cycle as fact so as to have a stick to beat Russia with. Some things never change, and never will until one or the other is gone as a nation.

          Do my eyes deceive me, or did the article say the S-300 would interfere with attempts to impose a no-fly zone in support of the rebels? Nobody has authorized the imposition of a no-fly zone, although NATO specifically tried to insert it in resolutions.

          Russia earlier claimed that it had plenty of eager customers for the S-300, but would proceed with outfitting the Russian forces first. I don’t believe that is even close to finished yet, and I imagine supplying Syria is pretty far down the list.

          • R.C. says:

            Oh, I agree.

            I just find it interesting that The Iranians and Israeli’s are both falsely claiming that Russia has given Syria these high-tech weapons systems such as S-300’s and Iskanders. The Israeli’s are simply trying to pressure Russia, as you stated, to go along with whatever the west wants. They would’ve known if Syria had the S-300 and likely wouldn’t have carried out those strikes last weekened had that been the case.

            I also believe that Russia is now domestically using the S-400 – which I don’t think is available for export. If the S-300 is as good as they say, the S-400 must be very impressive.

            At the end of the day, I still find it amazing that of all of the boasting done about western forces is wholly dependent upon their enemy being weak and unable to respond – and they in fact work overtime to insure that their opponents are unable to fight back such as the disarmament of Iraq in 2003 before they attacked it under a bogus pretense.

            On a more humorous tip: The US establishment are like the polar opposite of the Klingons from Star Trek whose credo is “where’s the glory in defeating an enemy incapable of striking back!” – I can’t help but thinking that the US would be “without honor” in the eyes of the Klingon Empire!

            • Dear RC,

              This article is either a flight of the author’s fancy or (more probably) a piece of disinformation spread by people within the US government who are unhappy with the results of the Lavrov/Kerry meeting.

              Kerry did not warn Russia against supplying S300 missiles to Syria. He could not have done so because there is no agreement between Russia and Syria for Russia to supply S300 missiles to Syria. If there was such an agreement it is inconceivable that it could be kept secret. The days when the USSR could supply sophisticated weapons to its clients without announcing the fact are long gone. Besides if there was an agreement between Russia and Syria for Russia to supply Syria with S300 missiles, which the US knew about, the US and Israel would not be complaining quietly about It in private conversations between Lavrov and Putin. They would be filling the airwaves with protests. Remember the gigantic fuss over the delivery of 3 (!) helicopter gunships a year ago? Can you imagine the storm there would be If the Russians agreed to supply Syria with a game changer system like the S300 at this time?

              If you examine carefully what Kerry is reported to have said, in response please note to a question from a journalist, it becomes clear that all that he said was that the US has made clear to the Russians its opposition to the supply of any arms by Russia to Syria at all. Kerry did not mention S300s and there is nothing in his actual comments that hints that he was referring to S300s even if the journalist who asked the question thought he was.

              This of course has been US policy throughout the crisis. A simple restatement by Kerry of what is a longstanding US policy as an answer to a journalist’s question is being spun by an enterprising journalist and/or his media manipulators into a “warning” from the US to Russia against Russia supplying S300 missiles to Syria, when that is not what Russia intending to do and when that is not what Kerry said. Bluntly, from the tone and content of Kerry’s comment, I doubt that the subject of Russian arms deliveries to Syria was discussed at all.

              What the article actually provides is more evidence of the disquiet on the part of the regime change hawks with the agreement Lavrov and Kerry reached in Moscow. In order to try to undermine the agreement they are already busy inventing and distorting things Kerry said and the nature of the agreement that was reached. I am sure for example that we have all seen reports of Kerry saying “that there would be no place for Assad in a transitional government”. In fact what Kerry actually said was that it was “clear” in the US’s “judgement” that there would be no place for Assad in a transitional government because “the rebels would oppose it”. Far from being a reiteration of the old US position that Assad “must go”, this is a significant shift towards the Russian position. Firstly, as Kerry obviously knows, what is “clear” to him and to the US, may not be so clear to anyone else, whilst a “judgement” is by definition simply an expression of opinion with which anyone is implicitly invited to disagree. Most importantly however, by shifting the onus on this issue onto the rebels, Kerry makes Assad’s position contingent on the outcome of the negotiations between the rebels and the government, which has been the Russian position all along. As if to emphasise the point Kerry commended the Russians “for not being committed to any individual”, which as Kerry knows perfectly well, has also been the Russian position all along.

