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.

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

  1. yalensis says:

    Today Porky met with Vladimir Hroisman (his Vice Premier) and issued the order to turn the heat on in homes .
    (Up until now, Ukrainian homes and flats have not had heat during this season.)

    So, Porky ordered to turn the heat on and start burning gas, presumably from the reserves.
    Because people are starting to get cold.

    «Не позднее пятницы в каждом украинском доме должно быть тепло, батареи должны быть теплыми», — сказал Порошенко, добавив, что за это – «полная ответственность местных органов власти».

    “No later than Friday, in every Ukrainian home there should be heat…” Porky announced.
    And, Porky being Porky, he of course had to add, that it was completely up to the local authorities to comply with his order; and if they didn’t, well then…. [implied threat]

  2. yalensis says:

    Descendants of victims of Volhynia slaughter call upon Poroshenko to distance himself from Banderites:

    Hundreds of thousands of Poles, Jews, Armenians, Czechs, Romani, and representatives of other nationalities, who were victims of the 1943 Volhynia massacre committed by Banderites, deserve recognition; as do those thousands of righteous Ukrainians who interceded to rescue them, sometimes at the cost of their own lives, as well as the lives of their loved ones.
    This is the message that was delivered on 20 October by the publication to Petr Poroshenko by organizers of the “All-Polish Action of Protest against the glorification by Ukrainian government, of the killers from OUN-UPA and SS-Galichina.

    “We, the families of 200,000 Poles, murdered by bands of OUN-UPA and units of SS-Galichina, we the representatives of communities, civil organizations, religious societies and individual personalities, by this national action of protest, wish to express our categorical opposition to the politics of the Ukrainian government, which glorifies the genocide committed by criminal formations,” the document states. We remind people that, alongside the genocide of citizens of Polish origin, in the II Republic, OUN-UPA also murdered Jews, Armenians, Czechs, Romani, and also other Ukrainians who came out against the fascist ideology.”

    “The glorification of cruel and criminal murderers constitutes a degradation of the memory and cannot be accepted by living descendants of those who were slaughtered, nor by any humans who possess a conscience. It is morally unacceptable, that in the 21st century Ukraine, which strives to enter the European Union as a nation free of misanthropic fascist and communist propaganda, the organs of state power and the institutions subordinate to that government, glorify fascist formations and propagate their misanthropic ideas in the schools and universities,” the publication continues. “The murderous ideology of Dmitry Dontsov, combining fanaticism and ‘creative terror’, inspired OUN-UPA and SS-Galichina to the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of people. However, the Ukrainian government cannot be constructed on a false ideological cult, and on the cover-up of genocide. On this foundation, one cannot build good relations with Central and Eastern Europe. The lack of respect for the losses and the tears of our loved ones cannot bring about anything, other than new crimes, and the shame of those who justify these crimes!”

    “Glory and honor to the memory of the victims! Eternal shame to the killers of OUN-UPA and SS-Galichina!” declares the appeal of Polish society to Poroshenko.

    The publication reminded people, that earlier, Petr Poroshenko by decree had moved the Day of Defense of the Fatherland from 23 February to 14 October, which the founding date of the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA). The news about this decision of the new government of this post-Soviet state, caused distress among the Polish communities of descendants of the “Eastern regions” (territories of Western Ukraine and Western Belorussia, which the II Republic of the Rzeczpospolita had held between the two world wars; as well as among (Polish) patriotic organizations. It is planned, that on 23 October in Poland there will be an all-national action of protest against the policies of the “new government” of Ukraine, which seems bent on rehabilitating the Banderites. [yalensis: no shit, Sherlock]

    As REGNUM has previousy reported, on 15 July 2009, the Polish Sejm passed a resolution entitled, “On the tragic fate of Poles in the Eastern regions”. According to the document, the Volhynian massacre (Rzeź wołyńska) “possessed the characteristics of ethnic cleansing and genocide [yalensis: once again, no shit, Sherlock] perpetrated by the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) and the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) in the territories of the II Rzeczpospolita.” Marta Jarodzewicz, who is the leader of of the section for Ukraine, Belorussia, and Moldavia of the Center of Eastern Studies in Warsaw, back in 2011 stated that Polish societies of former inhabitants of the (Eastern) regions, had accused the Polish government of sweeping under the rug the crimes of the UPA, in relation to ethnic Poles. In 2014 Polish NGO’s conducted several meetings and pickets, condemning the policies of the “new government of Ukraine”; and of official Warsaw, which had professed loyalty to the contemporary followers of the ideas of Stepan Bandera. These feelings are also shared by the Catholic religous leaders of Poland, who had refused to offer the “Polish comrades” of the Banderites the opportunity to conduct their actions under the aegis of the Church.


  3. Erebus says:

    Arturo’s post at the saker site (currently down) of 14 points, translated from the original Spanish article which contained 36, is very much worth reading.
    A Google version of the remaining 22 makes one wish he had translated them as well.
    The thesis is that the West vs Russia is actually an intra-class struggle between the ruling Anglo-Zionist elites and their Russian proteges vs those (primarily Russian and presumably Chinese) elites who believe that they’ll be better served by a multi-polar world.

    The 36th point summarizes (via Google):
    “The Russian objective of achieving a multipolar capitalism with a Russia united under a nationalist ideology based on the manipulation of patriotic sentiment, Orthodoxy and various Slavic myths is being challenged by the reality of the conflict, stated in terms of class struggle at the global level. The reality is that the Russian elite would be allowed to control their population as they wish, provided they renounce its sovereignty over territory and resources, renounce their physical power base, ie home. This is the nature of the challenge. Putin is mistaken if he thinks that the Grand Patriarch has the answer in their holy books. Not enough incense in the Kremlin cathedrals to mask that reality.”

    The original English is here:

    Sorry for the long link. Not sure if it’ll come through intact.


    • Moscow Exile says:

      “Putin is mistaken if he thinks that the Grand Patriarch has the answer in their holy books.”

      What on earth makes Arturo think that Putin believes this?

      • yalensis says:

        Well, people say that Putin is strongly religious. In which case, he might possibly believe the contents of “holy scripture” to be literally true. i.e., the flood, Jonah living inside a whale, all that jazz.

        Or, Putin might possibly be somewhat religious but also think, as “Sportin’ Life” used to say, when it comes to the Bible, “It ain’t necessarily so…”

        • Jen says:

          Putin appears to be outwardly Russian Orthodox but it is possible that he is spiritual in his own way and his internal religious beliefs might include a dose of Buddhism. He has praised Buddhism in the past and has visited Buddhist temples in Buryatia and China, including the famous Shaolin temple.

          • patient observer says:

            That’s my take also but with the Orthodox beliefs being dominant. The Orthodox actually downplay the importance of the bible(s). They reject the concept of original sin (i.e. we are born sinners due to Adam and Eve’s transgressions) as well as a literal interpretation of the Bible(s). At the core, their beliefs have many Buddhist-like aspects.

            • kirill says:

              That’s why all the rabid, foaming at the mouth evangelical freaks hate the Orthodox and accuse them of idolatry for having icons in their churches and in their homes. These fundie retards should crawl back under whatever rock of western “civilization” they crawled out from.

              The US will disintegrate really fast once the cheap energy and resources become scarce. It’s a Potemkin country built on delusions and piracy.

              • patient observer says:

                Although I was baptized a Serbian Orthodox, only now am I having the pleasure of learning Orthodoxy in its subtleties and spirituality. It’s a beautiful and humane religion that shows the vacuous basis Catholicism and its spin-offs.

      • Erebus says:

        Putin’s religious beliefs are hardly Arturo’s main point, which is that without an alternative socio-economic model, Russia will be caught in an infra-class war it cannot win, and that indeed they are losing it.

        A “nationalist ideology based on… patriotic sentiment, Orthodoxy and various Slavic myths” doesn’t cut it against the global power represented by the IMF, WTO, WB, NATO et al.

        That the battle lines are drawn in Moscow itself means that Russia can’t turn its back on the West and pivot East. The war will follow it.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          “Putin is mistaken if he thinks that the Grand Patriarch has the answer in their holy books”, wrote Arturo.

          He maintains that Putin’s religious belief (how else can one describe it?) is wrong and that “the reality is that the Russian elite would be allowed to control their population as they wish, provided they renounce its sovereignty over territory and resources, renounce their physical power base, ie home”.

          Putin’s religious beliefs are hardly Arturo’s main point?

          Surely his main point is that Putin’s religious belief is leading Russia in the wrong direction.

          I ask again: on what evidence does Arturo base his statement that Putin thinks “the Grand Patriarch has the answer in their holy books”?

          • Erebus says:

            Umm, did you read the article?

              • Erebus says:

                Hmm… the same words, but read apparently from another linguistic-conceptual framework. Putin’s religious beliefs are not germane to Arturo’s analysis. They may or may not be important to him, and even to Russia, but Arturo’s analysis stands separate.

                Arturo’s premise is that, in the current world, there cannot be 2 Capitalisms. Capitalism’s calculus is that of power, and nothing besides. The “middle road” of a multi-polar capitalism is a chimera – a word game.The “Anglo-Zionists” control every institution that embodies world power and there ain’t a variable in their calculus that allows for “nationalists”, or “new/old values”, or any other social construct based on cultural “differences”.
                In short, Orthodox-Slavic Capitalism as currently constituted is just a competitor to Anglo-Zionist Capitalism and so must go to battle on those terms. Arturo says its odds are approaching zero and I agree with him.
                Where I disagree with Arturo is his premise that there can’t be 2 (or more) Capitalisms. Orwell’s 1984 offers a vision in which the world has split and here, cultural differences can play a role. His world allows for the development of “Capitalism(s) with Chinese, Russian & Anglo-Zionist Characteristics”. Each operating in its own part of a now segmented world. Of course, any such development requires that the world’s current power structures collapse. That collapse may be in process, but timing is everything, and Russia’s clock seems to be running fast.

                Parenthetically, I’m much saddened by this.

                • patient observer says:

                  Its not “capitalism”, its all about ruling elites and their objectives. Some elites (defined by wealth and control) like their subjects to be stupid, blind and a source of pleasure.

                  Other elites (defined by strength of leadership and spiritual power) prefer to uplift their populations to further their own enlightenment. Capitalism is just a convenient label for a system of mass exploitation that is currently in favor by the elites who seek to control and blind. Most other interpretations of the world struggle to me is pedantic noise.

                  Maybe its Milton who said it best (paraphrased): For some elites its better to serve in heaven and others its better to rule in hell.

                • Jen says:

                  Perhaps Arturo’s premise that Orthodox-based Slavic capitalism must be some mirror image of what he calls Anglo-Zionist capitalism is the problem. If that is what he has assumed, and he also seems to take for granted that “Anglo-Zionist capitalism” has always been a monolithic structure or network based on literal readings of the Protestant Bible, Torah or the Talmud, and slavish adherence to those works, then his conclusion that Putin’s religious beliefs and (supposed) dogmatic faith in Russian Orthodoxy is at fault. It never occurs to him to think that Putin, and indeed millions of others around the world, could be outwardly Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever, but nurse private spiritual beliefs that could be at odds in part with what they publicly profess. I believe Shi’a Islam even allows that kind of religious apostasy (for want of a better term) if publicly professing what you believe privately puts your life in danger.

                  Also with regard to this:
                  ” … The Russian objective of achieving a multi-polar capitalism with a Russia united under a nationalist ideology based on the manipulation of patriotic sentiment, Orthodoxy and various Slavic myths …”
                  – how does Arturo know this is all that Russia is doing? He views the world as black-vs-white and does not allow for any “third way” alternatives.

                • yalensis says:

                  That would be similar to the Marxist analysis, as well.
                  According to Marxism, competitive capitalism inevitably evolves into monopoly capitalism.
                  While commodity capitalism inevitably evolves into finance capitalism.
                  Power passes from the manufacturers of goods to the bankers.
                  Then add in the Leninist tweak about “Imperialism, the Highest stage of capitalism”.
                  None of these scenarios allows for a stable multi-polar world (so long as capitalism is still evolving and is the dominant relationship between the labourers and the means of production). If capitalism continues unabated, then eventually the entire global economy will be owned by a handful of families. At that point, it won’t even matter whether these families are European, or Russian (unlikely), or Chinese. They will be practically like a different species, anyhow.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  It never occurs to him to think that Putin, and indeed millions of others around the world, could be outwardly Christian, Muslim, Jewish or whatever, but nurse private spiritual beliefs that could be at odds in part with what they publicly profess” – Jen.

                  Waes hael!

                • marknesop says:

                  I don’t entirely agree; I think Russia’s clock was stopped, and they’ve only just gotten round to winding it. It is useless to compete with the USA in its own sphere of influence, for it will entertain no competitors regardless how level it claims the playing field to be, and continues to pursue full-spectrum dominance as a holy grail. The secret to competing economically with the USA is to never let them own you – trade with American companies is OK, but they must never be allowed a controlling interest or even domination of market share within your country, or they will use it against you to collapse your economy. Worst of all is to let them own your banks, because then you are at their mercy. There is a fairly constant ebb and flow in international relations and foreign policy, but one constant is that Russia and the United States are enemies, and the latter will always seek the destruction of the former. There might come a day when the roles are reversed, but we have never seen it yet and the aggression has been pretty one-sided.

                  If Russia sticks to its budding alliance with China and with partners in the Eurasian Union, it stands a pretty good chance of riding out the dying spasms of the American empire.

      • dedona says:

        No se trata de si Putín es religioso o no. Eso es indiferente. Se puede observar con claridad que se está apoyando desde la dirección rusa un nuevo papel para la religión ortodoxa en la legitimación del sistema político ruso. Se está utilizando la religión de forma ideológica una vez más, pero las contradicciones son de otra naturaleza.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          But I do not believe that the present government is promoting a new role for the Orthodox religion in legitimizing the Russian political system. And even if it were, what effect would that have on the vast majority of Russian citizens?

          Do you believe that there has been a Christian religious revival amongst the masses here? I fail to see one.

          The majority of “ethnic Slavs” here” are atheists and have been so for many a generation. Most Russians associate Orthodox Christianity with their national identity in much the same way as the do, say, borshch. However, whereas most Russians eat and enjoy borshch, most do not go to church and know very little about religion.

          My wife was baptized as a baby in 1965 and says she is “Orthodox” but she never goes to church, knows nothing of the bible and only recently told me that she thought that Jesus Christ became God when he died.

          • dedona says:

            No me explique a mi sus objeciones. Comparto su punto de vista. Pero todos hemos podido ver que se está intentando ofrecer a la religión un papel importante como elemento de identificación nacional. La crisis de Novorossia ha demostrado que la religión es importante. Pero también que lo es la memoria histórica antifascista.
            Lo que queremos decir es que las contradicciones de clase no las resuelve la religión. Las puede retrasar, pero no resolver.

            • yalensis says:

              Well said!

              • yalensis says:

                (I think.)
                My Spanish not so good, but I think you are saying that religion cannot actually resolve class contradictions. Which is a true statement.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  Well some thought it could, particularly some of the English, who still sing in what must be one of the most popular Anglican hymns (those very few now that do sing hymns, that is) “All Things Bright and Beautiful”:

                  The rich man in his castle,
                  The poor man at his gate,
                  God made them, high or lowly,
                  And ordered their estate.

                  But again: who says Putin is using religion to resolve class contradictions and to bolster the Russian state?

                • ThatJ says:

                  My Portuguese is good enough to understand his Spanish. You are right. He also said that religion is an important national identity element, and so is the antifascist memory.

                • ThatJ says:

                  The problem with antifascism is that it can be turned as a weapon against your own nation and folk, as can be witnessed in the West today.

                  Such “antifascism” is alien to Russia, thankfully.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  “Fascist” in youthspeak in the UK has long meant anyone in a position of authority, e.g. “My father is a bloody fascist!”

                  I well remember an 18-year-old fellow student of the Russian tongue once screeching at our Russian tutor that she was a “fascist” because said tutor had just failed her.

                  The tutor (Odessa born of a White Russian army officer father, who was executed by the Bolsheviks, and whose subsequent stepfather had been a Soviet diplomat) just calmly and politely responded by saying to the angry young woman: “My dear, you have absolutely no idea what the word “fascist” means”.

                • marknesop says:

                  Kind of like Saakashvili and “democracy”. In the latter case it means “things I like”. In the former, “things I don’t like”.

  4. Moscow Exile says:

    Порошенко поручил включить отопление в каждом доме

    Porky the Pig has instructed that the heating in every home be turned on

    The President of the Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, has instructed Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Groisman to turn on the heating in all houses at the end of the week – all, without exception, as reported by the website of the Ukrainian President.

