As the EU recedes in Ukraine’s Rearview Mirror, It Discovers It Has Forgotten How to Lose

Uncle Volodya says, "Some people say 'If you can’t beat them, join them'. I say 'If you can’t beat them, beat them', because they will be expecting you to join them, so you will have the element of surprise."

Uncle Volodya says, “Some people say ‘If you can’t beat them, join them’. I say ‘If you can’t beat them, beat them’, because they will be expecting you to join them, so you will have the element of surprise.”

Many of the European Union’s political leaders affect to be flabbergasted by Ukraine’s abrupt U-turn, just as Viktor Yanukovych was about to sign the paperwork which would commit the nation to a European Association agreement that would bind Ukraine to a large number of reforms and  renovations that would both bring it closer to Europe and liberalize its trading policies with the EU, and free and pardon jailed Orange oligarch Yulia Tymoshenko. Since my position from a long time ago has been that Yanukovych would not sign the agreement – not from any deep reservoir of political savvy on my part, but from a simple conviction that he would have to be out of his head to sign such an agreement – I was not and am not surprised. Yanukoych’s cautious interest in being part of Moscow’s customs union is a surprise, since he had quite decisively blown that off awhile ago. But as with most political situations, there are revealing lessons and behavioral quirks that contribute to what will become the next generation’s stereotypes, so it would be instructive to  review the debacle once again; also, the EU’s baffled fury was delightfully entertaining and is well worth a second look. Because the EU has forgotten how to lose. And it is the EU’s behavior, both leading up to the intended moment of Yanukovich’s capitulation, and since it was left at the altar, that have provided us with some of the best entertainment in years.

It’s always easy to be wise after the fact, but it’s fun all the same to look back over the events of the last few months, and snicker at the gloating tone of the Ukrainian opposition and the western pundits; Russia was going to take a licking, and oh, my, weren’t they going to be mad??  Arseniy Yatsenyuk, caretaker leader of the Batkivschnya Party until its pizza-braids iconic ruler, Yulia Tymoshenko, once more takes up the reins of power – is it just me, or does Yatsenyuk look like his head is on upside down? – cockily joked that he would like to see Vladimir Putin get a medal after Ukraine signed the Association Agreement, for pushing Ukraine into the arms of the EU by “starting a trade war” with Ukraine. I’ll bet he majored in drama. RIANovosti, soon to be absorbed by a new network, whooped that Kiev was “sure to sign the agreement“, riffing off of Yanukovych’s statement that “For today, I see no obstacles to signing this document”.  Note to Yatsenyuk; “for today” might not even mean for the rest of today, in politics. Anyway, back then Yatsenyuk was walking tall, because Yulia of the Shining Braids was going to be set free any day now; the EU had said that was a condition of signing the agreement, and Germany’s Angela Merkel pronounced that non-negotiable. Ringingly, she announced, “Nations decide for themselves about their future orientation…There can be no veto rights for third parties.” Ha, ha; sorry, that just makes me laugh out loud, now – you’ll soon see how much attention the EU paid to that rule. It became, like, the Pirate Code in “Pirates of the Caribbean”…more what you might call “guidelines”.

Then, the first signs of unease began to show – not alarm; not yet, but nervousness, like a horse that smells smoke in a stable. Germany described the deal to release Tymoshenko as “complicated”, where it had up to that point insisted not only that she be freed but that she receive a full and unconditional pardon, obviously so as to allow her to run against Yanukovych in 2015. That’s where I drew the line, and my position was that Yanukovych would never sign an agreement which made him release and pardon Tymoshenko, because it would be an acknowledgement that she was wrongfully imprisoned, and he would find his own ass in jail faster than you could say “Salo”. And his argument that he could not simply overrule the court’s decision and pardon her actually is correct; Ukraine is not a dictatorship, and the President does not have the special authority to go around springing prisoners at his whim, although his recommendation would have carried a good deal of weight. But had he done it, he might as well leave Ukraine forever the same night. Anyway, the deal began to slowly evolve toward an agreement which would allow her to be released on humanitarian grounds (because of her back problems, which might be eased by her not wearing 4-inch spike heels in her prison cell where nobody can see her except prison staff, who doubtless are not impressed with her fashion sense); that would remove the hurdle of pardoning her criminal activity. Yanukovych said he would sign a deal which would let her go abroad (likely to Germany, which had volunteered) to receive medical treatment provided she returned once well to serve the remainder of her sentence. Since the EU wanted her free to run for election, that was a non-starter, and the wheel went ’round for a few more turns with nothing much happening, although there was a deepening sense of how-is-this-slipping-away-from-us. Complaints began to trickle out that Russia was “bullying” Ukraine, because of a “leaked” document said to originate with the Kremlin which reported Ukraine would lose money if it went with the EU, while it would make money if it focused on trade with Russia and its partners, and because Russia demanded Ukraine pay an overdue gas bill, saying it was “concerned” about the debt. Only in the Anglospheric press could Russia be said to be bullying Ukraine with a document that was nothing but the truth – substantiated by any number of references that report Ukraine’s trade with the world – and a demand to pay a bill which was overdue for goods which had already been received, knowing that Ukraine is broke and almost through its reserves, and that a new-partner EU would be likely to encourage Ukraine to default on its debt to Russia. Gone were the blithe analyses like Walter Russel Mead’s, for The American Interest, which was titled, “Ukraine to Russia: We’ve got a New Friend, Get Used To It“.

And then the wheels came off the deal.

If there really was surprise, I blame it on that warbling fool, Mykola Azarov, who kept fluttering around the EU’s crisis team – because that’s what it had become – crying that the deal was all but done, just a little more of this and a dash of that and they’d all be singing “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours“. If he really was that confident, then there’s nothing behind those glasses but dusty black space, because by that point the signs were all there that Yanukovych would kick over the apple cart – more properly, that he would be forced to break off negotiations because of EU intransigence. They simply waited too long to start backing off on their ultimatums.

But some continued to stumble ahead blindly. The Moscow Times was particularly embarrassing,  jubilantly quoting “political analysts” in late October that “Ukraine has always wanted to have its cake and eat it too – to be a part of Europe and have good relations with Russia – but geopolitics do not work that way“. They turned out to be right, but The Moscow Times guessed wrong, doubtless driven by ideology. But that followed by only days an even more embarrassing fail, as dropped-on-his-head-as-a-baby idiot Georgy Bovt penned “How Russia Lost Ukraine“, leading off with “Russia’s leaders view the Association Agreement with the European Union that Ukraine and five other former Soviet republics recently signed in Vilnius as a major defeat in this longstanding geopolitical standoff. Moscow is so angry that it is threatening to unleash a trade war with Ukraine and punish Lithuania for pandering to the “treacherous” behavior of the former Soviet republics.” It was more embarrassing even than Anders Aslund’s, “How Putin Lost Ukraine“, which preceded Bovt’s masterpiece by six months, because Anders Aslund is a known fool who is the journalistic equivalent of a racing stripe on a tortoise, and because the picture was much clearer in October than it had been in April. And because Bovt was  far enough out of his mind that he thought he might as well go ahead and write about the reactions to Ukraine signing a deal before they signed it, which ultimately they did not.

Well, you already know all this – why are we going over it again? Because of the EU’s behavior now.

Let’s recall the EU’s attitude toward Russia in the months leading up to the forecast signing of the deal: any pressure exerted on Ukraine by Russia, we heard, to try and influence the decision was “unacceptable”. No less an authority than the EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy, Stefan Fuele, told us, “any threats from Russia linked to the possible signing of EU Association Agreements at a summit in Vilnius in November would be unacceptable…this applie[s] to all forms of pressure, including possible misuse of energy pricing, artificial trade obstacles, and threats to withdraw security guarantees or cease military cooperation.” He went on to dig himself an even deeper future hole, with, “In the Helsinki Principles of the OSCE, we have committed to respect each country’s, let me quote, ‘right freely to define and conduct as it wishes its relations with other states in accordance with international law,’ end of quote. The European Union will support and stand by those who are subject to undue pressures.

He didn’t mention Russian leaders showing up in Ukraine to foment a revolution and raise a protest movement, but I suspect that would have been “unacceptable” as well.  Not to mention doing as U.S. Senator John McCain did, pledging U.S. support to the opposition and meeting with the daughter of imprisoned opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko – who has no political status whatsoever beyond sharing the same genes as her jailbird mother – during which visit he reportedly told Ms. Tymoshenko he supported targeted U.S. government sanctions against senior officials in Yanukovich’s “regime”. Apparently any form of pressure the EU/United States of America chooses to bring to bear to force Ukraine into an EU Association Agreement which is to its great financial disadvantage is not only permissible, but clearly the right thing to do – while Russia’s blocking of Ukrainian chocolate was an act of unbelievable barbarism, and so clearly coercive that it was probably the single biggest contributing factor to Yanukovych’s turning away from the deal. Excuse me, I have to take a break for a minute, before I start throwing things.

Whew; that’s better – I swear, there’s just something about the way John McCain pops up anywhere he can get people to cheer for him, and blathers on about freedom and joy while committing mythical forces to battle over which he exercises no influence whatsoever that just makes me want to jam an artillery rocket up his ass and blast him out of his pricey penny-loafers.

According to Volodymyr Fesenko, Russia’s blocking of Roshen’s chocolate was symptomatic of a targeted campaign against “the leaders of Ukrainian big business, people who play an important role in the Ukrainian economy, because they are the main lobbyists for European integration of Ukraine“.  Director of analytics (???) Oleksandr Sokolov of Pro-Consulting reckoned Russia’s trade action could cost Roshen $200 Million if the action lasted a year, because that’s what they sold to Russia last year. Out of total company revenues of $1.2 Billion. In a country with a GDP of $176 Billion. Uh huh.

And now we learn that Yanukovych told Catherine Ashton more than a week ago that he planned to sign deals with Moscow. No word of that leaked out the the Maidan crowd, you can bet – it’s hard to make people sleep out in the cold and protest when they know hope is lost, and the EU is happy for them to continue protesting. Disgraceful.

Which brings us to today. In addition to the $8 Billion in deals signed with China last week, Yanukovych has concluded a $15 Billion deal with Moscow, which includes a reduction in gas prices of about a third. Just in case you have gone foggy on the details of the EU agreement and its gilded benefits, it offered Ukraine a little better than $600 Million in assistance, and imposed strict conditions in exchange for a large loan, one of which was the immediate rescinding of subsidies for home heating, with a corresponding sharp rise in utility payments for citizens. The conclusion of this deal was met back home in Kiev with the by-now-hackneyed “massive protests” from the farseeing foreign-policy experts on the Maidan, who wanted Yanukovych to know he should “not bother coming back to Ukraine if he “sells out” to Russia”. They would rather pay higher gas prices in exchange for being able to say proudly, “We are Europeans”. Aux barricades, mes blockheads.

So, in summary, Yanukovych gets no thanks for negotiating an agreement which will likely save Ukraine’s faltering choco-centric economy, while other aspirants to EU-ness have had no problems soliciting an EU association agreement without the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (DCFTA) the EU wanted with Ukraine, which would have imposed onerous (and expensive) Euro-standardization requirements upon it that it would have had to finance with borrowed money, all to achieve purported trade benefits that there is no reason it cannot negotiate as a member of the WTO.

But the EU continues to posture and squawk and stir things up in a manner that would cause it to burst a blood vessel if Russia were doing it in Ukraine, all because losing to Russia has become so unbearable that any amount of self-deception is preferable to admitting having been outmaneuvered and beaten.

I’ll let Dire Straits take us out, with “The Bug”.

Sometimes you’re the windshield,
sometimes you’re the bug;
sometimes it all comes together baby,
sometimes you’re a fool in love:
sometimes you’re the Louisville Slugger,
sometimes you’re the ball;
sometimes it all comes together,
sometimes you’re losin’ it all...

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1,450 Responses to As the EU recedes in Ukraine’s Rearview Mirror, It Discovers It Has Forgotten How to Lose

  1. Briefly, back to the Syrian crisis, I am sure we all remember the map that was circulated by the New York Times and Human Rights Watch that purported to show the point of origin of the two missiles found by the UN inspectors in Ghouta following the sarin attack of 21st August 2013? The map purported to show that the trajectories of the two missiles converged on a Syrian army base in Damascus that was supposedly the launch point.

    The map is a classic example of how disinformation is spread by drawing conclusions based on incomplete evidence. As I repeatedly pointed out at the time the UN inspectors made no claims about the range of the missiles, their type, their launch point or who launched them. There was no warrant for joining up the dots in the way that was being done and doing so was almost bound to lead to a wrong conclusion.

    Anyway a proper technical analysis of the two missiles has now been done. It has confirmed that they were both crude adaptations that used BM21 Grad rocket engines. That presumably means that the claim that one of the missiles was a Russian made 140 mm missile was wrong. Grad rocket engines are widely available in the Middle East and a report I read a short while ago (I have lost the link) admitted that the making of both missiles would be well within the technical abilities of some of the Syrian rebel groups such as the Al Nusra Front.

    More pertinently the technical analysis has confirmed that the range estimates of the two missiles upon which the map circulated by the New York Times and Human Rights Watch were based were wrong. The missiles could not have been launched from the Syrian army base shown on the map because they simply lacked the range for this having a range of 2.5 km at most. The New York Times has now published an article that acknowledges this and quietly retracts the claim even if the article still tries to insist that the evidence points to the Syrian army as having launched the missiles.

    I would suggest that on the contrary the new evidence showing that the missiles used were crude home made short range devices that used an adaptation of a Grad rocket engine points clearly away from the government and towards the rebels. Surely if the attack had been launched by the government it would have used more sophisticated weapons than this?

    A Russian report I have seen says that the sarin used in the Ghouta attack in August 2013 is similar but of a higher quality to sarin used in an earlier attack in March 2013. The Russians have provided the UN with a detailed report (which they have not made public) that appears to identify the perpetrators of the March 2013 attack as the rebels (apparently the Al Nusra Front). The Russians have said that the improvement in quality in the sarin used in the attack in Ghouta in August 2013 is simply because rebel chemists after March 2013 were able to improve their sarin production process.

    One way or the other it seems to me as if the claims of government responsibility for the sarin attack in Ghouta in August 2013 (on the basis of which let us not forget the US nearly went to war) are beginning to show cracks. I suspect we will know the full truth before long. If it is conclusively proved that the rebels were responsible then coming after the debacle of the chemical weapons in Iraq that didn’t exist the political consequences might be severe.

    • kirill says:

      This time around the hysterics around this false flag incident did not lead to a bombing campaign. In 1999, the Racak hoax succeeded in its function of offering up a bombing pretext. The western media consumer is easily duped by such transparent ploys. In the case of Syria it was patently absurd for the government to hold off bombing its people with chemical weapons just until the point that NATO needed a pretext. The timing of Racak was just as contrived.

      Something changed between 1999 and 2013. The western media would not have invested so much hysteria into this incident if there was no plan to bomb Syria. In my view the Russian fleet in the eastern Mediterranean had something to do with this difference. I really doubt that NATO was reluctant to attack based on its experience in Libya since Libya was a success for the regime changers. Also, NATO is not so poor at the moment that it couldn’t afford a bombing campaign. It is also possible that public opinion in the west is not as pliable with these hoaxed events as it was in 2003 and earlier.

      • Jen says:

        The vote by British MPs against invading Syria had the effect of stopping the Cameron govt support for an attack dead in its tracks. This probably took some of the momentum out of the US push. In the end, only Israel and Saudi Arabia supported the O’Bomber govt and the three of them together (world police enforcer supported by genocidal ghetto state and barbarian kingdom) were definitely not a good PR look to the rest of the world. Then Putin stepped in with his piece in the New York Times and that helped erode what public support still existed in the Anglosphere on both sides of the Atlantic for an invasion.

        I don’t know about France since France as well as the UK supports regime change in Syria. I do know the current Hollande govt is hugely unpopular with the French public and the French military is stretched with failing interventions in Mali, the Central African Republic and elsewhere in western Africa. The French public must be as war-weary as the public in the UK and US and their mood is probably percolating up through their elected representatives into resistance against Hollande.

        • marknesop says:

          For a good look at one of the gun barrels the Hollande government is staring down, check out The Saker’s post, the latest in a series of updates on the situation. The gesture known as “La Quenelle” is sweeping France as ordinary people display their contempt for and mockery of the Hollande government. If a vote were held today, Hollande would be lucky to end up with a job sweeping out the stables, and the emergence of a viable contender might even cause his government to fall early. France looks due for a rude economic correction in 2014 as well, although it may be able to fend it off for another year until 2015. Nonetheless, it is not far from economic collapse. The trending political wave as described by The Saker is anti-anti-immigrant, and if accurate it is astonishing how it has caught on considering the tendency of official French channels to blame Muslim immigrants for all France’s woes.

    • marknesop says:

      I don’t see much backing off, certainly not by Eliot Higgins (the famous “Brown Moses”) and probably not by The Idiot Formerly Known As Michael Weiss. On the contrary, the former asserts that the revised data tends to prove his theory that the government was responsible. The position of the Assad-Dunnit crowd is, “Was a rocket or rockets fired that day? I rest my case; Assad dunnit.” I certainly hope there will be more information forthcoming, but the U.S. government has a skin allergy to egg, and is not going to allow any on its face without a struggle. It is probably moot now, since the urgency to attack has slipped away and there have been no further incidents, but it would still be nice to see that foolish fabrication conclusively refuted.

      • Indeed Mark, for some people ANY evidence will be taken as proof that Assad or the Syrian army were responsible. If the range of the missiles was long, as was claimed in September, that proves Assad and the Syrian army did it. If the range of the missiles is short, as is confirmed now, that also proves Assad and the Syrian army did it. If one of the missiles is a Soviet made 140 mm artillery rocket, that proves Assad and the Syrian army did it. If the missile is a clumsy home made adaption of a Soviet made 122 mm rocket, why that too just proves that Assad and the Syrian army did it. I suspect that if Prince Bandar himself and the Al Nusra people were to come forward and admit they’d done it that too would be taken as proof that Assad and the Syrian army were responsible with Bandar’s and Al Nusra’s admission explained as proof of some sort of deal between the Saudis and the Russians.

        The point is not what these people say. The point is what the facts say. The more we know of the facts the more they appear to point away from Assad and towards the rebels.

        • marknesop says:

          I completely agree, although like you I believed it to be a setup from the outset, designed to draw a military alliance in to complete the job the al-Nusrah Front was incapable of doing.

          The Saker’s blog has a very moving film up today about ordinary Syrian people who have taken up arms against the invaders to defend their country. There is none of the cheesy schmaltz about it that accompanied the fake videos early in the campaign that allegedly showed ordinary people who had left their jobs to join the liberators in the fight against Assad, and in fact you might have to fight back tears at times.

  2. yalensis says:

    More on that Banderite “smoke-bombing” of the Kiev Premiere Palace Hotel during their midnight torch march on New Year’s. Banderites claim that the smoke bombs were tossed by 2 “provocateurs” who were subsequently expelled from the party. But they didn’t release the names of these supposed provocateurs, who are now probably subject to a criminal “hooliganism” case. (If I were the party leader, I would publish their names and denounce them openly to distance myself from the case.)

    Anyhow, the attack against the hotel wasn’t the only incident. If you look at the first video I posted above, the longer one, which lasts just over 4 minutes, at 1:29 minutes in, you see the Banderites also tossing smoke bombs at the front of the “Sberbank” building. This is the Russian state-owned Bank, so it make sense for the Banderites to symbolically attack this particular edifice.

    However, it makes absolutely NO sense for them to attack the Premiere Palace Kiev Hotel, which you see later in the clip. It’s not Russian-owned, as far as I can tell. In fact, this 5-star hotel is the Glory of Kiev, with a very interesting history:

    In terms of history, the hotel website states “The history of the Premier Palace Hotel is inseparably connected to the city of Kyiv, in essence and in atmosphere. The original buildings on the site where the Premier Palace Hotel stands today were erected in the mid-19th century. The site itself included two properties. One of the properties, now bul. Shevchenka 5, belonged to Prince Dimitri Zhevakhov, a colonel in the Russian Cavalry whose family roots went back to the legendary Kartlos, a hero from the Caucasus region and leader of the Georgian people. Kartlos was the great-grandson of the Biblical Japheth, the third son of Noah. The second property, at the corner of the boulevard and vul. Pushkinska, was owned by the Hertzovich–Mirkins, a family of merchants.”

    In conclusion, it is unknown why the Banderite hooligans attempted to smoke-bomb this particular hotel. (I personally don’t believe the “provocateur” excuse, since nobody objected earlier when they smoke-bombed the Russian Bank.)

  3. yalensis says:

    Some research on the possible relationship of the Ukrainian TVi channel to the Chornovil beating. (Or, there could be no relationship, we don’t know yet.)

    Basically, one of the suspects in the Chornovil beating, Sergei Kotenko is a shareholder and said to be a major player in TVi. According to other accounts, he is a henchman of the oligarch (Alexander Altman) who owns the station.

    The backstory is that there was a battle to control TVi. The oligarch who lost the battle is named Konstantin Grigorievich Kalagovsky. He is a Russian, and his biography alone tells you that he is an oligarch and a crook: He worked as an economist for the IMF, was also a top manager in Khodorkovsky’s Yukos. After Yukos went down for tax evasion (2003), Kagalovsky fled from Russia. A few years later (2008), he teamed up with Russian NTV media tycoon Vladimir Gusinsky to found the Ukrainian television channel TVi. In 2009, Kagalovsky and Gusinsky had a falling out, and fought for control of the station. Kagalovsky won, but Gusinsky embarked on a long-running lawsuit.

    On 23-APRIL-2013 Kagalovsky got a taste of his own medicine when American businessman Alexander Altman launched a corporate raid and took TVi away from him.

    Next, the guy who took TVi away from Kagalovsky: his name is Alexander Altman. He was born in Odessa, but has lived in New York since 1990 and is an American citizen. He owns a company called Advanced Materials, which works in the sphere of atomic energy.

    In April 2013 Altman launched a classic corporate raid on TVi and took it away from Kagalovsky.

    The reason why any of this might (or might not) be important to the Chornovil case, is because the suspect Sergei Kotenko (who most probably laid actual fists on Tetiana, despite his denials) works for Altman. Sort of. It is said that he took sides in the fight between Altman and Kagalovsky and took the side of the former. Kotenko’s dubious biography shows him to be a possible henchman type. If he did attack Tetiana (which he most probably did), he had absolutely no reason to do so, unless he was ordered to by somebody. Maybe Altman is that person. Or maybe not.
    This is just background information, in case it becomes relevant, as the case evolves.

    • Drutten says:

      Thank you for your continuing research. I definitely thought that something smelled funny about the whole shebang from the very beginning, now the odour has taken on a quite nasty character.

      • yalensis says:

        Thanks, Drutten. Like I said, I don’t know if any of this is relevant. If it turns out that Tetiana’s beating was simply a random act of road-rage, then it is all moot.
        However, I myself am starting to trend to the opinion that it was an organized attack. As to just who organized it – we don’t know yet. Opps say it was Yanukovych. Government says it was Opps. Police are just trying to figure it out.

        Additional research on the TVi take-over shows how Altman used a series of offshores and shell companies – the usual crooked schemes – to pull off his takeover. He is definitely a shady character. At the same time, Orange sources tend to portray Kagalovsky as the journalist-hero whose station stood up to the government; and Altman as the more pro-government type who turned the once-political station into a fluff channel. So, their take on the take-over is that it was a case of Evil defeating Good, and a defeat for “independent journalism”. In fact, when Altman took over, the more militant of the pro-Orange journalists all quit the station and set up their own internet-based channel, fearful that Altman would stop them from criticizing the Yanukovych government. By this reasoning, if Altman turns out to be the one who ordered the Chornovil beating, then Opps will declare that he did it to help Yanykovych in his evil schemes.

        However, I am not so sure that things are that clear-cut.
        This other piece has more shades of grey in it than Altman just being a Yanukovych stooge. And these quotes came from April 2013 (just after he took over TVi), long before the current Maidan:

        American businessman of Ukrainian origin Alexander Altman has bought the television channel ТVі, the TV channel has announced in a statement, posted at its official website.

        “Famous American businessman Alexander Altman has become a new investor of the TV channel,” the statement said.

        He underlines, he believes his chief task is to preserve the TV channel as an unbiased source of information.

        “For many years I was a business partner of Mr Kagalovsky and Mr Gusinsky, who have art and part in the channel foundation. But I was born in Ukraine, I regard Ukraine my motherland, and I will do everything for our country to become a full-fledged member of the European Union,” stressed Altman.

        Journalist Artem Shevchenko has become new director-general of TVi, having replaced Natalia Katerinchuk.

        He underlines he counts on returning a number of programmes to the TV channel (specifically Mariya Burmaka’s and Vakhtang Kipiani’s programmes), and also counts on the TV channel to get the right to run on-air broadcasting.

        Shevchenko has been working for the TV channel since 2009, hosting a journalistic investigation programme Znak okliku.

        Altman was born in 1956 in Odesa, in 1990 moved to New York City, nationalised citizen of the United States of America.

        The founded a firm, Advanced Materials, operating in the sphere of atomic energy.

        He was an advisor to the fuel and energy minister in the Yulia Tymoshenko-led government.

        According to above quote, Altman is setting himself apart from Kagalovsky/Gusinsky, who only care about Russia. He himself (=Altman) is a Ukrainian first and wants to see Ukraine in the EU.

        Hence, if Altman was dedicated to Ukraine joining the EU and was an advisor to the Tymoshenko government, wouldn’t that make him more Orange than Blue?

        To me, the most probable theories are, in order of highest probability:
        (1) that Tymoshenko ordered the attack on Chornovil;
        (2) that Yanukovych (or somebody in the government) ordered the attack on Chornovil;
        (3) that it was random road-rage incident

    • kirill says:

      Here we see how Ukraine’s media is the plaything of foreign interests of the liberast variety. How sad for Ukraine to have to be subjected to nonsense which undermines its own interests.

      • yalensis says:

        Just in the course of doing this research I was startled that EVERY SINGLE Ukrainian web-news site I visited is pro-Orange. I didn’t see a single other point of view online.
        Although Oranges claim that all Ukrainian TV is pro-government now (after TVi went over to the dark side). I don’t have access to Ukrainian TV, so I wouldn’t know.