              If all this diplomatic doublespeak from Kerry needs unpacking, then that is a sign of how difficult the diplomatic process is going to be and how strong and determined the regime change hawks still are. It is sad to see the Secretary of State of the US having to resort to such elliptical language on such an important issue. Having said that, the fact that Kerry is able to use such language shows that unlike Hillary Clinton he is a real diplomat and a proper foreign policy professional. There has not been such a person occupying the office of Secretary State since James Baker (Colin Powell was not a diplomat but a soldier and Warren Christopher was a lightweight). This at least is a good sign.

              • Misha says:

                As has been noted above, Kerry said that talks can begin with Assad still in office. He doesn’t support the idea that Assad should be part of a transitional government. In turn, Russia doesn’t rule out the possibility of Assad not being part of a transitional government. When judging Kerry’s take, keep in mind what he has specifically said before, during and after his last meeting in Moscow.

            • marknesop says:

              Ha, ha! True enough, often, although it would be a mistake to deny American courage and resolve. Those have always been present, it’s just frustrating to see them so misdirected. And likely the toppling of quite a few of the “enemies” of the USA over the last couple of decades could have been accomplished with many fewer forces; however, U.S. doctrine calls for overwhelming firepower and a massive attack. This, probably rightly, is meant to minimize the casualties expected in a drawn-out battle and to tip the balance quickly. Also, it would be embarrassing to lose.

              I have no grief with the U.S. military and, generally speaking, I am an admirer of it. It’s only the level at which politics becomes involved – which is among its most senior officers and its civilian masters – that I sometimes find distasteful, because it seems impossible in modern times to find anything like true altruism any more. There’s always an angle, an exploitation for personal gain, while the usual patriotic canards are trotted out to appease the masses. Added to that unlovely characteristic is the complete departure of modesty from the official American discourse, to be replaced by braggadocio and smirking. Altogether a militant picture which reflects badly on the American character, which undeniably still exists, as witnessed by the incredible charitable generosity of Americans to those in trouble.

              If America restricted its targets to only those who genuinely are international pariahs, it would find its reputation heightened, a surge in international respect rather than cynical partnering with the biggest kid on the block, and – probably surprisingly – would find several of its former buddies on the hit list. Instead it simply invents the rhetoric needed to cast regimes of which it disapproves or whose resources it needs to remain powerful, which fools only the domestic audience.

              I believe most of the improvements in the S-400 are to range of the missile, although there are probably some tweaks to the radar as well. In fact, the two are sufficiently similar that it is surprising to see them select a different type name rather than simply calling it the S-300B, or something like that. I guess if you could not launch an S-400 missile from an S-300 launcher, that’s enough of a difference to warrant a new name, but Russia has its own way of assigning type designators which often is not the same as ours, the same as it used to change ship’s side numbers to correspond to the vessel’s fleet assignment, whereas in our navies, F-331 would be F-331 from the time it was commissioned until it was broken up or sunk. There are rare exceptions, such as if a ship mutinied or otherwise disgraced itself; it might then be both renamed and renumbered.

            • Dear RC,

              On the point of the Klingons, surely the point about the Klingons is that they are supposed to be not the US but the Russians?

              I don’t know whether you’ve been following the saga of the Soviet veterans and their football tour of Afghanistan. The consistent thing one hears is the warm reception they receive from the Afghans, who are if nothing else a martial people. The point appears to be that the Russians, unlike the Americans, fight hard but fair. A bit like the Klingons actually.

              Incidentally I have heard this thing about the popularity of Russians in Afghanistan from so many different sources that it must be true. Even Rodric Braithwaite, the former British ambassador to Moscow, says it in his book about the Soviet Afghan war.

              • R.C. says:

                Alexander,

                I agree with both of you. I don’t think there’s much to the S-300 stories other than
                “anonymous Israeli sources.” Glenn Greenwald, Robert Fisk and many others have complained about this lazy journalism which is treated as fact by the media. Fisk stated in his last article that some of these major papers should change their names to “unnamed sources said.”