    “Not later than Friday every Ukrainian home should be warm; the radiators should be warm”, said Poroshenko. “This task is the full responsibility of the local authorities. The heads of regional state administrations and relevant district departments will be notified by me today of this instruction, and I should like to ensure that it be undertaken.”

    Volodymyr Groisman assured the President that his order shall be executed…

    Before the heating season, the Ukrainian national Commission for Energy and Utility Tariffs doubled tariffs for central heating and hot water. Workers explained that they had been requested to do this for convenience sake as regards the calculations. Apparently, the tariffs have been increased “because of changes in the way we work out the costs and such a method of calculation is now to be carried out only for the period of the heating season, that is for 6 months of a year instead of 12”.

    The workers forgot to say that this was the price for gas which has come by means of a reverse flow of reserves on European territory. Supplies from Russia were suspended from June 16 because of the billions of dollars owed by Kiev.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      As a postscript:

      The heating – the communal central heating – was turned on here a fortnight ago.

      Such is the misery of life in the Empire of Evil!

    • Jen says:

      They’re going to have to kill an awful lot of trees.

    • marknesop says:

      Largesse from Porky: behold! He waveth but his mighty trotter, and lo! heat cometh forth to our homes! Great is the name of Poroshenko!

      Not discussed is that the foregoing period without gas did not need to happen, and was entirely due to the intransigence and strutting and posturing by Porky’s government, and the even more idiotic one that went before. Nor that the temporary deal represents a big fat climb-down by Porky’s government and its western cheerleaders, who twittered that Russia needs Ukraine and Europe more than the other way around, and a little good old-fashioned pushing and shoving would soon teach them their place.

      Letting the Ukies know that heat is now unlimited is as good a way as any for them to run out of gas halfway through the winter, and need more, over which there will be a bitter fight as usual. The story was that generous subsidies had made Ukrainians improvident and wasteful, and that they needed to learn to manage their needs in order to get the country out from under this unnecessary expense. Now there will be a big fuck-you-Russia gas party and they will run through it in no time.

      • astabada says:

        To me it’s not obvious that Ukraine will run out of gas this winter. After all they have some in storage, and the decline in industrial activity will determine a corresponding saving in gas consumpiton. This without even mentioning the separation of Donbass and Crimea (roughly 6 million of people worth of heating and industry).

        I agree however that sooner or later the reserves will run out, unless Kiev steals from transit flows.

        In fact Kiev does not even need to steal the gas, because Western media already reckon that it might divert it.

        • Jen says:

          Be worth checking to see how other countries in eastern Europe – Slovenia comes to mind because I believe the entire country had a very severe winter some years ago, and also Hungary in light of Orban’s support for ethnic Hungarians in Zakarpattia – cope with gas shortages over the 2014 – 2015 winter period. Especially if they are unexpected or prolonged. That will be a hint that EU member states are “voluntarily sending” some of their gas back to the Ukies.

        • marknesop says:

          I’m just saying that they will believe they have been given leave to waste it – their improvident use of gas while under government subsidy used to turn the EU’s teeth sideways, and part of the reason the price was boosted, doing away with the subsidy, was to make Ukrainians become more efficient and energy-smart. But now they’re getting Russian gas and it looks like the IMF is going to pony up the cash to buy it.

          The argument that they don’t have to provide for Crimea and the Donbass is a good point, though.

      • astabada says:

        To add substantiation to my objection, namely that the Ukraine might not run out of gas this winter, let me remind that Crimea and Donbass account for roughly 20 percent of the population of the *former Ukraine* (ah, I love this word, I must use it more often).

        If I were uncle Sam though, I’d urge Porochocco to get the country through a gas crisis because:
        – freezing grannies are moving
        – frozen grannies do not collect their pensions
        – and it helps the Russia bashing campaign, naturally.

        • yalensis says:

          Yeah, I think they’ll get through the winter. They did the analysis, shut down a lot of factories and industries, got some reverse gas, etc. They (Ukrainians and Americans) did the math a few weeks ago and reckoned they could just get through the winter, by the skin of their teeth.

          They’re hoping that by spring they can improvise some other scheme to buy some more time.

  5. CEO of the French oil company Total, Christophe de Margerie, died today in a freak accident in Moscow’s airport caused by a drunken snowplow driver.

    De Margerie was considered to be a friend of Russia who lobbied against the sanctions against Russia.

    • The Russophobic Helsingin Sanomat already politicized his accidental death.

      Helsingin Sanomat drew a parallel about his death being a symbol of Russia’s unpredictability.

      Russia just killed it’s “only friend in the West” (according to Helsingin Sanomat De Margerie was the only friend that Russia had left in the West).

      The header of the article is “the Last Hope of Russia’s Economy Died”.

      The article also emphasized how the driver of the snowplow was “Russian” as if it was not clear anyway since the accident happened in Russia.

      The tone of the article was gleeful, the author did not even try to hide her joy from the accident.

      Yes, it was a female journalist. I have noticed a new trend here in Finland that is a new brand of young female journalists (about my age or even younger) that are extremely hostile and critical towards Russia. It is “hip” and “cool” to be anti-Russian today in Finland. Sometimes it feels like there is a contest who dares to write the most vile, condemning and negative stories about Russia.

      Estonian born Sofi Oksanen who is a journalist and a book writer is probably the most famous of these “Russian hating ladies” in Finland and she is some kind of a role model for many. Her writing sucks, but because of her vile hatred against Russia she has become very popular, influential and rich here in Finland. Her books sell because she writes what people like to read: bad things about Russia.

      • Southerncross says:

        The late Monsieur once made the mistake of suggesting the oil need not be sold in dollars.

        Vous voyez le resultat.

        Perhaps Karl will be able to use the next period of Finnish-Russian detente to promote friendlier relations.

      • patient observer says:

        Given the liabilities at stake, it would be easiest to “throw the snow plow driver under the bus” by claiming he was drunk. His lawyer has already stated that it was highly unlikely drinking was involved:

        The real question western journalists should be asking is where was the snow plow manufactured? If it was a Russian plow then the culpability of the entire Russian civilization is proved.

        Regarding fearsome women journalists, it may be just a “thing” to do to prove something about equal rights but really proves “a woman can be as psychologically screwed up as any man” You’ve come a long ways baby! In addition, it may be an attempt to exploit the belief that a woman tends to be more truthful than a man. How quaint.

      • Now they edited the header of this article.

        The new header is: “The Hope of Russian Economy Was killed – Because of Vodka”.

        They are making fun of a person’s death just because it hurt Russia. This is our biggest newspaper.

      • ThatJ says:

        Hmm, I think that American NGOs and capital in Finland will love her work in the media. Such people will find themselves in influential positions, thanks to AngloZionist patronage (to borrow Saker’s term).

        Does she — and her Russophobic friends in the media — like feminism and ‘asylum seekers’ from distant continents? Does she also call anyone opposed to the ethnic displacement/replacement of Finland a hater or a Nazi? Does she work toward establishing a discourse in the media about oppressed women, formerly non-existent minorities (including the minority males), leaving someone like you out, implying that yes, you are the problem, the ‘privileged’?

        If she hates Finland and Russians, she will have a great career. An equal scenario may eventually play out in Ukraine, too, if the West prevails and Russia loses out completely (which seems unlikely right now). Ukrainian nationalists with a WWIII revanchist mindset are doomed.

  6. yalensis says:

    New York Times admits that Ukrainian army used cluster bombs against civilians in Donetsk.

    Check out the comment section too. Some good comments.

  7. yalensis says:


    On the topic of the Volhynia massacre:
    A Polish director is shooting a film about the massacre of ethnic Poles by Bandera’s OUN-UPA.

    The title of the film will be “Volhynia”, and the name of the director is Wojciech Smarzowski , who is famous Polish director.
    His film is scheduled to come out in movie theaters in spring of 2016.
    According to Smarzowski, there was never an opportune time before to make such a film. Such a film could not have been made under Poland’s Communist government, nor under the governments since 1989. But after Ukrainian Maidan happened, it finallly seemed like a good time to make the film. (!)

    Even before a single frame has been shot, there are loud objections from the Ukrainian film critics. Ukrainian writer Oksana Zabushko objected in an interview to Newsweek:

    “I haven’t read the script, but I personally know several talented Ukrainian actors who were invited to perform in the film, and despite their warm sympathies for Poles, after reading (the pages of the script with) their lines, they refused to take part in the filming. They said that it (the film) was a true school of hatred. This is a horrible wake-up call for me.”

    [yalensis: Let me guess: The Ukie actors read a script, in which their lines consisted of:
    “Hurry up, Oksana, it is almost morning, and we are late to butchering our Polish neighbours.” In other words, realistic dialogue.]

  8. et Al says:

    Vis a previous posting from last week (where I stuffed up the actual link):
    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.

    I commented that “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.

    Not to mention this link I didn’t post:
    euractiv: Farage again denied key European Parliament posts
    After blocking Eurosceptic EFDD’s attempts to gain the presidency of any European Parliamentary Committees in July, pro-European groups have once again joined forces to sideline Nigel Farage’s group in the Parliamentary Delegation elections. EurActiv France reports.

    – the eurphoria is unsurprisingly short lived:

    The latest is: blogactiv: Irony alert as Poles ride to UKIP’s rescue in a classic Brussels stitch-up


    euractiv: MEP from party led by racist could save Farage’s EFDD
    UKIP leader Nigel Farage’s Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the European Parliament is expected to reform after a Polish MEP from a party led by a racist joined the Eurosceptic faction.

    Why the howls? Justice denied or is he considered to be the wrong kind of racist that is usually acceptable in the European Parliament? After all there are plenty of MEPs with racist, homophobic and Russophobic views (start with the Balts and work west and south) but they don’t seem to get that much attention. It’s bizzare. Barroso and co. deliberately engineered the collapse of their EP group and thought what exactly? That they wouldn’t search for and find and alternative partner? I would shake my head, but it’s hardly a surprise.

    Am enjoying the Swedes chasing shadows in the Baltic though. How long before the main political parties announce that they are prepared to drop their neutrality and join NATO? It looks like they are just softening up the public as the Western public was with Saddams WMDs before picking the right moment to make an announcement…

    • ThatJ says:

      This Polish MEP who saved Farage’s bloc from collapse belongs to a “racist” party, says euractiv. I know a little bit about the “racist” in question. He’s Janusz Korwin-Mikke, a good man. He has the profile of someone to be hated by the hostile elite:

      – He’s EU-sceptic
      – He’s a patriot in the best sense of the word
      – He dared to say what a Polish political whore will never do:
      Putin did nothing wrong by reuniting Crimea with Russia – Polish politician

      • Southerncross says:

        Korwin-Mikke’s alleged holocaust denial seems to consist of a remark that Hitler ‘was probably not aware Jews were being exterminated’.

        Beyond that, there’s the fact that he has used the word nigger. The Congress of the New Right’s platform has no racial component at all.

        That’s the EU for you. Vaguely objectionable words? Unforgivable, beyond the pale, a second holocaust waiting to happen, ban this sick filth!

        Mass murder and terrorism by real, living Nazis in Ukraine? No biggie.

  9. et Al says:

    More on the Swedish paranoia in the Baltic:

    Al Beeb: Swedish search for ‘foreign sub’ focuses on Ingaro Bay
    Naval vessels searching Swedish waters for a suspected foreign submarine are focusing on a bay near the capital Stockholm on the fifth day of the biggest such operation in years.

    “…Meanwhile, a man whose presence in the search area raised suspicions has turned out to be a Stockholm old age pensioner out fishing for trout.

    Speaking to Expressen newspaper, “the man in black” said: “I saw there were a lot of military ships out there… A friend called and told me that I was the picture in the newspaper.”…”

    Those are the 5th & 6th paras. from the bottom of the article. I’m starting to wonder if the BBC actually employs journalists at all…

    • marknesop says:

      False contacts are as much a part of antisubmarine warfare (ASW) as the torpedo, and there’s nothing like being told there’s something there to make you think you have detected something. So tell me, fellows – what does it sound like?

      What? You don’t have any passive sonar intercepts? You obviously don’t, or you wouldn’t be saying it might be a submarine or might be a couple of divers driving some kind of underwater moped, because one sounds about as much like the other as Marilyn Manson sounds like Aretha Franklin. Comes to that, a diesel submarine sounds nothing like a nuke boat, so they apparently don’t know which of those it is, either; I’d think a diesel submarine would be getting a little short of breath by now unless it’s an air-independent propulsion boat.

      There are all kinds of things it could be if all they have is a couple of active hits – like a derelict car on the bottom, or an old freezer, or a shipwreck – or a photo taken of who-knows-what. If they had passive tracking on a submarine they would know for a fact it is a submarine, and they would further know if it was a diesel boat or a nuke. It is apparent from their earlier disclosures that they do not.

      However, the Russian-submarine panic value, and the on-again-off-again “distress call” seem to be just too good to pass up, and as somebody else mentioned, it’s a great opportunity to announce Sweden is dumping a pile of money into its defense budget, not to mention sniffing around joining NATO. Bye-bye neutrality if you do, Sweden, so I advise caution. And Russia certainly is being provided a stellar advertisement for its submarines, which are apparently impossible to locate even by a crack antisubmarine force, and the Swedes are very good.

      I would be surprised if there was not a Russian ship nearby, because the Russian navy will want to observe Sweden chasing its tail at first hand; it’s a good opportunity to gain information on their search techniques and overall effectiveness. Which doesn’t look good so far.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        That looks like a smart stealth ship the Swedes have loitering around there.

        Didn’t the US Navy recently unveil the design of a similar looking vessel, a guided missile destroyer, that they claim could sneak up on a coast line and zap some unexpected place unnoticed.

        Well, it would be unnoticed until they press the “fire” button.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          Here’s the vessel in question, the corvette HSwMS Visby, in the photograph with this RT story:

          Sweden ready to use force to surface foreign sub as search continues

          HSwMS Visby

          Oh how they would really love this to happen:

          • Moscow Exile says:

            And for those of you who haven’t read the book or seen the film, [Achtung! – Spoiler!] His Majesty King George VI’s Royal Navy destroyer doesn’t kill the sub: after a horrific patrol, they all manage to get back to base, Lorient, in occupied France, where, after disembarking to the sound of a brass band cheers of welcome, they all get smitten down by a surprise raid carried out by that same king’s Royal Air Force, and “das Boot” sinks in its dock basin, taking those still on board with it to a watery death.

            It’s a cracking film, though.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              This comment to the RT Sweden story tickled me:

              Sweden has already deployed both of its troops to protect Stockholm from invasion. They have promised to get a haircut if they can smoke pot on duty.

              I should add, however, that the trolling on RT must be the worst in the world now. The liar-Sikorsky story yesterday on RT was hammered by continuous stupid non-comments off some retards, residents of the USA, I presume, or they were just simply pumped out from Langley.

              • ThatJ says:

                “to protect Stockholm from invasion”

                Too late! Some Danes agree with me:

                …[T]hroughout the history of the Danish People’s Party, its leaders have sought popularity through controversial and polarising stances. The changes to Denmark’s immigration laws drew criticism from the former social democratic government of Sweden, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, and the Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner. In a response to the criticism from the Swedish government, Pia Kjærsgaard said: “If they want to turn Stockholm, Gothenburg or Malmö into a Scandinavian Beirut, with clan wars, honour killings and gang rapes, let them do it. We can always put a barrier on the Øresund Bridge.”

                Sweden is the butt of stereotypical jokes in Scandinavia.


                • Moscow Exile says:

                  So now the Swedes must be very critical then of the repeal of the law in Denmark that gave people the “right” to have sex with animals – because you cannot legislate against love!!!!

                  Why can’t these repressive, authoritarian retards understand this fact?

              • marknesop says:

                That comment made me laugh out loud. I remember how we used to stare, as part of the NATO squadron, at the Dutch with their shoulder-length hair. It had no apparent effect on their professionalism, they were and are a very capable navy, and I suppose we were just jealous. I’ve never sailed with the Swedes, and have no idea if their appearance is regulated by the same union rules as the Dutch.

                We must be careful not to make the same knee-jerk response to pro-western trolling that the Russophobes do – it really annoys me when the response to a carefully-constructed and well-substantiated argument is “How much is comrade Putin paying you?”. I imagine the trolling is just juveniles who love to spark an angry reaction, which is inappropriate given that they never make an actual argument, just hurl insults. I’m quite sure Langley is capable of better than that.

          • marknesop says:

            “But the Dutch Navy said on Monday the Bruinvis wasn’t near Stockholm at the time the mysterious submarine was spotted.”

            But they just got through saying that of over 100 “sightings”, only 2 had been regarded as “interesting” by the navy, while those were not considered “credible”. The same navy is said to never be able to find anything despite these sightings.

            However, by the end of the same article, someone has spotted a mysterious submarine. No wonder the western media audience are such lemmings.