        It doesn’t surprise me that so much Ukrainian media is foreign-owned and pro-Orange. As somebody commented above, Ukraine right now is where Russia was in the 90’s. Foreigners, LIberasts and Oligarchs, everywhere you look…

        • R.C. says:

          The “opposition” always makes these claims. They say it about Russia and Venezuela despite their respective media being anti-Putin and anti-Chavez/Maduro. During most of the Chavez presidency, the media was 95% owned by the oligarchy who did nothing but spout anti-Chavez rhetoric day in and day out with one network even calling for his violent overthrow – something that would not be tolerated in western democracies.

          Many of the so-called expatriates also spread these myths because they know that’s what the western elite in whatever country they happen to be inhabiting want to hear.

        • AP says:

          The anti-Orange demographics are older people (the cutoff is about age 50), and factory workers. These people are less likely to be online and to make webpages.

          Yes, Ukraine is like Russia in the 90s. Yanukovich and his oligarchs are like Berezovsky, Khodorkovsky etc. The alternatives to the oligarchs are communists*, liberals and nationalists (the latter two groups in an uneasy alliance). There is no Ukrainian Putin.

          *Who are actually bought out by the oligarchs and are thus a “safe” opposition

          • Dear AP,

            I gather the total number of people who turned up for the Bandera commemoration in Kiev was 15,000 with a further 1,000 in Lvov. Hardly a huge turnout. As we’ve discussed previously, yes Bandera has his admirers but the facts on the ground (opinion polls and numbers who turn up for pro Bandera events) do not support some of the claims about the mass following he supposedly has.

            • kirill says:

              The demonstration in Lvov was so small because 10,000 are in Kiev protesting on the Maidan. Still, it is rather surprising that there aren’t several tens of thousands from Lvov out in force showing respect to their hero. This is where the Svoboda support is the strongest. I suspect that there is some sort of suppression effort by the orangists given that Bandera is unpopular in most of Ukraine, including Kiev and they are pissing off the Poles, whom they want to please.

              • AP says:

                I recall reading (but can’rt find evidence online after a 5 minute search, and am too lazy to devote more time to it) the Lviv Euromaidan kicking out the Svoboda activists who tried to take it over.

                In the last parliamentary elections Svoboda Party did not win a majority of votes in any western Ukrainian province. It won a plurality in only one: Lviv. But even there, its votes were outnumbered by the collective votes for Batkivshchyna and UDAR.

                No suppression is necessary: Svoboda is a minority within the Orange group.

                • I gather that there’s been another toppling of a Lenin statue.

                  This is beginning to acquire the appearance of an organised campaign. Obviously there’s a particular symbolism in attacking Lenin statues but I suspect it’s partly intended to provoke a reaction from the authorities and from the Russians.

                • marknesop says:

                  Just like FEMEN sawing down Orthodox wooden crosses. They’re looking for a concrete symbol they can gel around and form a “resistance” so as to keep themselves in the news cycle, because international media is starting to murmur and shuffle and look for a new diversion. After all, it’s only a few weeks until the Olympics, and no media outlet wants to wake up next to the Maidan and find everyone has decamped for Sochi during the night.

                • yalensis says:

                  Lenin’s legacy will survive any toppling of statues.

                  One can still go the library and read his books. Upon which one will discover to one’s amazement that Lenin is one of the founders (both ideological and practical) of Ukrainian national independence.

                  Which is now starting to seem like a bad idea, because Ukrainians have proved incapable of governing themselves. They obviously need a foreign country to come in and rule over them, be it Russia or the EU.

    • yalensis says:

      Most Excellent.
      This politician has my respect!

      • Jen says:

        Not being a Trekkie myself, I’m not familiar with Klingon culture and codes of honour and etiquette but shouldn’t Waddell have personally challenged the mayor to a ritual duel to the death (with ritualised war-singing and declarations of spilling one’s own blood for the greater glory of the race) over decisions passed by Indian Trail’s council that he believed wasn’t in the public interest? Isn’t that the Klingon way?

        • yalensis says:

          Yes, I think you are right, there should have been a combat to the death. “Resigning one’s post” is not the Klingon way, only wimpy Humans do that. In fact, the way a Klingon gets a promotion is by killing his boss.

          Well, Reggie is more of a Klingon expert than I am, but I think he will concur with that.

          Also, the Klingon “wedding” ceremony does not look authentic to me.
          There is one episode where Worf very clearly describes what a Klingon wedding looks like: The female goes berserk and throws heavy objects at the male. The male responds by reciting poetry, while ducking the heavy objects.

          • marknesop says:

            Except for a little difference in timing, it closely matches human relationships. That part in a human relationship comes about 8 months after the wedding.

            • Jen says:

              That’s the idea behind Klingon culture: it’s a mirror parody of human culture in the way Superman was parodied by Bizarro Superman in his comic.

  4. yalensis says:

    Here is video of Putin testing out the ski slopes at Sochi.
    Analyzing his technique, it is much better than that other video we saw, which I think was from a few years back. Mr. Putin has obviously been taking private lessons with an alpine coach. His turns are much better, he is carving, keeping his hips aligned, keep his hands forward, and initiating the turn with his outside edge rather than with his inside edge (which is what rookies and telemarch skiers usually do).
    Putin is a natural athlete and has a good athletic stance. He keeps a nice, flat torso. He still needs to tilt his torso a few degrees forward, though. This is skiing, not boxing.
    My one criticism is with Mr. Putin’s “skating” technique. He needs to learn to “skate” across the flats, rather than just push himself with his poles. And when he does skate, his rhythm is a bit off.
    When “skating” on skis (which is the same as x-country skiing), one should bend first into the skating foot, push off on the inside edge of the bent leg, and then switch feet. The mantra is: “Bend-push-switch, bend-push-switch”, etc. Rookies tend to do it the other way around, they push off and then bend on the new foot, which is what Putin is doing. You can get much more power and speed if you do it the right way, but it’s counter-intuitive, it goes against our instincts as bipedal hominids, which is why it has to be specially taught and practiced a lot.

    Sochi slopes look good, though. Is that real snow?

    • marknesop says:

      Where’s the phalanx of security men that traditionally accompanies unpopular presidents everywhere they go, to protect them from their angry citizenry? The formations of black snowmobiles bestrode by gun-toting guards which protect his life from terrorists in Sochi who thirst to spill his blood?

      • yalensis says:

        In the clip, you can see some of his bodyguards, they are skiing behind him!

        • marknesop says:

          How are you supposed to act as a bodyguard when you are on skis and consequently do not have a stable shooting platform, never mind how are you going to handle a gun and ski poles, and are separated from the person you are supposed to be guarding by sometimes 30 or 40 yards? On a heavily-forested slope with plenty of cover, where you cannot have protected all entrances in advance because it is miles of forest and you don’t have the manpower? A shooter hidden along the perimeter of the slope with a high-powered rifle could not only have shot Putin (who is likely wearing a vest at least), but very likely could have gotten away as well.

          • yalensis says:

            Rifle shooting while skiing is possible. In fact, it’s an Olympic sport, it’s called “biathlon”.
            The snipers would probably also be on skis. So then it would turn into a James Bond kind of downhill chase.

            • marknesop says:

              In biathlon you have to stop to shoot; you do not fire while skiing and holding on to your poles at the same time. Nobody in the entourage is carrying a rifle, so we would be looking mostly at handguns, which are wildly inaccurate at anything other than point-blank range at the best of times. Anybody who stopped to shoot would realize Putin was far, far ahead unless he stopped, too, which would be pretty stupid while being shot at. My theory relies on the shooter being not on skis, or at least not shooting while moving; he would be concealed and firing upslope where his target would not be showing such a high crossing rate, making it easier to hit. He could always ski out, I suppose. I imagine the entire area was gone over by helicopter beforehand, looking for tracks or anything else suspicious, but ski tracks on snow in bright light would be easy to miss.

              But your version sounds much more movie-friendly.

      • Jen says:

        Naaah, dontcha know Putin has an army of doubles who have all undergone cosmetic surgery, had teeth and hair removed, been knee-capped to 5’5″ in height and who travel everywhere performing all manner of feats to fool all potential assassins and dupe the gullible public into believing he is Superman Incarnate?

  5. R.C. says:

    Coke under fire AGAIN by the rainbow brigade:

    One poster (btw, all which are negative) to the article makes a point:

    “If you believe the media, movies and constant clamoring for gay rights you would think that 96% of the people on the planet are gay while only a small percentage are straight. While the exact opposite is true. It’s absolutely ridiculous that movies, advertisements and so many articles are about gay people when poll after poll and survey after survey show that around 2-3% of population is gay. Should people like me who have asthma begin protesting and wanting asthma related issues put front and center in ads? Should Bert have asthma while Ernie has irritable bowel syndrome? For crying out loud, go be gay if you want but everything doesn’t need to be tailored exclusively to you.”

    The article claims Coke is attempting to gather some good press because of their sponsorship of the Sochi Games. I think Coke will come to learn that nothing they do will make these people happy short of a complete boycott in which Coke would have to give up BILLIONS in revenue. The statement from Coke makes perfect sense since civil unions are legal in Ireland but not gay marriage. All corporations like Coke tailor their promotions to reflect the sensitivities of different territories. So they’re supposed to throw that prudent practice out of the window now because GLAAD wants a gay marriage in a commercial!??!!?

    • marknesop says:

      Is it just me, or has the corporate media lost its ability to sense trends in public opinion? Or perhaps they’ve just become so confident in their ability to drive and shape public opinion that they don’t realize it isn’t working. Whatever the case, I believe we are seeing the beginning of a building wave of pushback against gay activism. The comments are indeed uniformly negative, and while there are a few angry pro-gay comments mixed in with the replies, the comment you reproduced is broadly representative of a wave of anger that says, Gays, shut the fuck up already.

      Putin must be snickering up his sleeve, because you could see from way, way out – as many did here – that gay activists were going hard on this one way too early, and that it just did not have the legs to remain an issue. Now the Rainbow Express has run out of steam just in time for Putin to reap the sympathy vote if activists try to stage a big messy sloppy demo hoping to embarrass the country. They are far more likely to embarrass themselves, and the wiser ones will know better than to try it. It’s keep-your-head-down time again.

      But the article goes blithely on, pushing the gay-propaganda line just as if there was an angry crowd outside demanding more gay rights. Look at it. “Somebody in the marketing department is projecting their own homophobia onto the Irish public,” writes Irish gay activist Max Krzyzanowski. There’s an Irish name, if ever I’ve heard one. So now the decision to just sidestep the issue constitutes homophobia. Anything except the enthusiastic embrace of and promotion of homosexuality is homophobia. Where once only deliberate seeking out and persecution of homosexuals was homophobia, the label has expanded to include all those who will not ring the pink bell and shout “We are all homosexuals now!!” Amazingly enough, University of Colorado Boulder has such an enormous advertising department that it has an Associate Professor of Advertising, one Harsha Gangadharbatla (no, I didn’t make that up to make fun of him, and yes, I copy/pasted it because no way was I going to type it out), and he is well on his way to an abject failure in advertising, because he warbles, “In this particular case, there is a rapidly growing LGBT market that simply cannot be ignored.” Show me, Harsha – I call bullshit. The same proportion of the population is gay that always was, and it is not growing; how could it be, as some have pointed out, when gays cannot reproduce? I’m sure they’d like to believe their numbers are burgeoning, and perhaps that is the hope of the campaign to normalize homosexuality – that people who are thinking about it will take the plunge and go full-on gay. The trouble with that is, they say, you are or you are not and it is the way you are born.

      Somewhere along the line, gay went from I-just-want-to-be-like-you to I-insist-you-be-like-me.

      • R.C. says:

        I knew the gig was becoming stale once rational open-minded people (like most of us on this blog) began growing tired of it, not just bible-thumping conservative Christians.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        I suspected the tide had turned when a few months ago some psychologist or self-styled sexologist or whatever in the US recommended that “straight” males take it up the rear off an obliging sodomite so as to empathize with women – or something daft like that.

        A strange argument, I thought, both logically and physiologically.

        • marknesop says:

          No, that was some feminist who argued that women should “peg” their boyfriends, to a dual purpose – to teach them what penetration feels like and so expand their understanding of women, and to gain for themselves the empowerment of the penetrator. It was mentioned on Anatoly’s blog; I barely read the linked article, but suffice it to say it was so irritating that it has left a powerful impression, and obviously I have not forgotten it.

      • yalensis says:

        The percentage of gays in human population probably remains stable from generation to generation (assuming it is a chromosomal variant which continues to be propagated regardless of what people think about it), and is a smallish percent.

        However, gays do tend to be successful, wealthier, and have more disposable income than their small numbers should logically dictate; which is why it does make sense for marketers to direct ads at their demographic. But on the understanding that they are a NICHE market.

        The mistake that is being made by product such as Coke is to treat gays as a mass market rather than a niche market.

        For example, in the realm of movies:
        “Boy meets girl” romantic comedy: mass market (Hollywood blockbuster)
        “Boy meets boy” romantic comedy – niche market (Independent filmmaker)

        • Nothing illustrates how deranged this subject is becoming better than the response to the Coke commercial.

          The point about the commercial is that it is – a commercial ie. it is intended to sell Coke. Obviously a commercial celebrating gay marriage is not going to sell much Coke in a country like Ireland where gay marriage is not legal and where (in a socially conservative Catholic country) the great majority of the people oppose gay marriage. What those who complain about Coke’s adaption of the commercial to the needs of the local market in Ireland are in effect saying is that Coke as a private commercial company should sacrifice its commercial interests to the promotion of gay marriage.

          In a capitalist free market economy the overriding duty of a private commercial company is to maximise profits for its shareholders. In some company law systems (such as Britain’s and I suspect Ireland’s) that is actually a legal duty. There must be an argument that sacrificing the company’s commercial interests to promote gay marriage would be a breach of the duty the company owes its shareholders, which might expose the company to legal action by the shareholders.

          Anyway, regardless of the legalities of the issue, it’s interesting to see supporters of gay marriage interfering in the free operation of the market in pursuit of their agenda.

        • marknesop says:

          Agreed. But the sole enabling factor that permits gays to throw their weight around in marketing is that the heterosexual community is broadly tolerant, and supports them in their endeavors. If that support were to be withdrawn, gays would quickly find they had lost their clout almost overnight. They could threaten to boycott, say, a cruise line on the grounds that it was not “gay friendly”, and the lost bookings would quickly be made up by heterosexuals who do not want to see males mincing about and fluttering their eyelashes at one another when they are on vacation, while the gays would find that there were not enough of them to fill a cruise liner of a rival firm, especially if heterosexuals canceled bookings upon learning it was the gays’ “preferred line”. Every bit of gays’ social engineering power depends on the cooperation of the heterosexual public, and it is that they are losing fast. I feel confident in drawing the line at tolerance, and believe that is the high-water mark for homosexuality; tolerance and acceptance. It was wrong to insist on celebration, and I think some are coming to realize it. It might be too late, though; a lot of people are deeply offended by this year-long push, and it may take them years for their attitudes to return to their former tolerance.

          In the end, gays can blame the media, just like I said at the outset of the campaign, because it extended the bait to gays that it was behind them foursquare, when in reality it just wanted to use them for its endless political maneuvering for advantage. But I don’t feel a bit sorry for them, because they grabbed the bait knowing if they were successful, it would elevate them above their heterosexual fellows in rights, and they went for it anyway.

          • Dear Mark,

            Completely agree. What this episode with the Coca Cola advertisement shows is that for some LGBT people the gay agenda has become the defining issue to which all others must be subordinated. So Coca Cola is required to lose money in Ireland by showing an advertisement that promotes gay marriage even though doing so contradicts what Coca Cola is.

            Whilst I can understand why some LGBT people feel this way, this is nonetheless unreasonable and beyond a certain point is bound to provoke a backlash.

  6. yalensis says:

    Latest info on Chornovil beating; well, this was from Friday, but I doubt if anything more happened in the investigation over the weekend.

    Anyhow, this piece is very thorough and lays out the main players, including photographs of the 5 suspects currently in detention (in order of the photos: Oleksandr Khramtsov, Sergei Kotenko, Andrei Nasikovsky and Oleksandr Kotenko. There is a fifth suspect (Roman Zalubovski), and also a sixth (a certain “Andrei”) who is still on the run.

    All current information seems to indicate that: (1) Yes, Tetiana was viciously beaten, she did not fake it; and (2) The actual physical beating was probably done by 3 guys, namely: Sergei Kotenko; Roman Zalubovsky; and “Andrei”. These were the 3 guys in the Porsche.

    Sergei Kotenko is shaping up to be the key witness as well as likely perp. We have already seen that he is a mini-me type 29-year-old oligarch who owns 40% of Keyko Ukraine , the license holder to the Ukrainian market of the TVi television channel. The other 60% of the shares are owned by some Estonian affiliate.

    So, in other words, this Sergei Kotenko is some kind of Oligarch Junior. He must be extremely wealthy (or well placed). Although on his Facebook page he only modestly admits to “buying and selling automobiles” as his major business. He lists his hobbies as drinking wine, snowboarding and photography. He does not mention beating up women as another of his hobbies.

    Here is Sergei’s side of the story to investigators, as translated from above link:

    One of the things I (Sergei) do is buy and re-sell cars. This is what brought me to the night of 24-25 December. Around 23:00 hours on the 24th, I went to meet 2 possible buyers (Roman + Andrei) of the Porsche, which I had purchased from Oleksandr Khramtov (but not finished paying off all the payments, that’s why he still held the title). Anyhow, I (Sergei) met these 2 guys on the Kreshchatik. I never saw them before in my life. They were scary, they looked like boxers, and one of them had a broken nose.
    So we met. I said “show me the money” and they showed me the money. They said, “Let go for a ride.” I said okay. They said, “Can we drive?” I said sure. So they sat in the front seat, and one of them drove. I (Sergei) sat in the back seat. So, there were exactly 3 of us men in the car.

    So, we were driving along Kharkovsky Avenue. Suddenly the guy behind the wheel swerved the car. It was like maybe somebody cut us off, or even clipped us, I’m not sure. We followed that car onto the Borispolskaya Road. I (Sergei) started shouting at the guys: “What are you doing?” I was scared they would scratch the car and try to get the price knocked down. They cursed at me like a sailor and told me to shut up. Look at me: I’m just a little guy, what could I do? I shut my mouth and just sat, hunched over in fear.

    Eventually these guys caught up with the other car. They jumped out of the car (leaving me, Sergei, alone and frightened in the back seat). They were only gone for 5-10 seconds. They hopped back in, said something like, “It was just a girl, what a cunt! She dinged your car. We’ll figure it out later.”

    The two guys then finished driving to Brovary, got out of the car, and disappeared.

    Sergei continues on about how he, scared shitless, drives to the home of his laywer, Andrei Nasikovsky, babbles on that he’s in big trouble, and asks to spend the night; then the next day, Nasikovsky decides that Kotenko needs to leave town pronto and calls him a taxi to the bus station.

    The linked piece points out how the video from Tetiana’s dash-cam contradicts Sergei’s contention that he remained in the back seat of the Porsche and did not participate in the beating:
    (1) The video clearly shows that when the 2 guys jump out of the car, the car still moves, like somebody is still driving it. Therefore, one of the 3 guys was still behind the wheel, and if it wasn’t Sergei behind the wheel,then that would have been him jumping out of the car.
    (2) The video image, albeit grainy of the 2 guys jumping out of the car: one of them looks like Sergei.

    • marknesop says:

      Still, however – importantly – no connection at all to the government, which is the story Chornovol immediately told, and it is that more than anything that makes me think it was a setup, because she doesn’t know anything of the kind. Either her not-all-there mind actually believes it, or she stoically went for the narrative that serves her revolutionary soldier goals, considering she had gotten knocked around anyway and might as well make something from it. Or else she was in on it from the start. Admittedly, that looks less likely now, but it is still possible some other Opposition faction took advantage of her temporary notoriety to lay a thumping on her and blame the government. Alternatively, it might have been punishment for her provocative actions on the Maidan, leading “provocateurs” in the destruction of public property, especially as it was quickly clear from social media that she had been identified and photographed and was giving a bad impression of the “peaceful” demonstrators.

      • Jen says:

        Seems more likely that Chornovil prefers a narrative that serves to bring attention to her in a favourable light. As I suggested in an earlier comment, Chornovil seems drawn to conflict situations to feed her ego needs whatever those are. If there are none, she will create them, and if something bites back at her, she’ll find a way to spin it in her favour. She’s an impulsive person who doesn’t think through the consequences of her actions before she carries them out; for Chornovil, the important thing is to be the star of her own soap opera with adorers and sympathisers.

        However Chornovil’s early allegations about pro-govt goons attacking her might still stick and revelations that the people who did assault her have themselves been involved in shady past corporate dealings won’t help; the news might even get mangled into some weird synthesis in which Kotenko and company switch sides back and forth. The only way we’ll know what actually happened is if and when the assault case comes to trial. Even then, the judge could throw that out if Chornovil keeps changing her story and tries to use the trial to flatter herself and gain more fans.

      • yalensis says:

        Chornovil is a committed (and quasi-violent) revolutionary who seems most closely linked with Tymoshenko’s party. So, IF her story is true, then basically:
        She is driving home from the Maidan close to midnight. She finds herself being followed, and driven off the road. She panics and runs for it. Two or three guys beat her shitless. She loses consciousness. They throw her in a culvert and leave her for dead. Somehow (this part has not been fully explained) she regains enough consciousness to crawl back into her car, climb in, find her phone, and call her “relatives” (her husband? her parents?)
        They come and get her and next thing she knows she is lying in a hospital, in terrible pain and probably doped up.

        Tymoshenko’s people are swarming around her in the hospital, taking photographs of her wounds, telling her the “true” version of events, as they are formulating them: that she was attacked by government goons, who are out to silence her because of her outstanding work in exposing government corruption.

        One has to understand just how tightly knitted revolutionaries are to each other. Closer than family members, they are comrades in a war. The relationships are those of “brothers” on the battlefield: extremely close and trusting. These people believe fanatically in what they are doing, and would be willing to die for each other.

        What I am trying to say is that IF Tetiana was fed a load of bullshit by Tymoshenko’s people, she would believe it like it was gospel. Because these are HER beloved and trusted comrades. It would never enter her battered little head that her own friends could have betrayed her and plotted to kill her, in order to incite a larger war that would free their leader (=Tymoshenko). If she is just a pawn in their game, then she does not know she is a pawn. Maybe they picked her for this martyr role because of her naievete and lack of cynicism.

        If it was a plot (which I am starting to think it was), then the conspirators made one stupid mistake: they forgot to take the dash-cam off her car. Maybe they didn’t know it was there. Or maybe they just forgot, in their haste to get away.

        Sergei Kotenko’s account does seem to indicate an element of panic and disarray: hence his fleeing to Nasikovsky’s house. It’s like the perps realized they had screwed up and just wanted to get away.

        • marknesop says:

          I don’t know – how could the part in the hospital be played so masterfully, while the actual event itself was so amateurish as to have been the work of clowns? They couldn’t have just forgotten the dash cam; virtually everyone in Russia and Ukraine has one, they are as popular as GPS. Comes to that, where’s the dash-cam video from the Porsche? The police would certainly have been interested in that. Maybe it didn’t have one, but like I said, there are literally millions of them. Didn’t a couple of cars approach them from behind and pass them? Where are their dash-cam videos? Maybe the police have a much more comprehensive picture of events than they’re letting on, and are just waiting to see who will incriminate themselves. It doesn’t cost them anything to keep these guys locked up, and if they think they are looking at hard time they will sing like canaries.

          I would love it if it turned out to be another phony provocation, and that Chornovol was part of the whole thing, but I think that is looking less likely rather than more. If it was a setup, which it might still have been, it looks more like Chornovol was just the patsy and not part of the planning. Anyway, the ones it looks absolutely not like are the government.

          Curiously, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group has the whole case solved, and the government is obviously lying faster than a horse can trot, while trying to smear the good name of stoutly honest opposition MP’s in the process. No impartiality here – KHRPS is not interested in waiting until the investigation is complete, it just knows it was Yanukovych and his goons, and seems to be preparing the ground for a frenzied denial should the investigation’s results yield a different result. The group also has no problem at all with Papa Chornovol handing over the video evidence directly to an opposition MP rather than to the police, because it is satisfied the only ones who would tamper with evidence are the cops.

          Oddly, this whole Chornovol mass hysteria is making me drift back toward my original opinion – that Ukraine has become so dysfunctional that it badly needs the sharp lesson it would be taught by committing to the EU association agreement. Russia would take the steps it forecast it would take to protect its own trade, as is its right and which would not hurt Russia very much as it could get most of what it buys from Ukraine from its own producers – anything else, such as aircraft engines, it could still buy. The EU would scream that Russia was starting a trade war, but the EU could just go suck it because Russia and Ukraine are both WTO members and I am sure anything Russia did it could defend using WTO rules. Ukraine, and mostly the Ukrainian opposition, is so wedded to the idea that joining the EU and getting rid of Yanukovych would instantly solve all their problems that they should get a dose of it just to teach them a lesson. Of course Yanukovych will not cooperate, but President Klitschko and EU association would smack Ukraine so hard that it would be much wiser, if sadder, in a couple of years. The EU is likely looking at a couple of more bankruptcies in 2014, one of which might be France, and if that happens the slide will probably be irreversible. It would serve Ukraine right to get jiggy with the EU just as it is falling apart. It looks more and more like nothing but disaster of its own making will teach it anything, as the Oranges appear to have learned nothing from the Glorious Yushchenko Years and are ready for Round 2.

          But of course, Putin ruined everything by giving them money. Maybe he could still take it back, announcing he was bowing to the will of the protesters. No. Bad plan, because NATO would still find the money somewhere to put a military base in Ukraine, as close to Russia as it could get.

          This post by Leos perfectly sums up the situation in Ukraine today – not having gotten the coveted agreement, an entire generation will tell their children that “if only”; they were that close to fat Euro pensions without having to lift a finger, and life would have been so goooodd. But Yanukovych fucked it up, damn him.

          Let them have it. See how they like it.

