North America Needs a Volunteer Movement

Uncle Volodya says, "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. "

Uncle Volodya says, “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. “

Anyone who pays attention to anything I say might have noticed my commenting and general presence have been a little light over the past few days; whether at work or at home, I have barely been at my desk or at my house over the period. Last week was a killer, and I just could not spend the time on the blog I would like to. As I’ve mentioned on several occasions, I don’t do this for a living, but for fun. I’m aware that the huge queue of comments bogs things down and makes the page run slow – sometimes even crashing the browser (which is funny when you think about it, because so far I have used only 4.14 MB of my allowable space, which barely moves the needle, for the whole blog. How long does it normally take your computer to crunch up 4 MB? Typically not very long), but I can’t seem to get posts out any faster, and I am loathe to discourage free-thinking comments because the Russia-watcher blogosphere agrees we have hands-down the best comment section on the web: I am in awe of the amount of great information, thought and discussion generated by you guys.

Very much in that spirit comes this post, by Johan Meyer. A recent commenter here, Johan is a South African from Saskatchewan – a little like a griffin in a garage in that the two seem to have little in common but a shared first letter – and I think we have quickly learned to respect his intellect and be intrigued by his thinking and analysis.  In this post, Johan articulates the need for volunteerism to change the narrative and the direction in North America – a very timely point to make, as I have frequently said it is easy to criticize but much harder to propose solutions. See what you think. Johan?

“In prosperous times migration, outside of work responsibility and vacation, is a rite of old age – one’s responsibilities are taken care of, and one seeks to visit the places that stirred one’s imagination in youth. A few move early, and adopt new homes, but mostly, people go through life in the regions of their birth.

Entire continents are in migration. People flee poverty, disease, and -often foreign-sponsored – political regimes. Others flee with the loot. Neither group is very welcome with their hosts, whether within their native continents, or in ‘the west’.

The host societies grow loath to provide further training and employment of the migrants and their descendants, leading variously to crime – migrants are often housed, with the native underclass, in dilapidated older structures with lead paint, or near freeways, where they may breath the leaded exhaust fumes – now more remaining exhaust fallout, and the arriving generation is often from high lead poisoning countries; riots – crime and unemployment lead to contempt from the police; terrorism – a new generation finds meaning in instrumental yet fringe ideologies addressed mainly to them, such that they become others’ soldiers. The lucky ones end up in ethnic mafias, or employed in dead-end service jobs. By fleeing, their parents failed to escape.

Spending money on these migrants keeps them alive, in food and employment deserts, while the host tax payers ask where the return is on this investment; ditto with jails. The refugees end up with the underclass of their hosts. The native component of this underclass is growing, however, as the middle class is liquidated, and educational opportunities are drowned in debt-scams. People will fight for the same jobs, or join the informal economy. In response, protest movements are growing; they ask the established authorities for change.

An excessively criminal generation is now nearing administrative age – those born (in North America – other age sets apply to other areas; the causes are lead petrol/gasoline and paint – between 1970 and 1980 are now joining the ranks of bureaucrats and senior management. This is a generation disproportionately marked by instant gratification – forget investment in the next generation; narcotic consumption; irresponsibility – it is not their fault that their policies were implemented and failed; long fingers – contracts awarded to friends may cost more in the long run than public workers, but in the long run someone else is elected or given administrative responsibility; and the institutions and experience of previous generations can be sold to avoid selling a bond, so a bonus is in order. It is to this generation of administrators that protesters left and right address themselves.

Protest movements seem to operate under the assumption that their protest serves to inform societal administrators of popular sentiment, such that a threat of reelection should suffice. Yet popular sentiment and social science concur that we are living in a (still liberal) oligarchy – one may more or less speak one’s mind, but not get policies such as are not offered. If one wants something ‘special,’ one must do it oneself, and one might need some assistance from people who have done it before – a set of volunteers. The volunteers would need real world experience, rather than our ever present ‘volunteer’ masters of Derrida and Company, building up their resumes in the hope of an eventual paycheck.

Strelkov mentioned that he is part of a Russian volunteer movement, in which capacity he helped in Yugoslavia and Transnistria. Yet a volunteer need not be military, and need not leave his or her home city.

The state of education alone, under attack from the multitude of varieties of New Math and Whole Word Reading (the latter so unpopular that they had to sneak in Chomsky’s name to justify it at least a year after Hayes and others destroyed the claims in its favour) is grounds already for volunteer after-hours teaching; the removal of Euclidean geometry leaves a generation that lacks basic intuition of logic; the modus tollens is regarded as dubious, while affirmation of the consequent and denial of the antecedent get a pass. The idiocy of our societal propaganda is not obvious to all.

When the teachers are volunteers, and the students come of their own volition – and are free to leave – real education can occur, and a stronger bond can form between generations. Once the material is mastered, the students can tutor, thus strengthening the bonds within a generation.

Likewise, technicians, technologists and sometimes even scientists, can teach a self-motivated group how to maintain and operate abandoned equipment, and make new equipment. This will become more important as practical education becomes less available.

This kind of volunteering need not be sold as overtly political. It would occur best in a hobby club setting, for example, model train building, vehicular repair/racing, graphics/demo programming (in primary school, in South Africa, we would write BASIC programs that involved 3D graphics including rotating objects, based on cursory introductions written for our then maturity level, and then we would experiment with the math and programming; our school teachers generally couldn’t program). Amateur radio is hopelessly expensive and geared toward pre-built hardware, yet modestly intelligent children can learn to build radio sets, including etching printed circuit boards. Star gazing and satellite spotting/tracking go hand in hand. Economic information can be gathered, and the statements, policies and migration of bureaucratic and political personnel can be tracked. The examples multiply themselves.

What a healthy volunteer movement does for a society is take some of the initiative away from unaccountable authorities, and provides networks for independent gathering, dissemination and evaluation of information.

As skill is developed in training one’s own (recall that Strelkov’s main achievement was on the job training – the fighters didn’t suddenly begin to lose when he left), one may begin looking further afield, perhaps abroad – a more intelligent and self-disciplined generation isn’t due for another decade. Perhaps in thirty years, migration will become a rite of old age in the over-impoverished regions. As such movements grow around the world, the rise of questionable regimes and general stupidity and violence becomes more of a challenge to the powers that would be.”


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890 Responses to North America Needs a Volunteer Movement

  1. ThatJ says:

    LIVE: Skyline over Donetsk airport amid ongoing fighting after announced ceasefire

    LIVE camera is now placed in the north-west of Donetsk (Kievskyi district), pointed towards Donetsk airport. According to latest reports, neither side is currently in control of the airport.

  2. ThatJ says:

    From “Fighting Tapers Off in Ukraine as Cease-Fire Takes Effect”, New York Times, today

    “The agreement followed, almost verbatim, a cease-fire proposal issued by President Petro O. Poroshenko of Ukraine in June. It included amnesty for all those who disarm and who did not commit serious crimes, as well as the release of all hostages. Militias will be disbanded The separatists agreed to leave the administrative buildings they control and to allow broadcasts from Ukraine to resume on local television…For the future, the agreement said power would be decentralized and the Russian language protected. The agreement said the executive in control of each region, the equivalent of a governor, would be appointed after consultations with each region”

    Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but surely NovoRussia representatives agreed to no such thing today. This seems an effort at outright deception by the New York Times, as some such provisions were maybe proposed by Poroshenko in June, but certainly not agreed upon by DNR, LNR, and certainly not today. Am I incorrect? What is NYT’s motive — to grab some illusory victory for Poroshenko and the West by deliberately ambiguous wording in the article.

    The ceasefire will last until February. Once the winter is over, NATO and Ukraine’s army will be back only this time better prepared. The next false flag attack will be better planned and executed, and the army will be better equipped and so on…

    [both comments were taken from this article.]

  3. Fern says:

    It’s unclear, at least to me, what Ukrainian losses have been. Officially, Kiev’s talking about around 800 dead which seems absurdly low. The Saker has a post up mentioning figures in the tens of thousands. If the truce lasts long enough for there to be an exchange of prisoners, there are going to be an awful lot of Ukrainian families realising that husbands, fathers, sons and brothers aren’t coming home again. And judging by the very many horrible photographs and video clips available, many of the bodies are just left lying where they fell. If the Saker’s estimates of fatalities are closer to the mark than Kiev’s numbers, I can’t see how these losses can fail to impact Poroshenko’s administration. I can’t, in fact, see how he can survive. Maybe this is part of Russia’s thinking – that Kiev will implode once there’s a let-up in the fighting.

    • kirill says:

      The problem is that even tens of thousands of families is a drop in the bucket of the total population. The pain is localized and the average Banderastan resident will still consume the retarded propaganda dished out to them by the media. Change will require economic pain over sustained periods.

      As for the losses. I believe they follow the same Fibonacci sequence (approximately) that yalensis noted for the equipment losses. The number of deaths a couple of months ago was “small” but has exploded in the second half of August. Judging by the battlefield performance and the scramble to refresh the cannon fodder supply by the regime, it is most likely that the casualties are on the order of 30,000 but including wounded. I do not think that 40,000 deaths is realistic as there was not enough time to accumulate this many. Also, it would imply that the total losses are over 100,000 if the wounded are included. This is clearly excessive turnover of the regime forces for such a short period and especially when the “action” has been concentrated in August and September.

    • patient observer says:

      The official Ukraine losses are as disconnected from reality as their policies and actions. For starters, if their losses were in the 1-2% range of the personnel committed to the ATO, their forces would still be in good shape and not been forced back on some many fronts. 2nd, the neutralization of Ukraine air power means that fighting will likely involve heavy causalities as there will be no “shooting fish in a barrel” for the invading force. 3rd, the defending force has the advantage of local knowledge of the roads, terrain, etc. making ambushes very effective as well as helping in general defense. 4th, the number of caldrons suggest massive losses for the ATO as they ran out of ammunition and were ordered into suicidal breakout attempts. 5th the ATO was managed for political point-scoring objectives regardless of military imperatives resulting in rushed, unprepared and pointless attacks leaving their forces exposed to flanking attacks, encirclements, and all sorts of ambushes. 7th, the rebels apparently had vastly higher morale and motivation – they wanted to not just survive but to win as well. 8th – truly competent and brave leadership of the rebels made all the right moves while the ATO wandered blindly driven by politicians and nut-jobs. 9th – street fighting bullies apparently make horrible soldiers as their misplaced sense of invulnerability and reliance on intimidation tactics make them clay pigeons for a disciplined and determined opponent.