            It’s just part of the carefully-choreographed program to terrify populations throughout the west so they won’t scream when the government starts blowing money on more tanks and planes and ships in what those behind it hope will be a massive military buildup, forcing Russia into a budget-breaking arms race. Worked a treat last time. It won’t this time, though, because Europe simply can’t afford it. If it tries it will go broke that much faster. Of course everyone can get big loans – it’s just pieces of coloured paper, after all – but the IMF traditionally does not lend to those it knows have no hope of paying it back, and other lending institutions are no different in that respect. If governments believe they can simply appropriate tax monies to this end, they will get a surprise when the standard of living starts to slip and infrastructure is inadequate or starts to crack under the strain.

            • kirill says:

              The USSR was not done in by its military spending. This is a western myth which is clearly based on the false premise that the Soviet command economy could run out of money like western governments can. There are no financial costs in a command economy but instead there are inefficiencies of resource allocation. It was often stated that grocery lines in the USSR were a proxy from inflation.

              The Soviet economy had a large part dedicated to the military from WWII until 1991 so there is no particular reason why it would fail when it did just because of this resource allocation. In fact, it is the foreign entanglements of the USSR in the various cold war conflicts that was more detrimental. The USSR had to spend hard currency abroad and this came at the cost of spending it for its own population (e.g. wheat imports). The limited amount of hard currency in the possession of the USSR made it a target in terms of oil price. The Saudis drove down the world oil price during the 1980s and this really did play a role in the demise of the USSR.

              The USSR just could not develop a proper consumer economy via Gosplan and I doubt that it was military resource allocation that was the cause. It’s not like half the people in the USSR worked for the military. The need for hard currency was the result of this underdeveloped consumer sector. An example of the issues that the USSR had was the lack of enough grain silos. Idiots at Gosplan did not see a need for them, so vast amounts of grain were lost because of shipping problems. This had nothing to do with Reagan’s spending on the US military.

              Nuclear warheads and missiles are actually quite cheap. Thousands of tanks, artillery pieces, ships are more expensive. But there was not ten fold or vast increase in the Soviet military between 1970 and 1990 that would support Reagan’s success at destabilization of the USSR by outspending it on defense.

              • marknesop says:

                Some analysts said that the Soviet Union was doomed because of unrest in its Muslim population, and the fact that the Muslim population was increasing steadily. It sounded like a good theory if you didn’t know any other ones, but I was always skeptical. The “arms race” theory made more sense than that, and indeed the USA reaped a huge “peace dividend” from the USSR’s collapse.

                But your theory makes sense – especially when it is considered that western advisers raced to Moscow after the collapse to show the Russians how to set up a capitalist-style economy, and then led them straight into disaster and default by doing everything wrong.

  10. Southerncross says:

    Bad news: Kiev troops strengthening their presence around Debaltsevo and Mariupol.

    Good news: Voentorg’s up and running again.

    • patient observer says:

      Certainly bad news for the Kiev troops but not welcomed by anyone.

    • ThatJ says:

      Thanks for the update. Keep ’em coming. I barely read other sites related to the Ukrainian situation, limiting myself to Mark’s and Saker’s blog, and Zero Hedge, if their stories on Russia/Ukraine count.

      I have this feeling that the West will force the goyim in Kiev (well, the Zionists wouldn’t refer to Groisman and Yats as goyim) into another aggression against Novorossia. If the aggression fails, Russia will be sanctioned again.

  11. davidt says:

    I’m a little surprised that no one has commented on Alexander Mercouris’s article in “Saker” yesterday. It was not very noteworthy except in one regard: he seems very concerned that people don’t “insist” that the Malaysian Boeing was shot down by a jet. His worry seems to be that if people don’t accept that scenario, then they will conclude that Putin did it with a Buk missile. I really don’t understand this emotional attachment to the Buk. It might be the case that the “rebels/Russians” were trundling about with a Buk system in tow and I am willing to accept this if it will relax Paul. But the problem is that there is so much evidence that military aircraft were loitering about, and the Ukrainians have denied this. On the one hand, AM is an advocate for the Russian side, but, on the other hand, he doesn’t trust what they say or give much weight to eyewitness accounts. The very fact that the Russians called it as a Su-25 and not a Mig-29 adds weight to their testimony. In addition to the usual evidence that the “deepresource” summary gives there other information out there. For example, Maj Gen Krush’s statement seems valuable to me. (I also remember an interview with a Ukrainian villager before there was talk of military planes: he was describing how a body fell into his neighbours kitchen but claimed, on two occasions, that he heard a jet engine.) I would like someone to provide some half convincing evidence that there were no military jets flying around.

    • astabada says:

      I liked AM’s article. In perfect lawyer style, he cashes several cheques, like the fact that Russia did not supply a BUK system to the rebels, and that the Ukraine government has been proved to be lying on this topic (and therefore, perhaps even on other topics – gosh!).

      Then he proceeds to adjust the terrain for the possible battle of the future, i.e. even if the commission demonstrates that it was a BUK who hit the plane, it doesn’t mean that it’s the rebels who fired it.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Right! And Mercouris concludes that public opinion is being manoeuvred into believing that if evidence shows that a war plane shot down the airliner, then the Yukies must have done it; but if that is not the proven case, then a BUK must have done the job, ergo the Russians or Russian backed terrorists must have done it.

        I rest my case m’lud!

    • Jen says:

      I think that our former Delphi oracle (well, even if he hasn’t lived in Greece since he was a child) is cautioning that we should not be locking ourselves into two opposed sides over the MH17 shoot-down and that we must not jump to any conclusions as to who was responsible, what fighter jets were flown and what weapons systems was used until there is more information. The issue cannot be shrunk into what AM refers to as a false binary where if one side is right then the other side has to be wrong: if we fall into a trap of insisting that an Su-25 fighter shot down MH17, and later evidence suggests this was not so and that a BUK might have brought it down, then we discredit ourselves and our opponent’s argument that a BUK missile launcher took down the plane (and therefore the rebels must have been responsible) looks stronger. As AM notes, a BBC Panorama program tried to compress the issue into a simplistic “Su-25 versus BUK” argument with precisely this intention.

      The issue has now changed with the West acknowledging that the BUK missile launcher and missile were Ukrainian since the type of BUK missile launcher apparently used was one that is still being used by Ukraine but no longer by Russia.

      We can still be open to the possibility that both a BUK missile launcher and at least one fighter jet were instrumental in bringing down the Boeing, with one (possibly the BUK) running interference for the other (the fighter jet, whether it was an Su-25 or a MiG-29).

      • marknesop says:

        Can you imagine the nerve – or insanity – of the fighter pilot who flew a plane in close proximity, point-blank range in fact, to an airliner that he knew was going to be targeted by a surface-to-air missile like the SA-11?

        I don’t think there ever was a BUK launcher involved. Had there been, and if it had been the Ukies that did it, they could just abandon the launcher and still blame the rebels.

        The west has come a considerable distance from insisting Russia did it and there is ample evidence to prove it did. They’re still saying Russia probably did it, but no more claims of having “overwhelming evidence”, and a little of the competing narrative is starting to leak out.

        • davidt says:

          Sorry, I just noticed Jen’s comment. I was being pulled out the door yesterday when I made my remarks and consequently cut them short. My comment about the Mig-29 was simply that this was the plane that you would expect to see at 10000m given that the Su-25 is a ground attack aircraft. (By the way, in this low tech war no plane is going to be hiding in the shadows of an airliner at such a big height. You would be lucky to see it by eye anyway.) The point I was going to make is that Krush says: “No one observed a Buk engaging targets on that day, which provides 95 percent proof that Buk systems were not used in this concrete case.” I believe that he means electronically, not visually, for he then goes on to say that no one saw a vapor trail and so forth.

          It nearly beggars belief that the Russian military, or any other lurking military, would not have picked up a Buk being fired. Indeed, I read- now cannot find the source, but nearly positive- that there was a German surveillance plane over Poland at the time. It picked up two Buk radars in active mode and could identify one but not the second. That plane didn’t “see” a Buk launch or we would certainly know about it, as we would surely know it from the US satellite. The chances that some one now produces solid evidence that one was fired is miniscule.
          Many people thought that Putin’s mob were responsible because the initial comment from Putin was vague: he only said that Ukraine was responsible because the Boeing was in Ukrainian air space. (He obviously didn’t know what had happened.) One must now be as clear and definite as possible. (I thought that physics was taught seriously at Sydney Grammar- just joking)

          • marknesop says:

            I’m pretty sure I did see a news item shortly after the crash which reported the Russian side did have an electronic intercept of the BUK’s radar. That would most likely have been the Straight Flush surveillance/acquisition radar, which is the big one on the dedicated radar vehicle, and it is most unlikely the rebels had one of those. The Ukrainians insisted they did not have any BUK components which were taken from Ukrainian stocks, which is why they pushed so hard on the narrative that Russia had supplied the rebels with a system, or that the Russian military with one of its own systems had made a covert penetration of Ukraine, taken the shot and then escaped as covertly. Anyway, the Straight Flush might have been detectable by ground stations or an ELINT satellite, but Russian satellite coverage of Ukraine must have been fairly spotty, since it had until very recently been a friendly country and they would not have felt much need to snoop on it, especially since nearly all its weapons were ex-Soviet.

            The radar on the TELAR itself, the Fire Dome system, is very limited in what it can do in the way of target acquisition – it is designed to be steered to the target by the main radar, whereupon it can acquire the target itself and perform tracking. Not just a short hit, either – the radar has to stay on the target until the missile’s own onboard radar gets a lock. The missile itself, the SA-11, is very fast, so in relative terms that’s not long. But there are mode changes in the radar when it goes from search to track to guidance, all of which would be recordable by electronic intercept systems. The most liable to intercept, of course, is the search mode, when the beam is wider, but at its widest it only covers 2.5 degrees and when it is locked on the target it is a pencil beam that is not likely to be intercepted by anything other than the target it is focused on, since the detector has to be more or less in line with the transmitted signal – either between the transmitter and the target, or beyond the target. Omnidirectional radars are different, you can pick them up from anywhere, but a missile-guidance radar is very directional and focused, for obvious reasons – it should see only the target you intend to hit.

            But we have a time problem. MH-17, at the speed and height it was traveling, would only have been available to the Fire Dome system as a valid target for about 2 minutes: the radar can acquire and track for longer than that, but the target would be outside the effective range of the missile. The azimuth tracking window of the Fire Dome only sees 45 degrees, and it takes 4 seconds to sweep that, and you have to match the altitude component as well. The elevation component’s upper limit is 50 degrees. What I am getting at is that you have 2 minutes to search a large quadrant of airspace, acquire a target and get a lock on it, and fire. You are searching a finite space that is 45 degrees across and 50 degrees up, and to get access to the space outside those limits you have to train the radar around.

            Now, to the possibility that it was an accident. If you are using just the TELAR component of a BUK system, with the Fire Dome radar fitted on the launcher, and you are looking for an enemy aircraft to shoot at, where are you going to be looking? At your upper limit, 50 degrees and higher? Why? What’s going to be that high that can hurt you down on the ground? Ground attack aircraft like helicopters and fighter-bombers are going to be down at 10,000 feet and less, not up at 33,000.

            I’m not saying it is impossible for the radar on a BUK TELAR to have acquired MH-17 and been able to lock it up in time to get a shot away. But it would have been incredibly lucky for the operators unless they were told in advance where to look, where to expect their target in direction and altitude from the launcher position. The launcher, in a pinch, would not have to be connected to the radar van to accomplish that: someone who could see the aircraft on radar could pass the information with something as simple as a cell phone, so the target could be acquired early, before it was even in range of the missile. All they would have to know is position of the aircraft and position of the launcher to supply range, bearing and elevation of the aircraft from the launcher position. If that was accomplished, the operators would have a whole 2 minutes just to shoot.

            But they’d know they were shooting at an airliner.

            But that kind of analysis is unnecessary when you have sensationalist crap like this out there, courtesy of Australia’s Herald-Sun. No wonder Tony Abbott is all greasy and ready to fight Putin hand-to-hand, if he reads this sort of rubbish over his morning coffee. According to author Patrick Carlyon – whose sympathies for Ukraine are obvious, since he manages to work the Holodomor into “The Full Story of MH-17” – he is as good as there as the vehicle carrying the fateful SA-11 “rumbles across the Russian border into Ukraine”. Why not? Ukrainian intelligence told him, and the world. Accompanying the vehicle are “three to six Russian military operators”. Later on, a tank and an APC escort, kind of a little parade, form up with the BUK launcher as it enters Donetsk around 9:00 AM, in broad daylight. According to another very reliable source – U.S. intelligence – a separatist is overheard inquiring of his Russian intelligence officer boss, “Where should we load this cutie?” Patrick knows the code-name of the junior officer in charge of the missile battery – he’s called “Miner” – and he in turn is overseen by the legendary Bezler, the Devil. Racy stuff, what? Miner gives the order to fire at the target picked up by the radar operator, a large aircraft at high altitude. SA-11’s cannot tell the difference between military and civilian aircraft, the shitheel known as Patrick Carlyon confides knowledgeably. Neither can the most sophisticated missile in the world. Because you’re supposed to know what you are shooting at before you fire, and the ability to distinguish between military and civilian aircraft – which the main search radar for the BUK certainly does have – is the job of the operators before they fire. As data show, MH-17 was squawking modes 2 and 3 IFF, and any system capable of reading it would have known it was an airliner.

            Australia has been the source of the most egregious and sensationalist propaganda on the MH-17 incident, and Patrick Carlyon in particular should be kicked in the nuts to the point of unconsciousness, then revived so it could be repeated.

            Some idiot did also post a photo of what was purportedly the missile vapour trail. Actually, here is the very photo – courtesy (what a surprise) of the Daily Mail. There is no time or date stamp except that when the photo was posted, so we have no way of knowing what it represents, but of course it’s good enough for The Mail. This, we are told, is the “trail of death”, and “about two seconds after this picture was taken, the Malaysia Airlines jet was blown apart in mid-air”. If the missile took 12 seconds to reach its target, then, the vapor trail in the photo is ten seconds old. You buy that? And the jet was snatched out of a cloudless sky, while the actual weather conditions were said to be overcast, and an early cover story said the Ukrainian ATC rerouted the plane because of thunderstorms further south.

            I suppose The Mail does provide a useful function, along with its Australian counterparts – such outlets provide people with work who otherwise would not be able to get a job. No matter how much of a useless wanker you are, no matter if your head is filled with purest marmalade and the wind whistling through your earholes reliably yields a G flat minor, you can always get paying employment as a journalist at some rag like those.

            • davidt says:

              Agree with all you say, and my understanding of the technology from my reading is what you say. (Mind you I cannot quote angles.)
              Although we get the Sydney Morning Herald delivered, I rarely look at it, especially anything on international news. Over the years, I’ve sent them quite a few letters but to no avail. Curiously, not long after one of my unpublished missiles they took to publishing a “Russia beyond the headlines” supplement each month, which still appears, so I have to give them something. But we are well and truly in the US camp. (By the way, a previous conservative prime minister, Malcolm Fraser, is certainly not. Paul Keating a longtime labor treasurer and prime minister has certainly made comment that space should have been made for Russia in Europe.)
              Russia cannot possibly win a propaganda war with the west, but they must keep hammering the line that their was a military jet low down. What was it doing?

  12. yalensis says:

    Porky vows that Ukraine will once again become a cosmic power. (“cosmic”, in the sense of building rockets and going into space, and stuff like that)

    Guess what, Alice, you’re going to the moon!

    • kirill says:

      Another sample in the array of evidence that Ukraine has a serious inferiority complex. That pattern of hate is consistent with such a complex. Losers would rather slit your throat than admit they are losers.

  13. Moscow Exile says:

    Sikorski revealed as a lying tw*t!

    Sikorski U-turn: Polish ex-FM backtracks on scandalous ‘divide Ukraine’ claim

    He ought to keep his big, Polish mouth shut and stick to using it for what he says Poland has been doing to Uncle Sam for years.

    • Fern says:

      Sikorski ought to be sacked. The level of irresponsibility evidenced by his willingness to invent meetings and conversations is quite staggering and should be enough to finish his political career. Surely one of the many US Russophobic think-tanks can offer him a place?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        Remember, this was the man who many tipped to be the replacement for Barusso.

        I wonder what Pulitzer Prize winner Applebaum thinks of her husband’s “misspeak”. Would she report it honestly and objectively as a Pulitzer Prize winning journalist should, or would she put “spin” on it?

      • marknesop says:

        Sikorski’s star seems to have burnt out – it’s difficult to believe only months ago he was being talked up as the next NATO Secretary-General. How have the mighty fallen. Looks good on him. He probably made the mistake of listening to his Russophobe wife while she was babbling in her sleep about Putin souring their milk just by flying over their house; she has a deep pathological hate thing going for Putin.

