General Wesley Clark Quarterbacks the Great Game – America’s National Strategery

Uncle Volodya says, "In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.”

Uncle Volodya says, “In great contests each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be, wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.”

Remember, a few months back, when the United States was not going to get involved in a “bidding war” over Ukraine? Back then (beginning of December, 2013), America was faintly disdainful at the notion of getting down in the mud and wrestling over Ukraine. In fact, although that reference is not the main support for this post, it contains such a wealth of rich ironies that I want to stay with it for a couple of minutes.

Starting with the hot-button statement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, otherwise known as The Arch-Fool of President Obama’s buffoon government, that “violence has no place in a modern European state”. He was referring to clashes between Maidan protesters and state police in Kiev, which later turned from merely violent to deadly, resulting in the shooting deaths of protesters and police by what Kiev’s ‘investigation’ recently determined were rogue elements of the Ukrainian Security Service, the SBU, in another of a disgraceful series of Ukrainian governmental cover-ups that often serve the dual purpose of getting rid of political opponents.

That so, John? Perspectives change rapidly in politics, I probably don’t have to tell you, because it wasn’t much later before the Arch-Fool and his colleagues opined that President Poroshenko had “a right to defend his country”.

Here’s a look at how he’s defending it: this is Sergey Prokofiev International Airport, in Donetsk. It hasBirds fly near the traffic control tower of the Sergey Prokofiev International Airport damaged by shelling during fighting between pro-Russian separatists and Ukrainian government forces in Donetsk been completely destroyed, a write-off, by the Ukrainian Army. In case you wondered, this Donetsk is indeed in Ukraine.

Only a couple of years ago, in 2012, Ukraine spent $470 million on it getting it ready for the Euro 2012 football championship, which Ukraine co-hosted.


This is what it looked like then.

wpid-332390_171366672966209_1870365738_oThe Donetsk international airport was completely destroyed, in Ukraine, by Ukrainians. The Ukrainian Army shelled and bombed it to prevent it being used to resupply federalist rebels who did not want to be governed by Kiev, although God knows where that resupply was supposed to come from.  Once they took it, they used it as a stronghold from which to indiscriminately shell the city of Donetsk, killing dozens of civilians. In trying to dislodge government forces to prevent this, the federalists also shelled it, and finally took possession of the shattered, burned-out ruin.

That’s just a tiny glimpse of the mindless destruction; the city of Slavyansk was almost leveled, and Lugansk and Donetsk have also experienced billions in property damage and ruined infrastructure. All, all unacceptable according to John Kerry 2013, but all of which took place with the stern approval of John Kerry 2014. John Kerry 2013 squealed with righteous indignation at the prospect of Yanukovych’s Berkut riot police defending themselves with shields and batons against fire-bombs, rifles and pistols – the correct thing for Kiev police to do would be to stand back and let the protesters have their way. John Kerry 2014 did not demur when Poroshenko fired short-range ballistic missiles at Ukrainian cities full of civilians. On that occasion, the American response was – you guessed it – “Ukraine has encountered serious threats to its security, and can use whatever means necessary and proportionate to defend itself. But NATO does not officially confirm that ballistic missiles have been used in the conflict.” I don’t know how many times an American crony-client has ever gotten a green light quite the glistening emerald brilliance of that one.

The same source article seemed to think it was okay for Washington to show its displeasure by snubbing Ukraine, after Yanukovych inexplicably turned away from EU association, but now Vladimir Putin is The Biggest Fucking Baby Ever because he won’t give Ukraine cheap gas and help them get into the EU by buying their products. Kerry 2013 argued that Russia was bullying Ukraine, as witnessed by its choice of a Russian path, and that “Ukraine should be free to choose its own path dictated by the will of the people. Obviously that’s no longer valid, since Kerry 2014 says it’s OK for Poroshenko to force the easterners to accept Kiev’s rule even though the Ukrainian constitution guarantees them the right of self-determination.

Anyway, that’s all the time we can spend on John Kerry, how the hell did we get talking about him? Yeah, so as recently as last Christmas, America’s position was that Ukraine was an international embarrassment (remember, Yanukovych was still in power), but if its leader wanted to go suck up to Russia, well, there’s no accounting for some people’s taste. If Ukraine wanted to take the non-EU road, well, let them. Just don’t expect the USA to shake its pom-poms and cheer.

But according to General (Ret’d) Wesley Clark, former SACEUR (Supreme Allied Commander Europe) 1997-2000, Democratic presidential candidate 2004, and former CNN expert-opinion generator during the Iraq War, Ukraine is central to America’s global strategy, and has been for quite some time. Those sneaky devils – they wanted Ukraine all along, they were just psyching us out with that ho-hum-this-is-boring attitude. Which puts quite a different complexion on the events which took EuroMaidan from just a few squawking perennially-dissatisfied students to a well-organized mob to snipers on the rooftops to Yanukovych fleeing for his life and a bunch of western proxies appointing themselves rulers, all to a steady backbeat of Russia-is-meddling-the-Russians-are-behind-this-get-the-RussiansRussiansRussians.

It’s likely no coincidence that Wesley Clark has a new book out this week, “Don’t Wait For the Next War – A Strategy For American Growth and Global Leadership”. It’s customary for authors launching a new book to go on the lecture circuit and bloviate their opinions, do a little PR song and dance to get the punters interested enough to lay their money down. And consequently it may be easy, in light of the Lockheed-Martin hood ornament Wesley Clark has morphed into, to forget it was Wesley Clark who first blew the whistle on George W. Bush’s neocon road show and its plans to knock over 7 countries in 5 years, reordering the global chessboard irrecoverably in America’s favour and destroying any country which resisted. Fairness bids me point out they were very nearly successful, smashing Iraq and Libya and killing their leaders, and kicking the stuffing out of Lebanon through Israel hard enough to make it curl up in the dirt. Disgust bids me point out that Obama continues to follow the program as if he were on rails. Yes, we can, motherfuckers.

Former General Clark skips past the aperitif, and gets straight to the meat course; all of America’s problems will be harder to deal with if it does not bring Ukraine securely into the western orbit. Why? Well, because Vladimir Putin – synonymous with the Russian bully-state – needs to subjugate Ukraine for much more ambitious reasons than just making Ukraine Russia’s bitch. He needs to slap Ukraine down so all of Eastern Europe – “and others”, so I guess he means the whole world – knows who has the biggest boots in this ass-kicking contest. Once he has cowed everyone, like the larger-than-life mafia kingpin the west loves to characterize him as, well, he can just walk into a jewelry store in Prague, or Barcelona or Paris or wherever, say “Give me that diamond-encrusted Hublot Classic“, and then walk out without paying for it, while the proprietor is happy just not to have been killed. Figuratively speaking, of course, although that scenario plays nicely also to Putin’s vaunted love of expensive watches that cost more than the Russian annual GDP. Putin will be able to bop around Europe taking whatever he wants, or so General Clark would have you believe.

It’s depressing how often I have to say on this blog, “it’s hard to overstate how stupid this is”, but no other phrase seems to fit, and stupidity can penetrate any armor but indifference. It’s hard to overstate how stupid the idea is that Putin is getting ready to roll up all of Europe and make it his own, especially in light of the demonstrated fact that it has been Russia which has consistently begged international agencies like the United Nations to step in  and stop the civil war in Ukraine, and whose pleas have fallen on deaf ears, while it has been Washington puppet Ban-ki-Moon – who would be Pralines and Idiot if he were an ice-cream flavour – has declined to do anything while Uncle Sam smirked in the background. Amazingly, Russia has been the most defensive and least aggressive power in the region, while Poland and the Baltic Chihuahuas have begged the west to bulk up their military clout with NATO troops and weapons even though they have received no threats from Russia at all (unless you count “numerous Russian violations of their airspace”, which I imagine they have demarcated to the millimeter).

As if that were not sufficiently nauseating, General Clark goes on to tell us that  none of the challenges facing the United States can be successfully met “unless we have really tight relations with the countries that most share our values. That’s Europe”. That so? Depends who you ask. Pew Global Research says attitudes toward America on the part of Europeans have not changed much in the last 5 years or so, although that may have something to do with the methodology; Pew combines “favourable” and “somewhat favourable” into the same response category, just as it does with unfavourable, so that subtler shadings are harder to see. But according to Time and its interactive graphic, using the methodology of measuring the gap between favourable and unfavourable ratings, the USA slid in popularity in most European countries between 2011 and 2013. There has been little polling conducted in Europe, or at least published, in the last couple of months since U.S-driven sanctions have begun to play havoc with the economy, but it is kind of counter-intuitive to imagine this has increased the USA’s popularity, or  the perception in Europe that the USA and Europe share common values. In Germany, bellwether of Europe thanks to its economic growth, 40% of Germans between 18 and 29 wanted to reduce their country’s cooperation with the U.S.

Following the time-honoured script, Clark then moves to a personal anecdote, in which he asked the Prime Minister of an Eastern European country if he would be willing to provide military assistance to Ukraine, which was his friendly neighbour. The leader in question got all big-eyed and nervous, and allegedly supplied exactly the answer General Clark needed to ram home his point: “No!!! We’re afraid of Russia!!”. See? Simple. Remove the threat of a bullying and aggressive Russia – a simple matter facilitated by the massive purchase of western weaponry, give ’til it hurts – and Europe will once again be peaceful and prosperous and happy. Russia is what’s wrong with the world.

I couldn’t help noticing how helpful that unnamed East-European leader was, quite a bit like that hapless mook who always approached a western journalist during Russian elections and asks where he should go to get paid for voting for Putin. Never fails; as reliable as a Timex.

And does the USA love Europe, and is it looking out for its best interests? I guess it is. Remember “Fuck the EU“? Even more illustrative of America’s maternal love for its Euorocousins is this clip of conservatroll Condi Rice calmly speculating that the European economy might have to crash in order to bring Russia to heel (but trust her, Russia will run out of cash first), the Europeans might have to tolerate being cut off from Russian oil and gas – but they should think of it as casting off the shackles, and an opportunity to make the USA their new Energy Daddy, as its bounty (I believe she actually says that) flows to hungry European markets. Apparently she has secretly discovered how to teleport oil and gas to Europe, as no mechanism currently exists to get American oil and LNG to Europe except by ocean-transiting tankers, and the current LNG capability would not satisfactorily supply even one European country, let alone all of Europe. She’s even talking pipelines, and if that’s not snapping-turtle crazy then I’ve lost my ability to recognize crazy. Nabucco is dead as Kurt Cobain, and there are no other arrangements for pipelines that cross neither Russia or Ukraine which would work, for any number of reasons. This is just soothing the frightened European children, wall-eyed with fear. Thanks to The Saker for that great clip.

What’s at the bottom of this? America is worried that it is losing its hold over Europe and the possibility of continuing to maintain it through the NATO alliance. “If we lose Ukraine, NATO will be much more difficult to manage,” says General Clark. That’d be the military cooperative created to counter the military muscle of the Soviet Union, which no longer exists, and which maintained its relevancy upon the perceived threat of the Warsaw Pact, which also no longer exists.

The bleats that Putin wants to re-create the Soviet Union are regularly invoked so that you will not notice NATO no longer has an adversary, and that there is no compelling reason for its continued existence.

This entry was posted in Economy, Europe, Government, Law and Order, Military, Politics, Russia, Strategy, Trade, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Western Europe and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1,187 Responses to General Wesley Clark Quarterbacks the Great Game – America’s National Strategery

  1. Paul says:

    I think it is inaccurate to say that the Ukrainian army destroyed Donetsk Airport. Most of the destruction was probably caused by shelling by the rebels in their efforts to recapture it.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, I did say that. But the Ukrainian army took it from the rebels first, using air support and artillery to push them out. Probably the rebels did more damage to it overall, since they held it for a much shorter time and spent the rest of it trying to take it back. However, I still blame the Ukrainian army because it is forbidden by the constitution to use the military to subvert the will of the civilian population, and there was no talk of taking up arms on the part of the DPR until they were attacked in Turchynov’s ill-fated ATO.

      Article 17 Para (d): “The Armed Forces of Ukraine and other military formations shall not be used by anyone to restrict the rights and freedoms of citizens or with the intent to overthrow the constitutional order, subvert the bodies of power, or obstruct their activity.”

      • SunDancer says:

        All the “Western” and Ukrainian propaganda about a “Russian invasion” had two primary purposes: to radicalize Ukrainians (and, also, East European countries, West European countries, and Americans) against Russia through the use of fear and its dear cousin, hate; and to provide a “justification” for the involvement of the Ukrainian military in the battles against the people of East Ukraine (as the military refused to get involved to put down the rebellion, for the constitutional reasons you cited).

        On the other hand, speaking of the Constitution, there is no right to “self-determination” as you put here (and also in reference to Crimea in your “Looks like Putin is winning” post). Self-determination is included in the preamble to the Constitution, but applies to “the Ukrainian nation, all Ukrainian people”; it does not provide a justification for secession. Indeed, Art. XVII, which you cite, in part (a) provides that: “To protect the sovereignty and territorial indivisibility of Ukraine, and to ensure its economic and informational security are the most important functions of the State and a matter of concern for all the Ukrainian people” (see also para. (b)).

        In relation in particular to Crimea, Art. 134 provides: “The Autonomous Republic of Crimea is an inseparable constituent part of Ukraine” and makes its decisions within the constraints of the Constitution (which would, of course, include the ones on territorial integrity).

        • yalensis says:

          If I am not mistaken, Russian legal justification for “reunification” or “annexation” of Crimea (depending on one’s POV) relied not at all on Ukrainian law, but rather on Crimea’s status as an autonomy.
          As an autonomy, Crimea had the right to hold a referendum and to switch back to Russia. Also, there were loopholes in the original (Soviet) laws which passed Crimea over to Ukrainian administration.
          Sebastpol itself is a separate case and had a status practically as a free city.

          • SunDancer says:

            Russia has not focused on Ukrainian law, but on international law. Secession does not violate international law, but that does not mean it violates the region’s national law. From Russia’s POV it doesn’t matter if the secession violated Ukrainian law since, once Crimea was independent, under international law, it was free to unite with Crimea.

            In terms of Ukrainian national law, I think the argument would be that the coup violated the constitution and hence the constitution was no longer a binding social contract for the nation. Particularly in this case, where the coup (and constitutional violation) was, essentially, by one part of the country against another; this gives the other part the option to say “OK, have it your way, I quit”. I don’t know how that argument would fare, all would depend on the court I think :).

            • marknesop says:

              Then I guess the argument will be whether International law trumps National law, because the opinions written for nations which agreed to recognize Kosovo were satisfied it was outside International law and therefore did not contradict it, and western courts ruled a unilateral declaration of independence was legal. I chose the opinion of Poland to use as an example mostly because it was written by Radek Sikorski, who – at the time I wrote the article – seemed a shoo-in for Secretary-General of NATO.

            • Tim Owen says:

              My school-yard formulation: the coup moved the goal posts so the Crimeans moved the field.

        • marknesop says:

          No, that’s quite true; the preamble is what I was speaking of, and in fact Article 37 specifically prohibits “The establishment and activity of political parties and public associations…if their program goals or actions are aimed at the liquidation of the independence of Ukraine, the change of the constitutional order by violent means, the violation of the sovereignty and territorial indivisibility of the State, the undermining of its security, the unlawful seizure of state power, the propaganda of war and of violence, the incitement of inter-ethnic, racial, or religious enmity, and the encroachment on human rights and freedoms and the health of the population.”

          However, International law typically carries greater weight than national law, and this apparently extends to sovereignty as well. The Yugoslav constitution contained similar protections for sovereignty, except that it provided Kosovo was elevated to an autonomous state similarly to Crimea. Nonetheless international courts, after due deliberation, ruled that a unilateral declaration of independence is not a violation of international law. The United States in particular made it clear it would accept no backing away from Kosovo’s new independence, and within days the rest of what likes to call itself the free world rushed to sign on.

          It may be technically illegal according to national law, but many remarked at the time of Kosovo’s recognized independence that it would establish a precedent, and it has.

          • yalensis says:

            That’s right. And the precedent was utilized for South Ossetia and Abkhazia, which became independent states.

            • marknesop says:

              Albeit with practically zero recognition, since the decisions were very unpopular with the west, while they just loved Kosovo, and were high-fiving each other all over the place.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Political Legitimacy Is What Matters in Ukraine’s Popular Referendums

          If enough people choose of their own free will to vote for something, then their choice has real political meaning regardless of the legal status of the process.

          The votes have credibility in the eyes of the people who count—those who live in those regions.

          This is a point worth bearing in mind as we consider the referendums held on Sunday in the Donetsk and Lugansk provinces of Ukraine. The fact that these plebiscites were unofficial has led many to denounce them as ‘illegal’. This is a false charge. People in Ukraine, as in Canada, are free to assemble and vote on anything they like. The unofficial status of their vote means that the result is not legally binding, but it is not ‘illegal’. Nor does international law have anything to say on the matter. Western states accepted the independence referendums held in many Soviet states in 1991, even though those were contrary to the Soviet constitution. What matters is not so much legality as political legitimacy.

    • kirill says:

      No it is not so simple, the rebels have been saying routinely that the regime army is shelling and rocketing their positions at the airport.

      The one and only warfare technique the regime army knows is shelling and MLRS attacks.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Украинская армия атаковала донецкий аэропорт

      [The Ukrainian army has again been attacking Donetsk airport]

      Еще в начале восстания в Новороссии, новые власти пытались сохранить аэропорт. Но Киев не захотел.

      [At the beginning of the uprising in New Russia, the new government tried to save the airport, but Kiev did not want this.]

  2. Pingback: General Wesley Clark Quarterbacks the Great Game - America's National Strategery

  3. Fern says:

    Condoleezza Rice, of course, sat on the board of Chevron for 10 years before resigning to take up the post of National Security Advisor for Dubya Bush. Personally, if I’d had 9/11 AND Afghanistan AND Iraq on my watch, I’d be more circumspect about opining on every subject under the sun but since non-accountability for anything is par for the course for western politicians, Ms Rice has no such inhibitions.

    Chevron, along with Royal Dutch Shell, has interests in tracking contracts in Ukraine:-

    On Tuesday, Chevron signed a 50-year agreement with the Ukrainian government to develop oil and gas in western Ukraine. The government said that Chevron would spend $350 million on the exploratory phase of the project and that the total investment could reach $10 billion.
    Over five years, Chevron says it hopes to conduct seismic surveys and to drill exploratory wells on a 1.6 million-acre area called the Oleska Block, which is heavy with shale rock deposits. The effort is likely to include hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, of the shale rock to see if oil and gas can be produced in commercially viable amounts.

    Rice, no doubt, had the commercial interests of her former employers in mind when she penned an op-ed column in the Washington Post back in March shortly after Crimea’s reunification with Russia. It shows quite clearly that the US had been planning to use the oil weapon against Russia:-

    Moscow is not immune from pressure. This is not 1968, and Russia is not the Soviet Union. The Russians need foreign investment; oligarchs like traveling to Paris and London, and there are plenty of ill-gotten gains stored in bank accounts abroad; the syndicate that runs Russia cannot tolerate lower oil prices; neither can the Kremlin’s budget, which sustains subsidies toward constituencies that support Putin. Soon, North America’s bounty of oil and gas will swamp Moscow’s capacity. Authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline and championing natural gas exports would signal that we intend to do precisely that. And Europe should finally diversify its energy supply and develop pipelines that do not run through Russia.

    I’ve long since thought that we need a new lexicon to explain US foreign policy – e.g. ‘energy diversity” = replacing all existing suppliers of energy with either the US or US-controlled suppliers.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, her opinion in the clip hit all the high points in her op-ed, and it is apparent it is a well-rehearsed block of text she keeps in her head in anticipation of being asked. When she says “Russia needs foreign investment” she obviously means western foreign investment, because as far as she is concerned nobody else has any serious money. And while she’s shooting off her sock-drawer-sized mouth about how badly Russia can be hurt by manipulating oil revenues, she should stop gabbing for a moment and take a look at her own country’s position on the Fortune 500. The big cheese – Wal Mart – stays on top by remarketing manufactured goods it buys from China, the the extent it is sometimes called China Mart (more than 70% of the goods on Wal Mart shelves come from China). But look at the next two biggest companies in America. Exxon Mobil at number two, with $438.26 Billion in revenues in 2013. And that is an 8.8% drop. Oh, dear: “Oil production took a tumble in 2013, all while capital and exploration expenditures increased. While Exxon has said it plans to start production at a record 10 major projects this year, capital spending is expected to decline 6.4% from 2012.” Let’s hope the forecast is brighter at America’s next-biggest company, Chevron. Gosh; no. “Chevron, the U.S.’s second-largest oil company after Exxon Mobil, posted a 5.4% decrease in total revenue in 2013, to $228.9 billion. Chevron Chief Executive John Watson said results were hurt by lower global crude oil prices and refining margins, as well as fewer asset sale gains and higher expenses.” Looks like the USA relies pretty heavily on energy companies, too. It’s taking losses, and doesn’t even have some other bloody-minded country trying to crush it with sanctions. Number 5 is an energy company as well, Phillips 66, formerly Conoco-Phillips. And sure enough, a 4% dip in revenue. The three of them pull revenues of $826 Billion – see if you’d like a bite like that taken out of your GDP. Three of the USA’s top five companies are energy companies, and all of them posted losses in 2013. Umm….what was that about limitless bounty, swamping something something? Oh, right, Moscow’s capability. Are you sure about that, Condi?