      I asked on several occasions how the opponent with vastly superior amounts of equipment, personnel and organization (i.e. the army) can be so decisively defeated by a grass-roots resistance with the superior force suffering causalities perhaps at a rate 10 times higher that the resistance. Seems unprecedented in modern history but I think that the forgoing offers a partial explanation.

      The militarily experienced commentators on this blog can certainly provide a more comprehensive and accurate list than I but it seem clear that the Saker and other similar estimates are pretty much spot on.

      The overwhelming advantage, at least on paper, of the Ukraine military led to colossal miscalculations. At the start of the ATO, I am sure that the likes of Clinton, Kerry, McCain, Nuland et al were already walking around with smirks and congratulating themselves at just how clever they were.

      My concern is a “retooled” ATO will this time be loaded with NATO/German assets of some sort. The real kicker would be if the Ukraine air force were replenished with NATO equipment and personnel using laser-guided bombs, armed drones, etc. attacking from beyond the range of MANPADs (a bogus political action and/or false flag would occur first to “justify” such an open involvement). Serbia in Kosovo showed how to deal with such weapons. Nevertheless it would place the rebels in a more difficult situation with the likely renewal of the ATO. At that point, Russia may need to directly intercede to match NATO.

      Or the Anglo empire and EU may write off the Ukraine project and settle for an independent Novorussia content that the Slavic Orthodox east was damaged and lot of people killed giving them their dose of perverse satisfaction.

      The Russian strategy seems quite subtle and long-term – win the battle for the hearts and minds of the more or less rational majority of the Ukraine population by relentless fairness and compassion. And, use military and economic resources as needed to parry the bludgeon moves of the faltering and blind western juggernaut until it expends itself.

      I think that your comments about the non-viability of Petro and implosion of the western project fits the above strategy. And, the best part is that the West does not know how to respond to it as they have no experience with morality and fairness.

      • Junter says:

        Well I think there is a precedent. Many precedents actually. Vietnam was one. And I think closer to Ukraine, the First Chechen War is another example of a precedent that seems to match this war a lot. In that war a post-Soviet state under the (near-)control of oligarchs and with a neglected armed forces fought a rebel force and did not win (at best it was a draw) despite having superior numbers, firepower and equipment.

        I discussed this in my first reply to this post some way up in the comments.

        • patient observer says:

          I don’t think Vietnam has parallels with the Ukraine conflict. Vietnam involved guerrilla warfare with of vastly different weapons and firepower between the two sides. Also, casualties for the Vietnamese side was vastly higher and to be expected the indiscriminate and massive use of air power.

          I hardly know anything about the first Chechen war however I suspect that the Chechenians were well established and had considerable military potential before the Russian army invaded. It is true that the Russian military leadership was disasterous and resulted in great and unnecessary losses yet could they be on the scale of the Uke losses?

          • Hunter says:

            In Vietnam the communist guerrillas had a lot of rifles, but they also had rockets, RPGs, AAMs and artillery since if I am not mistaken the communist guerrillas were actually highly integrated with the North Vietnamese Army:



            In South Vietnam, the guerrillas couldn’t rely on airpower much as how in Donbass the Novorussians cannot rely on airpower, but like the guerrillas in South Vietnam they have been able to threaten the opposing sides airpower from the ground.

            As for the First Chechen War:


            To summarize though we can make the following comparison: –

            1. First Chechen War:

            Government army – 38,000 (later 75,000) troops with numerical superiority in manpower and weapons

            Air support – solely on government side

            Time span – months; over a year in fact

            Government casualties – 5,700 killed, wounded or missing

            Outcome – Government army unable to decisively defeat the rebels

            Background – Political crises in Russian democracy; oligarchy; economy was going down the shitter

            2. Donbass War:

            Government army – 50,000 troops with numerical superiority in manpower and weapons

            Air support – solely on government side

            Time span (as of early September ceasefire) – months

            Government casualties – 3,500 killed or wounded according to government sources and 20,000 deserted or defected (according to government sources….which is HIGHER than the rebel estimates for desertion and defection of the Ukrainian government forces which are 13,500)

            Outcome (as of September 5/6 ceasefire) – Government army unable to decisively defeat the rebels

            Background – Political crises in Ukrainian democracy; oligarchy; economy was going down the shitter

    • marknesop says:

      Perhaps he has sold Roshen in preparation for fleeing the country to one of his NATO partners who so enthusiastically backed his “Anti-Terrorist” actions to “defend his country”.

      • colliemum says:

        IIRC, someone on The Saker posted that he sold Roshen to Yanukovich’s son.
        Makes sense, given that the Ukraine is just a fiefdom of a few more or less savoury oligarchs.

  4. Warren says:

    Kolomoisky’s propaganda station “Ukraine Today” is beyond a joke.

    Banderite Galicians are whipping themselves into a frenzy over the prospect of a “Russian invasion & occupation”.

  5. Hunter says:

    From what I can understand the new 12 point plan seems to be:

    1. Ceasefire

    2. “all to all” prisoners of war exchange,

    3. hardware withdrawal

    4. humanitarian aid access to the area (via humanitarian corridors)

    5-12…. ????

    Poroshenko though seems to have outlined his own proposals in conjunction with the ceasefire:

    1. Broad decentralization
    2. Special status for Donetsk and Lugansk
    3. Economic freedom
    4. Language and cultural freedom
    5. Amnesty

    But according to this:

    …it seems decentralization of powers is a part of the 12 point plan. So maybe that second list of 1-5 items is a part of the overall 12 point plans?

  6. Warren says:

    Edward Lucas has got himself all worked up over the alleged “kidnapping” of an Estonian border guard/policeman/intelligence officer – he has been tweeting incessantly over it.

  7. Malooga says:

    Since the post was about volunteerism in North America, I thought I would offer this:
    Militarizing Class Warfare: the historical foundations of the neoliberal/neoconservative nexus
    DAVID GABBARD East Carolina University, USA

    As the title suggests, the essay is a decidedly radical response to the book “Bowling in America,” which took up similar themes of community and volunteerism, focusing on social and moral values of people, while ignoring economic and material conditions. The essay traces the role of state propaganda in molding social values away from community involvement and towards the acceptance of neo-conservative martial interventionist policies, along with the role of neo-liberal economic policies in greatly reducing American’s free time, while increasing their stress and insecurity. It sees conscious public policies enacted by the elite as being involved in deliberately destroying the cohesive social fabric of society in order to render it more compliant to an imperial role in the world.

    A good read. 18 pages, intended for the college undergraduate.

    Secondly, would anyone care to dismantle the rather pessimistic arguments presented below on Russia’s diminishing geopolitical position after the events of the past year in the Ukraine. I know that it is a pro-US business blog, but nevertheless it is not completely mad like the MSM, and the arguments seem at least somewhat solid, and in diametric opposition to the sentiments found here — yet not that easy for me to debunk.

    From Odessablog: So where are we now?

    Thanks! Your blog is a daily read for me — though not when I am eating. I value the cleanliness of my computer monitor too much. But I greatly enjoy the humor and wordplay here, and the light touch to sober, heavy topics.

    • james@wpc says:

      Hi Malooga,
      This is just off the top of my head and I’ll probably think of something really clever just after I hit ‘send’ but the Odessablog piece is a reasonable sounding fact free propaganda piece. It reads like so many of the articles in the well funded ‘progressive left’ websites in the ‘West’.

      It, like its cousins in the west, is notable by what is not mentioned, its unconnected facts that are mentioned and conclusions that are unsupported by the text body.

      The only Ukrainian authority figure (thief) that is mentioned is Yanukovich and he has no input now. No mention of any of the remaining oligarchs or their neo-nazi hired help. The conflict is represented as being between Ukraine and Russia when it is an internal Ukrainian affair. One side is being supported by NATO and the other by Russia. The waring parties are the Ukrainian govt and the breakaway govts of Luhansk and Donetsk. This war is never mentioned. The only time Luhansk and Donetsk are mentioned is to draw attention to a meaningless difference between them.

      From the conclusion-
      “Ukraine is the victim because of its societal desire to rid itself of a corrupt architecture personified by the now vanquished former president, and as a consequence, the correct diagnosis within The Kremlin was that Ukrainian society will not accept a return to the status quo minus Yanukovych. Whilst the diagnosis is correct, it has resulted in the wrong prescribed cure as far as Kremlin outcomes are concerned.”

      There is nothing stopping the present Ukrainian govt from enacting any ‘reforms’ it wants regardless of any ‘prescribed cure’ the Kremlin wants or doesn’t want.

      “Short term tactics, illegal land grabs, plus asymmetrical and conventional warfare, have resulted in a coalescing not only of Ukrainian identity when it was previously flaccid, but also in an increased determination to bring about the democratic nation desired – even if the EU ceased to exist tomorrow, that will not change societal momentum regarding its goals.”

      The breakaway republics voted over 90% for increased autonomy. THAT’S democracy. As noted above, there is nothing stopping Ukraine getting on with its own democracy and be free of an area that they claim to be subsidizing. What’s not to like?

      “With short term tactics and long term strategy the key to both is time – and time is clearly on the side of Ukrainian society and not that of the current Kremlin occupants.”

      Apart from this being plainly not true (why else would they be calling for a ceasefire?), the contention is not supported in any way by the preceding argument.

      • james@wpc says:

        I should add the lack of mention of who employed the snipers at Maidan and the complete absence of any mention of the Odessa massacre in their own home town. But don’t get me started!