  14. Moscow Exile says:


    Cluster bombs used in eastern Ukraine, says human rights group

    Evidence collected by the New York-based Human Rights Watch suggests both government forces and pro-Russian separatists have used cluster munitions in eastern Ukraine.

    So how do the rebels deliver their cluster bombs?

    By means of the rebel airforce?

    In that above statement is a link to this:

    Ukraine: Widespread Use of Cluster Munitions

    No mention of rebels using cluster bombs, only this statement:

    Human Rights Watch documented widespread use of cluster munitions in fighting between government forces and pro-Russian rebels in more than a dozen urban and rural locations. While it was not possible to conclusively determine responsibility for many of the attacks, the evidence points to Ukrainian government forces’ responsibility for several cluster munition attacks on Donetsk.

    But the grauniad article heading clearly states:

    both government forces and pro-Russian separatists have used cluster munitions in eastern Ukraine” which is countered somewhat by the subheading:

    Human Rights Watch evidence suggests use by Ukrainian government forces – and possibly rebels – in Donetsk attacks

    “Possibly” by means of what?

    • davidt says:

      I was musing whether this HRW report together with the BND report on MH17 might indicate some readjustment of western policy when I came across this article at by Liam Halliday- the title gives its content away:
      Perhaps there might be a change in the wind.
      By the way, HRW claimed that Russia used cluster munitions in in 2008. They were wrong: they were faulty Georgian stock (fired by the Georgians). I noticed recently that Craig Murray, erstwhile ambassador to Uzbekistan, said that when he applied for a senior position at HRW he was questioned quite closely about his attitude to Israel. I suppose that’s fair enough provided that he was quizzed about other “hotspots”.

      • yalensis says:

        German GDP shrank 0.2 per cent in the second quarter. The eurozone’s powerhouse is now on the brink of recession.

        That would be enough to explain Human Rights Watch sudden change in attitude. Because, if my memory serves, HRW used to support the Ukrainian junta. Now they are wringing their hands about Ukry using cluster bombs against civilians. (which is a true accusation; they also forgot to mention the phosphorus bombs.)

    • Jen says:

      “Human Rights Watch evidence suggests use by Ukrainian government forces – and possibly rebels – in Donetsk attacks”

      “Possibly” by means of what?

      I know, I know! – those nasty rebels crossed over to the Ukie side, snuck into an ordnance depot, stole some cluster bombs and made it back under cover of darkness or Harry Potter invisibility cloaks before the Ukies knew what was happening!

      Of course Kyiv will deny that some of their ammo is missing.

  15. Fern says:

    Today’s ‘you have to laugh’ moment comes from none other than Chancellor Merkel. A couple of days ago, Putin suggested the EU should help Ukraine with its debt to Gazprom – which, stripped of its diplomatic niceties was a ‘hey, Europe, you wanted Ukraine, now you got it’ moment – and Merkel has taken this up, telling Europe all must be willing to help. This has not gone down well – so sad to see allies falling out – with Slovakia’s Prime Minister being particularly opposed to bailing out Kiev:-

    “Sometimes I get the impression that Ukraine expects the solution to its problems to come from every country expect itself,” Fico said at the press conference with Merkel. “Ukraine needs to reform, just as Slovakia once did.”

    Merkel is proposing another loan to be added to Ukraine’s already largely unpayable debt:-

    Merkel proposes that the EU provide a bridge-loan to help Ukraine get through the winter. She says, “It could not be expected that the EU will take over Ukraine’s gas debt to Russia. Fico’s anger is understandable.”

    So, EU taxpayers, many of whom have been pushed into poverty by austerity measures, and who are facing a worsening economic situation caused by the EU’s insistence on damaging its own interests by imposing sanctions on Russia, are going to be stung into bailing out a country which isn’t actually in the EU, in order to help it pay its debts to the self-same Russia. Truly, you could not make this stuff up.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      You forgot to mention that all of this is as Putin planned: after the economic crash comes the squabbling; after that, the tanks roll westwards and northwards.

      As a previous and often compared to “Putler” dictator once infamously said: “We have only to kick in the door and the whole rotten structure will come crashing down”.


    • yalensis says:

      Russia thus seems to be standing firm on everything pertaining to Ukraine and the EU. If this will keep up, then the EU’s taxpayers could end up paying a very hefty price for ‘winning’ Ukraine to join the EU.

      The United States, by comparison, suffers very little from the entire matter.

      Yep, good old USA just strolling by with hands in pockets, whistling. “This ain’t nothin’ to do with me!”

      Meanwhile, Robert Fico should get this week’s prize for “The boy who stated that the Emperor was naked.”

  16. Moscow Exile says:

    Way off topic:

    ‘Don’t touch my girlfriend!’ Protective boyfriend warns Obama

    I’m only posting this in the hope of an explanation off some US contributor:

    Why does it take so long to cast a vote?

    What is he doing: playing a video game?

  17. davidt says:

    It’s a feel good day. This account by Joaquin Flores will warm the cockles of your heart- perhaps Serbia is rediscovering its roots: real-significance-of-putins-visit/

    • yalensis says:

      One can only imagine the frustration of the US, NATO and EU Atlanticists who had hoped to coerce Serbia into eventual EU integration. It is not lost on them that, as it stands, Serbia has observer status in the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), considered by NATO to be something like the reincarnation of the Warsaw Pact. It also has a free trade agreement with Russia, similar to one that Ukraine has. The US backed coup in Ukraine, justified to its European partners as a necessary step to get Ukraine into an EU association agreement, has shown the world already where an increased effort upon Serbia will lead. Unlike Ukraine, however, Serbian nationalism is firmly pan-Slavic and anti-Hitlerian in its orientation.


    • patient observer says:

      Yes, the laws of karma are in good order. Serbia helped save Russia/USSR in WW II may be thrown a Russian life line to help free itself from occupation by the Empire. That occupation began in WW II and continues to this day although with a faltering grip.

      A Red/White alliance is the last thing the Empire wants but the best thing to happen to humanity in a long long time.

    • marknesop says:

      That’s a really good piece. Some of his figures sound a little on the hopeful side, and I would have liked to see more substantiation, but on the whole it’s extremely well-written and includes plenty of reason for optimism that a multi-polar world will actually come to pass.

    • et Al says:

      The political class has sold out long ago, lock stock and barrel. Even Nikoliċ. It’s got sod all to do with the democratic will of the Serbian voter. I’m always impressed at how the Serbs can fight each other even when others are trying to destroy them. Quite a talent.

      I wish it were otherwise, but the events in the former Yugoslavia provided Russia an object lesson of how the West will methodically f*£J you over regardless of what you do or however you beg, let alone any document you sign.

      It could be worse with western bankrolled shitbags like Čedomir Jovanoviċ, but his political career is hovering somewhere near oblivion looking for a merger with the former governing party and was never, ever relevant.

  18. yalensis says:

    On the Anti-Terrorist front:
    Veruca took a ride in a rusty old tank!

    One commenter noted:
    Ukrainian army intends to send Veruca rolling into Donetsk with her rabbit-like head poking out of tank turret. It’s their secret Doomsday weapon. Insurgents would collapse en masse, dying of uncontrolled laughter.

    • Southerncross says:

      Give it up Yats. That stunt didn’t work for Dukakis and it won’t work for you either.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        It ain’t a tank!!!

        It’s an armoured personel carrier!

        The Yukies may well have few serviceable tanks at their disposal now.

        Yats isn’t half as frightening as this prime minister, though, shown trundling around in a vehicle in Nordrhein-Westfalen (in Paderborn, probably), occupied Germany, which looked like a tank and moved like a tank, but still wasn’t a tank.

    • marknesop says:

      I have to give Yatsie credit for not dressing up in a fake soldier suit like Porky does, even though Yatsie could probably wear off-the-rack rather than having to waste as much camouflage cloth as would cover a garage, as happens every time Porky decides to review and inspire the troops. I am struck once again, though, as I am each time, what a homely man he is, and how he always looks so serious and bitter. The very worst type of man ever to be given power, in my experience, is an angry one.

  19. yalensis says:

    On the gas front:
    Russian Minister of Energy Alexander Novak announced that a gas deal with Ukraine could be reached as early as today.
    Under one small condition:
    If money suddenly appeared.

  20. Fern says:

    RT have produced a very good documentary on MH17 which contains some new material – the film-makers persuaded the Russian airforce to conduct a test with an SU25 fighter. They arranged for the fighter to open fire from the air on planes destined for scrap on the ground and then compared the entry and exit holes in the fuselage with photographs of MH17’s cockpit. They looked pretty similar. The film makers also interviewed the German pilot who first cast doubt on the BUK missile theory – he’s found examples of various sources where, since the plane’s downing, the maximum flying height of an SU25 has been altered – lowered – so that it appears a fighter of that type could not have flown at the same height of MH17 when it was struck. Curious, no?

    The film-makers also interview some of the anti-Kiev fighters who were first to reach the crash site – they’re clearly still very disturbed by what they saw which, again, gives the lie to their portrayal in western MSM as virtual savages. Interviews with these guys and a number of civilians who saw the plane break up and fall to earth produced no-one who recalled seeing a BUK’s very distinctive missile trail and signature spiral when it hits its target. According to a member of the Russian Union of Engineers, these would have been visible for at least 5 minutes with traces remaining for another 5 to 10 minutes so hard to explain the lack of photos. Equally startling is the huge amount of debris still lying in the fields of eastern Ukraine. The documentary reaches no firm conclusions about what happened to the flight but it’s impossible to watch it and not realise western authorities have no great interest in finding out the truth.

    • marknesop says:

      Seems to me it would be pretty easy to fly an SU-25 – no shortage of them in Russia – to the altitude at which MH-17 was taken out, with video of the altimeter the whole time. International aviation experts could be invited to inspect the plane pre-flight to verify neither it nor the pilot’s suit were modified to give performance which would be impossible under normal circumstances.

      • davidt says:

        A professionally produced video- good to see that the Russians are sticking to their guns so to speak. I cannot see the lawyers’ need to obfuscate. How will the “Dutch” react if a few relatives of the dead start to agitate about wanting the truth? Doesn’t look good when your government has signed an agreement allowing the Ukrainians, especially, the right to veto.

        • yalensis says:

          Yeah, even regardless of the merits of the technical points made, what is interesting about this video is the “meta-data” aspect, namely RT is ASSERTING that MH-17 was shot down by Ukrainian fighter jet. Since RT is a Russian government-owned media, this would indicate it is the official, or semi-official position of Russian government.
          And dubious they would go out on such a limb, unless they were pretty sure of the facts!

          • davidt says:

            Totally agree.
            By the way, I’m pretty sure that I came across an interview with Chandra Muzaffar years ago- I was very impressed with what he said, but was unable to recover the article because I didn’t note his name, he was talking about geopolitics. (Always good to find a Muslim intellectual on your own wavelength.)

          • marknesop says:

            I’m hoping the suspicion on the part of the west that Russia is holding something back – not evidence of their own culpability, but slam-dunk proof that the plane was shot down by a Ukrainian fighter – will keep them honest enough to release at least the bare facts, although if they could have proven Russia guilty there would have been an ocean of rage-and-hate rhetoric to go along with it. Just the bare facts – another aircraft, probably a Ukrainian fighter, shot down an airliner full of innocent people, if that is what the facts reveal. The scorn of the world will be enough, even if there is no apology, and I don’t suppose there will be.

            It is noteworthy that other sources point out the big European economies, especially Germany, were strongly disposed against sanctioning Russia – until MH-17 was shot down. Then opposition to sanctions collapsed. Reason enough for Ukraine – or Ukraine with a little bit of U.S. intelligence-agency push – to have done it, and it achieved the desired effect if such it was. If Russia’s economy had collapsed, the whole plan might well have worked.

            • davidt says:

              Like to agree, but almost surely Western strategy will be to “muddy the waters”.

              • marknesop says:

                It certainly will be if they know that Russia is not holding any cards back, because the west has the black boxes and Ukraine has the ATC recordings. All Russia has – unless it has held something back, knowing it cannot trust the west to carry out an impartial investigation when it has a clear and vested interest in Russia being found guilty and Ukraine being blameless – is evidence it already turned over to the west, and some pictures.

                • Jen says:

                  Russia should at least be holding copies of what it handed over, in case this evidence is “lost”.

                • marknesop says:

                  Oh, I’m sure the west knows better than to rely on its having been given the only copies. Given the treatment Russia received after handing over its evidence early – being labeled the perpetrator of the disaster and a murderer while Ukraine is treated like a partner rather than a suspect and enjoys privileged access to the evidence and the investigation – showed Russia the wisdom of caution and having copies of everything. I imagine the western analysts were made to sign a receipt for all the Russian evidence, standard procedure in chain of custody, although that would not prevent it from being “lost” if the west thought they were the only copies and their disappearance could derail the investigation.

                  It is beyond ridiculous that Ukraine is a party to the investigation while it remains the prime suspect – the disaster happened on its land, was attributed to weapons it has in its inventory, and the Ukrainian ATC’s behavior was extremely suspicious in routing the airliner right over the war zone. Then, too, there is no end of other suspicious activity, such as the confiscation of Ukrainian records (probably destroyed quickly) and the speed with which it had its cover story ready to go, as well as the fabricated communications intercepts that were time-stamped the day before the crash. No other country on the planet would get cut slack like that if they were a suspect in the deliberate murder of nearly 300 innocent civilians, and it is clear the west is covering for Ukraine and trying to get them off. It has had Russia’s evidence for months now, and its likely purpose is to spin a cover story that provides an explanation for what happened but avoids implicating Ukraine.

                  That’s why I hope Russia is holding back something that will be inexplicable if they try that, and which will leave them stammering and stuttering and trying to react without implicating themselves. It’d be a great show.

  21. Moscow Exile says:

    And now Kolomoisky gets his twopenn’orth in about MH17:

    Коломойский: малазийский Боинг сбили случайно

    Kolomoisky: The Malayan Boeing [downing] was accidental

    Москва, 22 октября.
    Как сообщил в телефонном разговоре с пранкером Алексеем из России украинский олигарх и губернатор Днепропетровской области Игорь Коломойский, в самолет рейса MH17 «Амстердам — Куала-Лумпур» никто не стрелял прицельно — его поразили случайно, вместо другого самолета.

    Украинский олигарх Игорь Коломойский общался с 26-летним Алексеем из России по телефону и с помощью программы Skypе в течении двух месяцев и даже, по признанию пранкера, «выпил однажды с ним «по скайпу водки». В разговоре упоминали и малазийский «Бинг».

    «А с «Боингом» — ну, случайно так получилось, никто не хотел его завалить. Шмальнули по одному, а попали – по-другому. «Боинг» жалко, людей, конечно, жалко, но это все ерунда. Ты знаешь, так бывает, когда серьезные вещи попадают не в те руки, в результате получилась ерунда», — откровенно заявил Коломойский, не уточняя впрочем, чьи именно были «не те руки».

    Moscow, 22 October
    During a telephone conversation with a Russian prankster, Aleksei, Ukrainian oligarch and governor of the Dnepropetrovsk province, Igor Kolomoisky, stated that nobody targeted the Amsterdam- Kuala Lumpur flight MH17, that it was hit accidentally.

    Over a two-month period, the Ukrainian Oligarch Igor Kolomoisky was communicating by telephone with the 26-year-old Russian, Aleksei, and even, on the pranker’s own admittance, they “once drank vodka together during a Skype link”. During one conversation, they were recalling [what had happened] to the Malaysian Boeing.

    “Well, as regards the Boeing, nobody wanted to destroy it. They fired at one [aeroplane] and hit another. It’s a pity about the Boeing, of course, and the people; it’s a pity, but it’s all nonsense. You know, these things happen when important things fall into the hands of the wrong people, and the result is that you end up with something stupid happening”, said Kolomoisky candidly, without, by the way, stating exactly whose hands were “the wrong ones”.

    I get the feeling that there are slowly attempts being made by Kolomoisky at dissociating himself from the crazies in Kiev – not that he himself isn’t a psychopath either, but he’s nevertheless a smarter one than those in government.

    • Paul says:

      It seems to me that he is saying that the rebels (‘the wrong people’) shot down the plane, but didn’t realise what it was they were shooting. So I don’t see why this conversation is a big deal.

      Meanwhile, if any still has any doubts about whether units of the Russian Army (which Cassad calls ‘rabotniki voentorga’) were in Donbass in August, this may dispel your doubts:

    • kirill says:

      Some considerations:

      1) Let’s suppose the rebels had fully functional Buk systems from Russia. The hit radius at 10 km altitude from these systems is under 30 km (35 km is the maximum range, which is basically at ground level thanks to gravity).