      • Tim Owen says:

        Not to mention the fact that the “bounty” – god I love the way Condi smiles when she says that, really selling it – of new found US supply is based on fracking which requires a comically doomed race to drill more wells to maintain output since the decline rate in new, producing wells is cliff-like (with a long tail, but still) and also immensely expensive (if also reliable.)

        Sooooo wonder who is more vulnerable to low oil prices over time. Russians producing conventional sources or the hugely leveraged fracking companies that barely make any profit at $80 a barrel.

        • marknesop says:

          Sure – it will work. All the USA has to do is keep world oil prices at $88.00 a barrel for 3 years. Think you can do it, Uncle Sam? Ha, ha, ha, ha. Oh, sorry – by 2017, if prices stay that low, Russia will have depleted half of the reserve fund set aside to cover price fluctuations. Then you’d have to make a decision to hang on for the presumably additional 3 years to run the fund dry. That’d take you to 2020, and wasn’t that just about the time the U.S. Energy Administration forecast American production would enter a steep decline? Under “cut off your nose to spite your face” in the dictionary, it says “See Obama government; 2008 – way too long”.

          “Chesapeake Energy’s Serenity 1-3H well near Oklahoma City came in as a gusher in 2009, pumping more than 1,200 barrels of oil a day and kicking off a rush to drill that extended into Kansas. Now the well produces less than 100 barrels a day, state records show. Serenity’s swift decline sheds light on a dirty secret of the oil boom: It may not last. Shale wells start strong and fade fast, and producers are drilling at a breakneck pace to hold output steady. In the fields, this incessant need to drill is known as the Red Queen, after the character in Through the Looking-Glass who tells Alice, “It takes all the running you can do, to keep in the same place.”

          “As the oil market has recovered, there have since been three major corrections, when prices have fallen at least 15 percent over a few months. We’re now in the midst of a fourth, with oil prices down more than 20 percent since peaking in late June at around $115 a barrel. They’re now hovering in the mid-$80 range and could certainly go lower. That’s good news for U.S. consumers, who are finally starting to reap the rewards of the shale boom through low gasoline prices. But it could spell serious trouble for a lot of oil producers, many of whom are laden with debt and exaggerating their oil reserves.”

          Let’s not forget, although the international market is currently saturated with oil, the USA needs to sell oil to stay ahead. I’m not sure how driving the price down contributes to that, since if you ask Phillips 66, Exxon-Mobil and Chevron – three of the top five companies in America – they will tell you the idea of being completely self-reliant on domestic oil supplies (and the USA is nowhere near that point; “closer than it’s been in ages” still does not mean “nearly there”) is not only a ditzy dream, but the death-knell for them. Try going to Chevron’s board meeting and telling them “Hey, when we become energy self-sufficient, we’ll be able to stop buying foreign oil altogether. Then we can sell Americans cheap, cheap energy, and they’ll be so happy – it’s my dream”. Chevron and its compatriots do not want to sell Americans cheap energy at rock-bottom prices – how in hell does an energy company get filthy rich that way? What would happen to the oil futures market? The only way it would work if America produced so much energy it could be completely self-sufficient and still have a big surplus to sell. While Americans are wishing for that, I do not recommend they wish in one hand and shit in the other, because I can tell you which one will be full first.

  4. Fern says:

    The Saker has a post up with depressing news. Pavel Gubarev was not hit by any of the shots fired at his car but has suffered serious head trauma as a result of the car crashing and is in hospital in Rostov-on-Don. And in more not-good news, Galeti’s replacement is Col Gen Stephan Poltorak, former commander-in-chief of the national guard, aka death squads.

    Saker also suspects the US may be ready to dump Poroshenko in favour of someone more ruthless and has a post on ‘Russian Insider’ on this.

    • marknesop says:

      Yes, while we’re on the subject of The Saker, a big shout-out to him – thanks to his citation of “How Full of Shit Would You Have to Be to Be More Full of Shit Than Dmitry Tymchuk” as a reference, our daily traffic is giving our highest daily total ever a run for its money. For any who doubt the massive readership of The Saker’s material, I’m a believer. He’s not right 100% of the time, but anybody can do that when they’re talking about events that have already happened (except for economists, for some reason I’ve never been able to fathom), and forecasting is a hell of a lot harder when nobody has 100% of the background.

      I’m confident Gubarev will recover – you can’t mess about with head injuries, but if you make it through the first 48 hours your chances are pretty good. Unfortunately, he’s out of the picture at a bad time. As for the Ukrainian Defense Minister carousel, Poltorak might be a bastard, but he has had the opportunity to study both the expected results in order to have a tenure of longer than a couple of months, and the abysmal performance of the vehicle he needs to get him there – the Ukrainian army. You can’t get blood out of a turnip. In fact, that’s quite an apt comparison.

      The speculation that the USA might be looking to dump Porky The Failure is interesting, in view of the fact that Yulia Tymoshenko has chosen now to start making a big noise. I wonder if that’s a coincidence? Remember how she was going to nuke the katsaps, and go in person to Moscow to put a bullet in Putin’s forehead. That’s the kind of Give Me Liberty Or Give Me A Big Sugar Daddy Like America talk that the State Department loves to hear. And we know well by now that the State Department is not shy about meeting in private with Ukrainian political figures and kind of steering things the way they’d like them to go.

    • Jen says:

      Did anyone noticed that Heletei’s replacement as Ukie Defence Minister Stepan Poltarak and US State Department Asst Secretary Victoria Nuland resemble each other on that Vineyard of the Saker post?

      By their eyebrows and their baleful stares shall ye know them.

  5. ucgsblog says:

    I stopped taking Wesley Clark seriously after this:

    Singer James Blunt has told the BBC how he refused an order to attack Russian troops when he was a British soldier in Kosovo. Blunt said he was willing to risk a court martial by rejecting the order from a US General. But he was backed by British Gen Sir Mike Jackson, who said: “I’m not going to have my soldiers be responsible for starting World War III.” Blunt was ordered to seize an airfield, but the Russians had got there first. In an interview with BBC Radio 5 live, broadcast on Sunday, he said: “I was given the direct command to overpower the 200 or so Russians who were there. I was the lead officer with my troop of men behind us… The soldiers directly behind me were from the Parachute Regiment, so they’re obviously game for the fight. The direct command came in from Gen Wesley Clark was to overpower them. Various words were used that seemed unusual to us. Words such as ‘destroy’ came down the radio.”

    Clark also ran in the 2004 democratic primary, taking away just enough votes from Howard Dean so that Kerry would end up running against Bush and losing to him. He was asked to run by Clinton, so that she’d be able to win the Democratic nomination and beat the Republicans after Bush’s eight years of failure, but Obama beat her in the primaries. The Obamas and Clintons haven’t liked one another ever since. Dean was also removed from a leadership position in the Democratic party.

    • ucgsblog says:

      That’s just my opinion on him.

    • marknesop says:

      I remember that story now, and what strikes me as the most astonishing is that James Blunt was not only a soldier, but an officer – Jeez, he’s just a kid. Incredible. Anyway, yes, Clark’s maunderings on Saddam’s breathtaking evil and dirty tactics ( he refused to kill himself, so the USA had to work to get it done) were more respectable than Jen Psaki’s shrill barkings, but his overall record as a ringer for the U.S. Army was not great.

      • Paul says:

        General Mike Jackson always took the credit for not attacking the Russians, apparently saying that he wasn’t willing to start World War III.

        • colliemum says:

          Also: “Jackson established a working relationship with the Russian general commanding the detachment at Pristina, giving him a bottle of whisky, of which Jackson is known to be fond, and providing the Russians with the protection of a squad of British soldiers, commanded by his son, Mark.”

  6. yalensis says:

    Great blogpost, Mark. Your style is evolving and becoming sharper, as your targets become more and more odious!

  7. yalensis says:

    On the war front:
    Last week two Ukrainian battalions defected to the side of the separatists.
    These were the Zhitomir and Cherkassy Territorial Battalions.
    They defected in full formation (with only a couple of dissenters, including the Commander, Vladimir Melnik, who was taken captive by the mutineers) and went over to the side DPR, along with all their weapons.

    This happened near Volnovakha, where the 2 mutinying battalions were able to break out of encirclement during the battle for Shakhtersk, and join up with the seps. While breaking out, the Cherkassy Battalion managed to kill or wound a couple of dozen Ukie soldiers from Lyashko’s “Ukraina” battalion; but also lost 24 of their own soldiers.
    The mutinying battalions also did manage to capture a couple of nationalists, includiing a man named Yury Sinezhuk, who is said to be wanted by Interpol for something he did in Rwanda in 1994. (?!)

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. I googled Yury Sinezhuk, and this came up.

      According to Yuriy Sinezhuk, mercenaries for Rwanda were recruited all over Ukraine based on special characteristics. Not everyone was meant to go into the mincing machine which was about to be started in an African country of Rwanda based on the ORDERS of the French Government, namely, President Mitterrand. The order was received by Mitterrand’s ‘friend’, a mysterious ‘Dmitrich’, head of the Organization which was created especially for such orders.

      Pretty weird stuff…

      • Johan Meyer says:

        Probably dubious. Rwanda went out of its way to respect article II of the Arusha accords, which is why they didn’t have the heavy weapons to attack Kagame—they even returned an Egyptian shipment of ammunition that was ordered before Kagame’s invasion. That’s also probably why they ended up using machetes—which were far more useful for attacking civilians than attacking Kagame’s Ugandan/Canadian/US armed soldiers, although I suspect that even that portion is overstated.

  8. Terje says:

    Two stories about MH17:
    A very interesting and thorough report
    “Analysis of the reasons for the crash of flight MH17” by Ivan A. Andrievskii
    ”Four Dutch police experts visited the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 on Monday to help recover belongings and human remains……. the team collected items including books, toothpaste, playing cards, a plastic watch and a stick of antiperspirant …….The experts were on hand to advise a Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry team combing the wreckage in the fields where the plane was brought down on July 17”

    Letting the Ukrainian Government comb the site seems like asking for future trouble with seeded evidence.

    • yalensis says:

      From the voltaire piece, the engineering experts conclusions:

      Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was conducting the flight Amsterdam-Kuala-Lumpur, on 17.07.2014, according to the tunnel set by the air traffic controllers. It is most probable that manual steering was offline and the airplane was flying in autopilot mode, performing horizontal flight following the route which was laid out on the ground and adjusted by Ukrainian air traffic controllers.

      At 17.17–17.20 the Boeing 777 was in Ukrainian airspace, in Donetsk area, at the altitude of 10100m. An unidentified fighter aircraft (presumably Su-25 or MiG-29), which was previously at a lower echelon, on a head-on course in a layer of clouds, ascended rapidly, unexpectedly emerging in front of the passenger plane out of the clouds and opened fire at the control cabin (cockpit), using 30mm or smaller cannon armament. The targeting could have been performed not only by the pilot of a fighter aircraft in “free hunt” conditions (using the aircraft radar), but also by a navigation officer on the ground, using the airspace data received from ground-based radars.

      The cockpit of the airliner was damaged in the result of numerous rounds hitting the aircraft fuselage. The control cabin was depressurized, which caused the instant death of the crew, due to mechanical influences and decompression. The attack was quite unexpected and lasted only a fraction of a second. Due to the surprise situation, the crew was unable to give any alarm signals intended for such situations, as the flight was following its scheduled route and the attack was unexpected for everyone.

      As neither the engines, nor the hydraulic system, nor other devices crucial to the continuation of the flight, were set out of operation, the Boeing 777 continued its horizontal flight in autopilot mode (which is a standard situation), perhaps gradually losing altitude.

      After that, the pilot of the unidentified fighter aircraft maneuvered and repositioned himself into the rear hemisphere of the Boeing 777. He entered an engagement course, performed the targeting using onboard target tracking equipment, and launched a R-60 or R-73 air-to-air missile (one or multiple).

      As a result of the missile impact, the entire cabin was depressurized, the flight control system was incapacitated, the autopilot was switched off, the plane ceased its horizontal flight and went into a tail-spin. The created g-forces caused a mechanical disruption of the airframe at high altitude.

      As indicated by the available flight recorder data, the plane fell apart in the air, but this is possible mainly in the case of vertical falling from a 10000m altitude, which can typically happen only in a case of exceeding the maximum allowed g-force. As a rule, such a tail-spin can be explained by the inability of the crew to control the airplane as a result of some emergency case in the cabin and subsequent instant depressurization of the cockpit and passenger compartment. The destruction of the airplane took place at a high altitude, which explains the fact that the wreckage of the plane was dissimilated over a territory over 15 km².

      One of the “money shots” in this piece is the photo (about 3/4 of the way scrolling down) showing the bullet-riddled cabin shard, and the transposition showing where that shard fits on the outside of the cabin, based on the colouring of the stripes.
      Becomes perfectly clear how the crew was instantly disabled and killed.

      • marknesop says:

        Yes, one of the links I posted in the last article showed the transposition also of pieces of the aircraft around the cockpit and the damage done to them. Additionally, although this has been posted before, one of the first OSCE investigators on-scene was a Ukrainian-Canadian, Michael Bociurkiw. In an interview conducted in Donetsk shortly afterward (which looked beautiful and orderly and peaceful at the time), he described the cockpit as appearing to have been riddled by machine-gun fire, and accompanying video frames show damage to the structure consistent with perfectly circular projectiles rather than jagged shrapnel.

        He also described how, in the days that followed the crash, men were cutting apart the cockpit with power saws. He speculated they were trying to recover bodies, as they may have been, and he assumed they were from the rebel side. But who knows who they were and what they were doing? Obviously the Kiev side had access to the wreckage as well.

    • marknesop says:

      “Letting the Ukrainian Government comb the site seems like asking for future trouble with seeded evidence.”

      I should say so, since they were automatically a suspect from the outset.

  9. yalensis says:

    Poroshenko has declared today, October 14, as National Fatherland Day in Ukraine. This was done to please Ukrainian fascists, who celebrate October 14 as the day of founding of UPA.

    Speaking of which, here is an extremely interesting interview with an elderly KGB veteran. His name is Georgy Zakharovich Sannikov. In the late 40’s and 50’s he worked with KGB units in Western Ukraine which sought out and liquidated remnants of the Banderite UPA underground. Sannikov was known for his extensive and detailed interrogations of the Banderites, which were more like in-depth conversations, as he sought to get to know them. In later life, several Banderites wrote to him to say that he was the only person they ever met who truly sought to understand them, and their way of thinking.

    Here is a partial translation and summary of the interview; words in boldface are the utterances of Sannikov. Regular type are the questions of the interviewer, Eva Merkachova.

    Georgy Zakharovich, Ukrainian media today writes that Banderites were not really all that cruel or bloodthirsty, is that true?

    In reality, their cruelty was legendary. But there is a reason for that phenomenon: Hatred was nursed and grew from generation to generation, over the course of centuries.

    Did you see cruelty with your own eyes?

    Of course. I saw the stations they used for tortures. There was a method that was invented by [a Banderite named] Mykola Kozak. A person was strung up in such a way that all the joints came apart. The pain was unbearable. (….)
    Practically all of the leaders of the OUN movement were sadists, just some more than others. They thought up dozens of hideous ways of killing people. They gouged out eyes, they cut the breasts off women, they cut star shapes into peoples skin, they anally raped people using bottles. The wells were full of corpses. Roman Shukhevich, who headed UPA, used to say: “Our policies must inspire fear. Let half the population perish; in order, the remaining half will be pure and clean as a glass of water.” (….)

    For centuries Ukrainians lived under the Polish yoke. In the Stanislavsky region, the segregation was awful. Benches for Poles, separate benches for Ukrainians. Separate compartments (in trains) for Ukrainian miners; separate compartments for Poles. The Poles treated the Ukrainians like serfs and slaves. Who could forget such treatment?

    As a result, hatred was nurtured almost a genetic level, and erupted to the surface with the Volhynia massacres of 1943. This is the one where children’s corpses were tied together around trees, like wreaths. People argue today, who first thought up this idea of the “wreath” – the Poles or the Ukrainians.

    At what moment did hatred toward Russians supplant hatred of Poles?

    When that part of Western Ukraine, which was under Polish rule, entered as a subject of the Russian Empire. At that time, in Galicia, an organization called “Prosvita” was formed, which stood for the preservation of Ukrainian culture, traditions, and language. But Prosvita was banned by tsarist Russia.

    [goes on to recount how the Ukrainian peasantry despised the Soviet government just as much as Russian tsarist government, and attempted to kill any peasants who supported Soviet power or the kolkhoz project]

    What about the Jews? Some people allege that Jews participated in the Bandera underground?

    That’s just fairy tales. (The Ukrainians) despised the Jews just as much as they did Russians and Poles. They explained their hatred by the fact that the Jews owned shops and pubs. Only one exception was known to me: a Jew from Lviv named Chaim Sigal, became an ardent Ukrainian nationalist, changed his name to Sigalenko, became a Centurion in UPA. Later, he even served in the German [Nazi] police. He was known for being particularly sadistic against (other) Jews. He invented exquisite forms of punishment against hundreds of unfortunates. After the war he once again transformed himself into a Jew and found asylum in West Berlin, pretending to be a victim of Nazism, and earned the respect and sympathy of the Jewish community there!

    [And the interview continues, with many other interesting tidbits about all the people he met and heard about.]

    • Warren says:

      Thanks for the translation, very interesting interview. However, if I am not mistaken Tsarist Russia never controlled Galicia, only Volhynia. Tsarists Russia had occupied Galicia, and established an administration in Lviv/Lvov for short period during WW1 only to be evicted by German & Habsburg forces.

    • SunDancer says:

      Well, if a KGB agent said it, it MUST be true! It was their job, to spread science, knowledge and truth.

      But actually I think this agent held back the true scale of the crimes 🙂 – search for the “confession letter” of a certain Nadezhda Timofeevna Vdovichenko, available in English at .

      It is surprising no body wrote about them eating entrails of living, terrorized Poles and Jews as they were tied to a table with an apple stuffed in their mouths. Well, I guess now I’ve written it, so add that to your list of horrors! 🙂

      • marknesop says:

        Kiev is trying to adopt an ironic pot-calling-the-kettle-black manner that I suppose is meant to amuse its western backers. Whenever anyone uses this method in defense of Russia, it is called “whataboutism”, and they yell,. “stop your whataboutism – we’re not talking about Poland or Ukraine or whoever, we’re talking about Russia!” But I don’t suppose Kiev will meet with any criticism for projecting the spectre of fascism onto Russia to divert attention from itself. Quite the sense of humour.

        • SunDancer says:

          It’s not an unfair argument, that if Russia accuses Ukraine of fascism, to see how fascist Russia is itself. The response is just to point out they are fringe groups and don’t hold any positions of power, in contrast to the cabinet ministers and military commanders in Ukraine.

          But Russia also has some “crazies” in Duma, as you know, such as Zhirinovsky …. And it is also clear that Russia played the fascist card too hard early on, leading to ridicule of the claims (not the fact that some ultra-nationalists participated in coup and took power that was supported, but exaggerated claims about ethnic cleansing and stuff which really lacked support and undermined credibility of Russian media).

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I should worry more about Zhirinovsky if he appeared at the head of a battalion of like-minded ultra-nationalist volunteers in the Donetsk province, something that his alleged West Ukraine counterparts do with great frequency.

            • SunDancer says:

              There is no shortage of claims and reports that NAF forces are grossly violating human rights. Some of them seem to be rather Stalinist. To me Stalin is no better than Hitler, and Stalinists no better than Nazis. Sure not all are like this, but the bulk of Ukrainians fighting in Donbass are also not Banderists; indeed the Army is conscription-based, and the volunteer National Guard is composed of not only Banderists but those who believe the Ukrainian oligarch propaganda that Russia has invaded (and from opinion polls it seems quite a large majority of Ukrainians have been heavily influenced by their propaganda).

              • marknesop says:

                Once upon a time, journalism was thought to be an honourable profession, peopled by men (mostly men in those days) who would be ashamed to see published something they knew not to be true. There were exceptions, of course – Vietnam and the A-bomb ad featuring the child with the flower are examples of deliberate attempts to influence public thinking through media – but generally speaking the press felt a responsibility to report what was true, warts and all. That was a long time ago, when TV was still black and white.

                Then we entered the age in which few believed anything unless there was a picture to accompany it, when a picture was worth a thousand words. Photo retouching was generally crude and easy to spot.

                We have come out the other side of that, and now not only photography but video can be altered using popular software tools to put an entirely different spin on events, and major networks have almost all been caught altering video evidence or reports to shape public perception. As soon as a news report of major significance comes out, those who have an interest in it being inaccurate are beavering away at it, assiduously digging for evidence that it is a fake. People have evolved into skeptics of everything they do not want to believe is true. The other half of the equation is apparent here – people are seldom critical at all of any viewpoint that suits their own perceptions, and have no interest in proving something untrue that they wish to believe is true.

                Ukrainians must want to believe that what their oligarch government tells them is true is in fact true, because there are many reasons to believe it is not based on their previous crying of “Wolf!!!” and their weekly reiterations that they are being invaded by the professional state military of Russia. Not one of those claims has ever been supported by real evidence.