      • marknesop says:

        I agree. the author of Odessablog is a “progressive” by his lights and doubtless wants what he perceives to be best for Ukraine, and there is no use arguing that Ukraine was not corrupt because even the touchy-feely western NGO’s like Transparency International acknowledged it was even as they were trying to stroke it into the western camp, and therefore downplayed its corruption to the extent they could. However, the Odessablog piece skips over the fact that it is ever so much more corrupt now, with huge fiefdoms arbitrarily and openly granted to court favourites such as Kolomoisky. Such an arrangement might very well, if allowed to proceed, attract lots of western investment and improve the business climate, because western companies love profits and do not ask too many questions about how this profit-taking benefits the host society as a whole. Whether it would advance the standard of living for ordinary Ukrainians who could not afford to play the market, or advance Ukrainian independence, is another matter entirely.

    • marknesop says:

      Hi, Malooga; it’s good to see you; I’ve seen you before on Moon of Alabama. The author of Odessablog is in fact an Englishman, and I believe he is a businessman. We first made his acquaintance a couple of years ago when our old friend The Democratist put out a piece in which he excitedly announced the discovery of a new source in Ukraine who seemed to know “everything and everybody”. I at first thought it might be someone fairly low down in Tymoshenko’s clique, but it did not take long to discover that it was the author of Odessablog of whom he spoke. He seems quite well-connected and is easy and amiable to talk with; Odessablog is listed in the blogroll because he’s a useful on-location resource. His opinion is often on the liberal side and favours – of course – more western business; making money is at the bottom of liberal interventions more often than not, and such practices sometimes coincidentally benefit the locals, sometimes not.

      Our opinions rarely coincide, but he appears to be a genuine proponent of those opinions rather than a cynical activist who pretends to like one thing so as to advance an agenda less obvious. He also seems to be in Ukraine for the long haul and to have made his home there much as Moscow Exile has made his in Russia.

    • Hunter says:

      I think this article is the best debunking of the most of the material on Odessablog:

      In particular this section from the linked article above:

      The Uses and Abuses of “Russian Aggression”

      It is quite understandable that Kiev seeks to place the blame for its all of its setbacks on Russia. Promoting the notion that the country must rally to defend itself against external aggression is a time-honored strategy among fledgling regimes. It is troubling, however, that this motif is increasingly shaping domestic policies and limiting opportunities for political dissent.

      In the name of resisting “Russian aggression,” for the first time in post-Soviet Ukrainian history, mass political parties have been banned from parliament, legislation is being introduced that would prevent whole categories of civil servants from ever again participating in public life, foreign television broadcasts are jammed, and the Ukrainian media is now subject to legislation that makes it a violation of national security to say anything, or even to show pictures, that might undermine the war effort.

      Given the historical absence in Ukraine of classically liberal parties and politicians, and the gutting of institutional and judicial constraints on abuse of power, nationalist rhetoric has become the mainstream in Ukrainian politics. Moreover, it has become a handy tool for suppressing criticism of the current government. Thus, Prime Minister Yatseniuk recently suggested that anyone opposed to the draconian hikes in utilities fees must be an agent of the Russian security services. Even Maidan activists are not immune from accusations of being paid Russian agents.

      The following is a partial short list of recent government initiatives to combat “Russian aggression:”

      – In addition to banning certain Russian films for “distorting historical facts,” the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture has also come up with a list of 500 Russian performers and artists who will not be allowed to perform in Ukraine. Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Sych has gone a step further and proposed that all Russian language books be licensed and quotas imposed on all foreign literature sold in Ukraine.

      – The State Television and Radio Committee has asked all Ukrainians (not just officials) not to speak to any Russian news agency. To give teeth to what have so far been merely requests, new legislation would allow the government to close media and block websites on national security grounds without a court order. [Reporters Without Borders,, August 12, 2014]

      – Other legislation recently introduced gives state authorities the right to confiscate the assets of any official, media entity or private enterprise that is deemed to have expressed separatist sentiments, or that might do so in the future. Such “de-separatist lustration,” as it is known, will allow the government to confiscate the assets of individuals suspected or accused of separatism, and prevent them from holding public office for fifteen years.

      Some might argue that such legislation is necessary to prevent rebel leaders from someday being elected to local office. That day is still far off, if it ever arrives. Meanwhile, the law is being applied to some of the most moderate voices in Ukrainian politics, like Sergei Kivalov, a longtime representative from Odessa in the Ukrainian parliament who is also the dean of a local law school, and Ukraine’s longtime representative to the European Commission for Democracy through Law, better known as the Venice Commission.

      He is probably best known, however, for being the co-author of the 2012 law that allowed regions to adopt languages other than Ukrainian for official use. His past sins caught up with him last month when the current governor of the Odessa region formally requested the Prosecutor General of Ukraine to investigate Kivalov for treason.

      The broad strokes with which the term “Russian aggression” is being applied have dramatically changed the Ukrainian political landscape. Less than two years ago, the European Parliament deemed the political views of the Svoboda Party to be so “racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic” that it called upon all Ukrainian political forces to eschew any coalition with it. Today, with the deputy speakership of parliament and four ministerial portfolios, it is considered almost mainstream in Ukraine.

      Individuals and groups even more extreme have profited from this rightward shift. Oleg Lyashko, Ukraine’s own version of Vladimir Zhirinovsky, gathered a surprising 8 percent of the national vote in the presidential elections earlier this year, while the coalition of political forces known as the Right Sector has been able to parlay its own virulent brand of nationalism into political clout that far outstrips its electoral support.

      The Kyiv Post reports how this past June, the city’s chief prosecutor and three of his deputies were suspended at the insistence of the Right Sector. And in late August, the Right Sector’s leader, Dmitry Yarosh, told Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko that he had just forty-eight hours to release the members of his organization detained by the police, and fire the deputy minister of internal affairs, Vladimir Evdokimov. Failure to do so, he said, would result in a mobilization of the Right Sector’s reserve battalions for a “march on Kiev.” Needless to say, Yarosh’s demands were quickly met.

      President Poroshenko himself has not commented publicly on any of these incidents, though he did refer to the members of parliament who oppose the current military campaign because of its heavy toll on civilians as “a fifth column controlled from abroad.” He also signed into law legislation to disband the Ukrainian Communist Party in parliament. Both actions make his inaugural pledge to protect the distinctiveness of eastern and southern Ukrainians ring hollow.

      Same Problem—Different Solutions

      So how does this conflict end? Both Russia and the West say they want stability in Ukraine, but they have very different ideas about how to achieve it. Western governments appear oblivious to the cultural context of the conflict and how it affects the country’s political and economic choices. They assume that the main problem Ukrainian society faces is corruption. If corruption can be tackled, so the argument goes, then regional differences will simply fade away.

      Russia, on the other hand, sees Ukraine as a culturally fragmented society. Endemic corruption builds on these divisions and leads to political gridlock. Only by finding a way to resolve this cultural divide, Russia argues, can Ukraine prosper.

      These different perspectives lead to very different approaches to resolving the conflict. For the West, dealing with the concerns of the Russian-speaking population is a distraction. Moreover, Kiev has convinced many in the West that Russia is only supporting the Russian-speaking population of Ukraine for its own political advantages and that it is therefore perfectly justified in promoting Ukrainian culture at the expense of Russian culture.

      Russia, on the other hand, does not believe that the issue of cultural rights in Ukraine is going away anytime soon. Based on the previous experience of the Yushchenko regime, it believes that government efforts to forcibly Ukrainianize the east will exacerbate social tensions and lead to a backlash. The only way to ensure the stability of Ukraine is to grant the Russian cultural minority equal rights throughout Ukraine. This is something that the current regime in Kiev categorically opposes.

      None of this bodes well for a rapid end to the conflict. While military resistance in the region may eventually be quashed, Ukrainian military commanders understand that this will not end rebellious sentiments in Donbass. According to the deputy commander of the Azov battalion, one of the many privately funded units that fight alongside the Ukrainian army, his men are being retasked for the indefinite mission of combating the “separatist underground.” To assist in future pacification, President Poroshenko recently signed legislation that allows state prosecutors in liberated areas to initiate investigations without judicial oversight.

      Since it cannot count on the loyalty of former officials, Kiev will also be obliged to impose an entirely new political and economic elite on Donbass. By some accounts, the governing oligarch of the neighboring region of Dnepropetrovsk, Igor Kolomoisky, is planning to acquire a large portion of Donbass after it has been pacified.

      For the foreseeable future, therefore, Donbass will most likely be deprived of any effective political voice, becoming essentially an occupied territory. Local concerns will no longer be effectively captured in national elections, since the parties popular in the east and south have been suppressed. As a result, resistance will be driven underground, spawning a subculture of resentment against “the occupiers” that will haunt Ukrainian politics for many years to come. Persistent unrest also means that the political and economic reforms envisioned by the EU Association Agreement will be impossible to implement nationwide. The United States went through a similar phase after the Civil War. In the North, it was euphemistically referred to as Reconstruction, but in the South it was more commonly called “carpetbagging.”

      But the most insidious danger, as yet little understood in either the West or in Ukraine, is that after the end of the fighting, the threat of “Russian aggression” will continue to be used to deny the people in eastern Ukraine not just their cultural rights, but their political rights as well. Should the psychological and financial burden of the occupation of Donbass linger, it will most likely spell the end of Ukrainian democracy.

    • Johan Meyer says:

      I read the top article. I have some observations. one could make an entire curriculum around that article, and upon implementing it, it would change nothing substantial. I say this, despite being very sympathetic to its thesis.

      The problem of passivity is passivity. Solve that problem, and then such an article becomes educational. Your students study for the test, as it is a hoop that they have to jump, rather than for insight, by and large. If you want to address passivity, start with a group activity. Start with the largely physical, e.g. a cycling club in a school. Then make it a map reading exercise. And so forth. A political question only becomes interesting when a person is invested in it.

      Take the broadcasting issue. Having students do podcasts about matters that interest them, listen to each others’ productions, and discuss afterward, and then listen to commercial broadcast is a rather effective way to make students aware. Another thing is to get students to take a commercial media story (and/or advertisement), and list the who, what, where, when, how and why, and then try to fact-check. Students who haven’t had nasty experiences with the legal system might want to sit in a trial; explain to the students what portions of the trial are arbitrary, the problems of intentional and accidental false eyewitness testimony, the limits of evidence, the unwillingness of prosecutors to go after certain defendants, and leave the matter there.