          • yalensis says:

            That’s a very good question about the Porsche’s dash-cam I haven’t seen anything about that, although I read that the police have gotten their hands on dozens of CCTV camera recordings from up and down the chausses. Seems like Ukraine is almost as covered, Big-Brother style, as Great Britain.

            The police have detained these 5 suspects (so far) without any bail, and they’re probably employing every psychological trick in the book, so it’s probably just a matter of time before some of them start singing like canaries.

            My personal theory: Tymoshenko’s people dunnit, using oligarchy’s standard goons and (ineffectual) thugs. Yulia is just ruthless enough, and enough of a bitch, to sacfice a sad-sack pawn like Tetiana for the greater good and for Yulia’s greater glory.

            I do believe that Tetiana herself was just a patsy. According to her husband, the thugs beat her exclusively around the head. (thus answering the question that I and other posed, as to why her hands and the rest of her body were left in good working condition). According to hubby, the attackers beat her exclusively on the temples and head (and mouth), they did not do what goons usually do, which is beat around the limbs and kidneys, etc. Thus proving, according to hubby, that the intention was to kill her.
            (although, I would have to pose the question, if they just wanted to kill her, then why not shoot her? – beating with fists is sort of inefficient way to kill somebody)

            • marknesop says:

              I am sure they absolutely did not want to kill her. Her face appears to have suffered no structural damage, no teeth missing, no broken bones, and lips and facial tissue swell amazingly from just a good smacking around. You could do all the damage that is evident in her face without ever closing your fist, although they likely did punch her a few times. I don’t want to seem insensitive, and hitting a woman at all is inexcusable, but I suspect the damage looks a lot worse than it is.

              Goons beat people a certain way depending on the message they want to send. In this case, body blows would likely serve no purpose because the damage would not be visible. They wanted her face to be a mess, but not to do any serious damage. Which does not suggest uncontrollable rage, but calculation. Stupid, too, because they must have known they would be caught. The police are not going to go any easier on them if they say “Come on – we only hit her a little. It could have been a lot worse”.

              • yalensis says:

                That’s a good point. Just messing up her face would be an easy way to send a message, especially since Yatsenuk’s people were ready with the photographs and posters of her battered face, which conveniently appeared on the Maidan the very next day.
                Which points in the direction of a conspiracy theory.

                However, one also needs to take into account that Tetiana lost consciousness (or said she did), and was left lying supposedly unconscious on a freezing night. If she stayed unconscious and lay exposed outside her car, she could have died of hypothermia within just an hour. What saved her (and this has not been fully explained) was that she somehow made her way back inside her car and was able to get to her cellphone to call for help.

                However, the attackers would not have known whether or not she could survive out there, exposed like that, and with a concussion. In their own minds, they might have left her for dead; and their hurried flight (not pausing either to help her, nor to search her for cellphone, nor collect the dash-cam from her car) indicates a disorganized crime, followed by panic and flight.
                Which points in the direction of the random road-rage theory.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, but. She was supposedly found – in her car – by police. The indications of a savage beating would immediately make it a crime scene, and the area should have been taped off to preserve evidence in a pristine state. Obviously, Chornovol herself was removed, immediately, to hospital. Where did the dash-cam video go? Either Papa Chornovol removed it before the police arrived – which would mean he left his daughter there, because according to that account the police discovered her in her car, and there was no mention of her relatives being on the scene although she supposedly called them – or he came afterward and breached a crime scene to take the video file, because he is said to have given the video directly to Yatsenyuk. So, how did he get it?

            • marknesop says:

              Here’s a report from RT, which states some odd details. In addition to stipulating she has a broken nose and multiple broken bones (I am skeptical), it reports the attackers drove Tetiana’s car into the ditch, and that law enforcement officers found her in it. According to this report she was not found in the ditch (well, yes, but in her car – did the attackers drive her car into the ditch, and then put her back in it?), and she was not found by rescuing relatives but by the police. It also said after forcing her car to stop, the guys from the Porsche attacked her car, breaking the side windows. If that happened, it was edited out of the video.

              I laughed out loud when I read the part that said “Vitaly Yarema, a member of Tyomshenko’s Fatherland party, said the Interior Ministry is trying to exploit the assault for political reasons.” Everybody is trying to exploit the assault for political reasons.

              And here’s a BBC report which features the revolutionary soldier absorbed in the activity that makes her happiest – smashing stuff. Here she appears to be on the roof of a vehicle, trying to break the sunroof or some other sort of access panel. This report (the video part) also says the police found her in her car. Did her father come and take the dash cam video, and then leave his daughter in the car? I’m sure he wouldn’t have done that. But that leaves the uncomfortable possibility that he tampered with a crime scene afterward, unless the police did not secure her car, which would seem an awfully clumsy mistake to make. A lot of things here just do not add up.

              • yalensis says:

                Yes, I think this “car in the ditch” thing does not make any sense, and it’s like people just can’t get their story straight. Tetiana herself claims that she LEFT her car and ran for it, trying to get away. She doesn’t specify if she switched the car off or locked it, before she ran. The attackers supposedly chased her down (at some distance from the car?) and beat her, then threw her in a ditch. (away from her car). She said she lost consciousness under the rain of blows, and her attackers then left her for dead.

                This is contradicted by the fact that she was found by INSIDE her car by the POLICE.
                Which also contradicts the Opposition story that her relatives came to collect her, and took her dashcam, which they promptly handed over to Tymoshenko’s people for safe-keeping.

                The fact that Tetiana was found INSIDE her car jibes more with Sergei Kotenko’s version of events. According to Sergei, the attackers drove Tetiana’s car off the road, then two of them spilled out of the Porsche (while it was still in motion, being driven by the third guy), ran over to Tetiana’s car, they were only there for about 10 seconds, then came charging back to their own car, babbling things like: “It’s just a girl, what a cunt, I think she dinged your car, dude…”

                I don’t think that Sergei is telling the complete truth, because I thnk HE was one of the 2 guys who jumped out of the car. But aside from that, I am starting to sort of believe his version of events, because they jibe most with the facts as we know them.

                So, here is my latest theory: Tetiana, a known reckless driver, driving without a seatbelt or any regard for the rules of the road, accidentally dinged Sergei’s car, which he was showing off to these other 2 thugs, and trying to sell to them for a hefty price. Sergei got mad, he didn’t realize this was a woman driver, his testosterone levels went sky-high. Wanting payback, Sergei ordered the thug who was test-driving the car to give chase and drive the other “guy” off the road. Then he and the other passenger jumped out of the car to finish off their victim. Tetiana was sitting in her car, in a ditch, looking unconscious and all banged up. (because she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt). Sergei and the other goon busted her windows with sticks, they were trying to get to her. Maybe they got in enough through a broken window to punch her a couple of times. But then they saw that it was a girl, and that she looked in pretty bad shape already, maybe dead.

                So, they panicked and fled, not thinking clearly. (Maybe they were all drunk too.)
                That’s my current working theory, and it jibes with all the facts as we know them now.

                • yalensis says:

                  P.S. the other major discrepancy that needs to be explained is who got to her first: police or relatives? That can be established when police analyze her cellphone and see if she phoned her relatives for help while in the car. That timing can be compared to the police log, and when they arrived. Either way, the cops really screwed up when they didn’t secure the dashcam, when they allowed that key piece of evidence to get into the hands of Tymoshenko’s people. Now it is useless in court, because it was tampered with, Tymoshenko’s people edited the tape, and the chain of custody for the device itself is not clean.

                • marknesop says:

                  Ever tried to break a car window with a stick? You couldn’t do it. Even with a hammer, you’d have your work cut out for you to make a hole big enough to get your hand through; safety glass is incredibly tough. Besides, the dash-cam video shows Chornovol finally bringing the car to a stop, and guys spilling out of the other vehicle. We never see anyone smashing her windows, and why would they do that when she has presumably left the car and is trying to escape on foot? As she must be, because the guys do not approach the car.

                  Again, no matter how many twists and turns the story takes, it still looks like the least likely explanation is the one the Opposition immediately seized upon – that government thugs beat her to silence her anti-corruption activities. Klitschko even threatened a defamation suit because a police spokesman mentioned Opposition connections.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Another thing: as regards the possibility of her being left to die of exposure, at the beginning of December and when the Maidan protest camp was set up, temperatures were then at the seasonable norm (-12C one night) in Kiev. Since that one, very cold night, the Ukraine,
                Western Russia and Eastern Europe have had abnormally high temperatures: Atlantic storms are to blame for pumping warm air across Western Europe that has just about reached Moscow.

                This is the first Christmas and New Year that I have experienced in 21 years that has not been “white”. For the past month temperatures have been no lower than +2C – day and night.

                Notwithstanding these facts, however,the European press has gone on about how the brave freedom fighters have been enduring bitter cold, sub-zero temperatures.

                Not true! The temperatures have been more similar to those of early spring.

                Winter returned here only a couple of days ago.

                • marknesop says:

                  Speaking of weather, and not to go off at an off-topic tangent, but have you been following what’s going on at Fukushima?? Apparently before Christmas they noticed steam coming from the building that housed Reactor 4. It seems they cannot enter the building because it is too badly damaged, so it is left to experts to speculate why steam has suddenly appeared, and none of those speculations is good. The most likely one is that clusters of fuel pellets were ejected when the reactor exploded, and these are now boiling off the cooling pool which was on floor 4, above the reactor. Fuel rods remain hot enough to melt themselves for 2-3 years after being spent, and there are also some 400 assemblies – presumably spent – already in the cooling pool. The steam plume is obviously highly radioactive, and the reaction (described as “mini-meltdowns”) will be impossible to check. The polluted air will drift right down on Alaska, the west coast of Canada and the United States.

                  The stupidity of the Japanese construction, using seawater to cool spent fuel rods, and the reaction to the disaster continues to amaze, but now they are starting to publish warnings of the symptoms of radiation sickness in preparation for an “On The Beach” scenario.

                • kirill says:

                  The whole plant construction is absurd. They had the reactors and cooling pools above sea level but the crucial backup generators in the basement ready to be flooded. A safe design would have allowed the reactors and cooling ponds to be flooded from the sea and kept flooded indefinitely without pumping machinery and not hoping and praying that buildings are not damaged enough to retain the coolant water. They could have even ensured that radioactive seawater would not flush out back to sea with the correct design of flood gates.

                • marknesop says:

                  They apparently learned nothing from the example of Chernobyl. They tried water as a coolant, too, but it instantly flashed into radioactive steam. The only thing that worked in the end was sand, poured directly into the core, and then a concrete cap over all. Storing expended fuel rods in water was stupid from the get-go.

                  The steam is coming from the damaged building that housed reactor #3, not #4 as I originally reported. Reactor #3 was a MOX plant, unlike all the others. I don’t know if this is an example of Asian fatalism or what, but the company first noticed the steam on December 19th, and appears to have done nothing about it but post a report on the company website. I mean, they’ve already said they can’t enter the building because it’s too dangerous, but there seems to have been no particular alarm about this new development.

          • AP says:

            “This post by Leos perfectly sums up the situation in Ukraine today – not having gotten the coveted agreement, an entire generation will tell their children that “if only”; they were that close to fat Euro pensions without having to lift a finger, and life would have been so goooodd. But Yanukovych fucked it up, damn him.”

            This is the optimistic scenario. The pessimistic one is that they will blame not only Yanukovich but even Russia for this – that Russia will mean for Ukrainians what America and the West mean for Russians – the foreign force which supports the oligarchs and thieves. For a generation of Russians, the West has been tainted by its association with Khodorkvosky, Berezovsky, and the degradation of the 1990s; Russia may be tainted by its association to Ukraine’s Berezovskys and Khodorkovskys the guys behind Yanukovich) and Ukraine’s economic stagnation.

            • marknesop says:

              Which is why Russia should back out of the deal and suggest to Yanukovych that he strike his most advantageous bargain with the EU. And then employ such trade-protection measures as it can justify in the interest of safeguarding its own markets, without being mean about it, and preserving trade where it will not harm Russia. The hryvnia would undergo an almost immediate devaluation, because the EU will not lend Ukraine enough money to forestall it and a devaluation of the hryvnia was part of the EU’s plan, as spelled out in the association agreement. Gas rates would lose their proposed reduction and would instead undergo a hefty hike upward. But Ukraine needs to learn a lesson, and there are certain behaviors – like sticking your finger in a light socket or touching a hot stove – that you just have to experience as part of the learning process. And who knows? Perhaps the EU, which is at present staggering from one financial crisis to the next itself and is so deeply in debt it is hard to imagine it will ever get out, will flood Ukraine with money and give everyone a generous stipend to live on so that they will feel at last they are in the care of a government that truly has their best interests at heart. I just very much doubt it.

              The one fly in the ointment for me is that perfidious NATO would take advantage of European association to build a base or bases in Ukraine as close to Russia as they could get. NATO always has money for bases, and it can always close some somewhere else in exchange for getting right up cheek by jowl with the bear. And maybe they would not be allowed to do that so long as Ukraine was not actually a member of the EU, which I see no danger of ever happening. So Ukraine should go for it. But don’t come crying when it doesn’t work out the way it did in dreams. Because it won’t. Everything about previous experiences says it won’t. The EU just does not have the money or the will to finance massive reconstruction projects any more, and its own wealthy citizens are interested in making money, not in corporate welfare.

    • marknesop says:

      Right after it becomes clear that the media is the sole remaining holdout supporting gay activism, and all other audiences are fed up with it. Even so, I’m sure at least some media outlets will choose to focus on the protests to the exclusion of all else, as if it were the most important thing going on.

      • kirill says:

        I just heard again the reason why western leaders are boycotting the Sochi games and it is still surreal. They actually are boycotting a false claim about a Russian law. Not some actual issue of substance but a total propaganda fabrication. Of course the word children is never used in the TV news pieces I hear on this subject.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Hollande is a pillock and very unpopular in France. At least, that was the impression I got when I was in France in November 2012 and a bus conductor got chatting to my wife and me, telling us that there’s going to be a revolution in France soon.

            The bus conductor was a Russian, married to a Frenchman and long resident in Paris. Her ears pricked up when she heard my wife bollocking me in Russian, which made her day – the conductress’s, I mean – and she and my wife had a good old chin-wag about what was to the revolutionary Paris public service worker the “Old Country”.

            She was a proper little Bolshy.


            • Moscow Exile says:

              Just been told by her indoors that the revolutionary bus conductress was a Ukrainian. They were nattering away in Russian though.

              • kirill says:

                Ukrainians were never second class citizens in Russia like they were in Poland. I know from direct family experience. So the casual contact you encountered was routine. But some people want to make it so that Ukrainians would shun Russians as the proklati Moskali.

                • AP says:

                  Being a second class citizen in Poland (1919-1939) was not as bad as being equal in Stalin’s USSR.

                • kirill says:

                  Non sequitur drivel sunshine. Learn some basic logic before spouting.

                • AP says:

                  I had family who lived in Poland-occupied Ukraine in the 1930s, and family who lived in Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s. Life was better under Poland despite Polish persecution,

                  There is nothing illogical about this. If you would like we can compare the numbers of people starved to death, arrested, executed etc. In Polish Ukraine vs. Soviet Ukraine.

          • marknesop says:

            Hollande is merely posturing for the leaders he respects – the USA and UK – because it worked so well for “fire-eater” Sarkozy. And he cannot afford not to court anyone who buys French products, because France is likely headed for an economic meltdown this year or next at the latest. But I completely agree it is hugely hypocritical. Never mind; he will be sorry for his empty gesture sooner than he thinks.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        These people in Amsterdam think Putin is an absolute bounder; they love Navalny though, because, I presume, he said he’d allow homosexual parades in Moscow if he became mayor. Don’t know what Navalny’s nationalist supporters would think of that.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Even if he [Navalny] might lose the election because of it…“! ! !

          Well he did lose, mister, and it wasn’t because of “it”.

          “It”, of course, being Lesbian-Bi-Sexual-Gay-Trans-Gender “rights”, the most important single issue in the world today, it seems: well, at least for them it is

          But what exactly are these “rights” that are being denied homosexuals in Russia?

          They, the homosexuals, would say the “right” to display one’s sexual preferences in public with others of the same sexual predilection. For my part, and I dare say for that of many others, I find that juvenile and often offensive – and I include heterosexuals gum-sucking and groping in public.

          Oh, I forgot! They must mean the right not to be assaulted or murdered because of one’s sexual preferences.

          Right! Putin has teams of thugs going around attacking homosexuals and the cops just look on laughing.

          And here’s the good old BBC educating us all about how hard life is for homosexuals in Russia: Q&A: Gay rights in Russia.

          Note how the article criticizes the Russian law in its wording concerning homosexual acts:

          ‘Non-traditional sexual relations’?

          “The use of a Russian euphemism in the amendment, instead of a plain reference to homosexual relations, leaves an already controversial piece of legislation open to interpretation.

          It also suggests that homosexuality (a word not mentioned anywhere in the amendment) is somehow alien to life in Russia, a country with a well-documented gay sub-culture stretching back centuries, which includes such famous figures as the composer Pyotr Tchaikovsky.

          So let me get this straight: it is wrong to call homosexual acts “non-traditional sexual relations” because there is a long history of homosexuality in Russia and many famous Russians, such as Tchaikovsky, have been homosexuals?”

          No shit, Sherlock!

          I should also think that there’s a long history of syphilis and gonorrhoea, paederasty and child prostitution in Russia as well, but I should not call such things traditional happenings or activities and certainly not unique to Russian society; likewise homosexuality.

          One of the Amsterdam homosexuals in the clip above says: “There must be millions of homosexuals in Russia!”

          Well of course there are! I should imagine there are about 6 million (4% of a population of about 146 million) Russian citizens that are homosexual. However, the West peddles the myth that those 6 million or so Russian homosexuals live lives that are daily fraught with danger because of the simple fact that they have sexual preferences different to those of the vast majority of their compatriots.

          The BBC calls to task the wording of the Russian legislation concerning “the propagandising of non-traditional sexual relations among minors”, claiming that “non-traditional sexual relations” is a euphemism for homosexuality and that the absence of the word “homosexuality” in the legislation is an attempt to portray homosexuality as something alien to the Russian way of life.

          I wonder what the dear old BBC would have thought if other far more commonplace and extremely vulgar euphemisms for homosexual acts amongst males had been used?

          Here’s a good word, and it’s by no means a euphemism: sodomy.

          I was recently castigated on another forum for using that word, which was referred to as, would you believe, “the S-word”.

          Bloody arse-bandits!

          (That’s a euphemism.)

          • kirill says:

            The Dutch have some sort of pathological dislike for Russians. Radio Netherlands was always and remains one of the most vitriolic anti-Russian shortwave propaganda outfits. I do not have a clue where this hate comes from. The current “indignation” over the phony gay rights issue is just a pretext to get the hate on some more.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I wonder why? Old Peter Pervy (as an old acquaintance of mine used to call him) was mad keen on things Dutch and Dutch maritime specialists, shipbuilders, economists, engineers were made most welcome by him in his efforts to westernize Russia.

              Bear in mind, in 1799 Russia did once attempt to invade the Batavian Republic (1795-1806), Buonaparte’s ally and short-lived revolutionary republic, together with forces of her ally, the United Kingdom, in what is known as the Helder Expedition, which the rest of the world has long since forgotten but perhaps the Dutch have not.

              • kirill says:

                Wow, that’s some obscure history there. If this is the basis for the Dutch view of Russians then I don’t know what can be done. There is no room for cooperation or to advance any understanding.

  7. patient observer says:

    Pat Buchanan again speaks with reason. Per the following, he is urging Obama to attend the Sochi Olympics to show solidarity against terrorism. It would be an incredible classy move and a good thank you to Russia for saving him from a Syrian debacle.

    • Jen says:

      That page at has been moved but the post can be viewed here:

    • What Patrick Buchanan says is complete good sense. Unfortunately there is absolutely no chance that Obama will do it. The terrorists that Buchanan mentions have killed 34 people in Volgograd. The law the self appointed spokesmen for the western LGBT community complain so bitterly about has so far failed to result in a single prosecution. Yet for these people it is the law that has so far harmed no one which far more than the terrorist jihad that is the big issue. An utterly heartless position.

      • kirill says:

        Russians actually had genuine feelings of support for Americans in the wake of 9/11. In contrast, Americans, Brits, Canadians and whatnot from NATO cannot help themselves mixing in “Russian butchery in Chechnya” and assorted other moral superiority BS to express some variant of “Serbs them right” (to use a headline from some British rag when Serbs were ethnically cleansed from Krajina). Just to remind people, the US has killed *thousands* of civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan through “mistakes” in their drone warfare campaign and in the case of Iraq just outright bombing of any aggregation of people. Not a single Chechen village has been razed to the ground and obliterated from history like during the Turkish campaign against the Kurds. So the only “butchery” in Chechnya is by the Wahabbi warlords and in the propagandized minds of western media consumers who attribute every crime to evil Russians.

        Obama can stay home. His sympathy fro the terror bombings in Volgograd would be more of an insult since it would be utterly fake. This whole sorry farce will not help the liberast cause in Russia.

        • marknesop says:

          I wholeheartedly agree – while it would look good on Obama to change his mind and would indeed likely be interpreted as a goodwill gesture (Russia is pretty forgiving that way), it would trap Obama into going to boring Olympics that he did not intend to attend anyway, he just put a big PR spin on his non-attendance. Besides, it is not up to Russia to generate good PR for Obama, and his presence or absence at the Olympics is a total irrelevance. It is also true that western fake sympathy can be either withheld or offered without it making the slightest bit of difference, because Russia is well aware it is not genuine and western leaders are secretly delighted at the opportunity to cast doubt on the security arrangements for the Olympics, in hope that it will curb attendance. There’s no harm in being polite, but I hope Russia is all done playing patty-cake on the diplomacy front. Cooperate, or fuck off; it’s all the same to me, should be the message. The west badly needs to get over itself, and cannot seem to shake the conviction that it can make or break events in Russia with its approval or disapproval.

  8. kirill says:


    This is not meant as a nitpick. FEMEN cut down a non-denominational cross erected to commemorate the victims of Stalin and Soviet communism. If I recall correctly it was erected at the initiative of the Uniates and not the Orthodox and had nothing to do with the Orthodox church in the way FEMEN was targeting it. These FEMEN vandals could not even pick a proper target. And France gave asylum to one of these hoodlums who set up some “how to cut crosses” school for the anarchist wannabes.

    Russia cannot have normal relations with countries that support and shelter such vandals. I am quite sure that any similar vandalism by some “pro-Russian” gang in the west would be used to bash Russia over the head with and would validate the 24/7 hate campaign against Russians. So Russia should adopt a zero tolerance policy and not appease the west and its bloody hypocrisy. This means less of the stupid amnesty laws like the one that freed Khodorkovsky and the PR thugs.

    • marknesop says:

      Okay, non-denominational crosses, although I believe in the eyes of the west they were associated with Russia or at least with the Ukrainian government (which for some reason the west perceived to be pro-Russian). But what I intended to suggest is that the Euromaidan crowd is looking for symbols it can safely target and win western approval, because it knows the whole movement is about to slide sideways if it doesn’t get some attention. Lenin statues will do; surely the west will approve of that.

      • kirill says:

        I can understand Lenin statues. A tried and true target. But the cross those vandals cut down had nothing to do with the “regime”. It wasn’t installed by the Party of Regions. I would compare this act of vandalism to defacing the Cenotaph in London.

  9. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, as a follow-up to a comment I wrote above, posing the question, Why on God’s Green Acres would the Banderites attack the Premiere Palace Hotel, the pride of Kiev?
    This Rosbalt piece might give a plausible answer to that question:

    Recall that earlier in the Banderite procession, the neo-Nazis tossed smoke bombs in the general direction of the Kiev branch of the Russian national bank Sberbank (pronounded “is a bear Bank”).
    Nobody objected to that, and the other Banderites thought this was pretty cool.

    Next the torchlight procession flowed past the entrance to the Premiere Palace Hotel. Then some guy starts shouting into a megaphone, says something like: “We are now passing the Premiere Palace Hotel, this is the place where Party of Regions keeps their bordello!”

    Upon which 2 outraged Banderovite youths promptly toss smoke-bombs into the foyer of the hotel.
    But what they hadn’t counted on is the excellent and world-class staff employed by this 5-star hotel. Bordello or not, these guys know what they are doing, and they know how to protect their wealthy customers. Barely missing a beat, 2 doormen rush out with fire extinguishers, and put out the Banderite fireworks.

  10. marknesop says:

    Here’s an interesting and fairly unbiased report on Euromaidan – from, of all sources, Open Democracy – which suggests both sides are distorting the size of the crowd (as usual) for their own purposes. It reports the New York Times wins the booby prize, for reporting the crowd at a million. It acknowledges that the protests looked like not amounting to much until the police violently dispersed “peaceful protesters”, which acted as the spark the Oranges were looking for to draw protesters together. It also recounts dryly that live feeds by a Svoboda activist helped to pin the later violence on Svoboda, as well as Dmytro Korchynsky’s “Bratsvo” and Tryzub. Interesting.

    It’s also from quite early on in the event, December 3rd, but while the crowds did hit some fairly high numbers after that, it was never anything like a million and probably never hit a quarter of that at its highest point.

    I can’t get anything at all on numbers now, nothing much past Christmas Eve and the Chornovol beating (except for a claim of 200,000 for the New Year’s party, which would not have been all protesters anyway), and everyone seems to have just stopped talking about it by common agreement. I can’t find any live webcam feeds.

    • marknesop says:

      Well, at least we know where the New York Times got the crazy figure of a million; we’re lucky they didn’t double it. Surprise – John McCain, who spoke of “a million or two of [Yanukovych’s] fellow citizens demonstrating in the capital for a more democratic Ukraine”. He also described his appearance at Euromaidan, punctuated by his trademark sock-it-to-’em gesture as he was shouting “America stands with you” (or maybe it was “I need a can of juice!”; tough to tell) as “one of the most moving experiences I have ever had”. That you can remember, you mean. I don’t mean to be hard on old John, but he’s…just such an old fuck – he shows up everywhere, like he doesn’t have any real responsibilities that he can’t instantly break, and shouts and blusters just as if he were the president himself (which he may think he is, I couldn’t say) and just generally makes a nuisance of himself, and then flies home and every single Sunday talk show wants to have him on as a guest so he can talk about it all over again, just as if we didn’t just see him there grunting and moaning and playing the global statesman. Jeez, John – give it a rest, can’t you? Or at least learn to count. I know a million isn’t much for you, you were probably thinking dollars or enemas or sponge baths or something, but that’s a lot of people. And two million is exactly twice as much.