                There is nothing that compels belief in Ukrainians of the story they are being fed by their government except a wish that it be true.

                • SunDancer says:

                  Yes journalistic standards have declined, but manipulation of the media is as
                  old as conflict (including class, clan, and tribe conflict) – and manipulation of the “masses” predates the printing press, probably going back to even before the development of language. In terms of the modern day (and black & white TV), Operation Mockingbird is one example of media manipulation; recent disclosures from Udo Ulkfotte only verify it is still in play. Then of course there is the inadvertent manipulation, based on people’s stereotypes and blindspots.

                  The basic problem with finding truth is that people tend to be partisans, as you observed. Their objective becomes that their side is “right”, rather than to learn the truth. This influences not only readers, but reporters themselves.

                  Moreover, it is exhausting to question every source of news – because if you seriously do so, it becomes difficult to believe anything.

                  As to Ukrainians, most of them obtain their news simply by watching TV. Since all the TV is controlled by a few oligarchs, who are all in full support of the oligarchic, anti-Russian, pro-EU government, they are obtaining only one point of view, which is not at all supported by facts. But that is the result of hearing completely biased, rabble-rousing news for months on end.

                  By the way I would not consider the Ukrainian government, in general, nationalistic or fascistic. Nationalists and fascists (a form of nationalism) would abhor the idea of joining either the EU or NATO, as both are supranational organizations which wield tremendous control over its members, stripping them of sovereignty. Really what Banderites have become (under influence of US-backed propaganda, which blames all of Ukraine’s problems on Russia and paints EU membership as a panacea) is just virulent Russophobes. Even their anti-oligarch platform – which ostensibly was the reason for the protests last winter – has been discarded, as can be seen by their demands that the Party of Regions, but not oligarchs, be covered under the lustration laws.

                  Alas, there is some evidence of a “Russian invasion” – the ten paratroopers who were caught fairly deep inside Ukraine comes to mind as the most significant. On the other hand if you consider Crimea part of Ukraine (which many Ukrainians do), and the declaration of independence invalid, then naturally there is an obvious case of Russian invasion and occupation of Crimea. This inescapable fact has certainly been beneficial to the credibility of the other anti-Russian propaganda.

                • marknesop says:

                  Yes, it’s a fair point that the Ukrainian government, rather than being fascist, merely makes use of the fascist element to achieve its aims without having to resort to those tiresome procedures like bettering the living standard and catering to the whims of the electorate.

                  I did not say there were no Russians in Ukraine at all, and there definitely is a partisan percentage that is in Eastern Ukraine of its own will rather than under orders of the state. I said there had not been a Russian invasion, and it would be awfully hard to substantiate that there has using the numbers Ukraine believes it can prove. Not without totally humiliating its own armed forces.

          • marknesop says:

            It’s never an unfair argument, but only one side is permitted to make use of it, at least without a lot of screaming that you are resorting to whataboutism, after which the “But you lynch negroes” chestnut is bound to come out.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear SunDancer:

        I don’t really get your point(s), although I suspect sarcasm.
        (1) Are you saying that the retired KGB agent was lying in his memoirs, just because all KGB officers lie all the time?
        (2) That bit about the apple stuffed in their mouths – sarcasm, right?
        In other words, you believe that all the stories about Banderite atrocities against Poles/Jews are fabrications, or at most exagerrations?

        • SunDancer says:

          (1) To me is some random person whose “over the top” accusations I would not believe without solid proof. I hinted that KGB were in the business of spreading disinformation (sarcastically, of course) b/c people seemed to think he was credible *because* he was a KGB agent – that is just hilarious. Next someone will tell me Cheka/NKGB were lovely heroes of the revolution!

          (2) Of course :).

          No, I believe there were atrocities, but yes, I do think many things I have read are VERY exaggerated. It’s called demonization, war-time propaganda, whatever – motivates the troops to fight.

          It is like the accusation that Iraqis dumped Kuwaiti babies on the hospital floor to steal the incubators after invading Kuwait. That story actually seemed somewhat credible – you had an emotional young girl sitting in US Congress testifying about this – before it came out that this was a complete fabrication.

  10. Warren says:

  11. Eugen says:

    Hey Mark, the east prime-minister in question is the romanian one which employs the general as his adviser, or maybe the other way around since romania (as many other nato countries) is now under foreign miltary dictatorship. see clark government advisor, another one running the pension fund….sad times

  12. et Al says:

    Depressing isn’t it? On the plus side, we know General (Ret’d*) Wesley Clark is also a fruit cake, and not even a tasty one at that. People should be reminded that he ordered NATO’s ground force at Slatina Airport near Pristina in Serbia to attack Russian troops. No less than James (oh my God, he’s a musical twat) Blunt himself** tells this story because he was the officer on the ground at the time, and it was a British General ‘Vulcan’ Jackson who is quoted as saying back to Clark “I’m not starting f**king World War III for you”

    Mark, in appreciation of your new post and celebration of the new comments organization, I send you two virtual gifts, one practical, one thoroughly impractical:

    Whatever you do, do not store them both in the same place. And while I’m here, I’d like to ask the regular commenters, ‘what two virtual gifts practical & impractical would you give Mark?’

    * ‘Retarded’ (for the non-politically correct among us), not ‘Retired’

    • et Al says:

      My apologies to ucgsblog. I didn’t see his posting about the Blunt before I did mine. Something as disturbing as that is hard to forget.

    • Jen says:

      My practical gift to Mark: the martial arts bear video.

    • marknesop says:

      I was very sad about the bear. I hate cruelty, and it is cruel to keep a wild animal captive and force it to make a fool of itself like a Ukrainian politician for the amusement of halfwits. Animals generally only act in an undignified manner if they are made to do so by people. Except for monkeys, who are called Bandar-log and associated with the Russian liberal left for a reason – because they do not understand the concept of dignity. When I was a kid, other kids in the neighbourhood would bring frogs to me and threaten to smash them on the road if I did not buy the frog for a quarter, which I would do if I had one, and then let it go. I wonder sometimes how often I paid for the same frog.

      I thought about it for awhile as I was drinking the largest bottle of Veuve Cliquot. And after awhile I began to feel okay again. But I still hate cruelty.

    • astabada says:

      My gift to Mark is this nice color composite image of the Eta Carinae Nebula taken with Hubble Space Telescope.

    • colliemum says:

      My gift – both practical and impractical – to Mark is this oldie but goodie:

      Silly – yep. Cruel – no, as any shepherd working with collies will confirm.

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    “I am going to shirtfront Mr Putin – you bet I am – I am going to be saying to Mr Putin Australians were murdered, they were murdered by Russian backed rebels”, Abbott said.

    Shirtfront is a football technique for a front-on chest bump or rough handling aimed at knocking your rival backward to the ground. It’s “a reportable offence and considered illegal,” says the Australian Football Rules website.

    Oh please let Putin throw diplomacy to the winds and drop the gobshite!

    • dany8538 says:

      I was surprised no one commented on this until now. I mean this asshole literally dropped all illusions of diplomacy and literally said he would tackle another head of state especially one who could kick his ass. This is just crazy. Its amazing that in this supposed fight between the US and Russia the craziest are the lackey’s of the USA.
      At least Abbot didn’t forget about MH17 although he ignores reality when it comes to placing blame on the real guilty party.

      • Southerncross says:

        Being Australian he’s likely not important enough to be privy to the truth – nor smart enough to wonder why his fellow ‘leaders of the free world’ have clammed up on this subject.

    • Jen says:

      I believe the Mad Monk – for such Tony Abbott is, having once studied to be a priest, just like Stalin once did – was reminded by the Russian embassy in Australia that Putin is a judo expert, so if Abbott tried a head-butt, he’ll be flipped and grounded instead. The deranged leader pulled his antennae in and now says there will be “strong discussions”.

      As far as I know, Putin is only going to attend multi-lateral discussions and meetings at the G20 forum, he is not scheduled for any bilateral MMA cage-fights with the Mad Monk.

      Interestingly the commenters over at this Giardia CiF forum seem to be jeering at the Mad Monk even as some of them still adhere to the mainstream MH17 whodunnit fairy story.

      • yalensis says:

        Pulled his “antennae” in?
        Don’t you mean his ANTLERS? LOL…
        (tiny baby-Bambi antlers, not a full rack, obviously…)

        • Jen says:

          Abbott can’t grow antlers even if he were to try. They would be mushy and droop, and eventually fall off. Flies and beetles would avoid them.

          Possibly what Abbott has said about shirt-fronting Putin reflects actual opinion in Washington. He is a convenient conduit for expressing crude opinion as even before he became Prime Minister he already had a reputation for thuggishness, and so anything he says is viewed by the public as essentially his and not scripted by Washington or London. Australian geopolitical and economic interests do not dovetail with those of Russia to the extent that the interests of Europe and North America do, and Australia is significant as a power mainly in the South Pacific. Canberra is happy to play attack-dog for Washington where the opportunity presents itself, especially over anything to do with the MH17 crash investigation, and where Washington might feel itself constrained.

      • cartman says:

        Forget the judo. I hope his security is carrying stun guns.

      • marknesop says:

        MMA cage fights. You just keep getting better: I wish we lived closer together – you must be a laugh riot over a beer. I snorted chocolate milk out my nose.

    • marknesop says:

      I hope Australians are as embarrassed as I would be if Stephen Harper said he was going to beat up Putin. Really tough people don’t go around threatening everyone, they just punch you in the face without a lengthy programme announcement. Putin should bootfuck Abbot and then say he thought he was making an aggressive move and felt compelled to defend himself. His alibi is ready-made: Abbot already threatened him.

  14. Terrorist attacks in North Caucasus down 50%:

    Putin and Russian government deserve a lot of credit for what has happened in North Caucasus during the last 10-15 years. Hopefully the region remains even relatively peaceful in the future as well because Russia cannot really afford to waste it’s internal resources to a war or ATO in Northern Caucasus.

    • james says:

      they are busy working over in syria for ISIS – the paid for saudi/qatar/usa/israel mercenary group hoping for regime change for a new oil line from qatar thru syria.. apparently the pay is better..

      • yalensis says:

        Yeah, but they (ISIS) threatened they’ll be going back to Russia to blow stuff up, once they finished their current project in Syria.
        Here is Tarkhan Batirashvili, aka Omar the Chechen threatening to open up a new ISIS front in Russia. Kadyrov says, “Bring it on, he’ll kick ISIS asses if they try anything.”

        It must be great to be America and possess a mobile gang of trained killers who you can send anywhere in the world!

        • james says:

          yalensis – it is no longer america anymore..-ps, i hate that term “america’ and ‘americans’ taken over by the usa.. mexico and canada are a little less expansionist in their way of viewing themselves! regardless, it is international bankers centered in new york/london and maybe a few other places that are the ones directing the mayhem and war=$ agenda… some ‘americans’ know this too.. unfortunately most folks are not that knowledgeable of international finance or care to know much about it… they are too busy just trying to keep up with the basics!! canucks are no different.. canucks may as well be another part of this same crazy state for all the similarities we share especially in the political class and by indirectly supporting paid mercenary groups to ignore international laws making mayhem where-ever they go..ditto europe…

  15. NorthernStar says:

    “Turkish warplanes were reported to have attacked Kurdish rebel targets in southeast Turkey after the army said it had been attacked by the banned PKK Kurdish militant group, risking reigniting a three-decade conflict that killed 40,000 people before a cease-fire was declared two years ago.”

    So….if Turkey Fs around and ultimately gets kicked out of NATO or at least estranged from it…
    I guess this would be more or less good news for Russia.

    • Tim Owen says:

      Not just Russia surely.

    • Jen says:

      President Erdogan has really lost his marbles. Obviously he is using ISIS to crush any Kurdish attempts at autonomy or unity with other Kurds in Iraq and Iran but he also risks creating instability in Turkey’s border regions with those countries and Syria as well. Eventually ISIS will try to move deep into Turkey; they are sure to want to change Turkey into a purely Islamist state and may well decide that Erdogan is not Islamic enough for their taste as he is not moving fast enough to Islamise Turkish society by their standards.

  16. yalensis says:

    Babiy Yar: Massive Ukrainian crime against the Jewish people .

    Twenty years after the crime, Soviet poet Evegeny Yevtushenko wrote his poem about Babiy Yar , in which he complained that no monument had been built for the victims.

    As usual, Western propaganda got this completely wrong. They accused Soviet Union of being innately anti-Semitic, and that’s why no monument. Yevtushenko was feted as if he had “exposed” some vast truth about anti-Semitism in the Soviet Union.

    Whatever Yevtushenko’s actual intentions, the reality was completely different: Soviet Union was not anti-Semitic at all, quite the contrary, was extremely pro-Semitic. Soviet government had a very delicate situation, with so many millions of Ukrainians as Soviet citizens, and had to, sort of, sweep under the rug, the fact that so many of its citizens had gleefully committed these crimes.
    That’s why no monument. Soviets had not been able to kill or defeat all the Banderites. There were far too many of these monsters, and it was hopeless. All they could do at that point was just go into denial and try to sweep the whole thing under the rug, for the sake of national tranquility.

    • kirill says:

      The common theme is blame Russians. USSR=Russia and it is those damned antisemite Russians who are offending the Jews and the Jew-loving Banderites. Makes me want to puke.

      I think the use of Banderite scum by the USA to further its anti-Russian agenda will backfire. Just like the use of Al Qaeda jihadis in Syria.

      • Tim Owen says:

        Try this on for size:

        The upshot is the US could not be acting as stupidly as “we” think. The plan is to ditch Poro in favour of some more alarmingly freakish Banderite, then use that as a pretense to take control of Ukraine under a righteous R2P campaign along the lines of – I suppose – the ISIS fiasco, whereby the “West” creates the monster it wants to slay in order to secure the final act’s drama.

        Seems a little outlandish. But then Wesley Clark did furnish that observation about the plan to topple, what, 5 states in 7 years and is now suddenly back as an establishment darling “talking sense.” Quite a flexible brand as it turns out, just like the USA.

        Then again the report comes with this delicious paragraph:

        “Citizens with Wechsler Classification IQ’s of between 90 to 109 who follow the mainstream media, and those with IQ’s of 110 to 119 who follow the controlled ‘alternative’ media will be susceptible to the promoted simulacrum, their lives and existences having hitherto prepared them to follow the proposed logic combined with emotional appeal. Because this is the vast majority of people who follow news about world events, the pull will be quite significant.”

        Oh dear. Feel skewered by that somehow. (Though the assumed IQ boost would be a blessing of course.) Anyone else.

        • marknesop says:

          Unless they change the law, though, military intervention is the instrument of last resort in R2P, and must be approved by the UN Security Council. Russia and China would veto it.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Surely you don’t think the US is thinking of ditching this veritable hero of the Ukraine, shown below inspiring his troops in his latest camo-wear?

          Now doth he stroke his jowls, now doth he frown, …. His louring brows o’erwhelming his fair sight, …… Finding his enemy to be so curst

          (apologies to W.Shakespeare.)

        • yalensis says:

          Sounds like plausible conspiracy to me.
          Especially given the fact that Soros suddenly “discovered” (“Oh my gosh!”) that Aidar Battalion are neo-Nazis. In addition to Soros “coming to his senses”, the article points out that both Grauniad and CNN suddenly took a cold shower as well and discovered bad things going on which they had failed to notice before.
          It all seems just a tad too convenient to me!

      • “I think the use of Banderite scum by the USA to further its anti-Russian agenda will backfire. Just like the use of Al Qaeda jihadis in Syria.”

        Has it really backfired? I mean backfired against the USA?

  17. cartman says:

    “On paper, Russian companies have huge foreign debts, and no way of refinancing them because sanctions effectively close Western capital markets to Russian borrowers. But with much of Russian corporate foreign debt in fact hidden equity investments from offshore zones, the figures seem much worse than they are.

    International headlines are predicting a looming liquidity meltdown in Russia. Russian companies must pay down $134bn in external debt through the end of 2015, with a major spike of $32bn coming up in December 2014 alone, according to Russia’s central bank.

    But an accounting trick widely used in Russia may be misleading pundits on corporate liquidity in Russia, say experts: for many larger Russian firms, foreign debt is nothing other than equity injections from shareholders incorporated in offshore zones such as Cyprus or the British Virgin Islands, with interest paid on the debt a tax-minimising strategy to take profits.”

    • kirill says:

      I guess reality bites for the west and its imperial ambitions.

      Russia paid down $53 billion in debt (real or partly real, whatever) during the 3rd quarter of 2014. It has no problems paying down the $134 billion through the end of 2015.

      The best part of the article is the mention of the fact that half of Russia’s true corporate debt is owed by Rosneft and Gazprom. LOL. Like these companies won’t be able to handle it. In case some have not been paying attention, a prolonged oil price drop will destroy the non-conventional oil production in the USA and around the world, so there will be on the order of 4-6 million barrels per day of lost production. This will spike the oil price quite nicely. As I said before, this ain’t the 1980s.

      • marknesop says:

        I can think of worse outcomes than the USA being imbued with the belief that if it can just hang on and keep tightening sanctions until the end of 2015, Russia will fold. The European economy would be a smoking ruin by then, assuming they just kept saying “Yessir, Uncle Sam”, and doing whatever Obama told them to do. I don’t think they would be very disposed from that point to help America in its cockamamie campaigns.

    • kirill says:

      BTW, here is an interesting fact: the GDP treats borrowing from abroad as a capital inflow and a positive (like exports). it should really treat it as imports and a negative. If you look at so-called domestic debt in the west a lot of it is foreign money.

  18. yalensis says:

    Ukrainian neo-nazis attack their own parliament! – what a bunch of retards!

    Okay, count down 11 photos. Is that Tetiana Chornovol in the midst of the mayhem?

    • kirill says:

      Iodine deficiency, it can destroy nations. Send your donation today to stop this scourge. //sarcasm

    • marknesop says:

      Looks like her – what’s she doing, her walking dead impression? And what’s with Gladstone the Gladiator there, with the chain? It’s about twice too long, all someone would need to do is step inside it when he swung, and kick him in the sack hard enough to make two little fleshy thumps off the bottom of his brain-pan. Besides, it’s a fruity little chain that would only be dangerous at the tip – he probably took it off the playground swings.

      • yalensis says:

        These clueless idiots are clearly amateur street-fighters, who just watched vids of Maidan from a year ago.

        The original Molotov-cocktail, chain-swinging Maidanuts (at least some of them) were trained in special camps, in Poland and Baltic countries, by EU/NATO trainer types.
        That was exposed at the time, although I forgot to save the links, unfortunately.

        • marknesop says:

          There’s one in that Saker movie about Maidan, swinging a much longer length of heavier chain, while the police just link arms and take being lashed by it because they were ordered to hold the line and not react to provocations – likely the Maidanuts hoped someone would step out of line and grapple, so he could be swarmed and captured or killed. But a chain is a shitty weapon unless the arc is so short nobody can get inside it, and the length of time and predictability of swinging it allow even someone who’s not that quick to step inside it and punch you in the face while you have both hands full.

  19. Moscow Exile says:

    To go back to the previous thread where the question arose about the removal of bullet-scarred trees around the Maidan area, the deaths caused there by snipers, and the apparent absence of an inquiry into these killings, this new You Tube documentary, “Maidan Massacre”, has appeared on Saker.

    Ready ?

    All together now: one … two … three …


  20. Moscow Exile says:

    The most violent century in human history … was hardly the best advertisement for the “bland fanatics of western civilisation”, as the American theologian Reinhold Niebuhr called them at the height of the cold war, “who regard the highly contingent achievements of our culture as the final form and norm of human existence”. …a fundamentalist creed that has coloured our view of the world for more than a century: that western institutions of the nation-state and liberal democracy will be gradually generalised around the world, and that the aspiring middle classes created by industrial capitalism will bring about accountable, representative and stable governments – that every society, in short, is destined to evolve just as the west did. Critics of this teleological view, which defines “progress” exclusively as development along western lines, have long perceived its absolutist nature.

    From “The Long Read” in today’s Grauniad:

    The western model is broken

    The west has lost the power to shape the world in its own image – as recent events, from Ukraine to Iraq, make all too clear. So why does it still preach the pernicious myth that every society must evolve along western lines?

    In the comments section below the article, the Grauniad liberasts respond with venom, e.g.

    More Marxist blather. The biggest blodbaths [sic] are not all this wurst that you are piling on our plate, but the 80 million innocent people wiped out by communism in the USSR and China for refusing to be collectivised. Furthermore, new attempts at Marxism, retrofitting, as you call it, such as is being implemented by the Castro brothers in Cubasuela will not last long for the very simple reason that the people — as the they do worldwide — still kill for an iPhone, a pair of denims or a good ol’ McDonalds or a Hollywood movie, not to mention gossip. Not only that, but it’s a well-publicised secret that the Mecca of the cubasuelan socialist party is a trip to Disneyworld or to the Rue St, Honoré.

    Just face it. You can’t beat capitalism and luxury. Even unnecessary schlock is preferable to what the alternative offers, besides pompous blarney. Everyone wants luxury. Diehard commies and socialist, in their drab Mao suits and monotone chants about peoplepower, should be given their own island and call it Miseria. You’ll see how soon most will be rafting out o fit or climbing the wall, under fire even, to get out.

    Now be honest, everyone: who on here would kill for a Big Mac?