  8. Warren says:

  9. Moscow Exile says:

    “… the essay is a decidedly radical response to the book “Bowling in America,” which took up similar themes of community and volunteerism, focusing on social and moral values of people, while ignoring economic and material conditions. The essay traces the role of state propaganda in molding social values away from community involvement and towards the acceptance of neo-conservative martial interventionist policies …

    This stress on morality in the USA as espoused by George W. Bush’s presidency brought to mind a book I read a few years ago, written by Australian philosopher Peter Singer. It was at my dacha library and I brought it back to Moscow with me last week in order to read it again.

    In view of the fact that some have now taken to praising Bush in the light of the present US president’s ministries, something mentioned above in this particular thread, allow me to quote at some length part of Singer’s introduction to the book in question: “The President of Good and Evil”:

    George W. bush is not only America’s president, but also its most prominent moralist. No other president in living memory has spoken about good and evil, right and wrong. His inaugural address was a call to build “a single nation of justice and opportunity”. A year later, he famously proclaimed North Korea, Iran and Iraq to be an “axis of evil”, and, in contrast, he called the United States “a moral nation”. … Open trade is a “moral imperative”. Another “moral imperative”, he says, is alleviating hunger and poverty throughout the world. He has said that “America’s greatest economic need is higher ethical standards”. In setting out the “Bush Doctrine”, which defends preemptive strikes against those who might threaten America with weapons of mass destruction, he asserted: “Moral truth is the same in every culture, in every time, in every place”. But in what moral truths does the president believe? Considering how much the president says about ethics, it is surprising how little serious discussion there has been of the moral philosophy of George W. Bush.

    Bush’s tendency to see the world in terms of good and evil is especially striking. He has spoken about evil in 319 separate speeches, or about 30 percent of all the speeches he gave between the time he took office and June 16, 2003. In those speeches he uses the word “evil” as a noun far more often than he uses it as an adjective – 914 noun uses as against adjectival uses. Only twenty-four times in all these occasions on which Bush talks of evil, does he use it as an adjective to describe what people do – that is, to judge acts or deeds. This suggests that Bush is not thinking about evil deeds, or even evil people, nearly as often as he is thinking about evil as a thing, or force, something that has a real existence apart from the cruel, callous, brutal and selfish acts of which human beings are capable. His readiness to talk about evil in this manner raises the question of what meaning evil can have in a secular modern world. …

    … This book expounds George W. Bush’s ethic as it is found in his speeches, writings, and other comments, as well as the decisions he has made as an elected official … [focusing] on those issues that most sharply raise fundamental ethical principles and hence reveal the president’s views about right and wrong.

    Once we are clear about what Bush’s ethic is, the question arises: how sound is it? Or at least, that question arises for everyone who believes that there is a role for reason and argument in ethics. Some think that all we can ever do in ethics is state our own position, and if others hold different views, we can no more argue against them than can we argue against matters of taste. Bush rejects this skepticism about morality. Speaking at the inauguration of his second term as governor of Texas, he said that our children must be educated not only in reading and writing, but also in right and wrong, adding: “Some people think it’s inappropriate to make moral judgments any more. Not me”. Well, not me either, so that is one view about morality on which the president and I both agree. …

    … The fact is that George W. Bush is the president of the world’s only superpower is reason enough for wanting to understand his moral views. But it is not the only reason. Bush represents a distinctly American moral outlook – not, of course, one shared by all Americans, but nevertheless one that plays a central role in American public life than it plays anywhere else. Having lived most of my life outside the United States, I am frequently struck by how differently Americans think from Europeans, Australians, and even Canadians about social, political, and ethical issues. … So this book is not only a study of the ethics of one United States president,, but also an outsider’s look at a major strand of American thinking – the way of thinking that currently guides the world’s dominant nation, and that openly espouses the aim of making the twenty-first century “the American century”. …

    … Tens of millions of Americans believe that [Bush] is sincere, and share the views that he puts forward on a wide range of moral issues. They also accept unquestioningly the bright, positive image of America and its unique goodness that shines through his speeches. Those who think I am naive about Bush’s own views may therefore see what follows as an examination and critique of a set of beliefs widely shared by the American public, no matter whether the chief spokesperson for the position really believes what he is saying.

    You can download “The President of Good and Evil” here.

  10. Warren says:

    Poland and Ukraine: history of break-downs

    By Yuri RUBTSOV (Russia)

    The ongoing crisis in Ukraine and unseemly role of Poland in its instigation and development makes us take another look at the historical context of the Polish-Ukrainian relations. We will focus on dramatic repressions of the Ukrainian minorities in Eastern Poland in 1921-1939 at the territories annexed by Jozef Piłsudski’s government from the Soviet Russia according to Peace of Riga 1921, which eventually triggered ultra-Nationalist Ukrainian terror against the Poles during the WWII (culminating in massacres in Volhynia and Eastern Galicia in 1943-1944).

    Poland, which used to be a part of the Russian Empire, emerged at the European political map in November 1918 as a result of German’s defeat in WWI. The period of the so-called Polish Republic, which lasted until 1939, was characterized by the rampant Polish nationalism. The attempts of ethnic minorities – Ukrainians, Belarusians, Jews, Russians and Lithuanians – to preserve their national identity were quelled in the cruelest way. The regime of Juzef Pilsudski and its supports were reluctant to respect the basic minorities’ rights. It had greatly weakened Poland making it doomed to collapse as soon as Germany military delivered the first strikes in 1939. It suffered defeat not only due to military superiority of Wehrmacht over the Polish armed forces but rather because of internal divisions tearing up the Polish society from inside – only few were ready to offer staunch resistance to defend the country which was more like stepmother than motherland.

    Here is the historical paradox. Winston Churchill made an apt remark calling Poland the «Greedy Hyena of Europe». For many Western historians this role of Poland paled once it became the victim of Hitler’s military intervention. The same way the crimes of German Nazism made pale the ethnic cleansings and rough treatment of dissidents that the regime of Pilsudski used to commit in its concentration camps.

    Long before the notorious Nazi concentration camps where built in the Third Reich, Poland had acquired vast experience of getting rid of the dissenters who disagreed with the ruling regime. In 1934 the first concentration camp was organized in Bereza Kartuska (the territory of contemporary Belarus) to imprison those who were accused of «anti-state» activities: the activists of Ukrainian, Belarusian and Jewish national movements, Communists, members of underground groups and Orthodox Church clergymen…There were no clear rules about who to imprison – they were putting all dissenters without distinction into the camp. The «correctional education» included inhumane conditions, exhausting labor, harassing labor, beatings and tortures.

    Polish “law enforcement” officers were closely linked to its Nazi German colleagues, the same way as their bosses, Joseph Goebbels and Hermann Göring regularly visiting Poland, foreign relations chiefs Joachim von Ribbentrop and Josef Beck were often seen together. Józef Kamala–Kurhański, the commandant of the camp in Bereza-Kartuska, had even received training in Germany. Ironically, he perished in Auschwitz in 1941. Germans were extremely pragmatic: when you are done, you can go.

    Germany needed Poland to do what it wanted – ethnic cleansing in Kresy (today’s Western Ukraine, Western Belarus, as well as Lithuania) captured by Poland as a result of the 1920 war with the Soviet Russia. Nazi wanted those lands to be free from «aliens» like Ukrainians, Belarussians and Jews. The Polish regime coped with the task perfectly. Everyone non-Polish was forced to leave, the regime inspired Jewish pogroms in urban areas and coercive polonization was gaining momentum. No matter “aliens” accounted for 40 % of Kresy population with Orthodox Church parishioner prevailing, they were banned of their right to speak, read and teach children in their native tongues, as well as to pray in their churches. Only 37 Belorussian schools out of 400 remained in Western Belarus. 1300 Orthodox churches were demolished and plundered.

    In order to increase the Polish population Piłsudski’s regime used to offer extensive land lots to the retired Polish military officers making them and their families settle down in Kresy (mostly in Volhynia). They were at the forefront of assimilation policy to evoke the feeling of hatred among non-Poles. Dr. Gennady Matveev argues that the regime made Poles hostages of their own ethnocratic policy leading to international strife, in particular the Volhynia massacre of 1943-1944, which claimed the lives of 80 – 100 thousand Poles and Jews killed by the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).

    Another aspect is that UIA had its own Nazi ideology which left no place neither for Poles, nor Russians or Jews on the Ukrainian soil. Hitler used the gangs of Stepan Bandera and Roman Shukhevych to cleanse the Volhynia-Podolian region, as well as some other areas of Reichskommissariat Ukraine, of Poles and Jews. Inhuman atrocities committed by Bandera followers became a routine matter. They formed special «instruments» to do the job – from battalion Nachtigall to Galicia Division. The Volyn massacre was not spontaneous, it was actually a paramilitary operation, thoroughly planned and “effectively” carried out by the UIA.

    Today neither Warsaw nor Kiev seem to be willing to recall these stories. Moreover, they demonstrate rare solidarity when it comes to fighting the Russian national-liberation movement in Donbass. Polish involvement on the highest political level in punitive actions in Novorossia was repeatedly reported (e.g. check the cases of Othago private military company run by the former Internal Affairs Minister Bartlomiej Sienkiewicz and Jerzy Dziewulski, the security advisor to ex-President Aleksander Kwasniewski).

    Unsurprisingly, the Poles and Ukrainians who used to exterminate each other 80 years ago, today are united on the basis of Russophobia. Ideological descendants of Josef Piłsudski, disguised in democratic clothes, are using multiple rocket launchers and white phosphorus bombs against civilians in Donbass. Piłsudski and Poroshenko regimes are not exactly twins, but evidently birds of the feather flocking together.

    It will hardly be a surprise if the Poles share their Bereza Kartuska experience with Poroshenko and Avakov. In June 2014 Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence came out with an initiative to build filtration camps for all adult people of Novorossia, including women, to find those who have ties with the «separatists». He suggested that others should be deported to other regions.

    Again, as dozens of years ago, political leaders agitate people to make their wild instincts come out. The majority of Ukrainians and Poles are hardly prone to xenophobia and intolerance to another opinion, but they are directly incited to be hostile to the neighbors who want to speak another language and prey in different churches.