    • kirill says:

      They are still doing the “truth is in between” two step. So if I call someone a pedophile I am at least half right. 250,000 would require 190,000 to be outside of the Maidan since the square cannot accommodate this many humans without killing them first and packing them like sardines under pressure. The best it can do is 60,000 humans with the usual human need for some space around themselves. I don’t recall any video or photographs showing three times as many people on the streets leading to the Maidan as on the Maidan itself. Maybe they are talking about all of Ukraine, but I don’t think that is the case either. The New York Times really shows that it is the newspaper of make believe record with its 1 million claim. It actually fits with the typical factor of 10 exaggeration I have seen applied in the 1990s during the ex-Yugoslavia wars by the same newspaper and other western media outlets.

    • yalensis says:

      Ukrainian media have largely become cheerleaders for the mass protests: web-based Ukrainska Pravda (Ukrainian Truth) openly changed its name to Europeiska Pravda (European Truth). These media outlets speculated that the violent attacks should be attributed to Bratstvo or unknown provocateurs. At the same time they suppressed evidence of radical nationalist and neo-Nazi groups inciting their football fans to violence among the largely peaceful protests, and inflated anti-government numbers at the biggest rally on 1 December. The TV channel Inter, for example, is controlled by oligarch Dmitry Firtash, whose deputies deserted the Yanukovych Party of Regions. It claimed that there were more than one million protesters and published statements by opposition leaders, specifically Oleh Tyahnybok (head of Svoboda).

      That confirms my impression, when I was doing some research, that most of the Ukrainian media, at least the online media, is pro-Orange. Commenter AP countered that majority of Ukes are pro-Orange, so naturally their websites would be pro-Orange. But I wasn’t talking about personal websites or Facebook pages, I was talking about corporate online media, like the ones mentioned above (Europeiska Pravda, etc.)

      Once again, this mirrors the situation the way it was in Russia a decade or two ago, when Oppositionists controlled the media and hence the narrative. Eventually the government and ruling party started promoting their own point of view, with outlets such as RT and NTV. But Ukrainian government (and anti-Orange forces) apparently don’t have those types of outlets in Ukraine. This is why a lot of people are being brainwashed by uncountered Orange/Banderite propaganda.

      • kirill says:

        Most Ukrainians are pro Orange? In what alternate universe? How did Yanukovych get elected if most Ukrainians are pro Orange? Pure BS.

        The only reason that the Orange disease is not confined to Galicia and other parts of the western rim of Ukraine is exactly because of the propaganda in the Orange owned media in Ukraine. Many people on the Maidan actually thought the association agreement was some sort of step to membership in the EU. It was nothing of the sort and the Orange propaganda juggernaut suppressed any discussion about the ludicrous economic aspects of this agreement.

        • marknesop says:

          I think he suggested most Ukrainian media were pro-Orange. This essentially mirrors the situation in Russia, and there, too, we see constant accusations that the entire media is “state-controlled” with the exception of a few brave little outposts of truth like Novaya Gazeta and Albats’ The New Times. In fact, most of the Russian media appears to be liberal-leaning or firmly in the liberal camp as far as criticism of the government goes, and the situations in both countries are the same as far as the liberals enjoying the backing of oligarchs (who are always prepared to jump either way and are not truly loyal to anyone, dependent on who offers the possibility of making and keeping the most money, but who in general do not like government taxes) and the permanently-disgruntled intelligentsia, which considers the parvenu leadership of the nation to be boorish and uncultured and not sufficiently respectful to the highly-educated or sufficiently solicitous of its advice on how to run the country.

        • AP says:

          “Most Ukrainians are pro Orange? In what alternate universe? How did Yanukovych get elected if most Ukrainians are pro Orange? ”

          The alternate universe is the one in which Yanukovich is popular and most of Ukraine isn’t Orange.

          Yanukovich won the presidential election with less than 50% of the vote, in a 2 person race. This was in the middle of a huge economic crisis. Since his victory, the Orange parties won the popular vote in the most recent parliamentary elections, and every poll shows Yanukovich plus the communists losing to the combined Orange candidates in the first round, and Yanukovich losing against every possible Orange candidate other than Tiahnybok in the second round (which is one on one).

          So yes, most Ukrainians are pro-Orange.

          When you examine the support further, you’ll see that the Orange are most popular among the young, the more educated, people in Kiev – the exact groups who are are more likely to use the internet. This explains why most on-line sources are pro-Orange.

          • marknesop says:

            Yanukovych won with less than 50% of the vote because more than 4% of voters chose “against all candidates”. He still beat Tymoshenko by more than 3% – that’s tight, but not tight enough for a recount, and OSCE observers reported the vote was in line with European standards.

            Yanukovych is most certainly not popular by any stretch of the imagination, but he remains the leader of choice in his traditional power base. It will be interesting to see if the traditional Tymoshenko strongholds of Lviv and Ivano-Frankivsk will throw their weight behind Klitschko, but her standing in the region suggests its constituents do not mind being led by a criminal so long as she votes the right way. I don’t think an appeal for unity by Klitschko would make significant inroads on the East and South, especially when they know Klitschko is keen to sign an association agreement as quickly as one can be put in front of him. Mind you, Klitschko may be long gone by then; 2015 is quite a distance away, and I do not think the opposition will be able to force early elections unless Yanukovych detects a strategic interval which would be favourable to him.

            • AP says:

              Yanukovych won with less than 50% of the vote because more than 4% of voters chose “against all candidates”. He still beat Tymoshenko by more than 3% – that’s tight, but not tight enough for a recount, and OSCE observers reported the vote was in line with European standards. ”

              Yes. And this election was anomalous – probably due to the economic crisis. Orange got more votes before and since, and lead in polls. The (slim) majority in Ukraine is Orange.

              • marknesop says:

                Let’s not forget who brought on the economic situation in Ukraine. Not the global financial crisis, which could hardly be blamed on Ukraine, but the huge loan taken out by Yushchenko and Tymoshenko, which Ukraine now has no ability to pay back. But somehow a similar alliance is supposed to see Ukraine on the road to prosperity. Let’s also not forget why Yushchenko was refused a second loan – because he had not made the reforms the IMF told him to, and – specifically – because he had not done away with the gas subsidy that provided low-cost gas to Ukrainian households. That was a condition of the association agreement as well – the EU really has a hard-on for Ukrainian gas rates. Perhaps that’s so they can get rid of Yanukovych, and then propose lowering them again as a part of his Orange successor’s election platform.

                Anyway, yes, by all means; if it were up to me, I would wave my magic wand and make it happen. Klitschko would be president, and he would sign the same association agreement, with no changes, that Yanukovych refused to sign. And Tymoshenko would be freed. Then we could look at where Ukraine was in 5 years after that.

                • Dear AP,

                  I don’t think one can call the 2010 election result anomalous. The pattern of Presidential elections in the Ukraine since independence is that Kravchuk won the first one, Kuchma won the next two, the fourth was disputed but was eventually won by Yushchenko when the Supreme Court ordered a third round and the fifth was won by Yanukovitch. On the basis of Kuchma being an easterner drawing like Yanukovitch his core support from the east and south then easterners have won three out of five of the Ukraine’s Presidential elections. Moreover it seems to me that it was the two elections that were not won by easterners – the first one which was won by Kravchuk in December 1991 as the USSR collapsed and the fourth one won by Yushchenko in revolutionary conditions – that are far more properly called anomalous than the election held in 2010.

                  Nor in my opinion does it automatically follow that because the combined populations of the centre and the west exceed those of the east and south or that the combined polling of all of the opposition candidates at present exceeds Yanukovitch’s current polling that the opposition is sure to win in 2015.

                  As things stand the combined effect of the 17th December 2013 accords and the continued Maidan protests appears to be restoring Yanukovitch’s support in the east and south. That remains by far the biggest section of the Ukraine and will remain so for a long time irrespective of whether the combined notional total of the votes in the centre and west exceeds its total or whether its population is declining and that of the west is increasing. The fact that Yanukovitch is far and away the most popular politician in what is by far the biggest of the Ukraine’s three sections is what explains the fact that he tops all current polls. If Yanukovitch can unite the east and south (as is looking increasingly likely) the votes of that section alone will suffice by themselves to ensure that he tops the vote in the first round and that he is only a few percentage points short of an outright win in the second round. Given that around 20% of voters in the centre say they support the Ukraine joining the Customs Union, on the large but nonetheless fair assumption that most voters who are sympathetic to the Customs Union are at least open to the idea of voting for Yanukovitch, it is by no means a foregone conclusion that Yanukovitch will not win enough votes in the centre to win in the second round.

                  The big question is whether Klitschko (and it can only be Klitschko) can get all the voters who back alternative opposition candidates in the first round to vote for him and can hold off Yanukovitch in the centre. Perhaps he can. Perhaps as a sporting hero with a (relatively) unblemished reputation he might even be able to win over some voters in Yanukovitch’s fastness in the south and east. Until just a month ago he actually appeared to be doing that. It ought to be causing alarm in opposition ranks that those gains Klitschko seemed to be making in the east and south seem to be melting away. Perhaps he can win them back. However doing so will take a battle, which is not being fought at the moment.

                  In fact it is very obvious to me that the reason the battle is not being fought is because of the opposition’s complacency. This means that the opposition are not capitalising on Yanukovitch’s all too obvious mistakes. They are not uniting behind a single candidate. Yatsenyuk again ruled that out yesterday. Instead the opposition are gambling on an agreement they made last May that they will treat the first round as a primary and support the one with the biggest vote in the second round. That strikes me as a dangerously complacent strategy. Firstly, it is already obvious that the most popular opposition candidate is Klitschko. Failing to unite behind Klitschko in an election which could be close is preventing Klitschko from establishing himself in people’s minds as the likely next President of the Ukraine. In 2004 the opposition did unite behind Yushchenko, which is one crucial reason why Yushchenko did establish himself as a likely future President of the Ukraine, a fact that goes far in explaining why in the end he won.

                  Secondly, there are no iron rules in politics and it is not a given that every single voter who votes for say Tyagnibok in the first round will vote for Klitschko in the second round. The vast majority of course will but in a race as tight as this one will probably be it only takes a few voters to abstain to decide the outcome. Nor (to go back to an earlier discussion we had) do I think it impossible that Tyagnibok might refuse to support Klitschko in the second round despite appearing to agree to do so in May. Tyagnibok comes across to me as an exceptionally ambitious man – indeed someone with an evolving messiah or even fuehrer conception of himself. I cannot see him willingly giving his votes to Klitschko unless he gets something in return. He will surely demand a price and in the discussions on the formation of a technical government that took place during the protests he made it perfectly clear what he wants – the Interior Ministry, which would give him control of the police. If Klitschko refuses to give Tyagnibok the Interior Ministry I can quite easily see Tyagnibok calling on his voters to abstain on the grounds that Klitschko is a Kremlin stooge. Again it’s likely the vast majority of his voters would ignore him (though that too is not sure) but again only a small number need to follow him to affect the outcome. Of course if Klitschko were to promise to give Tyagnibok the Interior Ministry that might create a whole set of different problems. It could frighten voters in the centre into voting for Yanukovitch as the lesser evil.

                  Beyond this undecided voters – of which there are more than enough in the Ukraine especially in the centre to decide the election – and voters in the centre who might lean to Yanukovitch unless they are shown a strong lead – are inherently more likely to be put off voting for an opposition that is so obviously divided. I can easily see how faced by an opposition that is divided some voters in the centre (especially older voters and women) might decide that it’s safer to stick with the devil they know.

                  All of this of course leaves out of the equation the question of the notorious “administrative resources” that Yanukovitch will surely make full use of. I doubt that would in fact win him more than a few percentage points. However again if come election day Yanukovitch has the support of the east and south that might be enough to make a difference.

                  I am not of course saying that any of this will happen. Certainly I am not saying that Yanukovitch deserves to win. Quite the contrary actually. However now that the revolutionary policy the opposition unwisely turned to in November and December has clearly failed the opposition needs to start thinking politically, which in effect means thinking electorally, which in turns means doing whatever needs to be done in order to maximise Klitschko’s chances of winning in 2015. There is little sign of them doing so at the moment even as the evidence accumulates that Yanukovitch and Azarov with Putin backing them are doing just that. .

                • AP says:


                  Kuchma won his last election by because he ran against the Communists in the second round, thus getting the “Orange” vote (there was no “Orange” in those elections of course, I’m using the word as shorthand for “western”.). But when the opposition candidate was “Orange” rather than Communist, the Orange (Yushchenko) won. After Yushchenko’s victory, in the next parliamentary elections the three “Orange” parties – Tynosehnko’s, Yushchenko’s, and the Socialists – won the popular vote. The socialists then betrayed their voters and switched sides so that Socialist leader Moroz became speaker of parliament. How do I know that the Socialists betrayed their voters? Because in the snap elections called by Yushchenko, the Socialists’ voters deserted that party and it failed to get into parliament. The result was another Orange victory. Then there was the economic crisis, and Yanukovch won the election – with less than 50% of the vote! But then in the nest parliamentary elections, the Oranges won more of the popular vote.

                  So in terms of national elections (parliamentary and presidential), Orange has won the popular vote in every one since 2004, other than the anomalous presidential election in 2010 (which Yanukovich won freely and fairly, but with less than 50% of the vote). And in all presidintial polls, the Orange candidates collectively get more support than do the Blue collectively, and other than Tiahnybok each Orange candidate beats Yanukovich in the second round.

                  And the demographics of course suggest increasing Orange advantage every year.

                  As for Yanukovich having the most support of any individual candidate – this is understandable, because his electorate has two options (one of which is marginal) while the Orange electorate has three, two of whom are substantial. But if the question is if the majority of Ukrainians are politically Orange, that fact doesn’t mean much. Yanukovich has the largest individual slice of the pie, but his group’s overall section of the pie is smaller than that of his enemies.

                  In terms of elections – a possibility, if Tiahnybok’s popularity holds up or increases, is that administrative resources will be used to help Tiahnybok squeak ahead of the two moderate Orange candidates to get into the second round. Or the second round will be cancelled in the last minute, and Tymoshenko will be released and allowed to run, which will lead to chaos on the Orange side and really split their vote. Any trick to insure that the majority of Ukrainian voters lose. Because Ukraine’s political history has been one of trying to keep the minority in power despite the elections.

              • yalensis says:

                The 3 Orange leaders announced that they signed a deal to field a common candidate in the putative second round of the presidential election in 2015.
                However, they will all run as separate candidates in the first round, treating it as a primary. (i.e., the Orange candidate who gets the most votes out of the 3 Orange candidates – Yatsenuk, Klichko or Tahnybok – will be the agreed-on unity candidate in the second round.)
                They are assuming there will be a second round.

  11. kirill says:

    A lame piece by Adomanis. (So I am not propping :))

    The only value this article has is that it identifies the obvious fact that oil cannot explain Russia’s GDP growth and size. In fact, it even fails to mention the fact that there is a clear decorrelation between GDP growth and oil revenues. Adomanis makes mention of the ludicrous claim that Russian oil production stopped increasing so much after Khodorkovsky got busted. This BS is so over the top I don’t know where to start. Perhaps geology might have something to do with the decline in production growth. Just like the USA, Russia cannot grow its conventional production indefinitely into the future. It has managed to restore production levels similar to those during the peak period during the 1980s, but technology cannot ultimately stop old fields from declining. Yukos simply did not control all of the promising oil prospects in Russia, therefore Khodorkovsky’s just desserts had nothing to do with some oil production rate change.

    The cherry on top of this piece is the claim that all the oil money is like a slush fund for the government and will keep it secure politically. I can say the same thing about any western regime that collects taxes.

    • yalensis says:

      Adomanis tone something like this:

      “I realize that my paymasters want me to report only doom and gloom for Russia, but I do have a shred of integrity, so I have to report an increase in oil production. I want to keep my job, so I will try to spin this as best I can, and I apologize to everyone for the inconvenience.”

      • In any analysis of what Adomanis writes it is important to understand that people like us make up only a very small fraction of those who read Forbes. It is the majority of people who read Forbes, not people like us, who Adomanis is addressing.

        Once this point is understood the purpose of this article and others like them becomes clear. Adomanis is not actually writing about the Russian oil industry or about the overall state of the Russian economy even if that is the purported purpose of the article. Rather he is taking head on those in the US who imagine that the economic slowdown in Russia that began in 2012 threatens the survival of the government. Instead he correctly points out that a government with the sort of financial resources the Russian government obtains from oil revenues is in no serious danger.

        Of course this is a very narrow point. There are many other reasons that go beyond the size of the government’s financial resources that explain why it is not in any political danger. Since those reasons require an objective assessment of the Russian political system they are not reasons that typical readers of Forbes are open to or would accept. However a simple statement of the fact that a government with an income of $450 billion a year from oil revenues is not a weak government is one that anyone would accept or understand.

        In saying this I would of course make one obvious point in response to Adomanis’s article, which is that the reason the Russian government has an income of $450 billion a year from its oil revenues is because it is a strong government and is able to tax (and collect tax) from its oil sector. A weak and corrupt government such as Yeltsin’s cannot do this. The size of the Russian government’s oil revenues is therefore in reality an indicator of its strength not a cause of that strength.

        For the rest, I do not think Adomanis’s picture of the Russian economy is fair or right but that is a big subject for another time.

        • kirill says:

          I accept your point to some degree.

          I just realized that the $450 figure is nonsense. The total exports of Russian oil and gas account for under $280 billion. Clearly the government is not taxing them at 160%. The $450 billion figure is over 20% of the nominal GDP and represents the size of the oil and gas industry in Russia and not the government revenues from it. I have seen claims that the Russian government gets 50% of its tax revenues from the oil and gas sector. In 2012 the federal budget was $470 billion. That would mean that the Russian federal government extracts $235 billion from a $450 billion industry, which is patent nonsense. So the actual figure is somewhere between 20 and 30% of government revenues come from the oil and gas sector associated part of the economy.

          Adomanis could devote a few more words to his short article to tell his russophoic audience that the Russian government is gathering its taxes from the broader economy. And this economy is not based on oil and gas. In other words, Russia is developing in spite of all the wishes for its demise being projected onto it.

          • peter says:

            So the actual figure is somewhere between 20 and 30% of government revenues come from the oil and gas sector associated part of the economy.


            • marknesop says:

              According to this paper, by French bank and financial-services company Paribas, taxes in the Russian energy sector are broken down into Export Duties (ED) and Mineral Extraction Tax (MET). These two factors contributed 30% and 17% respectively to the 2011 budget. A nearly-equal contribution to revenues was VAT at another 30%, and “Other” at 13%. “Other”, however, appears to relate to the energy industry as well, being comprised of corporate income taxes at 20% and 18% VAT on domestically-sold product. Interesting, too, is where all the money goes. This site is a little dated, being from 2011, and I couldn’t say how much in the energy industry has changed between then and now. But the first page speaks of a “60/66” tax regime which was imposed in October 2011 and would seem to be still in effect.

              • kirill says:

                The figures you cite are for the whole budget and not the oil associated part. So 30% VAT comes 80% from the non-oil retail sector. The 17% MET is not just oil but any mineral extraction in the country. The 30% export duty applies not just to oil but any export and Russia actually exported $550 billion worth in 2012, which is more than the oil and gas combined.

                Now I see where the 50% of the Russian budget BS comes from. Some journalist/pundit twit just assumed that all mineral extraction of relevance in Russia is oil and the retail VAT is not significant since Russians live in a 3rd world toilet and can’t afford to shop. So my contention that the Russian budget depends on oil and gas somewhere between 20 and 30% stands. Russia exports 5 million barrels of crude oil at the Urals blend price and 2 million barrels of crude derived products (e.g. diesel and petroleum gas condensates) and the taxation rate on the refined products is lower than on crude per ton by a factor of two. In other words, the export taxes penalize crude oil non value added exports which is rational and distinguishes Russia from a banana republic like peter the fucktard would want it to be.

                • peter says:

                  Now I see where the 50% of the Russian budget BS comes from…


                  Силуанов: «Доля нефтегазовых доходов опять превысила долю ненефтегазовых».

              • kirill says:


                For 2012 the price for crude oil and crude oil products was basically the same: about 750 dollars per ton. There are 8.45 barrels in a metric ton so this translates into $88.75 per barrel. Total oil and oil product exports in 2012 were 7 million barrels per day giving a combined annual input of $226.8 billion. The natural gas price for 2012 was $331 per thousand cubic meters and the annual export was 160 billion cubic meters giving an input of $53 billion. So we have the total (not taxes) input of $279.8 billion. Russia’s budget revenue in 2012 was $470 billion. So if Russia’s federal government was getting 50% of its revenue from oil and gas then it would have to extract a tax of $235 billion out of $279.8 billion of industry sales abroad. So Russia’s 20% of GDP riding on the oil and gas industry exists on combined corporate after tax incomes of $45 billion plus whatever they can sell on the domestic market to impoverished Russian peasants.

                Hence Russian oil and gas companies must be generating almost 90% of their economic activity on the domestic market if they are really 20% of the GDP. This is just nonsense. They can only sell 3 million barrels per day of oil on the domestic market since 7 million of the 10 million daily oil production is exported. Refinery gains are not that large on this scale and we are looking at most at 300,000 barrels per day (the US gets about 1 million bpd with its massive volume of gasoline and diesel production). So we are looking at about $100 billion from oil on the domestic market. Russian consumers also pay much less than $331 per thousand cubic meters of natural gas. So even if 470 billion cubic meters of natural gas are sold on the domestic market it does not bring in over $100 billion gross. Hence we are short over $200 billion.

                So I call BS on peter the fucktard and his rinky dink links.

                • peter says:


                  Федеральный бюджет на текущий год был спланирован очень точно, но структура доходов изменилась в худшую сторону. Об этом в интервью телеканалу “Россия 24” рассказал министр финансов Антон Силуанов

                  «Доля нефтегазовых доходов опять превысила долю ненефтегазовых», – добавил Силуанов.

          • SFReader says:

            Yes, Russian federal budget gets more than half of total revenue of oil and gas industry. This is fact of Russian economic life which just shows immense profitability.

            • SFReader says:

              Specifically, Federal budget for 2013 calls for 12,865,925.6 mln roubles of revenue, of which oil and gas revenues /Нефтегазовые доходы/ are 5,925,497.5 mln roubles which consist of

              Mineral extraction tax on oil and gas налога на добычу полезных ископаемых в виде углеводородного сырья (нефть, газ горючий природный из всех видов месторождений углеводородного сырья, газовый конденсат из всех видов месторождений углеводородного сырья) – 2,339,915.2 mln roubles (of which Mineral extraction tax on oil is 1,996,552.5 mln roubles, on gas is 332,506.5 mln and on gas condensate – 10,856.2 mln roubles)
              export duties on crude oil /вывозных таможенных пошлин на нефть сырую;/ – 2,184,914.1 mln roubles
              export duties on natural gas /вывозных таможенных пошлин на газ природный;/ – 423,697.9mln roubles
              export duties on petroleum products /вывозных таможенных пошлин на товары, выработанные из нефти/ – 976,970.3 mln roubles

              • kirill says:

                Urals blend price averaged $110 in 2013 which is $21 more than in 2012. The price for natural gas is also higher than in 2012. So the figure you quote (without a source) gives $183 billion. Russia’s budget revenue for 2012 was $470 billion according to wikipedia and will be higher in 2013. So it looks like 37% or less to me. Given the windfall from the increased fossil fuel prices their fraction of the budget are clearly higher than in 2012. So I will concede that the Russian federal budget got about 33% of its revenue from the fossil fuel industry (NOT JUST EXPORTS) in 2012. Still not 50%.

                • peter says:

                  So I will concede that the Russian federal budget got about 33% of its revenue from the fossil fuel industry (NOT JUST EXPORTS) in 2012.

                  According to the Russian Ministry of Finance itself (here, page 88), «В общей сумме доходов федерального бюджета в 2012 году 50,2% составили нефтегазовые доходы и 49,8% – ненефтегазовые доходы.»

  12. AKarlin says:

    Apologies for the forumwhoring, but just wanted to say that The Russia Debate is now online again and hosted by Jose Moreira (tweeting as @zmoreira). May comrade Moreira guide it from victory to resounding victory!

    I’ll remain as a moderator to help things out, but otherwise I will no longer be involved in the administrative side of things.

    Hopefully it’ll pick up some steam with the Olympics.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Russian Spectrum’s gone, though – or has it?

      • AKarlin says:

        No, it hasn’t. It’s just that I just closed down the Bluehost account that hosted Russia Debate, and my russianspectrum domain was with them (although it is hosted elsewhere). The closing of the account reversed the nameservers to point to Bluehost for some reason.

        It’s a simple matter to fix and I will do so now but it’s late so I’ll do it tomorrow.

        Russian Spectrum for now exists mainly as a showpiece to be wheeled out for presentations/funding requests. I’m afraid I don’t have the time to run it at any meaningful level so long as it is not getting funded. That said, the recent RIA liquidation/consolidation has I think improved its chances of getting funding.

    • R.C. says:


    • marknesop says:

      I was going to say, isn’t that (gasp!!!) salaried employment, which is about as un-anarchical as you can get, but the article is clear that this is “free publicity”, which implies they may have given her the clothes, but are not paying her for her association with the brand.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Exactly how an anti-establishment anarchist who eschews wage labour should behave.

      And neither she nor her husband Verzilov have ever done a day’s work in their lives.

      Her fellow convict pal Aleshina is a 25-year-old student of journalism.

      Interestingly, apart from there not been seen neither hide nor hair of the weasely Verzilov since her release from gaol, there has been no sign of a heart-rending re-union of both brave mothers with their children either, about whom, during their incarceration, a great deal of noise was made during their appeals for parole, especially in the case of Aleshina – you know, that’s the one who wanted to spurn the president’s act of clemency and do her full stretch and would have done so, she said, if she hadn’t been bundled off as a “moveable body” from her camp near Nizhny Novgorod, yet she appealed for parole 3 times, if I’m not mistaken, pleading that her child needed her.