    I mean, let’s face it, you can’t beat capitalism.

    Can you?

    • marknesop says:

      There’s some truth in what the author says – everyone wants luxury. Well, not necessarily luxury, but comfort – security. Not to have to decide, a week from payday, whether to buy food or heat, but you can’t buy both. Everyone wants to know their paycheque will reach until the next one comes due; not necessarily so you can buy that mink armchair, but so that everyone in your family gets enough to eat, your lifestyle is comfortable, everyone has clothes that fit them and can go to school, and you don’t have to work six jobs to bring that all together under the same roof. There’s nothing communist or capitalist about that, and the persistent efforts to drive a wedge between us ignore that everyone wants that. It’s universal, except for the one-percenters who are so rich they never have to wash their shirt; they just throw it away and buy another one.

      “A holiday; a holiday, maybe someday
      red wine, a nice meal in the new cafe;
      We love to dance, we love to dance to the stereo
      It must be love; we love to go where the lovers go..

      We’re living the same life:
      there’s nothing really happening back here
      I’m still at the office
      and days turn into months turn into years…”

      The Payolas, “It Must Be Love

      The misconception arises from the assumption that everyone in the west has this level of comfort and security, whereas communism was a lie and everyone starved under its cruel thumb. Neither of these statements is true. The poor who have to make their money cover an impossible series of eventualities abound in the west, and many families remember a solid upbringing under communism, with no particular need for luxuries.

    • Max says:

      This is Reaction. Liberals are subtler. If they speak of communism at all, it’s sarcastically, as if they grudgingly approve. But the starkest dichotomy between underdog and overlord they obscure behind a welter of appeals to lesser and non-issues: homosexuality, misogyny, anti-semitism, racial bigotry, “human rights” etc.

    • Fern says:

      I don’t understand why the author of this piece refers several times to Putin’s ‘messianic Eurasianism’. What’s ‘messianic’ about Russia reaching the conclusion after very many years of trying to find an accommodation with the west that the game is not really worth the candle? That faced with ever-increasing hostility, bellicose rhetoric, a military alliance creeping ever-closer to its borders and economic terrorism from its western ‘partners’, Russia has decided it’s more sensible to develop relations with non-western countries?

      • marknesop says:

        Well, see, you’re talking sense. Which is totally at odds with the author, and probably accounts for the mismatch between reality and alternate reality.

      • et Al says:

        Maybe he is referring to Russia seeing itself (under Putin of course) as the Third Rome with the Eurasian Union as the supporting act (though I don’t see how China fits in to that)? He clearly doesn’t want to say it explicitly but if Russia does become the Third Rome, then its doom and gloom for the West.

        • yalensis says:

          Два Рима падоша, третий стоит, четвертому не быть! as Inok Filaret used to say…
          (“Two Romes fell, the Third still stands, there will not be a Fourth!”)

          Grammatically incorrect Old Church Slavonic, BTW. Since “Two Romes” consists of TWO objects, then it should be in the DUAL case, not the plural.
          Should read: “Dva Rima padete” “Two Romes fell” – asigmatic aorist:
          “Дъва Рима падете”.

          Just sayin…

          • Moscow Exile says:

            The Third Rome did not refer to an empire but to a third seat of Christendom: the first had been destroyed by heresy; the second by the Ottomans; the third, Moskva, shall live for ever.

            It’s all bollocks, though, because William Blake and everyone else who has an ounce of common sense knows that “Jersulem was builded” there “in England’s green and pleasant land”.

            That’s the spiritual Jerusalem, of course, the Holy City.


          • Moscow Exile says:

            That’s why there is the collective number for masculine animate nouns as well as the ordinal, e.g.

            двое друзей (= два друга) – two friends
            трое мальчиков (= три мальчики) – three boys

            but only the cardinal for feminine nouns

            две подруги – two (girl) friends
            три девушки – two girls

            The collective numbers and the case endings that they govern are remnants of the dual number in Old Russian.

            That’s why I say У меня есть трое детей – I have three children – and do not use the cardinal три, because “a child” in Russian is always masculine gender, even if it’s a little girl.

            Bloody Russian linguistic sexists!


  21. yalensis says:

    Ukrainian Agribusiness giant Mriya, traded on Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

    Bankruptcy looming.

    One creditor has lamented that Mriya hasn’t been forthright after it missed $32.6 million worth of interest payments on two eurobonds on Aug. 1. It has $72 million outstanding on a $250 million eurobond that matures in March 2016; and $400 outstanding on a eurobond that matures in April 2018.

    Goes on to say that the largest creditor is a for-profit arm of the World Bank.
    What will happen to Ukrainian agriculture if the company goes under?

  22. yalensis says:

    In Ukrainian cultural news:

    In Zaporozhe Ukrainian nationalists organized an insult to Soviet WWII veterans.
    They pretended to have a nice memorial service commemorating that day in 1943 when Soviet troops crossed the Dnipr River, forcing Germans back.
    The veterans (any surviving actual veterans must be really old now!) and others came to the celebration.

    Next thing you know, Ukrainian nationalists are staging a dance in which they portray Soviet soldiers being greeted by Ukrainian girls who offer them flowers.
    As the dance continues, things get ugly, and the Soviet soldiers rape the Ukrainian girls.
    ’cause see, they’re worse than the Germans.

    If you look closely at the photos of the “dance”, one of the dudes is actually a chick.
    Hence, in the last few photos you have a chick simulating to rape another chick, which is actually kind of kinky…

    As one of the commenters said: “Nothing surprises me any more, with these people…”

  23. yalensis says:

    Meanwhile, the war goes on. It is reported, that over 100 Ukrainian soldiers have been surrounded (by Separatists) near the village of Bakhmutovka, in Luhansk Province.
    Commander of the (National Guard) Battalion has been taken prisoner by the Seps.
    This refers to Blockposts #31 and #32 of Ukrainian National Guard.
    In the middle of last night, Seps surrounded the blockposts, and battle ensued.

    Here is map showing Bakhmutovka. It is east of Aidar River and just north of the city of Luhansk.

  24. yalensis says:

    I saw this comment on miitaryPhotos. Damn, I wish I had an account there, because I am itching to reply to it, after carefully reading this scholarly article, which was posted by Warren in a previous thread. [If you bring up link, you can click on “Download full text” to get the PDF of Grover Furr’s article.

    Here is the deal:
    The militaryPhotos thread is a debate between a pro-Russian and a Pole.
    Pro-Russian is trying to convince Pole, Why do your support those Banderites who murdered your people back in the day?
    Pole is sort of white-washing Ukrainian Banderites, and one of his arguments is, “Well, those same murderer-worshipping Ukrainians were precisely the ones who gave us access to more archaeological sites in Ukraine, thus proving all the more how evil the NKVD was at Katyn, blah blah blah.

    pro-Russian commenter has no real reply to that, because she obviously is not up to speed on the latest Katyn researchers.

    Once one reads Furr’s latest article, it all becomes clear:
    True, the Ukies thought they were going to slime Soviet Union even more when they invited the Poles in and started digging around at some mass burial sites in Ukraine.

    Unfortunately for them, they got hoisted on their own petard.
    Because the burial sites proved exactly the opposite: That Katyn was a Nazi job, not a Soviet job.
    I’ll explain in a future comment, if I have the time, and if people don’t have the time to read Furr’s article. Basically, it’s all about the “transport documents”, and the discovery by the archaeologists of 2 Polish policemen’s badges, which proved that they had NOT been transported to their deaths by the NKVD (as was previously assumed), and that, on the contrary, they were murdered by the Nazis and buried in a mass grave at Katyn.
    These two examples actually tell the whole story and prove that the Polish version is a lie.

    Once again, I wish somebody would get onto militaryPhotos and point this out, to help the commenter there who is trying to debate this Pole, but doesn’t know about the latest Katyn….

    • Russian parliament condemned Stalin for the Katyn massacre as recently as in 2010. Why would Russian parliament do something like that if they knew that Nazis were the ones who really did it?

    • astabada says:

      I have had a look at the article you/Warren linked, and have to admit that haven’t read it thoroughly yet. But the keystone seems to be the forgery of the “Closet Packet No. 1”

      If that’s true (and I can’t tell, because I had no access to the referenced book) then the whole story becomes much more solid.

      • yalensis says:

        Dear Astabada:
        Grover Furr has published 2 scholarly articles (that I know about) on the Katyn subject.
        The earlier one deals with the Beria forgery . That one addresses the point of “Why did Yeltsin lie about Katyn?” etc.

        This later article, which Warren found is just from a couple of years ago, and deals with the archaeological digs. Let me describe the key point made by this later one, because I just finished reading it, and the key points are fresh in my memory. The over-arching frame to this arc is the backstory that Ukrainians invited Poles in to dig around and hopefully find new atrocities to ascribe to the NKVD. This would have cemented the anti-Russian political romance between Ukraine and Poland. Instead, the archaeologistgs inadvertently dug up proof that Katyn massacre was NOT carried out by NKVD, thus hoisting themselves with their own petards.

        Bullet points:
        Polish historians live by a “universally accepted truth” that Soviet NKVD liquidated approx. 20,000 Polish soldiers/officers/police/national guard and buried them at Katyn and a couple of other sites. This dogma is so entrenched in Polish thinking that no one is ever allowed to doubt it, or to express any doubts.
        The official Polish websites dedicated to Katyn have catalogued as many names as possible of the victims. Poles have posted NKVD “transfer documents” of the victims and egregiously ADDED the word “Murder” after each name, as if this was part of the transfer document, which it was not. (see page 10). It is just Polish ASSUMPTION that the NKVD transferred the victims out of their POW camps, in order to murder them.

        Like all good internal police everywhere, the NKVD kept very good records, they did indeed document that they transferred these particular prisoners out of the POW camp, but the official reason given in the actual documentation, was not to murder these Poles, but to put them to work on forced labour construction projects.

        Then follows a couple of specific examples, either of which disproves the entire Polish (official) suppositions that these Polish prisoners were transported out of the NKVD POW camps and sent to their execution. The reality is that these POWs were sent to work on forced-labour construction projects, just like NKVD documents said. Later, these POW’s were left behind when NKVD fled from the invading Nazis. The Nazis acquired the Polish POW’s and murdered them, then blamed the deaths on the NKVD.

        Take the example of Jósef Kuligowski, a Polish soldier/policeman/national guardsman.
        Kuligowski was taken prisoner by the Red Army sometime after September 17, 1939, when Soviet troops entered Eastern Poland (….). He was held in the Ostashkov prisoner-of-war camp in Kalinin oblast‘ (province), now renamed Tver‘ oblast‘. In April 1940 along with other prisoners he was transferred from Ostashkov to the town of Kalinin (now Tver‘). After that there is no further information about him.

        Up until now (and probably even now, despite the new evidence), Poles say: “Kuligowski, like the others, was transferred frpm Ostashkov in order to be murdered at Katyn in April of 1940.”

        Official NKVD records do show the transfer of this prisoner from Ostashkov.
        Official Polish version is that he was taken away and executed (by the NKVD), in April of 1940, one of the many victims of the Katyn massacre.

        In reality, as we now know, Kuligowski was NOT executed by the NKVD, he was still alive until late 1941.

        This revelation (not about Kuligowski per se, he is just one example of several specific examples, which in fact tell the whole story) came about in 2011/2012 when a team of Polish and Ukrainian archaeologists dug up a mass burial site in the town of Volodymyr-Volyns‘kiy, Ukraine. The bodies found therein showed all the signs of a Nazi/Ukrainian mass execution of undesirables (Poles, Jews, Russians), including the fact that women and even children were executed here; and as Furr points out, the NKVD did not execute children; and even more to the point, the victims were executed with German ammo; and even more to the point, analysis of shell casings in the mass grave have proved that the event occurred no earlier than 1941. This was long after the official timeline for Katyn.

        Returning to the individual, Jósef Kuligowski, his constable’s badge was discovered in the pit, and this artifact proves that he is one of the skeletons in the pit.
        Which proves that Kuligowski was executed by the Nazis, not the Soviets, and at some point quite later than the Katyn massacre.

        More to the point, the fact that NKVD transfer records are proved to be just that, transfer records; and not execution records. Upon which, the entire edifice of the official Polish verson of Katyn crumbles into dust.

        • marknesop says:

          I hate to be a wet blanket, because I have believed for some time that the Poles were murdered by someone other than the Soviets (simply because there are so many holes in the story, and so many suspicious circumstances such as the probability official documents were altered or substituted). However, the discovery in the pit of Kuligowski’s constable’s badge in and of itself proves nothing, certainly not that one of the skeletons is Kuligowski’s. It is strong circumstantial evidence, but not proof – anyone could have picked up the badge as a trinket, and perhaps carried it for years as some kind of good-luck charm, who knows why people do these things? The dates on the ammunition casings are much harder evidence to refute.

          But the subject is interesting, because it lays bare another treasured Russophobic trope – that Russia is not welcome around the campfire of civilized peoples, because it has never admitted its guilt over the slaughter of millions under Stalin, Holodomor, the whole bit. The Nazis admitted their guilt, so the story goes, or Germany stipulated to it on their behalf, and then fell weeping into the consoling arms of the western democracies. Its tears were dried, it was given a penance, and all was forgiven.

          It is therefore my theory that Yeltsin fell for the west’s yammering, and admitted Russia’s guilt at Katyn as a sort of trial balloon, to see if the comforting and acceptance would be forthcoming. Instead, the Poles screamed with ecstacy – he admits it!!! and redoubled their caterwauling. I am only surprised they did not demand a couple of hundred billion rubles in reparations.

          Of course, the idea that he wanted to drive a stake through the heart of Communism so that it could never, ever come back is compelling as well, because he was known to harbour such sentiments. Anyway, I just wanted to highlight what the west’s response was when Russia admitted something, never mind whether it was ever true in the first place. I hope they learned a lesson from it. A couple, actually – one, Russia is not Germany, and although many in the west secretly admired the Nazis, while it would be the kiss of death to say so, owing to the west’s complicated familial relationship with Israel, the west genuinely hated communism to the marrow of its bones, and Russia will never be treated by the west as Germany was supposing it falls on its knees and cops to everything with loud sobs. Two, the west is full of shit where Russia is concerned, and what it says is never to be taken at face value.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            As a matter of fact, I do not think that Russia has ever in its statements apologized for the deaths at Katyn, for to do so would be to open the flood gates for compensation claims. According to an official statement from the State Duma in 2010, “The Katyn crime was carried out on the direct orders of Stalin and other Soviet leaders”, but everyone knows, of course, that the Russians did it, don’t they? I mean,it stands to reason, doesn’t it?

            The head of the Polish parliament foreign affairs committee, Andrzej Halicki, said at the time of the Duma statement that he considered it to be a “breakthrough”. However, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, head of the conservative opposition Law and Justice party, said he still wants Russia to offer a full apology and compensation.

            So how about compensation for the deaths of Soviet soldiers in the Polish-Soviet War 1919-20?

            And what about the Polish occupation of Muscovy, which occurred during the Polish-Muscovy War 1613-1618…?

            November 4, National Unity Day, is a public holiday here and celebrates the popular uprising which ejected the Polish occupying force from Moscow in November 1612.

            Yes, I’m talking about that self-same always-picked-on-by-big-bad-Russia Poland.

            The Poles seem to ignore the fact that the Germans killed more of them during the period 1939-45 than the “Russians” ever did. Perhaps, when thinking of compensation claims, the Poles have in mind matters such as this:

            Holocaust Reparations

            and this:

            Reparations Agreement between Israel and West Germany

            I think the Poles are playing on a bit of a sticky wicket here, though, when it comes to making claims for compensation, for rumour has it, though I’m not really one to gossip, that very many Poles (and the least said about the Ukrainians as regards this matter the better) were rather more than willing accomplices to the Nazi ethnic cleansing of Eastern Europe in order that it become Judenfrei. And I do believe that the Latvians, Lithuanians and Estonians were not exactly “squeaky clean” in this matter either.

            As a matter of fact, my forefathers were English eorls in northern England and had, as had the rest of the Old English ruling class, all their assets seized by William of Normandy and his cohorts after the English defeat at Hastings in 1066.

            In fact, for many years after the conquest of 1066, there were so many rebellions in the North against Norman rule that in the end the Normans raised the north of England, a punitive exercise, which would, no doubt, now be called “genocide” and is known as “The Harrying of the North”.

            The result of this was a depopulation of Northern England and a degree of poverty and backwardness there, as compared with the South East England, that only ceased after the start of the industrial revolution in the mid-18th century.

            I think I’ll pop off to Caen and put in a claim for compensation.

            • yalensis says:

              Dear Moscow Exile:

              When I previously heard about the “Harrying” of the North, I was given to believe that everybody was forced to name their sons “Harry”.
              Thank you for clearing up that matter.

          • astabada says:

            @yalensis, mark

            I have finished to read the article yesterday night, so here are some of my considerations.

            However, the discovery in the pit of Kuligowski’s constable’s badge in and of itself proves nothing, certainly not that one of the skeletons is Kuligowski’s

            Hi mark, firstly, the badges found are two and identify two officers. Secondly, what’s the likelyhood that the only two identifying pieces of material correspond to two people killed in Katyn, that two other victims have collected and kept for more than one year, and that they were both killed in Volodymyr-Volin’sky? I’d say rather low.
            Now you could argue that “low” probability is not the same thing as “zero” probability – but here’s the caveat: there are no zero-probability events.

            I agree that this new evidence reopens the case, but to say that it’s been overturned is an exageration. What about the witnesses? He seems to dismiss their account very briefly, while it would be necessary to dissect it and compare it to the evidence.

            That said, I haven’t read the first article, so thank you yalensis for posting a link!

            • yalensis says:

              Hi, Astabada,
              As to the accounts of the witnesses, I agree that Furr does not give them a full and due analysis. (Although he covers this in more detail in the first article.)
              Furr assumes that the witnesses were interrogated under duress; namely, threat of prosecution, if they didn’t conform their accounts to what the interrogators wanted, and confess to executing Polish officers. There is no way to figure this out without additional information or testimony. That may have to wait until future years, because the current Putin government is also locked in to the “official” Katyn story.

              Secondly, Furr stipulates that Soviets DID most likely execute some Polish soldiers, most probably on the order of around 2,000 Poles. That was probably the list of those POW’s who were actually tried and convicted of serious crimes, and were waiting for their death sentences anyhow. (As opposed to the bulk of the 20K Poles who were not accused of committing any crimes and were simply captured in battle.)

              The confessions of the NKVD witnesses may have been connected with these executions; either that, or they were making stuff up whole cloth in order to please their interrogators from the Yeltsin regime.

              • astabada says:

                As to the accounts of the witnesses, I agree that Furr does not give them a full and due analysis. (Although he covers this in more detail in the first article.)

                You’re always an article ahead of me yalensis! I look forward to read what does he say in the first article, although he complains in the second that the original Russian depositions are not available, and he had to resort to a Polish translation.

      • Jen says:

        @ Astabada:

        Here is my reply to your question of several days ago which I missed.

        Could you confirm whether or not the Ukraine needs to buy US Dollars in order to pay Gazprom? Me and Moscow Exile discussed this topic in the past.

        I was wondering whether the plummeting value of the Hrvynia vs the US Dollar has effectively doubled gas prices for what Kiev is concerned.

        My answer:
        Unable to confirm for sure but from reading some posts (in English) at Gazprom’s website on the agreements the company has made in the past with Ukraine, I think prices are set in US dollars so I assume that Ukraine would indeed need US dollars to pay Gazprom. If you read this particular post, you will see that in April 2014, the new price that Ukraine was to pay for gas was set at US$485 per 1,000 cubic metres. That would seem extraordinarily precise for an equivalent price in US dollars if the original contract had been made out in either roubles or hryvnia.

        This is not just because global commodity transactions are usually done in US dollars or some other widely used currency. Using US dollars would protect Gazprom’s back because there’d be no way Ukraine would complain that Gazprom was manipulating the rouble-hryvnia exchange rate to force Ukraine to cough up more in payment.

        Also, depending on the conditions in the contract, if Ukraine was required to make payments in US dollars at certain times of the year, the govt could always try to fix a US$-hryvnia exchange rate (either a definite rate or a range of rates) for those periods when payment is due, based on current exchange rates and their likely trends, to minimise its exposure to exchange rate fluctuations. It could take out a contract to buy a certain amount of US$ at a fixed rate with hryvnia on a date before paying Gazprom what it owes on the foreign exchange market, irrespective of the actual value of the hryvnia against the US dollar on that day. Companies and banks do this all the time. I used to work in the international trade section in a bank years and years ago and the bank’s clients would constantly phone up and make contracts to buy or sell foreign currencies at a fixed time in the future and at a fixed rate based on the current exchange rate of the day, usually for importing or exporting purposes.

        • astabada says:

          We knew the contracts were stipulated in US Dollars, but weren’t sure whether this entailed Kiev to actually buy Dollars or rather to just buy Rubles.

          You argument that they need to buy Dollars, which means that the Ukraine cannot afford any realistic gas price, for the moment. We know that they haven’t any significant cash in their coffers, and the perspective exchange rate of the Hryvnia against the Dollar are grim to say the least.

          They completely rely on borrowing money, but again one Dollar borrowed today (given the present trends) effectively may become two Dollars in a few months. So when I say “borrow” I really mean “bail-out”.