    We don’t want to make open old and still hurting wounds; we’re not calling on the Polish people to always make Ukrainians remember that they were responsible for the Volhynia massacre. But the lessons of history should not be forgotten. Back then Hitler connived at Pilsudski supporters who were cleansing eastern Kresy of Ukrainians, Belarusians and Jews. Then Hitler’s special services were condescending when the UIA militants massacred dozens of villages to cleanse them of Poles. If Warsaw convinces itself that Russia is the main enemy and the Ukrainian ultra-Nationalists are their best friends, it will face another Volhynia tragedy. Perhaps it would be called differently but the consequences may be even more tragic.

    No doubt if Poland admits its guilt and takes on responsibility for the deeds of the predecessors, the country situated between Western and Eastern Europe, would pave the way for new promising international prospects and play an important role defining the fate of the Old Continent.

    Source in Russian: Strategic Culture Foundation

    • colliemum says:

      Thank you, Warren, for these articles. Unsurprisingly, these Polish criminal acts are not common knowledge in the UK, where the Polish air force pilots are celebrated, many of whom stayed on here after the end of the war.

  11. ThatJ says:

    Battalion Aydar convoy was ambushed today, 35 killed and 3 captured — on the militia’s side, 1 wounded:

    Taken from Colonel Cassad’s blog.

  12. yalensis says:

    Senator McCain’s message to the Ukrainian people:

    Bullet points:

    -Ukraine will become Transnistria..
    -Meany old Russia getting away with it…
    -Plucky Ukes fighting against impossible odds … and losing…
    -More blah blah blah
    -Sorry, guys, I tried, but those other pricks in Washington refuse to help you..
    -More blah blah blah

    In conclusion:
    “You guys are Shit out of luck. Boy am I glad I’m not you. Toodles, and have a nice day!”

  13. ThatJ says:

    Putin had a public burial in Kharkiv:

  14. kirill says:

    So, the EU will impose a new round of sanctions on September 9th. I think this is significant. In spite of appearances, there is no pullback by Russia on support for the rebels. Just as the regime is getting breathing room, so are the rebels. The NATzO response indicates to me that they see no compromise from Russia. Russia will continue to arm the rebels and when the regime dogs launch some future offensive they will not succeed.

    • colliemum says:

      This may be wild speculation on my part, but it seems possible that this cease fire is Putin’s last warning to NATO and the West.
      Given that the sanctions are still being applied, no matter what, and given the well known differences between Porky and Kholomoiski who cannot or will not keep his private militia under control, it seems possible that one breach of the cease fire by the junta means that the polite men in green will indeed come – after the NATO exercise.
      I think Porky is well aware of that, as is The West.
      Don’t forget that we’re not told everything that goes on behind their closed doors …

  15. ThatJ says:

    The EU says the sanctions, targeting more Russian individuals, will come in on Monday but could be suspended if Russia withdraws troops from east Ukraine and observes a current truce.

    New sanctions planned

    The package includes “enhanced measures related to access to capital markets, defense, dual use goods, and sensitive technologies,” an EU statement said.

    It also includes sanctions against the rebel leadership in eastern Ukraine, the government of Crimea, annexed by Russia in March, and Russian decisionmakers and oligarchs, it said.

    [ThatJ: Good, this would finally free Russia’s hands to do whatever it pleases. Sanctions are engineered by America and Ukraine is just an excuse for what is in reality an economic war. No wonder, then, that regardless of what Russia does, they keep coming]

    The United States is preparing a new round of economic sanctions against Russia for its incursion into Ukraine, a senior White House official said on Thursday on the fringes of a NATO summit in Wales. Deputy White House national security adviser Ben Rhodes gave no details of the sectors that would be targeted but told reporters that the new penalties were being finalized.

    NATO reminds Russia: No third country has veto power

    NATO, responding to Russian warnings against Ukraine’s bid to join the western alliance, said on Friday that no third country could have a veto over its enlargement policy and took new steps to advance Georgia towards membership.

    • Now is the time for war. Novorossiya (backed by Russia) should take as much land as possible and kill as many enemies as possible. Only then should they negotiate. Make the junta negotiate from a weak position.

      Russia should not worry about the sanctions at this moment. Only after the war is over and the enemy is defeated.

    • Fern says:

      The message of these sanctions to watching countries must surely be that you’re nuts to want to do business with the west. It just isn’t worth it, the more economic relationships there are with the US and its European satellites, the more vulnerable you are. Surely it’s much more sensible to put energy and time into developing trade with the ‘non-international community’ world. The west may gain short-term geopolitical advantages from these games but, long-term, they have to be contributing to its eventual decline.

    • patient observer says:

      I agree that Ukraine is one part of an economic war against Russia – minimize the Eurasian economic union and try to trigger a recession if not depression in Russia to be followed by a renewed effort at a color revolution.

      The unintended consequences seem to include a solidification of the will of the Russian population to reject Western pressure, a strengthening of domestic industries, accelerated cooperation with China and other BRICS on all levels and a serious assault on the dollar hegemony. The reaction of the one-eyed no-brain Anglo empire will be more of the same – threats, histrionics, self-inflicted economic wounds (especially the EU), black operations and a tsunami of propaganda like the world has never seen to keep its population befuddled and compliant.

      • patient observer says:

        Also the sanctions are nicely undoing the damage to domestic industry caused by Russia joining the WTO. Is this the beginning of the end of the WTO as trade is only free when a country toes the western political line (i.e. WTO membership guarantees nothing)?

        • Jen says:

          One possible effect of the sanctions regime that the West should have foreseen from the Iranian experience is that it not only can strengthen the government targeted but also weaken or divide the “political opposition” as represented by Alexei Navalny through its support base. In Iran, the people most affected by the sanctions regime there are the middle class and upper middle class who would support the Green Revolution if and when it comes. I’m assuming here that most EU and other Western products imported into Russia were boutique items out of reach of most Russian people due to cost and only people in very high-income jobs and who supported Navalny & Co could afford to buy them.

  16. Fern says:

    Following on from Warren’s very interesting posts on little known (in the UK at least) aspects of Polish history, here’s an article from Dimitry Babich on modern manifestations of extreme Polish nationalism and why Donald Tusk’s selection as the next EU’s head honcho is seriously bad news:-

    Mr. Tusk has visited Russia many times, and he has (or at least used to have) good working relationships with both Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev. He also knows how insane and conspiracy-minded modern nationalism in Ukraine and in his native Poland can be. However, Donald Tusk still calls for “crusades” against Russia – and he is most likely speaking against his own conscience.
    Why am I so sure that Mr. Tusk knows the dark side of Polish nationalism? Because just recently, Mr. Tusk became an indirect victim of the powerful anti-Russian current inside the many-faced Polish nationalist movement. After the plane crash in Smolensk in 2010 led to the death of Tusk’s political rival, former president Lech Kaczynski, the conspiracy-minded nationalists from Kaczynski’s Law and Justice party (PiS in Polish) accused Tusk of masterminding the disaster together with the Russians and with Poland’s new president, Bronislaw Komorowski. Ugly articles in the press and insulting, absurd protests followed, with Polish nationalists putting up a cross against the residence of President Komorowski in order to remind him of his “union with the Russians” and his “crime in Smolensk.”
    Both Russian and Polish investigators have presented a lot of factual evidence showing that the plane crash in Smolensk was the result of bad weather, human error and the late president’s insistence that the plane land under any circumstances. But any evidence exculpating Russia is lost on Ukrainian and Polish nationalists….”

    • Warren says:

      Here is one such Polish nationalist-orientated “conspiracy” documentary on 2010 crash – with a Edward Lucas cameo appearance along with the usual cast of professional Russophobes & dissident/traitor/s.

    • Warren says:

      I’ve read conflicting reports saying that Donald Tusk is really a German puppet – that he will always do Angela Merkel’s bidding. Which in itself may not be such a bad thing, because Germany present crisis noted, has consistently been the most friendly least hostile of the EU member states to Russia.

      • colliemum says:

        Don’t worry – Donald Tusk will be domesticated by the Brussels bureaucrats, or rather Brusselocrats, in no time. It is they who run things, and that bureaucracy of faceless, unelected and unaccountable bureaucrats is run along the lines of French centralised government theory, as exemplified by their ‘ENArchs’, the alumnies of their famous Ecole Nationale d’Aministration; the bureaucratic elite.
        Tusk won’t know what hit him, he’ll toe the line p.d.q., and ultimately it’ll be according to French, not German interests.

  17. ThatJ says:

    Novorossia to be supplied with cheap Russian gas. This is actually good PR by Russia, considering the fact that the rest of Ukraine is already struggling with energy and will have to deal with the junta-imposed, fuel-saving, energy-cutting, price-increasing “patriotic” program. Affordable and reliable energy is perhaps the main component of any modern state:

    • Moscow Exile says:

      You’ve all heard of Holodomor!

      Now coming shortly, courtesy of those evil Moskali who willfully starved millions of Yukies to death….


      Pictures of freezing Yukies are already circulating in Canada and will soon appear in books that will illustrate to the International Community the true nature of the Mongol-Tatar-Finno-Ugric beast that masquerades as a Slavic nation!

  18. yalensis says:

    Touching human interest story about the youngest Beslan survivor, Alyona Tskayeva, then a 6-month infant, now an adorable 10-year-old child; and how a journalist reunited her with the Speznaz policeman, Elbrus Gogichaev who rescued her.

    Alyona lost her mother (Fatima) and her older sister (Kristina) to the terrorists.
    In desperation, Fatima had handed the baby to another woman who pretended it was her baby, and was among the hostages who were allowed to leave, just before the terrorists blew up the building.

    Due to this, there was some confusion about the baby’s identity, before the situation was straightened out; then Alyona was eventually reunited with her father (Ruslan), and her older brother Makar, who had also been a hostage and was tossed out a window by his mother, just before the building blew up.

    The policeman, Elbrus Gogichaev, attempted for many years to avoid the limelight, even though his face had become known around the world, due to the iconic photo. The world was intrigued by this image of a big, macho Speznaz cop gently cradling a vulnerable infant in his arms.