      • cartman says:

        They were probably sewn together by Bangladeshi children inside a burning factory (and made by cotton picked from child slaves in either Uzbekistan or Egypt). She should move to one of these countries and start a protest instead of advertising for death clothing.

        • Jen says:

          @ Cartman: According to The Calvert Journal, Tolokonnikova was “barely 10 days out of prison” when she modelled clothes by US companies American Apparel and Guess among others for Trends Brands, the online store that donated clothes to her while she was in prison.

          Guess has a past history of employing sweatshop labour. In 1992 and 1996, the company faced litigation for not paying contract workers the minimum wage or overtime. Eight workers had also been sacked illegally and were reinstated as part of the settlement in 1996 that also saw the company having to pay US$80K in back wages to workers. Immediately after, the company moved its sewing production to Mexico.

          Oh, everyone here at Kremlin Stooge will love this about American Apparel: it’s run by Dov Charney whose self-promotion antics include masturbating in front of a reporter interviewing him for a magazine and who’s had three sexual harassment suits filed against him by female employees. Women who work for him or AA are subject to scrutiny about their appearance and their weight. AA’s advertising is notorious for showing its female models in questionable poses of submission or stages of undress.

          What Yalensis said earlier in the comments forum about people attracting trouble (he and I discussing Tetyana Chornovil’s psychological profile and the diagnosis of a schizophrenic personality disorder or similar) or trouble following certain people like a bad smell applies more to Tolokonnikova who seems to have a genius for attracting men like Peter Verzilov and Dov Charney of a creepy sort.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I think Tolokonnikova is a little “strange” in any case.

            There was a political commentator, whose opinion as regards the PR trial and conviction I came across after reading on Anatoly Karlin’s site that he agreed with the commentator’s point of view on this matter, namely that PR were a waste of space but that the trial and especially the conviction were out of order, who took part in a discussion programme on TV about the PR affair. He said the studio was full of head-bangers: religious nuts, crazy priests,Cossack wannabes in full regalia, drop-outs etc.- and Tolokonnikova’s father, whom he described as “half-crazy”.

            And then I delved into Tolokonnikova’s upbringing; not good: parents divorced when she was 3; father took her with him to Moscow from her Siberian hometown then back to Siberia, where she was brought up by her grandmother and, later, her mother. Back in her home town of Norilsk, she has a strained relationship with her mother, with whom she lived before setting of to study art MGU.

            The linked above description of her upbringing, by the way, only says that she was born into a family of musicians: on other sites her father says he is a “children’s doctor”.

            Here’s her upbringing as described by her father in MK:

            Мы расстались с Надиной мамой, когда дочке было 4 года. Это был 1994 год, страна была в реформах. Тогда еще были иллюзии: горбачевская перестройка, либерализация, демократия… Я настаивал на переезде в Москву, жена ни в какую не хотела уезжать из Норильска. Она работала преподавателем в музыкальном училище и твердила, что ее все устраивает. Я поехал за лучшей долей в столицу, решил заняться бизнесом, думал позже перетянуть жену в Москву, но этого не случилось. Пятилетняя Надя осталась жить с мамой в Норильске. На лето ее отправляли в лагерь на море. Бывшая жена тогда еще была достаточно либерально настроена, сообщала, где находится лагерь. Я садился на поезд, ехал на побережье, то в Анапу, то в Сочи, снимал рядом с лагерем комнату в частном доме. Потом я забирал Надю в Москву. Мы много общались с дочерью. В подростковом возрасте она увлеклась философией и историей. К тому времени она была очень привязана ко мне. Я готовил Надю к учебе в МГУ. Я учил ее ставить большие цели, иметь великие мечты, состояться. Честолюбие у Нади от природы. Во все времена были такие революционно настроенные женщины, которые фанатично служили одной идее, боролись за свои права, садились за свои убеждения в тюрьму

            Nadya’s mother and I broke up when my daughter was only 4 years old. That was in 1994 and the country was undergoing reforms. There were then still illusions about Gorbachev’s perestroika, liberalization, democracy…I insisted on moving to Moscow but there was no way my wife wished to move from Norilsk. She was working as a music teacher at a music school and was adamant that it suited her well there. I went for a bigger slice of the cake in the capital, decided to go into business. I thought that later I would get my wife back with me in Moscow, but this did not happen. Five-year-old Nadia was left to live with her mother in Norilsk. In the summer she was sent to a camp at the seaside. My ex-wife was still quite liberal in her attitude and told me which children’s camp Nadya was staying at. I went there by train, travelling along the coast to Anapa, to Sochi, and near the camp rented a room in a private house. Then I brought her back to Moscow. My daughter and I talked a lot. As a teenager, she was fascinated by philosophy and history. By that time she was very attached to me. I was preparing her for studying at MGU. I taught her to set big goals and to have big dreams. By nature Nadia is ambitious. There have always been such revolutionary-minded women who have been fanatical about a particular idea and who have fought for their rights and who have been imprisoned for their beliefs.

            Tolokonnikova then begins to study philosophy at MGU, something, she says, she had always planned to do since childhood, and then she meets up with, Verzilov [WARNING! Sexually explicit content] and has his child when she is only 18 years old. And there is also a brief sojourn with Canadian citizen Verzilov in Canada, where she gets a residency permit, but they both come back to Moscow, ostensibly to continue their studies there.

            Such ambition Nadya had! She arrives in Moscow to study philosophy, meets Pete the Pedo, who promptly puts her in the family way when she’s only 18!

            Most articles concerning Tolokonnikova’s revolutionary life say she met up with the “artist” Verzilov after she had arrived to study philosophy in Moscow. And then Pete is also accepted by MGU Faculty of Philosophy, where he then he gets sent down because he was doing sweet FA as regards his studies.

            And the ambitious, revolutionary idealist Nadya, having become a mother, asks for time off from her “studies”, which she is granted.

            Some of her ga-ga white-ribbonist tutors are reported as saying that as far as philosophy goes, Nadya was an outstanding student, whilst her departmental head, if I rightly remember, says she was an average student.

            And the big question for me throughout all of this is: what was their source of income?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Alekhina that should have been!

  13. yalensis says:

    Tetiana Chornovil gives an interview. It’s been almost a couple of weeks since her beating, and already she is looking a lot better. Her mouth isn’t swollen any more. Only her right eye looks pretty bad – it’s red with blood from busted capillaries.

    I don’t really understand her dialect, so I can’t understand what she is saying. If somebody can understand her dialect, I would appreciate a translation of her interview!

    Note that this Ukrainian portal is extremely pro-Orange. As are they all.
    Interestingly,the portal has published the following note at the end of all their articles:

    Комментарии на портале ЛІГА.net временно отключены в связи с аномальной активностью троллей и большим количеством агрессивных и оскорбительных реплик к новостям на политические темы.


    Comments on the portal have been temporarily disabled, in connection with the anomalous activity of trolls and a large number of aggressive and insulting comments to news with political themes.


    Ha ha!
    So, maybe these so-called “trolls” are getting sick of the relentless hammering of pro-Orange propaganda? So, the portal responded by censoring ALL comments!

    • kirill says:

      Bloody hypocrites who show their nazi colours readily. The church of Bandera.

      Anyway, it is grotesquely obscene for some collection of western Ukrainian Russophobes who never lived through Stalinism because they were part of Poland, to use the victims of Stalin to bash Russia over the head with. These maggots falsify history by claiming that Ukrainians were some sort of targeted victims “of Russians”. In fact, Ukrainians were over represented in the Communist Party of the USSR and the forced collectivization victims extended across eastern Ukraine (ethnic Russians) and all the way to Kazakhstan. Some Galician Bandera turd has no moral authority to screech about Stalin’s holodomor terror. These Glaician Banderovites joined Hitler in his genocidal war. They have plenty of blood on their hands.

      Yet I see regular fiction from these Banderovites in Canada. For example the blood libel that Russian villages in Ukraine were full of food while Ukrainian villages starved. Of course no details are given. Neither do these revisionist nazis acknowledge that a large part of the blame for the 1930s famine goes to the Kurkuls (not Kulaks as these “Ukrainians” routinely call them) who burned their crops and slaughtered their livestock rather than have it fall into the hands of the state. All I hear is “the Soviets grabbed the seed grain and caused the famine to wipe out Ukrainians”. Did the Soviets also grab all the livestock too? Maybe they shipped it off to local Russian villages where they had one big orgy of face stuffing laughing at their dying Ukrainian neighbours.

    • marknesop says:

      I see her nose is taped now; curious that it was not right after the injury which supposedly broke it. Perhaps they had to wait for the swelling to go down or something; I couldn’t say for sure. But once again I have to dispute the diagnosis of “multiple broken bones”. My older daughter had her lower jaw broken in the hospital, as part of dental surgery; not actually broken, but cut and then pulled slightly forward and screwed in place in order to correct a slight underbite, and her whole face was so swollen after it that I would not have recognized her, her eyes were almost completely closed. I’m pretty confident Ms. Chornovol does not have any broken bones in her face, and you can’t tell anything from a nose splint although I believe it is customary for a broken nose.

      • yalensis says:

        The major injury she has left to heal appears to be her right eye; they said something about needing some surgery on the eye socket.

        Anyhow, I did find a Russian summary of her interview, so I don’t need it translated after all. She didn’t add that much new information, though.

        Here is a summary of what she said:
        “I am feeling better. I am not able to sit at my computer, when I start reading (the screen), I feel dizzy. I have PTSD. I can’t sleep….”

        She addresses the issue raised by myself and other commenters, as to why her voice is not heard on the dash-cam video: “I was totally focused. I was just trying to survive….” (that’s why she didn’t say a word during the car chase – fair enough)

        “I was just trying to get to some place where there were people. I started to flee from my automobile because of all the hits it was taking. The pursuers caught up with me, they were professionals, they just beat me around the head, in fact precisely around the temples. I remember how my nose got smashed in. I stood there with open arms (i.e., not putting up any resistance), and they still kept hitting me on the face, I just don’t understand how people can do that…”

        She still didn’t answer the question how she ended up back inside her car. I would like her to explain how that happened, because it is a major discrepancy in her story.

        The comments to the piece are split about evenly pro- and anti-orange.

        • marknesop says:

          The not saying anything during the car chase is not a major red flag – as I mentioned before, voice comments are most often heard when there is someone else in the car, although if she were really afraid for her life, you’d think you would hear panicky breathing or something. But she is still trying to misdirect and assist the interviewers and readers in reaching a conclusion when she says they must have been professionals because they only hit her in the face. Obviously they did not only hit her in the temples, either – your nose is not on your temple the last time I looked. Maybe they just wanted to hit her in the face. Who only hits you in the face, as a profession? Boxers? Hardly; they can do far more damage working your ribs, but fighters usually protect their ribs. There is nothing I can think of about hitting a woman in the face that bespeaks professional training. I’m sure she is pointing everyone toward the conclusion that they are government assassins or police.

          The bit with the car is still an odd anomaly. Some accounts – notably that of Kotenko himself, if I recall correctly – said they drove her car into the ditch, not her; she had presumably already exited the car and ran into the fields or wherever. But police supposedly were the discoverers, and they found her in the car. Which leads to the dash-cam video, which her father turned over to Yatsenyuk. Either he took it before the police arrived – which would mean he took the video storage but left his daughter in the car – or he took it after they had taken Tetyana to the hospital, at which point it should have been a designated crime scene; I’m sure the Ukrainian cops are not that stupid.

          But according to the piece you linked from, her relatives came to rescue her from the ditch in which she had been lying, unless there was a major mistranslation. No mention of her being in the car, or being discovered by the police, and Poppy Chornovil – or somebody – might have taken the video then. But what about the accounts of her being discovered in the car, by the police?

          I’d have to go back and find the original video again, which I haven’t time to do right now, but I’m pretty sure there was no breaking of car windows up until the time Chornovol presumably exits her car and makes a run for it, at which time the Porsche pulls over and the guys get out.

          In this BBC report, she is quoted as saying, “I started running. They caught me and I received a blow to the head. At some point, I regained consciousness when they were hitting my head”. This does not necessarily contradict what she just said about standing there with her arms open, not resisting, while they just kept hitting her in the head, but it suggests she was unconscious for part of it. And it is kind of odd for a person to be hit hard enough for them to lose consciousness, and then for continued beating to cause them to regain consciousness.

          It also quotes her as saying they smashed her side windows. This report says her rear window. This one says she was “dragged from her car and beaten”. But she said she left the car and ran, and they caught up to her. There are a lot of versions of the story, none agree on anything except a car forced her to stop and some guys beat her up, and they cannot all be true.

          • yalensis says:

            Dear Mark:
            There are just so many holes in Tetiana’s story. I am not sure the Ukrainian police have been questioning her aggressively to clear up the discrepancies. If she were in America, she would have hired her own attorney by now. (In America, even the victims of crimes need to hire attorneys.) But I think in Ukraine she has gotten a pass, because she has been laid up in the hospital, and the Uke police are probably more chivalrous about women and don’t want to bother an injured person with pesky interviews. Also, being in the hospital, she would be under the protection of her doctors and nurses.

            I wouldn’t say that she keeps “changing” her story. But she definitely keeps “refining” it. And I get the impression that she (or her people) are responding to specific questions raised, not by the police, but by bloggers and commenters. For example, people on the internet asked: “Why don’t you hear her voice in the video?” And suddenly she has an answer for that: “Well, I was focusing on my driving.” And people on the internet asked: “Why don’t her hands show defensive bruises?” And suddenly she has an answer for that too: “I just stood with my hands apart, not offering any resistance, and allowing them to beat me around the head.”

            Wouldn’t instinct kick in at that point, and you would try to cover your face from the blows?
            In any case, these are questions that the police should be asking her, not bloggers.

            Basically, I don’t really believe her story. Nor do I believe the car-chasing thugs story. As Doctor House used to say, “Everyone lies.”

            I think it is more likely that Tetiana received the bulk of her injuries from the car crash. Probably she wasn’t wearing a seat belt, she was driving recklessly, was at least half responsible for crashing her own car. When the car crashed, maybe her head went through the side windshield. And she doesn’t want to admit to that. She could have made up the story about getting out of the car and running, to hide the fact that wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. It’s possible these guys didn’t even hit her at all, especially if she was in the car the whole time. They might have wanted to hit her, but couldn’t get to her, if she stayed inside the locked car.

            Although, to counter that, if she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt, then one would expect more injuries to her chest, once she banged into the wheel. But my working theory is that her head smacked against something when she crashed, injuring her eye and nose, but leaving her hands and the rest of her fairly intact.

            • marknesop says:

              I don’t think she crashed at all; although she gets up to a fairly good clip sometimes when she’s trying to get away, the Porsche always gets ahead of her and forces her over, at which times she brakes hard and leans on the horn. Some other clips on YouTube show the Porsche pursuing her in reverse as she’s backing up, and smashing into her, but none of those crashes is hard enough to cause her head to break a window.

              I can’t find the original dash-cam video you linked now, it’s too far back and there are too many comments, otherwise I would link it here, but I believe you see two occasions in which the occupants of the Porsche get out – in the first one, they are premature and she drives away, and they have to get back in and follow. The second one appears to be when she stops the car and gets out, and runs for it, although you don’t actually see that so she must have run around the rear of the car because you do not see her pass in front of it. You don’t see the guys attacking the car at all, unless it is done in one of those dropouts where some suggest someone has edited the video record.

              I don’t believe she sustained any injuries in any crash, otherwise she would not be in much of a state for hotfooting it across the fields with big angry men in close pursuit, and Kotenko has admitted they chased and beat her.

        • Dear Yalensis,

          Thanks for the information you have provided about this case.

          I am finding it very difficult to see a government connection to this assault. None of the individuals involved seems to have any connection to the government. It’s difficult to see any motive the government might have to order an assault like this and since the possibility that this was done by rogue police officers can be categorically excluded I just don’t see that the claim that the authorities were involved is in any way sustainable.

          Frankly, despite the opposition connections of some of the assailants, I don’t see that there is any evidence that the opposition was involved either.

          It seems to me that the most likely explanations are

          1. that this was a road rage incident; or

          2. that this had some sort of organised crime background. Several of the assailants seem to be the sort of people who might have some kind of organised crime connection. Chornovil would not be the first journalists targeted by criminals in this way.

          As you know I have up to now tended to lean to the first explanation. As you have provided more information about the case I have started to lean to the second.

          • kirill says:

            Why would Yanukovych authorize an attack on a journalist after he sacked Kiev’s mayor and police chief for the alleged “brutality” of the riot police on the Maidan? (I know that you guys understand this and are discussing the technicalities of the assault). Clearly the “regime” gets no value from beating up some flake but the desperate political foes of the government can make hay out of the incident.

            I could see some value out passing a law banning foreign ownership of Ukrainian news outlets, be they paper, TV or internet. But some pointless attack on this “journalist” would achieve nothing.

            It’s too bad for the orangists that Ukrainian security services did a good job preventing some CIA sniper squad shooting at protestors like they did in Venezuela (see “The Revolution Will not be Televised” documentary). It would be much more plausible, in a tin foil hat sort of way, for the regime to try to disperse the crowd through such tactics.

            • marknesop says:

              I’m afraid when any incident happens now, I automatically assume it is not exactly what it seems, because nobody waits for things to happen any more, and both governments and oppositions are constantly pushing their own narratives and arranging and spinning events to support those narratives. Since Chornovol’s beating was too well-timed to be coincidence, I am assuming somebody staged it for their own purposes, and since the government stands to benefit from it not at all, I am assuming the government was not involved. I am assuming one of the opposition parties engineered it because the crowds on the Maidan were starting to drift away and needed a galvanizing event to unite them and give them fresh inspiration. That’s a lot of assumptions, but thanks to people like Gene Sharp and OTPOR, you have to assume now that everything you see in politics is arranged rather than a natural occurrence and that it is designed to push you toward a certain decision or opinion. And a reasonable rule of thumb is that the one who is trying hardest to make use of the incident is the one behind it in the first place.

  14. yalensis says:

    Here is more on Orange strategy to win 2015 prez election; as laid out by Yatsenuk. (Mercouris, take note: you might find this interesting…)

    According to Yatsenuk, Opps have carefully thought this through, and are sticking with their formula from the 18 May accord, whereby they will field separate candidates in Round 1. Yat says that if they just field one candidate, then he will be knocked down and destroyed by regime (for example, they will find a way to de-register his candidacy on some electoral technicality). Therefore, having 3 candidates in the first round is like an insurance policy.

    Yat says that Opps will spend the year 2014 building a unified Orange “team”, whose leaders will consist of Tymoshenko, Tahnybok, Klichko, and Yatsenuk himself. [yalensis: Stop right there! This will never work!!]

    Yat modestly lists himself as the fourth member of the leadership team. (although officially he is just Yulia’s lackey)

    Yat says that society will get very excited about this wonderful and winning Orange leadership team. He also says that they will NOT be occupying themselves with discussions about who gets which ministry once they come to power. [yalensis: this must be a rebuke to Tahnybok, who has made it clear he won’t participate in any coalition that doesn’t give him the secret police after they come to power].

    Yat even says that the people themselves will decide who gets which ministry:
    “As to who sits in which seat — YOU (the people) will decide that.”

    (how? through referendum? – I vote for Klichko to be Minister of Sports…. ?)

    “В Украине будет ночь выборов. И когда оппозиционный кандидат выигрывает президентские гонки, а он выигрывает, – то миллионы украинцев выйдут на улицы Киева. Придут на Майдан, к ЦИК, в администрацию президента и защитят выбор миллионов. Виктор Янукович никогда не украдет у нас нашу победу. Майдан защитит выбор Украины”, – заверил Яценюк.

    There will be election night in Ukraine. And when the Opposition candidate wins the Presidential election — and I assure you he will win — then milions of Ukrainians will come out on the streets of Kyiv. They will flow out onto the maidan, to the Central Election Commission, to the administration of the President, and they will defend the choice made by millions. Viktor Yanukovych will never be able to steal from us our victory. Maidan will defend the choice of Ukraine,” declared Yatsenuk.

    And then the mobs on the Maidan will vote who gets which cabinet ministry??
    Or maybe they will just liberate Tymoshenko, and she can make all the decisions herself.

    • AP says:

      This actually sounds reasonable, unless Yanukovich decides to cancel the second round and to make the election a first-past-the-post so he can be elected president with 25% of the vote.

      The risk of treating the first round as a primary is if Yateniuk and Klitschko split the moderate vote and Tiahnybok gets into the second round. This is doubtful, I don’t think Tiahnybok has the votes for it, but what if other moderates such as Tymoshenko and Poroshenko get involved, to further split the moderate vote?

      • Jen says:

        The idea could work if the opposition candidates use a preferential voting system in which voters declare on their ballots (online or paper) their first, second and third opposition preferences for President. The aim would be to get at least one opposition candidate with over 50% of the vote.

        If first preferences split the vote unevenly, then eliminate the candidate with the least number of first preference votes and add that candidate’s second preferences to the other candidates’ first preference votes. Whoever of the remaining candidates gets over the 50% magic line goes on to contest the second round of Presidential elections.

        If first preferences split the opposition vote evenly among all opposition candidates, then count the second preferences each candidate gets and add them to the first preference total. New totals combining first and second preferences might get at least one candidate over the 50% mark and put that person into the second round of elections. (This is assuming that voters have a choice of more than three candidates.) If not, then eliminate the candidate with the lowest number of combined votes and add the candidate’s third preferences to the remaining candidates.

        This assumes that the opposition parties, major and minor, will be disciplined enough to accept whoever people vote for. There’s the possibility that a minor opposition party may get enough votes through preferences to surpass a major opposition party and its leader or representative may then become a Presidential contender. We’re also assuming that people voting for the opposition don’t include Yanukovych as a preference!

        My suggestion is not water-tight but it’s one way an opposition candidate might be chosen for the second round.

        • marknesop says:

          It sounds fair to me. Scientific-ish, too, so that nobody could say they were bamboozled out of the running when they should have been able to stay. If you don’t have the numbers, you’re gone – what could be more democratic?

          • Jen says:

            We use preferential voting in all Australian elections but it’s a bit fiddly and complicated and not everyone understands why, for example, in some electorates the Labour Party directs its preferences to the Liberals, and in others the Greens. Parties in Australia often do this to make sure a certain opposition candidate doesn’t get a seat if they themselves know they don’t have a snowflake’s chance in hell of winning it. The major opposition candidates in Ukraine could use preferential voting to crowd out Svoboda or anyone they don’t like.

            • marknesop says:

              A little bit like the strategic use of peremptory challenges when picking a jury for a trial; each side tries to load the jury with types they believe will be sympathetic to their objective, either prosecution or defense.

            • Jen says:

              Oops, sorry, should have typed “Labor” instead of “Labour”. The major “centre-left” party in Australia is known as the Australian Labor Party. This is the only instance in which we spell “labour” the American way. When the ALP first formed, one of its more prominent early members was an American guy, King O’Malley, who persuaded the party to adopt the American spelling.

        • AP says:

          Sounds good, although I doubt the opposition would be disciplined enough to do this.

    • marknesop says:

      Sounds very democratic; kind of like the French Revolution.

    • cartman says:

      “this must be a rebuke to Tahnybok, who has made it clear he won’t participate in any coalition that doesn’t give him the secret police after they come to power”

      He can change the date of Christmas, then shoot anyone who doesn’t accept the correct celebratory date.

    • Drutten says:

      Reminds me of David Backas in St. Louis Blues about a year ago, he put it on backwards and didn’t realise it for quite some time. Funny, but to be absolutely fair it’s a common mistake. for beginners/non-professional players, since on many models front/back isn’t all that apparent upon a brief external glance (though you can usually tell once you try to cram it on, hehe).

  15. Warren says:

    Battle stations! Navy scrambles destroyer to challenge Russian warship off British coast (but it takes 24 hours to make 600-mile journey from Portsmouth base – was Putin testing our response time?)

    Read more:
    Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

    I was under the impression UK-Russia relations were improving, Cameron visited Moscow September 2011, the first by a British PM in an official capacity since 2005. Of course Putin’s comment that the UK is a little island no one listens to many not gone down to well, however I doubt that could cause the relations to deteriorate so much as to cause a game of Naval chicken. lol

    Any ideas as to what may have caused this latest Anglo-Russian crisis? lol

    • Drutten says:

      It wouldn’t surprise me if DailyMail’s version is a gross distortion of how things actually went down. Just last October a Steregushchiy class stealth corvette was conducting joint maneuvers and helicopter exercises with the HMS Northumberland around Scotland and only a few weeks later, that same Royal Navy frigate teamed up with a Kirov class nuclear battlecruiser by the Shetlands and did the same again.

    • marknesop says:

      Honestly, Warren, this just makes me laugh. We have to keep in mind here that Russia is not the target of The Mail’s ire – the British Government is.

      I’m sure it inspired high dudgeon amongst the elderly conservative blue-hairs and myopic know-nothings who make up a large part of The Mail’s readership, but really, how stupid. “[T]he tension heightened when aerial photographs revealed the ship was carrying a full payload of guided missiles.” There is no photographic equipment on earth, much less in Britain, which can tell you that; all it can reveal – tension-heightening or otherwise – is that all the launchers are in place. No camera can tell you if they are filled with missile, or sandbags so they don’t blow over the side. What utter rubbish, it’s almost insulting.

      This appears to be a SLAVA, although that tells us nothing since it is clearly a file photo and not a picture of the actual cruiser. But no Russian surface ship currently carries Land Attack Cruise Missiles, and all the current inventory are intended for deployment by air or subsurface platforms. However, the Russian LACM (SS-N-21) has a range of more than 1,500 miles, so it certainly would not present any more of a threat if the ship closed to within 30 miles than it would have if it remained far outside territorial waters. Which the ship in this case did – UK territorial waters extend 12 miles from the nearest coastline, and foreign ships both military and civilian are permitted right of “innocent passage”. No Russian cruiser carries a surface-to-surface missile (intended for use against other ships, but I suppose if you fired it in the direction of land you would hit it, somewhere) whose range is not at least 60 miles, double the distance within which the ship in this story closed, so the 30 mile figure is totally irrelevant and calculated only to make old ladies drop their teeth into their tea.