          Thank you for your answer!

        • yalensis says:

          Dear Jen:
          Is there any possibility that Ukrainian government might have purchased insurance to hedge against future currency fluctuations?

          • Moscow Exile says:

            If you were an actuary, do you think you would really be able to calculate a risk premium with the Ukrainian basket-case “state”?

          • Jen says:

            There was a USAid report by Charles Seeger in 2011 recommending that the National Bank of Ukraine use risk management financial tools to manage the country’s foreign currency exposures.

            Click to access NBUFXApproaches_8-2011_final.pdf

            The report notes:
            ” … The rationale to relax FX [foreign exchange] controls and increase FX risk management activities is compelling. The Ukrainian economy is heavily oriented to international trade and greatly exposed to currency fluctuations. Approximately 49% of GDP worth of goods and services are exported and 73% of those payments are in US dollars; and approximately 51% of GDP worth of goods and services are imported and 66% of those payments are in US dollars. Ukraine’s overall debt is approximately US $54 billion, over 40% of GDP, with one-half FX denominated. Ukraine’s current and future
            exports, imports, and foreign-issued debt create significant demand for foreign currency and for tools to manage and hedge the related risk. Ukrainian firms with long-term outlooks actively plan for future growth and make projections of future revenue and related costs. Components of their revenues and/or costs are affected by their foreign exchange rate assumptions. The lack of a developed foreign exchange market creates uncertainty in that planning, hampers risk management of their FX exposure, weakens corporate strategic planning, and thus limits corporate growth. A developed foreign exchange market with the ability to use tradable foreign exchange rates at dates in the future will facilitate corporate growth, enhance bank lending, and provide the ability to hedge FX risks and reduce the uncertainty of profitability. A developed FX market will also encourage foreign investment in Ukraine because of the greater ease of currency conversion …”

            In other words, you need a proper FX market with regulations and enforcement of those regulations to hedge against currency fluctuations. No mention of insurance (which in the context of FX markets might smack of currency regulation which in turn suggests socialist or Keynesian govt paternalism).

            Incidentally here is what the report has to say about the development of the FX market in Russia:

            ” … In Russia, FX derivatives were first developed in 1992 by the State
            Foreign Trade and Investment Bank, which established the Moscow Interbank Currency
            Exchange (MICEX) as the derivatives trading platform to establish an exchange rate for
            Ruble / US Dollar. MICEX was essentially a creation of the Central Bank in a
            Government effort to duplicate the FX derivatives trading on the Chicago Mercantile
            Exchange. It was not an initiative of local banks, or exporter/importers, that wanted to
            manage currency risk. Neither the Russian economy, nor its banks nor corporations.
            were ready in 1992 to use MICEX for price discovery or risk management. The legal
            and regulatory environment was then weak and unreliable. MICEX was thus of no
            consequence until post 2000 when the Russian banks and exporters/importers were
            better prepared to participate in international commerce and OTC FX markets. In 2001,
            the Russia Trading System Stock Exchange (RTS) and the Saint Petersburg Stock
            Exchange (SPBEX) launched a joint market for futures and options, derivatives trading
            in Russia has grown steadily since, through both OTC transactions and on four
            exchanges (RTS, MICEX, SPCEX, SPBEX). Equity and currency futures are the most
            prevalent exchange-traded derivatives in Russia, while USD/RUR and EUR/RUR
            foreign exchange swaps comprise the majority of OTC activity. In 2010, the foreign
            exchange market in Russia had an average daily turnover of USD 42 billion (BIS
            Quarterly Review, December 2010).
            The Russian MICEX example offers an approach of Government-forced,
            exchange-traded FX derivatives, that resulted in a market with limited international
            credibility. However, to the credit of MICEX management, post 2000 MICEX has
            earned the respect of market participants as the accepted forum for establishing the
            Ruble / Dollar exchange rate, as well as become a vibrant securities exchange. But,
            that market success was only achieved when the Government reduced its role in forcing
            banks to participate in a Central Bank driven market …”

  25. Saudis and their Western masters are crashng the oil price on purpose according to ZeroHedge:

    • I have read from various sources that Saudis and Americans cannot crash the oil price anymore due to increased demand and increased costs of drilling. Apparently this is at least partly false. It is certain that the oil price is deliberately driven down, and most likely to hurt Russia.

    • astabada says:

      Like in every dumping scheme, the question is who will become bankrupt first. In this case Russia or the West (and its henchman Saudi Arabia)?

      I don’t know what will happen, but the key to it all is that while the economy of Russia relies heavily on hydrocarbons exports, the economy of Saudi Arabia revolves solely around oil exports.

      As for the US, the break even price for their oil is even higher than Russia’s, so their dumping scheme does rely completely on printing money to subsidise the production. Again: what will happen first, Russia going bankrupt or investors getting nervous over even more trillions being printed?

      I am sure that politicians will only listen to their preferred answers, like most of us.

      • Russia should decrease the oil production during the time when the price is down. There is no reason to sell a finite resources with a low price.

        • Let the Saudis flood the market with cheap oil and save Russian resources for the future.

        • cartman says:

          The ones who play at war are going to get their fingers burned.

        • marknesop says:

          If it does that the west will circulate the rumor that Russia is running out of oil, and its reputation and reliability – constantly under assault by the west already – will be impacted.

          • Russia can say that they are deliberately decreasing the drilling because the price is too low. It is up to customers to believe it or not.

            • marknesop says:

              Yes, I suppose that’s true; there’s no particular reason for western countries to believe other western countries, because you’d think a liar would recognize another liar – perhaps there’s even a professional association, Bullshitters Of The Western Hemisphere, something like that – but they do. It’s also true that Saudi Arabia’s capability to function as a swing producer, with surplus production as needed, is gone. The USA would like you to believe it is the new swing producer, but that won’t last and while it does have large amounts of oil and gas (achieved through constant drilling at a breakneck pace) it has practically zero capability for exports, particularly to Europe. Perhaps it is time for Russia to be the new price controller by regulating global supply.

              However, it seems to me that if Russia cut back production severely in order to drive the price up, it would itself still be selling far less, so I can’t see how that would benefit its bottom line.

      • cartman says:

        “This isn’t the 1980s, and there’s no flux capacitor available that can bring the Saudis back to their glory days, when it cost them just $4 to produce a barrel of oil.

        Not only does their spare capacity consist of poorer-quality heavy crude (which many European refiners simply can’t handle), but Ghawar — their largest oil field — is officially the world’s largest wishing well given how much seawater Saudi Aramco injects into it on a daily basis.”

        Note that the Saudis want Europeans to pay up for these long term contracts. They’ll have to buy up this crap they can’t use as well.

        “Unfortunately, there’s more to the tight oil revolution taking place in the United States than just the benefits.

        Any sustained slump in prices will lead to a considerable slowdown in activity on the part of U.S. drillers. In fact, analysts from Deutsch Bank suggested that if OPEC fails to lower output (and continues its price war against the West), then about 9% of the tight oil production in the United States would become uneconomical.

        If prices drop below $80, that amount rises to 40%.

        I’ll leave you with this question: Who’s going to blink first?”

        • The current price of $81 per barrel is still high in historical standards, but the price has been driven down by about $20 per barrel in a short time. How much it can be further driven down and how sustainable the lower price is will be known in the future.

          This is madness for oil producers because their finite resources are being wasted. This is why Russia and other non-Western controlled oil producers should halt the production to drive the price up again and not wasting their valuable oil like this.

          This would force Saudis and other Gulf nations to further increase their production (if they can!) or the oil price would again start rising sharply which would enable Russia and others to re-enter the market.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Well, I’ve just come home for a cup of tea after working at BP (I’ll be back there this afternoon – their HQ is only two metro stops from here) and was talking there with a Russian economist about this fall in oil prices and how, for every dollar fall, Russia loses billions, and who is going to blink first – that nice, laid-back “Barry” or the Evil Orc Vlad – and she just said that at the present price there are sufficient Russian reserve funds to last for 5 years – without blinking.

            In other words:


            • Moscow Exile says:

              Who’s gonna blink first?

            • rkka says:

              Further, the Russian government has trivial foreign-currency-denominated debt, and most of their bills are in rubles, so a declining ruble vs the dollar compensates nicely for the decline in the dollar oil price.

              Then there’s the exchange rate impact on imports to Russia, making domestic production more competitive. Russians now get employment in the agricultural, food processing, and consumer manufacturing sectors serving the Russian market, not Euros/Americans.

              A declining currency is really a problem for countries with large debts denominated in foreign currencies.

              That ain’t Russia.

            • marknesop says:

              That’s pretty close to what the Central Bank said the other day; that if the economic climate continued as it is today for Russia, the fund set aside to insulate Russia against currency fluctuations would be half-depleted in two years. So four years under current conditions to run it dry, give or take. As I have said every time the let’s-starve-Russia-by-crashing-oil-prices argument comes up, how long is the western population going to put up with a depressed economy and no growth just so its leaders can play power games? How long before restless grumbling that this set of leaders ought to be kicked out of office begins rising? Years? Dream on. If the west did not also rely heavily on energy prices for economic growth, it might work, but it does. The USA so far is insulated somewhat and is trying to pound on Russia with its European hammer until one or the other goes under, but it’s not looking good so far and it is only a matter of time before it begins to hurt American growth as well. This is looking more global by the day, and that means America’s markets just like everyone else. There’s never been a better time to kick the legs out from under the dollar, and I’m sure Russia and China know it.

    • et Al says:

      Off on a tangent, if ISIS/IS/ISL thinks Qatar/Saudi and others have stabbed it in the back, then they will be coming home and looking for trouble. I think this is main reason behind various new Gulf military projects (multi-billion dollar highway/causeway between Saudi and Bahrain, attack helicopters etc.) – their preparing themselves for the blow back, just in case.

      It’s a bit difficult to see as the Gulf states always pay serious money for defense items, but even with all these toys, without direct foreign help, they’d go the same way as the Iraqi Army has gone in the last few months. I find it difficult to believe that Gulf military effectiveness has improved that much since their abysmal showing in 1990 – the big toys just paper over the cracks. There simply aren’t enough dedicated soldiers and lots of disaffected youth.

  26. NorthernStar says:

    Well it certainly appears as if Mr. Gregory and Professor Dawisha take issue with some of you wrt
    Russia’s economic fortunes and Putin’s role in shaping their course of development.
    BTW..I thought the KGB was more…so the KGB-Mafia thing kinda threw me…
    Ms. Dawisha appears to be quite the ‘go-to’ authority on all things Russian…particularly Putin.
    I couldn’t find her bio…so I don’t know what her background or credentials are ,at least insofar as her expertise in things Russian.

    • Jen says:

      Karen Dawisha’s biography and CV:

      If you Google Karen+Dawisha (as if it were one word, don’t forget the plus sign +), you get quite a lot of entries.

      Dawisha was formerly a Wilson Center Public Policy Scholar at the Kennan Institute. This think-tank used to have programs in a number of Russian regional universities but they’ve all ended and one wonders why (read: where was their money coming from and how was it registered in Russia).

    • Fern says:

      Wow, this Karen Dawisha is some scholar. This is from the introduction to her book:-

      ”Only slowly did Putin’s malevolence dawn on Western governments, especially in light of the Kremlin’s transparently predatory actions in taking apart Russia’s largest private oil company, Yukos, and imprisoning its independently minded owner, Mikhayl Khodorkovskiy, in 2005…….Western newspapers now report that in 2007 a CIA assessment of Putin’s personal wealth “largely tracked” with assertions made by the Russian political analyst Stanislav Belkovskiy, who claimed that Putin had holdings totaling about $40 billion in the commodity-trading company Gunvor, the publicly traded state-majority-owned gas giant Gazprom, and the oil and gas company Surgutneftegaz…….. But then President Barack Obama, as have all new U.S. presidents, announced he was going to “reset” relations with Russia. As a result, Putin spent only minutes in the penalty box for the 2008 invasion of Georgia…. The evidence I present suggests that, from the moment Putin took power in 2000, Russia ceased to be a place where democratic dreamers could flourish…..

      Vladimir Putin spent his entire early life yearning to join and was finally accepted into the KGB. By his own account, his favorite songs are Soviet standards, not Western rock. He has been deeply conservative his whole life. Yet he has also been a keen collector of every possible trapping of material wealth. When he was stationed in East Germany, he had the leaders of the German Red Army Faction (also known as the Baader-Meinhof Group) steal speaker systems for him when they had a moment free from their terror campaigns…….. This pattern of uncontrollable greed, of wanting what rightfully belongs to others, which Masha Gessen calls pleonexia, has resulted in over twenty official residences, fifty-eight planes, and four yachts. Sadly for Russians, Putin does not “own” any of these, except his St. Petersburg properties and perhaps his first yacht, the Olympia, which was presented to him as a gift by a group of oligarchs headed by Roman Abramovich just prior to Putin’s becoming president in 2000 and delivered in 2002. Without the presidency Putin theoretically would not be allowed to keep any of these accoutrements of power, except perhaps for the $700,000 in watches that he routinely sports—six times his declared annual income, a subject of constant Russian journalistic interest. Thus his motivation to leave power is reduced to zero…..

      When the subject of study is how, when, and why Russian elites decided to take the country away from democracy, obviously no one from this group is giving public interviews, and if they do, as happened with Aleksandr Litvinenko, they suffer a cruel death.

      So, there you have it. Khodorkovskiy was just an independent-minded type of guy, unjustly imprisoned, Putin’s personal wealth is $40 billion because a political analyst says it is so it must be correct, Russia was the aggressor against poor, defenceless Georgia in 2008, Masha Gessen is quoted as an authority, Putin’s accumulated no end of palaces, planes, boats and zillions of mega expensive watches and still found the time to murder Litvinenko. And if you’re still not convinced by Ms Dawisha, here’s one of the sources she quotes:-

      U.S. government anonymous leaks in 2014 claimed that Putin had spent illicit funds since the early 2000s on the unrivaled acquisition of luxury items, including his twenty presidential residences; that he had siphoned off cash from Gazprom to the tune of 70 percent of its capital expenditures; and that he controlled an estimated 4.5 percent of Gazprom, 37 percent of shares in Surgutneftegaz, and 50 percent of Gunvor. See Bill Gertz. “Putin Corruption Network Revealed,” Washington (DC) Free Beacon, April 7, 2014,

      Pretty slam-dunk eh?

      Looking at Ms Dawisha’s output, she doesn’t seem to have had much to say about the dreadful experience of Russia during the period 1990 to 2000 when the oligarchs, like that nice, independent minded Mr Khordovkovsky, did so much to help Russia. I guess that was the time and place when ‘democratic dreamers could flourish’. For her, the Soviet Union collapsed and then it was 2000 and the Evil One’s reign had begun. Interesting omission.

      • Jen says:

        Read her CV and you see no evidence of Dawisha’s having ever visited Russia.

      • marknesop says:

        As soon as she said “Stanislav Belkovsky”, I laughed out loud, because the Iraqi defector-scientist “Curveball” who pointed out the locations beneath innocent-looking sand dunes of Saddam’s concealed germ warfare laboratories to Judith Miller, and made everyone laugh at the CIA, might as well have been an Anglican priest compared to Stanislav Belkovsky. To characterize Belkovsky as a lying turd would be mere recognition based on attributes and demonstrated performance, not an insult. As I have frequently pointed out, but will do so again only because I enjoy it so much, The Economist once took a flyer on Belkovsky’s figures, with an egregiously insulting story about Putin’s imaginary wealth called “Grease My Palm”. Unfortunately for them, they also implicated – and infuriated – Gennady Timchenko, then half-owner of Gunvor, in which Putin supposedly secretly controlled 70% of the shares. He announced he was going to sue, and if there were a country in which the entire population consisted of corporate attorneys, Gennady Timchenko could afford to hire it. The Economist backed off smartly, almost catching its socks on fire with the friction of its retreat. As I say on each occasion I retell that story, if they had the slightest reason to believe Belkovsky’s figures were genuine, they would have stuck to their guns – what a story they would have had! Gennady Timchenko takes on the truth-telling Economist, because he can’t stand the heat of its righteousness, and loses! He likely would have had to pay their court costs as well. But they knew that wouldn’t happen, because Stas Belkovsky is as full of shit as a fat kid (which he also likely was) is full of jelly roll.

        Putin never responded to their hysterical chitterings, as he never does. That was entirely Timchenko’s show.

      • et Al says:

        Ed Lucas’s alter ego? It’s like some modern historians who are more interested in cutting their cloth to fit their opportunities. Whether they actually believe the bs that they write is another question all together.

        God forbid they might have to get a proper job. That would be dangerous.

  27. Terje says:

    Russian Guy Thinks He is an American Marine:

    ”Meet Stepan. He calls himself Stepan Dallas Walker. Here on the photo he is posing with an American flag near the Hermitage of St. Peterburg. People on background probably don’t understand what’s going on. But we do – he claims he is an American patriot (though he is not even a citizen) and especially likes the Marines Corps. So he owns full Marine camp, an American flag, rifle replicas and a lot of other things that you can see inside. Also he has a friend who seems to be sharing his passion.”

    • Jen says:

      Stepan still has his pictures of the Virgin Mary and Christ in Byzantine style so he’s still a proper Russian Orthodox believer. He obviously likes collecting US marines’ uniforms. What the commenters miss is that Stepan has a huge collection of pictures and unifroms and must have obtained most of these from US sources without any apparent interference from Darth Vladimer’s storm-troopers and advisor minions.

      If an American living in New York or Los Angeles were to call himself Stephen Dmitri Ivanov and went about collecting army uniforms and insignia and various models of Kalashnikov sub-machine guns from Russia, the FBI would be paying him more than a friendly visit or two.

    • PvMikhail says:


  28. Fern says:

    A classic from Human Rights Watch. A spokeswoman, described as a researcher, Tanya Cooper, has been quick out of the starting blocks to criticise the recently passed law limiting foreign ownership of Russian media. When it was pointed out to her that other countries also restrict foreign ownership, this was her response:-

    “Cooper acknowledged that several western states currently have similar laws regarding the foreigners’ ownership of the local mass media. For instance, in the United States foreigners can control up to 25 percent of TV channels and radio stations, while in France, Austria and Canada and Indonesia – only up to 20 percent. “It is quite possible that other countries have laws, which limit foreign ownership of certain type of media,” Cooper said, adding that Russia should not follow their example.

    Quite why sauce for the American goose is not sauce for the Russian gander isn’t clear. Actually, maybe Ms Cooper’s right and Russia should try and get a controlling interest in the NYT or Washington Post. Is it, I wonder, actually a human right to have unlimited control of another country’s media? Methinks not, so what is HRW’s dog in this particular fight?

    • Jen says:

      For Tanya Cooper, media ownership “pluralism” only exists when non-Russians are allowed to buy up more than 25% of Russian media organisations. Somehow the “pluralism” doesn’t exist if Russian companies and individuals own less than 75% of media companies even if each and every shareholding might amount to no more than 5% of the total shareholding.

    • marknesop says:

      She’s just trying to paint with a broad brush, and conflate Russia’s “muzzling of the foreign press” because it will not let foreigners own Russian newspapers – so they can use them as a pulpit from which to harangue for regime change – with muzzling of foreign reporters in general. It’s the old western bait-and-switch again, because reporters for, say, the New York Times are permitted to report and print whatever they like while reporting from Russia. The foreign press is not restricted in what it can see or say or photograph or condemn. But the west is loathe to lose its Russian mouthpieces.

  29. Moscow Exile says:

    This made me laugh:

    Anti-Putin campaigners urge Downing Street to bar Russian singers from UK

    To which Grauniad article the first Guardiniasta comments:

    What vile people. They have no place in civilised society.

    Quite! I shouldn’t wish to inflict Kobzon on my own worst enemy.

    Freedom of speech or holding another point of view anyone?

    I wonder when the next Madonna tour takes place here?

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Forgot the link!

      Anti-Putin campaigners urge Downing Street to bar Russian singers from UK

      The people in London are clearly taking their lead from those nice Latvians:

      Foreign Minister Edgars Rinkēvičs Makes the Decision to Include Some Russian Citizens on the List of Persons Not Allowed to Travel to Latvia

      These individuals, through their own words and actions, have contributed to the undermining of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

      Lovely people are the Latvians, I’m sure…

      Well some of them certainly must be.

      Hundreds commemorate Waffen SS divisions in Latvia, anti-fascists outraged

    • marknesop says:

      Let them get fat and jolly on their bile-spitting hate-fest. It will provide a short-term high, while it will contribute to Russia turning away, perhaps forever. And that will be better for Russia, since the west is turning into a gigantic playpen where adult opinions are heard increasingly seldom.

    • ThatJ says:

      The MSM power in action: using your far-reaching voice to transform a non-entity into a known public figure.

      Nobody ever heard about this “campaigner”. I couldn’t help but notice that the headline says campaigners, yet only a person is cited.

      The russophobe-in-chief over the Guardian, a certain ElectroMagneticPulse, is commenting on this article, as I expected. His posts have an unusual number of thumb-ups, as if there’s a bot in the works. One gem:

      “[P]erfilova’s support of Russian interference in Ukraine, and its anti-gay law, is obnoxious. A rotten human being. And, Kobzon is linked with organised crime as well as being one of Putin’s cronies.