    But eventually Elbrus, a little older, a little grayer, his face still showing a nobility of character, was reunited with Alyona, for the nice photograph that is shown here.

  19. Warren says:

    More propaganda from UT.

  20. ThatJ says:

    Schizoid woman dressed in the Russian tricolor and with bloodied hands protests in St. Petersburg:

    • kirill says:

      There’s a retard in every crowd.

      This is why protestor permits need to enforced. Pack this turd off for Kiev. Perhaps she can help the regime there slaughter some civilians. But they are Russians so I guess they do not bleed since they are not really humans.

      If I was there I am not sure I would have the self-restraint to smack her in the head hard. I don’t care that I would be resorting to violence. These scumbags routinely resort to mass murder.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Any protest against the”system”, the “powers that be”, the government is always valid according to these dipshits.

    • Warren says:

      Attention whore, she wants to be famous and have her picture splashed across the Western media – celebrated as a brave Russian “liberal/dissident” fighting the Putin “regime”.

  21. Warren says:

  22. cartman says:

    This is amazing:

    “In short, of the $3.2 billion disbursed to the Ukrainian treasury by the IMF at the start of May, $3.1 billion had disappeared offshore by the middle of August. The role of the leading Ukrainian banks, and of the Kiev officials allied with them, in arranging this was reported here.”

    So are they paying soldiers at all? This is the nice government that the United States installed to stamp out corruption in the Ukraine and all (or almost all) of the IMF money has been stolen by it already.

    • colliemum says:

      But then again – why worry: it’s not their, it’s only other people’s (our) money …
      I shall be using that link!

    • ucgsblog says:

      Nope, they’re not. As I’ve said before, Ukraine’s army now is like Russia’s in the 1990s. Enjoy:

      That’s from 1997: “Как – то во времена тотального безденежья, еще при “царе Борисе”, сидел я у себя в части в кабинете и мечтал непонятно о чём. Мой друг и сослуживец Андрюха сидел рядом и, зевая, пялился в окошко. За окном было лето и бригадный плац. До получки было еще чёрт знает сколько дней. Перехватить, сколько- нибудь денег у кого-либо не представлялось возможным, потому, что кто-либо тоже сидел без денег. Андрюха зевнул во всю пасть и за малым чуть не вывернул челюсть. Наверно как обычно, сейчас предложит сходить в “чипок” и съесть пельменей под запись”

      They later figured out a way to make money, the story’s true, but that was the exception, not the rule. This is also from the Russian army, circa 1999:

      “мне показали статью в газете, где были примерно такие слова: “…Тихим августовским утром, ни кем не замеченный, артиллерийский полк, бесшумно растворился в утреннем тумане, держа путь по направлению Дагестана…” Я помню, смеялся, аж до икоты. Как же, ни кем не замеченный, бесшумно растворился. Да наш полк, сутки добирался до станции погрузки. Мужественно преодолев, аж двадцать километров, родной земли. Не нюхавшая топлива в течении последних четырёх лет, наша техника стояла на всём протяжении дороги до станции. Что можно говорить о водителях, которые в большинстве своём, видели боевые машины впервые. Всё что могло двигаться самостоятельно, тащило “русскую недвижимость”, которая составляла семьдесят процентов, от общего количества техники. Грохот и мат стоявший на всём протяжении маршрута до станции, в течение суток не давали покоя жителям домов, окна которых выходили на дорогу. Вот так вот мы ни кем не замеченные, бесшумно растворились в утреннем тумане. Люди не обучены элементарному. Многие водители, впервые оказались за рулями и рычагами. Мне лично посчастливилось загонять на платформу все семь единиц своей, убитой горем техники, так как штатные водители, в один голос категорически отказались, от этого рискованного мероприятия. Можно было конечно предположить саботаж или ещё что-то из этой оперы, но тут был один веский контраргумент – наполненные животным ужасом глаза, моего необученного войска. Законный вопрос. А что же вы господа офицеры, такие правильные и пушистые не обучили своих солдат? Куда смотрели? Этот вопрос прошу задать тем, которые развалили нашу армию. Когда в баках, вместо топлива паутина. На стройках вместо рабочих – солдаты. А в кармане дырка, которая не беспокоит, потому что туда не чему выпадать. Делайте выводы. Может ли в разваленной стране, быть образцовая армия.”

      Welcome to the state of Ukraine’s armed forces. These are the boys and girls whom Poroshenko sent to die against the soldiers of the DonBass Republic.

  23. NorthernStar says:

    Well’s tghe cease -fire working out? Like hope and’s abandon all of the former and forget about the latter.
    The sum and substance of many of the astute and detailed comments posted on this very blog today indicate that total sovereign independence-recognized as such by the UN etc.,etc,- of the DPR/LPR entities is the ONLY vianble option…other than their being formallly subsumed into Russia .
    One simply cannot co-govern a nation with a pack of rabid fascist lunatics…USA and UK notwithstanding. A ‘unified Ukraine’ is-at this point-an oxymoron. It doesn’t take any deep think tank level geopolitical analysis to see that bringing about a working social/political equilibriunm of opposing forces is out of the question and is, frankly ,a dangerous (time) wasteful inanity.

  24. NorthernStar says:

    @colliemum ..(I think)

    Your word is taken and duly noted:

    • colliemum says:

      Yep, ’twas me who predicted that.
      Still, I’m somewhat chuffed that it was Obama who said it, and not some lowly MSM hack!

      • marknesop says:

        Damn – you’re good. Or you have just seen enough western bullshit that you can forecast their self-absorbed navel-gazing better than just about anybody else. But you sure called it. Obama totally tried to take all the credit for something he not only had nothing whatsover to do with, but actively opposed. No wonder he regards Alexey Kudrin so highly: they have similar public personas. Kudrin strenuously opposed Putin’s hikes of pensions and minimum wage in Russia, and then praised them as sound fiscal reforms when the west started acknowledging the rising living standards of ordinary Russian.

        A direct hit – good call.

        • colliemum says:

          Long-time exposure to merde by Western politicians, and in the Western media, together with the usual cynicism which is a necessity in old age, will do that to anybody.
          Mind you, the dumbing down of the spin masters and speech writers of “the Great” also helps, especially since they crave to be in the limelight 24/7 and thus spout stuff as if there were no tomorrow.

  25. kirill says:

    23-54, Сообщение от Безлера:
    “Срочная информация. 32 танка импортных зашло на Дебальцево, 15 Шилок зашли в танковую часть Артемевска, 7 Точек-У, 6 Градов плюс 1 Смерч в сопровождении 13 танков также импортных. Стоят на участке Славянск- Краматорск в сопровождении 13 танков импортных. С Мироновки на Дебальцево стоит колонна со всеми видами бронетехники протяженностью 3-4 километра. Боевые действия, со стороны украинской преступной власти возобновились. Теперь обратного пути нет, впереди у нас долгий путь до самого Киева!”


    The ceasefire is dead and the Kiev regime has deployed imported tanks to Debaltsevo and Artemovsk. Looks like the gloves are off. Russia should make sure the rebels get all the T-72B3 units they need in addition to the latest anti-tank weapons, and MLRS systems.

  26. colliemum says:

    A fine comment by the irreplaceable Christopher Booker at the DT:

    Even the comments I hastily scanned are not over-infested by the usual Putin-haters.

    • kirill says:

      A voice in the wilderness. The west is in a state of media-induced hysteria where everything is about “us right, them wrong”. It is routine to read and hear talk about Russian army units fighting in Ukraine. This sort of ludicrous nonsense says it all.

      BTW, the OSCE has not found any evidence of human rights violations by regime forces. I guess it is a human right to be shredded by random artillery and MLRS fire. Western hypocrisy and malice is bottomless. Russia needs to build up its nuclear arsenal to peak cold war levels. That is the only language the west understands.

  27. ThatJ says:

    Cease-fire is over:

  28. ThatJ says:

    Isn’t that region close to Odessa? Is it prudent to hold military drills with a country embroiled in civil war?

  29. ThatJ says:

  30. ThatJ says:

    • bolasete says:

      the situation does seem peculiar, and i don’t mind saying i keep spinning fantasies to understand putin/russia.
      1) putin thinks he can win western acceptance if he bangs his head against the wall enough times. nah.
      2) putin and obama have a deal to play until the midterm us elections in november to help the democrats. yeah, right.
      3) us really does have to keys to russian nukes and first strike does exist and putin is putting off the inevitable. unlikely, but…
      4) putin/russia must win but that doesn’t necessitate novorossia winning, at least in the near future. maybe, but as the above tweet emphasizes ’tis a huge gambit.
      there’s gotta be a reason for the giveth and taketh and it flummoxes me such that i feel i’m a teen again staring down the special test for that special high school.

      i read this blog ’cause it’s peopled by smart, knowledgeable people. DO YOUR THING AND GIVE ME THE ANSWER SO I CAN GET BACK TO MY HUMDRUM LIFE. please.

      • james@wpc says:

        Hi Bolasete,
        It’s all about economics and, more specifically, banking. From a blog post of mine from a few weeks ago . . . . “The reason is that the bankers have another fundamental problem and it is to do with the economies of Russia and China.

        These economies have a decided advantage over Anglo/Zionist economies and so the empire of the bankers must eventually wage war on Russia and China if it is to survive let alone rule the world.”
        You can read the why’s and wherefore’s here
        Russia’s Real Threat to ‘The Powers That Be’

    • Hunter says:

      I think the “selling out” theory is bunk.

      Putin had been calling for peace from Day 1. If his calling for a ceasefire and the Ukrainian and Novorussian acceptance of the same means he/the Kremlin is trying to sabotage Novorussia then that means the Kremlin was sabotaging Novorussia from before the referenda were held in Donetsk and Lugansk.

      I call b/s on this.

      Maybe some in the Kremlin would LIKE to sabotage the Novorussians in order to get sanctions lifted, but then some in the Kremlin have always been very western leaning but now their voices and opinions are being marginalized by the actions of the West.