      2) The rebels had no way of knowing that MH17 would fly a path over any of the territory they were active in. In fact, the usual route for MH17 was over the Sea of Azov and out of range for any rebel Buk system. If they had S-300 systems then they could hit it. But even the Kiev regime does not claim they had S-300 systems.

      3) Kiev’s Borisopol air traffic control was the agency routing MH17 over Ukraine. Not the rebels. The Kiev ATC could have easily routed MH17 to the north of the conflict zone if there was too much deep convection over the Sea of Azov on that day. The fuel cost would be essentially the same. The Donbas is clearly not some enormous territory that no plane can fly around.

      4) From the fact that the Buk hit radius is under 30 km, we require that MH17 flew over rebel Buk positions since the rebels could not have teleported the Buk systems within proximity to its flight path. A lot of 60 km diameter disks can cover the Donbas.

      5) So either the flight path within range of a rebel Buk is a coincidence or it is deliberate. Another possibility is that no rebel Buk system was involved at all.

      6) So the Kiev ATC retains the primary responsibility for the tragedy. If they could not determine rebel Buk capacity and location then they should have contacted the SBU. Until the got assurances that no missile strike was likely they were obligated to route airliners over territory out of range of such SAM systems.

      7) Why were the Kiev ATC tapes seized and made secret? Looks bloody suspicious to me. Perhaps all of these tin foil hat retards who fixate on Putin should look for the more likely conspiracy.

    • marknesop says:

      Unless he himself was indirectly responsible. Many would testify that Benny is a man who doesn’t like to wait around for things to happen; he makes things happen. Plenty of reason to argue it was all just a big misunderstanding, accidents happen, if you were the one who cocked it up.

    • Jen says:

      Kolomoisky is not dissociating himself fast enough from the Kyivster regime, or at least not fast enough for the Russian State Duma to lose him.

      Russian State Duma suggests investigating Kolomoisky’s activities in connection with MH 17 crash

      Itar Tass, July 23th 2014

      The activities of Ukrainian businessman Igor Kolomoisky on the day of Malaysian Boeing crash and in previous days should be the subject of close attention, said Sergei Neverov, vice-speaker of the State Duma, secretary of the General Council of Yedinaya Rossia party, to Russia 24 TV channel.

      “In connection with the crash of Malaysian aircraft, it is appropriate to recall the fact that the oligarch Igor Kolomoisky owns a number of Ukrainian airlines: Ukraine International Airlines, Dniproavia, Aerosvit. But what is even more interesting is that he fully funds the activities of Dnepropetrovsk dispatcher services responsible for tracking the tragic voyage and, to a large extent, for the technical support of dispatcher services throughout Ukraine,” he said.

      Neverov thinks that the oligarch, in fact, not only has a direct impact on the dispatcher services of Ukraine, but he is also able to “give direct instructions to a number of them, including those who must have tracked the tragic flight of Malaysian Boeing on July 17.”

      “Actually, Igor Kolomoisky, his activities, as well as any his orders given on July 17 or in the previous days should be the subject of close attention or even international investigation by a commission dealing with the circumstances of Malaysian Boeing crash,” suggested the Duma vice-speaker.

      Moreover, as noted by the politician, Kolomoysky has a serious arsenal of weapons and military equipment.” Kolomoysky has his own well-equipped armed forces, he certainly has tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry fighting vehicles, jet-fire systems. And at this point, a question arises, if he also has planes and Buks. I strongly advise the US president and European leaders to carefully look at this,” concluded Neverov.

      • davidt says:

        I’m a bit puzzled Paul, isn’t he “saying” that there were two planes- the Ukrainians say there was only one. That’s what’s interesting, since the official western version says there was one. If this is actually what he thinks, then he’s moved to a different camp.

        • yalensis says:

          Not necessarily. Benny’s words were (deliberately) ambiguous, and could be parsed in several different ways.
          Here is the quote once again:

          «А с «Боингом» — ну, случайно так получилось, никто не хотел его завалить. Шмальнули по одному, а попали – по-другому. «Боинг» жалко, людей, конечно, жалко, но это все ерунда. Ты знаешь, так бывает, когда серьезные вещи попадают не в те руки, в результате получилась ерунда», — откровенно заявил Коломойский, не уточняя впрочем, чьи именно были «не те руки».

          Moscow Exile translated the quote correctly, however there could be more than one translation.
          The first sentence is fairly unambiguous: “As regards the Boeing, well it happened by accident, nobody intended to bring it down.”

          The second sentence is ambiguous, it could be translated 2 different ways:
          (1) “They aimed at one plane, and brought down a different plane”; or
          (2) “They brought down a different plane from the one they thought they were bringing down.” [yalensis: that’s the theory that Rebs thought they were shooting at a Ukie bomber, not realizing it was a passenger jet.]

          The fourth sentence is also ambiguous, there is only one translation:
          “This is what happens when serious things fall into the hands of the wrong people”.
          but the meaning could be ambiguous. Who are the “wrong people”? Rebels? or Ukrainian government?

          Personally, I think Benny is saying the Rebs shot down the plane by mistake. Which was the original (and canonical) theory put out by Ukie government, as early as the day BEFORE the plane was shot down.

          • davidt says:

            Thanks. Kolomoysky, like Berezovsky, is as sharp as they come. He was never going to let anything so incriminating slip out. He would only ever try to trick you.

  22. et Al says:

    October 10
    Greece Poised to Sell Some of Its F-16 Fighters to Bulgaria
    Greece is in talks with the US and Bulgaria about selling some of its old F-16 fighter jets to Sofia and leasing new ones from Washington, Kathimerini understands.

    NATO asked Bulgaria in February to update its air force’s capability and the country’s defense officials have approached Athens about the possibility of buying between six and eight Fighting Falcon planes, sources said. The issue was first discussed when the country’s two defense ministers met in March.

    Athens has approached Washington with regard to this issue and has received a positive response.

    There is a precedent for such a deal as Portugal sold 12 of its F-16s to Romania for 880 million dollars in October 2013. Sources said the Hellenic Air Force would like the jets sold to be replaced by Block 52s but the US does not want to lease these airplanes.

    And where is Bulgaria supposed to get the money for this, let alone the training, spares etc, not to mention they will probably be the oldest airframes?? All very expensive one way or another.. Meanwhile in Bulgaria, the GERB party is the largest winner of the election but no party has an overall majority and the coalition politics look quite tricky…

    Meanwhile Britain’s ambassador to Bulgaria has been making threats:

    UK ambassador to Bulgaria in call for transparency on South Stream gas deal
    British ambassador to Bulgaria Jonathan Allen has warned that unless Bulgaria makes progress on building an inter-connector to be a link to the Southern Corridor pipeline route, the country’s desire to be an energy hub will be bypassed.

    Allen was speaking to the Atlantic Club, in a speech in which he also made a call for Bulgaria’s government to “shine the spotlight of transparency on the South Stream gas deal.”..

    …Bulgaria could and should be a crucial link between Azeri gas flowing along the Southern Corridor pipeline route from 2019 and the rest of South East and Central Europe, he said….

    wait for it…

    …Allen said that he did not want to tread on a sensitive area so soon after an election (Bulgaria’s early parliamentary elections on October 5), “but I would have thought that it was in Bulgaria’s interest to at least know what the picture is on unconventional hydrocarbons, including shale gas”…

    What an absolute prick. He didn’t tread on any toes, he drove a fully loaded 18-wheeler over them.

    • cartman says:

      Norway probably has a few F-16s to sell. They grounded them all when they discovered cracks in the hulls.

    • Fern says:

      “….the UK does not see any political or economic need for South Stream….”, mmm, I should have thought the purpose of South Stream came into the ‘bleeding obvious’ category.

      • marknesop says:

        No, of course there is no need for South Stream, so long as Ukraine is a responsible and responsibly-led country which honours its commitments, pays its debts and respects the property rights of others so that gas which transits its territory but belongs to someone else is allowed to pass without a little Ukie tariff being exacted, and gets along with its neighbours, especially the one who supplies the gas.

        As soon as those things start to become evident, there will be no need for South Stream.

    • Jen says:

      Picture, what picture? Could this be the picture?

      Before the October 2014 elections at least, previous Bulgarian governments had a moratorium on fracking for shale gas and other unconventional hydrocarbons, due to public opposition.

      Now the pro-fracking GERB party has nearly 33% of seats in the new Bulgarian parliament so it now must be that the US and UK through Allen are breathing down their necks to form a new coalition government as quickly as possible and get with the “Drill, baby, drill!” program.,_2014#Results

      • marknesop says:

        Naturalgaseurope is an interesting site; the authors do not always write like native English speakers, but there are frequently startling insights. For example, the west is currently incandescent with fury at PVMikhail’s country, Hungary. That much we knew, but along with the other measures of defiance from Orban, who seems suddenly to have gone rogue – at least from a western viewpoint – was this surprise (for me).

        “However, there were interesting developments also during the filling up process, for instance, a proposal submitted by Fidesz MP Roland Mengyi a few days after the Orbán-Miller meeting. The MP, who is a stranger to energy issues, proposed the amendment of the gas law, as a result of which Gazprom was allowed to transmit natural gas into Hungarian storage facilities without obtaining a trade permit.

        On paper it will have several hundreds of millions of cubic metres of gas abroad so it will not have to pay taxes until it sells this volume to a Hungarian company. If it wants to sell it that is. In case the flow of Ukrainian transit gas is stopped neighbouring countries could also be queuing up for this stashed gas reserve.

        Now that is some smart thinking, right there. The significance of it completely escaped me, which just goes to show it is smart thinking that is out of my reach, although I don’t know how much of a challenge that is. I feel smart enough just grasping what an ace in the hole that could be, for both Hungary, and Gazprom.

        Additional articles in the sidebar show just how the USA is smoldering with rage over this, including “Hungary may be unsuitable to remain U.S. ally“, and the USA’s imposition of a “Hungarian Magnitsky List”.

        But perhaps more ominous is the announcement in the original article of a visit by the Hungarian Foreign Minister to Washington today, where he met with chief U.S. State Department kneebreaker Victoria Nuland and special energy envoy Amos Hochs. The article deadpanned, “South Stream is likely to be discussed there.”

        You think?

        I imagine what will also be on the agenda for discussion is a frank recitation of the numerous ways the USA will put a hurtin’ on Hungary if it does not behave itself and play ball the American way. Soft power is something the USA likes to talk about in an abstracted way, but it has forgotten everything it might once have known about it, and Victoria Nuland is to soft power what sand is to vaseline. American foreign policy is now all stick and no carrot.

  23. ThatJ says:

    Ukraine mini-SITREP: very ominous developments

    This short post is just to inform you of the latest developments in the war in the Ukraine.

    Following the use of a tactical ballistic missile against Donetsk by the Ukies, Zakharchenko has declared that the ceasefire was basically over.

    Strelkov has made an official appeal warning that according to this information the Ukies were massing troops in preparation for an attack. According to Strelkov, the Ukie plan is for a very short and very rapid “push” towards Donestk and the Russian border to make any Novorussian state non-viable and thus to negotiate from a position of force. True, Strelkov does have a record of exaggerating threats in order to minimize them, but this time there are some strong signs that his analysis is shared by the Russian military, and these signs are the most ominous signs of all.

    Russian sources – including the excellent Colonel Cassad blog – report that the voentorg aid-spigot has been fully re-opened including for some major deliveries. While, of course, I am very happy that the Novorussian resistance is getting much needed equipment (and specialists), this kind of full reopening of the voentorg also indicates to me that the Russian intelligence services have concluded that an attack is very likely, possibly very soon.

    Full text:

    • kirill says:

      We have been hearing about this build up ever since the “cease fire”. That is why the Kiev regime participated in the Minsk negotiations. They wanted breathing room to get their act together. I am quite sure that Russia is fully aware of this ploy. What is dubious is that the regime forces have actually upped their game during this period. That somehow they have now a competent chain of command and not a bunch of regime loyalists. That somehow the Right Sector vermin have become real soldiers.

      I am not saying things will be easy for the rebels, but I think the odds are that the major offensive by the regime will be a flop. The rebels have been using the breathing room also. I think that there was lots of advice from Russia how to set up an functional army. The number of rebel troops has more than likely increased as well.

      • marknesop says:

        I agree – there probably were quite a few people in Donbass who thought the rebels would be overrun, and when they were, everyone who appeared to have supported them would be made to be sorry. Now that even Kiev is talking about a frozen conflict and some kind of status for Novorossiya (although I am sure they’ll never call it that), they can see that they have an investment in building their own independent entity.

        First they are going to have to clean the regime’s clock. If Kiev moves against Novorossiya in strength, in what is plainly a new offensive rather than just skirmishing, then the NAF is going to have to smash them flat and stop them cold. If there are cauldrons formed by troops that do not know how to advance properly and get cut off, finish the job. They must be made to pay such a horrible price for continuing to attack people who have never moved against them that they are finished as a fighting force. The NAF has nothing to fear from the west so long as it is fighting a defensive battle on its own ground.

        Porky must know that if his forces break and shatter on Novorossiya and are decimated, it will be the end for him. He might be lucky to escape with his life. That should make him think about not trying it, but the alternative – acknowledging defeat and making accommodation with the East – will be just about as bad. That’s why you get the big bucks, Chocco; uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.

        • Southerncross says:

          Parliamentary elections are in three days. The polls tell an interesting story all the same:,_2014#Opinion_polls

          If they are to be believed, the Poroshenko bloc has been hemorrhaging support since the ceasefire: down from around 40% on 19-22 September to 24% up to 21 October. There is a possibility therefore that Poroshenko may not resume the offensive after the election but before or during it. Reigniting war-fever may be just what he needs to get the Parliament he wants.

          • marknesop says:

            Holy shit. He has ridden a 32-point lead down to 13 points. And that’s an uptick from 11 points, which it was the last poll.

            I still don’t think he’s got the sack for it – he knows if the regime’s forces are defeated again the electorate is not going to accept any excuses even if he says Putin swooped down on the back of a dragon and barbecued the whole army where they stood. I think the reason for the buildup is to prevent the NAF from seizing any more towns, especially Mariupol, and keeping the future line of demarcation right where it is.

            • yalensis says:

              Hm…. I’m not so sure.

              If we are placing bets here, then I am betting on the “war” side.
              I am betting that King Pork-Shanks will try one more throw of the dice.
              He might think he has a “shot” this time (ha ha – pun intended!), now that Ukies somehow learned to fire Tochka guided missiles into Donetsk. Ukies ALWAYS make the mistake of believing that the solution to all their problems involves some kind of weapon.

  24. marknesop says:

    Here’s one to challenge Fern’s “You have to laugh” category: Andy Hunder, Director of the Ukrainian Institute in London, says Russia’s Orthodox Church must not follow Putin’s rhetoric of inciting hatred towards Ukrainians.

    So after arguing daily for a ceasefire while thousands of Ukrainians were killed – during which same period the west argued that Poroshenko was doing the right thing – , after housing and feeding hundreds of thousands of its refugees while the west gave non-lethal military aid to help keep the battle going, after sending in aid convoys to provide food and medicine and other staples to the beseiged and continuing to negotiate for a gas deal after Ukraine had made it plain it would not bend on the price and furthermore would not pay its debts unless Russia accepted a reduction of the amount by more than a third, allowing Ukraine to set its own gas prices even though it would make money from transit fees on gas it doesn’t have any of itself…Putin is inciting hatred of Ukrainians.

    • Southerncross says:

      Ukrainians deserve to be hated because they are hateful. They might be a little less so if bestial Ukrainian heretics would stop stealing Russian Orthodox Churches and persecuting the faithful.

      • marknesop says:

        I would caution that this is not true of all Ukrainians, of course. I would not shed too many tears to learn that Lviv had vanished off the face of the earth overnight, and there are some towns in what fancies itself Galicia that I would not miss, but probably even in those there are some who disagree with the way the government is operating but are too apathetic or frightened of persecution to say anything. The Poles are welcome to it – oh, wait; they won’t take it, Sikorski said “No” to Putin’s outrageous offer that they split Ukraine between them. What a noble man.

        • Southerncross says:

          It’s variable of course. Central and mid-western Ukraine are still more apathetic than militant. The Trident – Lvov, Ivano-Frankovsk, Tarnopol – is utterly poisonous, but even they haven’t been conspicuous by their contribution to the war against Donbass (it was the Ivano-Frankovsk territorial defence battalion that just up and went home).

          Ukraine’s noxious world-view can’t just be laid at the feet of the Habsburgs, Slzachtas or Pontiffs. Ultimately, I suspect Ukrainians have never gotten over the downfall of old Kiev and the rise of Moscow. They know right well they’re part of the Russky mir, but since they can’t rule it themselves they feel compelled to spite Moscow by trying to found their own competing empire. It was in exactly this spirit that Mikhail Denisenko founded his ‘Kyiv Patriarchate’.