                Now it seems Fred Weir has jumped on the bandwagon:

                http://news.yahoo.com/us-balks-russia-prepares-deliver-missiles-syria-142527320.html

                He did not state in the article whether he actually believed the story or not, nor does he question the premise. He should.

                • marknesop says:

                  It’s not as bad as I thought it would be; he does identify the source as the Israelis – who it seems are busily making themselves even more unpopular than they were already, except with the USA – instead of the usual “people say”. And he does point out that Moscow finds the American position hypocritical considering it is covertly funneling light weapons to the “rebels” (al Qaeda) and pondering giving them heavier ones. Most of the comments also reflect weariness with western hypocrisy on the subject.

                  The sudden reawakening of interest in an air campaign suggests resignation to the apparent fact that the al Qaeda/Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated opposition cannot win on the ground without western air cover. If that happens, they will be meeting a military which has known for a long time it would probably come to this. And there hasn’t been much use of the Syrian Air Force to date, except for a few ground-attack missions, because “rebel” concentrations are typically not heavy enough to make it worthwhile. So they still have pretty much all their air assets, together with their weaponry, while Syria’s anti-air capability has not been used at all.

              • Misha says:

                A CBS 60 Minutes feature had a segment with an Afghan saying the the American presence in Afghanistan is worse than the Soviet one. Of course, the establishment liberal CBS staffer involved with that segment made it a point to take issue with that claim.

                There’s an Israeli movie about a Soviet tank crew in Afghanistan.

                • There’s now been clarification on the S300 issue from Lavrov, who confirms that Russia has no plans to supply the S300 to Syria.

                  http://www.itar-tass.com/en/c32/732188.html

                  This whole episode has been a striking exercise in disinformation. Russia does supply anti aircraft missiles to Syria. These are Buk 2M missiles, which though modern and effective are much less potent than the S300. The contract to supply Buk 2M missiles is an old one and has always been known about. The US has complained about it in the past but Russia has consistently refused to cancel the deliveries saying that contracts must be honoured. Nothing has been said or done over the last few days that changes the US or Russian position on the question of these deliveries. As for S300, as I have said already the question of the delivery of this system has not almost certainly not arisen in talks between the US and Russia because outside of the media and the world of media manipulation by anonymous sources no contract to deliver this system has existed or exists.

      • Misha says:

        The Apaches could very well have been taken down. Without checking were they in northern Albania and/or (FYRO) Macedonia?

        The 1999 NATO bombing campaign wasn’t so militarily successful. Hence, the bombing of Yugoslavia’s civilian infrastructure.

        On another matter recently raised here, the Western narrative to the leadup of the Russo-Japanese War depicts an imperialist Russia. This is cover for Western imperialism in Asia. The US was to get their Port Arthur decades later.

        Shifting elsewhere, Leos Tomicek’s Austere Insmoniac blog has a pretty decent discussion on 19th and early 20th century Ukrainian identity.

  10. Moscow Exile says:

    Liberal fascists showed their true colours on Tverskaya yesterday, as reported today by Mosckovsky Komsomolets, as they paraded down Moscow’s main drag with a huge banner stretching across the width of the street. On the banner
    was written: “Death to the Kremlin Occupiers!”

    The MK report reads:

    “Twelve people with a huge banner blocked Tverskaya, lit flares and tried to march along the main street. On a black banner was written in huge letters ‘Death to Kremlin Occupiers’. The protesters were detained. Among them were such social activists as Gennady Stroganov, Alexei Nikitin, Vladimir Michuryn, Oleg Prudnikov, Maxim Vinyarski, Emile Teriokhin.

    ” ‘Today we have in power in Russia invaders all the same, only not Germans but home-grown Kremlin ones’ says a statement circulated by the participants of the action and published by grani.ru. ‘Putin has managed to do what Hitler failed in doing: Russia has really become a colony. People have already been deprived of all conceivable rights and transformed into an obedient frightened herd.’

    At the Abai Kunanbayev statue were detained 18 people who had gathered at Chistye Prudy, to mark the anniversary of the mass protest sit-ins across the Russian capital.