      Kiev only really accepted this ceasefire because they were in real danger of TRULY dramatic losses had they not agreed to it. As I pointed out elsewhere they went from losing a DOCUMENTED 100+ vehicles from April 6 to mid August (1 vehicle a day) to losing 190 vehicles by the start of September (losing 4 vehicles a day in the interim) to losing nearly 25 vehicles a day before the ceasefire (losing over 25 vehicles per day in just TWO days).

      And those are just the documented losses independently confirmed by a website which matches up pictures and videos of destroyed vehicles with known vehicles and their identification marks and numbers where possible. This says nothing of those vehicles which were destroyed but of which no pictures were taken.

      Kiev’s goal hasn’t changed. They would like to crush the Novorussian rebels. But they had to accept the ceasefire lest their army break from the strain of the rebel offensive. It’s no surprise then that Kiev would use the ceasefire to rearm and resupply.

      • marknesop says:

        They will then likely stage an incident to make it appear the rebels broke the ceasefire, and “regretfully” recommence hostilities. You’re right that Kiev’s goals have not changed, and it also appears clear that it is unlikely to realize them through negotiation unless the rebels cave in and accept federalization. They almost certainly would have done before the punishment operation sought to force their compliance, but now it’s touch and go and there is no trust in the east for western maneuvering. The DPR knows it had Kiev on the ropes when the ceasefire was called, and so knows it can be done. Consequently dealing from a temporary position of strength, they may go all the way for full independence. If so, they better not wait around, because if Kiev begins stalling it almost certainly means it intends to launch a new offensive, or infiltrate and betray the DPR. Their leaders had best be on their guard at all times.

    • colliemum says:

      I seem to remember that practically from the start of the uprisings in what is now Novorossia, there were people on social media who regularly screamed that Putin was ‘betraying’ the new republic.
      I’ve always wondered if they weren’t some form of Fifth Column, employed by The West, hoping to create a groundswell of opinion either against Putin himself, or for a definitive military engagement by Russia, the hoped-for effect and outcome of course being regime change in Moscow.

  31. ThatJ says:

    • marknesop says:

      From the comments on that feed, Putin panning the western propaganda machine. Pretty good job; I would have liked to hear the rest. English subtitles. Killer quote; “These actions are dishonest and immoral. And in the end, immoral politics always lose”.

      Perhaps that’s true, for those who are around for the end. But I’ve seen immoral politics succeed many and many a time. To the point I am unconvinced there is any other kind.

      • patient observer says:

        For me, this is what its all about. I may be alone in this analysis but I am nevertheless convinced that Russia’s strategy is to apply morality to their every act. No more ideology, no deceptions, just morality from beginning to end. Russia’s past, its experiment with communism (and its promise of equality and fairness) , its survival and resurrection are deeply spiritual.

        We have frequently made the analogy of Russia and the Anglo empire engaged in a game of chess with Russia the obvious master. The conflict may be more accurately described as two adversaries who are not engaged in the same game at all. The Anglo empire is playing the game of deceit, power, class, destruction of populations, hubris and arrogance. The Russians are countering with morality and fairness. They and those who think and feel like them will prevail I hope.

        • james@wpc says:

          I couldn’t agree more, Patient Observer. So you are not alone! 🙂

          It is the key to not only understanding what Russia and Putin have done, it is also the key to understanding what they will do in the future. At the minimum, you can rule some suggested strategies or responses out.

          The psychopaths in Washington, of course, cannot see where Russia is going and why. So are caught off balance time after time. For instance, they keep thinking Russia will use gas as a weapon because they (the psychopaths) would.

          Even many pundits cannot see what Russian is doing because they do not appreciate how we’ve all been educated in our culture to think like mini psychopaths.

          Putin at every turn has tried to minimise the loss of life. He has not capitulated to the bankers though because that will mean even more loss of life and Russia is way too familiar with that.

          • patient observer says:

            Thanks! that made my day. Its a combination of good versus evil, sanity versus psychopathy and love versus fear. I like to think that this could be a turning point in human history.

          • marknesop says:

            Yes, this is it exactly – I had meant to address this thought to another comment, but here will do as well. The U.S. government predicts that Putin will do this or that because that is what they would do if they were in his place, and they make the critical-thinking error of assuming that is what he will do. Thus his eventual action is almost totally unexpected, whereas every possible reaction should have been perceived and planned for.

            Once, critical thinking was a cornerstone of diplomacy, and it is out of diplomacy that the simple, ancient rules arose – never ask a question unless you have already divined and planned for every possible answer, for example. Out of military planning arose another – think capabilities, not intentions: plan your attack or defense based on what your opponent could do, not what you think he might do.

            Consequently, although the myth persists that the Red Team concept is as strong now as it ever has been, its members are hampered by their western roots and tend to see every problem in a western framework. This phrase is significant – “The United States intelligence community (military and civilian) has red teams that explore alternative futures and write articles as if they were despotic world leaders.”

            Muammar Gaddafi never saw himself as a despotic world leader. He saw himself as a visionary humanitarian who constantly sought to push leadership downward to its lowest level of responsibility, and the Jamahiriya concept reflects that philosophy.

            “Political struggle that results in the victory of a candidate with, for example, 51 per cent of the votes leads to a dictatorial governing body in the guise of a false democracy, since 49 per cent of the electorate is ruled by an instrument of government they did not vote for, but which has been imposed upon them. Such is dictatorship. Besides, this political conflict may produce a governing body that represents only a minority. For when votes are distributed among several candidates, though one polls more than any other, the sum of the votes received by those who received fewer votes might well constitute an overwhelming majority. However, the candidate with fewer votes wins and his success is regarded as legitimate and democratic! In actual fact, dictatorship is established under the cover of false democracy. This is the reality of the political systems prevailing in the world today. They are dictatorial systems and it is evident that they falsify genuine democracy.”

            Try and plan to defeat a leader like that, on a level playing field, with bumper-sticker slogans as your political code. Of course the west defeated Gaddafi, because it demonized him relentlessly as a dictator in order to gain international support, which it did because western electorates are too lazy or stupid to ask important questions and conduct their social engineering on a “sounds good to me” basis. And by sheer force of arms; the Libyan forces fought well, but were never trained, organized or equipped to fight a major international conflict.

            The other great weakness, as we have often discussed, is to adopt a template once a particular initiative has enjoyed great success, such as the regime-change template, and to use it time after time with only minor modifications. This has resulted in the west’s hand becoming obvious in the very opening stages of a conflict, with a subsequent loss of deniability that has to be covered with comedy shows such as State Department briefings have devolved into.

            U.S. conquest planning depends on Putin eventually snapping from the relentless pressure, and hurling his forces against Europe, resulting in massive and widespread destruction on both sides. What if he doesn’t do that? Why, of course he’ll do that. It’s what anyone would do. Consequently, little to no planning has been devoted to what he might do if he doesn’t choose to do that.

            • james@wpc says:

              Many good observations there, Mark. The “Red Team”” works fine but can hide a fatal flaw if it, too, thinks along exclusively psychopathic lines because it will exclude some of the “mights” because it will not see any advantage or all of the advantages in them.

              “The other great weakness, as we have often discussed, is to adopt a template once a particular initiative has enjoyed great success, such as the regime-change template, and to use it time after time with only minor modifications.”

              I have noticed over the years that this is a common psychopathic behaviour – when you’re on a good thing, flog it to death
              I have put it down to the general lack of creativity that psychopaths exhibit. Psychopaths always reject the notion that they can do anything wrong or are to blame for anything so they generally fail to learn from their mistakes.

      • Max says:

        Disagree, everyone trumpets their own morality. Nor does the moral, in and of itself, win the day. God doesn’t hand out brownie points for good behaviour. “Erste wir essen,” says Brecht, “dann Kommt die Moral.”

        • marknesop says:

          There is a world of difference between merely trumpeting your morality, and demonstrating it.

          • pinkie_pie says:

            I hate to spoil the party, because it really was the case for Russian foreign policy and morality, but just one word – Crimea. Putin denied involvement through the whole game, but when it was won – just admitted it. Admitted that he lied, effectively. That was the end of Russian moral foreign policy. Was Crimea worth it – I don’t know, not my place to decide, but the moral advantage is gone – relatively or completely – no matter.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              I always took Putin’s denial of there being Russian army soldiers in the Crimea as a denial of there having been any invading troops brought into the peninsula from Russia.

              Of course he knew that there were Russian army soldiers there: there has been a Russian garrison there since 1783 until now, apart from those 3 years or so of fascist occupation in the 1940s, and the Russian president never intended that his denial should mean a denial of the existence of the standing garrison there according to a treaty with the Ukraine.

              And he, in his naievety perhaps, believed that the West were well aware of this fact, of the presence of russian army, navy and airforce units there, as indeed I am sure foreign diplomats – the “partners” – were, and that they knew of whose presence he was denying, but they spun his denial of invading Russian troops present there as a denial of the fact that there were any Russian, namely Russian army troops, there whatsoever.

              But there were, of course, many ethnic Russian Crimean citizens there, the local militia as it were, who were ready to take up arms in order to defend the Crimea from the Galician scum, who had made ity abundantly clear that if the Crimea did not tow the Kiev line, then their fascist bands would attack.

              The Western media has played heavily on this “denial”of Putin’s.

              The liars are in the West. They know there was a Russian garrison in the Crimea – undermanned as it happens – and that no Russian troops had been brought in to bolster the local militia – the “little green men” that the childish Western media, ever willing to bandy about buzz-words, has never ceased to chatter about.

              Yet no one seems to talk about the abundant “little green” Ukrainian “soldiers” who abounded in eastern Ukrainian rebellious provinces in their assorted varieties of camo-gear (British seems the preferred choice of many), nor of the US mercenaries there.

              Not much said of the latter these days, is there? – but a German TV channel presented a convincing exposé of the presence of Blackwater hired killers in the eastern Ukrainian provinces.

              All forgotten now: all down the memory hole – as usual.

            • james@wpc says:

              The problem is one of the definition of morality. The one we are taught by our culture is that it is wrong to lie, period. But natural law, or the Law of Life that ensures whether a culture will survive in time or not, makes a distinction between lies that protect life and lies that destroy life.