          • kirill says:

            Ukraine is an obscure mix. I would not say that the rabid foaming at the mouth trident zone is really part of the Russian historical world. I would go as far to say that they are no longer the ethnic group that inhabited these lands 1000 years ago. And I do mean genetically. What they are is complex, but it is some mixture of Khazars (a melange of ethnic groups in itself), Hungarians, Romanians, Poles and God knows what else.

            Usually, ethnic groups composed of mixtures are more pragmatic. But something went off the rails in Ukraine and its brand of nationalism is hate based totally unlike the Russian one. But you are right, Ukraine has some sort of complex via a vis Russia and tries to define itself as un-Russia. A more sane approach would be based on a positive construct not requiring an enemy for its existence. These losers really need not fear that they will be forcefully assimilated into the Russian “Borg collective”. Russia does not need them and does not want them.

  25. Moscow Exile says:

    Protests over Makarevich Toronto concert:

    В Торонто состоялся протест против концерта Макаревича

    They brought placards on which was a photograph of the musician and the words: Don’t bow down free of charge to a traitor

    Before the concert, which took place on October 21, Toronto was plastered with posters in Russian, which read: “Toronto Tour. Fascist jazz musician Andrei Makarevich with fateful song “I buckled under to the West”. Audience appreciated if it brings flour and vegetables”. The authorship of the leaflets is unknown.

    Pickets came to the concert and several members of the Facebook group Canada-Russia . They brought posters, on which was a photo of Andrei Makarevich and the words: “Don’t bow down free of charge to a traitor” and “A lullaby or death for your money” and a photo of Ukrainian victims of the conflict. That is to say, Makarevich’s listeners were given to understand that their money could either simply be spent in appreciation of a good song or on supporting the war in the Donbas. There were also posters about the murder of Donetsk and Lugansk civilians by the Ukrainian army civilians.

    Old women who had come to listen to Makarevich (it was rumoured that tickets had been massively distributed to pensioners free of charge) pulled the placards out of the pickets’ hands, shouting at them: “Shame! Shame on you!”. The protesters, however, were patient and did not respond to any provocations. One man came from the disgraced musician’s road team and sadly said to them that he did not support the views of his Maestro…

    By the way

    Andrey Makarevich: “Three whole days in America and nothing about Russia and the Ukraine – not a single word!”

    The leader of the band “Time Machine” has gone on tour in the U.S.

    Whilst in Russia his appearances are undergoing cancellations, in America he has quite a good tour schedule: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New York (2 performances), Washington and Toronto. While there, Andrei Vadimovich will be participating in a project called “YIDDISH JAZZ”.

    I wonder why he doesn’t start a group called “The Ayn Rand Band”?

    • marknesop says:

      Of course the United States will support him, and Canada, too – the former because it loses no opportunity to thumb its nose at Russia (after the loud protestations of love and appreciation for Pussy Riot, where’s their recording contract? When’s the American tour?), the latter because it likes to please the United States government, and hosts the second-largest Ukrainian diaspora. The fact is, Makarevich jumped without thinking – does he have a history of political activism on behalf of Ukraine? Against the Russian government? Is he a core-deep nationalist who believes borders are sacred and that Crimea was stolen from Ukraine? If he is any of those things, he kept them a secret lo these many years: Time Machine was mildly political and some of their songs could be said to be protestish in much the same way Creedence Clearwater Revival was anti-war in the 70’s, and CCR were still hugely popular then and now. I couldn’t say what was in Makarevich’s head when he made his decision, and I can’t exclude that some deep personal emotion made him do it, although it looks to me more like he wanted to give his visibility a big boost and guessed the Ukrainian junta was going to be successful. Whatever the motivation, that was Mistake Number One. After that, when he was pressed for his reaction to the scorn and distaste his action had inspired, he had another chance. He could have spoken forthrightly about what made him do it (as long as it wasn’t simply to boost his personal career and fortunes), and said look, my focus was very limited at the time, I just wanted to do something for the kids and there was a lot going on that I didn’t know. I was stupid, but I didn’t mean it to be a protest action, I just wanted to help and music is all I know. Maybe cry a little, in a manly sort of way. The audience is comprised of people, and people know that people make mistakes. He likely would have kept most of his audience, and might even have widened it. Did he do that? No. He reacted angrily and thereby cast himself as a protest activist.

      And perhaps he is. If so, then he should realize that protest sometimes carries the risk of loss of livelihood. Nobody is beating Makarevich up for what he did or what he said or what he thinks. Could there be anything more democratic than the population electing to ignore him and refusing to patronize his business because they disagree with his views? I don’t think so. He has to realize he has shit the bed in his own country and that his beliefs – if such they are and it was not just a commercial stunt – are broadly unpopular there. Que sera, sera; why doesn’t he move to Kiev, where he will probably be celebrated? Because it will make him feel like a traitor? Epiphany!

  26. yalensis says:

    You gotta love the Daily Beast.
    They publish this propaganda piece by Anna Nemtsova , with its fake concern about Ukrainian families.

    I classify this as “impressionist” type of propaganda. Very sparse on facts, figures, and history, the sole purpose is to tug at the heartstrings of the readers, and also to indoctrinate them in a certain “impression” of what is happening.
    Any ordinary American reading this who has not been following the Ukrainian news, comes away with the “impression” that Ukrainian families are really under the gun. Russian army has been attacking them relentlessly, for some unspecified reason. The “war-torn” nation is suffering terribly from this Russian invasion.

    Nobody disputes the patriotism of the Ukrainians, and their need to stand up to this aggression. However, Anna pleads, it is necessary to soften one’s heart just a tad and takes into account the needs of the soldiers on the front lines. Yes, after fighting the relentless enemy for 90 days at a stretch, please just give them a day off so they can visit their dear old gray-haired mothers.

    In the end, readers will form into 2 camps: One side debating that the soldiers must stop whining and keep on fighting. The other side will plead for compassion: Give the soldier a couple of days off from fighting at the front.

    Neither side will doubt that Ukrainians are the victims of Russian aggression.

    • marknesop says:

      Ha, ha, ha!!! “Maria, a gray-haired woman with strong but weary features, said that her son, a bartender, was drafted last July to serve in the 3rd Lviv Volunteer Battalion together with about 500 other local men.”

      The Lviv Volunteer Battalion – somewhat ironically named, innit?

  27. yalensis says:

    Not only is she beautiful, she also plays the piano!
    Check out this video of Natalia Poklonskaya playing the piano in the Livadia Palace Museum in Yalta .

    The back story is that Poklonskaya received an electronic packet of unique photographs, that was sent to her by a priest of the Sv’ato-Uspensky Monastery in Crimea. The packet contained more than 80 photographs of the last Russian tsar and his family.

    Poklonskaya then donated the photographs to the Livadia Museum. The rector of the museum then gave her a tour of the room where the exhibition will be displayed. Inside the room was an antique piano used by the Emperess and the daughters of Nikolai II.

    With the permission of the museum workers, Poklonskaya was allowed to sit down at the piano and play a few classical compositions.

  28. Southerncross says:

    Good golly Holly.

    Zakharchenko complains that Kiev has not observed ‘silence mode’. He does not rule out further heavy fighting’ and vows to liberate Mariupol, Kramatorsk and Slavyansk.

    • Expect him to eat his words again after getting a call from Kremlin.

      • Southerncross says:

        I wouldn’t be so sure of that. The Voentorg is active once more – perhaps he has the RF’s agreement this time?

          • et Al says:

            This bus is now reversing. Beep beep beep. This bus is now reversing.

            In far more important news, according to the Moscow Slimes, Mashroutka’s will be phased out. Never been in one. Never will be in one, though I’ve heard plenty of horror stories.

            • Moscow Exile says:

              Minibuses – marshrutky [маршрутки] – are very fast and convenient and have a single price fare of usually about 30 rubles. If they get hit by a bus or, worse still, a tramcar, the are demolished, and the passengers within.

              Trams always come out the winner.

              • Fern says:

                These sound very similar to the Kenyan and Ugandan matatus – minibuses offering fast, convenient, cheap and frequently lethal transport. Often beautifully decorated, always massively overcrowded, when they crash, the carnage is similar to a small aircraft going down. I had no idea they existed In Russia – small world indeed.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  They are usually (if not always in my experience) operated by people from the Caucasus (whom some ethnic Russian Muscovites playfully refer to as “Black Arses”) and, therefore, their drivers usually fall into that category and drive at breakneck speed, dodging and weaving through the traffic in the manner to which they were apparently born. They provide a valuable shuttle service for the population, linking metro stations with some of the built-up areas that are inconveniently distant from public transport routes.

                  The vehicles that these entrepreneurs operate are not wrecks, by the way: many of them are spanking new and well fitted out, as shown in the illustration above, but are inherently dangerous and are always packed with passengers.

                  I seldom use them, but when I occasionally used to fly off to misty Albion, travelling very lightly, as is my habit, I used to get the metro to the end station nearest to the highway that one takes for Sheremetevo (in my case “Planernaya”), whence I travelled by marshrutka to the airport. In this way I used to make it from my house in the city centre to Sheremetevo in little more than 45 minutes. To make the same journey using a regular taxi would have cost me then (20 years ago) $100 – at least.

                  Now there is the “Aeroexpress” fast electric train from the Belorussky and Paveletsky Main Line termini to Sheremetevo and Domodedevo airports respectively. These fast trains, however, still cost much more than the 60-70 rubles one would pay journeying to these airports by metro and minibus.

                • Moscow Exile says:

                  The speed of marshrutka drivers is referred to in what is written below the picture of one that I have posted above: “A “marshrutka” has seen more desperate drivers than has Formula 1″.

  29. Terje says:

    “There is not the slightest evidence of there being anything military, neither that it is a submarine nor that, whatever the object might be, it is Russian.”

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks for that, Terje, it’s very interesting and timely. It is part and parcel of a wider modern phenomenon – governments who supposedly possess the last word in sophisticated surveillance systems will rely, when there is a political agenda to be served, on grainy photos like those taken by disposable cameras, and incoherent reports from excited citizens whipped into an hysteria of fright. This is strikingly like the Twitter and social media “evidence” cited by Jen Psaki in State Department briefings; the USA is supposed to have perfected its global surveillance – aided by snooping on the world’s telephone calls – to the point that you cannot even think about making trouble without being caught and questioned. But now something some hammerhead said on Facebook is evidence enough?

      The west continues to embarrass itself with its blatant attempts to whip up anti-Russian hysteria.

  30. dany8538 says:

    Mark, I was wondering, with the success of this blog and saker’s blog as well as the creation of the russia insider website do you think that western society will finally wake up and realize that you dont have to automatically assume western media are always saying the truth or even anything close to the truth and that there are legitimate opposing views?. I can see that there has been a small awakening amongst western population but will this trend keep on growing or will it sputter out?

    • marknesop says:

      Thanks very much for the kind words, Dany. This blog owes its success to the clout of its comments section, while the Saker’s success is due to his global reach and the currency of his reporting, as well as his perceptive analysis – he frankly has a few extremely flaky commenters, and I know this is a source of irritation for him.

      Something which has always been true is that people do not like to discover after the fact that they have been made fools of by some fast-talking confidence man – or men – pursuing an objective which is not immediately obvious, but deliberately concealed because its originators know that the people would never support it if it were put to them forthrightly. The more galling, in such cases, to learn that one’s own strength of character – a belief in doing the right thing, a generosity of spirit, loathing of bullying from a position of strength and a desire to help those in trouble – have been turned against you like a judo move, so that your own strength is used to disarm you.

      Tricking the people into supporting wars of choice in order to preserve elite power structures and national dominance is getting harder and harder, thanks to the internet and alternative news sources. But those sources still have to make a believable case: anyone can announce that the government’s latest scheme is a pile of shit, but you have to be just like a police detective – you have to prove means, motive and opportunity, just like in every criminal investigation. You can’t do that if none of those is present, and you can’t fake it because there are sharp operators on the government’s side, just waiting to trip you up and make a fool of you. Additionally, as I and others have pointed out before, organizations like StopFake are not above floating fakes on their own, then blasting them to pieces so as to enhance their own credibility.

      A lot of things the west would like to do, it can’t do without the electorate’s support. So it has to trick them into thinking that’s what they want. The group who falls for this kind of manipulation every time is getting smaller and smaller. But it’s still pretty big. There’s a lot of work still to do and alternative news sources still have a long way to go.

  31. This is pretty good read:

    It says the same thing that I have been suspecting a long time. The internal battle in Kremlin is preventing Russia from fully acting to protect it’s self interests.

    The Anglo-Zionist empire still has a “hidden hand” in Russia that was never removed. The Empire can use the sanctions and freezing wealthy Russians bank accounts to cause havoc and internal power struggles within the Russian elites.

    The writing also says that a lack of any response to violent Kiev coup is frightening if you are rooting for Russia and says much about the incompetence of Russia’s security services. The coup had been prepared for years, but when it happened Russia was caught surprised with no response and no plan how to counter it.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      The writing also says that a lack of any response to violent Kiev coup is frightening …

      • Taken from the blog:

        7. In this context, recovering Crimea was a mirage, an illusion.
        8. If we compare the implications of the Maidan coup in Kiev with the liberation of Crimea, we see that the strategic defeat implicit in losing Ukraine as an ally is of such magnitude that everything else pales by comparison. The failure of the Russian services (all of them) in Kiev was so gigantic that its implications are frightening. It was either a failure or something even worse. In any case, the Crimea affair was merely a small episode in a confrontation that Russia is losing.

        • Moscow Exile says:

          A mirage?

          It looked real enough to me when I was last there, as did the inhabitants who made it absolutely clear that in their opinion the Crimea was Russian territory and that they were Russians.

          That was in 2007, by the way.

          As regards the fictive state known as “The Ukraine”, the loss of the western Polish/ Austrian and Roman Catholic part thereof west of the Dnieper will be as much missed by Russia as one would miss the presence of a boil on one’s arse, notwithstanding the fact that large areas of western Ukraine only became part of the Soviet Union, and thereby its inheritor state the Russian Federation, in the middle of the last century.

          This great loss that Russia would suffer by the removal that truly illusional state, the Ukraine, from its sphere of political influence would only be true insofar as one believed the theory touted by that inveterate russophobe, the Pole Zbigniew Kazimierz Brzezinski.

          I for one believe that Brzezinski has long been well past his sell-by date, which came about about a quarter of century ago, when he was still talking through his arse but was, nevertheless being taken notice of by the intellectual giants in Washington.

          The last US intellectual as regards US/Russian relationships was, in my opinion, George F. Kennan, who thought that US expansionism to the former Soviet western frontier and its continuance of a containment policy against the “Empire of Evil” through its agency NATO following the demise of the USSR was a gross error. I am quite sure Kennan would also have been at odds with Brzezinski’s maniacal obsession as regards Russia and his belief that the removal of the Ukraine from its “orbit” would somehow politically emasculate Russia.

        • marknesop says:

          Russia made no effort to interfere in Maidan – that’s part of what was so infuriating about the constant refrain of “Russian bullying”. The west was involved up to its ears, but Russia was completely absent from events in Kiev except from the distance of Russia itself, while the USA and Europe had their foreign ministers and state agencies all over it like a fat kid on a jelly roll.

          Everybody said “this is an internal affair, for Ukrainians to resolve on their own”. But only Russia adhered to that restriction. And I don’t know where you get the impression Russia was “caught by surprise and didn’t have a plan”. Russia must have known for years that one day the west would make a grab for Ukraine – it telegraphed its intentions often enough, with that jerk Zbigniew Brzezinski squawking that Russia would never be able to complete its Eurasian-Union vision if it did not have Ukraine. Russia must have known the attempt would come sooner or later, and must have learned through observation of the favoured colour-revolution template from which direction the attack would come. Either Putin played the west like he could read their minds, or the eventualities which played out were anticipated and responses discussed and filed away for the day they would be needed.

    • To be fair Russia is not as wealthy and resourceful than the West. And Russia has a lot of internal problems like radical Islam and terrorism. It is possible and even likely that Russian intelligence knew what was happening in Ukraine but they just did not have resources to do anything about it.

      • patient observer says:

        Stop it! Your only thesis is that all Russian actions are based on weakness and all Western actions are based on overwhelming advantage. Nothing else, just an unalterable conviction that Russia is damaged – damaged genomes, damaged leaders, damaged demographics and damaged culture. And the West is just born superior and Russia is little more than a plaything.

        The best you can say about Russia:”To be fair Russia is not as wealthy and resourceful than the West”. If there were any truth to your claims, Russia should have been finished off in the 1990’s. But no, the overwhelming West lost Russia, they are losing Latin America, they are losing their economies and they’ve lost a functional population. Just deal with it – Russia is winning its struggle to be free.