      Not Russia’s finest, and pretty creepy as cultural ambassadors. However, I don’t think they ought be barred as they are not on the West’s list of sanctioned Russians, so they can travel as they like.

      Russian conductor Valery Gergiev came in for some flak at the end of last year when he led the London Symphony Orchestra. He campaigned for Putin during elections, and made what were taken as homophobic remarks against LGBT, in the wake of Russian’s anti-gay law.

      As he had gone out of his way to politicise himself, and is a well-known conductor, Gergiev was in a different order of magnitude to these two largely unknown singers, who seem to be warts on Putin’s ass.

  30. yalensis says:

    From 2 days ago: Banderite march in Odessa, celebrating foundation of Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA).
    Banderites and UIA were known for being so cruel, that even the Nazis found them disgusting:

    On October 14, on the occasion of the anniversary of the foundation of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UIA), members of the UIA decided to make an exotic gift to their “general”—five severed heads, freshly cut from Poles. The general was mightily pleased with both the gift itself and the creativity of his subordinates. This kind of zeal shocked even seasoned Germans. The Commissioner General of Volhinya District, Obergruppenführer Schenne pleaded with Bishop Polikarp Sikorsky to restrain his congregation: “Nationalist bandits conduct their activity by attacking unarmed, defenseless Poles. According to our calculations up to today at least fifteen thousand Polish people have been slaughtered. Yanova Dolina settlement no longer exists.”

    In the records kept by the “Galychyna” Division of the SS, we read: “March 20, 1944. We were notified of a certain Ukrainian insurgent, originally from Volhinya, but now rumoured to be in Galicia, who was boasting that he himself, “armed” with just a noose, had single-handedly strangled three hundred Poles. He is considered a hero.”

    Such ferocious hatred of Poles! I’m sorry, nothing excuses that. So what if the Poles for generations, treated the Ukrainians like serfs and made them sit on separate benches? That’s not right, but in America, blacks suffered far worse segregation and treatment than that, and it didn’t turn them into vengeful monsters.
    Nothing can excuse what the Ukrainians became.
    I blame the essential cruelty of peasant life.

    • yalensis says:

      P.S. everybody who has the stomach for it should read the linked article, particularly the testimony of Nadezhda Timofeevna Vdovichenko, as to the noctural activities of the Banderites, and how they approached the task of mass murder.

      • yalensis says:

        P.P.S. –
        the article goes on to list 125 documented methods by which OUN-UIA was known to have killed/tortured victims among the peaceful population. Of interest to the Odessa events of May this year are methods #112 and #113:

        112.Throwing adults into a burning house.
        113.Setting aflame a victim doused with flammable liquid.

        Of relevance to the Slavyansk accusation that neo-Banderites (earlier this year) crucified a 3-year-old child onto a billboard, see Method #92:
        92.Nailing a small child to a door.

        Method #104 is also somewhat reminiscent of the allegation that the baby’s mother was dragged around town square behind a tank:
        104.Dragging along the roadway a mother and her three small children—arranged in the following way: one leg of the mother is tied to the carriage; a leg of the eldest child is tied to the other leg of his mother; a leg of the younger child is tied to another leg of the eldest etc.

        The difference is that Slavyansk, it was just the mother dragged around, because the baby was already dead.

        I recall at the time, when the accusation of the Slavyansk atrocity was made, BY AN EYE WITNESS, many people said, “That’s not possible. People are not capable of doing such things. She must be lying.”

        In reality, as history shows, Banderites are capable of doing just about anything that a twisted mind can imagine.

        • patient observer says:

          The Western empire has many tools to control populations. One tool is a self-renewing group of specialized psychopaths used to inflict unimaginable cruelty on the Empire’s enemies.

          Faith-based psychopathic behavior is likely the most easy to cultivate as evidenced by the Ustashi, Banderites and Whahabis. Although I am against capital punishment, these people when acting out their hatred need to be put down like a hopelessly lame animal – its merciful for their tortured souls and for their would-be victims. The same can be said for those who essentially breed these psychopaths.

          • yalensis says:

            Dear patient observer:
            The whole issue of psychopathy and genocide needs further analysis.
            There were some interesting comments to above linked issue, in which commenters grappled with the issue of psychopathy and its relation to genocide. One commenter made the point that any reliable brain-screening for sociopathy would obviously identify somebody like Bandera as having an abnormal brain; and yet the fact is that the vast majority of Bandera’s supporters (and the ones who carried out the genocide) would have passed the brain scan cleanly.

            In other words, history shows, unfortunately, that genocide can be carried out by completely normal people, with normal brains, who most likely would not have even done this if they hadn’t been egged on by a psychopathic leader.

            Another commenter makes a very perceptive statement about the prerequisites for genocide (in addition to a charismatic, psychopathic leader): Instilling an “us” vs. “them” mentality; a combination of total sympathy for the in-group combined with total lack of compassion for the “out” group (as evidenced by the Banderite woman’s testimony, how the women felt so sorry for their menfolk, who had to spend all those long hard nights butchering their Polish neighbours); and last but not least, it helps for the murdering population to be familiar with tools and weapons. In this case, almost everybody was a peasant, so they were familiar and efficient with the uses of axes, and they could probably butcher and field-dress an animal in under an hour. Small step, then, from animal to person.
            Like, I was thinking, if somebody like myself decided to participate in a genocide (on the killing side), I wouldn’t even know how to do it, from a practical point of view (never mind the fact that I am squeamish and cannot stand the sight of even a drop of blood), because I grew up in urban environments, and I don’t know how to butcher animals, let alone use axes or knives, etc. (of course, in the modern world, most genociders would probably use machine guns).

          • yalensis says:

            And on that note, this passage is still haunting me from reading it, but here is the complete quote of Vdovichenko’s testimony, which she gave on her deathbed, probably realizing that, according to her own religion, she was going straight to Hell the moment she died:

            “I, the undersigned, Nadezhda Timofeevna Vdovichenko, native of Volhynia… I beg you to grant me and my family forgiveness posthumously, because as you read this I will be no more (I trust my best friend with the mission to deliver my testimony).

            We were five siblings in the family—all of us ardent Banderites: my brother Stepan, myself, my sisters Anna, Olya and Nina. We all joined Bandera. In the daytime we rested in our huts; during the night we would drive or walk to neighbouring villages. We were given an assignment to strangle anyone who was harbouring runaway captured Russians, as well as those Russians. But it was a man’s task. We girls just sorted the clothes and household goods, took care of the livestock of those killed—slaughtered the animals, skinned and butchered them, cooked, salted, packed them… Once during a single night in the village of Romanovo, they strangled eighty-four human beings. Well, they strangled the adults and elderly, but children—we would simply pick them up by their legs, swing them against the wall—and finished, time to go. We felt very sorry for our men—they were so overworked with such a hard task, the daytime was barely enough for them to regain their strength and resume the killings the next night. There were those who tried to hide. If we did not find any men we would start with the women.

            In the village of Verkhovka, the wife of Tilimon Kovalchuk refused to tell us where he was hiding. She did not even want to open the door to us but we threatened her and she had to let us in. We told her: “We just need to chat with your husband, we are not going to harm you.” She said that he was hiding in a haystack. We dragged him out and beat him up until he expired. They had two children, very nice kids—Stepan and Olya were their names, twelve and fourteen years old…. The young girl, we just tore her in half. It spared us the effort of killing her mother—she died of a heart attack on the spot. We took strong healthy guys in our ranks—strangling is no easy task. Two brothers Levchuki from the village of Verkhovka, Nicolay and Stepan, refused to strangle people, ran away and returned home. We condemned them to capital punishment. When we came to their house to pick them up for execution, their father said, “If you are taking my sons, take me too.” Kalyna, his wife, stepped forward and said, “If you are taking my husband, take me too.” We took an entire family; led them away. On the way Nicolay’s sister, Nadya, pleaded with us to let him go. Nicolay answered her, “Don’t plead, Nadya, don’t humiliate yourself, Bandera never showed mercy to anyone.” We killed Nicolay, his father, mother, Nadya. We kept Stepan alive, and took him along; he was imprisoned for two weeks—it was winter time—in an unheated barn, with no clothes other than underwear, severely beaten daily with iron ramrods; we wanted him to tell us where the other members of the family were hiding. But he was strong-willed, he did not betray them. The last evening, after we beat him yet again, he asked to go to the outhouse. The guard took him, but there was a huge blizzard; the outhouse was made from straw, Stepan broke through the straw and escaped from our clutches. All the information was given to us by Verkhovka locals: Petro Rimarchuk, Zhabsky, Puch.

            …We were informed that in the village of Novoselki, Rivne oblast, there was a girl who had joined the Komsomol. Motrya was her name. We took her to Verkhovka. The old man Zhabsky pulled the heart out of the still living girl, with a stopwatch in his other hand—to measure how long the heart would keep beating in his hand. Later, after the Russians had come, his sons wanted to set up a monument to him, saying he had fought for Ukraine.

            There was a Jewish girl, with a little child—she had run away from the ghetto. We ambushed her in the forest, butchered her and buried her right there… One of our Banderite guys befriended some Polish girls. When the news got out, he was ordered to kill them. He obeyed the order by drowning them in a stream. Their mother came, crying, asking if anybody had seen her girls who had gone missing. I told her, “No, not really. But let’s go look for them together.” I took her to the same place where her daughters had been drowned and pushed her into the stream as well. We were given orders to kill all Jews, all Poles, all Russians, any runaway prisoners of war and those who aided them. Kill them all—without mercy. We went after the Severin family, strangled them all. But their daughter was away—married, she was living in another village. She soon returned and, wailing over her dead parents, she proceeded to unearth the valuables her family had hidden underground. The Banderites came, took away the unearthed goods, put her in the same box she had just dug out and buried her alive in it. She left two small children at home. If she would have taken them along, the children would have ended up in the same box. There was someone in our village named Kublyuk. He was sent [by the Soviet authorities -ed.] to the town of Kotov, in Kivertsy district, to work. He had not completed his first week in the new job when his head was chopped off. The guy next door, Vasily, very much in love with Koublyuk’s daughter Sonya, protected her. He was given the order from the Banderites to kill her, or else… Vasily said to Sonya, “I am going to the forest to chop some wood. Come with me.” She did. He brought her back dead. His explanation was that she was killed by a falling tree.

            There was a very ancient man in our village, named Timofey Oytsyus. People honoured him as God’s prophet, for he was never wrong in his predictions. When the Germans arrived, the fame of this clairvoyant reached even them. They would visit him respectfully, asking him to prophesy about their future. He replied, “I don’t dare to find out because what if it is bad—are you going to kill me?” Via the translator, the Germans promised that no harm would be done to him whatever he might say. Then the old man meditated and told them, “You will reach Moscow very quickly, but you will run from Moscow even quicker.” The Germans kept their world and let him be. But when the old man told the Banderites that their slaughter of innocent Ukrainians would not bring them victory they savagely beat him until he passed away.

            Now I want to talk about my family. My brother Stepan was an ardent follower of Bandera, but I did not lag behind and fought for the Banderites even though I was married. When the Russians came, they started arresting people, sending them into exile. Our family was proscribed too. My sister Olya made a deal with the Soviets before the departure, agreeing to cooperate with them. The Soviets let her go but the same night the Banderites came and strangled her. My father, mother and sister, Nina, ended up in Russia. My parents were already old and weak, my sister, Nina, the only able-bodied member of the family, flatly refused to work “for Russians”. They even offered her a good clean secretarial job but she said that she would never hold anything Soviet—even a pen—in her hand. They were still trying to make her relent, saying “Okay, you don’t want to work—fine. We can let you go back home—but only if you agree to cooperate with us and bring the murderers to justice.” She signed the deal, without even thinking very hard (and without intending to abide by it). The moment she set foot back in her village, the Banderites were waiting for her. They called a secret meeting and at that meeting they condemned her to die, “to show everyone what awaits the traitors.” Until this day I do not know what they did to her.

            All my life I have carried a heavy burden in my heart—I trusted Bandera, I could have killed anybody who said one wrong word about the Banderites. Cursed people, may they be damned by God and by humankind for eternity! How many innocent lives did they destroy? And now they demand to be called “the defenders of Ukraine”? From whom they were “defending” Ukraine? From their own kin? Soulless bastards! How much blood is on their hands, how many did they bury alive? Even those who were back then sent into exile—they do not want to return to this accursed land of Bandera.

            I implore you, people, forgive my sins.”

            [Letter published in “Sovetskaya Luganschina”, January 2004, #1]

            What really strikes me about this the most is not even the idea that these people thought it was okay to just head off at night and kill your neighbours (that idea doesn’t even surprise me any more); but that while doing this, they efficiently stole, killed, salted and packed their neighbour’s livestock as well, all in the same operation. So, it wasn’t just murder, but also theft.
            It’s one thing to kill people you hate, but these people thought it was perfectly okay to take property that they had never worked for, or paid for, and had no right to own.

            I think that is the thing that bugs me the most about Ukrainians: they believe that they have the right to take stuff that doesn’t belong to them.

            • astabada says:

              What really strikes me about this the most is not even the idea that these people thought it was okay to just head off at night and kill your neighbours (that idea doesn’t even surprise me any more); but that while doing this, they efficiently stole, killed, salted and packed their neighbour’s livestock as well, all in the same operation. So, it wasn’t just murder, but also theft.

              Hi yalensis,
              the way you stated this makes it sound like property is were more important than human lives. What I think everyone would find disturbing is that these people claimed to fight for an ideal, but then did not shy away from getting richer while fighting for this supposed ideal.

              • yalensis says:

                Hi, astabada,
                I obviously don’t believe that property is more important than human lives.
                I guess it’s just that murder doesn’t surprise me any more, but theft does. (for some reason)
                There is just something in the way she described what they did:
                Headed off to the neighbours hut. The menfolk killed the neighbours, while the womenfoik butchered, skinned, salted and packed the animals….
                Something about the …. what is that word I am looking for … oh yes, the BANALITY of evil!
                Or maybe the PRACTICALITY of evil…. ?

                • Jen says:

                  It’s as if once steeped in evil, always steeped in evil and every evil act becomes equal to the previous evil act.

    • ThatJ says:

      “That’s not right, but in America, blacks suffered far worse segregation and treatment than that, and it didn’t turn them into vengeful monsters.”

      That’s because blacks never had the power necessary to harm whites in the US.

      If we’re going to compare what the Galicians did to the Poles — both Slavic, and I bet the Galicians didn’t rely on appearance alone to differentiate their ‘enemies’ — with what blacks in position of power have done to whites, Haiti is a much fair example:

      It’s a broadcast by William Pierce (who died over a decade ago), it tells the little known history of the fate of the French in Haiti. He quotes from a British scholar, Hesketh Prichard, who Pierce says was sympathetic to the blacks:

      “There [in Haitiy] the law of the world is reversed and the Black man rules. It is one of the few spots on earth where his color sets the Negro upon a pedestal and gives him privileges. The full-blooded African is paramount. Even the mulattoes and half-breeds are disliked, and have been barbarously weeded out as time has passed.”

      The video has the bias of its maker (and Pierce of course had his own biases), so ignore it. The assessment is pretty spot on, I think.

      • ThatJ says:

        Correction: much fairer*

        Btw, whites are not in a position of vulnerability in the US because their numbers are 5 times greater than blacks’, and they have the means to defend themselves. Such black-organized terror attack on whites wouldn’t last a week in the US.

        South Africa is a place to watch, however. Whites there are isolated and hopelessly outnumbered, like they were in Haiti. There are low-intensity racial murders over there and ‘anti-white sentiment’ is strong. It’s no wonder that those whites who can are leaving the country.

      • Southerncross says:

        The parallel is a fair one – and our own AP insisted that the February spectacle of a Banderite mob dragging Volyn regional governor Alexander Bashkalenko from his office and chaining him to a post was no more than ‘slaves breaking plantation’.

        But there is and has been plenty of black-on-white racially-motivated violence in the United States.

        A few examples:

        It is something of a taboo subject, and the USG has no answer beyond ignoring it and hoping it goes unnoticed. Which means that such discourse as there is on the subject is dominated by white nationalists of the William Pierce or Nicholas Stix variety.

        Adventurer and crank Thomas Chittum predicted the violent division and destruction of the United States along racial lines. His timeline is off, but his outline of events may yet prove sound.

        • yalensis says:

          These are good points, and I concede that there could be race war and (attempted) genocide some day in U.S., depending on the situation.
          I think 90% of what happens is due to group leadership. If Ukrainians had, say, a person like Martin Luther King as their leader instead of Stepan Bandera, then they probably would have involved themselves in mass protests instead of nocturnal butcheries.

          It is my understanding that in Haiti, after Toussaint L’Ouverture died, a much more brutal clique of leaders came to power, these guys were the classic psychopathic types. (L’Ouverture was a normal person, and not a psychopath.)

          But, anyhow, good points… helps to remind me sometimes that all humans are basically evil!

          • Jen says:

            It’s my understanding that some time after the slave revolt led by Toussaint L’Ouverture in 1805, the French vindictively hit the newly independent republic with such a massive reparations and compensation bill that the Haitians laboured for nearly 150 years to pay it off. This act of revenge helped make the country very poor and that mass poverty is the context in which Haitian politics and society were forced to develop.

            During the 19th century there was a law known as the Code Rural which effectively tied farming people to the land as serfs or slaves, this time to local elites: people were not allowed to leave the land where they worked, could not set up their own farms or businesses, or go live in cities and towns. The reason that the Code Rural was set up was to supply peon labour for plantations to produce commodity crops that would help pay off France’s compensation / war debt demand.

            During this period, no country would recognise Haiti as an independent nation and this also left Haiti isolated. The US only recognised Haiti as a sovereign nation quite late in the 19th century, after the Civil War. There was also a period (1914 – 1934) when US troops invaded and occupied Haiti. Plus you have to remember that the Duvalier dynasty (Papa Doc and the recently deceased Baby Doc) ruled the country through terror and use of the vodun religion from 1957 to 1986.

  31. yalensis says:

    Returning to the storming of the Rada from a couple of days ago, which Ukrainian SBU blamed on “Putin’s provocateurs”, This piece from Navigator shows that the people behind the Rada storming were NOT Putin’s henchpersons, but rather the “Azov” Battalion and their neo-Nazi political wing, a party called the Social-Nationalist Assembly. This party, which champions the purity of the white race and glorifies Bandera, is led by a man named Andrei Biletsky. Biletsky is overall leader of this party; the Kiev wing is led by a man named Igor Krivoruchko. Krivoruchko can clearly be seen (not even bothering to wear a mask) in photos and videos of the Rada storming. The last photo shows him standing with some of his freakis supporters who painted their faces to look like the Joker.

    [I am not 100% sure, but I believe Tetiana Chornovol is also associated with these elements, and I believe that is her, shown in the very first photo, standing to the viewer’s left, dressed in black and holding a handbag.]

    As for Biletsky himself, this link takes you to his online manifesto. I can barely read Ukrainian, but you don’t have to be a Ukrainian-language scholar to just skim it and see that, yeah, this guy is a Nazi, no doubts.

  32. et Al says:

    Pie Nuws: Markets Fall Further As Global Weakness Hits</b?
    Investors flee risk as the latest signals on the state of the global economy inspire little confidence in a recovery ahead.

    The sharpest decline in European stocks since 2011 has been followed by a second day of steep falls as investors flee risk because of global economic weaknesses.

    Many stock markets, including the FTSE 100, recovered some ground lost on Wednesday in early Thursday trading – helped by some encouraging corporate results- though jitters soon outweighed the search for bargains.

    The FTSE 100 was down 2% in late-morning trade after a 2.8% drop on Wednesday.

    It was a series of weak reports on the health of the two biggest economies in the world that sparked the big sell-off….

    So Russia is going to collapse first? Dem chickens coming home first.

    • astabada says:

      Well, I’m waiting for the democratic process to change the European leadership in light of the disasters it caused.

      It is particularly disheartening to listen to our most vociferous elites claiming that We are the Democracy© and ThemRussia are a Dictatorship, especially given the approval rates of the respective leaders.

  33. Fern says:

    This is interesting. Yatsenyuk has issued what can only be described as a threat to European governments by announcing that Ukraine cannot guarantee uninterrupted transit of Russian gas across its territory unless agreements are signed between individual countries and Ukraine.

    Ukraine will not guarantee uninterrupted transit of Russian gas to Europe via its territory unless it signs a gas transit contract with EU partners, Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said Thursday.
    “Ukraine declares that we are a state that guarantees uninterrupted transit of natural gas, but in order to guarantee it, we need to sign an agreement with European companies,” he said.
    In the past months, Ukraine, a major transit nation for Europe-bound Russian gas, has been pushing for an agreement that would enable European companies to buy Russian gas as soon as it crosses into the territory of Ukraine.
    Currently, European companies buy Russian gas on the western border between the European Union and Ukraine.

    Currently, since the point of delivery of Russian gas to EU countries is the western border between Ukraine and the EU, Gazprom pays Ukraine its transit fees. Changing the point of delivery to the Russia/Ukraine border seems to be advantageous to Gazprom since each European country must now negotiate its own transit fees with Kiev. Why would Yatsenyuk do something that appears to benefit Gazprom? My guess is that, egged on by the US, Kiev is planning to sharply increase transit fees for some European countries making Russian gas prohibitively expensive for those countries.

    Someone remind me again why the morons in the EU want to block South Stream.