    This brings to mind a previous campaign of direct action that took place in Moscow on Red Square on March 18, when 14 activists unfurled a banner with the words ‘Go Fuck Yourself With Your Registration’ and chanted ‘Where We Live Is None Of Your Fucking Business’, ‘Putin Should Be Executed’, ‘Down With The Power Of The KGB’ and ‘This Is Our Country’. That action lasted for a total of 8 minutes before the last of its participants was arrested. The public prosecution office later opened a criminal case over this action under article “hooliganism” (part 2 of article 213). NEWSru.com reports that earlier the same activists held on Red Square a series of actions for the release of political prisoners.”

    This will not go down well with the “bydlo”, as these “activists” no doubt consider the vast majority of Russian citizens, for Victory Day is an extremely emotional one in which veterans of the Great Patriotic War are held in reverence and such actions as those described above will no doubt be held to be very disrespectful towards yesterday’s special significance.

    • yalensis says:

      That whole “Occupier” meme has become popular with the white-ribbon crowds; Navalny repeats it on his blog every day. Opps have borrowed that term from the Estonians and Gruzians (of Saakashvili times) and apply it as an epithet to Putin and anybody who supports the ruling party. The idea is that Russia is under “occupation” that prevent it from joining the civilized Western Empire.

      There is also an undercurrent of racism against Caucasians. The ones who chant “Occupiers” the most (including Navalny) have a political plan to expel the Northern Caucasian republics from the Federation. It sounds counter-intuitive, but “Occupier” is actually a code word for “Russia for the Russians” political program.

      • The strange thing about the White Ribbon Opposition is that it is really a ribbon of many colours. This bunch sound like anarchists or at least ultra leftists. At least that is what the use of black for their banner and the reference to Putin and the government being invaders who have made Russia a “colony” (of whom?) suggests to me.

        My own opinion, with which I know some will disagree, is that though disruptive and annoying no very great harm was done by this protest, which I would say was politically legitimate (if completely ineffective) though obviously not legal. What these characters deserve is a slap on the wrist and a fine. It is ludicrous by the way that a protest like this should be reported in a national newspaper. I can absolutely guarantee that it would not be reported in the UK national press if a small bunch of anarchists unveiled a black banner on Oxford Street and frankly I don’t think it should be in Russia either.

    • kirill says:

      The point about the “bydlo” needs to be repeated. This is yet more of the liberast hate for the vast Russian majority and shows their sick values. If the majority votes for its government then that is occupation, but if some foreign-sponsored fringe takes over in the name of “goodness” then that is not occupation (and supposedly “democracy”). This is straight out of 1984.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The drawing of parallels between the “colonization” of European Russia by the Nazis and its “colonization” by Putin and his “henchmen” is this: upon the implementation of Hitler’s “colonization” and its associated racial policy, no Russians would have been left alive now; likewise Czechs, Poles and assorted other “Untermenschen”. The clamour of world Jewry against the abominations perpetrated by the Nazis against European Jews notwithstanding, many people forget, or are simply unaware of the fact that Slavs were, according to Nazi racist theory, just as “subhuman” as Jews.

        “What happens to a Russian, to a Czech does not interest me in the slightest. What the nations can offer in the way of good blood of our type, we will take, if necessary by kidnapping their children and raising them here with us. Whether nations live in prosperity or starve to death interests me only in so far as we need them as slaves for our Kultur; otherwise, it is of no interest to me. Whether 10,000 Russian females fall down from exhaustion while digging an anti-tank ditch interests me only in so far as the anti-tank ditch for Germany is finished. We shall never be rough and heartless when it is not necessary, that is clear. We Germans, who are the only people in the world who have a decent attitude towards animals, will also assume a decent attitude towards these human animals. But it is a crime against our own blood to worry about them and give them ideals, thus causing our sons and grandsons to have a more difficult time with them. When somebody comes to me and says, “I cannot dig the anti-tank ditch with women and children, it is inhuman, for it would kill them”, then I have to say, “You are a murderer of your own blood because if the anti-tank ditch is not dug, German soldiers will die, and they are sons of German mothers. They are our own blood.” That is what I want to instill into the SS and what I believe have instilled into them as one of the most sacred laws of the future. Our concern, our duty is our people and our blood. It is for them that we must provide and plan, work and fight, nothing else. We can be indifferent to everything else. I wish the SS to adopt this attitude to the problem of all foreign, non-Germanic peoples, especially Russians. All else is vain, fraud against our own nation and an obstacle to the early winning of the war.”