      All that twaddle about testing the navy’s response time is just so much Fleet Street silliness, because if the government perceived a serious threat approaching from seaward it does not have to send a ship halfway around the island; it could send an aircraft, or next time the ship might arrive from somewhere far closer – the idea that Captain First Rank Ivan Kerenko was on the bridge with a stopwatch, murmuring “So! It takes the British nearly 24 hours to respond to threat of attack. Pavel!! Get this information off to Moscow right away!!” is so ludicrous, I can’t laugh any more, please.

    • kirill says:

      The Russian navy ship approached the UK coast to take shelter from the storm battering the islands at the time. This is fully allowed by maritime law and the British navy does exactly the same thing.

      • marknesop says:

        Oh, the whole Putin-was-testing-us-and-we-failed premise is just silly. Maritime law makes it clear that unless you mean the country ill and so long as your presence in the vicinity is not a terrible surprise – it was not – you can sail right up to the coast if you like. She could have gone alongside the piers at Cromarty if the weather was bad and she asked nicely. The image of this sinister war vessel lurking off the coast and menacing the whole of the UK is just too foolish to be taken seriously. But that’s The Mail for you.

    • SFReader says:

      —A fully armed Royal Navy warship was scrambled to challenge a missile-carrying Russian vessel in the waters off Britain just days before Christmas

      That would be Russian aicraft carrier Kuznetsov which left its its homebase of Severomorsk on December 17, 2013 for the Mediterranean sea.

      Now, I would like to know how exactly Type 45 or Daring-class air-defence destroyer HMS Defender armed with surface-to-air missiles and without any means to strike enemy ships save for its 4.5″ gun was supposed to be any kind of threat to a Russian carrier….

      • marknesop says:

        Ha, ha! And the article describes it as a “cruiser”. It is common when a warship of a non-aligned nation passes closely to the coastline of a maritime nation for that nation to provide an escort, and is as much a courtesy as it is a warning. It’s unspoken purpose is to reassure the civilian locals that the navy is not asleep, and that the government is aware there is a foreign warship close offshore. It is certainly not a response to the possibility of attack. The file photo is meaningless, as it does not even represent the same type of ship. Such is the state of journalism these days; it’s not like there are no pictures of KUZNETSOV available.

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    С Рождеством Христовым!

    Merry Christmas!

    • marknesop says:

      And to you as well, you Orthodox Wrecker Of Pussy Riot Concerts.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        May Woden forgive me for sending salutations on the birth (alleged) of a Hebrew prophet!

        I just typed that Christmas greeting last night as bells started off at the church right cross the street from my house.

        The Evil One attended midnight mass at a newly built Orthodox cathedral in Sochi.

        See: Рождество Христово

        and here:

        Orthodox Christians mark Christmas

        I must say that I like Orthodox Church services from a purely a historical and cultural perspective. I think the orthodox liturgy is about as close as one can get to how it was done in early Christian times because of the very fact that it is Eastern; although Judea was a protectorate of the Roman Empire, it was still very much part of the Hellenic world, hence the the orthodox service of Byzantium and thence to the Russian Orthodox liturgy of the the Third Rome gives us, I think, a closer link to what they did in ancient times. In fact, that’s what “orthodox” means, the word having arrived in the English tongue through church Latin from the Greek “orthodoxia” (ορθοδοξία): “right opinion/belief”.

        It’s the singing that I like best, and the prayers that are chanted out in Church Slavonic.

        However, like the proverbial curate’s egg, Russian Orthodox services for me are only good in parts: they are much longer than most Western services are, be they Catholic or Protestant, and its standing room only. Last night, for example, the Christmas vigil service would have begun at about 11 p.m. and ended about 4 hours later. See:

        Russian Orthodox Christmas

        I’ve done it once, in London as a matter of fact, and once was enough!

        The Easter vigil is just as bad: I’ve done that as well, but here, and again – only once.

        Yuletide greetings!

        Waes hail!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Here’s what happened, yesterday (January 6th, 2014), the Eastern Orthodox Church Christmas Eve, on the rooftop of the Cathedral of the Icon of Our Lady of Kazan, Red Square, Moskva:

          And not a murmur of this in the Western press, nor, as far as I can see, in the Russian press either.

          I take it the follower of Mohammed was arrested.

          Interesting to see what the chattering Russian liberasts will make of this – if anything.

          Surely he will be charged with hooliganism at the very least. And insulting people of faith? – which was, in my opinion, most certainly his intention, just as it would have been if a Russian Orthodox Christian had stood on the roof of a mosque and sung out the Orthodox Creed in Church Slavonic (part of English version follows) :

          I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible;

          And in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the Only-begotten, Begotten of the Father before all ages, Light of Light, True God of True God, Begotten, not made, of one essence with the Father, by Whom all things were made:

          Who for us men and for our salvation came down from heaven, and was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man;

          And was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate, and suffered and was buried;

          And the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures;

          And ascended into heaven, and sitteth at the right hand of the Father…

          He would probably be slaughtered on the spot before any arrest took place.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Somebody on the Russian blogosphere has been thinking of this as well:

            Я всегда хотел узнать….

            • Moscow Exile says:

              And at last the story has hit at least one on-line Russian daily very late in the following day:

              «Аллаху акбар» на православном храме

              [“Allahu akbar” on the roof of an orthodox church]

              Bear in mind, the Muslim cry “God is great!” can hardly be criticized by Christians; after all, it’s the same Abrahamic god that Christians and Muslims and Jews, for that matter, worship.

              According to the report, because it was the season of goodwill the police just told him to clear off after he had been brought down from the roof.

              The journalist then asks why the hell did duma members kick up such a fuss in getting the law concerning offending the feelings of believers if this man was not even charged and the Screaming Slags got 2 years for the same, and argues that these immigrants have been granted privileges and they know it:

              When others get 2 years in gaol for dancing in the church sanctuary and this person is just let off Scot-free after desecrating a church, then this person’s people begin to feel that they belong to a privileged caste. In Russia there has grown up a whole generation of passionate youth who have been nurtured on the ideas of Islamic Shariah law and who ignore the secular laws and culture and traditions of the regions in which they, having left their sunny republics, have arrived and where they then present their true, pure religion, as a a counter to that of the foreign infidel. What have they come here for? I am, of course, talking about Wogs…

              There’s a clip in the linked article showing the new face of Moscow assembling on Red Square early on New Year’s Eve.

              Sooner or later, a hard rain’s a-gonna fall.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                And what certainly is not reported in the West is this, namely thousands of Orthodox Russian citizens have been queuing to venerate the reliquary that allegedly bears the gifts of the Magi and which has been brought from Greece this Christmas for this purpose.

                They are still queuing now. I have just seen a report on TV news about it, and it is reported here and here.

                The “Дары волхвов” or “Gifts of the Magi” are on show in the Cathedral of Christ the Redeemer, Moskva, that place where those women performed their “gig”, as the Grauniad described their action, shouting “Shit, shit, shit of Our Lord” and later claiming that they never intended to offend anyone.

                It has been estimated that at a minimum 200,000 have already venerated the reliquary and its contents.

                And they’re still coming.

                These are the “sheeple”, the “bydlo“, who are kissing that silver, encrusted with precious stones reliquary; these are the fools that shouldn’t have the vote according to Latynina, the silent majority that do not want to see homosexuals parading their pride and cavorting over their being sexual aberrants; these are the slow, patient, Russians of faith whom Muslim fanatics immolate, eviscerate and strike asunder in their bomb attacks perpetrated by noble “Black Widows” and whom the likes of Akunin and Sobchak, Navalny and Udaltsov, Kasparov and Nemtsov (now in Switzerland with his pal Khodorkovsky”) and the Ponomarevs – père et fils – and all the rest of the self-styled, self appointed intelligentsia of artists, liberals and thinking elite ridicule.

              • Jen says:

                One difference is that the guy is still outside the cathedral and, in one sense, still respects the space inside the cathedral where actual worship takes place. Also there was no slander of the Russian Orthodox Church or insinuations about Patriarch Kirill’s ties to Putin or the KGB, or invocations of the Virgin Mary or other Orthodox Christian saints or figures to criticise and call for removing Putin or Patriarch Kirill.

                The congregation’s reaction seems to be one of amusement, not outrage.

                Also if the bit about Mohammed being the messenger of God is taken out, the call to prayer would not be blasphemous to Christians.

                Anyway, since Muslims aren’t supposed to observe Christmas and not to force their religion on unbelievers (Quran chapter and verse 2:256), the fact that the guy went out of his way to risk his neck and climb the cathedral to deliver the Muslim call to prayer because the occasion happens to be Orthodox Christmas might suggest he’s being disrespectful to his own faith.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The article has since been updated since I first saw it and it gives the man’s name and his country of origin and states that he is now in a psychiatric hospital.

                  It turns out that he is from Guinea and married to a Muscovite.

                  So he isn’t North Caucasian but an African Muslim.

                  In fact, it says this in the above linked article: “Judging by the video – a black-skinned person”, but then the author of the article goes on about Muslim caliphates.

                  The article reads as follows:

                  No sooner had passions subsided over sensational videos showing at Christmas the Lezginka being performed on the country’s main square [some North Caucasians had earlier performed their beloved traditional dance on Red Square], which caused some comment, when representatives of the most peaceful religion in the world planted fresh coals on the unquenchable fire hot interfaith friendship.

                  On the eve of the Nativity of Christ, a young man in a fur hat climbed onto the roof of the Kazan Cathedral of the Mother of God, which, again, is on Red Square. Judging by the video, he was a black man. He began to praise the Lord in a singsong voice: “Allahu Akbar!” The black “muezzin” read out verses from the Koran and in broken Russian warned those gathered around the cathedral: “You must listen to this! It’s true!” Passers-by shouted at him: “Get down from there!” And priests pealed the bells in order to drown out the African preacher. Finally, a policeman appeared on the roof and with some difficulty led the rowdy man away in some unknown direction . His subsequent fate is unknown, in so far as the city police find it difficult to make a comment about this event in that they have no record of the incident being reported.

                  The journalist then goes on about Muslim immigrants and a whole generation of youths who have been brought up to respect Sharia law and who have begun to consider themselves as a privileged caste that can spurn the customs and traditions of the country. And now a Muslim African immigrant insults Orthodoxy, says the journalist, wondering why the law against offending believers was passed.

                  The following update has been added to the article:

                  According to law enforcement agency sources, onto the city cathedral climbed a 39-year-old native of Guinea, Mamadou Barry Hasim. Once he had been brought down, he was taken in an ambulance to a psychiatric hospital, where doctors diagnosed him as suffering from “acute severe schizophrenia”. It became known on Wednesday that the African is married to a Muscovite, with whom he lives in Moscow.

  17. marknesop says:

    Back once again to the delightful Ms. Chornovol, more info leaking out from the interview yesterday, in which she reiterates that she could tell “by the way events developed that it was an ordered attack”. I cannot stress enough that she should share her deductive powers of reasoning with the police, because they have yet to come to that conclusion, although I am sure they would be very interested despite the unlikelihood that anyone will be convicted owing to the opposition’s deliberate and ongoing tampering with evidence as it apparently conducts its own parallel investigation.

    This is an interesting case, because it is apparently going to be tried in the media before the investigation is even complete, so we may as well regard ourselves as jurors. Once again, that odd discrepancy about who discovered her and where, as she now testifies her attackers left her for dead at the roadside, although the headline reports that they “dumped” her. She believes that the presence of blood in her lungs suggests she was not breathing for some time, although I’m not sure how she could have arrived at that conclusion, and she does not seem to have a very sharp recollection of the attack for someone who could tell it was ordered just by the way events unfolded. Anyway, she seems quite clear here that she was not in her car when she was found.

    I notice she associates her emotional problems, described here, with the attack and beating. That probably did not help, but she had a documented and pre-existing condition.

    • yalensis says:

      I don’t believe her that she just stood there with her arms down, allowing her attackers to beat her on the face without putting up her hands (invountary reflex) to protect her face. I don’t believe that she died in a ditch and then somehow came back to life and crawled back into her car. I don’t believe that she was discovered by her parents, who took the camera, and then left her for dead again; and then discovered again by the police.

      She is a nice-looking young woman, and I feel sympathy for her; but I’m sorry, I just don’t believe a word she says. Too many discrepancies in her story.

      I personally believe that she got run off the road (by a couple of scumbags) into a ditch, banged her head against a side window (because she wasn’t wearing a seatbelt), and then opportunistically made up the rest of the story (with some outside help), in order to promote her political agenda.

      • yalensis says:

        and I notice that the Western press has pretty much dropped this story.
        They were hot to trot when they thought it would trend in a certain direction (=Yanukovych ordered hit on new version of Gongadze).

        But then reality reared its ugly head. So, Western MSM smelled a skunk and dropped the story.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, I don’t know if they should be allowed to drop it. After all, the U.S. State Department called it a “disturbing trend” of violence against journalists. What if what it represents instead is a disturbing trend of political opportunism everywhere, in which both parties get more and more daring in their attempts to push public opinion? Isn’t that a story?

          The western media has also dropped the story of Euromaidan and “we will stay here as long as it takes”, because as best I can make out there is nobody there and I have not been able to find any coverage since New Year’s Eve, which was reputed to have been quite a party and drew around 200,000.

          • yalensis says:

            The trend about violence against journalists generally goes something like this:

            In countries without a strong central government (i.e., countries ruled by warlords and oligarchs), journalists get beat up and killed a lot. Even fake journalists like Chornovol.

            In countries with strong central govenments, journalists are relatively safe, because citizens in general are relatively safe.

            Ukraine may be more like case #1, but that’s because it’s a torn apart country with a weak central government.

            • marknesop says:

              Well, the lengthy list provided at Motyl’s blog, which detailed attacks against Ukrainian journalists, included acts of vandalism against their cars. I’m pretty sure vandalism against vehicles can happen to anyone regardless their profession, and that at least some of those incidents were unrelated. But of course if you say that, you’re a government shill and don’t know what you’re talking about. Best to leave them to their conspiratorial mumbling.

              • Dear Mark,

                The media (both the western and the Russian) has as you say largely stopped reporting on EuroMaidan. Most estimates I have seen put the number of protesters who attend the big protests on Sunday at 10-20,000. I have no idea how many are there on weekdays but I am going to guess that it is a thousand or less. The exception was the New Year Eve party, which was as you say much bigger.

                Maidan has now become for the opposition a kind of sacral space. Politically it no longer serves the purpose it once did. In fact it has become counterproductive. However they cannot bring themselves to give up on it since doing so would be too much like an admission of failure.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Word was out the other day that they were getting ready to have the “journalist” Chornovol discharged from hospital but she was making no great haste to leave. See:

          Избитая журналистка Чорновил отказывается уходить из больницы

          [Beaten journalist Chornovol refuses to leave hospital]

          Today she claims that the story about preparations for her discharge was a lie:

          Никто не спросил меня, согласна ли я на выписку. Информация о том, что я отказалась, это откровенная ложь… у меня серьезные повреждения головы, тяжелые последствия ударов…

          “Nobody asked me whether I agreed to be discharged. This information that I refused is a barefaced lie…I have serious head injuries resulting from heavy blows…”

          See: Избитая украинская журналистка Чорновил: Мне выписку не предлагали

          [Beaten Ukrainian journalist Chornovol: It has not been suggested that I be discharged]

          • yalensis says:

            In Western-type healthcare world, this would be called a “change in the level of care”, i.e., from “acute” to “ambulatory”.
            “Acute” is more costly, of course. It costs an oodles of cash to keep somebody in a bed, like hooked up to an IV, and so on….

            I take it that Tetiana is not on a Managed Care type of insurance plan?
            Otherwise they would have kicked her out of her hospital bed as soon as she had a more or less stable pulse.

            • marknesop says:

              One of the articles I linked – I can’t remember which one, now – quoted a doctor saying she needed about two months of hospitalization. Or maybe that was her, allegedly quoting hospital authorities. Anyway, the swelling went down in a couple of days and her lips apparently do not hurt too much to apply lipstick or gloss. She insists she needs further treatment to the orbit of her right eye, and that’s the only area that looks to be still a bit swollen, but all in all I think most would agree she has made an amazing recovery. And she had a mental disorder before she ever went in, and it’s something another month and a half in the hospital will not put right.

              • yalensis says:

                The longer she stays in the hospital, the less the police can have access to question her about the case… But sooner or later she will have to testify against her assailants.

                Tetiana must have one heck of a health insurance plan. Or does Ukraine still have Soviet-type single-payer plan? Or maybe EU is paying her medical bills?

  18. kirill says:

    So here you see the circularity of the claim about political prisoners. Law breaker hoodlums who attack riot police because they feel they have the right to demonstrate anywhere and anytime and then get busted are “political prisoners”. Following the demonstration route specified in the permit is never good enough since then there would be no issue and people would instantly forget about these irrelevant demonstrations. But breaking the law and then yelling “oppression” gets you western media support and attention.

  19. R.C. says:

    Here’s something else the western press appears to have missed:

    The dropping of the Litvinenko case against Russia………

    I’m certainly not surprised. It appears that the western media is comfortable with allowing the public to continue believing that Putin/FSB offed Litvinenko with Polonium, hence the lack of coverage of this story.

    • marknesop says:

      Wow. That probably should not be a surprise, but it is to me. I guess I wasn’t paying attention. That’s a big one in the eye for the Russophobes; they love them some Litvinenko.

      • I understand that William Dunkerley who in my opinion is the single best writer on the subject of the Litvinenko affair is in the process of updating his book The Phoney Litvinenko Murder. I should say that William Dunkerley’s study is mainly about the way the media story was manipulated rather than a study of the case itself. However I know that he keeps a very close watch on the inquest proceedings so his updated book once it gets published is the place to go for more information about this.

        As for the Coroner’s decision, it became all but inevitable once the Home Secretary refused the Coroner’s request for a public inquiry and once the High Court upheld the Foreign Secretary’s request for the part of the evidence that allegedly proves Russian state involvement to be kept secret. In the absence of that evidence it is impossible to see how the Coroner or the Court in Britain could ever rule on that question. Litvinenko’s decision is challenging in the High Court the Home Secretary’s refusal to refuse a public inquiry but unless the High Court accepts her challenge (which at the moment looks unlikely) or a future Home Secretary reverses the current decision and orders the setting up of an inquiry (also unlikely) this is the effective end of the affair.

        We will of course now be left to speculate on what the “evidence proving Russian state involvement” the British claim to have is. In the recent Zatuliveter case similar such “evidence” the British intelligence services claimed to have that she was a Russian spy turned out on examination to amount to nothing at all. I have to say that I rather suspect that that is the case in the Litvinenko case. If the British intelligence services really did possess evidence of Russian state involvement in Litvinenko’s murder I cannot help but think that we would have had judicious leaks in the British media by now telling us what it was.

  20. Moscow Exile says:

    Queensland, Australia, the antipodean Mordor?

    Lebedev’s Independent on Australian libertarian Angst over Queensland legislation “introducing draconian laws aimed at clamping down on motorbike gangs, paedophiles and even parties”.

    I mean, what have those paedophiles done so terribly wrong?

    See: Australian state of Queensland adopts populist, hard-line laws ‘reminiscent of
    Soviet Russia and Hitler’s Germany

    It’s that old Stalin = Hitler = Putin meme again!

    Leave those pedos alone!

    I should add, though, that most Australians I know – and there’s a host of them related to me all over that continent, including Queensland – have told me mocking tales of “Redneck” Queenslanders.

    I remember there being a Queensland beer marketed in England 40 or so years ago and named “Castlemaine XXXX” – ordered as “Gimme a Fourex”; it’s marketing slogan was: “Australians wouldn’t give a XXXX for anything else”.

    The story went that the XXXX brewery in Brisbane, Queensland, where the beer was brewed, was called XXXX by Quenslanders because they couldn’t spell “beer”.

    • Jen says:

      Doesn’t Old Blighty currently have the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Bill sitting with the House of Lords for review at present that, if and when it becomes law, will criminalise any behaviour by anyone aged 10+ years that can potentially cause a nuisance and annoyance, will give local authorities, police and private security firms the power to prevent lawful assembly of citizens in public places and, among other things, authorise eviction of people in social housing if they breach an injunction or part thereof or if they or people in their households are convicted of offences committed at scenes of riot anywhere in the UK?

      So whose laws are going to be more reminiscent of the Soviet Union under Stalin and of Nazi Germany?

      • marknesop says:

        Ooooo…look. It provides special protection for religious beliefs, which are not to be interfered with under any circumstances if the recommendations of the review are adopted. I wonder if that includes the singing of innocent little protest songs against the government during religious services. Doubtless the accommodating British will find a compromise which is not too disruptive for worshipers.

      • Moscow Exile says:


        As usual, all that you Putinites can use as an “argument” is whataboutism!

        How much does FSB pay you, a person clearly of intelligence, to propagandize that poison-dwarf’s loathsome system?….

        Oh shit!

        I must have relapsed into willyanon syndrome again!!!

        • Jen says:

          You must pray to your god Woden to restore your good sense. It is obvious he abandoned you as punishment for invoking a greeting associated with the birth of a foreign Hebrew prophet whose followers brought a religion that banished Woden worship and replaced his temples with their churches and seminaries.

          Waes Hael!

    • marknesop says:

      I believe, if legend is correct, that most of the sand which currently fringes Waikiki came from there (Queensland) as well; like all the Pacific islands of volcanic origin, the beach at Waikiki was crumbly dark rock, gravel at best. The rosy sand was an Aussie import, by the bargeload. Macadamia nuts, too, which are an iconic Hawaii souvenir now, are not native to the islands and came from Australia.

  21. yalensis says:

    I saw this piece yesterday, it is somewhat sensationalistic, but based on fact. Author of the piece worries that 3000 MEK soldiers will be relocated to Rumania, not far from Ukrainian border, where they could be used by NATO to stir things up against Ukraine.

    Recall that MEK’s are a combo of Iranian-Iraqi “militants” (some might call them “terrorists”, but I believe they are real soldiers) – anyhow, they are a tight-knit fighting force whose main enemy was Iranian ayatollas. (so, they are Sunnis). For many years they were funded and armed by Saddam Hussein, and they fought against Iranian government and army.

    To Americans they were the “good guys” until Americans decided to overthrow Saddam. Then MEK were bad guys for a while (because of their allegiance to Saddam); and Americans didn’t know what to do with them. But eventually MEK switched their allegiance to Americans so they could be used again for their original purpose, which is to fight the ayatollas. Hillary Clinton likes MEK and thinks they are great people.

    Now Americans are thinking about moving them, as a group, to Rumania, which is a NATO country with American military bases. Some commentators, like the one above, are worried that MEK will be trained as an elite NATO terrorist force used to destablize neighbouring Ukraine. Much like al-Nusrah in Lebanon and Syria.

    In general, in the broad Sunni vs. Shiite war, MEK would be on the Sunni side, which is the same side as America, NATO, Saudi Arabia, and Israel (in the geo-strategic sense). Ukraine is not exactly a Shiite country, but they could become a target of NATO, same as Russia, and thereby subject to Sunni terrorist attacks in the future. Depending how things develop…

    • Jen says:

      MEK are actually Shi’ites who follow a radical brand of Shi’ism combined with Iranian nationalism and Marxism. It’s quite possible though that their ideology has shifted a lot. They’re like a religious cult in that the group is headed by Massoud and Maryam Rajavi who between them have led the MEK for the past 40 years. In a sense, MEK is analogous to the IRA who continued using methods of terror even after the party associated with them, Sinn Fein, was accepted into the Irish parliament as a legitimate party and gave up some of its old radicalism.'s_Mujahedin_of_Iran

      • yalensis says:

        Thanks for clarification, Jen.
        I misunderstood thinking they were Sunnis, since they were so yaya anti-ayatollah.
        In any case, I remember some earlier propaganda about them from some years back, twas claimed that they were some kind of female-dominated amazon force. Sort of like Xena the warrior maiden and her SNU SNU storm troopers.
        Then turned out it was just that the militia was non-disciminatory and had a couple of female generals. And a bunch of girl-soldier sharpshooters.

        Based on that, I should have realized that these were Shiites, not Sunnis 🙂

  22. peter says:

    • marknesop says:

      No surprise that Bershidsky is a novelist by profession; he certainly knows how to bring the drama. Interestingly, the cleric’s statement, “I just don’t consider Jews to be better than all the others, but even that seems to be anti-Semitic these days” more closely parallels the reverence with which the gay seem to be regarded by the western media these days.

      This is not the first time “journalists” have speculated about a “gay scandal” in the presidential administration. What a dilemma that would be for western journalists!!! They would agonize over how to report it; obviously it would be a terrible disgrace, but how to report it while paying proper tribute to the wonderful liberation that is homosexuality?

      In fact, there’s something deliciously ironic about an article which starts off looking down its nose at the “official homophobia” of Putin’s Russia and winds up with scandalous hints of Orthodox priests pawing altar boys. Of which are we supposed to disapprove?

      • peter says:

        К некоторым отдельным недостойным служителям Русской Православной Церкви

        Если творишь грех,
        То как не скрывай его,
        Он станет известен для всех
        В блоге Андрея Кураева.

        Воспринимаем с трудом
        Мы, честные пролетарии,
        Весть про реальный Содом
        В духовной их семинарии.

        Пока мы в дискуссиях жарких
        Обличали нечестие геев
        Возникла мафия гомоиерархов
        И гомоиереев.

        Мы отняли у пидарасов
        Возможность усыновления,
        А они развлекались в рясах
        В укромных кельях под елями.

        А обещали, мол, мы,
        Православное святоотечество,
        Возглавим против гейской чумы
        Все прогрессивное человечество.

        Пока вся Россия за нравственность борется,
        Вы предаетесь утехам бесстыжим,
        Этим вводя в соблазн богомольцев
        Людей простых и некнижных.

        Вынь прежде бревно из твоего глаза,
        Как сказано у Матфея.
        Кто защитит нас от пидаразов,
        Если в защитниках геи?

        Удовлетворением своих половых интересов
        Вы напрягаете и либералов,
        Они должны быть супротив мракобесов,
        Но за гомосексуалов.