    • NorthernStar says:

      “Kiev is planning to sharply increase transit fees for some European countries making Russian gas prohibitively expensive for those countries.”

      and if Ruissian gas were to become “prohibitively expensive”…..what source(s) of gas could the affected countries access to replace it?

    • kirill says:

      But the EU and its media will make sure to let the world know that “Russia cut off the gas”. Who needs the truth when totalitarian fiction will do.

  34. NorthernStar says:

    @Fern… or maybe it was Jen :O)
    Re.:The Omission
    (site has cookies)

    For some this is old news ..but for is some ammo for use when certain people start
    yakking about how inexplicably corrupt Russia is…and they’ve no idea how things got that way..
    if in fact they ever were ‘that way’ to begin with..
    Furthermore it seems to me that some of the mistakes of judgement and foresight that played out two decades ago , are in fact being repeated in 2014 albeit in somewhat different modes of expression.

  35. Fern says:

    NorthernStar, thanks for those links, very helpful. You write “….it seems to me that some of the mistakes of judgement and foresight that played out two decades ago, are in fact, being repeated in 2014 albeit in somewhat different modes of expression”. Would you mind expanding a bit on that?

  36. Moscow Exile says:

    The thoughts of Yulia Latynina M.D.

    Лихорадка Эбола и украинский фашизм

    Ebola and Ukrainian Fascism


    Speaking at the UN, President Obama called the Ebola epidemic the chief threat to humanity. President Putin came second in the Threat Olympics, and the Islamic Caliphate was only placed third.

    I, of course, was offended that we did not come first, but I do not want to talk about Putin now, but about Ebola. Western TV channels talk about its horrors in the same way as do Russian TV channels of Ukrainian fascists: “Mortality up to 90%!” according to the World Health Organization; “The virus attacks the soft tissues of the body: the kidneys, the liver, blood vessels – all literally dissolve in the blood”; “For Ebola there are neither drugs nor vaccines”.

    The horror!

    Question from the audience.

    Africa has repeatedly been the source of terrible epidemics: in the mid-sixth century A.D., the plague that came from Africa killed between 30 and 80% (in different regions) of the inhabitants of the Roman Empire; in the middle of the fourteenth century a plague that came from Africa, killed between 30 and 80% (in different regions) in Europe. There were no aeroplanes or trains then: the plague travelled on board ships, where it was carried by the fleas on rats. In the 20th century, Africa presented us with AIDS.

    The Ebola virus (or rather, viruses, for there are several varieties) has existed in Africa for thousands of years. How come that this awful, terrible, and even worse than Putin and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant virus(or viruses) has never given rise to epidemics like the plague, smallpox or cholera, and was only discovered in 1976?

    How is it that since 1976 all 13 outbreaks Ebola have been limited to Africa? How is it that even in Africa, the Ebola cases have have only generally started to occur not very long ago? (A 2007 outbreak in Uganda claimed 37 lives, and in 2012 there were 17 lives lost.)

    So here we go …

    Firstly: Who says that deaths from Ebola are “up by 90%”? This is a lie. More precisely, a special kind of lie, which in Islam is called “tavria”. This is when a person says something that formally corresponds to the truth, but knows that others will not realize that this is the case.

    Ninety-nine percent mortality in Ebola has only happened once, in 2003 in the Congo, when out of 143 patients there died 128. Even in the current epidemic, the mortality is about 50%; and there have been epidemics, when mortality had dropped to 25%. (Below we shall see that, besides the difference in strains of virus, there are very big reasons for the differences in mortality rate.)

    Secondly, and the most importantly: what is Ebola? Answer: it is not spread by airborne droplets, it is spread only through direct contact with blood or fluid rejected by the patient. (The sperm of men who have suffered from Ebola can still be a source of infection for up to 3 months.)

    Translating this into plain Russian: an Ebola epidemic occurs where there are insanitary conditions. Therefore, when the WHO on page one of its guide for treating Ebola says that the virus is spreading from “person to person”, it is creating panic and “tavria”, a lie by default, at one and the same time. In a developed country, the virus can be transmitted and cause epidemics only if you use an infected syringe or use a latrine-type toilet.

    Thirdly, and even more importantly: do you know what the main factor of death caused by Ebola is? It is the same as it is with cholera: dehydration. Give the patient enough to drink and put him on a saline drip in order to put back into his body the potassium and magnesium that it has lost, and your 90% mortality will become a 90% survival rate. Those “dissolving” body organs that occur in Ebola cases are not the result of viral action but the result of the vomiting out of the body those minerals necessary for normal body functions or the result of these minerals being passed out because of diaorrhea.

    Fourthly: the case of the 4 sick Americans. All four had, of course, been infected in Africa and were brought to the United States. Know what their mortality was? Right! – 0%: three have recovered and one is still undergoing treatment.

    How come? Nurse Nancy Writebol was given an experimental drug, ZMapp; Dr. Kent Brantley refused medication in favour of the nurses (there was only enough of the drug to administer one dosage of it); Dr. Richard Sacra received blood from the recovered Dr. Brantley and the experimental medicine TKM-Ebola, but most importantly, they were taken care of – by being given something to drink and by being put on a drip. The American doctors who treated them said openly that they did not know what had given the most help: medication or or just “general nursing procedure”.

    Again: with normal care, deaths from Ebola immediately amounted to 0%. In a normal country the number of ongoing cases of Ebola infection immediately dropped to 0%.

    In 1972, the American medical missionary, Dr. Tom Kearns, worked in the Congo and was cut with a scalpel during the autopsy of a deceased Ebola patient. (Let me just add you that he did not know at the time that the deceased had been suffering from Ebola.) He survived. Know how? His wife rightly put him on a homemade drip in their roofed with banana-leaves hut.

    Fifthly:we are told that “for Ebola there is no cure”. This is a lie. The drugs are already here – TMK-Ebola and ZMapp. It is the medical bureaucratic administration that shouts loudly about “the terrible danger of Ebola; incompetence and sloth in prescribing drugs for Ebola meant that deaths from Ebola were caused by the medical administration. It would be the same if they hindered the administration of drugs for TB and then started yelling out “Deadly disease! Tuberculosis! There are no drugs to combat it!” (By the way: the Japanese flu drug Favipiravir also works against Ebola.)

    Sixthly: we are told that “for Ebola there is no vaccine”. This is a lie. There is a vaccine is. It was created by GlaxoSmithKline, which, by the way, several months ago, at the beginning of the epidemic, called the WHO and asked if it did not need the vaccine. GlaxoSmithKline politely sent three letters.

    Seventhly: the fact is that the drugs and vaccines that we have to combat the really hardest and most dangerous of sicknesses (the shock that Ebola causes to the system is difficult to estimate) are still, in fact, only in the experimental stage and the medical bureaucracy just cannot be bothered to approve of them is also tied up with the fact that all doctors know full well that nobody in developed countries is in any danger from Ebola.

    The bottom line: Ebola is an epidemic that occurs in Africa, and only in Africa, because of insanitary conditions and the total lack of medicine. There is no chance that the virus, which is transmitted from infected syringes and vomit and kills the victim through dehydration, can cause epidemics in the United States, Russia or Albania.

    It is absolutely the same story as happened with the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Remember? In Haiti there was an earthquake of a 7-point magnitude, and during which 220 thousand people died.
    A couple of months later, Chile had an earthquake of a magnitude of 8.8 points; about 700 people were killed. Let me remind you that with each increase in its magnitude rating, the energy of an earthquake increases 32 times and that a magnitude of 7 corresponds to the lower borderline of a devastating earthquake.

    That is to say, in Haiti the people died not because of the earthquake, but because of total poverty and the crappy way that their houses had been built. In the modern world there are no (well, almost none) natural disasters: there is a social catastrophe. This goes for viruses as well as for earthquakes.

    You know what one of the Ebola vectors is? You know the initial source of infection? The meat of our cousins, the chimpanzees and orangutans. It is practically cannibalism: chimpanzees have the intellect of a 4-year-old child. Would you eat a 4-year-old child? And in the Congo, they not only eat monkeys, but pygmies as well.

    You know how many have died through Ebola this year, during its biggest ever recorded outbreak? – 2,900 out of 6,200 patients. Know how many have died during this same year from flu? – 250-500 thousand people.

    So in the end, what have we got? We have an impoverished African country, in which, yes – life is hard and dangerous. However, Ebola is just one of the symptoms of that social disease known as a failed state. We have an international bureaucracy, which because of its slowness does not register medicines and vaccines, and has shouted: “Give Us Money to Save Humanity from Destruction!” And we have President Obama, who cannot cope with real problems – with 50 million Americans on food cards, with the Islamic Caliphate, with Putin, and announces that the chief problem is Ebola, which in no way whatsoever threatens America.

    When you do not know how to solve these problems, it is necessary to invent a fake one. It is easier then to solve.

    So the Islamists are fighting against America instead of against poverty and ignorance; instead of fighting against theft and corruption, Putin is fighting against America; and Obama, instead of fighting against Putin and the Islamists, is fighting Ebola.

    Where to begin?

    Has she written this diatribe because she is annoyed that Putin is not recognized by Barry as Enemy to Humanity № 1.

    Does she really believe Orang-Utangs live in Africa?

    Is she really such a headbanger?

    And where are her sources?????

    • et Al says:

      Just another liberast gobshite, but as she an empire favorite.

      Belgium, notably Kinshasa in their former colony of Congo was the main transmission point of both Ebola & HIV, and westerners ‘helping’ though their incompetence and ignorance. Read it and weep:

      The Gardening Man: ‘In 1976 I discovered Ebola – now I fear an unimaginable tragedy’
      Peter Piot was a researcher at a lab in Antwerp when a pilot brought him a blood sample from a Belgian nun who had fallen mysteriously ill in Zaire

      Maybe I could excuse the nuns, but the scientists? J F C!


      The Oxford Student: Oxford scientists trace HIV origin

      Meanwhile, this is how you are supposed to react, and full kudos to Nigera:
      Slashdot: How Nigeria Stopped Ebola

      • Jen says:

        I have seen similar news on another website (but I forget what it was) about Nigeria having successfully stopped or at least contained the spread of Ebola in Lagos. This is significant because Nigeria is usually the poster-child for government corruption, lax law enforcement and all kinds of scams, and the country supposedly has quite deep ethnic and religious divisions. Plus Lagos by now must be the biggest city in Africa with the kinds of socio-economic extremes expected of cities in rapidly industrialising Third World countries, with large inflows of migrants from other parts of Nigeria looking for work and outflows of people visiting relatives at home with money and gifts. You don’t wonder that the Nigerian authorities acted promptly and efficiently.

    • marknesop says:

      I’m afraid I cannot keep up with her, as she leaps from Arabic to Russian to monkeys, all while speaking English. But I would hazard a guess that her pique is indeed due to what she perceives as American incompetence in reading the way the wind blows, and being distracted by Ebola – which Putin probably sent to America – when they should be keeping their eye on the ball that is Putin, eye of syphilis and ground zero for world evil.

      Latynina is simply Sarah Palin’s Russian doppelgänger, with the same dizzying leaps of logic, imaginary connections and crazy interpretations. If she does not look sharp and keep her lip buttoned, her freedom-idolizing backers are going to tire of her sarcasm.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        She wasn’t speaking or thinking in English when she wrote that rant: I translated it from Novaya Gazeta.

        I often wonder, whenever I read her NG rants, whether the nutcase can see the sainted Politkovskaya’s desk-shrine from where she bashes away at her keyboard with righteous indignation, thinking: “This one’s for you, Anna!”

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Oh, and another thing about Latynina’s rant: as usual, she spouts off factually untrue statements without naming her sources:

          ” … in the middle of the fourteenth century a plague that came from Africa, killed between 30 and 80% (in different regions) in Europe.

          It came from the Middle East via the Silk Road, hit the Crimea and thence spread like wildfire across most of Western and Eastern and Northern Europe and on into what is now Russia; likewise the 6th century plague in the Roman Empire that she claims came from Africa; it didn’t: it came from the Middle East and occurred in the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium and is, therefore, often called the Plague of Justinian after the Byzantine emperor of that name. Genetic studies point to China as being the source of these plagues.

  37. et Al says:

    War is Boring:
    View at
    “…Wherever she goes, she watches and listens. She’s the flagship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet, which is responsible for patrolling the Mediterranean. She’s also got some of the best bandwidth for all kinds of different communications signals. If you want to browse Facebook while on deployment, Mount Whitney is your ship.

    Mount Whitney entered the Black Sea the day after the French spy ship Dupu de Lôme left it—which has some interesting implications regarding the vessel’s mission….”

    I have to admit, I do find the name Dupuy de Lôme, quite funny. Dupa is ‘ass’ in at least the polish, ukranian and serbo-croat related languages.

    As others have mentioned before, NATO ships are simply big fat targets once they are in the Black Sea. We also know that Russia still utilizes very high power jamming systems and continues to refine and improve the humble vacuum tube, which the West has chosen to totally eschew in favor of only more modern technologies. I’m sure they could fry up a few eggs.

    Russia is also modernizing and reactivating a large early warning radar in Crimea (I think one of you already posted this):

    Meanwhile the next round of Open Skies flights by Russia across the US are due to take place “ from October 20 to 25 with Canada’s taking “place from October 13 to 18“. Is this mentioned in the Canadian media???

    • et Al says:

      Duh! The link to the first piece:
      The Navy’s Battle Command Ship Patrols the Black Sea
      USS ‘Mount Whitney’ minds Russia

    • Paul says:

      The Open Skies flights were in my morning newspaper earlier this week (I am one of the old school who still likes an old-fashioned paper newspaper with his coffee and Captain Crunch), so yes the Canadian media has mentioned them.

    • marknesop says:

      MOUNT WHITNEY is more or less defenseless without a military escort, and is not well-armed – it’s a command platform, meant to be traveling with and running a fleet, not waltzing around independently. It does have tons of sophisticated sensors, but that obviously doesn’t mean much when the best communications intercepts are simply fabricated, like Syrian military officers blatting “I’ve released chemical weapons! Help!! What do I do now?? Gee, I hope those snoopy Americans don’t find out”. As a consequence of so many phony incriminating conversations, nobody would completely believe a genuine intelligence intercept of significant interest. That’s the price of making shit up. When the real wolf emerges from the forest and you scream “Wolf!! Wolf!!”, nobody believes you.

      Speaking of that, today was one of the rare days I drove to work, and I heard an interesting item on the news. A Seattle station reported that the FBI is so pissed off that the new iPhone 6 is encrypted and the police and FBI can’t read its traffic that Comey made some kind of public appeal – we need access to your data to prevent terra’ist attacks.

      It became common knowledge that Apple had given the U.S. government the algorithm to the iPhone 5 or had otherwise handed them the crack so that the U.S. government had direct access to any iPhone in North America, could turn it on and off without a power light illuminating, turn on your speaker, browse through your address book and track you with your own phone. Of course they did not do that on a wide scale, but they could. And I would bet it hurt Apple’s sales, although the iPhone completely dominates the market nonetheless.

      Anyway, it gave me a little chuckle, and I like to laugh. Thank you, Seattle radio station. Anyone really believe the U.S. government can’t read the data exchanged with the iPhone 6? Or is it just a soothing placebo after the angry reaction to Snowden’s disclosures, and a subsequent reduction in the massive volumes of data the U.S. government vacuums up every day due to people being more careful?

  38. et Al says:

    euractiv: Farage’s EFDD group in Parliament collapses
    UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s group in the European Parliament, the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy (EFDD), was dissolved on Thursday (16 October) after Latvian MEP Iveta Gricule decided to leave the group.

    It’s a declaration of war by the powers that be who have decided to play dirty. A dumb move that will further undermine the credibility (whatever it claims to have since it was the lowest european voter turn out ever) of the new European Parliament. It’s hard to see how this is accidental in any way. They looked at the rules, identified the weakest link and brought pressure to bear to get their required result. A political hit. It has a good chance of back-firing.

  39. davidt says:

    Sergei Roy has another nice article on the Ukraine
    Some years ago he had his own blog and I think that I remember him commenting once that he, and his friends, thought that about 80% of the NKVD were non-Russians. It was something like a throw away remark, but this figure seems incredibly high. (He didn’t suggest when this was.) Does anyone here know anything about the ethnic composition of the NKVD?

    • marknesop says:

      Roy saw, as did many here on this blog, that the western propaganda – such as their ridiculous fake incredulity and frustration with Russia for opposing Ukraine’s European Association on the grounds that “a rising tide lifts all boats”, and that supporting it would mean it would be sooner that Ukrainians had more money to buy more Russian goods, so Russia, too, would benefit – was bunk, and that rather than striking the pot of gold, Ukraine was going to strike instead the adamantine vein of austerity and rising gas prices. Russia knew this, too, and Moscow was not fooled, but the clatter and rumpus kicked up by the west predictably drowned it out. Ukraine has never, ever run a trade surplus with the EU since the trade relationship between the two began, and anyone who believed liberalised trade meant the EU was going to buy more of Ukraine’s products was delirious. But nobody wanted to listen, they just kept yelping “Yurrup!! Yurrup!!!” Well, now they have what they wanted, and surprise – they don’t want it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Which once more brings back memories of this picture that headed a piece that appeared on December 2nd of last year on Austere Insomiac’s blog:

        The child’s placard reads: We want to go to Disneyland. The photograph was taken during a demonstration in Lvov.

        I commented to this article thus:

        Situated in the Marne Valley some 30 miles east of Paris, EuroDisney … has seldom been profitable since its opening in the early ’90s and faces threats of closure, as details of mismanagement and strikes by its staff have revealed in recent news stories.

        See: “Losing the magic: How Euro Disney became a nightmare”, in which Independent article it is stated that: “With a €1.8bn debt mountain to climb, Euro Disney needs more than a sprinkling of pixie dust to bring a sparkle to its finances“.

        And 7 years ago, “Der Spiegel” reported that the theme park was “little more than a plaything for shady financial jugglers”.

        See: “Tragic Kingdom: Trouble at Euro Disney”

        It seems rather ironic then that whoever made that poster for this Ukrainian child to display has, in his action, revealed his naivety concerning his association of the French Disney theme park with all that is good and wholesome in Western Europe.

        So the poor kid couldn’t go, or at least it seemed so to the child’s parents, because that wicked ogre Putin was blocking the Ukrainian choice to become part of the magical wonderland of the EU.

        And almost one year later, lo and behold:

        Euro Disney faces €1bn bailout by Walt Disney parent

        October 6, 2014

        [FT, so here’s what’s behind of the wall]

        Shares in Euro Disney took a rollercoaster-style dive on Monday after the Paris-based theme park announced a €1bn recapitalisation that could see it bought out by US parent Walt Disney to rescue it from falling visitor numbers and heavy debts.
        Euro Disney, which has suffered a long history of financial problems since it opened in 1992, said Walt Disney, which owns 40 per cent of the company, would back a €420m rights issue, convert some €600m in Euro Disney debt into equity and postpone repayment of other credit lines to keep its European offspring from falling off the rails.

        The company said if minority shareholders did not take up the offer to participate in the rights issue at the same price as Walt Disney, Euro Disney could end up fully in the lap of its parent more than 20 years after it was launched amid distinct French ambivalence about the symbol of American culture implanted in their midst.
        “That is not the objective but it is clear that if none of the other shareholders participate in the rights issue, Walt Disney will increase its holding,” said Mark Stead, Euro Disney finance director.

        The biggest minority shareholder is Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia, with 10 per cent. Mr Stead said the prince had yet to decide whether to participate in the recapitalisation, which will take place in January.

        Shares in Euro Disney, located a short train ride east of Paris, plunged more than 20 per cent on the news, before closing down more than 9 per cent at €3.13.
        The theme park, Europe’s top tourist attraction by visitor numbers, opened a big ride in July based on the 2007 animated Disney movie Ratatouille, starring a French rat who dreams of becoming a chef. But that has not been enough to offset the effects of the economic downturn in France and Euro Disney’s other main European markets.

        The company, which employs 15,000 people, said attendance had fallen to between 14.1m and 14.2m in the 2014 fiscal year from 14.9m last year – figures had been well above 15m before the financial crisis. It said hotel occupancy had fallen in 2014 to 75 per cent from 79 per cent.

        Combined with the heavy burden of debt servicing, the result was an expected decline of up to 3 per cent in revenues in 2014 and a rise in net losses from €78m last year to up to €120m.

        Mr Stead said the aim was to stabilise visitor numbers and improve the quality of Euro Disney’s existing two parks, the original Euro Disney and the Walt Disney Studios park opened in 2002. Plans for a third park have been indefinitely shelved.

        Tom Wolber, Euro Disney president, said in a statement: “This proposal to recapitalise the Euro Disney Group is essential to improve our financial health and enable us to continue making investments in the resort that enhance the guest experience.”
        Euro Disney’s big priority financially is to lower its gross debt, which at €1.75bn has been running at a level of 15 times earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.

        “Our Achilles heel has always been our debt ratio, which compared to our rivals is off the charts,” Mr Stead told the Financial Times. Under the recapitalisation, gross debt will fall to under €1bn, or around six times ebitda. Cash flow will be boosted by €800m over the next 10 years by the operation, Mr Stead added.

        The recapitalisation comes after Walt Disney in 2012 had to bail out its European subsidiary by taking over Euro Disney’s loans from a syndicate of banks and providing new funding.