      • Jen says:

        @ Karl: It’s not the business of the Russian govt or its agencies to intervene in another nation’s affairs no matter what the West does. After the Soviet experience in Afghanistan, Moscow is wiser about throwing good money after bad, especially as the crisis in Ukraine is and has been shaped to be a re-run of the USSR’s experience in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Ukraine has been a sovereign nation since 1991.

        Also you talk as if the whole situation is a game and long-term strategy counts for naught. If this were 1943 instead of 2014, you’d be in despair over the Soviets’ chances of victory over Nazi Germany and moving on to capture Berlin.

        Resourceful individuals and nations do not have to advertise their thinking and actions in advance.

    • Fern says:

      Karl, I’m not sure what you and the original blog writer from whom you quote, expected Russia to do about the Maidan protests and the February coup. It’s clear that many, probably an overwhelming majority of those living in western and central Ukraine, saw (and still see) closer association with the EU rather than Russia as the way forward for their country. The poster AP wrote a lot on this site about ‘European aspirations’ and the belief that Ukraine could become a second Poland in terms of living standards etc. Now I think (and thought at the time) that Ukrainians who believed this were deluded and Ukraine’s experience of Europe would be closer to that of Latvia and Croatia rather than Poland (which, in any case, has about 25% of the population living below the poverty line and a large number of its citizens living and working abroad) but it’s clear that this European ‘dream’ is held by a lot of Ukrainians. So what was Russia to do? It’s not like there’s no internet in Ukraine – people can see, hear and read about the plight of those in European countries such as Greece and Spain blighted by austerity – but it apparently makes no difference to the EU = el Dorado equation. So what actions by Russia could have countered these sentiments since facts alone don’t do it?

      It’s equally clear that Banderite ideology has been part of the Ukrainian political and cultural scene since the Great Patriotic War/WW2 and, again, how was Russia meant to counter this in another sovereign state?

      • Moscow Exile says:

        As regards loss of population, the fleeing of the young and talented to the West, few can better Poland.

        There was a report only a fortnight ago in the British press about child benefits paid out by the British government social services to those immigrants’ offspring who are still resident in their parents’ home country.

        The biggest recipients are children living in Poland.

        And another little piece of information: the second most widely spoken language in the British Isles after English is not Urdu or Punjabi or Hindi and most certainly not the native Celtic tongues of Ireland, Wales and Scotland: it’s Polish.

        • marknesop says:

          But you never hear that in the news – just how Putin’s and Lavrov’s children live in the west where they can get a slice of the good life instead of having to stand in line for watery cabbage soup.

          • Moscow Exile says:

            Why are we sending child benefit to Poland?

            By the way, I was born in April 1949, so I now receive a British state pension on top of my miner’s pension. I can also qualify for a Russian pension but so far haven’t applied for one: don’t want to appear as a sponger. I have long had my Russian pensioner’s pass, though, for public transport.

            I have, however, a 15-year-old son and a 13-year-old daughter at school and a 6-year-old daughter at kindergarten who starts school next September.

            I made enquiries about the possibility of my receiving UK child benefit for my dependent children. Nothing doing, the British bureaucracy told me: I could have done 2 -years ago, but such benefits for pensioners’ dependents has been stopped – as part of Call-Me-Dave’s austerity measures, I presume.

            If I were a Pole, though, working in the UK …

            Polish becomes England’s second language

            To which above link some Guardianista comments:

            “If it wasn’t for the Polish World War Two pilots you’d be speaking German.”

            Give me strength!

            If it weren’t for the Red Army would be more historically correct.

  32. marknesop says:

    International and national investors start to bail on Ukrainian holdings. Nobody wants to be left holding the bag when the economy implodes, and everyone knows it’s going to happen. Brrrriiingg!! Hello, Maidan Protest Community? Yeah, this is Ukraine. I just wanted you guys to know how badly you screwed the pooch. Thanks to your caterwauling of “Yurrup!!! Yurrup!!”, I threw in my cards with a bunch of liars and social engineers who made all kinds of saccharine promises, and delivered bupkes. We had the money to get us through 2014, but YOU didn’t like where it came from. Now we’re all on the skids, paupers and international beggars, a third of the country is a smoking, shattered ruin and the amount of money we need to get through this year has tripled. And nobody will give it to us. You fucking rock-throwers and flag-wavers hung a millstone around my neck that I’ll never be able to shake off. Thanks very much.

    P.S. Corruption has not stopped – I don’t know what that addle-headed twit Chornovol was doing as Anti-Corruption Minister, but I might as well have hired Ken Lay. A net outflow of $600 million in Foreign Direct Investment as of September 1st, from a country that’s supposed to be stony broke. Explain that one, jerks.

    • yalensis says:

      Speaking of which – well, actually this one has been in the works for a while, and apparently the auditors Ernst & Young dropped the ball on this — the impending bankrupty of Ukraine’s largest agribusiness , Mriya Agro Holding.

      • kirill says:

        But it’s all worth it just to stick a finger in Russia’s eye.

        Interesting how Ukraine’s new bestest friends are still not forthcoming with the cash. At least Russia was giving Ukraine 15 billion dollars up front and another 30 billion dollars in investments. But that is ebil Russian Holodomor blood money…

        • marknesop says:

          They’re not forthcoming with the cash because their fat puppet PorkoChocco failed to deliver the unified Ukraine to Europe as he was supposed to do. The country now needs a massive infusion of cash which will be a gift, might as well throw it out the window, because they can never, never pay it back. The part that supposedly holds untapped gas riches is mostly under the Donbass, the industrial base is in the east and the coal mines are in the east. Crimea is gone with its offshore oil and gas, and the Ukies have lost a major Black Sea port and most of their seacoast.

          The IMF is not a charity, and its rules forbid it to lend money to a country that the agency knows, going in, is a terrible credit risk. Its currency has collapsed and it has no reserves left, and the mortgage value of the land that remains nationalistically Ukrainian is not worth the enormous sums the IMF would have to pour into it to arrest its downward plunge into the abyss.

          From here on out, unless some fundamental reversal occurs in Ukraine, all they can expect is emergency cash – motivated by pity – that will keep them from starving. Unless the country comes to its senses, throws out its entire government, lock, stock and barrel, and throws itself on Russia’s mercy. The EU can’t afford to save it, and neither can the USA. It’s no longer of any real use to them, and since the west has already had Ukraine in the back seat and gotten what it wanted, they have been jilted at the altar.

          • astabada says:

            Well, if the Ukraine goes as bad as starving, Europe will know what to do with its food surplus!

            Apples for the starving children of Kiev!

      • marknesop says:

        That’s the same one I linked.

  33. Fern says:

    Sergei Ivanov, the Kremlin’s Chief of Staff, with some pertinent words for Ukraine and its western sponsors:-

    “Why should Russia pay for Ukraine’s insolvency? Can anyone explain that to me? During the last 20 years we have already sponsored the Ukrainian economy for hundreds billions of dollars,” Ivanov told reporters……adding that it were the Western states, that praised the birth of a new democracy in Kiev on February, and thus they are the ones responsible to financially support it now.”

    This also links to the discussion above around Karl’s comments that Russia was catastrophically deficient in tis response to the Maidan and the February coup and what on earth was Russia doing to secure Ukraine for the last 20 years while the West was pouring in billions chiefly for propaganda purposes? Well, the answer is that it was pouring in even more billions for inessentials like ensuring folk had jobs and a sort of functioning economy. And the Ukrainian elites, backed by what seems to be a significant part of the population, preferred to bite the hand etc.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Yet the Yukie Russophobes, both in their fictive state and amongst the Ukrainian diaspora, still maintain that all the Ukraine’s woes stem from Russian malevolence and exploitation. Yanukovich is persistently described in the West as a Kremlin-friendly puppet, and Russia as some kind of colonial power that wishes to re-occupy its lost imperial territories to the detriment, of course, of the “freedom and democracy” of its former colonial subjects – all of which is right up many a US citizen’s way of thinking.

      I saw a comment on RT about this recently in which the Ukraine-Russia situation was likened to that of the 18th-century British North America colonies and Great Britain: “They taxed us and gave us nothing in return”, said an irate US commentator devoid of historical knowledge. I felt like asking her “So the price of victory in the Seven Years’ War, or what your history books call the French-Indian War, was in no way to be offset by taxation, not forgetting that North American colonial subjects of the British crown paid far less tax than did British subjects in the UK and also enjoyed a considerably higher standard of living than them, albeit that there were no marauding French armies and “redskins” in their hire in Great Britain?”

      It’s all the fault of those Mongol-Tatar-Finno-Ugric-Not-Real-Slav Moskaly, they howl.

      Nothing at all to do with the likes of Lazarenko, Timoshenko,Yushchenko, and a host of other stinking, thieving Ukrainian bastards who have robbed the Ukraine blind whilst shouting “Slava Ukrayini! Heroyam slava!” with the mob echoing their glory calls with a frenzied “Moskaley na nozhi!”

      • yalensis says:

        Russians were trained by their intelligentsia a couple of centuries ago:
        Whenever you find yourself in a pickle, always ask the crucial question: “Kto vinovat?”
        (“Who did this to me?”)
        Ukrainians never learned to ask that important question, apparently. They are like mildless dogs who have been hurt, but don’t know who to properly bark at.

  34. davidt says:

    I never know how much weight to put on Patrick Young’s scribblings- I would like to believe this enthusiastic piece on Russian innovation but can’t quite bring myself to do so:
    We need the ME to get out to the Technopolis and have a look. One statistic that I keep an eye on is the annual production of high performance jets, which looks as though it will be from 60 to 70 this year. That’s pretty impressive, given that it was close to zilch a few years ago. The Wikipedia entry on the Russian Air force has tabulated recent production rates. (Also the Sukhoi superjet is now being released at a decent rate.)
    When I see talk of Poroshenko restarting military proceedings I think someone should remind him of the old joke: “they said it could always be worse, and sure enough it got worse.” George Soros reckons it could even get worse for Europe, if the Europeans don’t stand up to Putin. I don’t think that George likes VVP much, but perhaps he has just figured out how he can make a few more dollars:

      • marknesop says:

        I see General Wesley Clark dropped a word in Soros’s ear and told him that in just 72 hours the regular Russian army destroyed several hundred of the Ukrainian army’s armored vehicles, using MLRS systems with cluster munitions and thermobaric warheads. Needless to say, no evidence of this can be found, and the federalists beat the Ukie army like a red-headed stepchild because it overextended itself in the lunatic push to keep momentum and take the east at all costs. Turns out that “at all costs” is not really a very good order-of-advance policy. Talking about it offers a dandy distraction from Kiev still shooting ballistic missiles into the Donbass cities, though.

        Most of the Ukie armor fell to GRADs, which are common as muck, and unless Wes Clark can show some proof that they used some fancy-dancy warheads rather than the good old-fashioned kind that make troops want to be anywhere else, then he should just shut up and stop making accusations he can’t prove.

        Wes and Georgie are joining the NATONATONATO crowd who are marketing scares that Russia is going to get in its tanks, button up the lids and then keep on a’ rollin’ until they get to Lisbon. Of course that is not going to happen under any circumstances, and if the European electorate is going to be talked into ponying up wads of cash for a new arms race and a fattening of NATO even as its relevance is slipping away, then they are too stupid to live. Russia is not interested in invading anyone, and taking possession of Europe right now would be a financial mistake on the order of German hyperinflation in the early 20th century. Who needs to subjugate the broke asses of a bunch of entitled nitwits who just want to borrow more money so they can fuck off on vacation every three months?

    • cartman says:

      I lost the link, but I posted somewhere a link to an Open Society website where one of their main points was “assistance” to develop their mining industry. The problem is they already had an industry partner – a Russian one. (It may have come from Dances With Bears, now that I think of it.) Soros’s MO is smash and grab and fuck all other contractual obligations. If their government won’t give it to them, its because they’re authoritarians and they need a color revolution. He’s the biggest racketeer in the world, right now.

  35. astabada says:


    Concerning the article you and Erebus have linked. I could be wrong, but I bet that if Russia had intervened in Kiev, we would be reading about how Russian interventionism is a clear indicator of how capitalists elites in Moscow push for an imperialist policy.

    More to the point of the strategic defeat that Russia apparently sustained in the Ukraine, I would like to remind you how Eastern Europe historically lagged behind in industrialisation when compared to Western Europe. This has to do with Russian/Othman/Austro-Ungaric imperialism and statehood, but remains a fact.
    Therefore after WW2 the US got trillions in contracts and commissions from its satellite states (the UK, Germany, Italy – which all represented economic powers). On the other side Russia had to subsidise most of its allies (not to mention some constituent SSRs of the USSR).

    After 1991 the West happily extended its sphere of influence to Eastern Europe, but failed to bring everywhere the cornucopy of justice and abundance that the people there were expecting. If you look at the economic situation today, the EU just substituted the USSR in subsidising for example Romania and Bulgaria. The only difference is that Romanians and Bulgarians are allowed to emigrate (to the detriment of their countries). Sooner or later the people will realise that it’s been just a pipe-dream, and then the EU/NATO will have either to let them go or to tread on their freedom (see Hungary, Bulgaria on this theme).

    I don’t know whether Russia voluntarily neglected intervening in Kiev, while having the possibility to do so at an early stage. But if it did, it was the best decision, because no amount of Russia-blaming by Kiev will ever be louder than the silence of Western purses.

    • marknesop says:

      “I don’t know whether Russia voluntarily neglected intervening in Kiev, while having the possibility to do so at an early stage. But if it did, it was the best decision, because no amount of Russia-blaming by Kiev will ever be louder than the silence of Western purses.”

      Very well said, Sir. And Putin’s suggestion that Europe bought Ukraine and should now subsidize it suggests it was deliberate. Moscow’s $15 Billion came with no visible strings, although there was speculation that Russia would move to obtain joint ownership in the pipeline system. Far better it would be for Europe if that were the case, because although they nod sagely and say “Look what happened in 2009”, Russia has never once shut off the gas to a paying customer, in order to apply political muscle. Not ever. The west’s money came with an austerity package of reforms that Ukraine had to adopt and show willing up front, or it would get nothing but emergency pity funding, and that is all it has gotten.

      That line in the sand has also been drawn, I think, to curtail any early hopes on the part of the west that it can now call on Russia and its large cash reserves to save Ukraine from going under, while still trying to draw it into Europe’s orbit. It may well become the state nobody wants to be friends with – who could have seen that coming?

  36. yalensis says:

    Funny typo:

    Everybody laughing at Reuters because in one of their English-language pieces about Ukrainian elections, they called Yatsenuk by the first name “Arsenic”. (instead of “Arseny”)

  37. yalensis says:

    In other agricultural news:
    Two days ago kicked in Russian ban on imports of Ukrainians fruits and vegetables.

    The ban was announced by Russia because of fears that EU would try to pull a fast one and slip their own fruits/veggies into Russia, pretending they were Ukie fruits/veggies.

    Before the ban kicked in:
    In the first 9 monts of the year 2014, Ukraine had exported 81,000 tonnes of fruits/veggies to Russia, including but not limited to: tomatoes, cucumbers, apples, pears, apricots.

    After ban kicked in, this will result in a loss to Ukraine (just for the remaining 2 months in 2014) of approximately $17 million American dollars.
    Ukraine is upset about the ban, and intends to lodge a complaint with the WTO.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      A ban on Ukrainian fruits entering Russia?

      More evidence of Putin’s homophobia!

      • Erebus says:

        Of course, but the ban on vegetables is much broader. 90% of the population qualifies, including the entire government and General staff.

    • marknesop says:

      I imagine the WTO will splutter with indignation, but there’s not much it can say while the sanctions against Russia remain in effect, since the west and most notably the USA has never been able to prove there is any grounds for those sanctions.

      • cartman says:

        Russia’s sanctions are covered by the national security clause, so the EU’s complaints will go nowhere. Did the US/EU have the same foresight to cover their backs?

  38. yalensis says:

    On the Ukrainian political front:
    A very gossipy Oleg Tsarev dishes it out about Yulia being a spent force. Recall that Tsarev used to be Party of Regions honcho. Now he is heading up a political team for Novorossiya, although after L’ashko burned his house down, he (Tsarev) spends most of his time in Moscow nowadays. Rumour has it, that he is Kremlin favorite to head up frozen Novorossiya government.

    It’s still too easy to call Yulia Tymoshenko a “downed pilot”, however, the Americans don’t trust her, and have forbidden her to compete seriously with Poroshenko. This is the opinion that was expressed in this interview with RG, by the Chairman of the Confederative Parliament of Novorossiya, Oleg Tsarev. According to Tsarev, the USA and its allies have written off Tymoshenko.