        А когда сливаются до неразличности
        Мракобесие и содомия,
        Либералам грозит раздвоение личности,
        То есть шизофрения.

  23. R.C. says:

    Yet, another tired article bemoaning the security measures at Sochi:

    Needless to say, the posters aren’t impressed with the article.

    One poster writes:

    “There were anti-aircraft missile installations on top of residential buildings during the London Olympics. Everyone was calling it “good security”, “going the extra mile to provide safety during the Olympics”. But since this one is in Russia, it’s “killing the Olympic spirit”. Stop ragging on Russia with this stupid propaganda. Your editorials are what’s killing the spirit.”

    And another:

    “When London was turned into a police state for the Olympics the Western media saw strength and wisdom. Security was so tight in London that most events were held in front of empty seats. Parents of athletes could not see their children perform because police checkpoints wouldn’t let them through. But, when Russia does the same thing – it is Communist?”

    • kirill says:

      While looking through Google for articles on a breakdown of Sochi costs all I could find was BS articles about the $50 billion Putin vanity project without any serious cost attribution. So the western media is spewing its usual Russia = Badness propaganda.

      I say the west is sounding like a collection of jealous losers. Mighty EU couldn’t even cough up a billion dollars to buy Ukraine but Russia can spend $50 billion to give itself an alpine ski resort.

  24. peter says:

    • marknesop says:

      Don’t you worry about it, Joshua; Russia has the money, it’s Russia’s money and none of anyone else’s business how they spend it. If the taxpayers are wound up about it, they’ll revolt, and I don’t see them doing that. If any less were spent on it and there were a security incident, the press would squeal that Putin cheaped out on security, so there is no way he will ever please them. Joshua neglects to recognize that the whole of the Whistler Olympic Village was already built, and an excellent existing road – the Sea To Sky Highway – served it. We’ll see what whoever has the Olympics next spends, but generally speaking it is a huge outlay that is mostly wasted anyway, and when western countries squeal that somebody is throwing money down a corruption hole its because they wish they had $50 Billion to chuck away but do not.

      • kirill says:

        Until these clowns start giving specifics, they are just spewing crap. The usual insinuation is to imply all $50 billion was spent on the Olympics, which is a bald faced lie. Most of it was spent on the infrastructure.

        The above article is replete with the usual BS, but at least one can see that Adler railway line to Krasnaya Polyana alone cost $8.7 billion. Considering the terrain this is actually cheap. The rinky dink subway extension in Toronto is coming at a price tag of nearly $3 billion. In addition to the railway link we have the roads and mountain tunnels.

        So about $5 billion are just for local Sochi road works.

        The above is quite revealing. There are 200 km of railway construction so the above project to Adler is actually only 25% of the total. There 370 km of road construction. Without spending hours looking through every Google hit, I will say that an estimate of $30 billion for road and rail works is not likely to be far from the real value. But Sochi construction also includes buildings not directly related to the Olympics as well.

        So I think the upper bound for the Olympic construction is $20 billion and it is likely to be several billion dollars lower. So the graphic showing the cost per event shown in the Business Week article is simply retarded.

        • marknesop says:

          The project I like to quote in response to accusations of corruption and massive cost overruns and pouring money into a pit is Boston’s Big Dig. It was scheduled to be completed in 1998 and to cost $2.8 Billion, which even at that was crazy money because despite its complexity, it was still only a tunnel under 6 km. long. It actually finished up in 2007, and cost more than $24 Billion.

        • yalensis says:

          Yaffa’s insinuation is more like the entire $50 billion is pouring into the pockets of Putin’s cronies. Western propagandists pin their hopes that “massive corruption” is the magical formula that will stir up Russian people to revolt and overthrow their “regime”.

      • peter says:

  25. peter says:

  26. peter says:

    • marknesop says:

      This will be useful to explain it to American conservative lawmakers in the House and Senate, who trot out that “Global warmin'” yuk-yuk every time there’s a particularly heavy snowfall. Like the inbred Inhofe family and their “Global Warming Igloo”. I wish that were the only example of Inhofe’s blinding stupidity on the subject, but unfortunately it is not.

      It was a mistake to ever refer to it as “global warming” anyway, although it is. Just “climate change” would have been more difficult to mock. If you get record-breaking cold weather, well, that’s a change, isn’t it?

  27. yalensis says:

    Back to Ukrainian politics:
    Apparently Klichko has broken ranks with previous Opps declaration that they will use Round #1 (race for Prez in 2015) as “primaries” and then unite behind a single candidate in Round #2.

    Nope, says Klichko. Opps must agree on a SINGLE candidate as early as Round #1.
    (This is what even a bunch of us anti-Oranges were saying too, that their old strategy had too many flaws. Too bad we were giving our enemies good advice, but that’s the price you pay for being an honest person.)

    Anyhow, this is what Klichko said:

    Политик отметил: “Демократические силы должны выдвинуть и поддержать единого кандидата на президентских выборах. Я об этом заявил давно и мнения своего не изменил. Как мы можем говорить о единой команде, когда идут несколько кандидатов? Разве не это сегодня нужно власти, чтобы растянуть голоса и во втором туре устроить жестокий сюрприз?”.

    The politician remarked: “The democratic forces must put forward and support a single candidate in the presidential race. I have been saying that for a long time, and I haven’t changed my opinion. How can we possibly speak of a unified team, when we put forward several candidates? Isn’t that exactly what the government needs, in order to split our votes and create an unpleasant surprise for us in the second round?”

    Klicho appears to be saying that there should be a single Orange candidate (whose name is “Klichko”) who will win the FIRST round, and not fuss about a second round.
    I have no doubt Tahnybok will agree to step aside, and allow his good friend Mr. Klichko to reap all the rewards of the Maidan, which he himself (=Tahnybok) did so much to organize.
    (Actually, Tahnybok might be willing to step aside, provided Klichko promise him “Ministry of the Interior” in the Orange government. Then Tahnybok can bring in his Galician Brown-Shirts to keep order.)

    • marknesop says:

      On the occasion of Yanukovich’s victory, which the OSCE observers declared free and fair and which was not in dispute anywhere (except by the Ukrainian opposition, naturally), the New York Times reported it under the headline “Governing Party Claims Victory in Ukraine Elections“. Not “Yanukovich Wins”, or “Vote Decides in Favor of Yanukovich” – governing party claims victory. Implying that it did not actually win, it just decided to say it won, amid “preliminary exit polls that also showed opposition parties making strong gains, including an unexpectedly strong rise in support for an ultranationalist party with a leader who is known for anti-Semitic and racist views.”

      No surprises there; the NYT and other western media outlets probably have two stories prepared the night before – “Surprise Victory for Freedom and Democracy!!!” in case the opposition pulls off a win, and “Yanukovych Steals Election Again” for the likely outcome. But the surprise buried in that story – for me, I am usually not a close follower of Ukrainian politics – was that Tyagnibok had signed a cooperation agreement with Tymoshenko and was prepared to operate a coalition government with Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna party. I’m sure Klitschko knows that – he was there, after all – but I wonder if he understands the implications of it. I’m sure there would not be an agreement which put Tyagnibok’s name forward for “the” candidate, but I wonder if Klitschko realizes that an implicit agreement unites the other contenders but does not include him.

      • Dear Yalensis (and AP),

        Klitschko is consistently the most sensible of the opposition politicians. At the peak of the protests he got heckled for saying that the storming of government buildings is not a good idea. He was the first of the opposition leaders to agree to attend Kravchuk’s round table (though little came from that) and at the very first meeting of the round table at a time when the other opposition leaders were still demanding that Yanukovitch stand down and call early Presidential elections he said that such elections would be “optimal”, which actually represented a backing off from the absolutist stance that the other opposition leaders were taking. In an interview with Der Spiegel Klitschko even had some good things to say about Russia.

        What Klitschko is saying is of course absolutely right. Whether Yatsenyuk or Tyagnibok will agree is another matter.

        Can I now just turn briefly to a comment AP made in response to one of mine?

        1. Kuchma’s second election victory is a warning not a comfort to the opposition. It is true that he won it against Semonenko of the Communist Party. However the point is that as an easterner Kuchma had enough support in the east and south to prevent Semonenko’s victory in that section from being large enough to offset the effect of Kuchma’s runaway victory in the west. That is most unlikely to happen in 2015 where on the evidence of the latest opinion polls the vote in the east and south is now consolidating around Yanukovitch. A further point about Kuchma’s re election is that Semonenko as a Communist actually won in much of the centre. That shows that the centre is no Orange monolith, that its vote is variable according to circumstances and simply cannot be taken for granted especially in the light of polling figures which suggest significant support for the Customs Union there.

        2. I am not convinced by the demographic argument. Briefly, I have heard such arguments too often in the past and have repeatedly seen them proved wrong. Thus in the early 1970s in Britain it used to be said that because of Labour’s lead amongst young people and the shift of middle class voters towards Labour in the not so long term a Labour majority would become permanent. What then happened was that in 1979 Margaret Thatcher won the election and the Conservatives were in power for 18 years. After the election in 1992, which the Conservatives won, it was said that Labour could never win a majority again and that the future was Conservative because the population of the south east of England, which votes Conservative, was growing faster than that of other areas of Britain that tend to vote Labour. In the event in 1997 Labour won a landslide and remained in power for 13 years whilst the Conservatives have not won an election with a majority since the election of 1992. Similarly I regularly hear how because of their higher birth rate Catholic voters in Northern Ireland will at some point outnumber Protestant voters. I have been hearing this prediction now for 40 years but the date when Catholic voters in Northern Ireland outnumber Protestant voters never comes.

        3. Briefly, the assumption that there is in the Ukraine a natural Orange majority is based on a number of assumptions:

        (1) that the votes of the centre and the west will unite against a candidate that comes from the south and east;

        (2) that all the opposition parties to the present government are in some way “Orange parties” and despite their all too obvious divisions will unite behind a single candidate and persuade all their voters to vote for him; and

        (3) that because younger people tend to be more Orange that means that the future is Orange.

        I don’t think any of this is necessarily so. As my comments about Semonenko’s victory in the centre in the contest with Kuchma shows and as recent opinion poll in that section confirms, the centre is not a monolith and its vote cannot be taken for granted. Its political culture seems to be very different from that of the west and the two are not obvious partners. It has been striking how much less enthusiasm (in terms of people travelling to join it or going on strike) there has been for EuroMaidan in the centre than there has been in the west,

        As for there being a single Orange movement, AP says that the Socialists somehow betrayed their voters by going into coalition with Yanukovitch after the parliamentary elections in 2006, which must therefore lump voters who voted Socialist in 2006 with voters who vote Svoboda today as being both Orange. I don’t see that at all given the fundamental incompatibility in the respective ideologies. Frankly the differences between Klitschko and Tyagnibok in themselves look to me sufficiently great to call into question whether any united Orange movement in fact exists or whether it is indeed a foregone conclusion that Tyagnibok will support Klitschko for the Presidency unless Klitschko pays the heavy price of agreeing to give Tyagnibok what he wants ie. the Interior Ministry – something which if it happens could however easily lose Klitschko votes in the centre.

        Lastly, it simply doesn’t follow that because young voters tend to be Orange and pro European today those same voters will be Orange and pro European in five or ten years time. Whether they will be or not will depend on what the situation in the Ukraine
        is like both the Ukraine and in the Europe in five or ten years time. As of today that is not something we can possibly know. In the immediate term, the issue is not whether people who are now young will be voting for pro European or Orange parties in five or ten years but how all the votes stack up in 2015. The fact that support for the politics that Yanukovitch is gradually adopting is stronger amongst older age groups in the short term is a source of strength not a weakness. Not only are older voters more numerous but they tend to vote more reliably than young voters and more consistently.

        I make all these points not because I expect or want Yanukovitch to win in 2015. As I hope I have made clear, I neither like Yanukovitch and I do not think he deserves to win in 2015. However I am concerned that on the basis of what I think are unwise assumptions based on demography too many opposition politicians (Yatsenyuk being a good example – but thankfully not it seems Klitschko) assume that an opposition victory in 2015 is a certainty of which they can only be robbed by cheating regardless of how the opposition behaves (or misbehaves) in the meantime. That is a very complacent and frankly arrogant assumption that is not borne out by the polling data I have seen. It is also a dangerous assumption since it betrays an attitude of entitlement that almost guarantees further instability in the event the opposition loses. The condition of the Ukraine, with its severe sectional divisions, is too fragile for that.

        • Jen says:

          The assumption that younger people are pro-Orange could be based on statistics collected from biased samples. Among young people in Ukraine, those from wealthy groups and who have easy access to the Internet (and have a greater exposure to a wide range of views … and to pro-Orange / pro-EU propaganda as well) might be more likely to engage in political activism and participate in surveys on politics and voter attitudes to politicians, than those from poorer groups whose online access is either more difficult or even non-existent. I believe this phenomenon has been noted in Iran: young anti-government people with Internet access in that country mostly having middle class family backgrounds who are then held up as examples of Iranian youth, even though the reality is that a minority of Iran’s young people have Internet access. The same might apply to Ukraine.

          The language/s used in collecting statistics might make a difference too: if the survey or questionnaire is conducted only in Ukrainian and respondents are not given a choice to reply in either Ukrainian or Russian, then those people inclined to support Yanukovych might suspect a bias and refuse to participate. So they may not be counted in the data.

        • AP says:

          Thank you, as always, for your thoughtful and thought-provoking post. Some clarification or points of disagreement:

          1. The center and demography:

          You are correct that Symonenko won much of the center. But he lost Kiev and Kiev oblast easily. Here is a map of those elections:

          You see that Kuchma won in a landslide in the western regions and had his greatest margin of victory in Galicia (not out of love for Kuchma but hatred of the communists, obviously).

          So, although much of the center has gone “Orange” since 1999 (Poltava, Cherkassy, etc.) , Kiev and Kiev oblast certainly haven’t. Now let’s look at the demographics. Change in number and %of voters 1991-2013:

          And natural population growth in 2012:

          What is striking is that growth is mostly limited in those specific regions that have been “Orange” consistently, over time.* Galicia, Volhynia, and Kiev – not the regions that voted Communist in 1999. The areas with the consistent demographic have been voting pro-West since independence (Kravchuk 1994, Kuchma 1999, etc.) in every single election. Based on this, I think that it would be correct to conclude that team Orange has a built-in demographic youthful advantage that is consistent over time (at least, in the 20+ years since independence) and that the Orange electorate is growing while the opposite is shrinking. Based on this 20 year consistent pattern one can assume that this demographic advantage will only continue.

          2. The Socialists and Orange:

          Socialist leader Moroz was the instigator of the Kuchma tape scandal and stood alongside Tymoshenko and Yushchenko during the Orange revolution. Those who were following Ukrainian politics at that time – including his voters – assumed he was an Orange politician. He represented a left-wing agrarian vector. After the elections he switched in exchange for getting the speakership of the parliament. The clear proof that he betrayed his voters by switching sides is that in the snap elections called soon afterward, his voters deserted him, and his party failed to get into parliament.

          3. Orange disunity

          I completely agree that Oranges are diverse and not a monolith. I use Orange as short-hand for “pro-Western, patriotic/nationalistic” but it is not a single united movement. Tiahnybok is quite different from Klitschko or Yatseniuk. This does not mean, however, that some of them are pro-Party of Regions. In some ways, I suppose a very rough analogy can be made to US political parties where blue-collar socially conservative union democrats had historically coexisted uneasily with gay rights activists.

          4. Orange complacency

          I agree with you that this is a bad idea; they need to work hard and intelligently. Although given the consistent results, poll data, and continuing demographic situation I do not see how Yanukovich can win an honest election.

          *the exception is in Crimea, but this is due to the Tatars, who ally themselves with Orange

  28. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, Oranges were able to scrape together around 100 people (THEIR number) to picket the Internal Ministry. Previously Maidan demand had been for Interior Minister Vitaly Zakharchenko to resign his post pronto. But apparently Zakharchenko ignored Orange demands and did not quit his job. The bounder!

    Hence, today, the demand (from the 100 protesters) was slightly more modest:
    They demanded that Zakharchenko ooze out of his office like the slippery eel that he is, and report to them on the progress of the Tetiana Chornovol case. “We want transcripts of all interrogations! We demand the complete case files!”
    Once again, Zakharchenko apparently declined their request.
    If I were him (Zakharchenko), I would have replied: “You Oranges hand over the dashcam from her car, and then maybe I’ll give a press conference on the case.”

    Meanwhile, Tetiana’s husband, Nikolai Berezovy refuted the statement of the Ministry of Health that Tetiana was doing just fine and could be checked out of the hospital. Ministry of Health issued a discharge order, but Tetiana refused to let them discharge her from her acute setting.

    No, she is NOT doing well, asserts hubby Nikolai. She is maybe doing better than she was a couple of days ago, but still not good enough to be discharged from the hospital.
    Nikolai says that Tetiana cannot even walk for 10 meters without getting dizzy, and that she has a risk of falling. I believe him, I am just obsessed about the insurance situation, and who is paying her bill?

    In Ukraine, if the doctor issued a discharge order, does the patient have the right to refuse to leave?
    And if they refuse to leave, will the government continue to pay for her bed and acute care charges? Maybe a Ukrainian will know the answer to these burning questions.

    In the end, Nikolai may have to just suck it up like the good and caring husband that he is, and just take care of Tetiana himself, or he could hire a home-health nurse to come and take care of her. Unless she plans to camp out permanently in the hospital ward. Maybe Oranges will invade the hospital and set up tents with EU logos?

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. sorry I messed up links above. I forgot to close one of the HTML tags.
      But they still work. If you click on “around 100 people” you get the first link. If you skip down and click on “Meanwhile, Tetiana’s husband”, you get the second link.

  29. Russia has more smokers than the United States in spite of having twice less people:

    Smoking, alcohol and drugs are far bigger problem for Russia than terrorism.

  30. Moscow Exile says:

    Unconfirmed report of an explosion on a commuter train at Yessentuki, Stavropol Krai close by the badlands (North Caucasus) frontier.

    • Moscow Exile says:


      08 января 2014 года 16:54

      Москва. 8 января. INTERFAX.RU – В пригородной электричке в Ессентуках Ставропольского края произошел взрыв, сообщил “Интерфаксу” источник, близкий к правоохранительным органам региона.

      “По не подтвержденным данным, взрыв прогремел в электричке в Ессентуках”, – сказал собеседник агентства.

      “Интерфакс” не располагает официальным подтверждением данной информации.

      Moscow. January 8. INTERFAX.RU – In a suburban train in Yessentuki, Stavropol Territory, an explosion occurred, a source close to law enforcement agencies in the region has told “Interfax”.

      “According to unconfirmed reports, the explosion occurred in the train in Yessentuki” – said the person who informed the agency.

      “Interfax” has no official confirmation of this information.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Силовики опровергли слухи о взрыве в электричке в Ессентуках
        В пресс-службе Северо-Кавказской железной дороги предположили, что речь идет о “недобросовестной работе некоторых журналистов”. Ранее о взрыве, произошедшем в электричке в Ессентуках, сообщил “Интерфакс” со ссылкой на источник, близкий к правоохранительным органам Ставропольского края.

        Security officials have denied rumours of an explosion on board a commuter train in Yessentuki. The press service of the North-Caucasian railway has suggested that this is malpractice of some journalists”. Earlier, an explosion on board a train in Yessentuki had been reported by “Interfax”, referring to a source close to law enforcement authorities of the Stavropol Territory.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          And there was I just about to take down my old and trusty squirrel gun off its pegs over the fireplace!

        • marknesop says:

          It plays to certain interests to try to create panic by sowing spurious reports of further attacks on public transit, which will be almost as effective as a real explosion until the tactic is over-used and people stop paying attention to it.

        • Jen says:

          In Sydney here, railway staff used to put little explosive devices on train tracks so that as trains passed over them, they would go off with loud bangs to alert line crews ahead working on tracks to get out of the way. Train staff stopped using the little bombs once school-kids started stealing them for pranks.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            They’re fog signals. Used them in Misty Albion in the days of semaphore signalling and before multi-aspect electric lamp signals (like traffic lights) were introduced and radio alarms were installed in drivers’ cabs.

            I’m so old that I remember steam-hauled trains and semaphores; in fact, they were still in existence in my old backwoods neck of the woods as late as 1967. If a signal was “on”, i.e. the semaphore arm was horizontal, then you couldn’t pass it. At the hinged end of the arm there were two glass panes – one red, the other green – illuminated by an oil lamp at night: the lamp must have been about one candlepower! So when it was foggy, a signalman would place a detonator on the tracks at a safe distance from an “on” signal and an approaching train would cause the detonator to go off with a very loud bang and then the driver would apply the brakes. At signals situated at a good distance from a signal box, there used to be a track-side booth where a signal man used to sit on foggy days or nights and whose job was to place the detonators on the rails.

            Of course, hooligans that stole these fog alarms could have caused serious accidents but I don’t think any happened because the drivers knew their routes and would get out and check the semaphore on days when there was a thick fog.

            • yalensis says:

              That’s interesting. The concept of the railway “semaphore” was borrowed by computer scientists back when they were inventing parallel processing . Different parts of the operating system need to signal to each other when one is using a shared resource. The analogy with the railroad track is that only one train can be on the shared length of track. Similarly, in an operating system, only one process at a time can be using a critical resource, a queue, for example. Or a counter. The way this works is that there is a block of code called the “critical section”, and the individual process cannot enter that section and begin to execute commands until it receives a signal that no other process is inside that section of code.

              I took a class in parallel processing in school, the standard homework exercise was the “producer vs. consumer” semaphore problem, as described in the wiki piece.
              We also had to code for a mutex (stands for “mutual exclusion”), which is a specialized type of semaphore.

  31. marknesop says:

    From a blog which is plainly sympathetic to Team Chornovol, a translation of the statement by the Ukrainian Ministry of Health which states that Tetyana Chornovol has refused to be discharged from hospital although medical professionals have determined that hospitalization is no longer required and any ongoing treatment would be more appropriately dealt with through outpatient services.

    The blog owner has a theory that if she is held longer it will mean heavier charges against her assailants. Who knows – that might be true, although it does not make any sense to me and the whole idea generally does not make sense unless the attack actually was arranged by the government. As we’ve discussed, there is no evidence of that and in fact it looks more likely to have been the brainchild of the opposition if it was not simply a random case of road rage. Yalensis has a theory that she can avoid police questioning if she remains in the hospital, but I don’t think that’s true either.

    • marknesop says:

      Chornovol doubles down: “Viktor Yanukovych personally ordered the attack against me”.

      The same blog I cited earlier reports Chornovol says she spotted two vehicles apparently tailing her when she was on her way home; the Porsche, and a “control car”. So she decided to take a few backstreets and see if she could lose them. That didn’t work, so she decided not to go home after all, but to go back to the Maidan.

      Why? Did she think the authorities would discover where she lives? She complained in another article that she was constantly being followed in recent months, and that she believed she would soon be arrested – is there a chance they did not know where her home is? Would her I-saw-this-on-Hill-Street-Blues anti-tailing maneuvers have successfully fooled professional surveillance types? Apparently the dash-cam was installed only two days prior, so her attackers “would not have known to check for it”. What’s the implication here – that shadowy surveillance types had already searched her car and so would not think to check for anything new? Is this beginning to sound schizo to anyone else?

      This BBC report provides a little context for the photo I already linked, of Chornovol on the roof of a vehicle, joyously bashing it with a rock.

      Apparently it was a van belonging to the Security Services, which “opposition supporters” suspected was carrying out “covert surveillance”. Chornovol climbed on to the roof, smashed the roof window and climbed inside. She also apparently lost a libel case against “Donetsk tycoon” Rinat Akhmetov in 2008, in which a website which published information it had gotten from Chornovol was sued by Akhmetov and was ordered to pay him $100,000.00 in damages.

      She sounds more and more like a delusional, violence-loving nut. No wonder she wants to stay in the hospital – she’s probably headed for jail.

      • yalensis says:

        “Apparently the dash-cam was installed only two days prior, so her attackers “would not have known to check for it”. What’s the implication here – that shadowy surveillance types had already searched her car and so would not think to check for anything new? Is this beginning to sound schizo to anyone else?”

        It DOES sound schizo, but it also sounds like Tetiana’s handlers are responding to specific points that are brought up by bloggers and internet commenters.

        Bloggers and commenters, being curious people, and not necessarily even hostile or having an agenda, just trying to figure out what really happened, raised specific questions like (1) why were her hands not damaged? (2) how did she get back inside her car, (3) why did the assailants not steal the dash-cam, etc.

        And I really get the impression that Tetiana’s handlers are reading these comments and trying to come up with plausible explanations, in order to make their story work.

        Hence, above seems to be a (semi)-plausible explanation to the question as to: If her assailants were police/government thugs, then why didn’t they take the dash-cam? Tetiana has an answer for that: “Because they didn’t know I had a dash-cam, it having been purchased so recently…” This is a specific fact-based statement that could be either proved or disproved by finding the receipt for her purchase of the dash-cam.

        And yes, I have a feeling that her lies will eventually come back to bite her, and then even her fervent supporters will desert her. (like a Ukrainian version of Tawana Brawley)…

        • marknesop says:

          But professionals would have checked for a dash-cam, as would anyone with half a brain in their heads, because they are extremely popular and extremely common in both Russia and Ukraine. The “they didn’t know because I just bought it” story plays to the overall theme that Chornovol was under constant surveillance, and that her tormentors (Yanukovych’s goons) had a comprehensive inventory of everything in her car, so she took them totally by surprise by buying a dash cam. You believe that? Nobody who really was a security professional would be taken in by that stupid story – if professionals hit her, they would probably not ever get in front of her car where they could be seen by the dash-cam, if there was one, and it doesn’t take three big guys to beat up a girl even if she is a kick-ass revolutionary soldier, so one could remain behind to clean out the car and would almost certainly check for a dash-cam whether it was bought 5 years ago or 5 hours ago. In fact, the purchase of the dash-cam and the deliberate way the car shoved in in front of her – making sure to be seen – point even more strongly to a deliberately-staged play designed to manipulate public opinion. She claims she was being followed for several months, but she just bought a dash-cam two days before she was attacked? Then the deliberate lifting of the dash-cam video and delivery of it straight to the opposition….the whole thing stinks out loud. But the more things they invent, the more complicated the story gets, the more exponential the probability that an irreparable slip-up will be made and the whole house of cards will come crashing down. Most people are not good liars, even under casual interrogation, say, by a parent, and few who are actually guilty can last long against a professional interrogation in a setting in which they do not feel in control.