        That in turn followed a series of ups and downs for the company. It went through a debt restructuring in 2004 after being floored by the effects on tourist travel of the terrorist attacks on New York in September 2001. By 2008, buoyed by economic growth in Europe running at around 2 per cent, Euro Disney had some of its best years, posting its first profit for five years in 2008, when hotel occupancy at its two parks topped 90 per cent.

        But it was brought low again by the financial crisis and the recession that followed, with five of its top seven markets in recession in 2013.

        “We kept revenues at a decent base but our costs went up,” said Mr Stead. He said the focus now was to upgrade existing offerings to put the parks in a “quasi brand new condition” in time for the 25th anniversary in 2017.

        But worry not, ye Yukies! From the burning sands of Arabia gallops a noble prince to your rescue:

        Middle Eastern Prince to rescue Euro Disney

        Saudi billionaire, Prince Alwaleed, says that he will keep his 10pc stake and support the indebted Disney resort’s rights issue

        Now mind you don’t forget kiddies: every time you say you don’t believe in fairies, a fairy dies!

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Error again!

          Close italics at the end of:

          “We kept revenues at a decent base but our costs went up,” said Mr Stead. He said the focus now was to upgrade existing offerings to put the parks in a “quasi brand new condition” in time for the 25th anniversary in 2017.

        • marknesop says:

          If “corporations are people” – as they are according to U.S. law, so that corporations are now allowed to give unlimited amounts to the political party of their choice to ensure its election, why can’t private-citizen individuals (who are unquestionably people) get a bailout as well? I mean, they do, in class-action-type situations such as everyone who is underwater on their mortgages due to a fiscal meltdown caused by greed and incompetence. But I mean if you are just a complete fuck-up with your money and can’t manage it properly, bought yourself a new Audi A-6 and forgot the kids needed college money, or the interest rate went up and made your mortgage unaffordable – why can’t you just raise your hand and say “Need a bailout, over here!” and have the bank hand you a bunch of money to rectify what is unquestionably an untenable situation? It’s pretty much analogous to a bailout of something like EuroDisney, where they apparently did not bother with a risk analysis or any serious forecasting before plunging ahead with bad investments.

          Your bank will tell you, “Better not buy that A-6 this year; interest rates look like they may go up” or something like that, and if you go ahead with it with money you got somewhere else (like raiding the pension fund), you are screwed, all by yourself. If a corporation does the exact equivalent, it gets a bailout. People are allowed to fail. Corporations – not so much.

      • Southerncross says:

        “Allo! Euro Itchy and Scratchy Land open for business! Who are you to resist it?”

        “Come on! My last paycheck bounced… my children need wine!”

        • Moscow Exile says:

          As it happens, determined not to like the place, I set off for EuroDisney with Mrs. Exile (her idea) and the little Exiles in November 2012. She chose that month so as to lessen the waiting times at the rides.

          We only went for 4 days, one of which we spent on an excursion to Paris, where a Russian bus conductress, on hearing us hab-jabbing away in her mother tongue, sat down next to my wife and began telling us what a grade-A shit Hollande was.

          My children really liked France – what little they saw of it that is – and loved the language. I told them how to say “bonjour”, “bonsoir”, “merci” etc. and they duly impressed the staff at the small hotel where we stayed and which was situated about 2 kms. from the park entrance. My son got a bit annoyed though when I explained to him beneath the Arc de Triomphe that amongst the list of Napoleon’s victories carved into the stone, “Moscou” meant the Battle of Borodino, which claim to victory he deemed to be an outright lie.

          The thing I’m getting at, though, is that although my family and I live in the authoritarian Neo-Soviet regime of the Evil One, we all decamped at short notice to la belle France and EuroDisney, whereas those Galicians in Lvov who stuck that placard into their sprog’s mitt try to make out that they can’t go to the European wonderland because of wicked Katsapy policies as regards the Ukraine.

          Well, I’ve got news for them: you can’t go because you’re piss-poor and your state is an abysmal failure. And you can lay the blame for that fairly and squarely at the doors of your oligarchs, who have robbed you and your state blind for the past 20 years or so; people such as your president Porky, Don’t-Cry-For-Me-Banderastan Timoshenko, Tell-Them-We-Shall-Meet-Their-Demands-Then-Hang-Them Kolomoisky, Stop-Demonstrating-And-Get-Back-To-Work-Down-My-Coal-Mines Akhmetov etc.

          I should also like to add that “Putin’s Mafia State” notwithstanding, it was simply not the case that we were able to set off for EuroDisney because I am a Western Fat Cat living in the lap of luxury in Moscow: my salary is the Moscow average.

          And finally, I really enjoyed EuroDisney and we all would like to visit the place again.

          Does this mean we’ve all fallen victim to American soft power?


          • Moscow Exile says:

            I’ve often wondered why they don’t build a Disney-style theme park here. There have been several proposals that his be done, but none have ever been followed through. I suppose the weather is a key factor in no one risking such a venture.

            When we were on our last of our daily visits to EuroDisney, my children were surprised at the appearance of white stuff that had appeared overnight on the roofs of many of the buildings on “Main Street USA” and on the huge Christmas trees that had already been erected for the then fast approaching Festive Season. And then when we were in “Western World” riding on a half-scale train hauled by a steam locomotive (built in the UK as it happens – there are three of them there) they suddenly noticed that the fields around the “Western Railroad Depot” that we had visited the day before had also become covered with this white stuff. I remember saying to them: “Oh look! We’re in Canada!”

            I explained to them that it was artificial snow.

            They thought it all rather strange.

          • Southerncross says:

            “Does this mean we’ve all fallen victim to American soft power?”

            I’m afraid so. As a cure, I recommend a course of fish-heads.

            “began telling us what a grade-A shit Hollande was”

            Louis XVI was more popular at the time of his execution than Hollande is on a good day.

            ‘My children really liked France – what little they saw of it that is – and loved the language. I told them how to say “bonjour”, “bonsoir”, “merci” etc. and they duly impressed the staff at the small hotel where we stayed’

            Aligns with my own experience. Where people get the idea that the French are snooty and xenophobic, I can’t imagine.

            “I’ve often wondered why they don’t build a Disney-style theme park here.”

            I’d suggest ‘Banderaland (the saddest place on earth)’ but that might be a shade tasteless – and redundant.

            • marknesop says:

              Banderaland would never catch on, because theme parks rely heavily on repeat visitors. You generally only need to be nailed to a door or have red-hot iron rod inserted in your anus once.

              • Moscow Exile says:

                Yeah, but Russian folklore isn’t short of great tales and I’ve always thought they could make a theme park based on Russian skazki – there’s Ilya Muramets, for starters, and Baba Yaga of course, and there’s a host of Soviet cartoon characters that are still immensely popular with children here, such as Cheburashka.

              • Jen says:

                Banderaland could always boast 100% customer satisfaction and that in itself would draw in overseas visitors. The complaints section would need very few resources, maybe just one or two people just in case. The person applying for the job vacancy in the decapitation complaints section would only need skills in doing crossword and sudoku puzzles, reading or watching movies in his/her CV.

        • marknesop says:

          Ha, ha!!! Actually, “ItchyandScratchyland” is perfect as a label for Europe as a whole, because it cannot get along with its neighbours and is constantly squabbling among its member states as well.

  40. yalensis says:

    Confirmation that, yes, that WAS Tetiana Chornovil attacking the Ukrainian Rada a couple of days ago, all dressed in black.
    Good to know I am not seeing things!
    And, BTW, this puts the lie to her claim that she is fighting bravely on the front lines of the ATO!
    These Right Sektor types seem to drift back and forth from army to civilian life, without so much as a weekend pass. Awfully suspicious…

    • yalensis says:

      Speaking of which…
      This series of photos follows a crazy-ass rioter wielding a knife, but not wearing a mask, among the mob that attempted to storm the Rada on 14 October.

      In Photo #1 the chubby guy with the ridiculous khokhol haircut (on the left) starts aiming his knife at a policeman.
      In Photo #2, the khokhol lunges more, and appears to be going for the policeman’s eyes.
      In Photo #3, the cop dodges and defends himself, while spraying teargas at the khokhol.
      In Photo #4, the khokhols flinch away from the gas.
      In Photo #5, the chubby khokhol, stll clutching his knife, seeks comfort from Tetiana Chornovol.
      In Photo #6, they embrace tenderly and comfort each other, while the other neo-nazis rage on.

      All of this is to show that the khokhol is NOT an FSB provocateur, but rather one of Chornovol’s buddies. (’cause Ukie government claimed the rioters were FSB agents, and kyivpost said so too, so it must be true….)

      • marknesop says:

        He’s holding the knife like he is trying to paint the policeman with it, and overextending in his attempt to menace them with his fearsome weapon while simultaneously keeping his fat body as far from harm’s way as possible. That’s a good way to get your arm broken by a riot baton. Knives are close-in weapons, and those who know how to use them generally combine them with a hand-to-hand assault with the other arm. They also generally keep them low, waist-level or lower, and hold them sharp edge up to make it harder to grab that arm. They do not hold them out at full arm’s length like it was a marker fight, and almost never stab downward from over their head.

        Last but not least, as we see here, the knife is a piss-poor weapon in a gas environment, unless you’re wearing a gas mask.

        Chornovol seems to feed on anarchy and rioting; wherever it’s going on, there she is along with the smashers and the burners. There’s something seriously wrong with that woman. She wants locking up.

    • Fern says:

      Today’s ‘you have to laugh’ moment. The Kiev Post article, ‘What went wrong with EuroMaidan Reformers’ – a sort of ‘where are they now’ bit of nostalgia – includes Andriy Deschchtsia, whose claim to fame was that he tried to placate an angry crowd (is there another kind in Ukraine?) bent on attacking the Russian embassy in Kiev, by calling Putin ‘a dickhead’. This gentleman has just been appointed Ukraine’s Ambassador to…..Poland.

      • marknesop says:

        I hear they have lots of apples there – that can only be good for Deschtsia’s diet.

        • Jen says:

          As they say, an apple a day keeps the doctor away. Something for Mayor Klitschko to advise Kyiv citizens when they start complaining about being unable to afford visiting the doctor or to buy medicines for their children and elderly folk when they fall sick. That, and teaching people how to rub match-sticks together for when the gas cuts out.

    • marknesop says:

      Good eye – it’s all about selling the legend that is Chornovol. She may well end up in elected office in Kiev, they’re just nuts enough to believe all that brave-fighter-for-democracy bullshit. What she is is crazy as can be. And they only seem to have two flavours in Ukrainian politics – greedy, and fanatically crazy.

  41. cartman says:

    Hunter Biden kicked out of the Navy for failing cocaine test

    If anyone doesn’t remember, he’s on the board of Burisma holdings (Kolostomybag’s company) with rights to frack apart the Donbass.

    • Southerncross says:

      Joe Biden uses his position to swing a sweet job for his useless Coke-addict son.

      Warren Harding is owed an apology.

    • yalensis says:

      Does Burisma also have a “zero tolerance” policy for its employees who snort coke?

      P.S. the Navy must have done a random drug test, because you can get coke out of your system within 48 hours. All you have to do is stay clean for 2 days, and you’re home free.

      I know this, because I had to do a drug test to get my current job. The lady from HR called me on the phone and told me, “You’re hired, but you have to go to such and such a place and take a drug test either today or tomorrow, but definitely within 24 hours.”

      In other words, I wouldn’t have time to get clean if I wasn’t already clean, because some stuff stays in your body for at least 48 hours.
      Well, needless to say, I passed the drug test with flying colours. Fortunately for me, I don’t do any drugs, I just drink a lot!

      • Moscow Exile says:

        You’d fail the breathalyser in the UK, then. Doctors there reckon that most British men drinkers would fail a breathalyser on a Monday morning if they’d been drinking on a Saturday. I certainly would have, only I don’t drive: never have done.

        • yalensis says:

          Well, duh! I didn’t drink any wine with my dinner the evening before my drug test.
          I’m not such a total alkie that I can’t abstain for one evening, when called upon to do so.

          And anyhow, it wasn’t a breathalyser, just pee in a cup. I don’t think there was any alcohol left in my pee at that point. At least, I hope not!

          • Moscow Exile says:

            I didn’t think your drug test was by means of a breathalyser: I just meant that alcohol stays in the system so long that the legal minimum limit allowable whilst driving (which I think used to be 25 gms of alcohol per millilitre of blood when I lived in the UK) would be surpassed by most male drinkers if tested on a Monday morning after having drunk alcohol on Saturday, even if one had not drunk anything on Sunday.

            I think it’s zero limit now. In fact, I think doctors used to say that one had to abstain from imbibing alcohol for 3 days so that it would not be detected by a breathalyser.

            If, therefore, you had had to have a breathalyser test for alcohol instead of a urine test for narcotics, you would have failed that test if you had not abstained from booze for more than 3 days instead of the mere 48 hours that would have rendered the presence of cocaine undetectable.

      • Johan Meyer says:

        A proper cocaine test uses a hair sample, as it accumulates; that is the standard for police forces, which is also why certain police officers (who often wear sunglasses on the job—cocaine dilates the pupils, and also gives an arrogance boost) like to sport shaved heads—the shaved head is not a political statement.

  42. patient observer says:

    Good analysis of Mr. Clark. He reminds me of another klutz, General Alexander “I am in control here” Haig, just slightly more affable. For a hysterically funny rationalization for Haig’s “I am in control comment”:

    According to the article, Haig had adroitly avoided assassination attempts by Soviet Spetsnaz operatives. When Reagan was shot, “Haig recognized from all the indicators that the Soviets were in the process of launching World War III, while neither Weinberger (a politician) nor Allen (an academic) recognized the threat. In horror, Haig watched a live television monitor as Deputy Press Secretary Larry Speaks fumbled in the Press Room; in answer to journalist Leslie Stahl’s question of “who was running the government in the absence of President Reagan?”, Speaks responded that “I cannot answer that question at this time”, a clear signal to the Soviets that the U.S. Government was then incapable of responding to a Soviet attack.

    Haig dashed a note to Speaks telling him to step away from the dais and to stop answering questions. Haig then dashed into the Press Room and announced he would answer the question, and stated:

    “Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the President, the Vice President, and the Secretary of State, in that order, and should the President decide he wants to transfer the helm to the Vice President, he will do so. … As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the Vice President and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.”

    The immediate result of Haig’s appearance in the White House Press Room, announcing on international television that he was “in control” had the desired effect. The last thing the Soviets expected was to see Gen. Haig at the head of the U.S. Government, with his finger on the trigger and ready to exercise this opportunity to even the score with the Soviets for their failed assassination attempt on him in Europe.”


  43. Moscow Exile says:

    Putin under pressure to commit to fragile peace plan for eastern Ukraine

    Russia must act to fully comply with the peace plan for eastern Ukraine and EU sanctions will remain in place until he does, David Cameron has said after a meeting with Vladimir Putin and other EU leaders in Milan.

    You tell him, Dave!

    I bet he’s really shitting his pants now.

    • yalensis says:

      Some Grauniad commenters:

      “The US have not sent a delegate to the meeting; they are the elephant in the room.” (hodgeey)
      “The elephant is in every room of the world.” (justTR)
      “I’d say it’s got so bad, the room is now in the Elephant.” (Utternutter23)

      In conclusion:
      In America, elephant is in the room.
      In Soviet Russia, room is IN the elephant!

  44. Moscow Exile says:

    A riposte to russophobe GreatWhiteEagle’s claim in the Grauniad comments to the article that:

    Merkel’s Germany – world economic power

    Putin’s Russia – economic basket case.

    No wonder his daughter prefers to live in the Netherlands and Liarov’s daughter keeps her US green card.

    Comparison of Economies – GDP and Unemployment Rates in China, Russia, the United States and Germany

    And Miss Putina no longer lives in the Netherlands.

    Don’t know whether Lavrov’s daughter, Ekaterina, has a green card, but what does it matter? Ekaterina Lavrova graduated from Columbia University and decided this year to stay in New York. That surely was her choice, wasn’t it? She’s not a minor, is she?

    Wiki states that she was “asked to come back to Moscow”.

    By whom?

    Her father?

    The Russian president?

    Her boyfriend?

    She didn’t come back.

    So what?

    That’s her business.

  45. Moscow Exile says:

    A little gem from a Guardianista russophobe:

    In Crimea Tatars are kidnapped every day. Only their bodies are found later. Their political representation Mejlis has been subject to pressure. Several prominent Tatars have been forced into exile. Putin is worse than the last USSR leaders.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And this reply from a Turk:

      who kidnaps? who finds them? who are those people that kidnapped and killed? can we have name? any source? BBC was there last month? i have friends from Crimea, Turkish Tatars, never mention anything about it. We in Turkey, closer to Crimea and have thousands of Crimean Tatars living in the country have not heard anything. please enlighten us. I know there are mass graves and war crimes, kidnapping and torture by the Kiev private army, but about Crimea I am afraid you are just trolling.

  46. ThatJ says:

    In the US.

    • yalensis says:

      My best guess: These people are biological descendants of Bandera’s butchers.
      Many of the butchering families fled Ukraine when Soviet army returned to restore order.
      They found refuge in U.S. and Canada, where they were coddled and reassured that THEY were the true victims. (and not the people whose children they nailed to tables).

      Living on government largesse and raising a couple of more generations of selfish, mean-spirited people who feel both victimized and entitled at the same time. And now they are ticked off, because their planned genocide in Donbass was pushed back, and their army was defeated.

      By the way, has anyone noticed that Banderites ALWAYS get defeated in battle?
      It is their fate. They make good butchers, but lousy warriors.

      • Johan Meyer says:

        Actually, one of the Novorossian rebels interviewed in the Donetsk: Chronicle of a genocide video was a direct descendent of a Banderite—she served as a nurse, though her husband fought in Slavyansk. Let’s keep genetics out of this, please.

        • yalensis says:

          The people in the photograph above are most likely from the Ukrainian-American diaspora.
          The American/Canadaian diaspora are the biological AND ideological descendants of Stepan Bander’s butchers.
          Not trying to say murder in their DNA, just something ideological/political passed down from generation to generation, you can’t deny that basic reality.

    • Southerncross says:

      ‘Return nukes to Ukraine’

      Who do you think has ‘your’ nukes you primitives?

      Sure, you can have them back – it’ll only take them five minutes or so to reach Kiev.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Return them so Yulia can nuke Donetsk, I suppose – which would be a pretty dumb thing to do if there were an easterly blowing, because her home city, Dnepropetrovsk, lies a mere 130 miles west of Donetsk.

        Bear in mind, I get the distinct feeling that many Yukies are pretty dumb – going on the evidence available, of course.

        Lack of iodine in the diet and too much animal fat in the form of pork lard seems to be the cause of this inherent stupidity.

  47. ThatJ says:

    As ‘secret Saudi deal’ increases harm to Russian currency, China intervenes

    Last Friday it was revealed that the purpose behind Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit to Saudi Arabia a few weeks back was to sign a secret deal by which the leading OPEC state would saturate the markets with excess oil and cause prices to fall for the global commodity. This move would have the consequence of causing vast harm to the Russian Rouble, and increase inflation and price instability for the Eurasian state.

    However, on Oct. 13 Russia’s strongest ally and member nation in the BRICS coalition signed its own deal with the Eurasian power to not only help stabilize prices for the beleaguered economy, but increase direct non-dollar trade with a 150 billion currency swap deal through which Russian Roubles are traded directly for Chinese Yuan. This new deal will have the effect of bypassing the dollar and the the reserve currencies overt effects on the Rouble that is part of the ongoing proxy war between America and the East, and also mitigate some of the consequences of the secret Saudi oil program.


    The significance of this deal is two-fold. First, by allowing for Russia to have direct trade between themselves and China in their own national currencies, Russia can mitigate some of their escalating price inflation within their country that is a direct result of Saudi Arabia’s overt actions to drive down the price of oil. Secondly, by facilitating the purchasing of Chinese products without the use of the dollar as a middle-man, Russia puts even more pressure on Europe who is hemorrhaging trade that had been a mainstay between the EU and Russia, and which is now accelerating Europe’s path into recession.

  48. Fern says:

    Ukraine has apparently asked Poland to supply free coal – actually that Kiev would like to ‘rent’ the coal for free – so it can continue to operate electricity plants. Of the 90 or so mines that were supplying coal this time last year, only around 20 are still operational while rail and other transport facilities in eastern Ukraine needed to transport the black stuff if any is produced have been heavily bomb-and-shell damaged. Are the skies of Yatsenyuk and Poroshenko dark yet with returning chickens?

    Poland is reportedly less than impressed with the request. You can practically hear the Russians laughing from where I’m sitting.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      And RT has just posted a bulletin that quotes Porky as saying that he and Putin have agreed on the “basic parameters” of a gas deal.

      I should imagine that the most basic of basic parameters is that the Ukropy pay for the gas they will be and have been supplied with.

      Meanwhile, the first snow fell here today and more is forecast; it’s still a mild +12 C in Kiev, though – but it’ll get colder, as I’m sure both Porky and Yats are well aware of.

  49. Paul says:

    I have posted a review of Gregory Feifer’s book ‘Russians: The People Behind the Power’, on my blog: I’d be interested in your comments.

Leave a Reply

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

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

Google photo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Connecting to %s