        Said by Heinrich Himmler, Posen, October 4th 1943.

        And those bastards that protested on Tverskaya yesterday compare the situation that now exists in Russia under the presidency of Putin to that which Hitler and his chief murderous aide Himmler had in store for the whole of Slavdom.

        The stupid shits!

        • So these are racists, not leftists, though I stand by my other points, especially the one about the fact that such a protest were it to happen on Oxford Street would never get reported in the British media.

          I ought to add that these are not only racists, they are actually faux racists, since they are not people who are really racist but are simply people who are using what they suppose to be the racism of the Russian people in order to alienate them from Putin. To be a racist is bad but to be a faux racist is infinitely worse. The contempt and hatred it shows for one’s own people, with the assumption that they are racist and gullible, is mind boggling. That they do this when the Russian people commemorate their great victory over Nazism – an ideology founded on racism – makes it worse still. Last but not least, since presumably what they actually want is to return to the politics of the 1990s, ie. to a time when Russia really did come close to becoming a colony or protectorate of the US, the hypocrisy stinks to high heaven.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            A return to the ’90s is a common thread amongst many young white-ribbonists, as is also their reverence towards Khodorkovsky. I’ve said this several times in other threads, but I’ve often noticed that the 30-something white-ribbonists that I have become acquainted with often seem to have the attitude that they are the generation that lost out, that their chance at getting their feet into the trough during the feeding frenzy of shock therapy market capitalism was curtailed on Putin’s election to the presidency and that he and his fellow “chekists” have taken all the cake and refuse to share it. These white-ribbonists appeals for democracy and freedom of speech and human rights is just so much bullshit, a moralistic smokescreen: what they want is anarchy and a free for all in which the devil takes the hindmost – according to the laws of the free market, of course. The “bydlo”, of course, are according to white-ribbonists, all stupid, indolent good-for-nothings who neither know or care about economics and who want to be cared for by a nanny state

            • kirill says:

              These specimens are from a mirror universe. If they think that the 1990s banana republic economics is somehow superior then they are the opposite of intelligentsia. Anyone who pays attention and is not a total drooling moron would know that the reforms of Primakov and subsequently German Gref as part of Putin’s administration actually saved Russia’s economy from monetarist lunacy and took monthly wages from $80 to over $800 in about 12 years. Russia’s PPP GDP is the 5th largest in the world today, while under Yeltsin’s loony-tunes economics as foisted on Russians by the likes of Gaidar, Chubais and Nemtsov dancing to the tune of the Harvard Boys prduced a GDP drop between 40 and 50%. The worst depression of the 1900s.

              With such morons for “intelligentsia” the “bydlo” will rule the day. Which is very, very good.

        • Misha says:

          The Nazis had a way of making alterations in some instances. Note the Nazi recognition of Bulgaria, Slovakia and Croatia.

          Touching on another point, I had my share of disagreement with some Balkan Sephardic Jews who spun the Turkish line on the Armenians. This was prior to the conflict between Israel and Turkey. Thereafter, others besides Benny Morris took a critical line towards Turkey vis-a-vis the Kurdish, Armenian and Cypriot issues.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            The best changing of rules by Nazi racist theoreticians was Himmler’s setting up a research department to find evidence for the Japanese being a long lost Germanic tribe.

            • kirill says:

              This is amusing. I always found it funny how the aryan ideal was pushed by specimens that failed to fit it. Namely Hitler, Himmler, Goebbels, Funk, Hadamovsky, Hess, etc.

              • Jen says:

                The tragic side of that coin is that as German forces retreated from 1944 on, Hitler began to see the German people as weak and unfit, lacking in pop-Nietzschean will and determination, and started drafting children into the Wehrmacht and throwing them at the Allied forces, much as the Japanese did in drafting children into the airforce, glorifying them as kamikaze pilots and throwing them at US warships.