              For instance, to take an extreme example, if a gang of thugs break into your home and demand that you tell them where your children are, is it ‘immoral’ to tell them a lie?
              According to the people who run our culture, probably if not, yes. But according to the Law of Life, no, because the lie preserves your life or the lives you are responsible for.

              Putin denied the presence of the ‘men in green’. Their purpose was to confine the Ukrainian army to barracks and so allow the people of Crimea the freedom to exercise their choice free from violence. It was pro-life, if you like.

              Which brings us to another unrecognized principle of Russian foreign policy. Russia will intervene in situations where countries or people are unable to defend themselves, such as Syria unable to protect itself from a full assault from the US Navy or Iran unable to defend itself against a nuclear attack from the US. In both cases, Russia has declared that these countries are now under the Russian nuclear umbrella.

              Where these countries can defend themselves, though, Russia will help with intelligence and supplies if asked but will allow them to run their own foreign policy and conflicts. That’s called respecting someone else’s sovereignty and is pro-life or pro-cultural survival unlike some other nations I could mention.

              • pinkie_pie says:

                Ok, but if we accept this point of view, than there’s no explanation for Russian army not moving into Donbass in force to save Donbass people. Standing by and watching them slaughtered while you have the power to help sure is immoral by your definiton.

                • james@wpc says:

                  Not at all, Pinkie-Pie. Russia is hardly standing by. Donbass is a perfect example of what I am saying. Please reread my previous answer.
                  Or my post here-
                  UKRAINE – What Just Happened?
                  Or this comment from kirrill
                  or this excellent post on what happened in Crimea from a link another commenter left here the other day-
                  Did Russia “annex” Crimea?

                • marknesop says:

                  Once again, this is a little like a situation in which a group of bullies is torturing your neighbour on the sidewalk in front of your home. They’re trying to get you to come out of your house and make a move to defend your neighbour, whereupon they plan to shout “See??? He attacked me!!” and kill you both. I’ll call the cops, you reason. You do, and the cops say, stop your whining, that’s all I ever hear from you. But if you go out there, what about your family?

                  The situation you describe certainly contains immorality, but which is the greater? Russia’s, because Putin elects to think of his own people first, or that of international law because it will not step in and stop the slaughter of innocent people as it promises to do, because those who wrote it corrupt it for their own strategic gain?

              • colliemum says:

                Respecting another country’s sovereignty – interesting, isn’t it, that this is a concept which seems to be foreign to Western Powers.
                I can recall countless occasions going back decades, where the then Soviet Union and later China kept reminding The West not to interfere in internal affairs of another country.
                It seems that for the West, such interference comes naturally. Why is that so? There are many strands, from their colonial past – “the white man’s burden” and all that – and from the mission, after WWII, to educate countries such as Germany and Japan how to do ‘democracy’.
                All the recent attempts by the USA and their poodles to ‘export Western values’ show that they’re now doing it using force.
                I’m suddenly asking myself how come that we’re admonished to respect cultures different from our own, in the name of multi-culti, because all are equally valid, while on the other hand these cultures are deemed to be incompatible with ‘Western values’ in their own countries – just recall the Arab Spring … no, I haven’t got an answer.

                • james@wpc says:

                  “It seems that for the West, such interference comes naturally. Why is that so?”
                  The short answer is that the West has been and is run by psychopaths and they do what comes naturally to psychopaths – dominate and steal. And lie about everything (see below)
                  This right to sovereignty is at the heart of the Multi-polar Vs Uni-polar worlds

                  “I’m suddenly asking myself how come that we’re admonished to respect cultures different from our own, in the name of multi-culti, because all are equally valid, while on the other hand these cultures are deemed to be incompatible with ‘Western values’ in their own countries – just recall the Arab Spring”

                  You’ll notice, Colliemum, that the cultures that are incompatible with the West’s values belong to countries that have govt controlled central banks and oil and are not under the control of the US. These countries are perceived to be a threat just because they are independent. For the bankers to have complete and enduring economic control of the world, they cannot have any successful competing economies. (see psychopathy)

                  The countries in which we are encouraged to embrace indigenous cultures are the countries who have total control over these cultures and are continuing STILL to conduct the centuries long genocide against them. I’m talking specifically about the Anglo countries, the US, Canada and Australia (I’m not sure what the situation in New Zealand is). The promotion of the politically correct multiculturalism is cover for the continuing genocide.

                  The three pillars of “the system”, the establishment churches, the law and the bankers, each have a vested interest in this genocide.

            • marknesop says:

              A lot of people say that – Putin admitted he lied. Did he ever say Russia had nothing whatever to do with Crimea’s declaration of independence and subsequent application to join the Russian Federation? Not that I recall. There were accusations that he shipped in thousands of troops, which he denied, and to the best of my knowledge that was never proved. There were accusations that the Crimeans voted in the referendum “at the point of a Kalashnikov”, and OSCE observers who were present said they saw no such thing. there were accusations the Tatar vote was suppressed, but they were countered by accusations the Tatars boycotted the vote. Either way, Kiev never gave a damn about the Tatar vote on many, many previous occasions, and it looks a little hypocritical for them to get all squishy about the poor Tatars now.

              Russia was accused of having more than the 20,000 soldiers it was allowed to have in Sevastopol, but to the best of my knowledge nobody ever proved this was so. Russia was supposed – according to the rules – to get permission from Kiev before its soldiers went anywhere or did anything in Crimea with the exception of within their own base, and this it did not do, probably because refusal would have been guaranteed. Russia admitted to having carried out advance polling to assess the level of support in Crimea for independence, but I don’t know as they ever were asked previously if they had done that, and denied it. Yet the “Putin lied” meme persists. And if he did, does that make everything he says after that a lie as well? Why doesn’t that principal affect other world leaders, who all have been caught lying numerous times?

              • james@wpc says:

                “Why doesn’t that principal affect other world leaders, who all have been caught lying numerous times?”

                And lying to exploit others, not to protect them.

                • pinkie_pie says:

                  Seriously? “Russia is hardly standing by.”? We (which is Russians) could wipe out the junta in a matter of days. Instead, we are just watching and helping out the rebels (somewhat, still unproved) while people die. I don’t want to read a ton of letters. If you disagree – point out exactly with what.

              • pinkie_pie says:

                This is at least one example of Vlad lying on Crimea situation:



                In the 1st video at 10:55 he says “eto bili mestnie sili samooboroni” “these were local militia forces” when asked by a Bloomberg guy about who blocked Ukrainean army forces at their bases throughout Crimea.

                In 2nd video he says that Russian servicemen contributed largely if not decesively to the “creating the coditions for the voting (at Crimea)”.

                For me 1st is a lie, 2nd is admission of that lie.

                >>>And if he did, does that make everything he says after that a lie as well?

                Nope, but if he did (and he did), that breaks all the magicks of righteousness and morality which is in question for good. Proves that he will too do dirty tricks if he deems it necessary.

                >>>Why doesn’t that principal affect other world leaders, who all have been caught lying numerous times?

                We are talking (at least I and the OP too, I guess) only about Russia at this paticular occaision.

                • james@wpc says:

                  pinkie_pie said, “I don’t want to read a ton of letters”.

                  That’s probably a wise decision. The links only repeat or expand on the answers I’ve given already, anyway.

              • pinkie_pie says:

                Again, comparison is not in question, because the answer is obvious. I’m talking about moral purity of Russian foreign policy which was lost thanks to Crimea incident.

                • pinkie_pie says:

                  Above is Re to this: “The situation you describe certainly contains immorality, but which is the greater?”

                • marknesop says:

                  Oh, I doubt Russia had a big stock of international credibility on the moral purity front, so nothing much is damaged there. I maintain that Russia’s actions speak to a non-malignant purpose, while those of its opponent condemn it for a hypocrite who, hands clasped, recites the catechisms of peace and love of fellow man while ignoring the worst human-rights abuses so long as they play to its foreign-policy interests. Perfect morality being only an abstract, human morality is always a comparison.

                  Crimea will do very well for the west as a hook upon which to hang its “Putin is a liar” gasbag, but they would not have to lie themselves about the positive changes in Crimea since, and miscast tourism figures for a bleak picture, if Crimea was an obvious stake through Putin’s heart. Make no mistake, the west is livid about it, but there is very little it can do. Especially if the Ukrainian state continues to lose ground, since the west’s best hope lies in a crushing Ukrainian victory followed by a refocussing of the victorious legions on Crimea to take it back.

              • pinkie_pie says:

                Re to “Oh, I doubt Russia had a big stock of international credibility on the moral purity front, so nothing much is damaged there.”

                What was Patient Observer and later I talking about is not how international community saw Russia’s foreign policy but what it is at its core, or, rather, what it would seem like to any decent unbiased person. The difference being he doesn’t think Crimea makes a difference, while I certainly do.

                “Perfect morality being only an abstract, human morality is always a comparison.”

                Unfortunately, I can’t agree with that 🙂

                • marknesop says:

                  Well, you are certainly free to view Russia’s actions in accordance with your own code of ethics. Given a choice of backing Russia’s intentions for Ukraine and the EU/USA’s intentions for Ukraine, I will continue to support the former.

                  Out of curiosity, who in your opinion displays perfect morality?

              • pinkie_pie says:

                Re to “Out of curiosity, who in your opinion displays perfect morality?”

                Someone who doesn’t go back on his own words in this highly volatile world. Someone like Strelkov. I don’t call him perfectly moral yet, but he hasn’t misstepped once as far as I’m concerned. There was a saying that if it was Strelkov’s guys who shot down the MH17, he would confess publicly. Shows a lot about him if people even make such assumptions.

                About Crimea and Putin I want to clarify that I’m far from judging him, since I don’t know the facts he knew, I just wish he found another way.

  32. james@wpc says:

    Exactly, Patient Observer. And I, too, think it is a turning point if for no other reason than we are all being treated to an open display of the madness that lies behind the drive to power over others.

  33. Max says:

    Commander Fidel discusses the continuity of Soviet Russia with the present . With an anecdote of Ghoul McCain.

  34. NorthernStar says:

    And as the rats start to swarm off the listing -if not altogether sinking- US Department of State ship:

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