          The thing is, they have been preparing the ground for their being exposed, too, by blaming Yanukovych. Now no matter what evidence is brought forward, no matter who tearfully confesses it was all a setup, the opposition will say the evidence was all fabricated by Yanukovych, and those who confessed were tortured, and that he was just so desperate to shut Chornovol up because of her revelations about corruption. A narrative I daresay the Anglospheric media will be content with, at least enough that no amount of evidence will make them say that Chornovol faked the whole thing.

        • AP says:

          AFAIK Brawley faked the whole incident, while Chornovil was actually attacked but may have – mistakenly but sincerely – assumed the government was behind the real attack when it wasn’t.

          • marknesop says:

            I was not familiar with the Brawley incident. I am sure Chornovol was actually beaten up – that much is clear – but I get the impression she is exaggerating the extent of her injuries. She has consistently reported the attackers hit her nowhere but in the face and head, and those injuries, while looking terrible for the camera, have disappeared in a matter of days. As I suggested earlier, you can slap somebody in the lips with your open hand and create dreadful swelling like that. But she refuses to be discharged from hospital, while she and her husband both insist she has “multiple fractures”. There is no visible evidence of anything of the kind, and you know and I know the hospital would not clear her to talk to reporters and discharge her from hospital if she still had broken bones in her face. I do not want to minimize the seriousness of hitting a woman, or hitting anyone – it’s assault, and should be punished in accordance with the law. I think Chornovol knows a lot more than she’s letting on, that she knows perfectly well the government was not behind the attack, and I have come round to agreeing that she is trying to stay in the hospital to prevent the investigation from going any further. You would think the revolutionary soldier would be burning to shake the shackles of medical confinement and get back to the Maidan.

            Chornovol shows every appearance of being an attention junkie who would not hesitate to fabricate an event in order to be in the spotlight and to shape events according to her inclination. I maintain there is more to this than meets the eye.

          • yalensis says:

            Maybe Brawley isn’t the best example – I use it because of the political scope: Brawley’s incident could have provoked massive race riots in the U.S., the way Chornovol’s incident was supposed to re-ignite the Maidan and overthrow the Ukrainian government.

            My current theory is that Chornovol got her injuries from banging into the windshield when her car was driven off the road by Kotenko and his creepy buddies.
            I don’t believe her that she left her car and was chased down by Kotenko’s homeys. I believe they ran to her car in a rage, saw an injured woman, and abandoned her in a panic. I don’t believe they hit her, not because they didn’t want to, but because they would have had to break into her car to get at her, and I don’t believe that she ever left her car.

            So, even though Tetiana was genuinely injured, in a way she “faked” it, by insisting that she was beaten up on Yanukovych’s direct orders.

            Although I will concede that she might believe this herself, in her delusion.
            Although probably not, her brain must have a grain of rational thought, since she refuses to leave the safety and unaccountability of her hospital bed.

            • marknesop says:

              It could have happened that way, but I doubt it. I think injuries to her face from having it slammed into the wheel would be more severe, and video of her stopping when she was forced to by the Porsche cutting in ahead of her suggests she stopped under control. I guess what you describe could have happened when the Porsche reversed into her, but you would think she would see that coming and brace for it.

              Just to clarify on the Brawley case, I was generally familiar with it, but I was not aware that was the name of the girl who was at the centre of it.

  32. marknesop says:

    Whoops! Look at that; I spoke too soon. Story of my life.

    The Ukrainian police are indeed waiting eagerly for Chornovol to be discharged from hospital, and Yalensis was exactly right. I reasoned that of course the police can question you in hospital, if you are well enough to give frigging television interviews. And I’m sure that’s true. However, the police say she must be available for “investigative experiments, simultaneous interrogations and identification of suspects.” I can see where that might be awkward. Besides, the police probably want all concerned parties at the police station for interviews, where their “revolutionary soldier” bravado will not be enough to carry the day.

    I’m pretty sure her story will fall apart fairly quickly – there are just so many inconsistencies and after-the-fact add-ons.

    • yalensis says:

      Of course I was right!
      Have you not learned that lesson by now, Markushka?
      I pity the poor bastard who questions my logic…

      • yalensis says:

        P.S. I think what Ukrainian cops are getting at is that they want Tetiana to leave the safety of her hospital bed and come down to the station to confront the (five) suspects in person.

        Russian cops (probably Uke cops too) like to stage edifying “confrontations” in which the vics are brought face to face with the perps, then let the fireworks begin.

        I don’t approve of this method myself, but that’s the way they do it.

        • marknesop says:

          Well, maybe, but I imagine they also want to question her and her husband at the same time, just until they establish a baseline story, and then separate them and question them individually on details. Unless they have rehearsed the story back to front together – unlikely, as every time one or the other is interviewed, some new detail pops up – somebody is going to make a mistake. All it will take is one big one, and the whole thing will unravel.

  33. kirill says:

    Yeah, right. As if there was no violence against the Occupy Wallstreet demonstrators or the demonstrators in Greece and Spain in the last year. Perhaps these American fucks should stop trying to act like the masters of the universe.

    • marknesop says:

      Visa bans and asset freezes – the Ukrainian Magnitsky List. What a comedy. This will surely convince Yanukovych that Ukraine’s future lies in a closer association with the west. Hopefully Ukraine will respond smartly with a list of American politicians and diplomats who are persona non grata in Ukraine, and the first name on the list should be Grampy McCain.

      The opposition has been jumping through hoops trying to get sanctions, and a general strike. I still doubt they are going to get sanctions, but even if they do, so what? Smart POR Ukrainians who have any investments in the west should be liquidating them right now, and the USA is not allowed to apply general trade sanctions for something like that, under WTO rules. I don’t see anything the USA could do hurting the relationship between Ukraine and Russia, and in fact it will lend weight to any narrative offered to Ukraine that it has no friends in the west, that all it knows how to do is punish when it does not get its own way.

    • yalensis says:

      “In the event of further state violence against peaceful protestors…”

      Well, there’s your loophole right there. These demonstrators were most certainly NOT peaceful.
      Ukrainian government should take that video showing the demonstrators attacking police with long poles, water cannons, bulldozers, molotov cocktails and fireballs … and show it on a continuous loop in the U.S. Senate.

      • Contrast this resolution with the behaviour of the US administration and of the US Senate in response to the events in Egypt where after the constitutionally elected President is overthrown in a military coup 600 of his supporters are shot down by the police and the military in the space of a single day. Secretary Kerry’s comment about all this activity was that the Egyptian military were restoring democracy!

        The trouble is that the Ukrainian government’s response to this sort of absurd criticism and meddling in the country’s affairs will on past experience prove to be completely pusillanimous. Where someone like Putin would tell the Senate to get stuffed and focus its concerns in future on US police beatings of Occupy protesters and other malpractices closer to home Yanukovitch is more likely to say that he too was shocked by the beating of the peaceful demonstrators, that he utterly deplores it, that he is busy investigating it, that he will punish all those responsible and that he personally had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with it.

        • AP says:

          The difference is that Putin has the Russian people behind him while Yanukovich is disliked by about half the Ukrainian population and barely tolerated by much of the other half.

  34. R.C. says:–oly.html;_ylt=A0SO8zIP8s1SWnoASQBXNyoA;_ylu=X3oDMTB0YnFsaDgwBHNlYwNzYwRjb2xvA2dxMQR2dGlkA1ZJUDIyNl8x

    Why the hell do Americans think the Russian LGBT community is clamoring for their “support” over a law which the Wests’ own media has distorted and misrepresented?

    • marknesop says:

      How, exactly, is her “open gayness” going to impact the games? Is she going to be a commentator, and sprinkle her commentary with, “look at her take those slaloms, ladies and gentlemen, look at those powerful, creamy thighs…God, I just wish they were wrapped around my head right now!!!” Unlikely. Is Brian Boitano going to support the men’s skating events with lisping, campy commentary? Of course not – he doesn’t talk like that, and none of the American delegation are going to be sportscasters anyway. Their presence is supposed to irritate Russians, because they are “openly gay”. Whoopty doo. The whole thing is just childish and sad, but at the same time so symptomatic of what a vindictive and self-righteous country the USA has become. “Human rights” for them is interchangeable with “American values” – if you’re not like us, you’re a savage barbaric human-rights abuser. And that’s only the sugary vision of America’s observance of human rights that is served up for national consumption; America’s record on gay rights is nowhere near the sweet vision of tolerance and support the media would have you believe.

      The USA has “got gay” in a big way, just for the games, but they are going to be unable to back away from that stand after the games are over, and then they are going to be sorry. A pretty solid segment of the American population is past fed up with it already, but the media keeps right on acting as if gay people are some kind of national treasure, and are the only ones who matter.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        And this attitude in the USA is seriously imitated by the hegemon’s satraps!

        Take this “Die Zeit” article as an example of German liberalism in full abeyance to the mores of “liberal” America: Putins Gesetz gegen Schwule ist gar kein Problem [Putin’s Law Against Gays Is Really No Problem]

        (“Schwule” – nominative plural of “Schwuler” – in the headline pejoratively means “queers” in German; it was always a pejorative when I lived in Germany in the ’80s: that’s what Germans say and that’s that word’s cognate in English – “faggots” in US English if you will. The word is usually translated now as “gay”, but it can still be used pejoratively. I should add that “Die Zeit” is the flagship weekly of the German liberal “intelligentsia”. In the article translated below, “Schwuler” is used throughout.)

        The article consists of an interview with he owner of Sochi’s only club for homosexuals.

        The Grauniad did an article on this club several months ago as well.

        Note the leading questions that the German interviewer poses:


        Club Mayak is not recognizable from the outside. It is situated a long way from the sea front next to the new Hyatt hotel, which should be finished for the start of the Winter Olympics on 7 February. There is no sign and no advertising, only a small hidden camera above the black front door. All visitors have to ring to get into the basement. Roman Kochagov operates the club together with Andrei Tanichev . He moved from Moscow to Sochi 13 years ago and now sits in a room next to the stage.

        ZEIT ONLINE: Mr. Kochagov, how long have you been running your club in Sochi?

        Roman Kochagov: We have been the only gay club in the city for nine years now. Every night we offer our guests a transvestite show.

        ZEIT ONLINE: Were there any problems when you wanted to open your club?

        Kochagov: No, no problems. It is just a normal business, nothing special.

        ZEIT ONLINE : You know about the so-called anti-gay law that Putin signed in June?

        Kochagov: Of course.

        ZEIT ONLINE : As a gay, do you feel free and unrestricted in Sochi?

        Kochagov: Yes, I have been living with my boyfriend for 13 years here. Putin’s law against gay people is no problem. Only in public we do not hold hands or kiss.

        ZEIT ONLINE: Because you do not want to do this, or because you dare not?

        Kochagov: (thinks for a while) Well, in our country this law doesn’t apply in any case, because no one breaks it. As I said, we just do not kiss in public. In Russia , people generally have less tolerance than they have in Europe. The athletes should be much more afraid of Russian society than of such a law.

        ZEIT ONLINE: The new law supports homophobia and limits the freedom of liberal Russians. Do you really think this is a good law, or do you think keeping it is a mistake?

        Kochagov: I’d prefer not to answer that question.

        ZEIT ONLINE: Why not? Are you afraid of expressing yourself in a critical way?

        Kochagov: If I were afraid, I would not have agreed to have this interview with you. It’s just that these questions are important ones. Their answers are deep and I still have not found the answers for myself. So I shall just think about it before I answer you.

        ZEIT ONLINE: In Germany there is a debate about the law because it prevents gay or lesbian athletes from being able to kiss in public during the Games in February.

        Kochagov: That’s got nothing to do with me. Everything’s fine here for me and my friend.

        ZEIT ONLINE : For many athletes, politicians and homosexuals from other parts of Russia, the anti-gay law is a big issue. And you sit here in the only gay club Sochi and say it’s no problem?

        Kochagov: Well, it isn’t. This law’s no big deal. There’s nothing more to add.

        ZEIT ONLINE: Some politicians and athletes are even considering a boycott of the games.

        Kochagow: Olympic Games are sports competitions. They should have nothing to do with the rights and freedoms of homosexuals. Before travelling to an Arab country, you should find out about the local laws. If it is not allowed to drink alcohol out in the open, then don’t do it. Or just Imagine if Qatar hosted the Olympic Games. According to Qatari culture, women are not allowed to show in public any bare skin. What would European liberals say about that? I think foreigners, no matter where they come from, should respect the laws and culture of a country.

        ZEIT ONLINE: What does that mean for a homosexual couple that wants to walk holding hands during the Games through the streets of Sochi? The International Olympic Committee promises that freedom in its Charter.

        Kochagov: You had better ask the President of the IOC then, and not the president of a gay club.

        ZEIT ONLINE: In Moscow, gangs of youths use false names so as to lure young gay men into making a date. When the time comes, they film the gays, beat them up and then publish these videos on YouTube. Do you find that okay?

        End of translation

        The new law supports homophobia and limits the freedom of liberal Russians” says the German interviewer.

        So the interviewer believes it is wrong to forbid by law homosexuals discussing homosexuality and homosexual practices with children?

        Again, the actual purpose of the law is either wilfully ignored or misunderstood by a Western liberast.

        Does this interviewer really believe that a “liberal Russian” has the right to say to a kid: “Hey! Have you ever wondered what it’s like up the arse? Ever tried it? That’s what some gays do. Nothing to be ashamed about! They do it to show their love … and it’s normal. Animals do it as well. It’s quite natural”.

        What a shit interview and what a shit-head of an interviewer!

        The luring of homosexuals to a date and then filming them whilst they are being assaulted has nothing to do with “Putin’s Anti-Gay Law”, nor has it anything to do with homosexuals’ right to kiss and canoodle at the Sochi Games: it’s criminal assault and the bastards that do it should be condemned and severely punished.

        That club owner is spot on!

        He sounds like a smart bloke. If I’m not mistaken, the same fellow told the Guardian interviewer that he had been a truck driver and had enjoyed an active homosexual life in the USSR before opening bars and clubs in Sochi, adding that there has always been a homosexual underground, as it were, in that city and which has been silently tolerated.

        The rule is: don’t stick your head above the parapet!

        These Western “gays”, however, not only want to stick their heads above it, but also their bare arses.

        • This whole bizarre saga about this law shows how in order to assure itself that it remains at the forefront of the crusade for human rights the US amidst an orgy of NSA spy scandals, “black ops”, foreign invasions, drone warfare, “extraordinary renditions”, “enhanced interrogation techniques” (torture to you and me) etc is obliged increasingly to focus on the completely trivial. To understand how trivial just consider the question – how many people have actually been prosecuted under this law since it came into force? Perhaps Peter with his incomparable internet search skills can enlighten us. Personally I don’t know of a single case.

          The degree to which people in the US have completely lost focus, just consider this article by Adomanis about how the official US delegation to the Sochi games has been carefully selected to give particular emphasis to LGBT athletes.

          Adomanis makes some entirely valid points about the selectivity of the US position with its emphasis on what Russia does and its indifference to what US allies like Saudi Arabia do. However that was not the part of Adomanis’s article I found interesting. Quite apart from the fact that Adomanis also misrepresents the law by saying that it bans “gay propaganda” it also (undoubtedly here reflecting US opinion) thinks the decision to decision to select LGBT athletes for the official US delegation to Sochi is very clever and will impress and make a point to Russians. Though Adomanis does not mention it the case Americans like him are obviously thinking of is that of the black athlete Jesse Owens at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

          In reality the US action makes no point at all. It is in fact a classic case of throwing a punch that hits empty air. Most Russians are probably not even aware of this US act and would be completely indifferent to it if they were. If it was specifically drawn to their attention most Russians would probably think the Americans had taken leave of their senses. The reason is that there is NO campaign of persecution of LGBT people in Russia (certainly not one sponsored by the government) and only very limited interest in the whole question on the part of most Russians the vast majority of whom neither know nor care whether any particular American athlete is gay or not

          • marknesop says:

            Wasn’t there some Dutch camera crew or something, months ago, who were bundled out of the country for conducting interviews with youths in which they deliberately and provocatively asked them questions about their attitudes to homosexuality? There was an attempt at the time to link it with the new law, but it didn’t get any traction. In any case, there has certainly been no widespread persecution, and to the best of my knowledge the camera crew were not homosexuals themselves – they were just trying to be provocative and “edgy” and get a big story of Russian brutality, and their objective was confrontation with the authorities.

            There is not one Russian in a hundred who knows who Billie-Jean King is, and when she was in her heyday she endured no end of media attention – most of it unflattering – in her own country for her sexual orientation; she was rarely mentioned as an athlete without some rider about her being a lesbian.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Billie-Jean King had an affair with another famous Wimbledon champion, the Czech Martina Navratilova. I well remember the affair being in the news because it led to a host of smutty stories amongst my rugby team mates concerning ladies’ changing rooms and sweaty tennis racket handles.

              I didn’t partake in such tasteless discourse and conjecture, of course.

  35. yalensis says:

    Rosbalt, which tends to be somewhat sympathetic to Opps, reported with a straight face Tetiana Chornovol’s schizophrenic ramblings and accusations about Yanukovych personally ordering her death. Tetiana being the Most Important Person in All the World.

    Commenters were not overly impressed. One even started with a stale old dirty joke, which I believe was adapted from the Chapaev series of Russian dirty jokes, probably one of the dubious adventures of Анка-Пулемётчица (Anka, the Machine-Gun girl):

    Это как в том старом анекдоте: Черновол направляет ружьё на ЯнукОвоща:
    – “Да вы, Виктор Фёдорыч, похоже хотите меня снасильничать?”
    – “Да как же вы могли такое придумать, Татьяна Мыколаевна!”
    – “А придётся, дружок, придётся…”

    Chernovol aims her weapon at Yanuk.
    “Hey, you, Viktor Fedorych, were you thinking of trying to rape me?”
    “Why, Tatiana Mykolaevna, how could you possible assume such a thing of me?”
    “Oh, you WILL, my friend, you WILL!”

    • Dear Yalensis,

      There must come a point beyond which even the most closed minded Orange supporter starts to entertain doubts about Chornovil’s story. Yanukovitch ordered her killed. Really?

      I suspect that point of doubt has now come. There must now be increasing doubts about her claims within the Orange camp even if for political reasons no one will utter them. Claims that the attack on her was the work of the authorities will of course continue to be made if only to impress people like the Guardian and the US Senate but I suspect that from now on they will acquire an increasingly routine and ritual character.

      • marknesop says:

        But my point is that the authorities must follow this case to its bitter end, against the possibility it was a provocation by the opposition, as I believe it was. Alternatively, it could have been something cooked up by Chornovol herself; in any case, they are probably hoping the matter will be dropped once it is established to everyone’s satisfaction that the government had nothing to do with it (although western reporting will likely always imply that that was possible). But the case should be pounded on – if it can be proved there was opposition involvement – until it is crystal clear to everyone who the western kingmakers are aligning themselves with, just so there are no illusions (as there presently are without a doubt) that simply getting rid of Yanukovych is going to usher in an age of openness, honesty and transparency. Political opportunism has evolved to the extent that opposition forces everywhere will not hesitate to fabricate events in order to showcase “the regime” in a bad light. And this, most importantly of all, is a direct result of colour revolutions.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Of course such claims will be continued to be aired; they will be as frequent as the terms “polonium”, “Putin”, “tea” and “Litvinenko”, which are still regularly aired in the British press by its Tin-Tins and shitwit Guardianista commenters.

    • Krasnodar is near Sochi.

      Terrorists are spreading terror ouside of the Muslin republics of North Caucasus to Slavic/Orthodox areas of the country such as Stavropol and Krasnodar.

    • marknesop says:

      They may be, but whoever they were, they appear to have killed Islamic militants who had explosives with them in their vehicle. And the incident before that had the militant blow himself up in his car without injuring anyone else. Saved the police from killing them. I don’t think too many Olympic visitors are worried they will be murdered while they are there; they are worried they will be caught in a bombing of a large number of people. And considering the insistence of westerners on being able to go wherever they like and do whatever they like without fear or hindrance, it is amazing that western sympathies do not lie with the Russians – innocent civilians among whom are being killed for political statements. In those circumstances it would be extraordinarily foolish to explode a bomb among westerners, because it would coalesce support for Russia and against Wahhabism throughout the world. But of course that is not the situation – instead, there was a brief “We Are All Volgograders Now” statement from the State Department, then back to the non-stop efforts to derail the Olympics.

      • cartman says:

        They were local Muslims these Wahhabists killed and hoped to pin the crime on. It also makes the numbers of terrorists look larger.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          You can guarantee the dead taxi drivers were local Muslims: I’ve never seen a taxi driver down there who isn’t, though no doubt there are some: the North Caucasians seem to have cornered the taxi market in some places, and not only in Krasnodar Krai.

          Now I wonder why … and how?

          • marknesop says:

            As part of a broader scheme to unite the entire Muslim community against non-Muslims and inspire the massive conflict that will end in a Wahhabist Caucasian Emirate, that would seem to be a bit of a poorly-planned strategy.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              It could just be a local turf war.

            • Jen says:

              The Saudi-financed Wahhabi terrorists must be getting really desperate if they resort to targeting taxi drivers (and wasting their sponsors’ money) instead of hitting major transport network nodes; utilities infrastructure like major bridges, dams and electricity stations; or places where large groups of people, especially vulnerable people, assemble like schools, theatres, cinemas and places of religious worship.

  36. peter says:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      За последние годы отношение к гомосексуализму в обществе стало более нетерпимым. Доля противников однополых браков существенно выросла.

      МОСКВА, 11 июня 2013 г. Всероссийский центр изучения общественного мнения (ВЦИОМ) представляет данные о том, как россияне относятся к гомосексуализму, что думают о запрете на пропаганду этого явления и об однополых браках.

      Подавляющее большинство россиян поддерживают введение запрета на пропаганду гомосексуализма в стране (88%, в 2012 году – 86%). Противников данной инициативы – только 7%.

      Over recent years the attitude towards homosexuality in society has become more intolerant. The proportion of opponents of gay marriage has grown substantially.

      MOSCOW, June 11, 2013 All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) has presented information about the attitude of Russians towards homosexuality and what they think of the ban on the promotion of this phenomenon and of gay marriage.

      The vast majority of Russians support a ban on the promotion of homosexuality in the country (88% in 2012 – 86%). Those against – only 7%.

      Well who’d a thunk?!

      More evidence of Russian mediaeval barbarity!

      As a well-known Russophobe will no doubt say: “Another low for Russia!”

      And it’s all of Putin’s doing!

      • Hunter says:

        This reminds me of that issue that we had discussed last year (or was it the year before?) wherein it seems that quite a few in the western MSM seem to be flirting with the idea that democracy only means following the will of the people as long as that will converges with their interests and that taken to it’s logical conclusion what they are in essence advocating is the kind of democracy practised in South Africa before 1994 and in much of the western world before the advent of Women’s Suffrage and Universal Suffrage: democracy for a minority. Rather than accepting that not everywhere is going to be a clone of the United States or Germany, and that it is possible for a majority of people in Russia to have actually voted for Putin they rant on about stolen elections and imply that the opposition (which doesn’t have majority support) should be the real leaders of the country. No doubt they would rather support the 7% of Russians opposed to a ban on the promotion of homosexuality rather than the 80-odd percent who are in favour of such a ban, simply because the 80-odd percent don’t know what’s good for them.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          As Moscow Times head-banger opinion column scribbler Latynina has openly stated, only the self-appointed elite, which, of course, includes Latynina herself, should be the ones who vote in elections, as the “sheeple”, the lumpen proletariat and country-dwelling shit-kickers, are to too dumb to make voting decisions and should, therefore, not be allowed to vote.

          I am sure that she who was awarded a “fighter-for-democracy” award or whatever in Washington DC is not alone in this opinion, though others of her ilk prefer to keep their traps shut about this matter, unlike her.

          This attitude was labelled “Liberal-Fascism” a couple of years ago, I believe, by a right-wing US political scientist.

  37. peter says:

    • marknesop says:

      An hilarious story of the £80m security fence for the London Olympics, for those convulsed by imagery and anecdotes about fencing, which I did not realize was a group which included Kevin Rothrock. Evidently he has a lower amusement threshold than I had guessed. Anyway, this should crack him up; highlights – “[A]n eleven mile long glistening steel security cordon, topped with 5,000 volt electrical razor wire… an unprecedented annexation of urban territory, executed under the guise of a sporting festival…intimidating permanence…an 11 mile-long militarised barrier with a profound impact on the urban landscape”; ha, ha, ha!! I say, how jolly.

      The hilarious Sochi fences look a good deal less permanent to me, although I agree they must be side-splittingly funny to fencing aficionados.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        The “fence” looks to me as though it is simply a temporary structure that serves to protect the new stone cladding that has been applied to the column until the cement that fixes it has set.

  38. Pingback: Inside CIS-ster (#6) | Brit in Ukraine

  39. kirill says:–khrushcheva-calls-russia-weak–tawdry–and-corrupt—and-underserving-as-an-olympic-host

    Looky here, it’s another professional Russophobe, Nina Khruscheva yapping at Russia like the little chihuahua that she is. This the twat who caricatured Russians as “Lazy Ivan” on TVO’s Agenda with Steve Paiken. This is a racist slur, but it’s OK to use overt racist language when talking about Russians in the “politically correct” west.

    Anyway, to her little screed: Sochi was skiing destination before the Olympics and will remain so afterwards. The expanded facilities at Roza Khutor and elsewhere have increased the tourism capacity significantly. This basically has nothing to do with the Olympics. Russian skiing tourism will not disappear after the February so this moron does not apply the term “Potemkin village” correctly.

    As for the phrase “Potemkin village”, it is the usual western hypocrisy. It was routine for villages and facades to be erected when the King or Queen went on tour in many western countries. There is nothing uniquely Russian about this.

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