    “The Americans don’t trust her,” said Tsarev. “They compelled her to accept the election of Poroshenko, she promised them she would refrain from criticising him for 100 days, even though she already had everything in place to build a new Maidan and to not recognize his presidency.”

    According to Tsarev, Tymoshenko had just cause to be upset (by the presidential election).
    “I recall well, how on the day of the voting, we were following the figures of the Central Election Commission, and suddenly there appeared numbers from districts which were under the control of the insurgents. We had contacts there, and they assured us that the polling places were closed. Nonetheless, these (extra votes) from the closed polling places flowed into the general pool and were counted for Poroshenko. According to certain estimates, at least 20% of his total votes came from Donbass. Yulia knew about this (fraud), and was planning to create a big scandal, but after a very frank conversation with her ‘curators’, she was forced to recognize Poroshenko as president.”

    [As for this Sunday’s elections], “I don’t exclude the possibility that the Donbass polling places will be used again as a reserve [for the ruling party],” Tsarev reasons.

  39. et Al says:

    Al Beeb: What was lurking in Sweden’s waters?
    Sweden’s armed forces say they have abandoned their search for what they believed was a submarine, spotted not far from Stockholm more than a week ago.

    The hunt was described as Sweden’s biggest mobilisation since the Cold War. Speculation had centred on Russia, but the Russians scoffed at the claims.

    Was there a sub after all?…

    I’m starting to think that this is the one of the most epic $$$ trolling exercise for a long time. For my two cents worth, I think it likely that if it were some funny Swedes behind this, then they’ve succeeded beyond their wildest dreams as it hits all the right buttons, location, subject ,timing, the emergency distress call in Russian (genius!). The Swedish politicians, media and military fell for it hook, line and sinker (pun intended). For all the accusations of paranoia in Russia, the West gives very credible competition. Nobody will own up and no-one will admit they were fooled. I’m so glad the ‘respectable media’ have been shown up for what they are, official mouthpieces of the state.

    • marknesop says:

      “The reality is this mystery may never be solved.”

      The usual “Ahhh…look, I gotta go now, I need to wash this egg off my face” exit line from the western media. Nothing can be proven, so we’ll just sow the earth with the usual dragon’s teeth of “If Russia was not guilty of anything, then why were they acting so normally?” and bow out, knowing that the witless proles with straw in their hair will assume it is a dog-whistle signal that we have proof it was Russia but cannot say so because of revealing sources and methods, you know, the usual guff.

      • et Al says:

        It’s time for a Simon and Garfunkel reunion. May I propose an adaptation of an old classic to the events of today?

        Simon & Garfunkel – (Russian) Submarine in Swedish Waters.

    • patient observer says:

      Perhaps Nessie escaped Loch Ness and made a run through the Baltic in search of a mate to spawn. Somewhat more plausible I think than the current speculations.

  40. et Al says:

    For the lurkers – UK, US and Germany, 25-35 graduates with some professional experience :

    Alfa Fellowship Program to Moscow, Russia

    Alfa Fellowship Program
    Fellowship for Accomplished Young Professionals to Russia
    Location: Moscow, Russia

    Program Description:
    The Alfa Fellowship Program is a high-level professional development initiative placing up to fifteen (15) American and British citizens per year, and has been expanded this year to include three (3) citizens of Germany, in work assignments at leading organizations in Russia in the fields of business, economics, journalism, law, public policy, energy management, and related areas. Key goals of the Alfa Fellowship Program are expanding networks of American, British and German professionals, developing greater intercultural understanding, and advancing knowledge of Russian relations…

    • marknesop says:

      I think Russia probably has all the intercultural and business-ties understanding it needs. If the west gains the upper hand over you in anything, no matter how small, they will use it as a stick to beat you with when they perceive the strategic moment has arrived. The secret, then, is to never allow them to gain any kind of trade or economic advantage in your own country. They can be partners, sure, but always minority shareholders and they should never attain serious market-share dominance over national competitors unless their product is so obviously superior that it would serve the country right if they lost access to it, because Russia is capable of making just as good products as anyone else and failure to do so is just laziness if national competition is desirable for that product – there may be a few harmless things that Russians could easily do without if the west decided to pull the rug out from under them again.

      I imagine the bulk of these fellowships will go to future western think-tank and NGO leaders. The west is not to be trusted.

    • patient observer says:

      I would hope that the Alfa job placement service would advise their students that the market for entry level oligarchs has dried up and they should direct their attention to the tourist industry as busboys and room cleaners.

    • Jen says:

      This must be how the US recruits spies these days without having to show a money trail leading back to the CIA or the US State Dept. Recall that Marie Harf admitted that the US State Dept had been sponsoring the two journalists in St Petersburg who were deported for teaching while on tourist visas.

  41. davidt says:

    Ray McGovern has a short but very nice article on Edward Snowden at Consortium News:
    I was always curious as to why Snowden had so much access to information so the following comment from an ex-colleague is very believable: “NSA is full of smart people, but Ed was in a class of his own…I’ve never seen anything like it…He was given virtually unlimited access to NSA data because he could do things nobody else could.” But Snowden is more than an extremely smart geek. If you don’t know much about Snowden, then the article is worth reading.

    • yalensis says:

      Not necessary to shoot you, actually the first link worked just fine as well.

      Very glad to know that Snowden’s girlfriend went to visit him in Moscow.
      In real life, as in fairy tales, it is nice to see when the hero actually gets the girl!

    • marknesop says:

      A friend told me today that the Harper government had rammed through anti-terrorist legislation that gave the security services sweeping new powers, almost identically to the American sequence of events following 9-11, in the wake of the shooting to death of a War Memorial guard in Ottawa. I looked but could find no news of such legislation being passed since Wednesday, when the incident occurred. I did, however, find this thoughtful argument against passing knee-jerk legislation in haste, either to satisfy a perceived public demand to “do something” or in pursuit of the far more sinister objective of birthing a surveillance state where privacy comes second to security. I don’t have to tell you where that condition exists already.

      The perpetrator of the Ottawa shooting has already been identified as a man well-known to police, with a history of mental illness and drug addiction. He may well have convinced himself he was doing it for ISIS, but it is highly unlikely any actual connection exists – like the bizarre case of the Colorado schoolgirls who ran away from home to join ISIS and would up in Germany while their fathers thought they were at school.

      • Southerncross says:

        Indeed, he will not have been in contact with the IS, let alone acting on their instructions. Media outlets and security services hyping the IS ‘terror threat’ have entirely failed to understand the organisation.The IS is not interested in promoting ‘lone-wolf Jihadism’. Their position is that all Muslims have a duty to emigrate to the Islamic State so that they may serve it through battle and labour.

        The IS despises would-be Jihadists who talk tough on Jihadi websites while enjoying the pleasures and comforts of life in the west. What matters is the preservation and strengthening of the new Caliphate; acts of Jihad that do not advance these goals are empty, heretical acts of egoism.

        Though I hesitate to recommend anything from MEMRI, this analysis of the IS and its goals seems sound:

        • Jen says:

          The ideas of a new caliphate as expressed by Abu Bakr al Baghdadi somehow seem consistent with the notion of ISIS as a US-Israeli creation in the sense that what al Baghdadi advocates in his idea of hijra is a mirror image of Aliya, the mass movement of all Jews to Israel to serve the Zionist state and cause. Any Jews who for some reason refuse to take up Aliya and fight or work for it are seen as traitors to Judaism. Now of course increasing numbers of secular Israelis are leaving Israel to be replaced by born-again Jewish fundamentalists.

  42. et Al says:

    The anti-South Stream Brussels Mafia has moved on to its next target, Macedonia:

    EUobserver: Putin’s pipeline drives wedge between EU and Balkan hopefuls
    anez Kopac, the head of the European Energy Community (EEC), said on Thursday (23 October) that Skopje’s South Stream agreement with Moscow is “not in compliance” with EU energy law.

    He noted that as an EEC treaty signatory it has “a legally binding commitment to implement these rules”.

    He added, in comments to the Brussels-based news agency, that “Macedonia will have to withdraw from the IGA [the South Stream accord] or renegotiate it if it wants to become a full EU member”. …

    ….But in the meantime, Gazprom is pressing ahead with construction of the offshore portion of the pipeline despite the dispute…

    …They added that EU countries should use “foreign policy instruments to convey consistent messages related to energy security, in particular to strategic partners”.

    Whatever the coded ‘diplomatic’ language coming from the Commission, they don’t have a leg to stand on and suggest that member states use threats to get a result. So much for ‘EU Rule of Law’ which seems to be flexible enough that it would give an Austrian pretzel a run for its money.

    • marknesop says:

      The EU seems determined to kill South Stream, because they must know Gazprom is never going to allow them to wrest away control of it so they can use it to ship gas from other countries and sources – they’re not idiots, and they’re certainly not going to spend billions to build a pipeline and then turn it over to the EU to regulate who gets to ship through it.

      I wrote a short post some time ago for Russia Insider on the issue, and it seems likely (it wasn’t my idea, far better analysts convinced me) that the EU is determined to force Russia to use Ukraine as a transit country because it is terrified Russia will shut off the gas to Ukraine for good, and then Ukrainians would flee to Europe in desperation as their country died – either that, or Europe would be locked into a long-term waking nightmare of paying for Ukraine’s gas. As long as Russia must continue to use Ukraine as a transit country, Ukraine has the opportunity to steal gas or, at worst, buy it at knockdown prices, while making a little pin money in transit fees. If it loses that status, it’s soon just going to be a big dark spot on the map as you fly over it.

      • Jen says:

        The Russian government negotiated individual contracts with the southeastern European countries with regard to the South Stream pipeline, didn’t it? So what Macedonia negotiated with Russia should be none of the EU’s business, given that its application to join the EU has been on the back-burner for over 10 years. Why can the EU blackmail Macedonia by denying the country EU membership unless it renegotiates the agreement to the EU’s liking?

  43. Fern says:

    A great RT headline – ‘The Hunt for Red Herring’ abandoned.

  44. Paul says:

    Putin’s speech at Valdai live online:
    Main points so far: The international system created after the world war has been destroyed. This is the fault of the West. The West helped terrorists enter Russia – ‘We won’t forget this’. The West supported the Mujahideen, and so created the Taleban and Al Qaeda. The West expends its resources trying to eliminate risks which it has created itself. We didn’t start the war in Ukraine. People are saying that Russia is turning its back on Europe and seeking new partners in Europe, but this is not true.

    • Moscow Exile says:

      Vladimir Putin:

      The Cold War is over, but it is not completed by peace

      Russian President Vladimir Putin, speaking before the participants of the international discussion club “Valdai” on Friday, said that the United States declared themselves victors in the Cold War and set out to reshape the world for themselves, and then just breaking anything in international relations.

      Putin said that despite the global turmoil in the international arena, it is now necessary to agree on a new “consensus of responsible forces”.

      “Against the backdrop of fundamental changes in the international environment and increasing ungovernability and a variety of threats, we need a new global consensus as regards the respective forces” – Vladimir Putin quoted by Interfax.

      According to the president of Russia, “we cannot talk about any kind of local transactions, nor the division of spheres of influence in the spirit of classical diplomacy, or of someone’s complete domination”.

      “I what is required is a new edition of interdependence” – said Putin.

      “It seems that the so-called winners in the Cold War decided to put the squeeze on the situation, to reshape the world solely by itself, to fit its own interests. And if the existing system of international relations, international law, the system of checks and balances prevented this, then it was immediately declared worthless, outdated, subject to immediate demolition”- Vladimir Putin quoted by Interfax.

      “The Cold War is over. But it did not end with the conclusion of peace, with clear and transparent agreements on the compliance with existing rules or he creation of new standards”- said Vladimir Putin.

      • Moscow Exile says:

        RT report on Putin’s speech so far:

        Putin: USA ‘shaped world’ according to its interests

        It never ceases to amaze me how our partners have been guilty of making the same mistakes time and again. They have in the past sponsored Islamic extremists who were battling against the Soviet Union, which took place in Afghanistan. It was because of this the Taliban and Al-Qaeda was created…

        “Terrorists have been selling oil at really low prices and those countries who have been buying it and then selling it on, are financing terrorism, which will eventually come back to bite them.

        The USA, which has implemented sanctions against Russia, is cutting down the branches, upon which they are sitting.

        “[Moscow]has been trying to discuss with the EU about Ukraine for a long time, but we were told this was none of other business. They then put two countries against each other, which has led to countless destruction of infrastructure. When I asked why they do this, they just shrug their shoulders and don’t have an answer.

        Russia has made it’s choice – we want to develop our economy and develop democratic values. We work with our counterparts in the Shanghai Cooperation, the BRICS union for example. We want our opinions to be respected likewise. We all need to be cautious to not make hasty and dangerous steps. Some of the players on the global front have forgotten about the need for this…

        • Max says:

          Aieeee! Enough with the “partners”, Volodya. Or, does that word mean something else in the original?

          • Erebus says:

            I’ve heard the “partners” thing so often now that I’m beginning to think it is some sort of a running inside joke they’re enjoying at the Foreign Ministry.
            The other side of it is that it stretches, to surreal levels, the contrast between what comes out of the West (over-the-top libel) and what comes out of the Kremlin. It becomes a caricature of itself in the same way the West’s maniacal character assassination has. Perhaps it has an effect on the rest of the world that we’re immune to.

          • patient observer says:

            It is indeed a running joke as evidenced when Lavrov referred to his Georgian “partners” as the Russian army was kicking the crap out of the Georgian army and Shaki was eating his tie. For me, it never gets old.

      • marknesop says:

        That last one is a punch to the gut, because it is absolutely true that the west trots out “International Law!!” when it wants to finger Russia for violating it by “annexing” Crimea, but then whistles and stares off into the middle distance in pretended insouciance while Kiev fires ballistic missiles into cities full of civilians, something that is just about as illegal as cocaine trafficking. The west insists on adherence to international law when it suits, and then kicks it into the weeds when it is obstructing it getting its own way.

    • marknesop says:

      “People are saying that Russia is turning its back on Europe and seeking new partners in Europe, but this is not true.”

      I will personally be sorry if it’s not, and I believe Russia will rue the day if it does not conclusively turn away from Europe now while it has both the opportunity and the justification, the latter priceless because any hardship incurred thereby must have the people’s support. Europe is a rich market, yes, but if you average out what Russia sells to the EU against what Russia buys from it (2013 figures, which reflected a rip-roaring trade relationship compared to previous years and certainly with present conditions), Russia ran a €86.367 Billion deficit. Is it so important to have French cheese and Italian shoes that Russia is prepared to risk a future attempt to crash its economy? Because Europe has demonstrated that it will roll over for Uncle Sam at the snap of fingers, and the Russian government has to know they will learn nothing by the spanking they get this time around. In two years or maybe as many as five, they’ll have their peckers up and be ready to take another run at it if whoever the new goon in the White House is says so.

      This is an historic opportunity for Russia to build a new trade relationship which includes the Europeans and Americans only as afterthoughts, and allows them only walk-on roles without significant influence or control over its markets. If Russia must admit that it cannot do without Europe, then it must admit that there will be future assaults on the Russian economy from that quarter, whether initiated by Europe itself or another proxy attack by the USA, and be prepared to deal with the risk. Because it’ll happen.

  45. Moscow Exile says:

    Advice for Putin-Is-Acting-Like-Hitler Hilary Clinton:

    When framing your photographs, be mindful of your background. Compose your shot carefully. Remember, a picture is worth a thousand words. And, most importantly, never stand in front of the word “country”.

  46. Moscow Exile says:

    As regards Putin’s Valdai comments and criticism of the USA attitude to the rest of the “International Community”, I think the opinions expressed by very many US trolls on the web is very enlightening: they repeatedly snort that Russia is not a world power and can complain about US hegemony (though they do not use that word, probably as a result of their limited English vocabulary) as much as it likes, implying that the US can do whatever it damn well pleases in this world.

    In other words, the USA acts like a school yard bully that has plenty of little shits running around behind, hanging off its shirt tail and hoping for its protection and beneficence.

  47. patient observer says:

    Great post at The Saker regarding the character assassination of Putin by the media – some of the examples make stories about love children from alien abductions look credible by comparison.
    Our “free press” at work.

  48. yalensis says:

    Q: What is the most humiliating thing that can happen to a large nation?
    A: When Rumania scolds you for being a schnorrer.

    Exhibit A:
    Rumanian President Traian Băsescu dresses down Ukraine:

    “Ukraine needs to understand, that it is a big country which must find on its own the solutions to its own survival, without begging for money all the time. (….) Freedom requires that one create the conditions to remain free; if you are THAT dependent on gas, on money, on food, etc., then you can’t even become a strong country.”


    On the other hand,
    Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose….

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