    • marknesop says:

      This must be an invention of the Kremlin; Surkov propaganda. Because there is no freedom left in Putin’s new Soviet Union, and those brave souls who dared to so shine a light on it would be “disappeared” and executed in real life. Trust me, it’s a fabrication.

      I’m surprised the west continues to support, verbally and financially, such a bunch of loose cannons, because plainly no modern government would suit them. I’m afraid I’m not a very subtle or strategic thinker, and probably too emotional to be a very good leader, but again I would bundle all these troublemakers up, give them some kind of diplomatic clearance and the next thing they knew they would be blinking in the bright sunlight at LAX. I imagine those who champion their “cause” from abroad would find them extremely distasteful neighbours.

      Really, what sort of citizens of a new regime would they be? Historically, has there ever been a successful world power in which its citizens were completely free to do whatever they liked, wherever and whenever they liked, without any regulation whatever? And these yahoos evidently will brook no restrictions upon their “freedom” whatsoever, not even in the interests of public order. Either that, or their sloganeering is intended to please their foreign patrons, in which case it went way over the top a long, long time ago. Maybe Putin should proclaim a “Malcontents Leaving Day”, in which if you don’t like the country you’re living in, get the fuck out and go somewhere else. But in that case, of course none of those people would leave; their mantra would be, “This is my country, and I won’t be content until you make it the country I like”.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I often have the same thoughts. I somtimes wish that Putin could say to them by means of a presidential decree what Cromwell once said in dismissing “Rump Parliament”:

        “Depart, I say, and let us have done with you. In the name of God, go!”

  11. Moscow Exile says:

    Corruption is a feature of everyday life in Russia, or so the Western media would have us believe. But is the West so squeaky clean? Not according to this report in today’s Independent: “Scandal: Just how corrupt is Britain?”

    • kirill says:

      This article is rather poor with a lot of irrelevant content such as doping scandals in it. I would call it bandaid propaganda where the problem is acknowledged but not given proper coverage and anlysis.

      The west is rife with corruption. The difference from the crude 3rd world variety is that it has become well hidden. Two bit corruption (e.g. some cop extorting bribes on the road) is suppressed but large scale siphoning is in full force. I can tell this by state of the roads in Toronto and other Ontario municipalities and the cost per kilometer to put down new asphalt. The politicians let private contractors take the taxpayer to the cleaners. There is a three competitive bids rule but that is a joke since the competitors collude. It is routine for hospitals to pay three times more for equipment such as syringes than what a patient would pay by going to the distributer directly.

      • Dear Kirill,

        I agree, this is a patchy article. However, the reality is that the situation in Britain in corruption terms at least the highest level has become pretty bad. We had the scandal a few years ago of Tony Blair’s sale of peerages in order to gain funds to win the 2005 election. We had regular cheating by MPs of their expenses claims. We have had continuous revelations of bribe taking by senior police officers, who were prepared to provide information and offer protection to corrupt journalists working for the Murdoch press. The Leveson report has exposed massive misbehaviour on the part of the newspaper industry, including criminal practices such as phone hacking, which because of police protection continued for years with those responsible enjoying impunity. It has also recently become clear that certain well known pop celebrities including but not exclusively the disc jokey Jimmy Savile, were given a free pass to commit almost baroque levels of sexual abuse. Incidentally an aspect of the Savile scandal that the British news media has barely touched on was his close connections to certain Conservative politicians, Margaret Thatcher in particular. Last but not least and overshadowing everything else has been the massive corruption exposed in our financial system, which dwarfs anything that has come out of Russia, and of which the Libor scandal is just one example.

        Nor I am afraid is it true any longer as it once used to be that whatever happened at a high level people in Britain never came across corruption in their everyday lives. It has now become common for example for people to have to pay tips to refuse collectors to get their rubbish collected whilst higher educational institutions, which were once squeaky clean, are now rife with bribe taking, cheating and plagiarism, as I have seen for myself.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Dear Alexander Mercouris,

          As regards Thatcher’s gang’s possible covering up of paedophilia within their ranks, the present Home Secretary of the UK was Secretary of State for Wales when a paedophile network operating in North Wales orphanages was exposed. Rumours abounded at the time that senior Conservative Party parliamentarians were involved. The case has recently been re-opened.

          And another thing, that loathsome Home Secretary during the time of the 1984-1985 British miners’ strike, he who was considering having me and my colleagues set up under the Riot Act, which, I believe, could have meant our incarceration “at Her Majesty’s pleasure”, was poste-haste and post-strike found a cushy number at EU HQ in Brussels because “activists” of my acquaintance maintained that they had found irrefutable evidence of his fondness for little boys.

          They always protect their own, the sanctimonious bastards!

          Although I have to admit now that the Home Secretary was absolutely correct about my riotous behaviour.
          🙂

    • marknesop says:

      It’s amazing how often a moralistic stance is a cover for the exactly-opposite behavior.

  12. yalensis says:

    On the cultural front:
    Russian Trekkies rejoice as Captain Kirk, Mr. Spock and ohers arrive in Moscow for the premiere of their new movie:

    http://trekmovie.com/2013/04/26/photos-from-moscow-star-trek-into-darkness-premiere/

    The title of which for some reason (“Into Darkness”) was translated into Russian as “Возмездие” (=”Retribution”) . A sly hint?… (Spoiler alert: Benedict Cumberbatch is actually Khan! Also: Darth Vader is Luke’s father.)

    BTW Russian for “Live long and prosper” = “жить долго и процветать”
    For those who need to know this…

  13. kievite says:

    There are rumors the it was Surkov, who was behind payment of extraordinary “honorarium” for Ponomaryov’s lectures.

    http://www.forbes.ru/sobytiya/vlast/238807-vladislav-surkov-ushel-v-otstavku

    From the information by an anonymous “member of staff of the Russian government, Beltyukov in his testimony to the Investigative Committee stated that it was Surkov, who authorized the transfer of money to Ponomarev.
    … … …

    In the final report for the “research project” that Ponomariov supposedly had prepared for a [huge] sum of money from the Fund, he however, expressed “special thanks” Surkov. During the interrogation, in the Investigative Committee on May 7 there was no question to Ponomaryov about Surkov’s role.

    If so, it might be that he tried to play both sides during Russian’s failed White Revolution and now might face consequences of his double dealing.

    • marknesop says:

      Extremely interesting possibility. If so, he recognized long before most that the McOpposition was going to come to nothing, and ceased supporting it even covertly. But maybe it was already too late, because as soon as more than one person knows, it’s not really a secret any more.

      • kievite says:

        If so, he recognized long before most that the McOpposition was going to come to nothing, and ceased supporting it even covertly.
        McOpposition is a good term. Thank you. But it is unclear whether he recognized the opposition was doomed or tried to undermine it or tried covertly finance it (I think the latter is the most probable as he was adherent of the idea of Medvedev for the second term😉. It is difficult to say. It might also be an attempt to buy a part of opposition leadership creatively implementing color-revolutions textbooks recipe but this time against color revolution activists instead of supporters of the old regime (bombing the country with the dollar crates is a classic color revolution sponsors tactic🙂.

        What is funny is that by some sources Surkov actually started his career as Khordorkovsky’s bodyguard. Ponomaryov also was working for Khodorkovsky at the time. They should probably know other each well from those days. He was also married to Yulia Vishnevskaya, the sister of Anatoly Chubais’s wife.
        http://ru.wikipedia.org/wiki/%D0%A1%D1%83%D1%80%D0%BA%D0%BE%D0%B2,_%D0%92%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B4%D0%B8%D1%81%D0%BB%D0%B0%D0%B2_%D0%AE%D1%80%D1%8C%D0%B5%D0%B2%D0%B8%D1%87

        В 1987 году возглавил рекламный отдел Центра межотраслевых научно-технических программ (Центр возглавлял Михаил Ходорковский) — Фонда молодёжной инициативы при Фрунзенском райкоме ВЛКСМ[12]. Сначала работал там в качестве телохранителя Ходорковского[13].

        • marknesop says:

          Wow. I had never heard those latter connections. Khodorkovsky threads just keep popping up, and they all seem to be shock-therapy adherents, or at least sympathetic to the engineers of shock therapy. I wonder if Surkov has a picture of Anders Aslund over his bed.

  14. Pingback: Bolotnaya Prisoner tells of Georgian Money and Revolution

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s